T. Rex was faster than David Beckham
At six tons and two stories tall, T. rex was hardly spry, but new simulations show it could have outrun soccer star David Beckham, if only by a whisper. Inspired by the chase scene in Jurassic Park, researchers fed a supercomputer model with bone and muscle data from several bird and dinosaur species as well as an average 70-kilogram (155-pound) professional athlete. Results: T. rex edged out a sprinting human, clocking in at eight meters (26 feet) a second. (press release)
First spam, now "bacn"
A new coinage spread across the Internet this week like wildfire—or maybe like the smell of bacon. The new term, "bacn," refers to e-mail you want, just not right now. Think Google Alerts and MySpace updates. In true Cockney rhyming slang style, participants at the Podcamp Pittsburgh 2 digital media conference invented the term while discussing unread e-mail as well as their fondness for back or peameal bacon, which sounds like "e-mail," hence e-mail bacon. Could scrmbld egs be far behind? (blog of bacn's co-inventor)
Life on Mars may be bleach blond
Experiments conducted by the Mars Viking landers in the 1970s are consistent with life—life based on hydrogen peroxide, that is—according to a controversial study. Joop Houtkooper of the University of Giessen in Germany and a colleague reanalyzed data from the gas exchange experiment (GEx) on the assumption that any vaporized organic material in the bone-chilling Martian soil was dissolved in water and the antiseptic hydrogen peroxide, which acts as antifreeze. His conclusion: one thousandth of the soil's weight may have been living matter. A microbiologist told SPACE.com that the claim "sounds bogus," given the harsh Martian conditions, not to mention a second Viking experiment that found nary a drop of any organic chemical. (SPACE.com)
Are same-sex unions sans precedent? Au contraire, mon frere.
In the hullabaloo over same-sex marriage, proponents may have overlooked something in their favor: a tradition of civil unions in Europe stretching back at least 600 years. Late medieval France recognized a marriagelike institution called affrèrement—loosely, "brotherment"—granting members of nonnuclear households rights to joint property and inheritance. Although affrèrements were not technically same-sex marriages, some "brothers" were single, unrelated men who likely had a sexual relationship, says historian Allan Tulchin of Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania in a paper to be published in the The Journal of Modern History. (press release)