Monday Links from the Awards Ceremony vol. CDLXVIII Monday Links from the Awards Ceremony vol. CDLXVIII
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    Default Monday Links from the Awards Ceremony vol. CDLXVIII

    Many thanks everybody On with the motley:

    • The medieval mystery of the booted man in the mud - You've probably seen something in the news about this recent discovery, but HT to ladymuck for this account by MOLA Archaology, the discoverers: ”Could he have been a fisherman, a mudlark or perhaps a sailor? Was he climbing the Bermondsey Wall when he fell into the water? Did he become trapped in the mud and drown? The discovery has sparked an investigation by a team of our archaeological and osteological experts who are unravelling the mystery of the booted man in the mud.”

    • The 50th anniversary of Starfish Prime: the nuke that shook the world - HT to DoctorStrangelove for digging up this 2012 account of the nuclear test that first demonstrated the true power of EMP: ”In Hawaii it blew out hundreds of streetlights, and caused widespread telephone outages. Other effects included electrical surges on airplanes and radio blackouts.” And in case that isn't enough to cheer you up, the good doctor also sends this 1990 story of a Missouri community apparently affected by nuclear tests decades before: Miss. residents fear nuclear blasts caused cancer.

    • NASA's Voyager 2 Probe Enters Interstellar Space - And HT to greenlake for pointing out that Voyager 2 has left our solar system: ”Comparing data from different instruments aboard the trailblazing spacecraft, mission scientists determined the probe crossed the outer edge of the heliosphere on Nov. 5. This boundary, called the heliopause, is where the tenuous, hot solar wind meets the cold, dense interstellar medium… Voyager 2 carries a working instrument that will provide first-of-its-kind observations of the nature of this gateway into interstellar space.”

    • The Viruses That Eavesdrop on Their Hosts - Some bacteria communicate, so they know when there are enough of them to get down to business. But it turns out phages are listening too: ”Once it infects its host, it has two modes: wait or kill. If it chooses the latter, it makes multitudes of daughter viruses that fatally burst through the host bacterium, ready to infect others. But what if there are no others around?… It can effectively wait for its hosts to announce that they’re plentiful, so that when it kills one, its progeny will assuredly find many more.”

    • Why are so many people getting a meat allergy? - Not what you want for Christmas: ”Becoming allergic to meat turns your life upside down. Known as alpha-gal allergy, the condition dictates what you can eat, wear, how you relax, and even which medicines are safe. Is research finally starting to catch up?”

    • Population Mountains - An interesting visualisation technique developed and explained by Matt Daniels: ”This is a story about how to perceive the population of cities… What stands out is each city’s form, a unique mountain that might be like the steep peaks of lower Manhattan or the sprawling hills of suburban Atlanta. When I first saw a city in 3D, I had a feel for its population size that I had never experienced before.”

    • Scientists Think an Exploding Star Helped Kill Off the Megalodon - More space-borne doom: ”You’ve heard of the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs, but what about the exploding star that may have helped kill the colossal, prehistoric Megalodon shark?”

    • An ant colony has memories that its individual members don’t have - ”Like a brain, an ant colony operates without central control. Each is a set of interacting individuals, either neurons or ants, using simple chemical interactions that in the aggregate generate their behaviour. People use their brains to remember. Can ant colonies do that?” Professor Deborah M Gordon went and annoyed some ant colonies to find out

    • An X reveals a Diamond: locating Israeli Patriot batteries using radar interference - ”Israeli GIS analyst Harel Dan noticed that when he accidentally adjusted the noise levels of the imagery produced from the SENTINEL-1 satellite constellation, a bunch of colored Xs suddenly appeared all over the globe… Harel correctly hypothesized that some of the Xs that appeared in the SENTINEL-1 images could be triggered by interference from Patriot radar systems.” And a fun followup: Russian mapping site Yandex Maps has agreed to blur out certain areas at the request of governments including Israel… and the conjectured Patriot batteries are among those sites blurred, in a nice example of the Streisand Effect: Widespread Blurring of Satellite Images Reveals Secret Facilities

    • Phil Young - Remarkable sculptures showing wood apparently being squeezed, stretched, and distorted in unlikely ways.

    Happy invoicing!

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    Thanks for another set of edifying links!

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    Good links Nick, thanks.

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