Culture

In Short: Scientific findings as a Rorschach test, the physics of the Olympic athletes

Enjoy these fascinating reads from across the internet:

  • In this podcast about the spread of Argentine ants — which hitchhike between continents and fight any ant not a part of their clan — evolutionary biologist Neil Tsutsui makes the interesting statement that his work is like a Rorschach test. He explains, “We’ve had people say, ‘Look, the lesson from this is that we should all be Argentine ants and get along and we’ll succeed.’ On the other hand, I’ve had white supremacist websites cite my research.” [Radiolab]
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  • A web series we’re loving: Olympic phsyics. Today’s entry looks at whether runners can benefit from drafting and yesterday’s examined how pole vaulters take flight. [Wired]
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  • An interesting piece on the evolution of the exclamation mark, given our constant emailing and text messaging. [NY Times]
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  • This week, the hashtag #tweetyrPhD trended on Twitter, with Ph.D researchers sharing their thesis work in 140 characters or less. Entries ranged from “Growing tiny fibres that harvest waste heat and convert it to electricity” to “why do icebergs calve off Greenlandic glaciers?” [TweetyrPhD]
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  • Oh no! Could energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs damage our skin cells? Initial research suggests maybe. [Good]