02 JAN 2012 by ideonexus

 Mungo Park Saved by a Moment of Scientific Fascination

Park travelled on down the river as far as Silla, where, exhausted, he decided to turn back short of Timbuctoo on 25 August 1796. On the return journey he was robbed and stripped by Moorish banditti in ‘a dark wood’ before he reached Kalamia. They took everything — his horse, his compass, his hat, all his clothes except his trousers and his battered boots (‘the sole of one of them was tied onto my foot with a broken bridle rein’). They had evidently intended to kill him, but saw him...
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Park's situation is dire at one point in his explorations of Africa, but he finds a fascinating bit of moss that enchants him and makes him forget his horrible situation.

12 DEC 2011 by ideonexus

 Ionian Science

According to legend, the first mathematical formulation of what we might today call a law of nature dates back to an Ionian named Pythagoras (ca. 580 BC-ca. 490 bc), famous for the theorem named after him: that the square of the hypotenuse (longest side) of a right triangle equals the sum of the squares of the other two sides. Pythagoras is said to have discovered the numerical relationship between the length of the strings used in musical instruments and the harmonic combinations of the soun...
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Stephen Hawking provides a fascinating summary of what the ancient Ionians knew about the natural world.

24 NOV 2011 by ideonexus

 The Molecular Beauty of a Butterfly

When I see the butterfly, I imagine in my mind's eye the extraordinary chemical machinery of life, the winding loom of he DNA, the proteins linking like lock and key, the ceaseless hubbub of molecular commerce that goes on behind the scenes, from egg, to caterpillar, to chrysalis, to adult. Surely, no land of faerie is more magical than the transformation that occurs in the chrysalis, when a creepy-crawly caterpillar curls up in a self-made sack and rearranges its molecules to emerge as a win...
Folksonomies: science wonder enchantment
Folksonomies: science wonder enchantment
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Chet Raymo describes what he sees when he thinks of a butterfly.