Friday, April 29, 2005

"The Tempest", by William Shakespeare

Philip Goodwin and Daniel Breaker (Photo: Richard Termine)

directed by Kate Whoriskey at The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington D.C. March 22 - May 22, 2005.

This production featured a truly aerial Ariel, played by Daniel Breaker high above the stage, often upside-down in a flying harness. Stephano was played by Floyd King, who did a hilarious job. The shipwreck in the opening scene was fabulous.

Full fathoms five thy father lies
Of his bones are coral made
Those are pearls that were his eyes
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea change
Into something rich and strange

New Hubble Images

Eagle Nebula
Credit: NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Hubble Image Gallery

"Automatic effects of alcohol cues on sexual attraction", by Friedman et. al.

Alcohol is traditionally believed to effect libido, but in a test of 82 male undergraduates at the University of Missouri at Columbia, they didn't even have to drink the stuff! Just a subliminal flash of the word "beer" on a computer screen was enough to influence the perceived attractiveness of depicted females, at least for the "Show Me State" males. It didn't seem to change ratings of the female's intelligence however.

The Nature News Article

"Modigliani: Beyond the Myth", edited by Mason Klein

A beautiful book from Yale University Press, it's a catalog from a recent exhibition which just ended at the Philips Collection in Washington, D.C. In fact, I saw it today, the final day of a multi-city tour. I also got a great Modigliani T-shirt, lucky me. I'd never been to the Philips Collection before, it's in lovely Dupont Circle, conveniently located on the Metro.

Metropolian Museum, New York

Photograph of the artist as a young man

Salt Fingers, Ocean Mixing

In the mix. Warm salt fingers (light-colored) dribble down as fresh water (darker) rises.
CREDIT: B. Merryfield/ Institute of Ocean Sciences/ Office of Naval Research

Bill Merryfield's salt finger tutorial

"Salty Fingers Do the Mixing" in Science Magazine.

Human Genetics Project from National Geographic, IBM

Earlier this month, the National Geographic Society and IBM announced a project to produce a sharper picture of human migrations by analyzing DNA samples from 100,000 people (Science, 15 April, p. 340). The Web site of the Genographic Project is worth a look for the lavishly illustrated backgrounders on genetics and migrations. A timeline depicts what we know about the human expansion from Africa beginning about 60,000 years ago, stopping at landmarks such as the controversial Cactus Hill site in Virginia. Evidence found there suggests that people reached the Americas thousands of years earlier than previously thought. Another section explains how to send in your DNA and find out where your ancestors originated. Genealogical curiosity will cost you $99.95 plus shipping for the test kit.
--- Science Magazine Netwatch

National Geographics Gengraphics Page

Exploding German Toads Baffle Scientists

Undated but recent filer shows a dead toad in a Hamburg, Germany lake. More than 1,000 toads have puffed up and exploded in a Hamburg pond in recent weeks, and German scientists still have no explanation for what is causing the combustion.(AP Photo/Florian Quand)

BERLIN - Why are toads puffing up and spontaneously exploding in northern Europe? It began in a posh German neighborhood and has spread across the border into Denmark. It's left onlookers baffled, but one German scientist studying the splattered amphibian remains now has a theory: Hungry crows may be pecking out their livers.

Local environmental workers in Hamburg have described it as a scene out of a horror or science fiction movie, with the bloated frogs agonizing and twitching for several minutes, inflating like a balloon before suddenly bursting.

"It's horrible," biologist Heidi Mayerhoefer was quoted as telling the Hamburger Morgenpost daily.

"The toads burst, the entrails slide out. But the animal isn't immediately dead — they keep struggling for several minutes."

Disappointingly, the Nature magazine web site poo-pooed the exploding German toad phenomenon: Has bubble burst over exploding toad tale?. "Evidence points to bloated toads and hungry birds, but not explosions" according to Nature. Party poopers!