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How I got to walk in the steps of Galileo?

Last week I was in Rome. I was at the Palazzo del Quirinale, the home of Giorgio Napolitano, the President of the Republic of Italy. I was there to attend the 2012 International Balzan Prize Foundation awards ceremony...

November 21, 2012 — David L. Levine

Learning the Language of Rivers III: The River Sings

I'll tell you the moment I realized I'm a raging ignoramus when it comes to rivers, and that I really needed to educate myself. It was when Lockwood and I were mooching about Avery Park.We'd just had a nice dabble down by the Marys River.Other rivers had compelled me with beauty, power, and drama, but those had been operas: you're so sated by the performance that you don't realize you didn't understand a bloody word...

November 21, 2012 — Dana Hunter

Every Sperm is Sacred

We owe so much of our rich array of pop-cultural references to the Monty Python troupe's satirical genius. There's the "Dead Parrot" sketch, the Ministry of Silly Walks, the entire Holy Grail film -- Jen-Luc Piquant is particularly fond of the faux-French insults: "I blow my nose at you, English pig dog!" -- and of course, the musical sketch that forms the centerpiece of Monty Python's The Meaning of Life : "Every Sperm is Sacred."The incomparable Michael Palin plays a poor Catholic man who must sell his 63 children for medical experimentation because he and his wife (played by a cross-dressing Terry Jones) can no longer afford their care and feeding...

November 21, 2012 — Jennifer Ouellette

#SciAmBlogs Tuesday - zombie bacteria, sleep and memory, quantum cryptography, dinosaur trunks, hungry ciliates, ancient eyes, and more.

- Simon J Makin - Sleep On It - Alan Woodward - Quantum Cryptography At The End Of Your Road - Jennifer Ouellette - Quantum Dots of Many Colors - Darren Naish - Junk in the trunk: why sauropod dinosaurs did not possess trunks (redux, 2012) - Psi Wavefunction - Frontonia: dissecting a ciliate appetite - Jennifer Frazer - Mycoplasma “Ghosts” Can Rise From the Dead - Lucas Brouwers - Animal vision evolved 700 million years ago - Ashutosh Jogalekar - Chocolate consumption and Nobel Prizes: A bizarre juxtaposition if there ever was one - Maria Konnikova - Killer blueberries: Inside the reality of paranoia - John R...

STAFFNovember 20, 2012 — Bora Zivkovic

Wormholes In Art Trace Species Through Time and Space

Wormholes aren't just for time travel or teleportation anymore. Some very real and ancient wormholes are now helping to trace the distribution of insect species and artwork.A biologist found himself in the unlikely world of centuries-old European woodblock print art...

November 20, 2012 — Katherine Harmon

Does Eating Turkey Really Make You Sleepy?

TRANSCRIPTAfter Thanksgiving dinner, many people start to feel a little drowsy. Turkey typically gets the blame. It supposedly contains high levels of tryptophan, an amino acid that is sold in a purified form to help people fall asleep.But turkey contains about the same amount of tryptophan as chicken, beef and other meats.If Thanksgiving drowsiness is not about the main course, what is responsible?...

STAFFNovember 20, 2012 — Ferris Jabr

Quantum Cryptography At The End Of Your Road

In April of this year I wrote about how quantum cryptography (more properly called Quantum Key Distribution or QKD) was leaving the laboratory bench and is balanced on the cusp of entering into real-world use...

November 20, 2012 — Alan Woodward

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