Looking Inside Darwin’s Room (and Also Where Virginia Woolf, Lord Byron, & Kipling Did Their Thing)

Darwinmania (as The New York Times dubbed it) is about to begin. During the next year, we will celebrate Darwin’s 200th birthday and the 150th anniversary of the Origin of Species (download zip audio here) and the discovery of natural selection. It’s pretty much a given that the minutiae of Darwin’s life will get thoroughly reexamined. So I figured why not get ahead of the curve and give you this — Darwin’s writing room. It’s provided courtesy of the Guardian Book Section, which lets you take a peek at the writings rooms of Virginia Woolf, Lord Byron, Rudyard Kipling, Martin Amis and many other important writers. (You can also visit our piece from last year for more room photos.)

Wind Powered Art

When art meets engineering:

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Find Any Song Online and Share. Now.

Tinysong.com offers a service that’s rather impressive. You go to their homepage, search for a song, and then you can listen to it online and share it with a friend (via a specially created url). Just how it all works (copyright included), and just how deep the collection actually goes, I am not totally sure. But, the various tests that I threw at it suggest that there’s a fair amount of depth there.

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Top 10 TEDTalks (and Do Schools Today Kill Creativity?)

Late in the week, TEDTalks named its top ten videos. Whether this is a quantitative or qualitative judgment, I am not sure.  On the list, you’ll find Al Gore talking about how to avert a climate crisis, David Gallo showing amazing underwater creatures, and Ken Robinson describing why schools kill creativity (we’ve posted that one below). Again the full list is here.

Stephen Hawking’s Explosive New Theory

Article begins: “Prof Stephen Hawking has come up with a new idea to explain why the Big Bang of creation led to the vast cosmos that we can see today. Astronomers can deduce that the early universe expanded at a mind-boggling rate because regions separated by vast distances have similar background temperatures. They have proposed a process of rapid expansion of neighbouring regions, with similar cosmic properties, to explain this growth spurt which they call inflation. But that left a deeper mystery: why did inflation occur in the first place?” The rest here.

Superstring Theory Explained Dynamically

“In clear, nontechnical language, string theorist Brian Greene explains how our understanding of the universe has evolved from Einstein’s notions of gravity and space-time to superstring theory, where minuscule strands of energy vibrating in 11 dimensions create every particle and force in the universe.” If you want to get deeper into Greene’s work on string theory, I would recommend referring back to this previous post.

This dynamic presentation was made at the TED conference. (PS You may also want to see BoingBoing’s new post: Top 10 TedTalks.)

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No Ice at the North Pole

The chance of ice disappearing this summer? 50/50. Worrisome, I’d say.

The Gas Mileage Illusion (and the Future of Electric Cars)

Given the sudden national obsession with the price of oil & gas, it seems worth flagging this bit of video put together by two professors from Duke University. Some may find their perspective on gas mileage rather obvious, others not. Either way, it can’t hurt to get their point across.

Separately, here’s a quick piece on the state of electric cars and when they may be ready for prime time. You’ll learn here about the Tesla Roadster, a high-performance electric sports car, that goes from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 3.9 seconds and gets the equivalent of 256 miles per gallon. Pretty impressive, even if it costs $109k.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.