kayshapero: deep sea squid resembling Mentor of Arisia. (Fascinating)
Wow the first...

Wow! mystery signal from space finally explained

June 7, 2017 by Bob Yirk

(Phys.org)—A team of researchers with the Center of Planetary Science (CPS) has finally solved the mystery of the "Wow!" signal from 1977. It was a comet, they report, one that that was unknown at the time of the signal discovery. Lead researcher Antonio Paris describes their theory and how the team proved it in a paper published in the Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences.

And Wow the second (Leastwise Wow is what I said when I saw the article.)

Physicists Finally Have Proof That Two-Dimensional Magnets Exist


(Science Alert) Since the discovery of graphene in 2004, there's been a proliferation of strange new two-dimensional materials. In all of them, scientists have been chasing one invaluable property - magnetism, which is crucial for data storage, medical devices, and electricity generators.

After years of searching, many suspected that true two-dimensional magnets might not actually exist. But now we finally have proof - physicists have created the first ever 2D magnet, and it's got properties we haven't even seen yet.
Addendum about the latter, did you know you could use sticky tape to peel layers off a graphene crystal until you're down to one atom thick? And then put them BACK the same way? Me either. Scotch Tape Forever!
kayshapero: deep sea squid resembling Mentor of Arisia. (Fascinating)
Pay attention to the video - interesting footage of buildings being built by 3D printing robot...

This robot can 3D print a building in 14 hours

by Kaya Yurieff
CNN Tech

A giant robot can now 3D print a building.

Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have created a robotic system that built the basic structure of a building in less than 14 hours. The dome-like structure is 50 feet in diameter and 12 feet high.

The prototype is essentially a vehicle with a large industrial robotic arm for reach, and a smaller arm for dexterity. Different tools can be attached to the smaller arm, such as a welding system or a spray head that shoots out building materials like foam.

"With this process, we can replace one of the key parts of making a building, right now. It could be integrated into a building site tomorrow," said Steven Keating, co-author of a paper published in the journal "Science Robotics."
(more, with video)
kayshapero: deep sea squid resembling Mentor of Arisia. (Fascinating)
From LiveScience

Fossilized Tick Reveals Perfectly Preserved Red Blood Cells
By Tia Ghose, Senior Writer | April 4, 2017 10:18am ET

The only known example of ancient mammalian red blood cells preserved in amber may exist, thanks to a bit of monkey business.

The cells were found in a fossilized tick that had been gorging on a blood meal when it was unceremoniously removed midfeed and plunked in sticky amber. A subtle feature on the tick's back suggests that an ancient monkey that was grooming one of its friends removed the tick.

"Two tiny holes indicate that something picked a tick off the mammal it was feeding on, puncturing it in the process and dropping it immediately into tree sap," study co-author George Poinar Jr., an amber expert and professor emeritus at Oregon State University, said in a statement.

Not only RBC but a batch of parasites and things - see the rest of the article.

kayshapero: Lynx looking thoughtful (Lynx)
Article in International Business Times about the project I mentioned in my last post. Got this for supporting it (ok, ten bucks worth, but what the heck - I like the idea whether it happens or not, goodness knows...) If you do want to support it, there's only 10 days to go...

kayshapero: deep sea squid resembling Mentor of Arisia. (Fascinating)
Now that looks interesting....

Ancient, scary and alien-looking specimen forms a rarity in the insect world—a new order
January 25, 2017 by David Stauth

Ancient insect in amber.

This strange insect found preserved in amber represents a new species, genus, family and order of insects. Credit: George Poinar, courtesy of Oregon State University

Researchers at Oregon State University have discovered a 100-million-year-old insect preserved in amber with a triangular head, almost-alien and "E.T.-like" appearance and features so unusual that it has been placed in its own scientific "order" - an incredibly rare event.

There are about 1 million described species of insects, and millions more still to be discovered, but every species of insect on Earth has been placed in only 31 existing orders. Now there's one more.

The findings have been published in the journal Cretaceous Research and describe this small, wingless female insect that probably lived in fissures in the bark of trees, looking for mites, worms or fungi to feed on while dinosaurs lumbered nearby. It was tiny, but scary looking.

kayshapero: (CalicoCat)
Just to prove life is full of surprises, even life you thought you knew about pretty well...

Lichens aren't quite what we thought, shocked scientists discover

New yeasts found to be secret partners with known fungi and algae

By Emily Chung, CBC News Posted: Jul 21, 2016 2:35 PM ET Last Updated: Jul 22, 2016 8:42 AM ET

Most people know lichens, such as this wolf lichen, as those flaky, light green things that grow on tree bark. You probably learned in school that they're a mutually beneficial partnership or "symbiosis" between fungi and algae, but many lichens have now been found to include a third partner, a yeast.

Most people know lichens as those flaky, light green things that grow on tree bark, and learned in school that they're a mutually beneficial partnership or "symbiosis" between fungi and algae.

But lichen scientists have made the shocking new discovery that many lichens are also made up of a previously undiscovered third partner — a new kind of yeast.

Not only does that potentially alter the fundamental definition of what a lichen is, but it "should change expectations about the diversity and ubiquity" of the organisms that form them, says a new study published Thursday in Science.  (more)

See also the Christian Science Monitor article here.
kayshapero: (glass squid fascinating)
Thank you, Krypton Radio!

Sony Files Patent for Contact Lenses That Shoot Video, Take Pictures
Krypton Radio May 2, 2016Sci / Tech, Science Fiction / Fantasy / Steampunk

You may soon be able to cross one more prediction of science fiction off the list. Sony has just filed a patent application for a smart contact lens that can not only record video and images but play them back for you as well. The patent even suggests that the video and images would be stored directly in the contact lens itself, with the option to download the images and movies to a smart phone. That’s what separates the Sony patent from one recently obtained by Samsung in South Korea for a similar device. The Samsung lens doesn’t feature on-board storage.

The patent hasn’t been approved yet, but it describes describes the lens as being capable of taking photos using eyeblinks as a trigger. It’s supposed to be able to tell the difference between an autonomic eye blink and one you meant to do consciously. The playback display is to be controlled by what they describe as a “tilt sensor”. The lens may even feature aperture control, autofocus and image stabilization to address the blur caused by the eyeball’s motion.

kayshapero: (HINABN)
First off, check out this article on the Panama Papers if you need some background on this.  Amongst the reams of data on offshore monetary sneakiness was some really pertinent stuff on the current (and probably about to be ex) PM of Iceland. As one might imagine, the population of same are understandably even MORE pissed after the endrun around the events of 2008.  So there was this rally in Reyjkavík, about one fifth of the population OF Reyjkavík in number (I daresay some came in from elsewhere in the country) in the central square outside the governmental buildings brandishing homemade signs telling him to quit, now, in most colorful terms, and tossing eggs and skyr (Icelandic equivalent of yogurt) and probably less mentionable items to make their point.  I can only say I wish them better luck this time... and wonder what fun we'll have when the folks digging through this trove get around to the US...  Yes, the author is the same Rei as the one with the great volcano reports last year... And there are photos. BOY are there photos.

Oh fungus - I'd have to quote a huge chunk of this so I'm not going to bother - here's the title, (and a representative photo) click on it and you'll get the whole enchilada.

Helvítis Fokking Fokk! Iceland reacts to the Panama Papers.

"Everyone showed up! So quit now!"
Credit: Benedict Jóhannesson

Oh, poop!

Nov. 2nd, 2015 07:56 pm
kayshapero: (glass squid fascinating)
Figures Tony Wu would be the one to point this out.  Of course goodness knows if you follow whales around with a camera, poop you will see from time to time.  But it appears we aren't getting enough - a lot of the planetary nutrient circulation is based on things like animals that eat stuff down low in the ocean and then poop it up in the higher levels.  Alas, the current situation of the planetary megafauna in and out of the water is kinda dismal in comparison with the early Pleistoscene, and there's an article about it.  Rather than restate the contents, I just point you at Tony's most recent journal (which you should be reading anyway), Missing Mega Poop.

Oh, what the heck - I doubt he'll mind my sharing one photo from the page - a Bride's whale pooping...
kayshapero: (cat/hedgehog)
One for the books, if the book is Great Horror Tales of Chemistry anyway.  5 years old, but quite appropriate for the month which contains Halloween.

February 23, 2010

Things I Won't Work With: Dioxygen Difluoride

Posted by Derek

The latest addition to the long list of chemicals that I never hope to encounter takes us back to the wonderful world of fluorine chemistry. I'm always struck by how much work has taken place in that field, how long ago some of it was first done, and how many violently hideous compounds have been carefully studied. Here's how the experimental prep of today's fragrant breath of spring starts:

The heater was warmed to approximately 700C. The heater block glowed a dull red color, observable with room lights turned off. The ballast tank was filled to 300 torr with oxygen, and fluorine was added until the total pressure was 901 torr. . .

And yes, what happens next is just what you think happens: you run a mixture of oxygen and fluorine through a 700-degree-heating block. "Oh, no you don't," is the common reaction of most chemists to that proposal, ". . .not unless I'm at least a mile away, two miles if I'm downwind." This, folks, is the bracingly direct route to preparing dioxygen difluoride, often referred to in the literature by its evocative formula of FOOF.

(update - the blog it was in moved, so updated the link to the still quite interesting article...)


Sep. 30th, 2015 08:56 pm
kayshapero: Lynx looking thoughtful (Lynx)
Got my first Kuriositas bulletin in awhile...  Satsop, Washington began an atomic power plant in 1977, only to abandon the uncompleted result when they ran out of funding in 1983.  The result, an fascinating video trip through the ruins of something that never really was. My thanks to Kuriositas for the link.

Atomic Ruin from Andrew Walker on Vimeo.

kayshapero: (CalicoCat)
Water, water everywhere....  Thanks, Krypton Radio!!

NASA Confirms an Ocean on Enceladus

enceladusWe have known about the water on  Enceladus for a while now. Hydrothermal vents at its southern pole shoot water vapor into space, high enough and big enough to be seen hundreds of thousands of miles away. But now, thanks to some clever analysis of the wobble in its orbit around Saturn, we now know something else about it: that water comprises an ocean that spans the entire globe, just under its solid crust.

NASA worked out the answer to the puzzle of whether Enceladus had a global ocean using research from Cassini, a spacecraft launched in 1997 that arrived at Saturn in 2004 and has spent the last decade studying the planet and its many moons.

Enceladus isn’t the only worldlet in our Solar System that jets liquids from its surface, and once Cassini arrived in orbit around Saturn it was to confirm that the moon was spouting water. But while there had been suspicions that  Enceladus had a subsurface sea, nobody really knew for sure how big that sea was. In this latest study of the gathered data, however, the researchers noticed a wobble in its orbit that  “can only be accounted for if its outer ice shell is not frozen solid to its interior.”

In other words, Enceladus sloshes.

kayshapero: (CalicoCat)
My thanks to unapologeticliberal, in the Daily Kos for pointing this article out to me.

We all have these memories, at least when we've been around long enough.  The "where were you" moments when you heard of the assasination of JFK, of the events of 9/11... unexpected horrors and the mundane surroundings that will remain indelible in your memory thereafter.  For anybody my age, at least, the assasination of Bobby Kennedy qualifies - how he reached out to shake the hand of a busboy and was shot.  The touching story of how the busboy in question knelt to keep Bobby's head off the floor, and pressed his own rosary into his hand.. and of course how despite all efforts Robert Kennedy died.

Not too surprisingly, this event has followed Juan Romero through the rest of his life.  Steve Lopez has a marvelous article in the August 29, 2015 Los Angeles Times which I am not going to quote - better just to send you to the entire article.  So click on the title (though you may want to keep a box of tissues nearby.)

The busboy who cradled a dying RFK has finally stepped out of the past
kayshapero: (CalicoCat)
It would appear you just can't get anything for beads and trinkets (well, bottled water and smokes) these days.  Go, Unist'ot'en!!

Anyway, here's an article with a lot of links and things you have to look on several pages to find on the above website.  But please DO go look at the site because there's a lot going on.

Offering tobacco and bottled water for a sea of oil, Chevron gets booted from indigenous territory

No, this is not the 17th century: Chevron engineers, looking to frack billions of cubic feet of gas from indigenous Unist’ot’en territory in British Columbia, did indeed try to get past the tribe's roadblock a few weeks ago. Trying to keep out oil and gas pipelines from deep within their unceded traditional territories, the Unist’ot’en's concerns about the wholesale destruction of their sacred lands were met with generous offerings of bottled water and industrial tobacco:

Yesterday Chevron, the company behind the Pacific Trails fracking pipeline, attempted to enter our unceded territories. They have no consent from our chiefs and our hereditary governance system, who are standing strong in their stance against all pipelines. Next to the Wedzin Kwah river, which is pure enough to drink from, Chevron presented us with an offering of bottled water and industrial tobacco.

kayshapero: (Anansii)
For those unfamiliar with Nicolai's Other Suns and related campaigns, that's what the participants have been known to call robot probes of all sorts.  Various sorts of pads for clinging to locales to be investigated are known collectively as "stickie poos".  (Terms derive from a comment by John Bradley.)  Anyway, an article from Sky and Telescope on what would seem to be obvious, but I'm glad to see it's actually under development.  I've only quoted a small fraction, so be sure to check the link.)

Robotic Flyers: The Future of Space Exploration?
By: David Dickinson | August 18, 2015

Flying robot explorers could one day grace the skies of other worlds. Quadcopters, the four-propeller drones that have become a familiar sight in terrestrial skies, may be the next big thing in space exploration. Engineers based at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on the Florida Space Coast are working on the next generation of robotic scouts to take planetary exploration airborne.

The facility, known as Swamp Works, is designing small flying probes which will be capable of reaching hard-to-access spots, such as crater walls or crevasses.


Aug. 4th, 2015 09:46 pm
kayshapero: (CalicoCat)
An article in The Scientist, dated Aug 3 refers to a twitter thread (hashtag #fieldworkfail) discussing various little oopsies that happened in scientific fieldwork.  My favorite is

AgataStaniewicz: “Accidentally glued myself to a crocodile while attaching a radio transmitter.”

It being hard to top that, I include the link and you can go look at the article yourselves...

Field Bloopers
kayshapero: (Anansii)
My thanks to Medium for this:

Full Text of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Majority Decision Finding Same Sex Marriage Is Legal
Not quoting because it's way too long to put in here, but a good read.
kayshapero: (CalicoCat)
Further discoveries seem to have revealed which end was which... And like you might expect Hallucigenia is even weirder. :)

Face of bizarre sea creature Hallucigenia revealed
By Rebecca Morelle
Science Correspondent, BBC News

25 June 2015
From the section Science & Environment

Scientists finally have a complete picture of what one of nature's most bizarre animals looked like.

The tiny sea creature - Hallucigenia - lived 500 million years ago, but all fossils appeared to be without heads.

New specimens unearthed in Canada have revealed the missing part, revealing its strange face for the first time.

Dr Martin Smith, from the University of Cambridge, said: "It looks completely surreal. It is like something from another world."


There are a lot of photos of fossils as well as other artist reconstructions (like the above) in the article itself, along with a link to the Nature article (which I'm also linking here Just Because).
kayshapero: (CalicoCat)
A few more interesting things I found in Science Daily today

1. Some deep sea sharks are buoyant - which surprised the guy who put a camera on one and got a lot of blank frames because it swam higher than he expected most of the time.

2. The incredible shrinking diode. Apparently layering van der Waals materials directly on a molecular scale (instead of stacking them) gets interesting resonant tunnel diode effects.

3. Saharan silver ants use Physics! Well, to quote the summary: Researchers have discovered two strategies that enable Saharan silver ants to stay cool in one of the world's hottest environments. They are the first to demonstrate that the ants use a coat of uniquely shaped hairs to control electromagnetic waves over an extremely broad range from the solar spectrum to the thermal radiation spectrum and that different physical mechanisms are used in different spectral bands to realize the same biological function of reducing body temperature.
kayshapero: (CalicoCat)
The usual - if humanity decides to act like a sapient life form we can deal with this.  If it acts like it usually does... Oh dear.....

Got the link from an article in Science Daily.  You probably want to go directly to the article; there's a video and stuff.

Stanford Report, June 19, 2015

Stanford researcher declares that the sixth mass extinction is here

Paul Ehrlich and others use highly conservative estimates to prove that species are disappearing faster than at any time since the dinosaurs' demise.

By Rob Jordan
Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment

Stanford biologist Paul Ehrlich calls for fast action to conserve threatened species, populations and habitat before the window of opportunity closes.

There is no longer any doubt: We are entering a mass extinction that threatens humanity's existence.

That is the bad news at the center of a new study by a group of scientists including Paul Ehrlich, the Bing Professor of Population Studies in biology and a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. Ehrlich and his co-authors call for fast action to conserve threatened species, populations and habitat, but warn that the window of opportunity is rapidly closing.

"[The study] shows without any significant doubt that we are now entering the sixth great mass extinction event," Ehrlich said.


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