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Posts

April 18, 2014

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1:45 PM | First Earth-Size Planet Is Discovered in Another Star’s ‘Habitable Zone’
A team of astronomers that includes Penn State scientists has […]
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1:42 PM | Chronic inflammation linked to ‘high-grade’ prostate cancer
Men who show signs of chronic inflammation in non-cancerous prostate […]
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1:23 PM | In Which I Read Hard Science Fiction
Astonishingly, in the last few weeks, I’ve actually found time to read some– gasp– novels. In particular, I finished two books that probably belong in the “Hard SF” genre: A Darkling Sea by James L. Cambias and Lockstep by Karl Schroeder. Both Jim and Karl are people I’ve met many times at cons; I’ve enjoyed…
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12:20 PM | Kepler Finds First Earth-size Planet in the Habitable Zone
In a April 17 news release NASA has announced that astronomers using the Kepler Space Telescope have discovered the first Earth-size planet orbiting a star in the circumstellar habitable zone, or the range of distance from a star where liquid water might pool on the surface of an orbiting planet, aka the Goldilocks Zone. Though […]
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11:40 AM | Neutrons method to test dark energy theories by sensitive measurements of gravity at small scales
Non sempre occorre un acceleratore di particelle per fare esperimenti di fisica fondamentale. I primi risultati di un esperimento a bassa energia sulla gravità newtoniana, spinto fino ad un limite […]
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11:30 AM | The biotech industry with Rob Carlson
In this interview, I speak to Dr. Rob Carlson, a Principal at Biodesic, an engineering and strategic consulting firm in Seattle that provides services to governments and corporations around the globe. At the broadest level, Dr. Carlson is interested in the future role of biology as a human technology. He is the author of the book Biology is Technology: The Promise, Peril, and New Business of Engineering Life, published in 2010 by Harvard University Press; it received the […]
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8:00 AM | At the Tone, it Will be ‘Now’ O’Clock
The Problem of Now I don’t spend much effort thinking about this sort of issue, since I’m much more interested in the experimental aspects of measuring time than the philosophical aspects of it, but I’ve run across some folks who think this problem of “Now” is so perplexing they can’t get past it. (again, because [...]

April 17, 2014

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9:04 PM | Unexplained Absence: An Engineer’s Cautionary Tale
You may have noticed, (I hope at least), that I haven’t written here in a while. Here’s why. In January, we went camping during a sunny yet cool weekend in Sommerville, TX. It was nice to get outside and to … Continue reading →
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8:07 PM | Kepler's Latest Results Offer Most Habitable Exoplanet Yet
Exoplanets that are most likely to host life have eluded detection, until now. As far as we understand, the most likely place to find extraterrestrial life outside of our solar system is on a planet that is similar in size to Earth and located within the habitable zone of its host star where temperatures are just right for the abundance of liquid water. Comparison of Earth and Kepler 186f. To the right you can see the orbit of Kepler 186f compared to the other four exoplanets in the system that […]
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8:06 PM | Tune in Friday for a Webcast on BICEP2 Images of Gravitational Waves in the Cosmic Microwave Background
From the Kavli Foundation announcement . . ."THE FIRST DEFINITIVE PROOF that the universe underwent an almost unimaginably fast expansion when it was only a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second old has taken the world by storm. This sudden growth spurt was first theorized more than three decades ago. Yet only last month did astrophysicists reveal "smoking gun" evidence that the universe swelled from microscopic to cosmic size in an instant — an announcement that's being […]
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7:44 PM | Magnetic nanovoyagers in human blood
While nanotechnology researchers have made great progress over the past few years in developing self-propelled nano objects, these tiny devices still fall far short of what their natural counterparts' performance. Today, artificial nanomotors lack the sophisticated functionality of biomotors and are limited to a very narrow range of environments and fuels. In another step towards realizing the vision of tiny vessels roaming around in human blood vessels working as surgical nanorobots, […]
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7:18 PM | Exotic material is like a switch when super thin
Researchers have shown how to switch a particular transition metal oxide, a lanthanum nickelate, from a metal to an insulator by making the material less than a nanometer thick.
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6:48 PM | Distant Cousins: Kepler-186f
Big Eyed Beans from Venus – Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band! Cool. Literally Comparable to Mars in effective temperature, bit larger than Earth, probably slightly more massive than Earth (mean density could be lower), atmosphere unknown. Might well have extensive surface regions with persistent liquid water.
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6:41 PM | More effective kidney stone treatment, from the macroscopic to the nanoscale
Researchers have hit on a novel method to help kidney stone sufferers ensure they receive the correct and most effective treatment possible.
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6:35 PM | Thinnest feasible membrane produced
A new nano-membrane made out of graphene is extremely light and breathable. Not only can this open the door to a new generation of functional waterproof clothing, but also to ultra-rapid filtration. The membrane is as thin as is technologically possible.
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6:19 PM | The MFP-3D Infinity AFM Features Powerful New Capabilities and Stunning High Performance
Oxford Instruments Asylum Research announces the new MFP-3D Infinity Atomic Force Microscope (AFM). The MFP-3D Infinity is the new flagship of the Asylum Research MFP-3D AFM family with dramatic performance improvements, new nanomechanical measurement capabilities, and new features that make it simple to get started with tapping mode imaging.
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5:22 PM | Neurons in the Brain Tune into Different Frequencies for Different Spatial Memory Tasks
Your brain transmits information about your current location and memories […]
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3:57 PM | 3-D Curiosity!
Got your 3-D glasses (Anaglyph 3D) handy? The above image, taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, shows a stereo view of NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover, its tracks, and the surrounding Martian landscape. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ of Arizona) The image was created by combining information from three […]
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3:15 PM | Classifying Cognitive Style Across Disciplines
Educators have tried to boost learning by focusing on differences […]
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3:10 PM | A cross-section of the universe
An image of a galaxy cluster taken by the NASA/ESA […]
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3:05 PM | In sex-reversed cave insects, females have the penises
Researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on April 17 […]
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2:58 PM | Wireless power transfer achieved at 5-meter distance
The way electronic devices receive their power has changed tremendously […]
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2:56 PM | Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for
A statistical analysis of the gift “fulfillments” at several hundred […]
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2:55 PM | New evidence of suicide epidemic among India’s marginalised farmers
Latest statistical research finds strong causal links between areas with […]
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1:58 PM | NASA: Vitamin B3 Might Have Been Made in Space, Delivered by Meteorites
Ancient Earth might have had an extraterrestrial supply of vitamin […]
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1:54 PM | Radiation therapy for cervical cancer increases risk for colorectal cancer
Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston […]
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1:52 PM | Neighborhood cops: Some immune cells defend just 1 organ
Scientists have uncovered a new way the immune system may […]
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1:48 PM | String Experiment: Capillary Action is Complicated
As I’ve mentioned here before, I do a lot of work these days in my local Starbucks. This is slightly ironic, as I don’t like coffee– instead, I order tea, which I put in an insulated travel mug. I tend to get the tea, carry the mug back to the table, and let it steep…
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1:47 PM | Physics demonstrations: The Phantom Lightbulb
Some of the most spectacular physics demonstrations rely on surprisingly simple science.  Throughout history, for instance, very simple optics has been used to great effect to terrify and amaze audiences (see, for instance, Robertson’s Phantasmagoria).  I recently came across such … Continue reading →
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12:30 PM | Dynamically updated figures - real data! Looking for more.
There are a number of graphs that I like to use in astronomy class which are based on historical data.  Over the years, the graphs have become a bit dated and I needed to find new copies of them.  I then discovered that some of these are kept up-to-date online at all times.  Very cool!  Here's one that I discovered, but I'm really looking for more examples of these.http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/images/bfly.gifI really thought that I had more examples of these - images […]
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