The folks at TED-Ed asked for my recommendations regarding Math 101: A reading list for lifelong learners. I also have a post up this week at the NOVA physics blog: Quantum Physicists Catch a Pilot Wave. Also: Check out Natalie Wolchover's great feature for Quanta on the implications of these experiments from earlier this year. And a heads up: Thursday October 9th, I'll be on a Pop Science Panel at Skylight Books in Los Angeles, with MG Lord, Kyle Hill, Alex Korb and Eric Brach.

NOOOOO! Russia confirms death of five geckos on space sex mission. Geckos’ ‘mummified remains’ suggest they froze to death. Worse, the Sex Geckos Probably Didn't Have Sex. (But the fruit flies totally scored.) Related: Martin Rees says don't give up on life in space just yet: This century we may discover whether biological evolution is unique to Earth, or if the cosmos teems with it – but it will be post-humans making the interstellar trips. Bonus: Maybe the geckos didn't make it but 'Space Whisky' to Return After Space Station Voyage.

If Leonardo da Vinci designed Tony Stark's Iron Man suit, it would look like this.

Time Travel Simulation Resolves Grandfather Paradox. What would happen to you if you went back in time and killed your grandfather? A model using photons reveals that quantum mechanics can solve the quandary—and even foil quantum cryptography.

Why “Hawking Radiation” Was Almost “Feynman Radiation.”

How a 19th Century Math Genius Taught Us The Best Way To Hold a Pizza Slice (the math of the 'fold hold').

Chameleons and Holograms: Dark Energy Hunt Gets Weird. New approaches seek to nail down dark energy and discover how it might be accelerating the universe’s growth.

Almost all lithium-6 was produced well after the Big Bang – something that current theories of nucleosynthesis cannot explain.

Physicist puts time on timeless Monet painting: The Impressionist art movement began Nov. 13, 1872, around 7:35 a.m. local time.

For the first time, our region of the universe has a map and a name. "Scientists have redrawn the cosmic map of our corner of the universe, using new tools to define which galaxies interact with our own. The so-called supercluster of galaxies that contains the Milky Way has been named "Laniakea," which means "immense heaven" in Hawaiian."

A knitted fabric circuit board. A) A close up of the fabric over a finger; B) Front; C) Back; D) Cross-sectional view, plus illustration of the knit. Qiao Li et al./Royal Society

New Fabric Circuit Boards Can Be Worn, Washed, Stretched and Shot: "A team of engineers from Hong Kong Polytechnic University have created a fabric knitted with wiring that can be worn and even washed. This fabric could someday host a variety of devices for biometric monitoring, and the researchers write that it could be especially useful for law enforcement or military personnel."

You shouldn’t try to pigeonhole quantum physics.

Phase Transitions: Researchers Watch Glass Flipping From One Structure To Another Under Pressure.

The Thermodynamic Theory of Ecology: Insights from information theory illuminate nature’s large-scale patterns.

As time ticks down to the restart of the Large Hadron Collider, scientists are making sure their detectors run like clockwork. Related: China's Proposed New Particle Accelerator Will Be Double the Length of the Large Hadron Collider.

Happy 30th Birthday to Discovery Space Shuttle. at 8:41 AM, 30 yrs ago, Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center

It’s a good thing practice makes perfect, because the last practice landing for the moon landing ended in explosion.

Nine Nerdy Marvel Movie Facts That Are Backed by Science. "7. There's not enough energy produced on Earth to get you to Asgard." Related: This Is What Star-Lord's Awesome Mixtape Would Actually Have Sounded Like (Ooga Fuzzy). "what would really happen if you listened to a cassette on repeat for twenty years in space?"

James Murphy Teams Up with IBM to Turn Tennis Data Into Beats.

Aerogel Monoliths Made Of Copper Nanowires And PVA Nano-Glue.

Science as Salvation? Marcelo Gleiser wants to heal the rift between humanists and scientists by deflating scientific dreams of establishing final truths.

FQXI Podcast: Watching Quantum Cats Die. Physicist Andrew Jordan describes experiments to monitor and steer Schrodinger's metaphorical cat as it is dying, allowing for a new level of quantum control.

Look Ma, No Zero! “easy algebra is hard in base 60.”

Credit: Karina Eibatova,

Mineral Admiration: Watercolor Paintings of Crystals by Karina Eibatova. "The juxtaposition of using a water-based medium to create images of stone is in line with Eibatova’s desire to only create images from nature, an exploration that has lead to dozens of publications in magazines, newspapers, and journals around the world."

When fluid dynamicists get into ALS ice bucket challenge, they give it a fluidsy twist with high speed and infrared video. Related: A Mathematician Takes "The Dice Bucket" Challenge - an avalanche of tumbling dice. Also: Definitely don't try this one at home! Chemist Demonstrates Liquid Nitrogen Edition of ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, relying on the Leidenfrost effect.

Bubble Chamber Image Scanners of the 1950s: The Women Who Made the Science Possible.

Neurons in Your Skin Do Math. Sensory neurons located in your fingertips perform mathematical calculations that provide us with geometric information about objects we touch, a new study has found.

Fantastically Wrong: All About N-Rays, The Imaginary Radiation That Shocked Science and Ruined Its ‘Discoverer.’

Notes from a Quantum Mechanics Boot camp: Searching for exotic physics & using Lego to explain the holographic duality.

The Science of Finding Your Soul Mate: Breaking down the mathematical odds of winning at SoulMateRoulette.

A startup called Algorithmia wants to connect underused algorithms with those who want to make sense of data.

Elegant, Simple, Coherent -- and Oh yeah, Totally Wrong. "Because when one model predicts A, and another model predicts B, then it’s time to set aside the models and go gather some data. You can have the world’s most elegant model, but if it can’t predict what happens in real life, then it’s just a pretty piece of mathematics.”

Why a Mantis Shrimp's Wicked Clubs are like Pringles. Per the Oatmeal: “Genghis Khan bathed in sherbert ice cream.”

What My Mother Learned from Einstein: How a young woman's correspondence with the Nobel laureate changed her life forever.

The fluid dynamics of soap bubbles is an awesome thing to behold. "the psychedelic colors of a soap film are directly related to the film’s thickness with the black regions being the thinnest."

Sprinkling spin physics onto a superconductor.

William Wollaston's reflective goniometer: "using crystal faces as mirrors to measure the angles between them." Related: The Magnificent Comptometer, 1893: a shoebox-sized key-driven calculating machine encased in coppery metal.

More Than Meets the Eye: NASA Scientists Listen to Data to study the Sun's magnetic field.

Inside A Lithium-Ion Battery - Researchers Observe The Phenomenon Of “Lithium Plating” During The Charging Process.

Forecasting the Future: Physicists and other scientists use GEANT4 toolkit to identify problems before they occur.

On Graphene and the Quantum Hall Effect. "[G]raphene sheets under strain experience conductance plateaus very similar to those observed in the quantum Hall effect. This allows for great control of electrical properties by simply deforming the graphene sheet, effectively changing the amount of strain."

"Pixels', An Infinitely Regressing Comic Celebrating Randall Munroe's 'What If?' Book Launch.

How to Build Your Own Time-Warp Tube with Eddy-Current Braking. "All you’ll need for this project is a few magnets (rare earth magnets work best; fridge-style magnets usually aren't strong enough to see the effect), scissors, clear tape, transparency sheets, and a metal tube that’s slightly larger than your magnets, cut into sections. Most hardware stores will cut pipe when you buy it, if you ask. Otherwise, you may also need a handheld pipe cutting tool."

A 19th Century Telephone Network Covered Stockholm in Thousands of Phone Lines.

Female Physicists Worldwide Fight Sexist Stereotypes.

Scientists are leaving Iran in droves, in part to avoid the fate suffered by imprisoned physicist Omid Kokabee.

How the Black Clouds of Space Bring Life to the Universe.

'Cooking on Mars', A Video by SpaceX Engineer Andrew Rader About Cooking and Eating Bugs.

The Big Bang Is Hard Science. It Is Also a Creation Story. Even with its explanatory power, Big Bang theory takes its place in a long line of myths.

Why Did Apollo Astronauts Keep Wiping Out on the Moon? "in a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers suggest that it wasn’t just the NASA astronauts’ unfamiliarity with the strange lunar environment that knocked them off their feet — it may have been their brains lacking a gravitational reference for which way was “up,” possibly causing a loss in perception." Related: Falling Down: Without Enough Gravity, It's Hard For Astronauts To Tell Which Way Is Up.

Philae: Rosetta Lander Will Seek A Close Encounter With Comet 67P’s ‘Primordial Soup’.

Astrochemist Wendy Brown on the chemistry of space dust in the interstellar medium.

Sounds of Summer: "Peal bells are used for mathematical playing, not melodic." … Related: My own post on the mathematics of change-ringing and Dorothy Sayers' classic murder mystery The Nine Tailors.

Could a tattoo help you survive a trip back into history? If you were going to be sent back in time, what scientific knowledge would help you survive? It’s a harder question than you might think.

Credit: Thomas Herbich,

Ethereal forms shift and swirl in photographer Thomas Herbich’s series “Smoke”: "As it rises, the smoke is sheared and shaped by its passage through the ambient air. What begins as a laminar plume is quickly disturbed, rolling up into vortices shaped like the scroll on the end of a violin. The vortices are a precursor to the turbulence that follows, mixing the smoke and ambient air so effectively that the smoke diffuses into invisibility."

The Chemistry of Cleaning Defaced Modern Art.

New Combination Of Materials Opens The Door For Integrated Nanophotonic Circuits to efficiently guide electricity and light along the same tiny wire,

New Panoramic Images Show Area 51’s New Mystery Hangar Is Gigantic.

155 Years Before the First Animated Gif, Joseph Plateau Set Images in Motion with the Phenakistoscope.

The Molecular World in Not-Quite 3-D: August Hofmann's 1865 presentation to the Royal Institution on "the combining power of atoms in three parts."

Five Things That Sound, Move, or Smell Like a Nuclear Explosion.

Cadavers and Curios from the Dawn of Modern Medicine: Illustrations from the new book Dr. Mütter’s Marvels chronicle the tools available to 19th-century Philadelphia doctor and medical innovator Thomas Mütter. Philly's Mutter Museum is a must-see, BTW.

Inconsistent Mathematics, Reutersvärd, and Buddhism: An Interview with Chris Mortensen. Related: Mathematics, Live: A Conversation with Evelyn Boyd Granville, one of the first African-American women to earn a PhD in math.

Corals Engineer Their Own Currents. "scientists have discovered that corals use their tiny bodies to create swirling currents that are relatively enormous. By forcing the ocean water to move molecules closer or farther away, they work to keep themselves alive."

'F is for Frequency', A 'Circuit Playground' Video Explaining the Nature of Radio and Sound Waves.