Culture

In Short: A robot that builds sandcastles, the science of karate board breaking

Posted by: Kate Torgovnick May

Enjoy these fascinating reads from across the Internet:

  • TED-Ed’s own Rose Eveleth looks at the science of building sandcastles, and directs our attention to a robot that can build one far more long-lasting than humans can. [Smart Planet]
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  • Is the suffix “-ome” — as in genome, phenome and the secretome — overused? In this article, evolutionary biologist Jonathan Eisen, who gave the recent TEDTalk “Meet your microbes,” calls it “a language parasite.” [Wall Street Journal]
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  • Should archaeologists spend more time in the lab and less in the field? Journalist Heather Pringle argues yes, citing TED Fellow Christina Warriner’s fascinating work analyzing the dental calculus that coats teeth in fossil skull collections. Her discovery: a wealth of DNA. [Last Word on Nothing]
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  • To peer at Jason deCaires Taylor’s sculptures, you’ll have to go scuba diving in Cancún. Yes, the exhibit is underwater. [NY Times]
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  • Ever wondered exactly how martial artists punch so hard that they break a board in half? A new study in the journal Cerebral Cortex suggests that the white matter in their cerebellum and primary motor cortex has a unique structure. [Popular Science]
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  • Greg Stone, who gave the powerful TEDTalk “Saving the ocean one island at a time,” has introduced an Ocean Health Score, rating 171 countries by the status of their shorelines. As for the world’s oceans in total, they score 60 out of 100. [Ocean Health Index] Sustainability expert Johan Rockstrom, who forwarded the idea of measuring earth systems in the talk “Let the environment guide our development,” will no doubt be pleased.
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  • The Downton Abbey season three trailer has been released. [The Atlantic Wire]
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  • Who do you want on your team at work, not to mention in life? An overview — in hand-drawn chart form — of the six people you need in your corner. [Forbes]