Links ‘n Things Monday (10/29/12)

If you’re on the East Coast, please be safe. I’ve been following Hurricane Sandy out of pure weather curiosity and this looks like one doozie of a storm. The weather forecasters here in Chicago are saying that even this far inland we will have winds from 40-60 mph here tomorrow. Talk about a huge storm. Here are some interesting science links for this week:

1) Believe it or not, there are still people out there who believe that the earth is flat. They have a group called the “Flat Earth Society” and they claim that because everything looks and feels flat when you walk around on the Earth, the Earth must indeed BE flat. They maintain that the round-earth idea is a conspiracy theory – anyway, if you want to read more about them: http://www.livescience.com/24310-flat-earth-belief.html

2) This is absolutely mind-boggling. Japanese students learn how to use an abacus to do math from a very young age – and then they hold competitions on who can add up numbers the fastest….except in the abacus competitions, they are allowed to have an abacus on-hand, they have to use the one in their head. In these competitions they add up a series of 15 numbers that are shown so quickly they are almost impossible to read. In the article, there’s a video of the competition; try to catch even two numbers out of the string. Anyway – these competitions are causing neuro-scientists to marvel at the capabilities of the human brain. Great article, check it out: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/alexs-adventures-in-numberland/2012/oct/29/mathematics

3) I’ve been posting links in my Monday updates that are indicators of the economic health of the chemicals industry. The latest one provides good news: http://www.che.com/only_on_che/latest_news/Chemicals-Activity-Barometer-posts-strong-gain-ACC-says_9948.html#.UI7hYIZP-Xt

Spare week for articles. Can’t wait till the election is over – the barrage of political commercials and punditry got old about 3 months ago. Cheers.

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