October 21st, 2013

colliderblog:

thespacegoat:

IC 1396: The Elephant’s Trunk Nebula

An ionized gas region located in the constellation Cepheus about 2,400 light years away from Earth; it is commonly called the Elephant’s Trunk nebula because of its appearance at visible light wavelengths, where there is a dark patch with a bright, sinuous rim. [image via]

these are just great

June 5th, 2013
About 1.5 billion light bulbs are sold each year in the U.S. today, each one an engine for converting the earth’s precious energy resources mostly into waste heat, pollution, and greenhouse gases.

A powerful statement on the need for basic research into more efficient lighting methods, like solid-state lighting that powers light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

Incandescent lights—the classic bulbs that use glowing wires of tungsten or other metals—convert only about 5% of their energy into visible light, with the rest lost as heat. Fluorescent bulbs, which use a chemical reaction to create light, push that efficiency up to about 20%, still wasting 80% of the electricity needed to keep homes and businesses bright. In both of these instances, light is only the byproduct of heat-generating reactions rather than the principal effect, making the technology inherently inefficient.

Brookhaven researchers are exploring the atomic-level inner-workings of LEDs in order to find cost-effective ways to one day illuminate everything from televisions to traffic lights with near perfect efficiency.

(via brookhavenlab)

December 30th, 2012
climateadaptation:

Why do polar bears matter? The Pacific Standard Magazine has published one of the most moving pieces I’ve read in a long, long while. It’s long been known that polar bears are endangered, and that the core reason is loss of habitat - sea-ice.
The bears are unique. We revere them not just because they’re cute and cuddly. But because they are masters of the environment, masters of “child care,” and just overall really fucking resilient animals. They depend on sea-ice for hunting food on a seasonal basis, which is a hard concept to wrap our heads around. But the bottom line is that sea-ice is disappearing as the earth warms, and the bears are not adapting their hunting techniques as fast as the ice is melting.
So, again, why do they matter? Author Zach Unger speculates on the answer:

And what we notice when we stare at these bears is that they’re a lot like us. They’re smart and tough and they nurture their young. They’re cute and cuddly and unpredictably ferocious. They’re the top of the food chain, they’re without natural predators.
This isn’t some red-legged frog, warty and swamp-dwelling, that faces annihilation. This is a master predator, a carnivore, with hands and feet and hair. This bear is the boss. So when we think about polar bears going extinct, it’s not their absence that worries us; it’s our own. And because it’s our fault—and because it may be our future—the bears have become the most important animals on earth. After ourselves, of course.

Zach’s piece includes a slideshow, interactive maps and charts, and a video covering the challenges polar bears face. We are witnessing - indeed cataloging every step - of the polar bear’s extinction.
As we end 2012 and reflect on what has been, this article (one of the best I’ve read in a long while) is a sober glimpse into the future of what is to be.
PSMAG

climateadaptation:

Why do polar bears matter? The Pacific Standard Magazine has published one of the most moving pieces I’ve read in a long, long while. It’s long been known that polar bears are endangered, and that the core reason is loss of habitat - sea-ice.

The bears are unique. We revere them not just because they’re cute and cuddly. But because they are masters of the environment, masters of “child care,” and just overall really fucking resilient animals. They depend on sea-ice for hunting food on a seasonal basis, which is a hard concept to wrap our heads around. But the bottom line is that sea-ice is disappearing as the earth warms, and the bears are not adapting their hunting techniques as fast as the ice is melting.

So, again, why do they matter? Author Zach Unger speculates on the answer:

And what we notice when we stare at these bears is that they’re a lot like us. They’re smart and tough and they nurture their young. They’re cute and cuddly and unpredictably ferocious. They’re the top of the food chain, they’re without natural predators.

This isn’t some red-legged frog, warty and swamp-dwelling, that faces annihilation. This is a master predator, a carnivore, with hands and feet and hair. This bear is the boss. So when we think about polar bears going extinct, it’s not their absence that worries us; it’s our own. And because it’s our fault—and because it may be our future—the bears have become the most important animals on earth. After ourselves, of course.

Zach’s piece includes a slideshow, interactive maps and charts, and a video covering the challenges polar bears face. We are witnessing - indeed cataloging every step - of the polar bear’s extinction.

As we end 2012 and reflect on what has been, this article (one of the best I’ve read in a long while) is a sober glimpse into the future of what is to be.

PSMAG

(via landscapearchitecture)

October 2nd, 2012
Here’s What the Space Around Earth Sounds Like



The noises, often picked up here on Earth by ham-radio operators, are called Earth’s “chorus” as they are reminiscent of a chorus of birds chirping in the early morning. 

[Image: NASA]

Here’s What the Space Around Earth Sounds Like

The noises, often picked up here on Earth by ham-radio operators, are called Earth’s “chorus” as they are reminiscent of a chorus of birds chirping in the early morning. 

[Image: NASA]

(via wnyc)

September 24th, 2012

hydrogeneportfolio:

Minimal Posters - Six Women Who Changed Science. And The World.

(via n-a-s-a)

September 4th, 2012

burnedshoes:

Unknown photographer, 1927, Fifth Solvay Conference on Physics, Brussels

This is an amazing photo that gathers so many nobel prize winners in one picture. Only one woman, Madame Curie as she’s being titled in the caption, full name: Marie Skłodowska-Curie.

(Source: burnedshoes)

August 7th, 2012
July 10th, 2012

physicsphysics:

Listen to the Higgs Boson.

Who would have thought that the sound of God would tune on a habanera rhythm?

Researchers say they have “sonified” the data from the Atlas experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland, making it possible to “hear” the newly discovered Higgs Boson-like particle, dubbed the “God particle” by Nobel-prize winning physicist Leon Lederman.

The result is a melody which resembles the dotted rhythm of the habanera, a Cuban dance which became popular in Spain in the early 19th century.

On Wednesday July 4, scientists at CERN announced that they had found a Higgs-like particle after analyzing results from the Large Hadron Collider. Researchers detected a “bump” in their data corresponding to a particle weighing in at 126 gigaelectronvolts (GeV), consistent with the Higgs Boson, which is believed to give mass to all other particles.

“As soon as the announcement was made, we begun working on the sonification of the experimental data,” Domenico Vicinanza, product manager at Dante (Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe), Cambridge, UK, told Discovery News.

Vicinanza led the Higgs sonification project collaborating with Mariapaola Sorrentino of ASTRA Project (Cambridge), who contributed to the sonification process, and Giuseppe La Rocca (INFN Catania), who was in charge of  the computing framework.

“Sonification worked by attaching a musical note to each data. So, when you hear the resulting melody you really are hearing the data,” Vicinanza said.

The researchers mapped intervals between values in the original data set to interval between notes in the melody. The same numerical value was associated to the same note. As the values increased or decreased, the pitch of the notes grew or diminished accordingly.

“In this way any regularity in the scientific data can be naturally mapped to the melody: if the data are periodic (they are marked by a repeated cycle) the sonification will be a music melody which will have the same periodicity and regularity,” Vicinanza said.

In the sonification, each semiquaver corresponded to an increase of 5 gigaelectronvolts (GeV). The detection of  the Higgs-like particle around the 126 gigaelectronvolt mass-energy range (GeV), was then expressed by a peak made of three high notes (about 3.5 seconds into the recording).

The bump corresponding to the new particle is represented by an F note which is two octaves above the preceding F note, a C which is the most acute note in the music (also two octaves above the subsequent C note) representing the peak of the Higgs, and a E note.

“The discovery of the Higgs-like particle is a major step forward in our knowledge of the world around us. By using sonification we are able to make this breakthrough easier to understand by the general public,” Vicinanza said.

Amazingly, the sonification produced a habanera-like music.

“After hearing the piano solo version, I created another version, more in tone with the resulting melody. I added bass, percussion, marimba and xylophone,” Vicinanza said.

Particularly useful when dealing with complex, high-dimensional data, sonification requires enormous amounts of networking and processing power to produce results. To create the Higgs melody, the researchers relied on high-speed research networks including the pan-European GÉANT network, which operates at speed of up to 40Gbps (it will become 100Gb/s by early 2013) and the EGI grid computing infrastructure, which works by linking together multiple computers in different locations via high speed networks.

“Neither the discovery of the particle or this sonification process would have been possible without the high speed research networks that connect scientists across the world, enabling them to collaborate, analyze data and share their results,” Vicinanza said.

(Source: news.discovery.com)

April 29th, 2012
nybg:

Scientists Clone ‘Survivor’ Elm Trees
Dutch elm disease has been whittling North American elm populations down to nil for decades now; more than 95% of the population in the U.S. and Canada has disappeared. But there’s hope yet.
Scientists with Ontario’s University of Guelph may be able to revive the population. With disease-resistant clones, no less.
“This research has the potential to bring back the beloved American elm population to North America,” says plant scientist Praveen Saxena. “It may also serve as a model to help propagate and preserve thousands of other endangered plant species at risk of extinction across the globe.”
Majestic elms once again lining our boulevards? Yes, I think so. —MN

nybg:

Scientists Clone ‘Survivor’ Elm Trees

Dutch elm disease has been whittling North American elm populations down to nil for decades now; more than 95% of the population in the U.S. and Canada has disappeared. But there’s hope yet.

Scientists with Ontario’s University of Guelph may be able to revive the population. With disease-resistant clones, no less.

“This research has the potential to bring back the beloved American elm population to North America,” says plant scientist Praveen Saxena. “It may also serve as a model to help propagate and preserve thousands of other endangered plant species at risk of extinction across the globe.”

Majestic elms once again lining our boulevards? Yes, I think so. —MN