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7 new planets present intriguing possibilities

Written by Christopher Bishop  NASA, in its continuing mission to find and discover signs of life may have just had a breakthrough.  Recently, what is being called a treasure trove of planets was discovered orbiting a cold dwarf star in the Trappist 1 solar system (in the Aquarius constellation.)  The Trappist 1 system actually derives its name from the telescope …

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The Science Of Reading

Are you reading enough? It’s a fair question. There’s no wrong answer. Do give it some thought though. As we grow into adulthood, and try as we might, when it comes to reading for personal enjoyment, we just sometimes catch ourselves setting less and less time aside for it. Bibliophiles of all shapes and sizes, all across the northern hemisphere, …

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Knight Moves

Daniel Jaquet of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science recently applied the scientific method to the question of how well knights could actually move in armor. The idea of the knight who was too heavy to even mount a horse has been known to be a myth for some time. In Jaquet’s study, though, he records exactly …

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The Harbors of Ancient Athens

Ancient Athens had a large navy it used to beat the Persians at Salamis, and later to establish an empire and come to war with Sparta and its allies in the Peloponnesian Wars. Wooden ships were subject to drying and shrinking under the hot sun, water and rot and sea creatures eating the wood. The powerful triremes of Athens were …

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Strange Truths – Inuit Cartography

Maps have always been a passion of mine. They fascinate me and I love to make, adore and study them. The weirder the map though, the better. The Inuit people of Greenland have made some pretty weird maps. Carved of driftwood and made to fit inside a mitten, they are tactile maps which allow a traveler to navigate by running …

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Strange Truths – Radioactive Wild Boars of Japan

Wild radioactive boars are rampaging around northern Japan near Fukushima. This story falls solidly under the category of “if you can’t make something gameable out of this you aren’t even trying”. The beasts are savaging farms, breeding uncontrollably, eating radiation tainted crops, and hunters are piling the carcasses up faster than they can be safely disposed of. While reading it I …

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Fourth Stone From The Sun

In popular culture, much has been made of Mars lately, from last year’s 65th anniversary of Ray Bradbury’s MARTIAN CHRONICLES, to the increasing popularity of James S. A. Corey’s EXPANSE space opera, culminating in Matt Damon’s winning of a Golden Globe award for his portrayal of astronaut Mark Watney in THE MARTIAN. As thrilling as the science-fiction is, the science-fact …