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Not bad science

Lost Penguin Chicks Try To Find Their Way Home

A King Penguin chick

King penguins are pretty social animals. Not only do they tend to hang out in a big group, but even within the group, they form little sub-groups; cliques of penguins who like to hang out together. In case this couldn’t get any cuter, their chicks also hang out in groups without any adult penguins around. [...]

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Not bad science

Lost ants backtrack their steps

Ants would leave their nest to retrieve bits of cookie

Think about where you’ve been today, and how you found your way there. As humans, we use different navigational techniques at different times. You can probably think of some times that that you’ve relied more on heading in a particular direction, knowing roughly where a place is that you’re trying to get to (like ‘north’ [...]

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Dung Beetles Follow the Stars

dung beetle milky way stars orient straight path

The humble dung beetle makes its living rolling big balls of excrement to feed its offspring and itself. But this lowly occupation doesn’t mean the insect doesn’t have its eye on the skies—even when the sun goes down. Recent research has shown that African ball-rolling dung beetles (Scarabaeus satyrus) use strong light cues from the [...]

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Roots of Unity

10 Secret Trig Functions Your Math Teachers Never Taught You

A diagram with a unit circle and more trig functions than you can shake a stick at. The familiar sine, cosine, and tangent are in blue, red, and tan, respectively.

On Monday, the Onion reported that the “Nation’s math teachers introduce 27 new trig functions.” It’s a funny read. The gamsin, negtan, and cosvnx from the Onion article are fictional, but the piece has a kernel of truth: there are 10 secret trig functions you’ve never heard of, and they have delightful names like “haversine” [...]

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