Black Hole Lane, Rauks (Rocks), Worm on the Tree of Life

This week’s Feedback column (that I write) in New Scientist magazine has three segments. Here are bits of each of them: Mapping black holes — Richard Notley has been wondering down a dark path… and found enlightenment in remarks made by mathematician Roger Penrose (New Scientist, 19 November 2022) about the structure of the universe. He writes: “Roger […]

Rauks are Rocks

Tom Gill alerted us to this study, saying “I’ve been a geology nerd for fifty-plus years. I was today years old when I learned that a type of rocks exists which is officially named… rauks.” The study is: “Limestone Sea Stacks (Rauks) Record Past Sea Levels and Rocky Coast Evolution in the Baltic Sea (Gotland […]

The personality of rocks at the Bergamo, Italy, Science Pre-Festival

The Bergamo Science Festival this year has a pre-festival which includes: “a competition created in collaboration with the Caffi Museum, dedicated to rocks and minerals and conducted on the BergamoScienza Instagram profile. Two rocks will be presented by a geologist each week. The aim is to reproduce the study that won the IgNobel prize for […]

The Sounds of Trees When Hit by Rocks Thrown by Chimps

What are the sounds that come from trees when those trees are hit by rocks thrown by chimpanzees? A new study addresses that question: “Chimpanzees use tree species with a resonant timbre for accumulative stone throwing,” Ammie K. Kalan, Eleonora Carmignani, Richard Kronland-Martinet, Sølvi Ystad, Jacques Chatron and Mitsuko Aramaki, Biology Letters, 18 December 2019, […]

Interview with personality-of-rocks Ig Nobel Prize winner Shelagh Ferguson

The 2016 Ig Nobel Prize for economics was awarded to Mark Avis, Sarah Forbes, and Shelagh Ferguson, for assessing the perceived personalities of rocks, from a sales and marketing perspective. They documented their research in the study “The Brand Personality of Rocks: A Critical Evaluation of a Brand Personality Scale,” Mark Avis, Sarah Forbes, and Shelagh […]

Assessing the Perceived Personalities of Rocks

Of these three rocks, which would you say is the most ‘confident’ ? How about the most ‘sincere’ or ‘intelligent’? Just such questions were asked in a recent study by Dr. Mark Avis (Massey University, New Zealand), Dr. Sarah Forbes (University of Birmingham, UK) and Dr. Shelagh Ferguson (University of Otago, New Zealand). Their study […]

Boxes for rocks — their own story

Boxes for rocks grow from much thought and careful effort, what with the desire that each box fit snugly and well in enclosing a particular rock. Ann Macmillan, say those who know, “creates cardboard boxes for rocks that are designed to fit each rock’s individual surface. After 3D scanning them and unfolding the rock’s geometry, the […]

Rocks/Tar Rock Star: Ivan Brady

Today’s Rocks/Tar rock star of the day is Ivan Brady, Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus and previous Chair of Anthropology at the State University of New York at Oswego, former president of the Society for Humanistic Anthropology and Chair of the Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania, and also former book review editor of the American Anthropologist. Professor […]