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Bora’s Picks (29 June 2012)

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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Your Color Red Really Could Be My Blue by Natalie Wolchover:

Anyone with normal color vision agrees that blood is roughly the same color as strawberries, cardinals and the planet Mars. That is, they’re all red. But could it be that what you call “red” is someone else’s “blue”? Could people’s color wheels be rotated with respect to one another’s?….

We Are Already Living in Hollywood’s Dystopian Future by Rachel Nuwer:

Not sure about you, but I wouldn’t want to live in a world where genetically engineered replicant robots prowled the dank, steel-and-microchip urban jungles a la Blade Runner. Likewise for the Minority Report future in which creepy pale kids call people out for murders they had not yet committed. It’s been 30 years since Blade Runner graced screens and blew minds, and today is the 10th anniversary of Minority Report’s release. Both movies paint a bleak but technologically superior view of the future—but are we already living in that world?…

Title IX Withdrawl Syndrome by Allison McCann:

We used to call it Nike Christmas, the day we entered the locker room to find our lockers overflowing with new gear — cleats, sweatshirts, running shoes, backpacks — you name it. In three consecutive appearances at the NCAA Final Four for Stanford’s soccer team, I rode in limos, gave ESPN interviews and played in front of thousands of screaming 12-year-old girls. None of that likely would have happened without Title IX — the legislation originally intended for educational equality that is now synonymous with athletic equality for women. On Saturday, Title IX celebrates its 40th birthday, a monumental occasion for the roughly three million high school girls and almost 200,000 college females that now play sports — a 1079 and 622 percent increase, respectively, since the law’s inception in 1972. …

Voyager: 35 years of Space Discovery by Noby Leong:

The universe is at the tip of our fingers with recent news that the space probe, Voyager 1, has reached the outer boundary of our solar system. To the space buff out there, this is probably week- old news, but to the rest of us, that’s one small step for mankind, one gigantic friggin’ leap to the other side of the nowhere!…

In Defense of Parasites by Rachel Nuwer:

Would you purposely allow Schistosoma worms to burrow into your body and take up residence in your bloodstream, lungs and liver? Or perhaps allow writhing botfly larvae to feast upon your juices before popping out of your skin as a hairy fly?…

Science For Six-Year-Olds: The Bear Skull by Erin Podolak:

This science for six-year-olds post is a little different than my previous posts, because this time I’m back-blogging about a presentation that I already gave to the first graders in person. Since I’m now back in New Jersey, I was able to visit their class to talk about my favorite subject, bears. While we know I’m partial to polar bears, in Mrs. Podolak’s class we talked about black bears. …

The 5 things I learned from Veg and the Never Seconds blog: How one Scottish pre-teen taught the world a lesson about eating well by Susan E. Matthews:

…Veg is the pen name of Martha Payne, a Scottish 9 year old who was quite fed up with her school lunches, or “dinners” as she endearing calls them. She was sick of explaining her dissatisfaction to her parents, and needed a better way to explain why she was so hungry when she would get home from school. So, she started taking photos of her dinners and blogging about them, including hilarious stats such as how many mouthfuls each was, how healthy it was and how many hairs were found per meal….

How Do We Know How Much Glaciers Are Shrinking? by Mary Beth Griggs:

It seems simple: Tracking how much bigger or smaller a glacier is getting could tell you a lot about the local climate trends. It turns out, though, that these huge chunks of ice are surprisingly complex, and figuring out whether they’re growing or shrinking—and by how much—is a challenge….

Pondering a Link Between Forest Fires and Climate Change by Kate Yandell:

This last week, record temperatures and wildfires have scorched the western United States. The National Climate Data Center reports that 41 heat records (at various of 6,027 weather stations around the country) have been broken or tied since Sunday, mostly in Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska, which is quite unusual for this time of year….

Perilous Pollution by Samantha J.:

When I was little, I was very fascinated by carnivorous plants, such as the Dionaea muscipula, commonly known as the Venus Flytrap. It is amazing how these plants adapted to living in soil lacking important nutrients, especially nitrogen. By capturing and consuming insects and other organisms, even tiny birds, carnivorous plants-which are also photosynthetic- are able to supplement their nutrient intake and survive. Their adaptations and mechanisms to catch prey really are marvels of nature….





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