Category: science

Apr 12 2016

WaitButWhy and Iron Man

Really first class article about Elon Musk, Tesla, SpaceX, energy use, and the future of the world. So on my visit to California, I had two goals in mind: to understand as best I could what Musk and his teams were working on so feverishly and why it mattered so much, and to try to …

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Apr 12 2016

Brain imaging during LSD use

Increased visual cortex cerebral blood flow (CBF), decreased visual cortex alphapower, and a greatly expanded primary visual cortex (V1) functional connectivity profile correlated strongly with ratings of visual hallucinations, implying that intrinsic brain activity exerts greater influence on visual processing in the psychedelic state, thereby defining its hallucinatory quality. Neural correlates of the LSD experience revealed by …

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Jan 04 2016

Glorious exhibit of the quest to determine longitude at sea

In many ways, this was the space program of the 18th century. The current exhibit at Mystic Seaport is glorious and mesmerizing. “For centuries, longitude (east-west position) was a matter of life and death at sea. Ships that went off course had no way to re-discover their longitude…With life-changing sums of money on offer, the …

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Apr 24 2015

Scientists find missing link in Yellowstone plumbing

Yellowstone is essentially like a boil on the earth: a giant pool of hot melted rock sitting just below the crust, or skin, of the planet, periodically reaching an explosive stage. Since the crust moves over time, past explosions have left scars in a chain across the North American continent. This giant volcano is very …

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Jul 07 2014

Peeling Sticky Tape Produces X-rays

Absolutely amazing to think that simply peeling everyday tape can produce high energy bursts such as  x-rays, but it does. As the scientists suggest, this is the simplest and cheapest way to produce x-rays ever invented.   Peeling Sticky Tape Produces X-rays

May 19 2014

Sun’s twin

A team of researchers led by University of Texas at Austin astronomer Ivan Ramirez has identified the first “sibling” of the Sun… Astronomers Find Sun’s ‘Long-Lost Brother,’ Pave Way for Family Reunion Elemental Abundances Of Solar Sibling Candidates  

May 19 2014

Earth’s biggest volcano

Covering an area roughly equivalent to the British Isles or the state of New Mexico, this volcano, dubbed the Tamu Massif, is nearly as big as the giant volcanoes of Mars, placing it among the largest in the Solar System…Located about 1,000 miles east of Japan…Tamu Massif covers an area of about 120,000 square miles.” …

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Apr 10 2014

All the water on Earth, shown as a drop…

I don’t know, I assume when I look at maps that the oceans are deep. I mean, the Earth is ⅔ water, and maps give the illusion that Earth is mostly water by volume. It isn’t. It’s mostly water by surface area. By volume? Just a drop. USGS Water Science School.

Mar 18 2014

Alan Turing was a genius in chemistry and biology, too

A theory of Turing’s regarding cell differentiation – all the more remarkable since he was a mathematician, not a biologist – has just been proved, 60 years after he killed himself following prosecution and conviction as a homosexual. This is the man who cracked the German WWII ciphers, devised the universally accepted test for artificial …

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Mar 17 2014

Historic confirmation of the Big Bang and cosmic inflation

Looks like the Big Bang theory has been essentially indisputably confirmed with the discovery of microwave echoes of “inflation”, the incomprehensibly rapid expansion of the universe from a dimensionless point to the size of a marble in a trillionth of a second. Big Bang’s Smoking Gun

Oct 25 2013

Five Billion Years of Solitude

Reviews of a new book on astrobiology, the history of the earth, and our future. …in equal parts, a primer on the search for alien worlds, a biography of Earth and the life that inhabits it, and a story about how exoplanetology grew, and how, with the hour of its greatest triumph approaching, it fell …

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Oct 22 2013

Ancient light on a long and winding road

  The journey of light from the very early universe to modern telescopes is long and winding. The ancient light traveled billions of years to reach us, and along the way, its path was distorted by the pull of matter, leading to a twisted light pattern. This twisted pattern of light, called B-modes, has at last …

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Jul 18 2013

Eek. Biggest virus ever. And it’s alien.

Thank God it only eats amoebae. Perhaps most striking, 93 percent of pandoraviruses’ 2,500 genes cannot be traced back to any known lineage in nature. In other words, they are completely alien to us. Biggest Virus Yet Found…

Apr 16 2013

We are starstuff

Apparently scientists at the Technical University of Munich in Germany have established a link between specific non-terrestrial isotopes of iron in fossilized bacteria, and a specific supernova: IOW, actual stellar debris collected from exploding stars into the tissues of an earth organism. Starstuff, indeed. This apparent signal of iron-60, Bishop said, could be the remains of …

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Mar 21 2013

Greenland Melt Ponds

Each spring and summer, as the air warms up and the sunlight beats down on the Greenland ice sheet, sapphire-colored ponds spring up like swimming pools. As snow and ice melt atop the glaciers, the water flows in channels and streams and collects in depressions on the surface that are sometimes visible from space. These …

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Mar 13 2013

Neanderthal large eyes caused less intelligence?

The Neanderthals had larger eyes, so more of their brain was devoted to sight. Result: less of their brain was devoted to brainy things like survival. Not sure of the lesson here, other than that seeing more means thinking less? Neanderthal large eyes caused their demise.

Feb 21 2013

The cosmos is a beautiful and terrifying place

A solar flare that never quite escapes the Sun’s gravity…

Oct 13 2012

The ultimate digital camera. Buy more disks.

    The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) will survey the entire visible sky every week, creating an unprecedented public archive of data – about 6 million gigabytes per year, the equivalent of shooting roughly 800,000 images with a regular eight-megapixel digital camera every night, but of much higher quality and scientific value.     …

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Oct 01 2012

The farthest ever view of the universe

Just in case you still have it in your head that we are alone in the universe… Hubble Goes to the eXtreme to Assemble Farthest Ever View of the Universe

Oct 01 2012

The tipping point for orbital debris

One question this poses: are future launches of manned and unmanned missions at greater risk just because they must transit through the accumulating debris field? Could we be trapping ourselves on the planet by surrounding ourselves with broken glass? We’ve Already Passed the Tipping Point for Orbital Debris