science
Engineer Discovers Something Amazing in Da Vinci’s ‘Irrelevant Scribbles’

Never assume that Leonardo Da Vinci’s doodles are meaningless. That, at least, is the conclusion of a new study out of the University of Cambridge, which shows that a page of Leonardo’s scribbled notes from 1493 — previously dismissed as “irrelevant” by art historians — is actually the first written demonstration of the laws of friction. Read More >>

science
We Finally Know Why It’s So Damned Hard to Pull Phone Books Apart

Several years ago, the Mythbusters famously tried to separate two thick phone books with pages tightly interleaved. They couldn’t do it. Scientists know it’s due to the enormous amounts of friction being generated, but precisely how this friction arises is a longstanding mystery. A new paper by French researchers concludes that it all comes down to the number of pages, their thickness, and the size of the overlap (contact) region between sheets. Read More >>