Science

4:08am

Sun September 23, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

Gherkin, Diphthong, Hornswoggle And Kerfuffle: Best Words Ever?

Ted McCagg Questionable Skills

"Gherkin" — I like saying it. It's vaguely Indian sounding. "Kerfuffle." That's just fun, with so many F's packed into three syllables. "Diphthong" is sly because it's hiding a silent H, the H right after the P; it's there, but you wouldn't know it. And "hornswoggle?" Just hearing it, I'm on the deck of a frigate, there are seagulls soaring above, and someone is playing a jig.

One of these four words, the "Final Four" in Ted McCagg's "Best Word Ever" contest, became a champion this week.

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4:05pm

Fri September 21, 2012
Science

Chimney Rock Becomes Newest National Monument

Originally published on Fri September 21, 2012 4:53 pm

A large sandstone feature in southwestern Colorado, Chimney Rock became America's newest national monument on Friday.
iStockphoto.com

President Obama named a new national monument on Friday: Chimney Rock in southwestern Colorado. With two sandstone spires soaring from a mesa, not only is Chimney Rock a spectacular place; it also provides a fascinating glimpse into the ancient people who lived in that region more than 1,000 years ago.

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8:49am

Fri September 21, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

Getting Slower And Slower: How Slow Can You Go?

Originally published on Fri September 21, 2012 9:36 am

Vincent Liota

Before we go slow, let's go fast, so fast you can't go any faster. That would be light in a vacuum, traveling at 670 million miles per hour ...

Light, of course, can slow down. When light passes through water, it loses speed. A diamond is an even better speed bump. It can slow a beam of light by 40 percent.

But moving on, you and I are going pretty fast right now, though we don't notice. The planet we're on is zipping around the sun at 66,000-plus miles per hour ...

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4:59pm

Thu September 20, 2012
The Two-Way

Space Shuttle Endeavour Lands In California

Space Shuttle Endeavour sits atop the shuttle aircraft carrier, flies over downtown Austin, Texas early Thursday.
Marco Hanson AP

The Space Shuttle Endeavour landed in the Mojave Desert today. In truth, tomorrow will be the spectacular day, when it flies across the California coast, and across the landmarks of San Francisco and Los Angeles, where it will find its new, permanent home at the California Science Center.

Still, the retired shuttle had a poignant day today, taking off from Houston, flying low through Austin and making a special flyover in Tucson, Arizona in honor of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, whose husband Mark Kelly was in command during its last mission in May 2011.

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3:14am

Thu September 20, 2012
Science

Why Pictures Can Sway Your Moral Judgment

Originally published on Thu September 20, 2012 7:41 am

iStockphoto.com

When we think about morality, many of us think about religion or what our parents taught us when we were young. Those influences are powerful, but many scientists now think of the brain as a more basic source for our moral instincts.

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