Tech Net News 12-08-2018

Credit: Maria Sibylla Merian, from Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium II., Plate LXX.

The Winter Dinner is just around the corner! I hope to see you there.

On the contest calendar, we have the ARRL 10-meter contest in progress, for phone and CW. Yes, they have a 10-meter contest in December…for the challenge.

Did anyone participate in the FT-8 Roundup last weekend? Share your experiences on the net if you did.

In news from the world of ham radio:

It looks like the FCC has been taking action against the makers of interference-generating LED billboards. Good job!

The Dallas Marathon is tomorrow morning! Be sure to check the communications support website and your email for any last-minute updates, and go to bed early tonight.

In news from the world of science:

A rare butterfly has been named Catasticta sibyllae for the pioneering naturalist and artist Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717). Take a look at her work; she did some impressive things, and even led her own expedition to South America. At a time when many people believed that insects just “appeared” from non-living matter, she carefully studied the life cycles of plants and insects and documented their interactions, finding that all insects came from eggs laid by other insects.

A remarkable fossil ichthyosaur was described in the most recent issue of Nature. The fossil is so well preserved that scientists can observe a great deal of soft-tissue and skin detail, even including traces of a layer of subcutaneous blubber. This is pretty exciting—what would a cold-blooded animal need insulating blubber for? It’s now thought that icthyosaurs, giant, dolphin-like marine lizards, may have been warm blooded just as modern dolphins are.

The complete genome of a blue-fronted Amazon parrot named Moises has been sequenced and studied by comparing it with that of 30 other birds to find out more about what makes some parrots so long-lived and intelligent.

On a less happy note, the Audubon society wants to remind us that even “small” oil spills can be very dangerous to birds.

And finally, those who fear zombies can rest easy for at least two years: the Large Hadron Collider is now offline for upgrades. Hopefully, it will produce some new surprises when it come back on-line…but only safe ones.

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