Last week, when NASA’s New Horizons mission sent over the first high-resolution images of Pluto, the world got very interested in what they meant, and why it could matter to us on Earth. I’m not the most scientifically inclined person here at Philly Mag, so naturally I had some questions about these Pluto photos, for instance: “Why the heck should we care about a chunk of ice and rock billions of miles away?”
Today, the 76ers announced the team had hired Dr. David T. Martin, a doctor who has worked in Australian cycling for 20 years, for a new position overseeing sports science. Martin will hold the title of Director of Performance Research and Development with the Sixers.
“We have made many investments – adding staff and integrating outside experts, partnering with pioneers in sports science and technology, and adjusting our day-to-day training, practice and recovery plans,” Sixers GM Sam Hinkie said in a release. “But none like David Martin. He is a scientist. He is also a coach to some of the world’s highest performing, most resilient athletes and coaches. We are delighted to add someone of his immense talents to lead and grow our efforts.” Read more »
Image of the hikers that circulated on social media.
It isn’t often that I laugh out loud while reading the staid New York Times, but I did last Thursday as I perused a story about four Western mountain climbers who, after scaling Malaysia’s highest peak, disrobed and took nude photos at the top. The cavorting tourists — a Canadian brother and sister, a woman from Britain and a Dutchman — were subsequently detained by authorities. The charge against them is public obscenity, but their real crime when they stripped atop Mount Kinabalu in May, according to the locals, was offending the holy mountain, angering it and thereby causing an earthquake in June that killed 18 people.
Two Saurornitholestes sullivani raptors attacks a subadult hadrosaur Parasaurolophus tubicen. | Illustration by Mary P. Williams.
A University of Pennsylvania doctoral researcher has identified a previously unknown species of dinosaur — a member of the velociraptor family that was probably particularly good at sniffing out its prey. Read more »
Photo courtesy of Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel University
You’d never know it by stepping outdoors, but warmer weather is slowly inching its way toward us, which means parents better be getting on the ball when it comes to figuring out summer plans for their little ones. The Academy of Natural Sciences is getting ahead of the game by announcing dates and opening registration for its summertime Academy Explorers Camp.
The day camp is for children ages 5 to 12, offering different activities every week week throughout July and August. The itinerary runs the gamut from off-site adventures to craft time, teaching about everything from dinosaurs to preserved specimens to living animals. I can sense your kid’s eyes getting bigger and bigger as I type. Here’s what’s on the docket, from a press release sent out this week:
Well this is a game-changer if I ever heard one: Scientists say that same-sex couples may soon be able to produce biological children together.
Researchers at Cambridge University and Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science say they have discovered a way to “create human egg and sperm cells from the stem cells in the skin of two adults.” Which means, for instance, an egg can be created from the stem cells of two men, and sperm cells can be created from the stem cells of two women. Queerty has more:
Who doesn’t love a good French fry? But what exactly makes the perfect French fry, according to science? To me, the perfect French fry is one that comes out of a freezer, but the experts are having their say, too.
Dr. Scott Paulson, french fry-enthusiast and physics and astronomy professor at James Madison University, will be speaking at Science on Tap at Old City’s National Mechanics, on December 8th, explaining the art of perfecting the French fry by using different types of potatoes and oils, cooking heats and methods, and more.
The talk begins at 6 p.m., but doors open at 5 p.m.
Hopefully there will be a supply of fries for eating, too.
Titanoboa, also known as the largest snake that ever slithered around the planet, is coming to Philadelphia next February. The Smithsonian traveling exhibit “Titanoboa: Monster Snake” will open at the Academy of Natural Sciences on Valentine’s Day, and the centerpiece will be a life-size replica of the 48-foot-long, 2,500 pound Titanoboa cerrejonensis.
In a paper published Thursday in Scientific Reports, Drexel scientists announced the discovery of the largest animal ever found: Dreadnoughtus schrani, a supermassive dinosaur that lived 77 million years ago in South America. It was 85 feet long and weighed 65 tons.
Kenneth Lacovara, an associate professor at Drexel, discovered “Dread” in Argentina. “It weighed as much as a dozen African elephants or more than seven T. rex,” he said in a release. “It is by far the best example we have of any of the most giant creatures to ever walk the planet.”