Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Science and SF Tidbits: Oct. 30, 2012: Spooky Science

Some spooky science for Halloween:

• Science Friday »
The radio program Science Friday rounds up their scariest stories, from Chupacabras to Zombies to Vampires.

• Bone-Chilling Science: The Scariest Experiments Ever »
My favorite "sounds like fiction" scary science project: training bats to bomb the Japanese during WWII. Apparently the project was abandoned before the bats were put into action.

And one for the physics lovers out there:

• Iä! Iä! Cthulhu Fhtagn >> The Titanium Physicists Podcast

Theoretical physicist and mathematician Ben Tippett has written a paper explaining how general relativity and gravitational lensing could have caused the weird events in Lovecraft's Call of Cthulhu. From the abstract:
In 1928, the late Francis Wayland Thurston published a scandalous manuscript in purport of warning the world of a global conspiracy of occultists. Among the documents he gathered to support his thesis was the personal account of a sailor by the name of Gustaf Johansen, describing an encounter with an extraordinary island. Johansen’s descriptions of his adventures upon the island are fantastic, and are often considered the most enigmatic (and therefore the highlight) of Thurston’s collection of documents. 
We contend that all of the credible phenomena which Johansen described may be explained as being the observable consequences of a localized bubble of spacetime curvature. [. . .] it seems to us improbable that Johansen should have unwittingly given such a precise description of the consequences of spacetime curvature, if the details of this story were merely the dregs of some half remembered fever dream.
It all could be real............

Image: Lovecraftian monster by Futurilla on Flickr. Shared under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

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