Bryophytes : Seeking The Root(less) Origins of Mud

Bryophytes : Seeking The Root(less) Origins of Mud

Reading Time: 9 minutesFor 90% of its existence, planet Earth (mostly) lacked the one thing that cradled civilizations and made millions for detergent companies : mud. Then, sometime around 458 million years ago, it suddenly began seeing a lot more of Mr Mud. Why the sudden rise? How the sudden rise? What in the sodden rice is mud, anyway? The Nerd Druid investigates the root(less) cause behind this muddy mystery.

Billy Perkin : The Boy Who Dyed

Billy Perkin : The Boy Who Dyed

Reading Time: 7 minutesWilliam Henry Perkin was born this day, in London, 180 years ago. His accidental invention revolutionised the fashion and textile industry and, in what is infinitely more important, ensured that another Nil Darpan may never need be written. Also, he probably saved a lot of innocent snails from slaughter. As Google honours Perkin with a doodle (header image), the Nerd Druid delves into the life and times of Billy Perkin, the father of the synthetic dye.

A pair of paradoxes at Port of Spain : Haynes, Greenidge, Richards, and a bit of black magic?

A pair of paradoxes at Port of Spain : Haynes, Greenidge, Richards, and a bit of black magic?

Reading Time: 4 minutesCricket, they say, is a game of statistics and anecdotes. Sometimes though, these two come together and create a paradox. One such instance was the second test at Port-au-Spain, March 11-16 1983, played between a superpowered West Indies led by Clive Lloyd, and a soon-to-be-world-champions India led by Kapil Dev.

Cleaning up our waters : Graphene microbots to the rescue?

Cleaning up our waters : Graphene microbots to the rescue?

Reading Time: 15 minutesWater. Without it, life would not begin on Earth. Without it, life could not continue on Earth. With each passing day, effluent from the modern ultra-industrialised world is making sure that the little water available to us is being effectively rendered unusable. Chief among such pollutants are heavy metals such as arsenic and lead, the large-scale removal of which is a protracted and expensive job. Recently, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for intelligent systems have designed graphene-based motile micromachines that zip around contaminated water on their own, scoop up lead, and can be guided to a safe place for removal of lead. What’s more, these WallEBots can them immediately be reused. The Nerd Druid takes a closer look at these microscopic marvels.

Science News Roundup : 2018-01-19

Science News Roundup : 2018-01-19

Reading Time: 5 minutesA 500 year old mystery behind the fall of the Aztecs, and a map of one of the most elusive elementary particles in the universe. In today’s Science News Roundup by Nerdruid.

The Very Quiet Crickets of Hawaii : Rapid Convergent Evolution

The Very Quiet Crickets of Hawaii : Rapid Convergent Evolution

Reading Time: 8 minutesCrickets in the Hawaiian island of Kauai have, over the past twenty years, fallen silent. A mutation has changed the structure of the male crickets’ wings, so that they are now born without the ability to chirp. Since cricket mating happens at night in the dark, and the chirp is a necessary way for the male to advertise itself, one would, justifiably, fear for the survival of the Hawaiian crickets. Surprisingly, that hasn’t happened, and the crickets of Kauai flourish. Nerdruid tries to find out how.

Science News Roundup : 2018-01-17

Science News Roundup : 2018-01-17

Reading Time: 3 minutesNorthern Pole of Cold records one of the lowest temperatures ever, while filthy humans and lack of hygiene might have caused the widespread Black Death instead than black rats.

A Man Called Ove : Reading Update

A Man Called Ove : Reading Update

Reading Time: 2 minutes#BookUpdate Fredrik Backman‘s A Man Called Ove is a popular book nowadays. Or that is what I gather, looking at updates from fellow bibliophiles on various Facebook reading groups. It was made into a Swedish movie a couple of years back, while a Hollywood production with Tom Hanks in the eponymous role is being planned. Clearly, …

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AlphaZero and the Artificial Intelligence Singularity : Part I

AlphaZero and the Artificial Intelligence Singularity : Part I

Reading Time: 8 minutes This is going to be an n-part article on the recent developments with Alpha Zero, the latest AI superplayer to come out of the Google DeepMind stable. This is part I. Facebook Comments

The Jane Mann Incident : Should Freedom of Speech Trump Scientific Responsibility?

The Jane Mann Incident : Should Freedom of Speech Trump Scientific Responsibility?

Reading Time: 11 minutesFreedom of speech is a fundamental right that most democracies value and uphold. Science is an eclectic band of disciplines that strives to understand life, the universe and everything, and can be used for the betterment of human life. As citizens of a scientific age, we have a responsibility to not be scientifically inaccurate to …

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