“Researchers Made 3,900-Pound Boulders They Can Move by Hand, Giving More Insights Into Ancient Engineering”

By using concrete of different densities and some careful design, researchers were able to make quite large and quite heavy (up to 1,770kg or 3,900lb) monoliths which one or two adults could relatively easily move around and use to assemble larger structures.


“Hospital viruses: Fake cancerous nodes in CT scans, created by malware, trick radiologists”

Computer security researchers have developed proof-of-concept malware that can add fake lung cancer tumours to or remove real cancer tumours from CT scans. In a blind study, scans of healthy ‘patients’ in which fake tumours had been added fooled skilled radiologists 99% of the time and scans of real patients in which real tumours had been removed fooled the same radiologists 94% of the time. Even after the radiologists had been told that a new set of scans had been falsified, they still misinterpreted the scans 87% of the time.

The researchers were also able to gain sufficient access to a number of hospitals’ network equipment to be able to insert the malware in points in the network such that CT scans could be falsified before any radiologist saw the scan (in many hospitals, the relevant networks are directly or indirectly accessible from the Internet such that physical access to network equipment is almost certainly not necessary).

A Washington Post article describing the attack can be found at https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/04/03/hospital-viruses-fake-cancerous-nodes-ct-scans-created-by-malware-trick-radiologists/

A pre-print of a formal paper describing the attack can be found at https://arxiv.org/abs/1901.03597

“Eugene Shoemaker: The Only Human Buried on the Moon”

Gene Shoemaker was a scientist who had long dreamed of walking on the Moon. Although he made various significant contributions to humanity’s exploration of space. For example, he co-discovered the Shoemaker-Levy comet that hit Jupiter back in 1994 and his study of meteor impact craters proved quite valuable when the time came for NASA to select Apollo mission landing sites. He also postulated that the end of the dinosaurs might have been caused by an asteroid hitting the Earth. Unfortunately, health issues caused him to be bumped out of consideration to be an Apollo astronaut.

Shortly after Eugene Shoemaker was killed in an automobile accident in 1997, one of his students suggested that some of his ashes should be placed on the Lunar Prospector probe which was about to be launched on a mission that was planned to end with the probe crashing onto the Moon. Less than six months later on January 6, 1998, the probe, with about 30 grams of Shoemaker’s ashes on board, crashed into the Moon. Shoemaker became the first human to have some of their remains deliberately placed onto a celestial body.


“A Mysterious Infection, Spanning the Globe in a Climate of Secrecy”

Candida auris is a fungus that was almost unheard of just a few years ago and which has now evolved into a major threat in the realm of treatment-resistant organisms. How C. auris ‘appeared on the scene’ and how it has rapidly evolved is really quite interesting.


“Greta Thunberg’s train journey through Europe highlights no-fly movement”

The story of Greta Thunberg’s April 14-25, 2019 rail trip to speak on the importance of getting serious about climate change and to promote Sweden’s “flygskam”, or “flight-shame”, movement.


William George Walsh Pethybridge’s military records while serving with the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War

The synopsis page for the Canadian Expeditionary Force’s records for my wife’s grandfather and our son’s great grandfather. The site also provides access to the complete military records for essentially everyone who served in the Canadian forces during World War I (see second link below).


See http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/personnel-records/Pages/personnel-records.aspx for more information.

“The mystery of Cape Town’s disappearing gun”

The story of a British military gun from the Victorian era that was designed to immediately disappear when fired (this allowed the crew manning the gun to reload it in relative safety).

The gun eventually disappeared in a somewhat broader sense of the term after it was buried and forgotten when the land that it was on was redeveloped in the 1920s. It was recently rediscovered during yet another redevelopment project.