Links for your Thanksgiving airport travel


A tardigrade. Cute, isn’t it? (via

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Return of the Sextants: Guest Post

Today we’re featuring a guest post from Sarah Pickman, a PhD student in the History Dept. at Yale. Sarah works on the history of exploration, field collecting, and natural history museums, and anthropology in nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Her past work has focused on the material culture of expeditions, from field provisions to Polar gear. Sarah comes to Yale from New York, where she earned an M.A. in Decorative Arts, Design History and Material Culture at Bard College.

Any casual observer can see that there’s a certain vogue for retro technology in the air. So dust off your home canning system, pull out your vinyl records, and break out your…sextant?


Double-bridge sextant, c. 1798. Collection of National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK, NAV1107

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Links for Monday, November 16, 2015


Transparent aluminum! And other weekly links for Wednesday, November 11, 2015

What the winner of the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences gets, plus a lot of money

Links for Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Curiosity selfie (NASA)

In case you missed these from the past week:

  • We’re featured on Public History Commons!
  • A new paper in Science and Engineering Ethics questions the widespread use of “publication consultants” at every level of research, especially in biology and medicine, and suggests that their use should be made more transparent.
  • Greenland is melting away, and the New York Times has a wonderful (and beautifully designed) account of Earth science in action.
  • If there are aliens, they’re probably robots by now.
  • Giant ancient earthworks in Kazakhstan have only been discovered with NASA’s help.
  • Theranos, a company that has raised $9 billion on a promise to revolutionize blood testing, is coming under fire for its central claim: that it can produce results using only a pinprick’s worth of blood. “While hot Silicon Valley start-ups like Uber and Airbnb have run into regulatory hurdles, as a medical technology company, Theranos has bumped up against something else: the scientific method.”
  • Quantum mechanics v. relativity.
  • Microbiomes? The Times is on that too this week. Here’s a feature on the American Museum of Natural History’s new exhibit called “The Secret World Inside You.” And here’s the writeup of two new papers in Science and Nature, urging a national microbiome research initiative.