During the 1950's, Wernher von Braun served as technical adviser for three space-related television films produced by Disney: Man in Space, Man and the Moon and Mars and Beyond. [more inside]
In September, Italian archaeologists removed a slab door in Tarquinia and entered an untouched, newly discovered Etruscan tomb (Slideshow: Entry to Tomb, Pictures of Contents) There was much excitement to find the intact tomb of a high-status man - a warrior, a prince, a man of importance, with a lance, grave goods, and the remains of his wife. Or so it was trumpeted by the discovering team and the media. A month later … the figure on the wider slab with the lance turns out to be the female, and the man was on the other slab. Whoops! Judith Weingarten writes about the assumptions made before and after the osteological analysis (and Part II). [more inside]
"I'm confident that it's a Higgs particle. I don't need to call it Higgs-like any more...I may need to eat my words one day, but I think that's very unlikely.""Cern scientists believe newly discovered particle is the real Higgs boson. Results of analysis at Cern in Switzerland show particle behaves precisely as expected." Previously
To put a human face on our ancestors, scientists from the Senckenberg Research Institute used sophisticated methods to form 27 model heads based on tiny bone fragments, teeth and skulls collected from across the globe. Here is a video showing those different models morphing into one another. Original article here. [via] [more inside]
"A mission scientist with NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, Natalie Batalha hunts for exoplanets — Earth-sized planets beyond our solar system that might harbor life. She speaks about unexpected connections between things like love and dark energy, science and gratitude, and how "exploring the heavens" brings the beauty of the cosmos and the exuberance of scientific discovery closer to us all". (Audio link of interview at top left corner of page, other relevant links at bottom of page)
"Release the Kraken!" [Discovery] "Scientists and broadcasters have captured footage of an elusive giant squid, up to eight meters (26 feet) long that roams the depths of the Pacific Ocean." [Video] [Image 1] [Image 2] [Previously] [Previously]
We last discussed music discovery site TheSixtyOne back in 2009, but it's changed pretty radically since then. Out with pages of spare, Facebook-like charts, in with gorgeous full-screen imagery peppered with photos and information about each track and the artists behind them. Anybody can submit music to the site, where community listens and ratings elevate the best to the top, and users can directly tip their favorite musicians with purchasable credits. Explore by mood, by Creative Commons tracks, indulge in some gamification with quests (in the top bar), or follow development on the official blog areasixtyone. Returning soon: user-created listening rooms for dedicated playlists or topics. And if you own an iPad, don't miss the free companion app Aweditorium, which sprawls the site's entire collection into an endless grid of playable audiovisual fun.
In 2005, the Discovery Channel aired Alien Worlds, a fictional documentary based on Wayne Douglas Barlowe's graphic novel, Expedition: Being an Account in Words and Artwork of the 2358 A.D. Voyage to Darwin IV." Depicting mankind's first robotic mission to an extrasolar planet that could support life, the show drew from NASA's Origins Program, the NASA/JPL PlanetQuest Mission, and ESA's Darwin Project. It was primarily presented through CGI, but included interviews from a variety of NASA scientists and other experts, including Stephen Hawking, Michio Kaku, John Craig Venter and Jack Horner. Oh, and George Lucas, too. Official site. Previously on MeFi. [more inside]
A new monkey species, known to locals as the 'lesula' (Cercopithecus lomamiensis), has been discovered in a largely unexploited rainforest within the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Abstract artist Ilya Bolotowsky is represented in quite a few museums. But a painting of his, Vertical Diamond, appeared in a more unusual location,, was snapped up for bargain price of $9.99 and was nearly recycled into pet paintings. A label on the back of the painting from the Weatherspoon Art Museum led the museum's registrars to dig into archived files and track some of the painting's history before it found itself in the bargain bin.
I Am Science: Unconventional Paths to Life in Science (5-min Vimeo), via Brain Pickings. [more inside]
The Space Shuttle Discovery, known for launching the Hubble telescope, as well as being the workhorse of the fleet, made a final flight today. [more inside]
LEGO Science Fiction - with bonus build plans for the 2001 Discovery and other scifi-inspired creations
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is well-known for having been a child prodigy. A previously unknown composition of his, dated c. 1767, when he would have been 11 years old, (PDF of score) had it's premiere earlier this week. [more inside]
Orbiter Autopsies "What NASA will learn from dissecting Space Shuttles Atlantis, Discovery, and Endeavour" before they transition into retirement. (From the May 2012 issue of Smithsonian Air & Space Magazine.)
King of the Cosmos (A Profile of Neil deGrasse Tyson) by Carl Zimmer. (Via) [more inside]
In 1602, he became the first Englishman to sail directly to New England across the ill-charted waters of the North Atlantic (Google books; alt: Archive.org). He is credited with setting up a fort on Cuttyhunk Island, and naming both Martha's Vineyard and Cape Cod in that voyage. A few months later, he then returned to England, where he planned the first English settlement to take hold in the new world. He returned in 1607, but only survived 13 weeks in Jamestown (Gb). Who was this founding father of the first English colony take hold in North America? Bartholomew Gosnold. [more inside]
"God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs." [Discovery.com] Within five years, a woolly mammoth will likely be cloned, according to scientists who have just recovered well-preserved bone marrow in a mammoth thigh bone. Japan's Kyodo News first reported the find. You can see photos of the thigh bone at this Kyodo page.
Carolyn Porco is the leader of the Imaging Team on the Cassini-Huygens mission. Watch as she extolls the wonders and discovery about two of Saturn's most interesting moons, Titan and Enceladus. [more inside]
Playboy: The Curse of Reality TV (url/ads may be NSFW)
Tomorrow evening, at roughly 9:50 in the evening GMT, marks the first anniversary (more or less) of the discovery of Neptune.
The Beer Archaeologist. "Biomolecular archaeologist" Dr. Patrick McGovern has unearthed millennia-old alcohol recipes and ancient medicinals, "by analyzing residues in ancient pottery. Now he's working with brewer Sam Calagione, (of Discovery Channel's Brew Masters, (autoplaying video)) whose pub Dogfish Head serves up beers based on recipes that are thousands of years old." (Via) [more inside]
"A few years from now, an hour with a good plumber- if you can find one- is going to cost more than an hour with a good psychiatrist. At which point we'll all be in need of both." Mike Rowe addresses the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation about the rapid decline in the trade labor force.
The Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail is America’s first water-based national historic trail. It consists of the combined routes of Smith’s historic voyages on the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries in 1607-1609. Designated by Congress in December 2006, the trail stretches approximately 3,000 miles up and down the Bay and along tributaries in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia. [more inside]
After completing it's final mission in March, Space Shuttle Discovery has been returned to the Kennedy Space Center's Orbiter Processing Facility, where it is being dissembled for cleaning and decommissioning. Spaceflight Now has pictures of the process.
"When  hundred years old *you* reach, look as good *you* will not, hmm? " Face of incredibly preserved 700-year-old mummy found by chance by Chinese road workers.
Where's Tyche, the 10th 9th planet? Getting the full story. John Matese and Daniel Whitmire of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette recently made the news when they announced the possible discovery of a gas giant planet they named Tyche in the Oort Cloud, at the extreme edge of the Solar System (previously). Now ars electronica breaks down the evidence behind the announcement, what can be done to confirm or disprove its existence & how long it could take.
STS 133 Space Shuttle Discovery (Single Link Space shuttle Launch)
Gocta Falls, Peru In 2005 Stefan Ziemendorff came across a waterfall in Northern Peru that didn't appear on any map, despite a village of 200 people being at its base. He returned the following year to measure its height. At 2,350 feet tall, Gocta Falls are now known to be the 3rd highest in the world. [more inside]
British couple discover Medieval mural of King Henry VIII on their living room wall. (Includes video of the find.)
Dmitar Sasselov is an astrophysicist, Director of the Origins of Life Initiative at Harvard and a co-investigator of the Kepler space telescope project to find Earth-like planets around the Cygnus constellation and discover extraterrestrial life. But no matter how successful the Kepler project may be, it still won't answer the most fundamental questions of astrobiology: How diverse is life in the universe? If alien life exists, will it have Earthly DNA and proteins? Or will it run on something else? So Dr. Sasselov has decided to collaborate with two synthetic biologists, asking them to create a life form based on mirror-image versions of what we know as the essential building blocks of living things on Earth. [more inside]
Curt Teich (1877-1974) was a printer who immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1896. Curt Teich & Company, opened in 1898 in Chicago, was the world's largest printer of view and advertising postcards. Teich is best known for its "Greetings From" postcards with their big letters, vivid colors, and bold style. Flickr user amhpics has archived nearly 2000 Teich linen postcards in his set Vintage Curt Teich linen postcards 1930s-1950s. [more inside]
Two unknown sonatas by Antonio Vivaldi have surfaced, which have collected dust and (doubtless) delighted the bugs for more than two centuries. This is the second find of Vivaldi compositions within a short time. A lost flute concerto has re-surfaced in Edinburgh and was performed earlier this fall. If we read closely, however, parts the flute concerto "Il Gran Mogol" were already known to the musical world. [more inside]
Astronomers have found the first exoplanet within the "habitable" band around a star, or within the distance band around a start that would allow for liquid water. The planet is roughly 3 times the size of the Earth and orbits red dwarf Gliese 581 every 36.6 days at a distance of about 13 million miles.
Right now, James Jay Lee has hostages at the Discovery Channel buildings in the DC area. the DCist information on the situation. [more inside]
Asteroid Discovery From 1980 - 2010: an animation of the solar system that highlights asteroids as they are discovered. I would suggest watching it in a high resolution.
Web of stories - "There are few things more interesting or more pleasurable than to watch someone tell a good story. And one story always leads to another."
Paleontologists discover the skull of a massive predatory whale (Leviathan melvillei) in Peru. Discovery News presents this finding with the best of all possible illustrations. (via)
"So I called my dad over and about five metres away he started swearing, and I was like 'what did I do wrong?' and he's like, 'nothing, nothing - you found a hominid'."The remarkable remains of two ancient human-like creatures (hominids) have been found in South Africa. Some researchers dispute that the fossils are of an unknown human species, but others say they may help fill a key gap in the fossil record of human evolution. [more inside]
A letter by Rene Descartes, stolen in 1840s, recovered in 2010 by online detective work. The letter was stolen by Guglielmo Libri, inspector general of the libraries of France, who stole thousands of valuable documents and fled to England in 1848. Since 1902 it's been in the collection of Haverford College, its contents unknown to scholars, and nobody there realized that it was an unknown letter. But because they had catalogued it and recently put their catalogue on line, Dutch philosopher Erik-Jan Bos found it "during a late-night session browsing the Internet". (A Haverford undergraduate thirty years ago had translated it and written a paper on it, in which he recognized that the letter was unknown -- but nobody followed up and the letter had sat in the library since then until it was listed online.) The letter includes some last-minute edits to the Meditations, and some thoughts on God as causa sui. Haverford, whose president was a philosophy major, is returning the letter to the Institut de France.
A new and previously unknown species of spider, Cerbalus Aravensis, (photo) has been discovered in the dune of the Sands of Samar (map) in Israel's southern Arava region along the Israel-Jordan border by a team of scientists from the University of Haifa-Oranim. Cerbalus is the largest arachnid of its type in the Middle East, with a leg-span that can reach up to 5.5" (14 cm). Unfortunately, its habitat is endangered thanks for rezoning for agriculture and sand quarries. [more inside]
Decades of Future Science. In which advances of the next few decades are wishfully thought up.
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