Monday, 17. September 2007

Volcano Expedition to the Mariana Islands


A team of researchers taking part in the National Science Foundation MARGINS initiative traveled to the Mariana Islands at the western edge of the Pacific Ocean to answer some of the most challenging questions of plate tectonics. They seek a better understanding of subduction zones where material is routed from Earth's surface to its interior. What they find might also reveal how the atmosphere that sustains life on Earth was created and how it continues to evolve. This Web site will take you to nine volcanic islands in the chain, offering a guided tour through photos, video and day-by-day accounts of what the research team found. Along the way, get to know the history of the Mariana Islands. Now a commonwealth of the United States, the Marianas' story is one of occupation by a succession of different peoples and includes a pivotal role as the site of history-making events during World War II.

Volcano Expedition to the Mariana Islands:
The Ins and Outs of How Earth Works by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

At the left from the expedition calendar you find the great videoclips - don't miss it!


Posted at 17.09.07 @ 11:39 | Category Knowledge & Science | Nature & Environment |

Sunday, 16. September 2007

The Death Star

Out in deepest space lurks a force of almost unimaginable power. Explosions of extraordinary violence, are blasting through the Universe every day. If one ever struck our Solar System it would destroy our Sun and all the planets.

For years no one could work out what was causing these awesome explosions. Now scientists think they have identified the culprit. It's the most extreme object ever found in the Universe; they have christened it a 'hypernova'.
Story in brief @ BBC


Out there in the depths of space lurks something so deadly it destroys everything in its path. Explosions of inconceivable power are tearing through the Universe hundreds of times a day. For years science has been on a quest to find out what was causing these explosions and now, at last, they may have found the answer. What they have discovered is that these forces of destruction may hold the key to one of the great secrets of creation: how you and I came to be. When we look up at the night sky we see thousands of stars shining brightly. In fact, there are billions upon billions of stars stretching across the Universe, but it wasn't always this way. Once there was a time when there were no stars. There was nothing to light up the sky. This time of darkness was just after the Big Bang, 14 billion years ago ...

Here is the full transcript.

BBC Horizon, 2001 - The Death Star - 45 minutes

Have a nice Sunday with your friends and family wherever you are!

Posted at 16.09.07 @ 11:05 | Category Film & TV | Knowledge & Science |

Thursday, 13. September 2007

Play and No Play

What is Play? It is a state of being that is intensely pleasurable. It energizes and enlivens us. It eases our burdens, renews a natural sense of optimism and opens us up to new possibilities. These wonderful, valuable qualities are just the beginning of what play is.

Dr. Stuart Brown, physician and director of the National Institute for Play: "Our approach is to deepen our scientific understanding of PLAY and its many benefits on humans and to promote through a variety of programs these benefits to the people of the world."

Anyone who has a pet can testify that play is not exclusive to humans. And, in the wild, different species often are at odds. But, Stuart Brown witnessed something different. Here, he describes Norbert Rosing's striking images of a wild polar bear playing with sled dogs in the wilds of Canada's Hudson Bay.

The Dog and the Polar Bear - An Amazing Tale: Audio Slideshow.


Stuart Brown says that pleasurable, purposeless activity prevents violence and promotes trust, empathy, and adaptability to life's complication. He promotes cutting-edge science on human play, and draws on a rich universe of study of intelligent social animals.

Listen here "Play, Spirit, and Character" (53 minutes):

Source: Speaking of Faith,
a regular series of programs produced and distributed by American Public Media.


Posted at 13.09.07 @ 11:35 | Category Knowledge & Science | Nature & Environment |

Monday, 27. August 2007

Millennium Simulation

An international team of astrophysicists led by researchers at the Max-Planck-Institute for Astrophysics presents the worldwide largest simulation of the growth of cosmic structure, including a detailed model for the formation of galaxies and supermassive black holes.

More @ Millennium Simulation by MPG.

Supercomputer Simulation of the growth of 20 million galaxies,
with cool music by Pink Floyd: "Learning to Fly".

News From Space:
There's a gaping hole in the Universe! Astronomers don't know why the hole is there.
Huge Hole Found in the Universe by

Posted at 27.08.07 @ 10:58 | Category Knowledge & Science |

Sunday, 26. August 2007

Project Poltergeist

This is the story of two genuine scientific heroes. For forty years, John Bahcall and Ray Davis were engaged in a single extraordinary experiment - to find out why the Sun shines. In the end they would triumph. Davis would win the Nobel Prize and, thanks to their work, a whole new theory about how the universe is put together may have to be created.

At the heart of this story is a tiny, utterly mysterious thing called a neutrino. Trillions of them pass through your body every second, touching nothing, leaving no trace. Yet neutrinos are one of a handful of fundamental particles in the universe, essential to every atom in existence and clues to what makes the Sun work. But their ghost-like quality made trapping and understanding them immensely difficult.

What then followed was a bizarre series of experiments. They led from a vat containing 600 tons of cleaning fluid, to a vast cavern in a Japanese mountain, to a hole in the ground in Canada two kilometres deep.

What they would reveal would stun the world of science. It seems that neutrinos may be our parents. They may be the reason why everything, including us, exists.
More @ BBC.

You may also like the transcript.

Project Poltergeist (2004) by BBC Horizon. Length: 48 minutes.

Have a beautiful sunday, everyone!

Posted at 26.08.07 @ 11:01 | Category Film & TV | Knowledge & Science |

Friday, 24. August 2007


Find out about

- why some faces are more beautiful than others
- how scienctists help unravel the mystery of beauty and
- the dangerous relationship between a beautiful body and social power

Beautycheck - don't miss the online experiment babyfaceness ...


Posted at 24.08.07 @ 12:19 | Category Knowledge & Science |

Galileo's Compass



The term "compass" or "compasses" denotes a wide range of instruments for drawing, measurement, and proportional calculation. Besides the more common compasses for drawing circumferences, widespread since antiquity, the Renaissance has left us a great number of special compasses, whose names reflect their specific functions: oval compasses to draw ellipses, hyperbolas and parabolas; two-point compasses—also called dividers—to divide lines and transfer measurements; nautical compasses, to track routes on sea-charts; compasses with curved points, called gunner's compasses, to measure mouths of cannons, cannon balls, and columns; three-legged compasses to reproduce maps; four-point compasses, or reduction compasses, to enlarge or reduce drawings, divide lines and circumferences proportionally, and draw polygons; eight-point compasses to measure fractions of degrees and carry out proportional calculations; proportional compasses to perform arithmetic, geometric, and trigonometric calculations and to measure weights, gradients, and distances for military use; and sophisticated surveying compasses that combined a magnetic compass, a windrose, and optical sights for surveying and for drawing topographic maps.

Galileo's Compass - an educational interactive application to explore online the history and uses of Galileo's compass.

The right-hand side bar has links to interactive features, such as diagrams of an astrolabe and Galileo's compass, and a digital archive of materials of the discoveries of Galileo.

Check also the simulation.


And don't miss
How to make Galileo's compass (pdf).

Posted at 24.08.07 @ 11:45 | Category Knowledge & Science |

Tuesday, 21. August 2007

Whatever Happened To ... Esperanto?

Esperanto is a language with many traits:

2007 marks the 120th anniversary of the publication of Unua Libro, the first textbook for aspiring Esperanto speakers. Invented by Polish oculist and polyglot Ludwik Lejzer Zamenhof who wrote under the pseudonym "Doktoro Esperanto". Esperanto is a language constructed in hopes of bringing people together by overcoming linguistic barriers. -- Discover Magazine

“My whole grammar can be learned perfectly in one hour.” - Zamenhof

This is the 1889 English version of that “First Book” where it all began:
Dr. Esperanto’s International Language
(Unua Libro first published in 1887)

Esperanto - introduced in any of 62 languages.

And see also the extensive article about Esperanto at Wiki.


Esperanto - The Band

I remeber well the Belgo-English band of the same name at the beginning of the 70s, had a short but intense career and produced an extremely varied musical repertoire thanks to the many different nationalities, origins and outlooks of its members. Check out Esperanto Official Website.

I first knew the band from their third album "Last Tango" (1975). And till today I love it very much! I was impressed with the band’s interpretation and rearrangement of The Beatles "Eleanor Rigby". And the main title "Last Tango", a piano-based song with excellent vocal and melody, is sooooo cool!

For those of you who never heard any music of this band - exclusive at Ursi's Blog:
Listen the full album "Last Tango" here! (or click the picture below)


I enjoy every track of this album. It has a very strong songwriting and musicianship.
Hey, it’s 1975 man, don't forget and don’t expect too much!
But don't miss the main song "Last Tango" ... a real pleasure.
Second place: Obsession.

Total Time: 47:14


Timothy Kraemer / cello
Bruno Libert / keyboards
Gino Malisan / bass
Tony Malisan / drums
Roger Meakin / vocals
Kim Moore / vocals
Geoffrey Salmon / 2nd violin
Raymond Vincent / 1st violin

Posted at 21.08.07 @ 17:37 | Category Knowledge & Science | Music & Voice |

Saturday, 11. August 2007

Laser Flashlight Hack

Kids - please be careful!

Turn a MiniMag flashlight into a burning laser pointer!! CAUTION!! Lasers can be dangerous! Do not point them at any living thing!

Step by step instructions? Click Here. More Hacks? Visit Kipkay.

Posted at 11.08.07 @ 11:26 | Category Clips & Pics | Knowledge & Science |

Wednesday, 08. August 2007

Visuwords - Online Graphical Dictionary


Look up words to find their meanings and associations with other words and concepts. Produce diagrams reminiscent of a neural net. Learn how words associate.

Enter words into the search box to look them up or double-click a node to expand the tree. Click and drag the background to pan around and use the mouse wheel to zoom. Hover over nodes to see the definition and click and drag individual nodes to move them around to help clarify connections.

Visuwords - amazing dictionary tool à la mind map.

Posted at 08.08.07 @ 09:49 | Category Internet & Computer | Knowledge & Science |

Saturday, 28. July 2007

NanoReisen - NanoJourneys


On various routes you can gradually "shrink yourself" into worlds invisible to us and penetrate into the smallest known dimensions of our universe. A suitcase in which you carry helpful utensils for the trip will be your constant companion during the journey.

Among other things, it contains a virtual travel guide with brief background information on the respective travelling size. So that you know how small the worlds, are an info bar provides you with an overview of the corresponding sizes.

NanoReisen - NanoJourneys:
A virtual discovery jouney into the worlds of micro- and nano-cosmos.

Posted at 28.07.07 @ 11:40 | Category Knowledge & Science |

Thursday, 26. July 2007

Facercises Part II

Again - Not only for beauty freaks & geeks!

Transcript of this Video:

Despite our best attempts to maintain an appearance of youth and vigour, everyone is affected by the laws of gravity and the environment. Once you also add stress and a less-than-perfect diet, it’s inevitable that by our mid-thirties the muscles in our faces will start to sag, wrinkles will form, and our skin will begin to lose its smooth texture and elasticity.

In our last episode we learnt that the effects of time and gravity can be greatly reduced by some simple face exercises, or facercises.

In this episode we’ll cover the facercises for the lips, jowls and chin, and the neck and throat area.

You’ll be surprised how doing daily, resistance-type facial exercises will tone your face, lift your facial muscles and restore lost tautness, naturally. So there’s no need to rush for a Botox injection or radical facelift surgery. Facercises are also completely free, painless and totally non-invasive.

And there’s more good news; face exercises will also balance sebum distribution, evening out the oily and dry patches that lead to larger, unsightly pores.

Slowly draw the upper lip upwards, as high as possible, and maintain for 10 seconds. Concentrate on the upper lip and slowly bring it down. Relax.

Have the mouth slightly open. Apply the middle, index, or annular fingers under the eye, on the cheekbone, and relax the upper lip. Curl up the lip as high as possible, maintaining the finger pressure, and keep this position for 10 seconds.

Return slowly to the initial position. Remove the fingers and relax. Now sit upright, facing forwards, and purse your lips together. Lift your pursed lips towards your nose and keep it there for 5 counts, relax and repeat 5 times.

For a well-defined chin and jaw-line, pull your bottom lip over your top lip. Tilt your chin up slightly and smile towards the top of your ears.

Hold for the count of 10. Repeat 5 times. You should feel the 'burn’ in your jaw and throat.

Lie on your back on the bed or floor. Slowly raise your head, touching your chin to your chest. Then slowly lower your head back down. Repeat 10 times, working up to 50 a day when you are stronger.

There is nothing flattering about a neck with hanging folds of skin. These exercises will help make the skin and muscles taut again.

Sit upright, tilt your head back, looking at the ceiling while keeping your lips closed and then start a chewing movement. You will feel the muscles working in your neck and throat area. Repeat 20 times.

With your head still tilted back, start puckering your lips together in a kiss and stretch the kiss, as if you were trying to kiss the ceiling. Keep your lips puckered for 10 counts, then relax, bring your head back to normal and repeat 5 times.

Now tilt your head back, open your lips and stick your tongue out, as if you were trying to touch your chin with the tip of your tongue. Keep your tongue out in this position for 10 counts, and return your tongue and head to its normal position. This is sometimes referred to as the 'tiger’s yawn'.

Sit upright and face forward and, while keeping your lips together, separate your teeth by dropping your jaw, and then push your jaw forward, keep for a count of 10, bring back to starting position and repeat 5 times.

Face tapping is yet another good exercise to increase blood circulation. Use light and quick taps on the face with the pads of your middle fingers. Massaging the ears can also go a long way in lending a glow to the face. With index finger and thumb, massage the rim of the ear and pull it slightly. Massage the crevices and spirals of the ear too. This is also blissfully relaxing.

Feeling a bit silly? Well you won’t be when you start seeing visible results in as little as two to three weeks. Stick with the exercises daily and you’ll gradually achieve an overall fresher and youthful look within three months. With facial muscles increasingly supple and rosy, don’t be surprised if your friends and family start to compliment you!

Posted at 26.07.07 @ 11:38 | Category Knowledge & Science |

Facercises Part I

Not only for beauty freaks & geeks!

Transcript of this Video:

Holding back the signs of ageing has become a preoccupation for all of us. Often it’s simply because our self-esteem is affected by how people interact with us – feeling and looking younger than our age is always a boost. So you can see why putting your best face forward is a priority.

Many people spend serious money on moisturisers to achieve a firm, even complexion. Yet there’s a much easier way to achieve similar results: facial exercises. These exercises, designed to tone every part of your face and neck, help increase the blood flow and encourage a healthy, vibrant glow.

The wonderful advantage of ‘facercises’ is that no equipment is required, other than to stand in front of a mirror while you practise. In fact, you’ll probably get the added benefit of laughter therapy – you won’t be able to resist giggling at all the funny faces you have to pull!

We will begin with the area on the forehead. Between the eyebrows can easily become lined and full of wrinkles. Facial exercises can be a great help.

Try to frown as much as possible and then try to bring your eyebrows over your eyes, while pulling the eyebrows towards one another. Lift your eyebrows as far as possible while opening your eyes as far as possible as well. Repeat 5 times.

Next, lie on your bed with your head hanging over the edge. Lift your eyebrows as high as possible, with your eyes opening very wide. Relax, and repeat 10 times.

Now we’ll move on to the eye area. The skin around the eye is the thinnest and most fragile skin found on the body and wrinkles in this area cause great ageing of the face.

You can gently tone the muscles of the eyes by pressing two fingers on each side of your head, at the temples, while opening and closing your eyes rapidly. Repeat 5 times.

Next, sit upright with your eyes closed and relaxed. While keeping your eyes closed, first look down and then look up as far as possible. Repeat 10 times.

Now, close your eyes and relax. Keep your eyes closed while lifting your eyebrows and stretching your eyelids down as far as possible. Keep in this position for 5 counts, relax, and repeat 5 times.

It’s a little-known fact that the nose grows and spreads out with age. Who wants that! This exercise will help keep it in its current proportions.

Have the mouth slightly open and flare the nostrils. Wrinkle up the nose as far as possible and relax the upper lip.

Our poor cheeks are often ignored but loose skin forms a hang-dog look which is terribly ageing. These exercises will help firm them up again, lifting the cheek muscles back over the cheekbones.

Sit upright, facing forward with lips closed but relaxed. Pucker and pout your lips using the muscles in your cheeks. (Feel with your fingers that you are using your cheek muscles.) Keep it puckered for a count of 10, relax and repeat 10 times.

Have a relaxed smile with your lips closed and then suck in your cheeks, towards and onto your teeth. Hold this for 10 counts, relax and repeat 10 times.

Pout your top lip, turning the corners of your lips upwards and move your cheek muscles towards your eyes. You should, at this stage, try to get your top lip touching your nose. Keep in this position for 10 counts, relax and repeat 5 times.

Keep your teeth and lips closed, and blow air under your top lip and keep it there for 10 counts. Then move it to your left cheek side, hold for 10, to your lower lip, hold for 10, and then to your right cheek side while holding it for a count of 10. Repeat 5 times.

In our next episode we’ll cover the facercises for the lips, jowls and chin, and the neck and throat area.

You’ll be surprised how doing daily, resistance-type facial exercises will tone your face, lift your facial muscles and restore lost tautness naturally. They’re also completely free, painless and totally non-invasive.

It’s time to bolt the bathroom door and start limbering up!

Posted at 26.07.07 @ 11:34 | Category Knowledge & Science |

Sunday, 22. July 2007

How to Commit the Perfect Murder

Modern forensic science should make it impossible to commit murder and get away with it. But how easy would it be to outfox the detectives? With the help of top forensic scientists, and real-life murder investigations, we explore whether it's possible to commit a perfect murder.

The body is the most important piece of evidence in any murder. Pathologist Dr Richard Shepherd reveals the crucial clues that give away the secrets of a suspicious death. Dr Lee Goff can work out a time of death from just a few maggots on a corpse. To really understand the way a human decomposes he relies on experiments - and dead pigs make ideal human models.

And what is the perfect murder weapon? Probably Agatha Christie's favourite - poison. It leaves no marks on the body, and the victim may not even realise what has happened until it's too late. But there still might not be a perfect murder. The world's most notorious poisoner - Harold Shipman - was eventually caught.
-- More on this Topic @ BBC

Horizon - How to Commit the Perfect Murder (2007) - 49 minutes.

See also: QUIZ: Could you solve the perfect murder?

Have a nice sunday everyone!

Posted at 22.07.07 @ 11:50 | Category Film & TV | Knowledge & Science |

Saturday, 21. July 2007


This is a nice interactive tool if you like timelines. Here you can create and share your timelines as well as explore those already available. This works much like Wikipedia, where multiple users can add information to an ongoing project.


Find timelines about history, biographies, companies and more: xTimeline.

For example: J.K. Rowling's Bio:


Joanne "Jo" Rowling OBE is an English fiction writer who writes under the pen name J. K. Rowling. Rowling is the author of the Harry Potter fantasy series, which has gained international attention, won multiple awards, and sold over 325 million copies worldwide. In February 2004, Forbes magazine estimated her fortune at £576 million (just over US$1 billion and still is at the same spot in 2007), making her the first person to become a US-dollar billionaire by writing books. In 2006, Forbes named her the second richest female entertainer in the world, behind talk show host Oprah Winfrey.

Another one I like: History of the Internet ...

Posted at 21.07.07 @ 11:14 | Category Internet & Computer | Knowledge & Science |

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