Archive for the ‘science’ Category

Detective X

April 6, 2017

CSI 1930: Wilmer Souder of the National Bureau of Standards was the first Federal official to use rigorous scientific standards in the investigation of crime. Alexandre Lacassagne had used a similar approach in France in the 1880s, but science and technology had progressed in the intervening 50 years.

More:

“Why Nobody Remembers the Forefather of Forensic Science,” Erin Blakemore, Smithsonian

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Equinox

March 20, 2017

Equinox

March 20, 2017 marks the Equinox, when day and night are of equal length. The March Equinox is often called the Spring or Vernal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere (where days will now get longer) and the Fall or Autumn Equinox in Southern latitudes (where days will start to shorten).

Okay, days still stay 24 hours long, it’s the periods of daylight that get longer and shorter. Come on, lighten up. The UN says March 20th is also the International Day of Happiness.

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Did Comets Prepare Earth for Life?

February 9, 2017

Did Comets Prepare Earth for Life?

One of the big Space stories last year involved the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission to the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.  Data from the mission found that the 2.5 mile long “dirty snowball” orbiting the sun every 6.44 years contains not just frozen water and water vapor but the mineral phosphorus and the amino acid glycine, two more of the building blocks of life.

More:

“Rosetta’s comet has the right ingredients for life,” Rachel Feltman, Washington Post

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Image (“Comet, after Charles Martin”) by Mike Licht, who knows 67P has no tail. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Trump on Science

September 13, 2016

Trump on Science
Anti-vaxxer and GOP presidential candidate Donald J. Trump believes climate change is a Chinese hoax meant to make American industry less competitive and reduce the effectiveness of his own hairspray. Mr. Trump’s campaign is so anti-science that Scientific American magazine (founded 1845)  published a column noting that, in politics, “facts have become an undervalued commodity”:

“When the major Republican candidate for president has tweeted that global warming is a Chinese plot, threatens to dismantle a climate agreement 20 years in the making and to eliminate an agency that enforces clean air and water regulations, and speaks passionately about a link between vaccines and autism that was utterly discredited years ago, we can only hope that there is nowhere to go but up.”

— “Donald Trump’s Lack of Respect for Science Is Alarming,” Scientific American

Mr. Trumps’ words may deride global warming, but his actions tell another story. He wants permission to build sea walls to protect his coastal golf course in Ireland from sea level rise caused by climate change.

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Summer Science

July 30, 2016

The science of Summer, explained by the National Geographic Channel.

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Space Elevators

June 12, 2016

Space elevators explained, by Kurzgesagt (German for “in a nutshell”).

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Ode To A Flower

April 24, 2016

Richard Feynman – Ode To A Flower,” the voice of physicist Richard Feynman, Nobel-Prize laureate, with animation by Fraser Davidson, from the BBC Horizon program ‘The Pleasure of Finding Things Out.”

h/t: TKSST

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Happy Leap Day

February 29, 2016

Leap Year, explained by Joss Fong.

Related:

“Leap-Day Lore,”Jonathan Wolfe, New York Times

“Why is there a leap day? Is there an alternative?” Eva Botkin-Kowacki, Christian Science Monitor

“Woman, Born in 1972, Celebrates 11th Birthday,” Dan Friedell, Voice of America

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Four New Elements

January 4, 2016

Four New Elements

Four new chemical elements were officially added to the Periodic Table last week. The four new super-heavy elements were produced in the laboratory, and do not exist in nature.

Update:

“It’s official: 4 new elements added to periodic table have formal names,” Ben Guarino, Washington Post

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Airplane Poop and Public Health

August 16, 2015

Airplane Poop and Public Health

“Pooping on that 12 hour flight may be a public health service. Researchers from the Technical University of Denmark are siphoning off the sludge from international airline flights and using it to study the spread of infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance.

In a study in Scientific Reports, they break down their analysis of 18 different airplanes that arrived in Copenhagen from nine different cities around the world, looking for the presence of things like Salmonella and Clostridium difficile.

The team found that Salmonella was more prevalent in poop arriving from Southeast Asia, while the sludge from planes arriving from North America was more likely to contain C. difficile (a bacteria that causes a nasty drug-resistant infection). Planes arriving from Asia had higher rates of DNA from drug-resistant bacteria strains overall.”

— “Pooping on Airplanes Could Contribute to Public Health Research,” Shaunacy Ferro, Mental Floss

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