Anamorphic illusions of items on a desk is the latest of many interesting original visual illusions, tricks, and fun science experiments by Brusspup on Youtube (previously). For handy viewing: Anamorphic playlist; Illusions playlist; Science experiments playlist, plus more, including a playlist of how-to videos for various tricks and activities . [more inside]
The Hidden Messages in Water? Masaru Emoto claims that water has the ability "to absorb, hold, and even retransmit human feelings and emotions. Using high-speed photography, he found that crystals formed in frozen water reveal changes when specific, concentrated thoughts are directed toward it. Music, visual images, words written on paper, and photographs also have an impact on the crystal structure." The theory may be suspect, but the photos are beautiful.
Mystery of 'chirping' pyramid decoded: "A theory that the ancient Mayans built their pyramids to act as giant resonators to produce strange and evocative echoes has been supported by a team of Belgian scientists." Others are not so sure... Coincidence, or engineering? Did the designers of El Castillo pyramid cannily build in a sound effect that mimics the warble of the sacred quetzal bird? Listen for yourself, with the .wav file (first set is the real bird, the second is the pyramid) featured in this Acoustical Society of America page. I prefer to think it's deliberate; after all, it's possible that early man was experimenting with cave acoustics to to create sound-enhanced rock art (there are sound samples for this included here - unfortunately a Geocities site). Also of interest, the BBC programme "Acoustic Shadows" (requires RealPlayer - *heavy sigh*).
The Pig Wings Project: "Rhetoric surrounding the development of new biological technologies make us wonder if pigs could fly one day. If pigs could fly, what shape their wings will take? The Pig Wings Project presents the first use of living pig tissue to construct and grow winged shape Semi-Living Objects."
Human Intelligence is a good site from Indiana University that looks at historical influences and current controversies surrounding the study of intelligence. Find out more about topics such as "the Mozart Effect", the theory of multiple intelligences, and the influence of birth order on intelligence, and then browse the brains behind the history of inquiry into human intellect.
No pain, no gain, they say, and when it comes to real pain, the inverse is true as well. "We now have research indicating there's a memory of chronic pain," said Dr. Doris K. Cope, director of chronic and cancer pain for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. It changes the genic code sometimes, it changes the biochemistry, and it causes new proteins to be formed." Or in other words, the more pain you have, the more pain you have. (More on this.) It's no wonder, then, that more money is spent on pain relief than any other medical problem, and that there has been so much pain research and so many clinical trials revealing such painful facts as redheads feel more pain, men feel less pain, and that there's a genetic difference between tough guys and wimps. (Much more pain inside.)
Arsole? Putrescine? Dickite? Moronic Acid? This list of Molecules with Silly or Unusual Names (one NSFW image) proves that scientists can be funny, as does this Stuffy Scientists page, and Mark Isaak's terribly thorough Curiosities of Biological Nomenclature (see, especially, Puns). If you are tempted to wonder what the Father of Taxonomy might have thought of the irreverence of those last two collections, keep in mind that Linnaeus himself named this plant "Clitoria Mariana" in honor of an 'acquaintance', according to this page.
A professor of vision science at MIT understands that life isn't just black and white, even though we often see it that way. This amazing illusion proves it, and these slick, fast-loading, Flash demonstrations of lightness perception show how it's done. (My favorite is the "Koffka Ring".) White paper here, for deeper background.