August 05, 2014

12:52 PM | Status update for Project MERCCURI
From @Jennomics (a co-PI on Project MERCCURI): Status update for Project MERCCURI: Our [surface] samples are being stored in a -80C freezer on the ISS. But, there is a problem with the equipment (plate reader) that will be used to run our “growth competition” experiment. The company that we are working with, NanoRacks is working hard to troubleshoot the problem. It isn’t clear now whether there is a problem with the inner workings of the equipment or the touchscreen […]
11:15 AM | Rae: Science Cheerleader, Chemist, and (awesome!) STEM communicator! (She’s also the managing editor of SciStarter!)
Here’s Raecca (Rae): Science Cheerleader, blogger, and SciStarter managing editor (among other things!) Hi, Rae! What got you into science? As a high school student, I enjoyed my math and science classes. If you gave me the option to solve an equation or read a novel, I would choose the equation every time. My senior-level science teachers were able to explain concepts in a clear manner, but they also infused humor whenever they could. My senior level math teachers were all...[ Read […]

August 04, 2014

8:06 PM | Generating primes in LaTeX
Inspired by a recent discussion on the wonders of , I started thinking about how easy it would be to generate prime numbers in . Well, unsurprisingly, it was presented as an example by Knuth using trial division in The TeXbook (download) in 1984: You can also do it by sieving; check out the examples […]
7:02 PM | How would scientists do on a public "science literacy" test -- and should we care? Stocklmayer & Bryant vs. NSF Indicators “Science literacy” scale part 2
So . . . this is the second post on the interesting paper Stocklmayer, S. M., & Bryant, C. Science and the Public—What should people know?, International Journal of Science Education, Part B, 2(1), 81-101 (2012).  Skip ahead to the bolded red text if you still vividly remember the first (as if it were posted “only yesterday”) or simply don’t care what it said & want to go straight to something quite interesting—the results […]
9:08 AM | Science Cheerleader Memorie: pursuing a Ph.D. while cheering for the WNBA.
I want to be an example of an intelligent and extremely hard-working cheerleader. I would also like to be a role model for young girls and other women, showing them that it is possible to have a successful career in science while at the same time following their other passions, such as cheerleading and dancing.
3:00 AM | Science Quiz – August 4, 2014
Every week, I create a science quiz for The Hindu newspaper’s In School product. It consists of 10 questions and only developments from the week preceding its day of publication (Monday). The answers are at the end. But this week’s quiz is a little different. 2014 marks the hundredth year after the start of World…
2:43 AM | Is There a Current or Imminent Global Food Shortage?
While environmental change may crimp food production, that has little to do with current food shortages, We're currently overproducing food crops and throwing them away on our habit of raising animal flesh in the cruelest and most efficient possible way, Globalization means that in the end, your food dollar competes with the food penny of the desperately poor. Your revealed preference in the marketplace is to eat large amounts of meat and dairy products and starve five poor people rather than […]

August 03, 2014

11:11 PM |
We are plagued by grumpy nostalgists — mystics on both wings who preach hostility to science & technology and yearn for the past. Our only route is forward. The answer to the problems generated by science is… more science. Open science, innovative, reciprocally critical & transparent, searching for positive sum games, able to detect potential errors. [more]
9:17 PM | Stephanie: Military aerospace engineer and former college cheerleader, working on dual MSE + MBA degrees!
There seems to be this perception that engineers hole themselves up in their labs or cubicles, working on equations all day long without any interaction with other people. While this might be true for some engineers, the majority of us are constantly working with others in some way or another. You may have to collaborate on a design together, give a presentation about your work, or share your assessment of test results or reports.
5:55 PM | Science Cheerleader Britney: Software engineer and WNBA cheerleader.
"The general stereotype around people in IT is that we are not personable or friendly, and that we sit in front of our computers all day. Wrong!"
1:46 PM | Asteroid scientists vent their concerns about ARM
At first glance, planetary scientists who study asteroids might seem to be obvious supporters of NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) plans. It would, after all, redirect a small near Earth asteroid (NEA) into lunar orbit, where astronauts would visit it and return perhaps many kilograms of samples. In fact, though, many planetary scientists have expressed [...]

August 02, 2014

2:31 PM | Keeping up with the radioxenons
After the first of two nuclear weapon tests by North Korea, in 2006, a monitoring station in Yellowknife, Canada, caught a whiff of xenon-133, a radioactive isotope of xenon, in the atmosphere. It had been released by the blast and had traveled more than 7,500 km. Being a noble gas, it hadn’t reacted to anything on the way. The Yellowknife… Continue reading Keeping up with the radioxenons

August 01, 2014

7:08 PM | Plotting transmission losses
Transmission loss in GWh in India. Data from Central Electricity Authority. Click on the image for hi-res version. All data available here. Code: Transmission loss as % of net generation in GWh. Net generation = Gross generation — consumption by auxiliary power plant units Code (R): (Model used to fit: LOESS) Rise of net supply… Continue reading Plotting transmission losses
4:13 PM | Edwards more optimistic about NASA authorization, less so about other legislation
While NASA administrator Charles Bolden expressed skepticism earlier this week that a NASA authorization bill would make it through Congress this year, a leading member of the House Science Committee said in a recent interview she is more optimistic about the bill’s prospects, but less so about two other pieces of space-related legislation. “I feel [...]

July 31, 2014

5:10 PM | NASA announces Mars 2020 rover payload
On July 31, NASA announced the roster of instruments that would hitch a ride on board its planned rover to the red planet in 2020. John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Headquarters, Washington, said the instruments would extend the search for life in Mars’s past, conduct geological and environmental...Continue reading →
1:59 PM | Today’s “University View” column in the Western Mail
This is the short article I wrote for the University View column in today’s Western Mail: Technology is arguably the biggest lever on our lives, affecting everything from the way we communicate, do business, shop, travel, access information and are entertained. Our dependence on digital infrastructure is increasing all the time; from the demand for […]
11:37 AM | New category: Exoplanets
Of late, telescopes like Kepler, Spitzer and ALMA are revealing new things about exoplanets as much as they’re exposing how clueless we are about their origins. Unlike in the search for life, where our only precedents are terrestrial, the search for and study of exoplanet systems is aided by Kepler’s revelation of hundreds of them,...Continue reading →
5:28 AM | Why do tilted/eccentric orbits form?
For all its mysteries, the Solar System is uniquely ideal in many ways. For one, while it has rocky inner planets and giant, gassy outer ones, astronomers have found that elsewhere, massive exoplanets often orbit close to their stars, as if they formed at a greater distance and then moved in. For another, the orbits of the...Continue reading →
2:29 AM | Bolden skeptical about prospects for NASA authorization bill this year
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said Wednesday he is not optimistic that Congress will pass a NASA authorization bill this year, and expects to start the 2015 fiscal year on a continuing resolution (CR). Bolden, speaking at a meeting of the NASA Advisory Council (NAC) at the Langley Research Center in Virginia, said he was more [...]

July 30, 2014

9:38 PM | Quick Heads Up For Some Spooky Action At A Distance Talk
Late, late, late I am in getting this out to you, but I’m doing another webcast/podcast for Virtually Speaking Science today. I’ll be talking to my MIT colleague, David Kaiser, who is a physicist and a historian of science in our Science Technology and Society program.  He’s also an excellent popular science writer, and we’ll […]
5:12 PM | Upcoming Science Cheerleader events. Be there and be square!
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11:36 AM | Curious Bends – commoner panthers, space diplomacy, big data sells big cars and more
Curious Bends is a weekly newsletter about science, tech., data and India. Akshat Rathi and I curate it. You can subscribe to it here. If have feedback, suggestions, or would just generally like to get in touch, just email us. 1. Why the GM debate in India won’t abate It is a sign of its inadequacy...Continue reading →

July 29, 2014

10:10 AM | Panel sees ASTEROIDS Act as step in right direction for space property rights
A bill introduced in the House earlier this month that establishes property rights for resources taken from asteroids is not perfect, but a step in the right direction towards a broader resolution of property rights in outer space, a conference panel argued last week. The American Space Technology for Exploring Resource Opportunities in Deep Space [...]
8:42 AM | How Do You Know Your Respirator Fits?
You might think your respirator fits, but you could be wrong. Recently I talked with a worker in a film production studio where props and artwork are created. He and his coworkers recently took part in an on-site respirator fit test from Actsafe, BC’s safety association for entertainment industries. “In my case, the mask was much too [...]
8:27 AM | Large & Dual Monitor Neck Syndrome
There is quite a conundrum office workers and IT purchasers are facing these days, and they may not even know it! Here it is: The latest monitor set-up (dual and/or large monitors) with resulting neck pain vs. Smaller monitor set-up with no neck pain User & Buyer Beware In our practice, we are finding more and more ergonomic problems associated [...]
8:10 AM | Whopping $816k OSHA Fine For Company That Provided False Documentation
Want to see a five-figure OSHA fine balloon into a six-figure one? This company did after it violated the terms of a settlement agreement, according to the agency. OSHA has fined Formed Fiber Technologies LLC of Sidney, Ohio, $816,500 for 14 citations including providing false documentation and making false representations about abatement of previous violations. OSHA [...]
7:39 AM | Safety Is Personal: A Highly Compelling & Emotional Story From a Business Owner
Related Training DVDs: Pro Active Safety Attitudes Target Zero Training DVD Help your facility reach for the highest safety standards and aim for zero accidents at work. View Product Safety Orientation On Alert Training DVD Customize your own new-hire training program to meet the unique needs of your facility. View [...]
3:23 AM | Accurate measurement of exoplanet radius
Using both the Kepler and the Spitzer space telescopes, scientists from NASA have made the most precise measurement of an exoplanet’s radius...

July 28, 2014

6:19 PM | How Is This Not Manslaughter?
How? Katherine Hoover, from New Port Richey, Fla., was visiting a friend in Brooksville, Fla. on Saturday along with her husband. Hoover was recently married and five months pregnant. William DeHayes was showing Hoover his gun collection. While he was showing her his .22 caliber revolver, it accidentally fired and shot Hoover in the head, […]
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