Discover Magazine: Gravity’s galactic brushstrokes.
Nothing quite sets the imagination in motion like angled galaxy shots.
New Scientist: Rats have an innate concept of space – do humans?
I believe this is so, for humans. I may not be able to recite street names, but the spatial moves required to get someplace is wired in my brain.
Yahoo! News: New HBO documentary exposes gas drilling hazards.
“He begins in Dimock, Pa., where an exploding water well revealed methane contamination that has ruined residents’ drinking water supplies. He’s handed a jar of mysterious yellow-brown liquid and asked to find out what’s in it, setting up the film’s principal drama. From there, Fox heads west. He hears the same story in town after town: contaminated water; fouled air; mysterious illnesses; a deceived citizenry; regulators who aren’t regulating.”
Longtime readers suffered through my reporting on our opposition to drilling here in Santa Fe County. Watch this one, if you get the opportunity. A blast from the past, so you can better gauge who, exactly, is yanking your chain.
BBC News: Radiocarbon dating verifies ancient Egypt’s history.
“For the first time, radiocarbon dating has become precise enough to constrain the history of ancient Egypt to very specific dates.” This would seem like old news at first glance, but it’s the new accuracy that makes it noteworthy.
BBC News: Ancient climate change ‘link’ to CO2.
Seems like, more often than not, the climate crisis-de-jour ends up being blamed for creating ice ages. I think it was the ozone hole the last time. I’ll wait a decade or three before making up my mind on the causes of ice ages, thank you very much.
Discover Magazine: Squirrel vs Dinosaur: Researchers Find Oldest Known Mammalian Bite Marks.
Two health articles, sort of related.
Tufts says physical fitness may help reduce chronic disease risk in college students, and ... Eurekalert has an article on the connection between obesity, salt sensitivity and high blood pressure. Basically, fat increases inflammation, causing a cascade of other negative health impacts.
Discovery News: Japan’s Solar Sail Photographed in Orbit.
PopSci: New Earth-Based Telescope System Snaps Sharpest-Ever Pics of Deep Space.
“The Large Binocular Telescope just got a new pair of eyes, and while we love our orbiting telescopes we have to admit the LBT looks pretty sharp. The Arizona-based telescope just brought home the clearest pictures of space ever taken from an Earth-based telescope—images three times sharper than those from the Hubble Space Telescope. Oh, and that’s with only one of its two mirrors working.”
Miller-McCune: Love Songs Linked to Receptiveness to Romance.
“How did the music work its magic? There are at least two possibilities. The French researchers note that music can improve one’s mood, and being in a positive frame of mind can increase one’s receptivity to romance.” Play any music with clear lyrics in a waiting room, what else do you have to do but contemplate the song itself?
Discover Magazine: New Study - If a Dude Sounds Strong, He Probably Is.
”For men, the finding proves especially interesting given the non-menacing statement researchers asked English speakers to say: ‘When the sunlight strikes raindrops in the air, they act like a prism and form a rainbow.’” Certain sure I’ll be quoting that little catchy cantrip next time I’m threatened.
CJR: Are All Americans Living Longer?
How much money do you make/have? “So, over the decades, the top earners got five more years of life expectancy, compared with only one year for those at the bottom—reflecting the widening disparities in the country. The Social Security study didn’t look at women, but Morrissey told me that life expectancy for women hasn’t grown as much as for men. Research shows that the general pattern appears to holds for women as well.”
Los Alamos Study Group: LANL to unveil proposed plutonium project to Espanola business community.
This is the next hot-button issue for Northern NM, and the US as a whole, if you care at all about nuclear proliferation. $3.4 billion [that’s billion, kids] to go into building new plutonium pits over at Los Alamos.
Quote from the article: “There is a large surplus of pits and/or extra warheads for every U.S. nuclear delivery system, and all these pits will last essentially forever in current planning terms. The only reasons to make more pits in the during the lifetime of the proposed new building appear to be: 1) to make pits of new kinds; or 2) to make more pits of existing kinds to put in different warheads; or 3) to ‘practice’ making pits on a relatively large scale.”
Federation of American Scientists says, “Plutonium ‘pits’ in existing warheads are monitored for reliability through the Stockpile Stewardship program, and it is now thought that these will be reliable for at least 40 more years. In addition, the U.S. has 92 metric tons of plutonium ready to use in pits should they be needed (54 tons of which are designated as “excess military material”). New nuclear weapon designs do not have Congressional support and run counter to the nonproliferation goals the U.S. is trying to promote around the world.”
No doubt this new pit concept will bring building jobs to an economically depressed area, but at what cost? Could not this money be better spent on renewable energy technologies, especially in light of our national economic situation and the BP spill ... and let the nuclear weapons be refurbished in the plentiful existing pits?
Seems like a terrible extravagance with the tight national purse.
New Scientist: Doubts over safety tests on Gulf oil dispersants.
“... a close examination of the EPA’s website reveals that the agency’s assumptions about dispersant toxicity are based on unreliable data.” What have we been screaming for years? The energy industry as a whole needs much closer scrutiny - and regulation.
Globe And Mail.CA: Caravaggio remains believed found; artist may have been weakened by syphilis.
“Gruppioni said they identified a genetic combination in those whose last name was Merisi or Merisio. Because the bones are old and the DNA degraded, not all genetic characteristics could be confirmed. Still, the evidence pointed to them. They belonged to a man who died between 38 and 40 years of age and at a time around 1610.” Sunstroke? Grasping at straws you can’t prove, folks.
BBC News: Lung cancer risk ‘cut by B vitamin’.
USGS: California-Nevada Fault Maps.
Southern Cali is a bit active, no? Be safe, over there. No need to rock’n'roll THAT much.
New Scientist: Want to find your mind? Learn to direct your dreams.
“If I succeed, I will have a lucid dream - a thrilling state of consciousness somewhere between waking and sleeping in which, unlike conventional dreams, you are aware that you are dreaming and able to control your actions. Once you have figured this out, the dream world is theoretically your oyster, and you can act out your fantasies to your heart’s content.” My lovely wife has figured out when to engage me in bedtime chatter, and be a participant in where my mind is roaming. One time, I had Betty Crocker catching a touchdown pass in some dreamland football game. (Don’t ask me! I have NO idea.)
New Scientist: Sea snail venom provides potent pain relief.
“Because the conotoxin is so powerful, only very small doses are needed, reducing the risk of side effects, says Craik. His team has applied for approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for a trial in humans.”
PopSci: Why Isn’t the Hubble Space Telescope Just Attached to the International Space Station?
Discover Magazine: Your brain sees your hands as short and fat.
“To visualise this model, Longo and Haggard asked volunteers to hide their hand under a board and use a baton to indicate the position of ten landmarks – the tip and base knuckle of each finger. Their answers were surprisingly inaccurate. They underestimated the lengths of their fingers by anywhere from around 5% for their thumb and over 35% for their ring and little fingers.” Wow, stick your hand under your desk, use a Post-it to mark where you think your fingers should be. 5% underestimate is about right.
New Scientist: Intensive farming ‘massively slowed’ global warming.
“Fertilisers, pesticides and hybrid high-yielding seeds saved the planet from an extra dose of global warming. That, at least, is the conclusion of a new analysis which finds that the intensification of farming through the green revolution has unjustly been blamed for speeding up global warming.” Farming good, farming bad. Farming good, farming bad. What will the next study show?
Technology Review: Old Livers Made New Again.
Science can really be amazing.
New Scientist: What’s wrong with the sun?
A new Maunder Minimum, in spite of a slight uptick in sunspots? Much complexity here. Worthy and interesting read.