Breaking science news and multimedia, heavy on astronomy and physics (and heavy on citing) New vids, pics, articles, and the occasional research post for

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Sun's magnetic field line mapping superimposed on extreme ultraviolet imaging.  Explanation on SDO's site. Image Credit: SDO 10-20-2010

For more, watch SDO's YouTube Video on the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI)

Experiment with a photon trick to identify dark matter

There's a new approach for finding evidence of dark matter all around us.  If dark matter really is all around us, a photon experiment could add convincing evidence.  There must be a particle, a "hidden photon" akin to our photon, that mediates a force interaction between dark matter and other dark matter.  The strange world of quantum mechanics says that our normal photons randomly will flip to become one of these "hidden photons" and randomly flip back.  When you have two of the exact same subatomic particles, the identities of which is which become blurred.  This is an extension of that idea. 
The experiment proposed has been to have photons emitted at an opaque wall, with a photo-detecting plate beyond it.  The idea is that some photons might swap twice from the time they are emitted to the time they hit the detection plate.  Previous attempts of this haven't yielded results.  The new spin on this is so simple it's genius.  Instead of using a photon emitter, we're using the sun.  Dats a lotta photons!  Worded differently, "We gonna stare at the sun behind a wall!" sounds a bit silly, but if it pays off, it pays off big.  Article on ArXiv Blog Paper/Abstract on ArXiv

All over the science sites today, "Nasa Survey Suggests Earth-Sized Planets Are Common" Article on NASA.  Might as well read it from the source, right?

Hollow molecular cages made of carbon called Buckyballs were found in a distant nebula 3 months ago.  This week they were detected in another nebula.  These cages could potentially encapsulate molecules and ship them through outer space.  They're being called the FedEx of the cosmos.  Article on Discovery News

Cellphone signals would be much stronger if we all carried a unit that helped the signal along.  Article on Science Daily

"Bacteria Gone Wild" Awesome Post today on Discover Blogs: Visual Science
 Image Credit: Caleb Charland

An update on a topic I posted about the other day.  "The Fluid Dynamics of a Wet Dog's Shake" Article on PhysicsCentral Paper/Abstract on ArXiv

Video Credit: Andrew Dickerson, Grant Mills, Jay Bauman, Young-Hui Chang, David Hu

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Lots of breaking science Videos links on LHC and more / ESO Photos / Laser awesomeness

Tons of awesome science in the news today!

View/Read this slideshow article over at Discovery News all about the misconceptions of the LHC.  Even already familiar with the subject, this is very entertaining.  The last slide addresses something really hilarious.

Here's an awesome video also at Discovery News, highlighting the high energy proton collisions at record speed recently performed at the LHC.

There's an new technique that has great potential for new experiments.  Shooting a concentrated laser pulse at gas in a vacuum, scientists are turning the gas into plasma.  This produces an electromagnetic field that repulses the electrons; and utilizing the "plasma wakefield" acceleration effect, excited electrons create high quality, high intensity x-ray pulses rivaling the intensity found in particle accelerators.  Article on IOP: PhysicsWorld

The European Southern Observatory (ESO) just took some incredible composite photos of spiral galaxies.  Check out the Article here. 
Image Credit: ESO/P. Grosbøl

Graphene used with water can allow for breaks in otherwise solid conductivity, making graphene a candidate for future computing hardware.  Article on IO9

Most massive Neuron Star ever found is ruling out the possibility of certain exotic particles being present there.  Article w/Video on PhysOrg

Check out the video from the IceCube Neutrino Observatory.  Article w/Video on PhysOrg  IceCube's Website here.

Brain activity recording technique with the goal of electronically interpreting and recording concepts in your dreams.  Article on BBC

All over the news, I have to mention the threat of extinction to 1 in 5 vertebrates around the world.  Article on Ars Technica

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dolphin follow-up / Tidal alternative energy / Monopole News

The other day I linked an article about wild dolphins learning to tail-walk on water from a captive dolphin released years ago.  Here's a new video article on just that, if you'd like to watch.  Video Article on Reuters

Lots of Jurassic Park fuel (insects caught in amber) recently found in India.  Article on PhysOrg
Image Credit: David Grimaldi/AMNH

Newly formed company, Kepler Energy Limited, created to produce alternative energy machines specifically harnessing tidal energy.  Article on Oxford's site

Finally, verified Monopole observation, and oddly, this doesn't seem to be making waves in the community; nor does this verification of monopoles' existance seem to be useful information for efforts toward a Grand Unified Theory.  Article on Ars Technica

"Geomagnetic Record To Reveal Sun's Route Through Galaxy" Article on ArXiv Blog

New black market weapons for sale: Computers with malicious capabilities.  How times have changed!  Additionally, this is one of the most misleading article headers ever.  I quote:
"( -- Researchers, who are mimicking the debilitating attacks of cyber robot armies to help defend the Australian and Indian governments, will discuss their work tomorrow (October 27) at Queensland University of Technology (QUT).  Article on PhysOrg

New study by University of Wisconsin-Madison shows that people with anxiety problems have extra trouble quitting smoking.  Let me file this under my rationalization for smoking!  Article on the university's site

Monday, October 25, 2010

Catching up with Gizmodo and IO9

Lately I haven't been relaying to you guys the best of the best of Gizmodo and IO9 like usual.  In all honesty, many many of my links on this blog turn up as a story on Gizmodo or IO9 a day or two after I post them here.  Regardless, I respect and enjoy both of these sites for their entertaining twist on fascinating topics.  Here are the highlights to the past week or so from Gizmodo and IO9.

"A solar flare erupts from a massive filament of magnetism" Article on IO9.  Here's a beautiful picture credit of NASA/SDO

"Does entropy increase with time or does it make time?"  The mathematical formula for entropy and thermodynamics are the same.  It's very odd and makes me a tiny bit uncomfortable. Article on IO9

"New evidence that alzheimers disease is infectious"  I can't remember what this article is about.  (wink)  Article on IO9

"You have taste receptors in your lungs" Goddamnit, another reason I should quit smoking.  Article on IO9

"How does the sun create a pillar of light in the sky" Sun dogs are a beautiful and awesome phenomenon.  I highly recommend searching "Sun Dogs" on google image and more importantly, youtube.  Article on Gizmodo

"There are 5000 janitors in the US with PHD's"  Le sigh.  Such brilliance with little opportunity for creative or innovative outlet. Article on Gizmodo

Tip of the hat to Gizmodo's Article, "The Universe is even stranger than you realize," highlighting this awesome science song, titled "What a Glorious Space to Dwell." by Jonathan Mann 

Awesome job, mann.  Video Credit: Jonathan Mann

Saturday, October 23, 2010

New theory on spacetime. "Block Universe" where all the past is unified and the present is crystallized from all history since the big bang

Let me quickly preface this by saying this new theory is simply conceptual at the moment.
Most everyone knows that space and time are interconnected and expressed as "spacetime."  A new model of the universe combines space and time into a compressed "block universe" where all time overlaps on itself.  The idea also incorporates quantum dynamics into the macroscopic cosmos.  This allows for superposition such as in quantum theory, to work on the scale of stars.  Superposition in quantum theory means one object could be in two places at the same time, amazingly.  Another bizarre aspect of quantum mechanics is delayed past. (Check out Wheeler's Delayed Choice Experiment as an example.) Particles don't seem to flow from one moment to the next in the way we perceive time.  Instead, they have a lag of sorts.  This explanation tries to explain certain observed interactions that defy macroscopic relativity.  It's amazing but true that quantum particles in entanglement can interact over distances on a timescale that seriously bothers us.  They recieve information about each other quicker than the time it would take for light to flow from one particle to the other.  Now in this bizzare new "block universe" theory, a delayed past is applied, essentially explaining the arrow of time we observe in a simple manner.  Obviously, the future doesn't exist yet but all past does.  That's basically why we go forward in time.  Here, the present crystallizes out of everything that's happened since the big bang, which is not in a clump or spread out, but in a block.  Pretty crazy eh?  The problem with this new theory of the universe is that there hasn't been any descriptions written yet of potential experiments to test out this whole thing.  File in the category of awesome theory, far from verified as fact (as of now.)  Article on ArXiv Blog Paper/Abstract on ArXiv

If you wanna be unreasonable and freak out about black holes over at the LHC, here's some fuel for you.  Paper/Abstract on ArXiv

Prediction of new class, Electroweak Stars based on the electroweak force.  Article on ArXiv Blog

Fermilab is interpreting new data from center of galaxy as evidence of dark matter annihilation.  You might see this story on a lot of sites.  Article on Symmetry Mag

Koreans advise against eating more than 2 octopus heads per day.  A rule to live by!  It'll be hard but I'll try to comply.  Article on Reuters

Image Credit: Karen Portaleo

Friday, October 22, 2010

Ants move like honey! / Mass creation in graphene / Ton's of Today's Overflow

My apologies that the most recent blog postings have been less "breaking news" than simply topics that fascinate.  I'm working on the final touches of an electronica album I will be releasing, probably in December, titled Astronasty (which has a science theme to it). 
Now: To the Science!!

On the light side:
Ants in groups move just like a viscous fluid.  It's incredible to see the striking similarity side by side.  Watch them flow out of a funnel like honey, and spread out just like food coloring.  Liquid in groups, it blows my mind! Abstract/Paper on ArXiv. Here's the link to the must see video download (also from ArXiv)  And here's a quick screenie from the video.
Image and video credit: Micah Streiff, Nathan Mlot, Sho Shinotsuka, Alex Alexeev, and David Hu
 Tip of the hat to the awesome ArXiv Blog article

On the more serious side, physicists think mass might be able to be created in graphene.  Serious practical implications here.  It's really huge news.  Article on ArXiv Blog

Chances are you've already caught wind of the Most Distant Object Yet Seen. Article on ScienceNOW

The science behind a dog's wet shake... Not the most important discovery, I'd say, but entertaining.  Article on ArXiv Blog

Wild dolphins and cultural adaptation.  They've learned the "walk on water" trick from our captive dolphins.  Article on BBC

India is going to build their version of the IceCube Neutrino Observatory.  Welcome to the scene guys, good luck!  Article on BBC

"Black Hole VS Massive Star" Article on ScienceNOW

"Testing the hypothesis of a holographic universe"  Article on Symmetry Magazine and appearing on many other sites, including Digg.  Pretty awesome.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Perspective on size of cosmos: This is why I look up at the stars every night in wonder.

Credit: Rense

The atmosphere on Mars is 95% CO2.  New rocket fuel using CO2 would allow a refuel for the trip home during a future manned mission to mars.  Video Article on Reuters

Humanity VS. Space Radiation  Article w/Video on IO9

Monday, October 18, 2010

Carbon nanotubes are insanely awesome

Carbon nanotubes are insane.  They're made up of a sheet of carbon atoms rolled up into a cylinder.  The properties of a sheet of these cylinders allow for some ridiculously strange features.  This video looks like a goddamn magic show.

Here is a brief video that explains carbon nanotubes.  It's interesting to hear the measurements of these things.  Made up of such tiny structures, it's incredible that they can be stronger than steel.

And the coup de grace, a real demonstration of how water droplets interact with a sheet of carbon nanotubes.  This BLOWS MY MIND!  It's also on its way to being a viral video (accelerating quickly in popularity) on youtube.

For further layman's explanation, check out the Article on Gizmodo

A topic I ran across recently is the Neuroscience of Free Will.  Basically the idea is that your body initiates movement before you consciously are aware of moving.  The interpretation that you are moving on your own is your frontal lobe processing that you have already moved.  The Article on wikipedia is wonderful on this topic.

"Humanity will need two Earths to sustain itself in just twenty years" Article on Gizmodo

Us humans being the destructive bastards we are, have completely eradicated a disease.  Causing something to go extinct is rarely a good thing, but here it definitely is!  Article on Discover Blogs: 80 Beats

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Walruses Walruses Walruses Walruses!

Is Wilford Brimley's facial hair awesome?  10,000 Walruses in a resounding "yes".  I love these animals.  Always have.

Video Credit: USGS
Found via this Article on Reuters

An interesting, approachable Article on NYTimes if you are interested in the study of consciousness

New "Molecular Frisbees" to be more much more cost effective at separating uranium isotopes.  Keep the bombs coming, guys, we don't quite have enough to blow up the entire solar system.  Article on ArXiv Blog

Quantized molecular vibrations called Phonons have just been shown to be able to jump a vacuum gap!  Oh vacuums, the more we know about it, the stranger it gets.  Article on PhysicsWorld

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Gravity measured on a Nanoscale

An apparatus has been invented to detect and measure the effects of gravity on a microscopic scale, slightly larger than an atom. 
Gravity is an amazingly important interaction that sculpts a nebula into, for example, what we have as our solar system.  On a macroscopic level, gravity and its accompanying mathematics are solid, tested and retested countless times over.  With nanoscale interactions, things get a bit wacky. 
Quantum gravity is thought to only interact in two dimensions, on a plane.  But how can there be something in 2 dimensions in a 3 dimensional space?  To further confuse us, there is thought to be several extra dimensions on the quantum scale in the first place.  This new gravity detection apparatus for atoms may eventually bring us some important sets of data to decode in attempt to further understand the virtually magical realm of quantum mechanics.  Article on InsideScience

Amazing photo of rocket launch in Kazakhstan.  It's hard to believe that this photo is not doctored.  Amazingly real.  Article on Discover Blogs: Visual Science
Image Credit: NASA/Carla Cioffi

There are 80 different toxins in a platypus's poison!  Article at Discover Blogs: Discoblog
New thoughts on Dark Matter and Dark Stars.  Article on IO9  Source Article on IOPScience

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Brainwave scanners can use your thoughts to control appliances or even play videogames

There's a video article on Reuters today about a mind reading device allowing you to interact with elements in your home such as blinds and lamps.  I've seen this same technology developed specifically for videogames.  Modifying it for household appliances doesn't make it revolutionary. 
A brainwave scanning headset was partly funded by LucasArts specifically for the usage of the "force" being actually part of gameplay for new Star Wars videogames.  It was at display during the Gamer Development Conference in 2008.  This (now) old technology was created by a company called Emotiv Systems, and had the intimidating pricetag of 300$.  With hardware prices on the trend they've been on, you can now get a new xbox 360 for 200$.  The gaming headset, called the EPOC neuroheadset, never skyrocketed to fame.  I always wanted to try it out though!  Check out the USA Today Article from 2008 on the gaming headset.
I'll go ahead and post the new video, hot off the presses over at Reuters on the appliance headset.

His sales pitch tells us to imagine a future in which the device, knowing that we've had a bad day at work, takes appropriate measures so you have beer in the fridge and a hot meal waiting for you.  This is ridiculous.  If that was possible, you'd want that EVERY SINGLE DAY!  Might as well throw the headset away in that case.  What a horrible pitch.

"Video of asteroid near miss from this morning" Article over at one of my favorite blogs, Bad Astronomy.
An amazing new picture of the sun, and Article about current solar flare activity, again over at Bad Astronomy.
OMG upon further review, here's the Site where he got that sun pic.  MANY other mindblowing ones up there.  Wallpaper heaven I tell you.
Team of Swiss astronomers bring about information shedding serious doubt on the recently widely popular Goldilocks planet, Gliese 581g.  Article on ScienceNOW

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Awesome science pictures / vids in the news today

Researchers just found about 200 new species in Papua New Guinea!  Here's the one I like the best, a new fruit bat:
 Image credit: Piotr Naskrecki / iLCP
Check out the Article on Discover Blogs: 80 Beats

Bad Atronomy's post today included this composite picture of saturn, amongst others.  Incredible!

Image credit: Cassini Imaging

Artist Josef Kristofoletti painted an amazing mural on the side of a building over at CERN.  This is not photoshopped. It's just awesome. 
Image credit: Claudia Marcelloni/Josef Kristofoletti
For more pix in the gallery check here on CERN's site.

This man's basement looks and sounds like it belongs in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  I can safely assume the man who made this has frizzy mad scientist hair.

Found this via the Article on Gizmodo

Big potential of micro nukes! Article on Discover Blogs: Alternative Energy

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Skylifter, a useful flying saucer in development / New language discovered

Australians are developing a flying saucer called Skylifter to be used in transporting large objects.  It's in the prototype stage at the moment and I'll be damned if it doesn't look like a traditional flying saucer.  Check out the Article on Physorg (with video) 

We just found a brand new language spoken by 800 people in northern India.  How can something that significant go unnoticed for so long?  It really blows my mind.  Article on Reuters

TODAY'S OVERFLOW (lots of good ones today)
Explanation on retrograde orbits of planets in binary star systems.  Pretty wild stuff! Article on IO9 Source Article on IOP Science
An entire article drawing an analogy from quantum interactions to a traditional love triangle.  I think there are some horny scientists out there.  Article on Physics Arxiv Blog
Similarly, 3 way quantum entanglement discovered, with useful application potential in quantum computing.  Article on Physorg
"Protatoes", genetically engineered potatoes with more protein.  I just added this cause I freaking love this new word "Protatoes" Article on Ars Technica
This shit's powerful!  UK using human waste as a home power source.  Article on Telegraph

Gamma Rays doesn't mean grandma's getting paid more. New pulsar pix

My much respected fellow blogger Phil Plait over at Bad Astronomy wrote today about the Crab Pulsar freaking out recently.  We're seeing some astronomical violence on a large scale, reaching us in the form of gamma rays.  He explains the whole incredible scenario better than I could, no doubt.  Check out his article here.  There are some great pictures up there taken by Hubble recently.

Playing with DNA MC Escher style, believe it or not.  Article on Physorg
Inflammation shown to help wounds heal.  I anticipate Neosporin's stock to plummet! Article on Physorg
Bug's moseying along, oh look a pile of dead bugs, but I don't see any predators, then BOOM the pile of dead bugs was just a hat! And the bug's like, Oldest trick in the book, can't believe I fell for it.  Article on Not Exactly Rocket Science

Friday, October 1, 2010

"Collective Intelligence" documented. Study finds group sum IQ greater than its parts.

In a recent study involving small group problem solving, scientists documented the distinct quantifiable existence of collective intelligence.  They also noted how social skills and empathy improve group dynamics, increasing the quality of results.  As an interesting side note, the presence of the female gender in the group yielded superior results.

OMG time itself has been calculated to end?  Sounds very speculative.  Article on Physorg
Dancing flight attendants.  Wow I hope this catches on cause it's awesome.  Article on Gizmodo (with video)
Predictions of the next Nobel Prize recognizes recent breakthroughs Article on Physorg
2009 article concerning planets in the same solar system as the recent Earthlike planet story you've heard in the news Article on The Australian

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