Posts Tagged ‘science’


Why am I not burping?

September 7, 2014


I am reblogging this from Dave Reneke’s terrific site.

I thought the fact about burping was really interesting.


What am I celebrating today?

August 16, 2014

HoneybeeToday is National Honeybee Day. If you have trouble telling your bees apart, click here for some help with identification.

Wiki: Honey bees are bees of the genus Apis, primarily distinguished by the production and storage of honey and the construction of perennial, colonial nests from wax. Honey bees are the only extant members of the tribe Apini, all in the genus Apis.


This is a day to celebrate bees and to raise awareness about their importance to agriculture.

“Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don’t they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.”
― Ray Bradbury

“If the bee disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live.”
― Maurice Maeterlinck


honey-bee(85)Photo: Absolut

I recommend enjoying the day with a Honey Bee Cocktail

  • 6 Parts Dark Rum of Jamaican Type
  • 2 Parts Lime Juice
  • 1 Part Runny Honey

Fill a shaker with ice cubes. Add all ingredients. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.



What event am I commemorating?

July 1, 2014

This post is reblogged from Lights in the Dark, with thanks.

Cassini Marks Ten Discovery-Filled Years at Saturn

Cassini by the Numbers: an infographic of the spacecraft's achievements over the past decade (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Just a week after Curiosity celebrated its first Martian year in Gale Crater and we have yet another milestone anniversary in Solar System exploration: as of 10:48 p.m. EDT tonight Cassini will have been in orbit around Saturn for a full decade!

“There are times when human language is inadequate, when emotions choke the mind, when the magnitude of events cannot properly be conveyed by the same syllables we use to navigate everyday life. The evening of June 30, 2004 was such a time.” 

– Carolyn Porco, Cassini Imaging Team Leader, CICLOPS “Captain’s Log” on June 30, 2014

That’s ten years and over 2 billion miles of discoveries and explorations of our Solar System’s most majestic planet and its incredibly varied family of moons. Over the course of its primary mission and three extended missions, we have been able to get a close-up look at Saturn and its moons like never before, witnessing first-hand the changes that occur as their seasons change. What’s been discovered by the Cassini mission about Saturn has offered invaluable insight into the evolution of our entire Solar System, as well as planets that could be found elsewhere in our galaxy.

“Having a healthy, long-lived spacecraft at Saturn has afforded us a precious opportunity,” said Linda Spilker, Cassini project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “By having a decade there with Cassini, we have been privileged to witness never-before-seen events that are changing our understanding of how planetary systems form and what conditions might lead to habitats for life.”

Launched on October 15, 1997, the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft established orbit around Saturn on June 30, 2004 (July 1, UTC).

Enceladus' icy geysers, one of the most important discoveries by Cassini

From a NASA news release:

After 10 years at Saturn, the stalwart spacecraft has beamed back to Earth hundreds of gigabytes of scientific data, enabling the publication of more than 3,000 scientific reports. Representing just a sampling, 10 of Cassini’s top accomplishments and discoveries are:

The surface of Titan seen by the Huygens probe in 2005 (ESA/NASA/JPL)

• The Huygens probe makes first landing on a moon in the outer solar system (Titan)
• Discovery of active, icy plumes on the Saturnian moon Enceladus
• Saturn’s rings revealed as active and dynamic — a laboratory for how planets form
• Titan revealed as an Earth-like world with rain, rivers, lakes and seas
• Studies of Saturn’s great northern storm of 2010-2011
• Studies reveal radio-wave patterns are not tied to Saturn’s interior rotation, as previously thought
Vertical structures in the rings imaged for the first time
• Study of prebiotic chemistry on Titan
• Mystery of the dual, bright-dark surface of the moon Iapetus solved
• First complete view of the north polar hexagon and discovery of giant hurricanes at both of Saturn’s poles

“It’s incredibly difficult to sum up 10 extraordinary years of discovery in a short list, but it’s an interesting exercise to think about what the mission will be best remembered for many years in the future,” Spilker said.

(Learn more about each of the above discoveries here.)

“Our team has done a fantastic job optimizing trajectories to save propellant, and we’ve learned to operate the spacecraft to get the most out of it that we possibly can. We’re proud to celebrate a decade of exploring Saturn, and we look forward to many discoveries still to come.”

– Earl Maize, Cassini project manager at JPL

Of course, if you’re like me some of the most exciting parts of the Cassini mission have been the pictures! What amazing views of Saturn, its rings, and its moons we’ve gotten from Cassini… each one a glorious gem in its own right, and thanks to the talent and hard work of the Cassini imaging team at the Space Science Institute (SSI) in Boulder, Colo. the entire world has been able to go along for the ride… and very near literally, too.

Mosaic from the Cassini imaging team of Saturn on July 19, 2013… the “Day the Earth Smiled” (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI)

If you’d like to relive the experience of Cassini’s ten years at Saturn as a photojournal, visit SSI’s CICLOPS page here and check out the pictures on a month-by-month basis across the entire mission timeline (including some equally incredible images from its previous Jupiter encounter as well!)

You can also see some of the Cassini team’s favorite images from Saturn here, and find out what’s coming up in the next few years as Cassini’s explorations continue!

Here’s to many more discoveries about our Solar System’s very own “lord of the rings!”


What is tattoo Tuesday about?

June 3, 2014


Science Ink / Buchbesprechung /WISSENSCHAFTI thought this was a lovely geology tattoo on a graduate student that celebrates her field of study.

I am reading a book on the geology of the Cleveland region that was published in 1940 and found in a bunch of books that were being discarded (!)

Here are a couple of the figures from that book.  I find interesting the different intersection land forms that make up this area – and the fact that I live on top of the last foothill of the Appalachian Plateau.  Interesting in history, if not in altitude.





Why am I saying, “Oooooooo!”?

May 8, 2014




From the Daily Timewaster.



What am I sappy cat blogging?

May 2, 2014

lionsHow cool is this!  The Friends of the National Zoo are auctioning a chance to learn to train one of their lions.

The description reads:

Join a lion keeper for a crash course on animal training! During this special behind-the-scenes experience you will learn about operant conditioning and the importance of training the National Zoo’s lions. Afterward you will have the opportunity to observe a real live training session between one of the Zoo’s lions and their trainer. This unique experience ends with an opportunity to a try out your new skills as a trainer!

There are a lot of other things to bid for on the site – all going to support the Smithsonian institutions.  One I particularly like is the sloth bear spray painting.  Suggested value $325.


Here is the link to these and more items.


What is tattoo Tuesday about?

April 15, 2014

eclipse tattoo

The tattoo this week is about the lunar eclipse.  A lunar eclipse is a fascinating sight.  This time, however, I missed it because this is what I woke up to.


I hope the daffodils survive.   I was at the beach on Sunday – brought a book and a lawn chair and sat in the sun – temps in the upper 70s at least.  The temperature of the lake?  That is another matter entirely.  It won’t warm up until much later. Too often we go from winter directly into summer (and back again) here is the Connecticut Western Reserve.

I will try to catch another lunar eclipse later in the year.  This information is from NASA:

For people in the United States, an extraordinary series of lunar eclipses is about to begin.

The action starts on April 15th when the full Moon passes through the amber shadow of Earth, producing a midnight eclipse visible across North America. So begins a lunar eclipse tetrad—a series of 4 consecutive total eclipses occurring at approximately six month intervals.  The total eclipse of April 15, 2014, will be followed by another on Oct. 8, 2014, and another on April 4, 2015, and another on Sept. 28 2015.


What am I inventing?

April 3, 2014


What am I inventing?

Anti-gravity clothing

Think about it


What am I Lego-loving?

February 26, 2014

lego jupiter

David Reneke at Dave Reneke’s World of Space and Astronomy posted this wonderful story about strange and unusual objects that people have launched into space.  What caught my eye, of course, were the LEGO characters of Magellan, Jupiter and Juno being carried on a probe to Jupiter.

Mini-figurines of Galileo and the Roman deities Jupiter and Juno were launched in 2011 aboard NASA’s Juno spacecraft en route to Jupiter . LEGO has flown products aboard the U.S. Space Shuttles and to the International Space Station previously, but Juno’s cargo represents the “most distant LEGO launch” ever. The figurines will burn up in Jupiter’s atmosphere along with the spacecraft at the end of the mission in October 2017.

Among the other objects launched are a Florida state quarter, the famous golden disc,  the Mars penny, and a wheel of cheese.   What would you send into space?


Why am I shivering?

February 22, 2014

This has been a cold, cold winter for us in the old Western Reserve, and elsewhere along the Great Lakes.  This story is from New Scientist.


Look out below! These people appear doomed by a gigantic overhead explosion. But they’re safe. The firework-like formations are actually icicles formed by huge waves that batter the Apostle Islands sea caves in the south-west corner of Lake Superior, just off the coast of Wisconsin.

The caves are normally inaccessible. But the exceptionally cold weather in the US this year has led to almost record coverage of ice over the Great Lakes, creating a safe route to the caves for the first time since 2009.

icecaves1Frosted Lakes

(Image: NOAA)

An estimated 10,000 visitors have trekked over since the route was declared safe by the US National Parks Service on 15 January.

The Parks Service says that access could remain until as late as March, but warns visitors to take no chances with creaky ice on the lake, and to beware falling ice if they do make it to the caves.