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August 2008 Archives

Bigfoot and the underpants gnomes

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

The latest Bigfoot hoax raises several interesting questions. As a few readers have pointed out, this latest scam received quite a bit of mainstream media attention, whereas a few years ago it would have been fodder for tabloids such as the National Enquirer. The question, then, is why? Why did the mainstream media, ourselves included, give this story the time of day?

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Bigfoot, ???, profit

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

Tomorrow is a big day: We finally get to see honest-to-gosh proof that Bigfoot exists. It seems the body of the 7-foot-7 hairy creature has finally been found in north Georgia (the state, not the former Soviet republic) by three men, who are promising to unveil photos and DNA evidence on Friday. There's one catch though: they apparently won't be showing off the body.

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You down with LHC? Yeah, you know me

by Paul Jay, CBCNews.ca

With the date set for the start-up of the Large Hadron Collider, science writers in Switzerland can finally get down to the business of covering the event. What have journalists been doing during the months of delays? This one, who goes by the handle AlpineKat, made a nerdcore hip-hop video to explain how the machine works. (Thanks to BoingBoing, Slashdot for the links.)

As hip-hop goes, it's a little weak, and I'm not talking about the weak nuclear force. But as an educational primer on what the LHC does, it's a fairly concise explainer of everything from the LHC, dark matter, antimatter, gravity and the Big Bang.

It also is a nice continuation of the strange (no, not that kind of strange) tradition of explaining particle physics through 1980s-style rap flows, which I believe began with David Weinberg's Dark Matter Rap. It gained noteriety when excerpted in Timothy Ferris's The Whole Shebang. There's also the raunchy MC Hawking, if electronic voice-work is more to your tastes.

For physics education, it's a great leap forward, and for rap a giant step into the wayback machine.

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Free Wi-Fi at Starbucks, but...

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

The inexorable spread of free Wi-Fi has taken another step forward with an announcement by Starbucks that it is offering free connectivity at its 650 company-operated stores in Canada. The catch to it is that you have to have home internet service with Bell.

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