Mapping the Brain

Did you know that your brain cells are not actually grey? The function of the brain defines each of us, yet it is hardly understood. It uses 20% of your energy but comprises only 2% of your mass. Recently, the “next big thing” in scientific research was announced, the ambitious “Brain Mapping Project”. It used to be only physics projects that would receive enormous grants and government backing but in recent decades, biologists have got their fair share with ambitious projects to understand the fundamental components of humans with the genome project.

Pie Cubed Podcast 17/04/2013 – Digital Afterlife

This week on the Pie Cubed podcast we talk about what happens to your data after you die, the increasing role of technology in ‘smart’ cities, how to hack an aeroplane and if Moore’s law is still valid. Subscribe on iTunes or Subscribe to podcast feed

The coldest place in the universe is on… earth

The Boomerang Nebula is located approximately 5000 light years from earth. It was formed by the outflow of gas from the core of a star. This gas is flowing at incredible speeds, up to 500 thousand kilometres per hour (300,000 miles/hr). As gas expands, it cools down, which has caused the nebula to be the coldest point of the universe that we have ever measured, with a temperature of just 1 Kelvin (−272.15 °C; −457.87 °F ), very close to absolute zero. The average temperature of the universe is 2.73 K, as measured using the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation. (Read our …

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Friday’s Interesting Facts #2

In this regular Friday post, we list some interesting facts that do not necessarily deserve their own post, enjoy. The colossal squid is the largest known invertebrate, it’s estimated that it can reach 12-14 metres in length. It also possesses the largest eyes in the animal kingdom. Its brain is torus shaped (like a donut) and the oesophagus runs through the middle of it. Which means that if the colossal squid eats something too large it will suffer massive brain damage.

The world’s longest running factory

There is a hotel in Japan, called Nisiyama Onsen Keiunkian, that has been open since 705. And that’s not a typo, not 1705, but 705, the hotel has been open for over 1300 years! There was also a Japanese construction company called Kongō Gumi that was founded in 578 and was continuously operating until 2006, until it fell on hard times and went into liquidation. During the ages they built many famous buildings, including Osaka Castle. But while these two companies might have been the longest running companies to be operating in modern times, they are not the longest running …

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Distribution of first digits: Benford’s Law

Take a large data set, like stock prices, electricity bills or population sizes of different countries. If you were to count how many times each digit appeared as the first digit (for 105 the first digit would be 1, for 34583 the first digit would be 3, etc.), what would be their distribution? You’d expect that each numeral would occur an equal amount of times. But you would be wrong.

The Rise and Fall (and rise again) of Bitcoin

Bitcoins have been causing quite a stir and amassing much interest recently. Part of this is thanks to the price skyrocketing in recent weeks. This digital currency of choice for hacktivists, described as “gold for computer nerds” is a peer-to-peer decentralised currency, meaning it isn’t controlled by any bank or government.