Interesting Articles: April 29th-June 5th 2007

* Juiciest Beef in Town: Restaurateur, Steamed, Says He Was Burned (Washington Post). Many of you likely heard of this spat between a restaurateur and the New York Times food critic in which the restaurateur said he'd start a blog and follow the food critic around to criticize the same restaurants and in the process criticize the critic's reviews. This hubbub got lots of attention in the press and food blogs several months ago. However, it's gotten no attention for the last couple months, as the restaurateur hasn't posted anything on his blog in ages. I'm really disappointed. While I wasn't expecting greatness, I'm more disappointed that he promised (in the New York Times, even) to do something and didn't follow through with it.
* Clearing The Air (WNYC's On The Media via NPR). Sao Paulo bans all outdoor advertising. How cool is that? (That's a real question: it's not rhetorical.) I'm surprised I haven't heard this reported from any other source.
* "If I controlled the Internet" (a poem) (TED Talks). I always assumed it was hard to get videos of good slam poetry on the web. It appears I was wrong. The TED video inspired me to browse YouTube for a while. YouTube has number of slam poetry videos of widely varying quality. Here are some I liked:

Emergent Behavior:
* Formula for Panic: Crowd-motion findings may prevent stampedes (Science News). A practical application of the science of complexity / emergent behavior.

Research Methods:
* Sleep on It: Time delay plus slumber equals memory boost (Science News). Posted because I really like the study's method of implicitly teaching subjects an item ordering and then testing their knowledge of the total order. The abstract of the source article, Human relational memory requires time and sleep (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), available online, briefly describes this experimental design.

* Meet me at 79°50' N, 56° W (Science News). Modified Newtonian Dynamics, an alternative to the theories using dark matter, may be testable. You gotta love how the test would work:
The trick is to position an instrument within 7 centimeters of a specific latitude and longitude. Only two spots would qualify: one in Antarctica and one in northern Greenland. And just like many ancient rituals, the experiment could take place only during an equinox.
The abstract of the source article, Is violation of Newton's second law possible? (Physical Review Letters), is available online.

* Is Your Phone Out of Juice? Biological fuel cell turns drinks into power (Science News). What a novel idea!

* Genes Take Charge, and Diets Fall by the Wayside (New York Times). Yet another piece about the strong genetic influences on weight.

* Gene predicts sleepy performance (Science News); more colloquial version of the article (Science News for Kids). I wonder how much this one gene correlates with students attending top colleges. The abstract of the source article, PER3 polymorphism predicts sleep structure and waking performance (Current Biology), is available online.
* Two groups of scientists, using relatively simple alterations, each have genetically engineered flies to resist malaria in a way that allows those flies to out-compete regular flies. Someone should show these results to the groups that protest all uses of genetic engineering.
* Spider blood fluoresces (Science News). The title says it all. Probably one of the many reasons people find spiders creepy. The source article, Spiders fluoresce variably across many taxa (Biology Letters), available online, includes pictures. I'm sure a simple Google search would get you more.

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