Ask MoFi: Are there any mammals other than cats that have vertical pupils? Goats have horizontally slitted pupils, which is bizarre and creepy. Cuttlefish have W-shaped pupils. But I haven't been able to find a picture of a vertical pupil in any mammal other than cats. A random person on the Internet claims that some monkeys have vertical pupils, but I've been unable to find proof.
There's new courseware up at Open Yale Courses There's lots of open courseware out there, but Yale's is the most complete. Just today (or maybe yesterday), nine new courses were posted. more inside
Yale Online Courses has an awesome course called Global Problems in Population Growth. (According to the current issue of National Geographic, sometime this year global population will hit 7 billion. Didn't we just pass 6 billion a while ago?) The Yale Online Courses are free. Global Problems of Population Growth is by far the best of the courses I've listened to. It's appropriate to MoFi because it illustrates some of the similarities among primates. more inside
Here's how to make a ferrofluid. A recent post on a certain blue filter you may have heard of was deleted because the poster fell for a hoax, seriously linking to a video that purports to explain how to make a ferrofluid at home more inside
I think the technology behind the Kinect means automated surveillance. In addition to the specific privacy concerns about the Kinect as it is, Kinect technology opens up the door to much more. more inside
"All of the evidence points toward a conclusion that the sun is "communicating" with radioactive isotopes on Earth." Apparently solar radiation (of some type--probably neutrinos but nobody knows for sure) affects the inner workings of certain Earthly atoms. more inside
Maybe you missed it, but Japan successfully launched the world's first solar sail craft a couple months ago. I know I missed it. I was just looking at Wikipedia for info about solar sails, remembering the disappointment of the Planetary Society's Cosmos 1 in 2005 and thinking that surely they'd tried something since then. I don't know how I missed it, but JAXA has already successfully launched a solar sail to Venus that demonstrated the ability to change attitude by adjusting LEDs on the sail instead of physically tilting the sail. more inside
The 2010 Gulf of Mexico gusher is a replay of the 1979 Gulf gusher. The deep-ocean oil rig that exploded back then had the same type of malfunction, was run by the same company that was operating the currently-gushing rig, and failed attempts were made to fix it in the same way that failed attempts were made to fix the current one. It gushed for nine months until a relief well could be drilled. more inside
If you were just a little smarter, you'd know how dumb you are! Errol Morris, the guy who directed The Thin Blue Line and The Fog Of War, has an interesting essay/interview up at the New York Times about the way our egos and our ignorance shape our perception and conception of the world. more inside
The Prophet Mohammed has lots of venerated relics associated with him. Some of them are downright weird. My favorite is his footprints. The claim is that wherever he went, Mohammed's left foot left a semi-permanent impression. Mohammed is Bigfoot? more inside
A vegetarian Komodo Dragon relative long known to native Filipino hunters but unknown to science has been discovered. The animal has never been identified by scientists before, though Filipino hunters have presumably been eating them for millennia. The animals were probably missed because they hide so well in the trees and were often confused with another non-vegetarian monitor lizard.
A Massachusetts bill providing for response to public health emergencies has generated conspiracy theories. But is it even law yet? The Massachusetts legislative Web Site's bill history seems to indicate that the two houses haven't agreed on a final version of the bill yet. more inside