Topspin

In table tennis (at least,) there’s a common technique where, when you return a volley, you snap the paddle laterally and introduce spin to the ball, which causes it to bounce erratically when it hits the table on your opponent’s side, hopefully causing them to miss the return. Topspin generally means the bounce will be very low and the ball even accelerates usually, read more

I can guarantee one thing

So, it appears there could be a surprise meteor shower on the morning of the 31st. Well, not exactly a surprise, but one that isn’t recognized as a significant shower and hasn’t been a performer in the past.

Universe Today has all the details, but in read more

Too cool, part 49: Genetics and Human Evolution

Professor Ceiling Cat Emeritus (sometimes known as Dr. Jerry Coyne) over at Why Evolution Is True brought this one up, and normally I’d just send you over there for this, but it relates directly to a few posts that I’ve done in the past, so I went ahead an embedded it here.

Dr. Matthew Cobb read more

Still there? Why?

It’s no secret that I despise social media, especially given that little graphic over there on the sidebar, but just in case it isn’t perfectly clear, I find it, all of it, to be pointless, puerile, and in most cases, manipulative and antisocial. I had a Facebook account for a couple of years I believe, begun solely to suss out some things for my employment at the time, read more

Amazing luck

I was skimming Why Evolution Is True on Thursday night just before midnight, when I discovered that July 16th (that very day, for ten more minutes,) was World Snake Day. Not a lot of point in trying to post something, even when I had a photo all lined up – not for World Snake Day, just because I’d shot it recently and was waiting for the opportunity to post it.

As luck would have it, read more

It’s called a springboard

From time to time I mention George Hrab’s Geologic podcast, as well as it being linked over there in the sidebar. I also make a regular contribution, which entitles me to receiving a weekly newsletter, of which I rarely read when they arrive but put off for later – sometimes, a lot read more

Cytotoxin & Euphoria

Let’s be honest: there aren’t any webcomics that I’ve come across that fit in with the theme of this blog, whatever that may be, and don’t ask me why because I’m sure this is a huge untapped market, judging from the visit stats and comments. But I still find the occasional conjunction, a chance tangency that gives me confidence that read more

Too cool, part 41: Can’t get much smaller

I know, I just did a ‘Too Cool’ post, but then I came across this and it certainly deserves to be in here. Neatorama linked me over to an article on Quartz about a rather intriguing accomplishment in macro work, which is that little purple dot in the center of the image below, because this is apparently a single atom, captured with a conventional camera as well.

read more

Too cool, part 40: Red sprites in incredible detail


Astronomy Picture of the Day today featured a confusing and abstract image, because it’s something probably never seen in this detail before: a collection of red sprites above an active thunderstorm.

Here’s the deal. Occasionally, waaayyyy above the tops of the clouds on some thunderstorms, there is an additional discharge – actually, two different kinds, the other being read more

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