Blogs Worth Cheering For: Now With Extra Bonus Santa!

OK, let’s start with the obvious.  ”Wescott’s Weekly Update” hasn’t been weekly – and frankly, the name hasn’t caught on because it isn’t at all relevant.  These posts aren’t about me, they’re about the great science highlighted by great bloggers.  And this is the Science Cheerleader blog.  So with Darlene’s approval I’m renaming my occasional link posts to “Blogs Worth Cheering For.”  She’s highlighting great science role models and I’ll try to highlight some great science blog posts.

So, on to the science…

Healthy farming is for the birds.  The University of Nebraska – Lincoln spends a lot of time monitoring the “health” of farms – basically how well farmland can support growing different crops.  One of the ways you can check on the sustainability of a farm is to see which birds are around.  So John Quinn of QUEST Nebraska says the researchers have been recording bird songs around specific farms in the state, and they’ve even recruited birders (some folks call them “bird watchers”) to help.  It’s a nice story about science helping the other facets of everyday life.

Yeti crabs.  Seriously.  These deep sea animals got a lot of attention from science bloggers over the past couple of weeks.  Dr. M at Deep Sea News has a lot of links about these animals that, as Ed Yong explains,  grow bacteria on their claws and then eat it.  It sounds kinda gross but it’s actually pretty cool if you watch it.  (Yes, there’s video.)

The elusive mystery of the “hot hand.” Anyone who follows basketball has heard about how teams try to “find the player with the hot hand” – that is, someone who seems to be hitting a lot of long-distance shots in a row.  John Timmer over at Ars Technica suggests the hot hand may be more myth than reality.  He looks at a study that followed both NBA and WNBA players and tracked their shots – it turns out the players they followed were slightly more likely to hit a 3-point shot after missing, not making, their previous 3-point shot.   Somebody tell Ray Allen this.  PLEASE.

The science of Santa.  OK, here’s the really important question this time of year.  How does Santa deliver all those presents, to all those kids, in a single night?  Matt Shipman over at North Carolina State University shares us the science from Dr. Larry Silverberg, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering.

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