Archive for 'Arts and science'

How Fireflies Get It On

Sunday, February 7th, 2016

Sara Lewis reduced her discoveries about firefly sex to 24 seconds, and then to seven words. She performed this, as a 24/7 Lecture, at the 2015 Ig Nobel Prize ceremony:

A year before that, Lewis performed a longer version — about thirteen minutes long — as a TED talk:

Appreciation: “No index…, no table of contents…, no order”

Saturday, February 6th, 2016

“There is no index at the back, no table of contents at the front, and the subjects covered are not arranged in alphabetical, or any other, order. A hotchpotch is a hotchpotch, but not being able to locate or then re-find anything slowly drove me insane with fury. ”

That’s one of the delightful passages in the “Indexes Reviewed” section of issue number 3, of volume 33 — the September 2015 issue — of the journal The Indexer. the international journal of indexing.


Chemical Sensors Attractively at One’s Fingertips

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

Chemists, some of them, do pay attention to their fingernails. A team at the University of California, La Jolla (an institution that seems to exist on April 1, when it apparently migrates from San Diego), has paid special attention. Details are in their study:

A Wearable Fingernail Chemical Sensing Platform: pH Sensing at Your Fingertips,” Jayoung Kim, Thomas N. Cho, Gabriela Valdés-Ramírez, Joseph Wang, Talanta, vol. 150, April 1, 2016, pp. 622–628. The authors explain:

“Here we introduce the first demonstration of a wearable fingernail chemical-sensor platform. The objective of this work is to demonstrate the first example of a wearable chemical sensor on a fingernail platform. Fingernails represent an attractive wearable platform, offering portability and possibility to merge technology with beauty and fashion products, thus reflecting growing trends toward more stylish wearable devices. While several efforts have been made on developing fingernail-based sensors, none has been developed for chemical sensing.”

Here’s further detail from the study:


BONUS (by some of the same researchers): Tattoo-Based Noninvasive Glucose Monitoring: A Proof-of-Concept Study

Five Japanese extensive interviews with Ig Nobel winners

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

The magazine Tech Notes is conducting a series of extensive interviews with Japanese Ig Nobel Prize winners. Here are links to the first five interviews. All are in Japanese [we present here machine translations of the headlines]:

The Ig Nobel Prize interview Laugh and Think [1st] research and Kitazatodai Mabuchi Mr. skin of banana and think humor creative ideas of origin?


Ig Nobel Prize interview Laugh and Think [2nd] If you turn off the onion really reason for tears – discovered from where there is no doubt: House Foods Group Inc. Mr. Imai


Ig Nobel Prize interview Laugh and Think [3rd] to silence people talkative! Invention of speech jammer: Tsuda College Kurihara Mr.


Ig Nobel Prize interview Laugh and Think [4th] dog language translation machine “Bowlingual”, the development history of? : Matsumi Suzuki


[Ig Nobel Prize interview Laugh and Think 5th] Pigeons distinguish the picture of Picasso and Monet! ? Of human beings to learn from animal psychology: Shigeru Watanabe


Nominative Determinism: Dr. Forrest on Trees

Monday, February 1st, 2016

Landscape-Trees-ShrubsThis book presents a horticultural overview of the main plant families of trees and shrubs from temperate regions that are cultivated in urban and rural landscape schemes. Most of the plants used come from a limited number of plant families and within these families, certain genera contribute very significantly. The largest chapter in the book describes 37 plant families according to their identification, functional use and management in landscape schemes. With this information readers will be able to assess the suitability of species and prepare planting designs for prevailing sites.”

Author: Dr. Mary Forrest, School of Biology and Environmental Science, University College Dublin, Ireland.