Wikipedia articles of interest
2. Benford’s Law. Everybody who read MR regularly probably already read this article, but anyway…
3. Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9, “a comet that broke apart and collided with Jupiter in July 1994, providing the first direct observation of an extraterrestrial collision of solar system objects. This generated a large amount of coverage in the popular media, and the comet was closely observed by astronomers worldwide. The collision provided new information about Jupiter and highlighted its role in reducing space debris in the inner solar system.”
How huge forces such a piece of rock can release is almost beyond comprehension: “Astronomers had expected to see the fireballs from the impacts, but did not have any idea in advance how visible the atmospheric effects of the impacts would be from Earth. Observers soon saw a huge dark spot after the first impact. The spot was visible even in very small telescopes, and was about 6,000 km (3,700 mi) (one Earth radius) across. This and subsequent dark spots were thought to have been caused by debris from the impacts, and were markedly asymmetric, forming crescent shapes in front of the direction of impact.
Over the next 6 days, 21 distinct impacts were observed, with the largest coming on July 18 at 07:33 UTC when fragment G struck Jupiter. This impact created a giant dark spot over 12,000 km across, and was estimated to have released an energy equivalent to 6,000,000 megatons of TNT (600 times the world’s nuclear arsenal). Two impacts 12 hours apart on July 19 created impact marks of similar size to that caused by fragment G, and impacts continued until July 22, when fragment W struck the planet.” Oh, in case you didn’t know just two years ago, in 2009, “a new black spot about the size of the Pacific Ocean appeared in Jupiter’s southern hemisphere […] probably a small undiscovered asteroid, was the cause.” Yeah, just a ‘small undiscovered asteroid’..
5. Dayak Fruit Bat.
“The dayak bat averages less than 150 grams. It is gray-brown dorsally with a silver-gray ventral side. Its fur is short. It has a short tail, ranging from ten to twenty percent of its body length. Its wing membranes attach to the second toe on each foot. D. spadiceus is the smallest of the bats in the genus Dyacopterus. It has the smallest skull size, averaging less than 36.1 mm from the premaxilla to the base of the skull. It has a proportionally wide skull, however, when compared to the other bats in the genus. […] The dayak bat is frugivorous, feeding on fruits from trees extending into or past the canopy of the forests of Malaysia. Figs are a staple of its diet, as are whatever fruits are seasonally available in the high canopy.”
They are interesting animals for other reasons, sure, but this part about them is pretty (Cool? Interesting? I have no idea which word even to use here..):
“The male of the D. spadiceus species is the only known natural occurrence of paternal lactation. While the reasons the male would lactate are currently unknown, it could be a mechanism to take some of the pressure of lactation off of the female. This would give the species an evolutionary advantage over other bats. Another possible explanation is the consumption of plants with high concentrations of phytoestrogens, a hormone like molecule that may cause mammogenesis and lactogenesis.” Yeah, you got that right; males breastfeed as well.
6. Pregnancy (probably NSFW – images). It’s not a coincidence that I post this one now: Next year, if all goes well, I’ll be an uncle; my big brother’s girlfriend is pregnant.