A miscellany of science-related stories

I’ve been stocking up on a collection of fascinating science stories which I couldn’t think of enough to comment on in a blog post.  I’ve finally hit critical mass, though, and thought I’d dump them all at once:

  • Four Spanish high school students, supervised by their science teacher, strapped a digital camera to a weather balloon and sent it up 20 miles to take pictures and atmospheric readings.  The pictures are simply wonderful.
  • The recession has hit science and scientists just as hard as everyone else, but there’s no excuse for this: a well-known paleontologist will plead guilty to stealing a fossil find from federal lands with intention to sell it.  Earlier in the month, he had already plead guilty to stealing fossils from private lands.
  • A reminder of why science is important and superstition is dangerous and counterproductive: the skeletal remains of a 16th century victim of the plague, and suspected vampire,  were uncovered in Venice.  The body was buried with a brick wedged in its mouth, which was done to corpses which were suspected to be vampires.  This reminds me that I’ve been doing some historical reading on witchcraft and witch trials that I have to blog about soon.
  • Yes, we need better volcano monitoring: Mount Redoubt, which has been showing signs of imminent eruption lately, had seemed to quiet down.  It is now back on “watch” status for eruption, after activity increased again.

UPDATE:  Is my timing great, or what?  Mount Redoubt started erupting Sunday night.

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5 Responses to A miscellany of science-related stories

  1. Dr. SkullStars wrote: “superstition is dangerous and counterproductive”

    Oh come now, man, there’s no harm in wedging bricks into the maws of rotting corpses. Besides, if we can prevent just ONE zombie/vampire uprising, it’s worth desecrating a thousand bloated bodies. You liberals value the dead more than the living, don’t you?

  2. Aydın says:

    About that balloon story, it doesn’t say how they operated the camera from the ground & how they got the pictures back.

  3. To Aydin:

    The pictures were recovered from the cameras SD card. That information is tucked into the subtitle on photo #27.

    I was more concerned with the cameras mode of re-entry: “After reaching a height of 30,677 meters (over 19 miles), the balloon burst, and the probe begins its descent.”

    I’m hoping the descent triggered a parachute of some sort, because being hit by a 1.5 kg camera traveling at terminal velocity (say 50 m/s, without doing any actual math) would pretty much ruin your day.

  4. Dr. SkullStars wrote: “No, I value the living dead more than the living! ”

    Oops. My bad. I misinterpreted your statement. When you said, “superstition is dangerous and counterproductive”, you meant that superstition is dangerous for the undead and counterproductive for feasting on the living, right?

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