OK, so here goes with this month’s selection of links to interesting items you might have missed the first time around …
Science & Medicine
Those of you with youngish children … they might like the science magazine Whizz Pop Bang. I wish there had been such a thing when I was young.
Since the 1950s we’ve had the nuclear technology to provide power for perhaps millions of years, without creating humongous, and ever increasing, quantities of radioactive waste. So why aren’t we using it? [VERY LONG READ]
Most of us hate ironing clothes, but you’ll be glad to know that there’s some science which does make it a bit easier.
Changing tack … What is the world’s top predator? Well apart from humans it seems the answer is spiders!
New research suggests that fish evolved in a surprising way before they invaded the land – and it all started with their eyes.
The Thylacine, or Tasmanian Tiger, has been extinct for almost 100 years – or so we think. But there are some new, and credible sounding, sightings in northern Australia (not Tasmania as one would expect). They are sufficiently credible that researchers are following up on them with camera traps. Watch his space; we might get some exciting news.
Those of us who have close relationships with cats know they have wonderful rasp-like tongues. And it turns out those tongues are indeed rather special. [VIDEO]
In a different study researchers are suggesting that cats sailed with the Vikings to conquer the world. As someone commented, I didn’t even know the Vikings had cats!
Still with cats, scientists are doing DNA sequencing on their faecal output to try to understand their gut microbiome. It turns out it is just as variable as the human microbiome.
It’s very unlikely the Neanderthals had domestic cats, but they did share one thing in common with us: dental plaque. By looking at their dental plaque researchers are working out the Neanderthal diet – and again it is highly variable.
While we’re on diet, it’s well known that eating asparagus makes your pee smelly. But not all of us can smell it, because genetics.
Now here’s another real oddball … it seems there is a connection between synesthesia and having absolute musical pitch.
And finally in this section, two posts about things feminine. Firstly Gillian Anderson and Jennifer Nadel talk about their experiences of going through the menopause.
Secondly, news that scientists have created a “lab on a chip” device which mimics the female menstrual cycle, something which could help enormously with research.
Here’s a look at the environmental impact of pet food manufacture.
I love it when new work changes our assumptions about what we know. Here’s news of the archaeological discovery of a Greek tomb which did just that. [LONG READ]
An academic is suggesting that the writings of mediaeval mystic Margery Kempe contain an early recipe for medicinal sweets to cure her religious mania.
In another case of turning what we think we know upside down it looks likely that late medieval (ie. post Black Death) peasant houses survive much more often than we thought, at least in the English Midlands.
While on housing, here’s a potted history of the British bathroom.
Harry Mount, the newly appointed Editor of The Oldie magazine, writes indignantly in the Spectator about how he sees the National Trust dumbing down and spoiling its treasures.
Meanwhile a Dutch researcher has discovered a wonderful collection of 16th-century drawings and watercolours of animals hidden away in the library of the University of Amsterdam.
The Londonist takes a look back at photographs of London in 1907.
400 years ago this month Pocahontas died in Gravesend. Our favourite London cabbie, Robert Lordan, looks at six places in the capital which are associated with her.
It has long been known that London cabbies have an expanded area of brain associated with mapping, but now it’s been shown that using a satnav switches off the brain’s mapping ability leaving users unable to navigate without their device.
OK, so it is American, but here are eleven everyday objects with unsuspected uses.
On the importance of public loos, and knowing where they are.
London Bridge is falling down. What happens when the Queen dies.
Shock, Horror, Humour
And finally, from the School of Shock Horror … enormous insects and where to
find avoid them.
Phew, that was a bit of a marathon! More next month.