Look there, up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a moth! It’s a…. hummingbird moth?

Last week NPR posted an excellent article about what can only be the coolest pollinator. Ever.

“like a flip-flop that doubles as a beer bottle opener; an optical illusion; a labradoodle; a frenemy, the hummingbird moth falls into that cryptic category of transformers in life that are more than one thing” – Linton Weeks ” What Exactly is that Birdlike Thing?”

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“Science is Not Democratic”

“Science isn’t a belief system. It’s proven knowledge. It either knows the answer to a problem, or admits it doesn’t and keeps looking for it.” – James Conca “Science is Not Democratic”, Forbes Magazine

An excellent article detailing why basic and applied scientific research should be encouraged (and funded, please please please fund us) in the US. It especially details a scary rising trend of allowing personal and political beliefs to override the importance of understanding basic science.

Test tube rack in a laboratory

 

 

Computer Viruses… as art

Computer Virus Catalog, provides us with an illustrated history of the worst computer viruses in history.

It also has an artistic interpretation of each virus, which look really cool! Below are some of my favorites!

HORT---Marburg_905

“Marburg infects .EXE and .SCR files and draws the all too familiar critical error icon everywhere on your screen. The Windows virus spread like crazy in August ’98, when it was included on the master CD of popular MGM/EA game ‘Wargames'”

Lawrence-Slater---Cookie-Monster_905

“Created in the late ’60s, Cookie Monster is the world’s first computer virus. After infection, Cookie Monster freezes all system activity and demands cookies. Don’t sweat it. You simply unlock your computer again by typing the word ‘cookie’_”

Stuxnet

“Stuxnet is a joint effort of the US and Israel, designed to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. This highly sophisticated Windows worm reportedly destroyed roughly a fifth of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges, by causing them to spin out of control. Mission accomplished_”

Said-Kinos---Ikatako_905

“Ika-Tako (Japanese for squid-octopus) spreads via P2P file sharing network Winny, disguising itself as a music file. When executed, the Windows virus replaces photos, applications and vital system files with images of squids_”

 

HOORAY for Basic Science Research! And duck genitalia

Basic science =  scientific questions that are founded in understanding theory, or the natural world around us

Applied science = scientific research that is directly applicable to humans. i.e. Cancer research

The last few years of financial crisis have seen a rise in criticism over basic scientific research. NPR does a great job of summarizing the criticisms and explaining why seeking to understand duck genitalia is a solid biological question.

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Friday Coffee Break

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Although the risks of having a child early in your academic career seem clear, are they really? (From Sarah)

The legendary Peter and Rosemary Grant publish a book reviewing 40 years of their work on Daphne Major. (From Sarah)

A really awesome-looking “open” class about data science. (From Sarah)

Cat research is difficult, largely because they are difficult subjects to work with. (From Jeremy)

Dirty money. Examining the microbial communities on dollar bills. (From Amy)

An amazing global visualization of climatological data. (From Noah