Monday, May 10, 2010

Manta Rays

Once again I've had the good fortune to visit the Manta Rays of San Benedicto Island, in the Pacific off the coast of Mexico. Thanks again to Gregory Colbert, his film crew and friends, and the crew of the Nautilus Explorer for another wonderful trip.
I haven't been able to find a reference to the tubes just above the corners of the manta's mouth pictured below. Thanks to Sten Johansson of the Nautilus Explorer for the photos and for pointing out this interesting feature. Please comment if you can identify these structures, a reference or link to the literature would be especially welcome!

Newton and the Counterfeiter

Newton and the Counterfeiter: The Unknown Detective Career of the World's Greatest Scientist a book by Thomas Levenson is about Isaac Newton and William Chaloner a notorious counterfeiter that Newton prosecuted when he was Warden of the Royal Mint.
While Newton was perhaps the greatest scientific genius of all time, and even a very competent functionary - as detailed in this book - he was strictly mortal in the realm of financial investments. He lost a fortune in the South Sea Bubble of 1720 which rankled him greatly, admitting "that he could not calculate the madness of the people."