April 29, 2007

Noah’s Ark in the Netherlands

Posted in Bible, Christianity, Education, Life, Media, Religion at 3:51 pm by deadlikeme

noahsark.jpgDutchman Johan Huibers has build a replica of Noah’s Ark. Even though it’s only a fifth of the original size (as described in the Bible) it still is 70m long, 10m wide and 13m high.

It cost about 1 Million Euros, but he plans on getting the money back by charging people to tour the ship. You can see life size plastic animals (someday maybe real animals) and get educated about the Bible.

The ship will be open to public starting tomorrow, in Schagen (north of Amsterdam). There are plans to set sail and go on tour to Belgium and Germany later.

Huibers Ark

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April 25, 2007

Superman beware, kryptonite is real

Posted in Comics, Education, Film, Media, Mineralogy, Movies, Nature, Science, Superman at 6:24 am by deadlikeme

kryptonite.jpgKryptonite is known to have detrimental effects on Superman. His first encounter with kryptonite was not in the comics, but on the radio series The Adventures of Superman.

Anyway, in the movie Superman Returns, Lex Luther steals a rock containing kryptonite. That rock was a sodium-lithium-boron-silicate-hydroxide compound.

A mineral matching the kryptonite’s chemistry has recently been found.

Today, the Natural History Museum of London reveals the mineral for the first time to museum visitors.

Natural History Museum Article

Watch a video about the new mineral.

April 20, 2007

Parrot teaches boy to talk

Posted in Autism, Biology, Education, Family, Life, Nature at 11:00 pm by deadlikeme

parrot.jpgDylan Hargreaves is a four year old, autistic boy. He has severe learning difficulties and had never uttered a single word. But then macaw Barney came along.

It took a few month, but now Dylan can say “Night, night”, “Dad”, “Mum”, “Ta”, “Hello” and “Bye”.

Speech therapist Dr. Hazel Roddham of the University of Lancashire said: “A child with learning difficulties might benefit from the bird’s slow repetition of words.

Macawas are the largest species in the parrot family. Most of them are endangered in the wild.

The Sun Article

April 19, 2007

Don’t stare at the chimpanzees, please

Posted in Biology, Life, Nature, Science, Society at 9:31 am by deadlikeme

chimp.jpgLook away when an animal seeks to make contact with you, or take a step back. Some individuals are more interested with visitors than their own kind,” says a sign outside the chimp enclosure at the Antwerp Zoo.

New rules have been established at the city zoo urging visitors not to form a bond with a particular male chimp named Cheetah. He was raised by humans but is now bonding with the seven other apes at the park. Cheetah’s continued interaction with humans delays his integration into the animal group.

CNN Article

If you are interested in the subject of chimpanzees being raised by humans, I recommend Douglas Preston‘s novel Jennie.

April 16, 2007

The Great Turtle Race has started!

Posted in Biology, Education, Humor, Life, Media, Nature, Science at 1:22 pm by deadlikeme

colbertturtle.jpgLook out for The Great Turtle Race of 2007! It started today.

Eleven leatherback sea turtles, outfitted with satellite tags are being tracked from Costa Rica to their feeding grounds, the Galápagos Islands. This 750-mile swim event is expected to last around two weeks. The race was designed to raise more awareness for the endangered species.

Each turtle is sponsored by a different company (Yahoo! being one of them). Even Comedian Stephen Colbert has a turtle in the run, “Stephanie Colburtle”.

Visit the official site for more information and to vote for your favorite turtle.

April 13, 2007

Mmm, Tyrannosaurus Rex tastes like chicken

Posted in Biology, Dinosaurs, Education, Evolution, Paleontology, Science at 9:59 am by deadlikeme

trex.jpg 

Two years ago a team of scientists announced that they have found soft tissue remnants inside the fossilized femur of a 68 million year old Tyrannosaurus Rex. The skeleton had been found in the Hell Creek Formation in Montana. Now a new study has been puplished in Science.

In Protein Sequences from Mastodon and Tyrannosaurus Rex Revealed by Mass Spectrometry, the scientists used mass spectrometry to obtain protein sequences from bones of a 160,000- to 600,000-year-old extinct mastodon (Mammut americanum) and the 68 million year old T. rex.

Looks like T. rex’s collagen (most common protein in animals) shares a 58% similarity with that of a chicken.

Remember how the scientists in Jurassic Park used frog DNA to complement the dinosaur DNA? Well, the examined T. rex’s collagen also shares a 51% similarity with that of frogs.

Science Article

April 12, 2007

Be a man! Kick, punch, bite… scream!

Posted in Entertainment, Film, Media, Movies, Star Wars at 9:33 am by deadlikeme

distantdrums3.jpgThe Wilhelm Scream has appeared on the big screen countless times. Probably everyone of us has heard it at least once, yet not many know that they have heard a stock sound effect that is over half a century old.

It started in 1951 with the movie Distant Drums, starring Gary Cooper. For a scene a man was dragged under water by an alligator, his scream was recorded later. The recorded scream was archived by Warner Bros. and has since been used in many, many movies.

First, the Wilhelm Scream was only used in Warner Bros. productions but then sound designer Ben Burtt decided to use it in Star Wars (1977). Since then its use has become very popular amongst sound designers and directors. When Peter Jackson heard about the history of the Wilhelm Scream, he even insisted on using it in Lord of the Rings.

Some movies that used the Wilhelm Scream:

Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Poltergeist, Spaceballs, Batman Returns, Toy Story, Spider-Man, Kill Bill, Sin City, King Kong (2005), X-Men 3, Pirates of the Caribbean 2, Superman Returns

For a full list click here (IMDB list).

If you want to hear the scream, click here (.wav format)

You can also search YouTube for compilation videos, it’s fun watching all those different movie scenes the Wilhelm Scream has been used in.

LHC reaches temperatures colder than deep outer space

Posted in Education, Science, Technology at 12:35 am by deadlikeme

lhc4.jpgOne sector of the world’s largest particle accelerator, the LHC (Large Hadron Collider), has been cooled down to a temperature of 1.9 K (‑271°C). This is colder than outer space (2.7 K). These low temperatures are needed for the superconducting magnets to work properly (no resitance for the current flow).

Cooling down the entire 27 kilometer long LHC would cause a very noticeable shrinkage of about 10 meters.

The LHC is scheduled to switch on in late 2007. Personally, I am very interested if the Higgs Boson(s) will experimentally be verified. Though I am sceptical if the energies are high enough to verify extra space dimensions. But depending on how large those extra dimensions are, we might see the creation of a mini black hole.

Press Release

April 11, 2007

As I said before, I never repeat myself

Posted in Life, Personal at 6:51 pm by deadlikeme

Finally, I am starting my own craptastic blog.

Since English is not my mother tongue, I’ll try making an effort to learn a new word/phrase every day.

Today’s word:

PETROPHOBIC     (adj.)  One who is embarrassed to undress in front of a household pet