“When I got home that evening, I cried. Not because I felt sorry for him, or because I realized what it is that I probably take for granted every day. I cried because I felt a fundamentally human urge to connect with this man — an icon of brilliance in a world sorely lacking — and I simply couldn’t figure out how.”—Cara Santa Maria, “My Evening With Stephen Hawking” (http://huff.to/JL6yh8)
Melungeon DNA Study Reveals Ancestry, Upsets 'A Whole Lot Of People'
For years, varied and sometimes wild claims have been made about the origins of a group of dark-skinned Appalachian residents once known derisively as the Melungeons. Some speculated they were descended from Portuguese explorers, or perhaps from Turkish slaves or Gypsies.
Now a new DNA study in the Journal of Genetic Genealogy attempts to separate truth from oral tradition and wishful thinking. The study found the truth to be somewhat less exotic: Genetic evidence shows that the families historically called Melungeons are the offspring of sub-Saharan African men and white women of northern or central European origin.
And that report, which was published in April in the peer-reviewed journal, doesn’t sit comfortably with some people who claim Melungeon ancestry.
Skywatchers, take note: Tonight (May 23) and tomorrow night will offer excellent opportunities to observe the so-called “dark side” of the moon.
The new moon occurred on Sunday evening (May 20), marked by an annular eclipse of the sun as the moon passed in front of it. The moon has now moved to the east of the sun, but is still mostly lit from behind. Only a slim crescent on the moon’s east side is in full sunlight.
Scotty has finally been beamed up. The ashes of the actor James Doohan, who played Scotty on the 1960s television series “Star Trek,” were launched to space this morning (May 22) on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
The unmanned Falcon 9 blasted off at 3:44 a.m. EDT (0744 GMT) from here at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, carrying the Dragon capsule filled with cargo bound for the International Space Station. Also packed aboard the rocket was a secondary payload carrying remains from 308 people, including Doohan and Mercury program astronaut Gordon Cooper, according to ABC News and Reuters.
It's Time To Get The Facts Straight About Stem Cell Therapy
Type “stem cell treatments” into Google and you’ll find yourself inundated with invitations to fancy clinics in faraway places. Apparently, these “miracle cures” can help with everything from incontinence to autism. But dig a little deeper, and what you find may surprise you.
In the future, stem cells may hold the key to treating some of mankind’s most challenging diseases. Unfortunately, the future is not now. And stem cell scammers know this all too well, preying on desperate people in desperate situations.
In an effort to separate fact from fiction, I reached out to Dr. David Scadden, co-founder and co-director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. Watch the video linked below and/or click the link below to learn more. And don’t forget to sound off by leaving a comment at the bottom of the page. Talk nerdy to me!
Ethan Zuckerman offers an innovative idea to quantify attention paid to various things on the internet. The unit of measure? The amount of attention Kim Kardashian gets in one day. As he explains:
The Kardashian mentions how much attention is paid, not how much attention is deserved, so naming the unit after someone who is famous for being famous seems appropriate. Should the unit be adopted, I would hope that future scholars will calculate Kardashians using whatever public figure is appropriate at the time for being inappropriately famous.
So how do things size up in Kardashians? Angelina Jolie gets about 0.35 Kardashians, The Kony 2012 campaign peaked at 7.7 Kardashians, but now sits at a paltry 5 centiKardashians.
As for me? Searches for this blog are registering no higher than the nanoKardashian range. And searches for my name are mostly people misspelling “Scarlett Johansson”. You gotta start somewhere!
Electrons rule our world, but not so long ago they were only an idea. This month marks the 120th anniversary of a profound and influential creation, the electron theory of Dutch physicist Hendrik Antoon Lorentz. His electron was not merely a hypothesized elementary particle; it was the linchpin of an ambitious theory of nature. Today physicists are accustomed to the notion that a complete description of nature can rise out of simple, beautiful equations, yet prior to Lorentz that was a mystic vision.
Giovanni Aldini may not be a household name, but his contributions to science cannot be ignored. Neither can his macabre demonstrations of the power of electricity on the human body. Aldini was a real-life “mad scientist,” and it’s rumored that Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” was based on his life.