Details on the disappearance of the Utah monolith

Mr. Bernards, 34, of Edwards, Colo., was visiting the monolith on Friday night when, he said, four men arrived as if out of nowhere to dismantle the sculpture. Mr. Bernards had driven six hours for the chance to ogle the sculpture and to take dramatic photographs of it. Using upscale Lume Cube lights attached to a drone, he produced a series of glowy, moonlit pictures in which the monolith glistens against the red cliffs and the deep blue of the night sky. Suddenly, around 8:40 p.m., he said, the men arrived, their voices echoing in the canyon. Working in twosomes,…

Scientists thought only male birds sang – until women joined the research

For more than 150 years, scientists have considered bird song to be an exclusively male trait, but female scientists have changed that. Americans often idealize scientists as unbiased, objective observers. But scientists are affected by conscious and unconscious biases, just as people in other fields are. Studies of birds’ vocal behavior clearly show how research approaches can be affected by the people who do the work. —theconversation.com

This Woman Inspired One of the First Hit Video Games by Mapping the World’s Longest Cave

The Medium headline calls Colossal Cave Adventure “one of the first the video games,” but it’s a stretch to use “video” to describe the modality of a command line text parser game. The former Patricia Crowther was very helpful to me when I interviewed her by telephone for my DHQ article. I could have written quite a lot more about her as a technologist, rather than mostly as a caver, but I wasn’t writing a book. I enjoyed reading this article by Claire L. Evans, an excerpt from her 2018 book, Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who…

Adorable Dolphin encounter makes Texas sloth video go viral

My social media feed just featured adorable pictures of dolphins engaging with a sloth. Instead of blogging the Business Insider page or the Bored Panda or the Reddit pages or local TV news programs that repurposed content from the Texas State Aquarium, I wanted to find the original. The dolphin pictures are still frames from a short sloth-centric video the aquarium released on Facebook on a month ago. In response to a commenter asking how they can share the video off of Facebook, the aquarium posted a link to this YouTube video. “As a bit of a local celebrity, Chico…

Snowfall at the White House (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour, Jan 7) Tweeted by WH on Jan 12

My social media feed was full of people mocking the White House yesterday for publishing a photo titled “First snow of the year!” on a day when Washington had clear skies and freakishly warm weather. What was the Trump administration trying to pull? Why would they publish such a blatant lie? It wasn’t a lie. The photo was real photo of Washington’s first snowfall of the winter, but the picture was taken Jan 7. Once critics of the Trump administration established the narrative that the White House was lying, that message went viral. Newsweek at first simply reported on the…

Earth doesn’t need more ‘successful people’.

The plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage wiling to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these qualities have little to do with success as our culture has defined it. –David Orr, Earth in Mind See also Gus Speth, “What’s an environmental issue?”

The Righteous Mind

I just finished “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion,” a very accessible mainstream (non-academic) book by social psychologist Jonathan Haidt. Takeaways: Our rational minds are to our emotional/instinctual selves like riders on an elephant. When the elephant leans even slightly to one side, the riders look in that direction and start coming up with rational arguments about why it’s a good idea to go that way. Liberals tend to care very much about what Haight calls the “Care/Harm” moral framework, and also “Liberty/Oppression” and “Fairness/Cheating.” They are less interested in “Loyalty/Betrayal,” “Authority/Subversion” and “Sanctity/Degradation.”…

John Dewey: Portrait of a Progressive Thinker: His ideas altered the education of children worldwide

“You can concentrate the history of all mankind into the evolution of flax, cotton, and wool fibers into clothing,” asserted Dewey. He described a class where students handled wool and cotton. As they discovered how hard it was to separate seeds from cotton, they came to understand why their ancestors wore woolen clothing. Working in groups to make models of the spinning jenny and the power loom, they learned cooperation. Together they understood the role of water and steam, analyzed the textile mills of Lowell, and studied the distribution of the finished cloth and its impact on everyday life. They…

What Can Science Tell Us About Dad Jokes?

Beyond making the audience cringe and, hopefully, bring a father a little closer to his son or daughter in a healthy manner, puns have given researchers insight into how the left side of the brain engages with the right side. Researchers showed that the brain’s left hemisphere processes the language of the pun first, while the right side takes a few beats to catch the ambiguous dual meaning in a 2016 study published in the journal Laterality. The moments between provide for a super-awkward silence that can make a father giddy as he waits for his child to squirm and moan. If…

Time Might Only Exist in Your Head. And Everyone Else’s

Tired brain can’t quite process this Wired summary of a scholarly paper, but I enjoyed how the good writing helped me peek into a field I know so little about. Time moves as it does because humans are biologically, neurologically, philosophically hardwired to experience it that way. It’s like a macro-scale version of Schrödinger’s cat. A faraway corner of the universe might be moving future to past. But the moment humans point a telescope in that direction, time conforms to the past-future flow. “In his papers on relativity, Einstein showed that time was relative to the observer,” says Lanza. “Our…