ellestra: (tiger)
Remember that "impossible" drive that everyone agreed cannot work but few labs made it work? Sceptics said that it wasn't really working. That thrust was just natural thermal convection currents arising from microwave heating or some other environmental conditions external to the drive. So NASA used it in vacuum and it still works. The physicist are very aggravated as noone understands how it works. It's like something out of an sf novel. I hope it's really true. Not just because space travel but also because there a whole new branch of physics that will need to explain this. And maybe other impossible things are possible too - like wormholes at reasonable energy levels.

After all there are other planets out there. We discover more and more everyday and now you can name them. The International Astronomical Union started a NameExoWorlds contest were you can propose popular names for 15 stars and 32 planets. Just remember you need to explain your choices.

So if we are getting ready to space travel maybe also same better power storage system. Tesla just made new batteries. Not just for cars - for houses. Right now if you generate your own power (solar, wind, etc.) you cannot really store it. You can sell it back to the grid but it's usually at the times when it's least necessary (solar) or it's unpredictable (wind). But if you could store it for the night and cloudy days it wouldn't go to waste. That's what these are supposed to accomplish. And they come in different colours.

And something needs to run the calculations for all that space travel and new physics. Good thing that IBM just made a crucial breakthrough in quantum computing. They found a new method for correcting errors on a quantum circuit. Unfortunately quantum bits are prone to spontaneous flipping between 0 and 1 or changing the sign of the phase relationship. Those two types of quantum error (called bit-flip and phase-flip) that will occur in any real quantum computer. IBM found a way to detect them both at the same time which should allow for greater reliability of quantum computers which should finally make them usable.
ellestra: (telamon)
I've been working on my photos from all the trips. I'm still not done because I keep stopping and just scroll through them remembering how awesome it was. But I also am plagued by that feeling that I could've taken a much better photo now. I keep learning more and more bout what works and what doesn't and one day I may even take photos I don't want to post-process.

There are of course some tools that help to learn - like this handy cheat chart about the effect of ISO, aperture and shutter speed on the photo. You can download large version from the original website - Fotoblog Hamburg - both in original German and in English.

And here's an camera simulator where you can play with different settings and can see how the photo turns out. For all those trying out manual option.

And since this has been invisible for so long - it's been tough week so I wasn't paying attention - here is one of those pics I stitched together. Canyonlands:


Apr. 1st, 2015 11:49 pm
ellestra: (muppets)
It's April First and it's time to look at all the fake news and specials today. Going around the web and finding all the treats is a hard work but luckily the every site in existence gleefully posts their findings. And some are truly awesome - like CERN's scientist discovering the Force (so this is what the LHC upgrade was really about). And I'm sure even John Oliver would agree the PacMan Google maps should be a permanent option. Judging from experience at least some of the Thinkgeek joke products will become real (it's becoming less of a joke and more product testing every year) - I know everyone's rooting for Groot Beer but think about all those selfies. But I laughed (full lol) the most when I saw Samsung Galaxy Blade Edge. Cameras, phones, watches, kitchen utensils...

These were just my favourites but everyone has tons of others. BBC concentrated on the tech sites. So did Gawker sites really - Lifehacker started theirs early so you could spend the day exploring them and Kotaku just picked their favourites. Tor.com has some author news - from [livejournal.com profile] grrm narrative breakthroughs to [livejournal.com profile] mistborn cloning experiments and Stephen King's return to TV. And countless people live in dread they may not have been joking. There is also picture collection of many of the pranks. Like photos from vacations on the internet that you can then turn into memes.
ellestra: (charlie jade)
LHC was supposed to be back in operation after two years of upgrades but it short-circuited during booting so we'll still have to wait for that dark matter explanation a little longer. They need to opposite of vacuum it first by flushing it out with high-pressure helium gas.

For the first time since MIR there will be someone living in space for a year. Or rather two someones. One is Russian and the other is American and a part of real life re-enactment of the famous identical twins experiment. The one when one stays on Earth while the other is in space. Identical twins and space. No near relativistic speeds this time so age difference will be unnoticeable but there are plenty of other things to learn. The last cosmonaut in this mission crew will be only staying for standard 6 months but that will allow him to become the person who spent the most days in space ever nevertheless.

Curiosity discovered another compound that's connected to life as we know it - nitric oxide. Most people think about it as laughing gas but it only has that effect because it's an important signalling molecule that triggers a lot of metabolic pathways. It can also be the result of lightning or meteor impact so it doesn't mean much by itself but might be also another clue in Curiosity's search for life. Meanwhile her landing marks fade.

While Curiosity is still only beginning her journey Opportunity has just finished a marathon. It's been more than 10 years and 42km and it's still going. Maybe xkcd is right. Maybe she's marking what hers. Unless amnesia gets her first.

I thought that starfish ripping themselves apart were horrific enough but now octopodes are eating their own arms. In next Syfy movie this will be an alien virus that just goes up the animal kingdom all the way to humans. The trick is to invent even more horrific form of self mutilation than those already described.

Graphene light bulbs because what is leaving in the future worth without it being made of science fiction materials.

Artificial ants working together just like the real ones
ellestra: (tiger)

I'm still unable to express my feelings, although I'm sure there is a meaning of Arghh! that encapsulates them perfectly so here are other people's thoughts and tributes:

Neil Gaiman, John Scalzi, Brandon Sanderson, Scott Lynch, Cory Doctorow on BoingBoing, Telegraph, io9, The Mary Sue, Wired, New Scientist, quotes from the books on Buzzfeed and tor.com - both the obituary and Jo Walton's reminiscence. All the guardian stuff including the main post, tributes, photos, obituary and Andrew Brown's reminiscence. Independent mentions his sword (that he made - from meteorite - after knighted because, obviously, knights should have swords).

Here is the link to the donation campaign in his name for The Research Institute for the Care of Older People.

Neil Gaiman talking about Terry Pratchett just a few days ago


Mar. 11th, 2015 11:26 pm
ellestra: (muppets)
If you are in US you can watch the pilot of Powers for free.

It's kind of cute and has some interesting ideas and I liked the two main characters and both villains but is also repetitive and a little disjointed.I loved the use of teleportation, Wolfe containment, the way Walker uses his former status to get what he wants while missing it, the wannabe culture and everything about Deena. I hated the constant repeating of the whole "did we mention he was Diamond, do you know he lost his power, I hope you haven't forgotten he used to have powers - we only said it 20 times already" but they didn't even get to being sure there was a murder (Olympia - might've died from old age). Still I think I liked it more than Gotham pilot so probably the biggest problem is that most people won't even know where to find it. Playstation. Really? Is anyone rally going to pay for that?

I've never heard about the original show but the reboot of Electra Woman and Dyna Girl as a webseries with Grace Helbig and Hanna Hart looks awesome. At least the costumes do.

And Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillon are trying make a webseries called Conman. Alan Tudyk's description:
It's about the convention world. My character, Wray Nerely, was on a science fiction show called Spectrum, that was canceled too soon, and now he goes to conventions, to sign head shots, and meet fans, and do panels. Nathan’s character, Jack Moore, who was the captain of the spaceship on Spectrum, has gone on to incredible action-hero stardom, like Matt Damon. My character is frustrated with his situation and frustrated by Jack’s stardom. We follow Wray’s story as he goes to the conventions and does video game voiceovers and we are going to populate it with sci-fi actors and people that you will find at conventions. Zany hi-jinks ensue!

It's already has more then double of what they asked for on indiegogo but you can still help fund it - it has 30 more days to go.
ellestra: (sunrise)
I just changed time and the weather is perfect today so I spent most of the day outside and it's 7 pm and still not dark. It's not yet pollinating (thanks to all the cold recently) but very sunny and warm but not hot (18C). Perfect for a lunch and long walk with a friend. My female friend because it's also International Women's Day.

This year's theme is Make It Happen. And things are happening all over the world. From Emma Watson's live streamed gender equality talk to all the marches that went through many of the world's major cities to all the other recent events. The Guardian has a great number of articles about the issues and happenings from webchat on "The role of feminism for young people today" to history of women in science (although I'm not sure 10 Best Feminists is really something we need). In New York women were removed from ads by Not There campaign to represent the idea that women are “not there” yet in terms of gender equality. As always Google made a great doodle. On the sad side women internet harassment is still going strong - feminist blog Femsplain was taken offline earlier today by a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. And of course some graphs.

More snow

Feb. 25th, 2015 11:20 pm
ellestra: (tiger)
Yesterday snow mostly melted by the afternoon but don't worry a brand, new snowstorm is here. The forecast varied between apocalyptic - 6 hours of freezing rain to just bad - heavy snow storm with 3-10 inch accumulation (that's 8 - 25 cm). Right now it's beautiful perfect winter wonderland. Someone even put their Christmas lights back on. I was out taking photos until snowploughs destroyed my perfect landscape.

In none weather related news. Orphan Black season 3 will premiere on all AMC Networks channels at the same time (remember they now co-own BBC America). I'm not suer if anything but AMC is really more exposure but it's nice to know they appreciate the show.

Nebula nominated stories you can read on tor.com.

The awesome Power Rangers fan film with Katee Sackoff and James Van Der Beek. It's better quality that the whole show. Watch it before the gets taken down.

And it's gone.
ellestra: (cosima)
After all the teasers for the Sarah (not your property), Alison (not your toy), Helena (not your weapon) and Cosima (not your experiment) here is an actual scene from the next season. Two months left.

Here are some deleted scenes from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay with Peeta and president Snow and Katniss and make-up. Leslie Jones tweeted a photo of new Ghostbusters cast backstage during SNL 40. There is a webseries about adventures of Adult Wednesday Addams and she does what we all wish we could do.
ellestra: (slingers)
It turns out the strangest thing about black holes isn't the event horizon that nothing, not even light, can escape. It's not their mass. It's their density. It turns out that adding mass to a black whole doesn't work the same as normal matter. When you add mass to black holes the radius of the black hole grows at the same rate and that means the volume gets bigger to the 3rd power which means the density become less by the cubic root. A black hole with the mass of 387 million of our suns would have the average density of water. So Interstellar was right to pick a gargantuan black hole. Not only you don't get spagettified (pulled apart when you are falling into it) but you may also find inside like a big swimming pool.

The first flexible brain implants are being developed to replace metal ones. They will not only be able to deliver electric impulses but also drugs and record brain activity at the same time. This is how the Matrix starts.

What makes biology work is sequence - just like DNA's ATGC - that codes the information and structure - the 3D folding. It's important for DNA as it influences whether the information in it can be used or not (the inactive parts are folded and inaccessible) but it's most important for the enzymatic activity. Ribosomal and transfer RNA can only produce proteins when they are folded into right shapes. Proteins can work the same even with sequence change (amino acid substitutions) if the shape (and catalytic centre) stay the same. Temperature destroys that shape and many proteins cannot go back to the same shape. This is why fever above 42oC is so dangerous. This is what happens to boiled eggs. But now a way to unboil egg whites has been developed by liquefying the whites with urea (main ingredient of pee) and then use vortex fluid device to make them fold back to right shape. The most important part is that it can be used for many other proteins. Like the ones used in medicine.

Disneyland became a ground zero for a measles outbreak in California and it's due to the rising numbers of unvaccinated children that serve as repositories of the disease. It can than spread to people with lowered immunity, too young to be vaccinated and the ones who lost their immunity - like elderly as it lowers with time. A lot of those populations are particularly susceptible to complications. There is certain level of disgust I feel for people who are wilfully ignorant and defend their ignorance even at the cost of other people health and lives. And they defend it as a safe choice and protecting their children. Even though they really endanger them. But if it was just them and their children it'd be just wrong. The despicable thing is the part there they also endanger others - all the people who would otherwise never got sick. This is one thing I wish people who do this could be sued for endangering society and costs of healthcare.

It's not only El Niños that is going to happen more frequently now but also La Niña. The Pacific hot/cold water oscillation leads to extreme weather patterns all over the Pacific basin and influences global weather patterns so they are going to become even more unpredictable than they already are.
ellestra: (slingers)
It's the end of the year and it's time to sum up this year in science and that's a much better story than news. Multiple sites have than their pick of th best and most important science and technology stories this year - from weird to futuristic, from space to new element and quark combinations, from new biological organs to synthetic chromosomes and from Nature to Science. And Wired. And New Scientist. And Scientific American.

There are things that only just happened so I didn't get a chance to write about them yet and they didn't land on any list - like the strange fish that lives 8 km deep in the ocean and looks more alien than most science fiction creatures ever will (although it kind of reminds me of Falkor). Scientists learning how to speak monkey. Venus is hell (hot, hot, hot and full of sulphur) but NASA Research Center has plans to put cloud cities on it high in the Venus atmosphere where it's not too bad - apparently living just above hell is doable just as long as you don't fall. And you can name a crater on Mercury.

For me the two most important things that happened in science was - one - all the progress at organ replacement and prosthetic - from new ways to create stem cells and 3D printing organs and growing replacement ones in a vat - like vaginas to creating new, better fitted, cheaper and cooler, prettier 3D printed prosthetics and reconecting nerves in paralysed to advances in cybernetics that allows for mind-controlling the artificial limbs and feeling the objects you touch (bionics is real and cyborgs are no longer sf). Two - all the comet stuff - the Rosetta mission most of all - from the Philae drama to water that's different from the one we know (so comets are not the source of our oceans) - but also the Siding Spring pass of Mars.
ellestra: (winged)
2014 was not a happy year in the world. Climate change lead to another warmest year on record - and weird weather patterns from very warm winter in Europe (and melting Olympics) and record heat waves in Australia (50 oC!) to severe drought in California, South Africa, China and Brazil, extreme floods in Africa, Indian subcontinent and Europe and cold eastern part of North America. Let's hope the food shortages are not going to be too bad.

The anti-vaccine movement has achieved giving us vaccination related deaths when the lack of vaccinations has led to resurgence of almost forgotten diseases. And the Ebola outbreak is still going on in West Africa and people are still dying (even thought it stopped being on the news now that no Westerners are sick). And still even more people die from flu and malaria every year.

And then there was all the things we did to each other. From the nightmare fuel of ISIL and Boko Haram to Vladimir Putin's using Hiler's tactics and excuses for territory grab. The racial tensions in US and Brazilian protests against World Cup corruption (and FIFA washing their hands of slavery and death in Quatar and proving to everyone that they are the pit of corruption and evil). The internets full of misogyny (both stolen pictures and Gamergate). It's sometimes hard to believe all the kinds of evil people will do to others and then explain it as just and necessary and for the greater good even when you see it happening in front of your eyes. Do Boko Haram and ISIL leaders really believe "god" wants them to kill and rape kids? Was the "defending" of ethnic Russian's in Ukraine worth them dying in war torn land and the economic collapse of your country? What kind of denial makes killing unarmed people justified? Or threatening someone with death and rape just because they said/wrote something you didn't agree with? Or ignoring death and suffering just so you don't have to admit you were wrong? I'm not even going to link any of that because it's already too depressing and I haven't even mentioned the random terror attacks, shootings and Bill Cosby.

And, of course, my cat died so I can't even find respite in my personal life.

There were some good stories - especially Malala one of hope and bravery - but this has been a bad year. I hope next one will be better.
ellestra: (muppets)
Laika, the stop-motion film production studio behind Coraline, ParaNorman, and The Boxtrolls, have announced their next project is going to be Kubo and the Two Strings - a story based on folktales and mythology. There is only a poster so far but it looks so beautiful.

The rumour proved true and Benedict Cumberbatch is Dr. Strange. The internet went into the waves of excitement (because Sherlock) and disappointment (because so predictable and white). I'm staying out of this one. So now the only important casting left is Carol Danvers and I hope whoever they will chose the actress will be tall (which is why unlike the most of the fandom I prefer Tricia to Katee for the role).

Netflix is preparing four Marvel TV series - Daredevil, followed by Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist. Daredevil has already started filming and the first official stills are out showing his costume. It doesn't look bad. The next series is going to be the one with female superhero. Few weeks ago it was officially announced that Krysten Ritter will be playing Jessica Jones. Back then it was rumoured that Mike Colter was going to be Luke Cage and now it has been confirmed. He will appear in Jessica Jones series before getting his own. I didn't have any strong feelings about casting these either but I liked Krysten Ritter in everything I saw her in - drama and comedy - and I love Mike Colter's portrayal of Lemond Bishop in The Good Wife so I'm pretty happy with this.

In may Alien film will be 35 and to celebrate that Poster Posse asked artists to create art to celebrate the film. All the posters are beautiful but this one by Laurie Greasley is my favourite:
ellestra: (slingers)
The last week in life of Philae lander was full of danger and excitement. I was waiting with this post until we know more about its ultimate fate and not as good as we hoped but not as bad as it seemed for a while. It did land, it's still on the comet and it sent a lot of useful data but for now it's in hibernation and it may never wake up.

It all started very well - perfectly documented in the xkcd comic of the day (here's frame by frame version). Philae landed perfectly on the chosen spot. I managed to time my day perfectly to be able to see the moment of landing. I wasn't the only one watching - comet landing was trending everywhere and people were pretty positive about it. I remember how happy and relieved they were in mission control - dropping the mike and everything - when it turned out the Philae landed. Then I returned to work and when I looked at it again the news weren't as good. But the harpoons didn't fire and Philae jumped and then jumped again. For next day everyone was worrying if it'd even be able to stick to the comet. This is how its jumps looked from Rosetta.

Eventually it stopped moving and was still on the comet. Unfortunately, it stopped in the shadow of a cliff and only gets 1.5 hours of sunlight per 12 hour comet day. This meant its batteries weren't able to recharge and the scientists scrambled to get it to sent as much data as possible before the battery died. They also risked detaching from the comet just before battery run out to get at least result from one drilling (hoping that if it make it jump again the next site might get more sunshine). That didn't happen but they managed to rotate the bigger solar panel to the sunny spot. Maybe once the comet gets closer the sun the battery would get enough charge again. But for now Philae sleeps.

But we did land on a comet in a mission that took 10 years and were only off by few tiny jumps. And we have stunning pictures from the surface of the comet and Philae sent the results from the landing and subsequent test. Just today it was announced that there is proof of carry organic compounds and they could've seeded Earth with them. And of course Rosetta mission continues as the probe travels with the comet towards the sun it will sample and analyse the gases and dust coming out of 67P.


Oct. 30th, 2014 09:51 pm
ellestra: (once upon a time)
The Rosetta mission sent the probe towards comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko more than five times Earth’s distance from the Sun. The Rosetta orbiter will rendezvous with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and remain in close proximity to the icy nucleus as it plunges towards the warmer inner reaches of the Sun’s domain. At the same time, a small lander will be released onto the surface of this mysterious cosmic iceberg.

Rosetta has reached it's destination earlier this year and now it's preparing to land Philae lander on it in two weeks. And it's not easy as Alexander Gerst shows in space:

The short film directed by Tomek Bagiński I mentioned a week ago is also about this mission

It really makes me wish he did make Jacek Dukaj's Ruch Generała (General's Move) into a film. This would be a perfect look for it.

I promise this is the last science one for now.
ellestra: (sunrise)
Google doodle today celebrates the 100 birthday of a man who saved me (and millions of other people) from polio Jonas Salk. The polio vaccine changed human civilisation and, if not for the war zones and anti-vaxxers, it could be the second deadly virus we eradicate.

However, today is mostly about Marvel's big announcement about phase 3 films. The list of all Marvel movies coming in the next 4 years has some long awaited names - both Black Panther and Captain Marvel are on it (and yes - that means Carol Danvers). We also learned that Chadwick Boseman is Black Panter but despite the whole internet celebrating it already Benedict Cumberbatch is not Doctor Strange yet. Also despite all the denying next Captain America is going to be a version of the Civil War (highly modified of course - as Feige said "Events of the whole cinematic universe will make all governments in the world want regulation. Not so much about secret identity, but about who reports to who."). And the Avengers 3 are going to be so big they are getting split into 2 movies with Captain Marvel and Inhumans coming in between. I wonder if that means those are all going to happen concurrently. I also wonder if Carol Danvers is going to have a cameo in the Guardians second outing. It looks like Black Panther is going to be introduced in Avengers 2 so it'd made sense to introduce her in similar way. And for as long as it exists you can watch the announcement including a sneak peak of Infinity War:

And of course as promised Agents of SHIELD had the extended version of the first Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer. Here's the leaked version:

And the actual AoS version:
ellestra: (telamon)
All the way back, soon after I got sick, the news broke about the impossible engine. This is the kind of thing that sounds like ure science fiction and almost everyone couldn't believe that it would work (they also didn't believe Chinese scientist who built something similar first) but the nit was built and it's working (as far as I know noone disproved it yet). It uses the virtual particles - the ones that came to existence and almost instantly disintegrate due to some laws of quantum physics - to push the objects around. It's almost like using magic - except it works. It's not very useful right now - you get very little for the amount of power you need to feed it but you don't need to bring fuel with you which makes everything easier - that fuel mass is always a problem. However, the best part for me is that there are still things that can surprise us like this. There might be hope yet for our space dreams.

The panspermia theory has long been one of the explanations of how life could've started on Earth. We know that there are some organisms able to survive in outer space but here are some that got there seemingly on their own and are still viable even after long exposure. Russian cosmonauts have found life on the outside of the International Space Station. They were pretty shocked to discover what seems to be sea plankton on the exterior of the station that is apparently being lifted all the way there by atmospheric currents. And it's somehow surviving there.

A 24-year-old Chinese woman does not have a cerebellum. Cerebellum is a large brain structure (see photos in the link) that is mainly responsible for motor control and also controls some cognitive functions. She had some balance problems since she was a child but was only diagnosed when she finally went to hospital complaining of dizziness and nausea. It's the ninth case in medical history and it shows how amazingly plastic our brains are as other parts of the brain have managed to pick enough of the cerebellum functions to allow her to live relatively normal life.

On the other end of scale transplant of olfactory nerves helps a paralysed patient regain partial movement. Doctors in Poland and scientists from England have used harvested culture of olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) and olfactory nerve fibroblasts (ONFs) to reconnect spinal cord severed by injury. Unlike most of the nerve cells olfactory ones need to grow new axons all the time to connect to new cells in our nose. This made them perfect candidates for growing new connections. The doctors have harvested olfactory bulb during brain surgery and cultured the cells. Then they had removed glial scar tissue and then transplanted the cultured cells into spinal cord stumps above and below the injury site, where an 8 mm gap was bridged by four strips of autologous sural nerve. After two years patent regained some feeling and function - he went from complete paralysis to being able to walk with leg braces and a walker.
ellestra: (tiger)
It's Nobel season again and now that we know all the important ones (sorry, I don't feel the same excitement for Literature, Peace or Economy prizes). So here they are:

The Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine was awarded for the discovery cells that make up a positioning system in the brain. They are responsible for our ability to create a mental map of the surrounding space and our ability to navigate it. John O'Keefe, from University College London, work on mice allowed him to discovered the first part of the brain's internal positioning system - "place cells" located in the hippocampus that formed a map within the brain. May-Britt and Edvard Moser, from Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, discovered "grid cells" that help the brain to judge distance and navigate.

The Nobel Prize in physics was awarded for invention of efficient blue LEDs which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources. Isamu Akasaki, of Meijo University in Nagoya and Nagoya University, Japan; Hiroshi Amano, of Nagoya University, Japan; and Shuji Nakamura of the University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, USA were able to achieve something that others have been trying to do foe decades. They finally produced bright blue light beams from their semi-conductors in the early 1990s which combined with already existing red and green LEDs allowed for creating efficient white light sources.

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded for improving the resolution of optical microscopes. Eric Betzig of Janelia Farm Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Stefan W. Hell of Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry and the German Cancer Research Center; and William E. Moerner of Stanford University developed super-resolved fluorescence microscopy which allows to study tissues at the level of single molecules and allow for creating 3D pictures of those cells with nanometre accuracy.

This also made me realise that I've been slacking and haven't mentioned this year's Ig Nobels which were particurarly strong this year.

Physics Prize went to authors studying how slippery banana peals are.

Neuroscience Prize was awarded for researching why people see Jesus in toasts and the Psychology one went to scientist showing that the psychopaths stay up late.

In the cats and dogs research Public Health Prize was awarded for investigating if living with a cat is a danger to one's mental health and Biology Prize went to those who published that dogs prefer to align their body axis with Earth's north-south geomagnetic field lines when they defecate and urinate.

Art Prize for checking if people, shot in the hand by a powerful laser beam, feel more pain when looking on ugly painting or pretty one and Medicine Prize for treating nosebleeds with packing the nose with strips of cured pork.

Nutrition Prize for the study titled "Characterization of Lactic Acid Bacteria Isolated from Infant Faeces as Potential Probiotic Starter Cultures for Fermented Sausages."

The one that really made me LOL was the Arctic Prize for testing how reindeer react to seeing humans who are disguised as polar bears.

But nothing beats Italian government's National Institute of Statistics that got the Economics Prize for taking the lead in fulfilling the European Union mandate for each country to increase the official size of its national economy by including revenues from prostitution, illegal drug sales, smuggling, and all other unlawful financial transactions between willing participants. Guess who didn't accept their award?
ellestra: (tiger)
According to forecast today is the last hot day - one that's over 30 oC and sunny. It's supposed to be colder and/or rain from now on (although still above 20 oC so hardly cold). But the nights are going to be cool 14-17 oC and the days are much shorter and I can see the first leaves turning yellow so the air already smells a little like autumn. It just started to rain outside so it'll start to feel like it too. Rain and autumn are intimately connected for all of us Northern Europeans (by that I mean anyone on the North side of the Alps). So even though the temperatures could still be pretty summer like for my Polish sensibilities I have now been here long enough and this is a cold enough year that it feels like summer has ended in September just as it does at home.

In funny turn of events Poland seems to have a very warm (over 25 oC this weekend and mostly over 20 so far) and sunny weather this September so my parents say it feels like summer hasn't really went away yet. This is the difference a day of all penetrating drizzle (just a couple days ago) can make. But this is nothing - up North it has already started snowing.

Also Arizona has been flooded and California is still going deeper and deeper into drought so Global Warming is still on. But we managed to make the ozone layer start recovering so at least that worked.

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