Pages 66-67 of Pantheon
I told you this book was educational!
You can preorder Pantheon here! It is set to be released in October!
But seriously, how quickly could a giant sauropod dinosaur react to an attack on a body part 150 feet from its brain? The excellent blog SV-POW! has the answer:
… sauropods really did have individual sensory nerve cells that ran from their extremities (tip of tail, soles of feet)–and from the rest of their skin–to their brainstems. In the longest sauropods, these cells were probably something like 150 feet long, and may have been the longest cells in the history of life. We haven’t found any fossils of these nerves and almost certainly never will, but we can be sure that sauropods had them because all vertebrates do, from hagfish on up. That’s just how we’re built. So how long does it take to send a nerve impulse 150 feet? The fastest nerve conduction velocities are in the neighborhood of 120 meters per second, so a signal from the very tip of the tail in a 150-foot sauropod would take about half a second to reach the brain…[continue reading]
Cartoon by Ed McLachlan, Punch magazine, 1981
Hermit crab homes by Aki Inomata
Pear babies (grown in a mold) via Make http://makezine.com/2014/08/28/pear-babies-are-growing-on-trees-in-china/
Famous first lines from novels, rendered in emoji by Forrest Wickman, a staff writer at Slate.
Strange how my brain managed to correctly name the book in question for many of these before I could think of the wording of the opening line. In one case (number 9) I instantly thought of the correct novel but I could not recall the first line, even after checking the answer.
The thickest lines signify daily traffic of 20,000 or more cyclists.
When friends tase friends:
Each person was tazed by their friend or significant other which created an interesting dynamic in itself. The emotions on both sides of the taser were extremely entertaining to watch. The person getting tazed was almost always nervous and jittery with either a sense of fear or anxiety. The participants doing the tazing had a different demeanor altogether. Most of them were excited to cause pain to their friend and only showed remorse immediately after executing the shock.
From the taser photoshoot by Patrick Hall
How skaters in Napa deal with earthquakes. Photo by Jeremy Carroll via @vickydnguyen
What fire looks like out in space, i.e., when gravity is minimal.
The FLEX-2 experiment on the ISS studied fuel combustion in conditions impossible under the influence of Earth’s gravity. It involved the careful ignition of small droplets of a mixture of iso-octane and heptane in a standard air environment to study combustion speed, soot formation, and how mixtures of fuels evaporate before burning (in hopes of finding ways to make fuels that burn more efficiently and produce less soot.) According to a NASA source:
In the absence of gravity, small droplets of fuel (i.e., from 2 mm to 4 mm in diameter) burn “one-dimensionally”, which means the flame will be shaped a like ball about the size of a large olive that will be centered around the droplet. This one-dimensional nature of the droplet flame allows the science team to easily measure and understand important features of the burning fuel that would otherwise be impossible to obtain on the ground. This particular type of flame configuration allows measurement and observation of very complex interactions in a spherically one-dimensional system, providing insights into the behavior of combustion phenomena that would otherwise be difficult, if not impossible, to obtain in multi-dimensional systems that are typically found in most 1-g fires.