The Last True Know-It-All reviews Andrew Smith's biography of Thomas Young - "The Last Man Who Knew Everything (including hieroglyphs). Was Young The Smartest Person Ever? [more inside]
The Singular Mind of Terry Tao - "Imagine, he said, that someone awfully clever could construct a machine out of pure water. It would be built not of rods and gears but from a pattern of interacting currents." (via) [more inside]
Frank Wilczek: Physics in 100 Years [pdf] - "Here I indulge in wide-ranging speculations on the shape of physics, and technology closely related to physics, over the next one hundred years. Themes include the many faces of unification, the re-imagining of quantum theory, and new forms of engineering on small, intermediate, and large scales." [more inside]
Norbert Wiener: The Eccentric Genius Whose Time May Have Finally Come (Again) - "The most direct reason for Wiener's fall to relative obscurity was the breakthrough of a young mathematician and engineer named Claude Shannon." [more inside]
Finite time blowup for an averaged three-dimensional Navier-Stokes equation - "[Terence Tao] has shown that in an alternative abstract universe closely related to the one described by the Navier-Stokes equations, it is possible for a body of fluid to form a sort of computer, which can build a self-replicating fluid robot that, like the Cat in the Hat, keeps transferring its energy to smaller and smaller copies of itself until the fluid 'blows up.' " [1,2,3] (previously)
A Star in a Bottle. "An audacious plan to create a new energy source could save the planet from catastrophe. But time is running out."
A series of blog posts by George Washington University engineering students on the aerodynamics of pterosaur flight. [more inside]
Surely you've heard of the physicist Maxwell, but what about Oliver Heaviside? Oliver Heaviside: A first-rate oddity.
Sticks is a Flash game where you use some minor engineering skills to make a dude rich. [more inside]
What Periodic Videos did for chemistry, Sixty Symbols is doing for physics and engineering. Some behind the scenes action and general scienciness. [more inside]
Friday Flash Frustration: Their cute little faces ask for the impossible. Get them to the other side. (via)
Incredibots. Make crazy machines! Solve puzzles! Share with your friends! And that's just the beta. Similarly [more inside]
Prof Lakshminarayanan Mahadevan looks at the physics of wrinkles, creases and folds - from the small to the very large (video demos), feeds his venus flytrap, then rides on his magic carpet.
Ripple Tank Simulation is a delightful, mesmeric java applet simulation of a ripple tank. It demonstrates two dimensional wave phenomena such as interference, diffraction, refraction, resonance, phased arrays, and the Doppler effect (do try the 3D view). From Paul Falstad's fantastic collection of Math, Physics and Engineering Applets.
The museum of unworkable devices... Gravity -- it's not just a good idea, it's the law. Perpetual motion, and other wonderful things.
There's been a lot of talk of late about signal-to-noise ratios here on MeFi (er, Ashcroft who?...). Generally, we think of noise as something that always degrades the quality of a signal. Sometimes, however, the opposite can be the case. Here's a neat little demonstration of a non-linear system in which noise can be used to amplify a signal that would otherwise be too be faint to detect any other way. It exploits a phenomenon known as Stochastic Resonance.