The 9th Watch
It’s not a Doctor Who episode. It’s not a metal band. It’s your chance to be a part scientific history.
You have the chance to witness something that no one has ever seen, and make scientific history in the process: The fall of the ninth pitch drop.
The Pitch Drop experiment at the University of Queensland is perhaps the longest-running science experiment in the world. Pitch is a viscous, black substance that is brittle when struck with a hammer, but flows like a liquid when given enough time. And I mean a LOT of time.
A similar experiment in Ireland recently dropped, but the Australian version is the granddaddy of slow science. That one has only dropped eight times in its 86 year history, and no one’s ever been around to see it. Even John Mainstone, who watched over the experiment for more than half a century, sadly passed away this year without ever being present for a drop.
Queensland set up The Ninth Watch website to give people around the world a chance to log on, watch live, and “be there” when the big event happens. It could be any day now. So if you don’t have anywhere to be, head on over, log on and watch. It beats TV, right? For science.
Learn more about the pitch drop experiment with "Never Quite Now" from Radiolab.
Here’s what happens when a tick bites you.
It’s nice … actually make that not so nice, to know that when it comes to Halloween-related nightmare fuel, even the most dementedly ghoulish human mind can’t match Mother Nature.
Ed Yong’s got the full story of these blood-sucking wee beasties and their icky evolutionary adaptation over at Not Exactly Rocket Science. It’s a pretty awesome tale of specialized anatomy, actually. Like spiny mandibles of sanguinal suction, this one will implant itself deep in your “wow” file.
If that’s too scary for you, he also has a great story about why a reindeer’s eyes change color with the seasons*. Enjoy your insomnia!
*Duh, because they are white walkers.
People will love you, people will hate you, and none of it will have anything to do with you.
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