Eduardo Reyes

“People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.”

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Why you’d want a physicist to speak at your funeral

You want a physicist to speak at your funeral. You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed. You want your mother to know that all your energy, every vibration, every Btu of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid energies of the cosmos, you gave as good as you got.

And at one point you’d hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk to your brokenhearted spouse there in the pew and tell him that all the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your...

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Honeybees are fascinating


Honeybees are fascinating, and there are still mysteries about why/how they do some things. Like start swarming. We just don’t know how they make that decision, and it does look like it’s related to the size if the colony relative to the nesting space, but there’s more to it.

The workers seem to initiate the process, by making new queens—maybe a dozen or so. They take normal eggs from the queen (who is more accurately called a mother, laying 1500 eggs a day), and put them in a specially constructed honeycomb cells that they built, then feed them a special diet to raise those eggs as a fertile queens instead of sterile workers. Before the new queens hatch from their cocoons, the workers—thousands of them—start to shake the old queen.

Just a little at first, they walk up to her, put their front legs on her shoulders, and shake her. Every time she turns around, these workers who...

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