Monthly Archives: May 2012

Standing up to Earthquakes

Standing up to Earthquakes

Earthquakes happen every day around the globe, only this year 7,156 quakes have been registered by seismometers, but most of them stay unnoticed for us humans. For many years now, seismologists are motivated to predict earthquakes, but precise forecasting according to the time and area of the quakes are still impossible. Due to the imprecise forecasts, American and Japanese scientists found a way to simulate earthquakes through designing a huge shake table…
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The Mechanical Telegraph – a French Invention

The Mechanical Telegraph – a French Invention

Claude Chappe’s Optical Telegraph (Museée des Arts et Metiers) On May 23, 1813, the first (modern) optical telegraph line following the mechanical telegraphy system of the French inventor Claude Chappe between Metz and Mainz was established. No, this wasn’t the first of its kind, but it was the first to connect the former already in France established telegraphy system with a (now) German city. Long before the days of Morse Code or…
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The World Wide Web is Coming of Age

The World Wide Web is Coming of Age

A panel discussion at the first WWW conference. Kevin Altis,Dave Raggett, Rick Rodgers, ©W3C. 18 years ago today, the very first World Wide Web Conference started with a Welcome Receiption at the restaurant of CERN at Geneva, the European laboratory for particle physics, where the Web also started a few years earlier. The Web (or W3 as they also called it those days) was still some kind of project, but everyone of…
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Carl Linnaeus – ‘Princeps Botanicorum’, the Prince of Botany

Carl Linnaeus – ‘Princeps Botanicorum’, the Prince of Botany

On May 23, 1707, Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist Carl Linnaeus – or after his ennoblement Carl von Linné or more fashionable in Latin Carolus Linnaeus – was born. Linnaeus formalised the modern system of naming organisms called binomial nomenclature. He is known by the epithet “father of modern taxonomy“. “Every genus is natural, created as such in the beginning, hence not to be rashly split up or stuck together by whim or according to anyone’s…
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The Yes Men Fix the World

The Yes Men Fix the World

The Yes Men and the Haliburton SurvivaBall – Photo via Yes Men @ SurvivaNet. Jacques Servin and Igor Vamos form the culture jamming duo The Yes Men. Through their actions, they try to raise awareness about problematic social issues, in their sense. In order to do this, The Yes Men impersonate people of high economical or political influence to expose lies and injustices. They maintain fake websites to raise attention, which results in…
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Please Don’t Ignite the Earth’s Atmosphere…

Please Don’t Ignite the Earth’s Atmosphere…

When in 1952 the world’s first thermonuclear fusion bomb was ignited, mathematicians and physicists thought it would be rather unlikely that testing the newly developed device might result in burning all the nitrogen in the earth’s atmosphere. However, the possibility could not be excluded completely. Nevertheless, they have have tested the bomb and fortunately for all of us not the like did happen. One of the key persons behind the development of…
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Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman

Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman

On May 11, 1918, famous physicist and nobel laureate Richard Feynman was born. Ever since my first days at university, Feynman has been one of my absolute heroes of science. I’ve heard  his name for the first time back in high school, when we learned about Feynman diagrams and I have had heard about his famous physics lectures. But when I had the chance to read his autobiographical book “Surely you’re joking Mr. Feynman…
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Pompeii – Conquered, Buried, Rediscovered

Pompeii – Conquered, Buried, Rediscovered

Pompeii was founded by the Oscans in the 7th century BC and was conquered in the 5th century BC by the Samnites. Besieged by Sulla in 89 BC Pompeii was forced to surrender and became a Roman colony named ‘Colonia Veneria Cornelia Pompeianorum’. Because of its location, the town gained an important role in Roman trade relations, developed a modern infrastructure as well as many cultural institutions. Pompeii suffered its first serious…
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