- In partnership with CERN, The LEGO Group, National Geographic and Scientific American, Google is introducing the first global online science competition: the Google Science Fair. It is open to students around the world who are between the ages of 13-18. More info at the Google Blog.
- If you haven't yet played around with Google's Ngram Viewer, you've missed a great opportunity to waste time. Ngram allows you to search Google Books for words or expressions and display the results, normalized to the total number of books, as a function of the year. You find some great examples here. Also interesting is "absolute" vs "relative" ("relative" took off in 1900 but has dropped sharply since 1980, while "absolute" is constantly in fashion since 1800), "abortion" vs "adoption" ("adoption" is almost constant since 1900, while "abortion" rises in the mid 60s, but interestingly falls again since the mid 90s.), "love" vs "war" ("war" surpassed "love" around 1920 and peaks during the two world wars. Since then, it's been on the decline but still ahead of "love"), "God" vs "science" ("God" has on the average been decreasing since the early 18-hundreds, though it's slighly increasing again since 1980. Science has constantly been on the rise, but still hasn't caught up with "God"), and nobody wrote "hello world" before the first programming languages came up.
- Have a look at our night sky in different wavelengths with the Chromoscope. See here for a video tour. [Thanks to Steven!]
- Wiley's journal on Environmental Microbiology annually publishes some amusing referee's comments. Some examples: "This paper is desperate. Please reject it completely and then block the author’s email ID so they can’t use the online system in future.", "I started to review this but could not get much past the abstract.", "I agreed to review this Ms whilst answering e-mails in the golden glow of a balmy evening on the terrace of our holiday hotel on Lake Como. Back in the harsh light of reality in Belfast I realize that it’s just on the limit of my comfort zone and that it would probably have been better not to have volunteered." Makes me wonder if the prospect of one's comment getting published encourages referees to write such things?
- Something to laugh about: The customer is not always right. [Thanks to Andreas!] Example:
- Bank employee: “And how would you like that $500?”
Customer: “In one bill.”
Bank employee: *trying to be nice* “Would five hundreds do?”
Customer: “No! One bill!”
(Employee gives her five hundreds, and she throws them back. Supervisor comes over.)
Customer: “Yes, he refuses to give me what I want.”
Supervisor: “There is no $500 bill.”
Customer: “Yes there is!”
Supervisor: “Not since the late 1800′s ma’am.”
Customer: “I remember seeing it!”
Supervisor: “Then might I say you look great for your age!”