Feature Post, Great Pics

Past High Tech, Future Low Tech: Mechanical Calculator Gallery

Monroe PC-1421 without cover. Credit: Kevin Twomey

You might be surprised to find mechanical calculators – completely analog computational devices with no electrical parts – competed shoulder to should with their digital counterparts well until the late 1960s, in some respects surpassing them. These devices, like the  Monroe PC-1421 – a high speed multiplication and division device – were among the most complex of their sort ever built. Weighing…

Feature Post, Green Living, World Problems

The Mesopotamian Venice: The Lost Floating Homes of Iraq

Ma'dan houses

There’s a lot of talk nowadays about how to live more sustainably, but what surprises me is how complicated people choose to make this process. If you really want to live in a sustainable home and lead a sustainable lifestyle, you need not look too further – just go back to the roots. Sadly, the world right now is on the…

Feature Post, Science

Five Scientific Discoveries That Changed the Course of History

the first wheel

Where would we be without science? Dead, probably. Or, at the very least, in a world of trouble. The study of science is something that sets us apart from the other mammals on planet earth. It’s the driving force behind every significant breakthrough we’ve made over the millennia – of which there have been many. But suppose we had to…

Did you know?, Feature Post

Millions of journal entries from 18th and 19th century ship logs reveal

All voyages from the ICOADS US Maury collection. Ships tracks in black, plotted on a white background, show the outlines of the continents and the predominant tracks on the trade winds.  Original source here.

Take millions of data points, each one a geolocated entry plucked from a digitised collection of 18th- and 19th-century ships’ logs, paint them black on a white canvas, and what do you get? This magnificent view of the ocean! There may be no features on this map, but you can clearly distinguish the continents and the oceans. The geographically trained…

Anatomy, Feature Post, Health & Medicine

What Science Says About the Pain of Running (And Addiction)

Homer-Simpson-Running

I don’t think anybody has ever claimed that running is a 100% wonderful experience. Even the most avid runners still have to get past the painful parts of that morning jogging session. However, there’s a common misconception that some people just aren’t made to run. With the exception of those with certain chronic medical problems, of course, most human bodies…

Feature Post

Real Vs Artificial Christmas Tree: What the science says

Image via Christmas Wallpapers.

The debate about Christmas trees takes place year after year. We really shouldn’t use real trees and I’m glad that more and more people have stopped using natural trees for Christmas, but are artificial alternatives really better? Here, I’ll be explaining the main pros and cons of using artificial trees versus real trees, so that you can make the best…

Feature Post, Pollution

Geamana – The Romanian Village Flooded by a Toxic Lake

Image via RomanulMarius.

Geamana is an abandoned village in Romania. It was a very nice and happy village up until 1978, when the Communist regime forced residents to leave their homes and make way for the toxic waste from a nearby mining pit. Everything started in 1977, when dictator Nicolae Ceausescu decided to exploit a huge copper deposit from the underground. In only…

Feature Post

The science of soap bubbles [with great pics]

The air trapped in a soap bubble is under compression. As the air escapes, the bubble would tend to shrink uniformly, but gravity drains the water from the top of the bubble. When the film becomes too thin to support the heavier lower portion, the bubble bursts. However, we all know that's not the most fun way to burst a bubble. Image via Imgur.

A soap bubble is a very thin sheet of water sandwiched between two layers of soap molecules. They are an evanescent childish wonder, but also hold some valuable insights: soap bubbles deserve a second glance. We see them as fun and childish, blowing them around in the summer, but soap bubbles are actually really interesting. Technically, soap bubbles are extremely thin films…

AstroPicture, Feature Post

Fantastic pictures of the Helix Nebula

Image credits: NASA/Spitzer.

The Helix Nebula used to be a star much like our Sun, but it is now in a different stage – ejecting most of its material. It’s estimated that our Sun will also become a nebula in about 5 billion years. It lies 650 light-years away, in the constellation of Aquarius. Also known by the catalog number NGC 7293, it is…

Feature Post, Great Pics

Jabuticaba – the tree with fruits on its trunk

Image via Imgur.

At a first glance, it looks like there’s something terribly wrong with this tree – but this really isn’t the case. What we’re seeing here is the Jabuticaba – or the Brazilian grape tree – and those are actually its fruits, which are really tasty. Jabuticaba grows (as the name says it) mostly in Brazil, but also in Argentina, Chile…