Links for 2009-11-13

  • "TIME magazine has announced the 50 best inventions of 2009. NASA's Ares family of rockets was a shoo-in for best invention, given the recent launch of Ares 1-X, the family's test rocket. I'll give them that; NASA could certainly use the cheerleading.

    But I was surprised to see "Teleportation" sixth on the list. When did I miss this? Has everyone else been teleporting to work while I've been trudging in the rain? How can I get my hands on a teleporter?"

  • "Physics is weird. There is no denying that. Particles that don't exist except as probabilities; time that changes according to how fast you're moving; cats that are both alive and dead until you open a box.

    We've put together a collection of 10 of the strangest facts we can find, with the kind help of cosmologist and writer Marcus Chown, author of We Need To Talk About Kelvin, and an assortment of Twitter users."

  • "The definitive child-care study can probably never be done: Families would have to be randomly assigned to day-care centers or parent care for years, and then the impact of the assignments wouldn't be known until the children reached adulthood. Even then, you wouldn't know if the effects were due to particular parenting or day-care practices, or to the day-care versus parent-care assignment.

    Realistically, the next best thing you can do is to follow children from birth to adulthood, and see if kids who happened to have been placed in day care (or with nannies, or grandparents, or some other arrangement) ended up better- or worse-off than those cared for by their mothers. Indeed, such a study was launched by the National Institute of Child Health and Development in the early 1990s. The results have been gradually trickling in as the children in the study aged. The most recent installment, published in 2007, covers kids through the sixth grade."

  • "This is the unofficial nonsense companion to the successful Jack Horkheimer PBS series of late night interstitials, "The Star Hustler," which both Dan Bialek and I grew up watching."

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