The Big Fall and the Big Fail

It’s been one year since Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner made the highest jump of all time. The Red Bull Stratos project was part science, part adventure, and of course part caffeinated beverage promotion overload.

31 Levitating Vehicles From the Dawn of the Hovercraft. Hey, I remember the GEM-1 from the Weekly Reader!

“The People of the West”, a 3rd century Chinese report, lists products of interest from the Roman Empire.

Ingo Potrykus developed “Golden Rice” to combat blindness and death in children by supplying 60 per cent of the vitamin A they need in a typical daily helping of rice. He’d like to live long enough to see it save lives despite protests over GM crops.

By side-stepping IP security, a pair of researchers have uncovered more than two dozen vulnerabilities in products used in critical infrastructure systems that would allow attackers to crash or hijack the servers controlling electric substations and water systems.

Oxford University genetics professor’s DNA tests on “yeti” hair samples gathered in the Himalayas are a “100% match” with an ancient polar bear sample that dates back to between 40,000 and 120,000 years ago – a time when the polar bear and closely related brown bear were separating as different species.

Problem-Solving Parrots Understand Cause and Effect. Scientists speculate two factors may influence why some animal species are smarter than others: how cognitively demanding it is for the animals to obtain food and the social complexity of the animals’ society.

Here’s a slightly dated gallery of non-problem solving parrots… I think they are related to the dodo, somehow.

Aren’t you glad to know they make (non-alcoholic) wine for cats? Nyan Nyan Nouveau.

Clues to the origin of language: a stuffed python on a fishing line has revealed that chimpanzee alarm calls have intentional meaning rather than being involuntary expressions of emotion (as seen in lower primates like jackanapesis teapartius).

The ancients had gods and pyramids to tame the sky’s mystery. We have Star Axis, a masterpiece forty years in the making.

The Houston Chronicle is suffering some regret over its endorsement of Ted Cruz, the poor dears!

Lord Humungus would like to put all this recent unpleasantness aside, at least until January. And he wants a certain head, for decorative/ceremonial purposes.

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