Wikipedia articles of interest

1. If you haven’t found out about the Wikipedia Portals yet, you really need to know about the existence of those amazing things. Here’s the History of Science-portal, here’s one about the Bulgarian Empire.

2. Age of the Earth. An excerpt:

“In 1862, the physicist William Thomson (who later became Lord Kelvin) of Glasgow published calculations that fixed the age of Earth at between 20 million and 400 million years.[15][16] He assumed that Earth had formed as a completely molten object, and determined the amount of time it would take for the near-surface to cool to its present temperature. His calculations did not account for convection inside the Earth, which allows more heat to escape from the interior to warm rocks near the surface.[15]

Geologists had trouble accepting such a short age for Earth. Biologists could accept that Earth might have a finite age, but even 100 million years seemed much too short to be plausible.” [my emphasis]

I think I’ve heard about that estimate of Kelvin’s before, probably in HS physics. However the main point here to me is that the idea that the Earth itself – never mind the rest of the Universe – hadn’t been around for ever was at a point not all that long ago a new idea. We take so much of our world view for granted.

3. Timeline of historic inventions. This is just an amazing collection of links. When I was reading Clark’s World Prehistory some time ago, I remember being very annoyed at some point that the book didn’t give any estimate as to how long the bow had been around. That was one of the things I’d like to know. I could have just looked it up. The answer is 60.000 years, give or take. The first know flute was made 35.000 years ago. The horseshoe was invented in Ancient Rome in 200 BC. The pencil? 1565. The first bicycle was made in 1818.

4. Jevons Paradox.

“In economics, the Jevons paradox, sometimes called the Jevons effect, is the proposition that technological progress that increases the efficiency with which a resource is used tends to increase (rather than decrease) the rate of consumption of that resource.”

5. Wolverine.

“The adult wolverine is about the size of a medium dog, with a length usually ranging from 65–87 cm (25–34 inches), a tail of 17–26 cm (7–10 inches), and a weight of 10–25 kg (22–55 lb), though exceptionally large males can weigh over 31 kg (70 lb)”


“The wolverine is, like most mustelids, remarkably strong for its size. Armed with powerful jaws, sharp claws, and a thick hide,[9] wolverines may defend kills against larger or more numerous predators. There is at least one published account of a 27-pound wolverine’s apparent attempt to steal a kill from a black bear (adult males weigh 400 to 500 pounds).” […] “Adult wolverines have no natural predators, though they do come into conflict with (and may be killed by) other large predators over territory and food.”


January 24, 2011 Posted by | Biology, Economics, Geology, History, Science, Wikipedia, Zoology | Leave a comment