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Cognosce

Finding a source of neutrinos

A huge discovery, combining different schools of astronomy and astrophysics to trace the origin of a shower fo the most ghostly of subatomic particles.

In a cosmic first, scientists detect ‘ghost particles’ from a distant galaxy

Astronomers caught the first-ever direct picture of a planet being born

Confirmation that theories of planetary formation are correct.

It’s Official: Astronomers Caught The First-Ever Direct Picture of a Planet Being Born

 

Diamonds and stars

A recently concluded survey of the planet-forming disks around young stars suggests these strange transmissions are being produced by something rather extraordinary: dense clouds of microscopic diamonds.

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 gain insight into what it is that makes him so capable of changing the world.

Elon Musk: The World’s Raddest Man

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 multimodal neuroimaging

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 challenge became the talk of London’s 18th-century coffee houses and captured the imaginations and talents of astronomers, skilled artisans, politicians, seamen, and satirists; many of whom came up with ingenious methods and instruments designed to scoop the Board of Longitude’s tantalizing rewards and transform seafaring navigation forever.”

The H3 timekeeper

 

Ships, Clocks & Stars

Avenue Q does Lion King

What can I say? A charming and witty parody of the Lion King by the cast Avenue Q for the 2015 Broadway Cares’ Easter Bonnet Competition. They won best presentation. Hilarious: “…pink pajamas, penguins on the bottom…”

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 much alive 

Old tech can be good tech

To the delight of the attendees at the conference where the results were announced, Jonathan Betts was able to announce that Clock B lost 5/8ths of a second over the 100 days – a phenomenal achievement and a tribute to Harrison.

http://www.salonqp.com/updates/watch-news/john-harrison-guinness-world-record-clock-greenwich-observatory/

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

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

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.”

Scientists Confirm Existence of Largest Single Volcano on Earth

Rediscovering the early images of space exploration

Once upon a time, NASA collected high resolution photos of the Moon and Earth on tapes, transmitted by early-generation satellites. Then they put the tapes away. Then the tape decks stopped working, and the companies stopped making them, and the engineers retired, and the tapes were forgotten.

And then one day someone found an old tape deck…

The Hackers Who Recovered NASA’s Lost Lunar Photos

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project

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.

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 intelligence, and reinvented the definition of mathematical proofs that underlies all of modern computing. A true genius. First the crown awarded him an OBE – then it decided to persecute and destroy him. How profoundly stupid.

Turing’s theory of morphogenesis validated

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

“Tesla Motors may make its own batteries”

It was only a matter of time for Tesla to come to this conclusion. Buying batteries from a foreign supplier left them vulnerable in the long term to single-source risk: suppose Panasonic had a fire, or raised its prices exorbitently? Not to mention that Tesla has no real control over the timing of manufacture or the design of the batteries themselves. It’s too much of a risk for the major essential component of their product.

Tesla Motors may make its own batteries

iOS vs. Android: why Steve Jobs blew his stack

Jobs was betrayed by Eric Schmidt of Google even as Schmidt sat on Apple’s board. So much for “don’t be evil” (Google’s motto).

Jobs had trusted Google’s cofounders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt was on Apple’s board. All three had been telling Jobs about Android, but they kept telling him it would be different from the iPhone. And for some reason he believed them until he actually saw the phone and its software.

Steve Jobs On Android Founder Andy Rubin: ‘Big, Arrogant F***’

Yet Another Inane Post: “Is Tesla Motors Doomed?”

It’s getting tiresome seeing lazy blog posters trolling for readers by posting wildly overdramatic headlines. Like this one.

One, Two, and Now Three Fires: Is Tesla Motors Doomed?

No, Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA) is not doomed…

So why read beyond the first 6 words?

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 short.

The Economist

…it’s really an amazing and entirely unprecedented time to be alive if you’re interested in the question of life beyond Earth. Right now is one of those strange moments where you have a singular confluence of brilliant minds and breakthrough observations that will become legendary in the history of science.

interview  with the author in The Atlantic