Science Doesn’t Sleep (4.10.08)

So here’s what went down since you logged off.

You could set the whole thing down between Houston and Sugar Land with room to spare (not that the residents would thank you for it) – but that doesn’t make this new photo of Phobos, one of Mars’ moons, any less impressive.

But what if scrubbing the toilet is what’s making me depressed? A new study shows you can boost your mental health by doing housework.

Creative Commons License photo credit: .Martin.

Off the Kuff points us to a new proposal to get all that wind energy from West Texas circulating through the rest of the state. It’ll cost you, though – $3 to 7 billion. Worth it? Check out the proposal and let us know what you think.

The Olympic flame is virtually unquenchable (and no, I am not speaking metaphorically.) What used to be a stick on fire is now a torch that can withstand winds of up to 40 miles an hour, nearly 2 inches of rain an hour, temperatures of minus 40 degrees, and many other threats to its general flamey-ness.

Apparently, the Olympic torch has been the subject of intense scientific development for years, due to the fact that the “fire lighted at ancient Olympia” must be the very same flame that lights the torch and the games themselves – however many snowy mountain ranges or pouring rain forests you have to traverse to get there. Which begs the question – what if it’s not? Surely someone has dropped the thing in a puddle since we started the Games up again.

So, this isn’t news per se, but I’d just like to put this out there: I like bridges that don’t collapse. I prefer buildings that stay in one piece. And I am also rather fond petrochemical plants that don’t blow up. So I found Mental Floss’ list of “Embarrassing Moments in Engineering” to be fascinating – but also completely terrifying, and also somewhat more than embarrassing for the engineers involved.  (Um, just a quick note to all you future engineers out there – please study hard. If your bridge sways so much that it actually throws people off – that’s bad. Very, very bad.)

And finally – yesterday, our very own David was a guest on FM Houston, a fabulous local radio program, answering ever-curious host Laurent’s probing questions about da Vinci – our exhibit, his inventions, the Renaissance and more. Everyone else will have to wait until this weekend to experience the hilarity, when it airs on all 63 local Clear Channel stations – but you, dear blog reader, can listen to their witty repartee right now: check out the FM Houston blog and download the podcast.

2 thoughts on “Science Doesn’t Sleep (4.10.08)

  1. Erin:

    I wasn’t aware of the “Off the Kuff” blog that you mentioned in this post (Actually I just found the HMNS blog by accident – you guys should publicize it more). I was a little alarmed by Mr. Kuff’s advocacy of these wind farms. No definitive studies have really been done on the effects of these farms on wildlife (especially migrating birds), despite what you might hear from the wind companies. The anticipation is that wind turbines in the path of migrants will be an ecological disaster. In my opinion (and in the opinion of fellow ornithologists) these wind farms should be stopped until valid research indicates that they will not have the negative impacts anticipated.

    Having said that – glad I found your blog! It’s bookmarked.

    Bill Eley
    Program Development Director
    Houston Arboretum and Nature Center

  2. Hi Bill,

    That’s a really interesting perspective – and frankly, one I hadn’t considered. Thanks for commenting, and sharing your expertise with our new community.

    We’re only about a week old – and we are trying to promote the blog! We’re hoping you – and other people who enjoy it – will share the link with their friends. You’ll find sharing options – like Email This Post – on the bottom of each entry.

    Thanks again for visiting! I’m so glad to hear you like BEYONDbones.

    Erin

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