Links for February 18th
- Novelist Pratchett becomes a Sir –
Author Terry Pratchett has been knighted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace for services to literature.
Sir Terry, 60, was named in the New Year Honours list.
- Wonder twins telescope sees star’s dying gasps –
500 light years away, the star T Leporis is dying.
It used to be much like the Sun, but the store of nuclear fuel in its core is running out. Due to the nuclear processes going on deep inside it, its energy production has vastly increased, blasting out thousands of times the energy it did when it was a stable star. The outer layers of the star absorb this energy, and, like a hot air balloon, expand hugely. Even though it is now far, far brighter than it used to be, the expansion actually cools the star’s surface. It has become a bloated, swollen red giant.
- Not safe for work: the git that keeps on giving –
Remember: if you steal a man’s fish, you’ll make him hungry for a day, but steal his nets and you’ll keep him hungry for a lifetime.
- 50 Mobile phone apps to change your life –
If you’ve recently got a new phone for Christmas, be it an iPhone, G1, Nokia or a spiffy BlackBerry, we bet you didn’t know it could change your life.
Download any of these apps and become more efficient, thinner, fitter and better at saving on the go, so you’ve still got time to sit around in your pants whenever you feel like it.
- Maybe Facebook should just offer a loyalty card instead –
Facebook has more than 150 million users. You would think that that must be valuable. The problem that “social networking” sites are throwing up, though, is that while you might have a lot of users, how do they ever become something that’s actually valuable?
- New law making it an offence to photograph a policeman should worry us all –
More than 300 photographers descended on New Scotland Yard this morning to protest about a new law that could criminalise anyone taking a photograph of a police officer. Section 76 of the Counter Terrorism Act, which came into force today, permits the arrest of anyone taking photographs of the police, the armed forces, or the intelligence services which are “likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism”. Now a policeman might not be your first choice of subject but this should concern us all.
- Babies’ gestures partly explain link between wealth and vocabulary –
Babies can say volume without saying a single word. They can wave good-bye, point at things to indicate an interest or shake their heads to mean “No”. These gestures may be very simple, but they are a sign of things to come. Year-old toddlers who use more gestures tend to have more expansive vocabularies several years later. And this link between early gesturing and future linguistic ability may partially explain by children from poorer families tend to have smaller vocabularies than those from richer ones.
- Creationists are still denying Darwin –
The fundamental ideas behind the theory of evolution have been scientific gospel for decades – and yet creationists refuse to go the way of the dinosaurs. Who exactly are they? And just what do they believe?
- Facebook ‘withdraws’ data changes –
The founder of Facebook says the social network will return to its previous terms of service regarding user data.
In a blog post Mark Zuckerberg said the move was temporary “while we resolve the issues that people have raised”.
Users had complained after new terms of service seemed to suggest Facebook would retain personal data even if someone deleted their account.
- Westboro Baptist Church justifies UK picket –
This is the full text of the Telegraph’s correspondence with the Westboro Baptist Church, about its plan to stage a picket in Britain for the first time. The church has threatened to demonstrate outside the staging of anti-homophobia play The Laramie Project at a school theatre in Basingstoke, Hampshire on Friday.