"Our sense of wonder grows exponentially; the greater the knowledge, the deeper the mystery."

-- E.O. Wilson

Web scienceontap.blogspot.com

Monday, August 31, 2009


Just a few words from astronomer Chet Raymo HERE.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Conficker Is Out There

The "conficker" virus lurks in cyberspace... and so far, no one knows just why:


Friday, August 28, 2009

Cantor and Infinity

Possibly nothing in math is more mind-blowing than infinity theory, as originally established by Georg Cantor. Here, for the Friday video, an introduction to infinity from a couple of YouTube offerings :

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Food Production

Don't read this just prior to sitting down for your next meal:


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Why We Squander Money, Time, Energy...

Becuz' we can! Conspicuous consumption from an evolutionary psychology point-of-view HERE.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ongoing Debate...

From the NY Times, Robert Wright on religion and science HERE.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Jane Goodall on Tour

Jane Goodall's upcoming lecture circuit listed here:


Anyone who has the opportunity to see Jane Goodall speak in person should NOT miss the chance!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Wiseman Podcasts

Richard Wiseman briefly introducing his new podcast series, "Afternoon Tea With Richard Wiseman":

Friday, August 21, 2009

Flight of the Gossamer Condor

Friday video: Inventor Paul MacCready and his team won the first Kremer Prize of £50,000 in 1977 for achieving human-powered flight with his beautiful creation, the Gossamer Condor:

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Math Conundrum

I was surprised to read over at another blog that there is no precise solution to this math problem; seems simple enough there would be one, but appearances can be deceptive.
It turns out there is an answer (to what is known as "Mrs. Miniver's problem") but it involves a transcendental number, and thus is only approximate.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Language and Thought

Scientific American takes another look at the Whorf-Sapir hypothesis (also known as "linguistic relativity"), which holds (to one degree or another) that our thoughts are shaped and limited by the language we learn.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Einstein Elaborated

Think E = mc^2.... think again:


Monday, August 17, 2009

Why You Readers Are Even Here...

The innate human drive to seek out... stuff (...food, pleasure, stimulation, information):


...and Jonah Lehrer's take on the same story HERE.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Physics Talking Heads

For the Friday video, more cosmology from "BloggingHeads.TV" with physicists Sean Carroll and Mark Trodden:

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Paul Ehrlich

Article HERE on "provocateur" Dr. Paul Ehrlich, a scientist conservatives love to disdain.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

John Burroughs

One of my favorite old naturalist/writers (and early conservationist) is John Burroughs (1837 - 1921)
Google books has a fair amount of Burroughs' work available for viewing (free) over at their site:


Burroughs' material also available over at Project Gutenberg, here:


and Wikipedia entry for Burroughs here:


If you enjoy good nature-writing, Burroughs really set the stage (along with his contemporary John Muir) for much of the quality writing done since his day.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"Non-overlapping Magisteria"

Classic Stephen Jay Gould piece on science and religion here:


Monday, August 10, 2009

Global Warming and Evolution

Carl Zimmer reports on the possibility of global warming as a rapid driver of natural selection and evolution here:


Sunday, August 9, 2009

All a-Twitter

I'm only slowly playing around with "Twitter." Three feeds that I do find somewhat scientifically interesting/useful/entertaining (among no doubt plenty of others) are from mathematician/computer scientist Clifford Pickover, quirky, but always interesting British psychologist Richard Wiseman, and "Edge"-creator John Brockman. In case any of these may be of interest to other readers, you can check out them out here:




Friday, August 7, 2009

Dolphin Bubble Rings

For the Friday video, dolphins blowing amazing bubble rings to play with:

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Words From Barry Lopez

Today, an older essay, "The Naturalist" by Barry Lopez, here:


It ends with the following words:

"Pay attention to the mystery. Apprentice to the best apprentices. Rediscover in nature your own biology. Write and speak with appreciation for all you have been gifted. Recognize that a politics with no biology, or a politics without field biology, or a political platform in which human biological requirements form but one plank, is a vision of the gates of Hell."

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Ants and Neurons

Organization, intelligence, decision-making... what ant colonies may have to tell us about the workings of the human brain:


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Stephen Gould as a "Radical"

Older essay here in honor of Stephen Jay Gould (by a couple of his colleagues) following his death in 2002:


Monday, August 3, 2009

The Brain and the Internet

Is the internet warping our brains? Evolution of a new human brain in the works?? One man's thoughts here:


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sunspot Mystery

For over a year now our sun has been missing its usual number of sunspots... and no one knows exactly why??? Something significant or just a cyclic phenomena? See HERE.