I have a busy day ahead of me, so no guarantees on when or if I’ll have a “real” blog post up. Here’s your link roundup, just in case:
- A better value for the diameter of Eris has been measured, showing that it is nearly the same physical size as Pluto. Because of all the usual nonsense about Pluto’s planetary status, most reports seem to downplay what’s really interesting (to me at least): Pluto and Eris are nearly the same size, yet Eris is both more massive and much brighter. More massive means more rock on Eris, but brighter means a frosty surface. The Kuiper belt is proving to be a highly varied place, which we are only beginning to learn about.
- The Dawn mission to Vesta continues to produce some really excellent science, showing the asteroid’s varied terrain in breathtaking detail.
- Emma (from the We Are All in the Gutter astronomy blog) browses the newly-opened Royal Society archives for interesting papers from the past. Since the Royal Society began in 1660 and published works by the likes of Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, William Herschel, Michael Faraday, and many others, I’m sure many of us will have a lot of fun and enlightenment exploring the history of science.
- Cryptographers have cracked the code of an 18th century secret society’s initiation rites. While not particularly significant from an historical point of view, the automatic decryption methods they use may prove useful in cracking other enigmatic documents. (From the Discoblog.)
- Finally, we have an objective, quantitative way to evaluate great male poets: beard weight. It’s science, people.