Posts Tagged ‘science’

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What am I watching?

January 19, 2015

ceres

Look at this marvelous animated gif of the dwarf planet, Ceres, taken by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft.

Thanks to Lights in the Dark for this post.

This is where you can find Ceres.  It is remarkable for a number of reasons, not the least of which is because scientists suspect there is a significant amount of water present on Ceres under a layer of ice.

742px-Ceres_Orbit.svg“Ceres Orbit” by Orionist

I hope we will see more photos soon as Dawn gets nearer to Ceres.

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Why am I looking for Zefram Cochrane on tattoo Tuesday?

January 13, 2015

warp3

Shades of Star Trek First Contact, an Omaha man is fiddling around in his garage working on warp fields.  This story from Dave Reneke.

David Pares is maybe not how you’d imagine a scientist trying to prove the existence of warp fields (and then harness them), but he is the one who seems to be trying the hardest. Its science fiction finally coming true.

Armed with all the money and free time he possesses, Pares has been tirelessly exploring what some people have dismissed as a pointless endeavor. But a lack of funding or scientific support won’t stop him. While NASA’s Harold “Sonny” White is exploring warp bubbles in a more theoretical way, Pares is taking a more hands-on approach.

warp5Dave Pares and his workshop/laboratory

He’s toiling over a Faraday cage and constructing a V-shaped device made up of three panels with fractal arrays that he believes can compress the very fabric of space. Pares does so at the headquarters for Space Warp Dynamics, aka his garage.

warp2

Pares contends that warp bubbles occur naturally all of the time right here on earth.  Through his work he is attempted to test that theory.

warp4

That’s how the Wright Brothers did it.

And the tattoo, because it is Tuesday.

warp-weft-tattoo-on-wrists

 

 

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What am I looking at now?

October 23, 2014

Partial_solar_eclipse_Tromsø_2011-05-31

I’ll be looking through welder’s glass to see the partial solar eclipse this evening.  It will most likely be overcast, but I am hoping to see a bit of it before nightfall.  I hope you get a good view.

Take a look at the cool animated graphics at Shadow and Substance.  Scroll down to see all the info.

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What am I sappy cat blogging?

October 10, 2014

 

While these big kitties are acting like my Sam and Hobbes, I say don’t try this at home.

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What am I smelling?

October 2, 2014

old books

This post is a reblog from IFLS – with thanks.

 

Old books have a distinctive smell that can make any book lover’s heart melt. Matija Strlic of University College London described it to The Telegraph as “a combination of grassy notes with a tang of acids and a hint of vanilla over an underlying mustiness, this unmistakable smell is as much a part of the book as its contents.”

The secret to the scent is within the hundreds of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that make up the book’s paper pages, ink, and adhesive. Over time, the VOCs break down, releasing the chemicals into the air that are picked up by our noses. New books also have a trademark aroma, but it isn’t quite as developed as their older counterparts. Additionally, different materials used in manufacturing the book will alter the VOC profile.

Compound Chemistry reports that hints of almond are created by benzaldehyde, while vanillin emits notes of vanilla. Sweet smells come from toluene and ethyl benzene, and 2-ethyl hexanol produces a light floral fragrance. Additionally, the book can also retain some odors it has been exposed to during its history, such as smoke, water damage, or pressed flowers between the pages.

Knowing why paper smells as it does is more than just a fun fact; it could be used to help libraries “sniff out” which books and papers are in danger of degradation. Identifying these aging manuscripts could allow them to be preserved and protected. Strlic led a study published in Analytical Chemistry in 2009 that found 15 VOCs which break down more rapidly than others.

If you’ve switched to an e-reader but miss the smell of old books while you read, there are many options for candles, perfumes, and air fresheners that will help your room smell like a comfy old library.

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What am I watching?

September 24, 2014
Perpetual Ocean [hd video]

 

Reblogged from The Art in Science:

NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio produced this video demonstrating how the earths tides ebb and flow around the world. It doesn’t include narration or annotation because, they explain, ‘The goal was to use ocean flow data to create a simple, visceral experience’.

The visualization shows ocean surface currents around the world during the period from June 2005 through December 2007 – these figures are plotted into a computer that takes in shed loads of data and outputs pretty things like this – I love when computers do that. The computational model is called Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean, Phase II (ECCO2 for short).

It can calculate ocean flow at all depths but this particular video shows only surface flows. NASA describe it as a ‘high resolution model of the global ocean and sea-ice. ECCO2 attempts to model the oceans and sea ice to increasingly accurate resolutions that begin to resolve ocean eddies and other narrow-current systems which transport heat and carbon in the oceans’.

The dark areas under the ocean  show the the undersea bathymetry (basically the opposite of topography). The bathymetry and land topography are exaggerated to enhance the contrast – bathymetry by 20 times and topography by 40 times.

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Why am I not burping?

September 7, 2014

spacegraphics

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

I thought the fact about burping was really interesting.