Unrelated to all that, 3/28 edition

Why academics should blog: it’s not just about overqualified science journalists

The uncomfortable project; things that work but are a pain in the ass to use

Fun fact: squirrels hibernate so hard that you can juggle them

Is French the language of the future? If you add up the population of the Francophone countries, by 2050 it will have more speakers than any other language in the world. (Of course the answer is: no.)

Paul Erdős has published 108 papers since he died. You’re all slackers.

Microscope photos of butterfly wings.

A list of the top 5 papers in bioinformatics, according to someone with a blog

Half of all edits to Wikipedia are made by bots.

Bright lights, big data, and the digital humanities.

Some notes on scent:

Real musk is obtained from the dried gland of a wild male deer, and fresh from the wild it has a repulsive smell. Harvesting musk involves hanging out in forests during mating season with a high-powered rifle, shooting a medium-large mammal, cutting out a small gland, and then taking and preparing that gland for a luxury product. Hunters can’t tell whether the deer in their sights is a buck or a doe, and consequently half of the animals they shoot are the wrong sex. That’s one reason for synthetic musks. Another is that real musk is a mélange of chemicals that will cause some wearers to break out in hives. The first synthetic variant—Musk Xylol—was produced in 1888, and as the industry bible by Steffen Arctander notes, it is a close relative of trinitrotoluene, or TNT. Attempts to synthesize Musk Xylol in commercial quantities have been responsible for serious explosions in fragrance laboratories, and the death of more than a few fragrancers.

Penguins do battle with their natural predators:

Ants are using our cocoa trees as their own personal farms, and that means less chocolate for us (via Jennifer Welsh)

Seminars by the numbers: let’s just code common questions in order to save time

My buddy Seth Kadish made a graphic of how gridded different cities are (more here):

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