The inevitable Ice Bucket Challenge notification came along, courtesy of the Brothers Pag. Anyone who knows me knows that I can’t swim, so I wasn’t prepared to take the risk of attempting the challenge.
Also I didn’t have any ice in my lab, but I did have a Dewar of Liquid Nitrogen, so here is Balloon Matt nobly taking the challenge in aid of the DEC Syria crisis appeal.
**SAFETY NOTICE** Don’t do this at home. If you have liquid nitrogen at home, why on earth do you have liquid nitrogen at home? Whilst pouring and transporting liquid N2, heavy duty cold-proof gloves and a face visor must be worn. Do not touch parts of the balloon directly after they have been in liquid nitrogen. NEVER POUR LIQUID NITROGEN OVER YOUR OWN HEAD a million things can go wrong and you can lose eyes skin and hair: remember what happened to Boris. Do not cool an air filled balloon for prolonged periods due to risks of liquid oxygen condensation. **THANK YOU**
Yes that’s right, Doctor Who is back on our screens, spitting himself out of dinosaurs’ mouths and into our hearts where he belongs. On this week’s episode, the first of Series 8, a homicidal android is stalking the streets of Victorian London, mutilating golden-hearted cockneys for their fleshier organs and turning the remains into donor kebabs in order to conceal the evidence of his crimes.
Slap bang into the middle of this mess lands the Tardis, lodged inside the throat of an exceptionally irritable tyrannosaur. Trapped on board are the wide-eyed Clara Oswald and the new and improved Time Lord Peter Capaldi – whose saurian features make the aforementioned reptile look positively cuddly.
The Doctor’s arrival is greeted with a clash of symbols.
Today is “Internaut Day”, marking the 23rd anniversary of the World Wide Web’s public unveiling. While working at CERN in 1991, computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented “hypertext” – virtual content with embedded links to other text – and revolutionised the way we use computers. Continue reading →
37 years ago today, the Big Ear telescope in Ohio picked up the first and only strong signal from outer space that could be from extra-terrestrials.
Rather embarrassingly for humanity, we behaved like school kids who just received a text from someone they fancied. We spent ages debating whether or not the message was for us; and then we got our mates to help us write a reply which is looking pretty cringey in hindsight. Continue reading →
This week I decided to look up Tycho Brahe’s nose. After all, it is the title of our blog. And as you’d expect when looking up someone’s nose, you come across a fair amount of useless gunk. But keep poking around for long enough and those itchy fingers start uncovering some really fascinating nuggets.
The first thing everyone knows about Brahe – even before they know what he looks like or even how to pronounce his name – is that he had a gold prosthetic nose. Now I don’t know about you, but that strikes me as rude. It’s also mistaken, incidentally, but more than anything else it’s rude. So here’s a picture of Tycho Brahe (Brah, Bra-hay or Bra-hee, depending on how wrong you mind being) for you to look at while you think about just how rude you’ve been.
Forget the nose – why doesn’t anyone remember those moustaches?!
Brahe’s original nose (not shown in the above) was cut off to spite his face by a fellow Dane named Manderup Parsberg while the two were students at the University of Rostock in Northern Germany. Many have claimed the duel was inspired by a mathematical disagreement, which is a cute story, but Tycho seems like the sort of person who would have challenged you to a duel if you looked the wrong way at his moose (don’t worry, we’ll come back to the moose).