Posts

December 16, 2014

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1:57 AM | Memory Monday: Our Universe Changes
In 1980, Carl Sagan laid out the story of the Universe to the best of our knowledge. Here are the three biggest advances.Continue reading on Medium »
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1:28 AM | Help NASA Spacecraft Name Mercury's Craters
The MESSENGER mission is approaching the end of its operational life, but before it dies, you can help NASA name 5 of Mercury's craters.

December 15, 2014

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11:00 PM | New Joint Effort to Showcase American Innovation.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Smithsonian Institution will collaborate on a five-year project to develop programs and exhibitions showcasing American innovation. There will be a major new intellectual property (IP) exhibition at the National Museum of American History.    Additionally, there will be an Innovation Festival and educational programs at … Continue reading →
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9:07 PM | Tidally Squished Exoplanets Could Soon be Detected
Astronomers have detected a huge array of exoplanets of different sizes -- now we are on the verge of detecting worlds of different shapes.
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6:52 PM | Comical Immunity
Speaking of vaccines, my pal Maki Naro is a fantastic illustrator and pro-science guy, and he just put up a wonderful comic about why vaccines are important. I love this. He hits on lots of critical topics, like how our immune system works, how vaccines prime that system to fight off diseases, why herd immunity is important, and why it's hard to keep up with evolving viruses. Just as importantly, he hammers the anti-vaxxers who so richly deserve it, like Jenny McCarthy, Andrew Wakefield, and […]
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6:31 PM | New Japanese ALMA Video Is Breathtaking
Topically transcending cultures, the reasons the new Japanese ALMA video below might not get be as widely shared in America would be insignificant reasons.ALMA (the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) is one of my favorite projects in astronomy, yielding some of the most freaking ridiculously beautiful data humans have yet to discover and render.  The most well known ALMA related image is probably this one, the Antennae Galaxies composite of ALMA and Hubble […]
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5:53 PM | Reporting from the 2014 Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union
In San Francisco, in an annual tradition, more than 20,000 geologists are descending on the Moscone Center. I'll be attending #AGU14 this week, but you can also watch press briefings and many of the sessions online.
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5:44 PM | Ep. 359: Modern Women: Margaret Geller
Margaret Geller is best known for her work on the large scale structure of the Universe, helping us understand the large clusters, super clusters and cosmic filaments that matter clumps into. Ep. 359: Modern Women: Margaret Geller Jump to Shownotes Jump to Transcript Show Notes Sponsors: 8th Light and Swinburne Astronomy Online Astronomy Cast on […]
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5:00 PM | Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko Is As Grey As Its Name Is Difficult To Pronounce.
Admittedly, my Russian is rusty, but these names, I think, even native speakers are baffled by the names.  The comet named after them is apparently as bland as it is difficult to pronounce. The latest image released, and the first color image, of the comet shows a dark grey mass floating in space.  The image … Continue reading →
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4:27 PM | A Rain of (Teeny) Asteroids
Over the weekend, the Geminid meteor shower came to a peak. This annual event occurs when the Earth plows through debris left behind by the asteroid 3200 Phaethon as it orbits the Sun (it gets so close to the Sun that bits of the rock vaporize and blow off the asteroid). Each little bit of interplanetary detritus is moving at about 35 kilometers/sec (22 miles/sec), fast enough that as it rams through our air, it heats up enough to become incandescent, and we see a “shooting star.” I […]
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4:05 PM | Mostra Food: quante ne sai sul cibo?
A Milano fino al 28 giugno, il Museo di Storia naturale ospita una mostra sulla scienza che si nasconde dentro i piatti. Evoluzione, storia e segreti del cibo, aspettando Expo
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3:44 PM | What would you like to learn in 2015?
As I’ve mentioned on several occasions, I’m director of CosmoAcademy: the branch of the CosmoQuest public outreach/citizen science organization that runs online classes. We’ve had a good year, offering a variety of classes on many topics. Now we’re looking ahead to 2015 and the sorts of things we want to offer in the new year. […]
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2:39 PM | Opting Your Kid Out of Vaccination? That’s Sickening.
Hmmm, it’s been a while since I’ve posted on how anti-vaccination propaganda is making people sick and putting children needlessly at risk for terrible diseases. [Opens up map, looks around, sees blinking red alarm light over Michigan.] Ah, Michigan, that bifurcated mitten by the lake. I spent three years at U of M and grew quite fond of it. But then, I didn’t get measles or whooping cough while I was there. You have a decent risk of that now, due to low vaccination rates. In […]
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2:00 PM | Frozen's Olaf the Snowman Floats in Zero-G
Olaf, the goofy snowman from Disney's hit film Frozen, is floating aboard the International Space Station.
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12:52 PM | Come nasce un origami
Un team di ricercatori della University of Pennsylvania ha formalizzato le regole base di creazione degli origami. Per costruirci tutt’altro  
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9:00 AM | Marvin Goldberger, Always Called “Murph”: Part 2
Part 1 is here. While Murph was still at Princeton, in his first years there, he was spending summers consulting, sometimes for defense contractors, sometimes for the Los Alamos National Laboratory.  (A lot of physicists did this: academic scientists’ salaries run for nine months; they needed summer money.)  Then a little later, during the post-Sputnik years, […]
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8:54 AM | Il più completo albero della vita degli uccelli
Uno speciale su Science spiega come questi vertebrati si siano evoluti dopo l’estinzione di massa dei dinosauri avvenuta circa 66 milioni di anni fa  
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7:00 AM | From the Frontline: La Trobe University
Burn-off policies could be contributing to extinctions.
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7:00 AM | From the vault: The weird and wonderful world of animals
A look back at some of our most popular articles.
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7:00 AM | Ada Lovelace, prophet of the computer age
The daughter of Lord Byron was the first to grasp computer programming.
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7:00 AM | Has carbon capture’s time finally come?
How will China meet its new emissions target?
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7:00 AM | How Buddhist singing bowls inspired solar cell design
Scientists discuss their discoveries and why they matter.
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7:00 AM | Did our DNA arrive from space?
The blueprint for life is tougher than we thought.
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4:00 AM | Un nuovo metodo per tarare il ‘righello cosmico’
Per la prima volta, alcuni ricercatori dell’Imperial College di Londra e dell’Università di Barcellona hanno utilizzato i dati di alcune survey astronomiche per tarare una distanza standard, fondamentale per misurare il tasso di espansione dell’Universo. In precedenza, la dimensione di questo “righello standard” è stata derivata da modelli teorici che si basano sulla relatività generale per … Continue reading Un nuovo metodo per […]
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1:41 AM | LHC Revs-Up for Most Powerful Particle Collisions Ever
The LHC is on the verge of restarting for its second 3-year run that will see it double its collisional energy and dramatically step-up the search for new physics.

December 14, 2014

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10:56 PM | Talk : A Defence of the Monte Carlo Simulation
Interesting Cafe Sci talk recently by Dr Nira Chamberlain on the "Monte Carlo" Simulation and how, in Dr Chamberlains view, it had been unfairly blamed for the 2008 financial crisis. This post is based on the talk, with a little extra linkage thrown in. Dr Chamberlain is a professional mathematician, has been named as one of the UK's 100 leading practical scientists, and is an advocate for mathematics (see also here). The Monte Carlo simulation is a way of solving mathematical problems by […]
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10:34 PM | Weekend Diversion: 25th anniversary of Wendy’s training music videos (Synopsis)
“If there are things you don’t like in the world you grew up in, make your own life different.” -Dave Thomas That’s great advice, and is the same advice that the iconic Grandmaster Flash not only pushed in his legendary song, The Message, but also lived. The music style he helped developed had a tremendous impact…
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10:33 PM | Weekend Diversion: 25th anniversary of Wendy’s training music videos
Time to bring back the VHS players… and the magical rapping black man to train the new employees!Continue reading on Medium »
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10:26 PM | Talk : Maths in Society
Went to an interesting Cafe Sci talk recently in which Dr Snezana Lawrence (Senior Lecturer in Mathematics Education at Bath Spa University) discussed how mathematics was perceived in society and how it was taught to schoolchildren. This post is based on the talk, with some added linkage thrown in. Dr Lawrence began by describing how she had once addressed an audience of around 70 people from the London Mathematical Society to raise their hands if they were mathematicians and was surprised to […]
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7:50 PM | Comments of the Week #39: From Genesis to Fate
Kid: “Mortal Kombat, on Sega Genesis, is the best video game ever.” Billy Madison: “I disagree, it’s a very good game, but I think Donkey Kong is the best game ever.” Kid: “Donkey Kong sucks.” Billy Madison: “You know something? YOU SUCK!” -Billy Madison, 1995 Every week brings with it something new, but this is…
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