Linkadelic Mess

Molloy, 'Burning Cotton Candy' (detail)
Given that year-end lists are something of a useless cliché, we figure it works just as well to do a junkpile and clear out a bunch of links waiting for some more useful deployment than sitting in a badly-punned directory (URLenmeyer) on the desktop. Thus, in no particular order:pH scale


• Why certain Chinese cat fossils are so fascinating.

Synaptogenesis is a word you will start hearing more often in the near future.

• Sure, it’s a bit old, but A Citizen’s Guide to Understanding and Monitoring Lakes and Streams, from the Washington Department of Ecology, is still relevant.

• There really is a holy grail for dystopic, embittered, supervillainous math geeks.

• Suffice to say, the link file for this one was actually a bad casserole joke. No, really.

• Celebrate the saola, a Vietnamese ox confirmed to still exist after fifteen years out of sight.

• We all heard the cool news about India shooting for Mars?

• The tortoise and the Lego, that’s all you need to know.

• Dinosaurs are human, too. Er, I mean … ah … right. Something about a clumsy dinosaur.

• Apparently, the Milky Way wobbles and flutters. (If you like the technical stuff, the arXiv file is available.)

Ultraviolet … Imaging … Spectrograph; maybe not a band name, but certainly worthy of being an album cover. Vinyl. Twelve inch.

Spiders. Might as well get used to ’em.

• Have you met Juno?

• Ice, water, steam … how about plasma? And no, plasma water is not a sports drink … yet.

• Here there be monsters.Uranus Trojan Lagrange

Uranus Trojan Lagrange is not a band name. It’s something even cooler.

• Then again, Martian eclipse would be a good band name, too.

xkcd on ice.

Teller talks Tim’s Vermeer.

• Various processes more complicated than explanations are worth keep bringing to mind an old episode of Radiolab, about laughter.

Detail of PIA050760


Spiders!Science does have its creepy side. Then again, why would it not? Still, perhaps the phrase raining spiders ought to serve as a warning about what comes next.

And while the idea of spiders falling from the sky like rain is not entirely accurate, well, you get the picture. Arachnophobes might want to skip Nadia Drake’s report for Wired Science:

When 20-year-old web designer Erick Reis left a friend’s house on Sunday, he saw what looked like thousands of spiders overhead, reported G1, a Brazilian news site, on Feb. 8. The large, sturdy spiders were hanging from power lines and poles, and crawling around on a vast network of silk strands spun over the town of Santo Antonio da Platina.

Social spidersReis did what many of us might do: He pulled out his camera and shot a video of spiders seemingly falling from the sky.

As creeptastic is it may be, “The phenomenon observed is not really surprising,” said Leticia Aviles, who studies social spiders at the University of British Columbia. “Either social or colonial spiders may occur in large aggregations, as the one shown in the video.” The reason, she and others say, is simple: This is how they hunt.

Er … yeah. I’m not a fan of spiders. Ironically, I had a dream the night before I saw this article that had something to do with a staggering number of spiders. I have no idea why, or what it means. Forgive me, please, if I haven’t paused to dwell on the Freudian or Jungian interpretive values involved.

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