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Keyword: science

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  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Aurora Australis

    07/04/2015 5:20:45 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | July 04, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Not fireworks, these intense shimmering lights still danced across Earth's night skies late last month, seen here above the planet's geographic south pole. The stunning auroral displays were triggered as a coronal mass ejection blasted from the Sun days earlier impacted the magnetosphere, beginning a widespread geomagnetic storm. The six fisheye panels were recorded with digital camera and battery in a heated box to guard against -90 degree F ambient temperatures of the long winter night. Around the horizon are south pole astronomical observatories, while beyond the Aurora Australis stretch the stars of the southern Milky Way.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Venus and Jupiter are Far

    07/03/2015 7:40:22 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 16 replies
    NASA ^ | July 03, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: On June 30 Venus and Jupiter were actually far apart, but both appeared close in western skies at dusk. Near the culmination of this year's gorgeous conjunction, the two bright evening planets are captured in the same telescopic field of view in this sharp digital stack of images taken after sunset from Poznań in west-central Poland. In fact, banded gas giant Jupiter was about 910 million kilometers from Poland. That's over 11 times farther than crescent Venus, only 78 million kilometers distant at the time. But since the diameter of giant planet Jupiter is over 11 times larger than...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Venus and Jupiter are Close

    07/02/2015 11:17:19 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 18 replies
    NASA ^ | July 02, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: On June 30, Venus and Jupiter were close in western skies at dusk. Near the culmination of this year's gorgeous conjunction, the two bright evening planets are captured in the same telescopic field of view in this image taken after sunset from Bejing, China. As the two bright planets set together in the west, a nearly Full Moon rose above the horizon to the south and east. Imaged that night with the same telescope and camera, the rising Moon from the opposite part of the sky is compared with the planetary conjunction for scale in the digitally composited image....
  • WE USED TO SLEEP TWICE EACH NIGHT

    07/01/2015 3:29:41 PM PDT · by dontreadthis · 66 replies
    delanceyplace.com ^ | 6/30/15 | David K. Randall
    For most of history people have had two periods of sleep each night, with the time in between being perhaps the most calm and relaxing part of their lives. Then came the lightbulb. This unexpected "two sleep" phenomenon was uncovered by historian Roger Ekirch when he began to do research for a history of the night:
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Venus, Jupiter, and Noctilucent Clouds

    07/01/2015 3:18:08 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | July 01, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Have you seen the passing planets yet? Today the planets Jupiter and Venus pass within half a degree of each other as seen from Earth. This conjunction, visible all over the world, is quite easy to see -- just look to the west shortly after sunset. The brightest objects visible above the horizon will be Venus and Jupiter, with Venus being the brighter of the two. Featured above, the closing planets were captured two nights ago in a sunset sky graced also by high-level noctilucent clouds. In the foreground, the astrophotographer's sister takes in the vista from a bank...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- An Unusual Mountain on Asteroid Ceres

    06/29/2015 9:49:58 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 18 replies
    NASA ^ | June 30, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What created this large mountain on asteroid Ceres? No one is yet sure. As if in anticipation of today being Asteroid Day on Earth, the robotic spacecraft Dawn in orbit around Ceres took the best yet image of an unusually tall mountain on the Asteroid Belt's largest asteroid. Visible at the top of the featured image, the exceptional mountain rises about five kilometers up from an area that otherwise appears pretty level. The image was taken about two weeks ago from about 4,400 kilometers away. Although origin hypotheses for the mountain include volcanism, impacts, and plate tectonics, clear evidence...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Sunspot Group AR 2339 Crosses the Sun

    06/29/2015 7:18:10 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | June 29, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: How do sunspots evolve? Large dark sunspots -- and the active regions that contain them -- may last for weeks, but all during that time they are constantly changing. Such variations were particularly apparent a few weeks ago as the active region AR 2339 came around the limb of the Sun and was tracked for the next 12 days by NASA's Solar Dynamic Observatory. In the featured time lapse video, some sunspots drift apart, while others merge. All the while, the dark central umbral regions shift internally and their surrounding lighter penumbras shimmer and wave. The surrounding Sun appears...
  • Einstein vs Bergson, Science vs Philosophy and the Meaning of Time

    06/28/2015 3:47:07 AM PDT · by lbryce · 34 replies
    ABC.net.au/ ^ | June 24, 2015 | Joe Gelonsi
    When Henri met Albert the stars didn’t quite align; nor did their clocks. Jimena Canales, historian of science, tells Joe Gelonesi about her discovery of an explosive 20th century debate that changed our view of time and destroyed a reputation.Physicists and philosophers have a curious relationship. They both need each other for the cosmic dance, but one partner sometimes refuses to join in. Star physicist Stephen Hawking even declared the end of philosophy in 2011. In some ways the pronouncement was to be expected; physics triumphalism dictates that at some point philosophy will exhaust itself and be unable to solve...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- All the Colors of the Sun

    06/27/2015 9:16:14 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 20 replies
    NASA ^ | June 28, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: It is still not known why the Sun's light is missing some colors. Here are all the visible colors of the Sun, produced by passing the Sun's light through a prism-like device. The spectrum was created at the McMath-Pierce Solar Observatory and shows, first off, that although our white-appearing Sun emits light of nearly every color, it does indeed appear brightest in yellow-green light. The dark patches in the above spectrum arise from gas at or above the Sun's surface absorbing sunlight emitted below. Since different types of gas absorb different colors of light, it is possible to determine...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Stars of a Summer's Triangle

    06/27/2015 3:42:59 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 13 replies
    NASA ^ | June 27, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Rising at the start of a northern summer's night, these three bright stars form the familiar asterism known as the Summer Triangle. Altair, Deneb, and Vega are the alpha stars of their respective constellations, Aquila, Cygnus, and Lyra, nestled near the Milky Way. Close in apparent brightness the three do look similar in these telescopic portraits, but all have their own stellar stories. Their similar appearance hides the fact that the Summer Triangle stars actually span a large range in intrinsic luminosity and distance. A main sequence dwarf star, Altair is some 10 times brighter than the Sun and...
  • Papal Economics and Papal Climatology

    06/27/2015 5:00:42 AM PDT · by Kaslin · 2 replies
    Townhall.com ^ | June 27, 2015 | John C. Goodman
    Pope Francis weighed in on global warming the other day after convening a conference of climate scientists from around the world. His recent encyclical on the subject, “Laudato Si,” was awful in describing what we know about climate science, dreadful in discussing possible solutions and completely wrong in understanding the role that economics must play.Let’s begin by distinguishing between “is” and “ought.” Scientists try to understand what is. And there is broad agreement about what we know and don’t know. (I’ll briefly summarize that below.) But there is not broad agreement about what we should do about it or whether...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Planet Aurora

    06/26/2015 1:21:43 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | June 26, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What bizarre alien planet is this ? It's planet Earth of course, seen through the shimmering glow of aurorae from the International Space Station. About 400 kilometers (250 miles) above, the orbiting station is itself within the upper realm of the auroral displays, also watched from the planet's surface on June 23rd. Aurorae have the signature colors of excited molecules and atoms at the low densities found at extreme altitudes. The eerie greenish glow of molecular oxygen dominates this view. But higher, just above the space station's horizon, is a rarer red band of aurora from atomic oxygen. The...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Star Trails above Table Mountain

    06/26/2015 1:21:40 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | June 25, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Stars trail above and urban lights sprawl below in this moonlit nightscape from Cape Town, South Africa, planet Earth. The looming form of Table Mountain almost seems to hold terrestrial lights at bay while the stars circle the planet's South Celestial Pole. This modern perspective on the natural night sky was captured in June 2014, the scene composed of over nine hundred, stacked 30 second exposures. The stunning result was chosen as the winner in the Against the Lights category, a selection from over 800 entries in The World at Night's 2015 International Earth and Sky Photo Contest.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Triple Conjunction Over Galician National Park

    06/24/2015 4:04:07 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | June 24, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What are those bright objects hovering over the horizon? Planets -- and the Moon. First out, the horizon featured is a shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean that occurs at the Galicia National Park in northern Spain. Next furthest out, on the left, is the Moon. Easily the brightest object on the night sky, the Moon here was in only a crescent phase. The next furthest out, on the right, is the planet Venus, while planet Jupiter is seen at the top of the triangle. The long exposure from our rapidly rotating Earth made all of celestial objects -- including...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Sharpless 308: Star Bubble

    06/23/2015 4:14:40 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | June 23, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Blown by fast winds from a hot, massive star, this cosmic bubble is huge. Cataloged as Sharpless 2-308 it lies some 5,200 light-years away toward the constellation of the Big Dog (Canis Major) and covers slightly more of the sky than a Full Moon. That corresponds to a diameter of 60 light-years at its estimated distance. The massive star that created the bubble, a Wolf-Rayet star, is the bright one near the center of the nebula. Wolf-Rayet stars have over 20 times the mass of the Sun and are thought to be in a brief, pre-supernova phase of massive...
  • When to Doubt a Scientific Consensus [long, but good]

    06/22/2015 9:01:03 AM PDT · by markomalley · 27 replies
    The Stream ^ | 6-20-15 | Jay Richards
    A December 18, 2009 Washington Post poll, released on the final day of the ill-fated Copenhagen climate summit, reported “four in ten Americans now saying that they place little or no trust in what scientists have to say about the environment.” This was the month the tide turned in public perceptions of climate change. Several recent polls have found “climate change” skepticism rising faster than sea levels on Planet Algore (not to be confused with Planet Earth, where sea levels remain relatively stable). Many of the doubt-inducing climate scientists and their media acolytes attribute this rising skepticism to the stupidity of...
  • Pope Francis, climate change...and America's mass murder epidemic (Hurl warning)

    06/22/2015 10:12:48 AM PDT · by 2ndDivisionVet · 45 replies
    The Philadelphia Inquirer's Attytood Blog ^ | June 21, 2015 | Will Bunch
    Last week was a hard one to fully process for adult-ADD-addled news junkie like me. A momentous and arguably uplifting event -- Pope Francis' encyclical on climate change, a powerful document that folks may still be talking about in the year 2525, if Man (and Woman) are still alive -- was drowned out, at least in this country, by by the sound of gunfire and the manifestation of raw hate that occurred in Charleston. (And who exactly was Rachel Dolezal again?) The tragedy of Charleston and its "Mother Bethel" church absolutely needs to stay on the front burner of the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- New Horizons [Pluto probe]

    06/21/2015 10:04:05 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | June 22, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: In three weeks, the robotic New Horizons spacecraft will reach Pluto. As the featured video makes clear, though, humanity has been on an unprecedented epoch of robotic exploration of our Solar System's planets for the past half century. The video highlights artistic illustrations of Mariner 2 flying by Venus in 1962, Mariner 4 flying past Mars in 1965, Pioneer 10 flying past Jupiter in 1973, Mariner 10 flying past Mercury in 1974, Pioneer 11 flying past Saturn in 1979, and Voyager 2 flying past Uranus in 1986 and then Neptune in 1989. Next is a hypothetical sequence depicting New...
  • More than 100 New Marine Species Were Just Discovered in the Philippines

    06/21/2015 2:13:09 PM PDT · by 2ndDivisionVet · 19 replies
    Smithsonian's Smart News ^ | June 19, 2015 | Marissa Fessenden
    The creatures hail from a rarely before explored region of the ocean's water column.Shallow waters can be easily explored by divers and the deep sea is now starting to be scanned by robotic submersibles. But there’s an in between part of the ocean where its too dark for divers to see and too shallow for bots to bother with. The area 150 to 500 feet deep is called the Twilight Zone, at the California Academy of Sciences. And recent expedition to those mysterious waters just off the coast of the Philippines revealed more than 100 new species, reports Grace Singer...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Rings and Seasons of Saturn

    06/21/2015 7:10:57 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 15 replies
    NASA ^ | June 21, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: On Saturn, the rings tell you the season. On Earth, today marks a solstice, the time when the Earth's spin axis tilts directly toward the Sun. On Earth's northern hemisphere, today is the Summer Solstice, the day of maximum daylight. Since Saturn's grand rings orbit along the planet's equator, these rings appear most prominent -- from the direction of the Sun -- when the Saturn's spin axis points toward the Sun. Conversely, when Saturn's spin axis points to the side, an equinox occurs and the edge-on rings are hard to see. In the featured montage, images of Saturn over...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Hubble's Messier 5 [whoa!]

    06/19/2015 11:33:10 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 27 replies
    NASA ^ | June 20, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: "Beautiful Nebula discovered between the Balance [Libra] & the Serpent [Serpens] ..." begins the description of the 5th entry in 18th century astronomer Charles Messier's famous catalog of nebulae and star clusters. Though it appeared to Messier to be fuzzy and round and without stars, Messier 5 (M5) is now known to be a globular star cluster, 100,000 stars or more, bound by gravity and packed into a region around 165 light-years in diameter. It lies some 25,000 light-years away. Roaming the halo of our galaxy, globular star clusters are ancient members of the Milky Way. M5 is one...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- LightSail A

    06/19/2015 5:31:30 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | June 19, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Hitching a ride to low Earth orbit, LightSail A accomplished a challenging test mission, unfurling its 32 square meter mylar solar sail on June 7. This dramatic image from one of the bread loaf sized spacecraft's fisheye cameras captures the deployed sail glinting in sunlight. Sail out and visible to Earthbound observers before its final orbit, LightSail A reentered the atmosphere last weekend. Its succesful technology demonstration paves the way for the LightSail B spacecraft, scheduled for launch in April 2016. Once considered the stuff of science fiction, sailing through space was suggested 400 years ago by astronomer Johannes...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- M64: The Black Eye Galaxy

    06/18/2015 4:26:59 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | June 18, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This big, bright, beautiful spiral galaxy is Messier 64, often called the Black Eye Galaxy or the Sleeping Beauty Galaxy for its heavy-lidded appearance in telescopic views. M64 is about 17 million light-years distant in the otherwise well-groomed northern constellation Coma Berenices. In fact, the Red Eye Galaxy might also be an appropriate moniker in this colorful composition. The enormous dust clouds obscuring the near-side of M64's central region are laced with the telltale reddish glow of hydrogen associated with star forming regions. But they are not this galaxy's only peculiar feature. Observations show that M64 is actually composed...
  • Grateful, Man Who Helped Launch Corona In US Donates $1M To UC Davis Beer Science Program

    06/17/2015 7:45:47 PM PDT · by nickcarraway · 16 replies
    CBS San Francisco ^ | June 16, 2015
    Grateful For His Opportunities, Man Who Helped Launch Corona In US Donates $1M To UC Davis Beer Science ProgramThe University of California Davis is using $1 million donated by a Texas-based brewer to buy new equipment for its beer science program. Mexican immigrant Carlos Alvarez says in a university news release that opportunities in America have enabled him to donate to the education of future craft brewers. A biochemical engineering graduate from Mexico’s Monterrey Institute of Technology,
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- M45: The Pleiades Star Cluster

    06/17/2015 11:11:55 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 23 replies
    NASA ^ | June 17, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Have you ever seen the Pleiades star cluster? Even if you have, you probably have never seen it as dusty as this. Perhaps the most famous star cluster on the sky, the bright stars of the Pleiades can be seen without binoculars from even the depths of a light-polluted city. With a long exposure from a dark location, though, the dust cloud surrounding the Pleiades star cluster becomes very evident. The featured exposure took over 12 hours and covers a sky area several times the size of the full moon. Also known as the Seven Sisters and M45, the...
  • The Anti-Science Left

    06/17/2015 4:21:16 AM PDT · by Kaslin · 28 replies
    Townhall.com ^ | June 17, 2015 | John Stossel
    This year is the 10th anniversary of a book called "The Republican War on Science." I could just as easily write a book called "The Democratic War on Science." The conflict conservatives have with science is mostly caused by religion. Some religious conservatives reject evolution, and some oppose stem cell research. But neither belief has a big impact on our day-to-day lives. Species continue to evolve regardless of what conservatives believe, and if conservatives ban government funding of stem cell research, private investors will continue the work. By contrast, the left's bad ideas about science do more harm. Many on...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- APOD is 20 Years Old Today

    06/16/2015 9:25:10 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | June 16, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Welcome to the vicennial year of the Astronomy Picture of the Day! Perhaps a source of web consistency for some, APOD is still here. As during each of the 20 years of selecting images, writing text, and editing the APOD web pages, the occasionally industrious Robert Nemiroff (left) and frequently persistent Jerry Bonnell (right) are pictured above plotting to highlight yet another unsuspecting image of our cosmos. Although the featured image may appear similar to the whimsical Vermeer composite that ran on APOD's fifth anniversary, a perceptive eye might catch that it has been digitally re-pixelated using many of...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Colorful Lunar Corona

    06/15/2015 4:21:04 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | June 15, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What are those colorful rings around the Moon? A corona. Rings like this will sometimes appear when the Moon is seen through thin clouds. The effect is created by the quantum mechanical diffraction of light around individual, similarly-sized water droplets in an intervening but mostly-transparent cloud. Since light of different colors has different wavelengths, each color diffracts differently. Lunar Coronae are one of the few quantum mechanical color effects that can be easily seen with the unaided eye. The featured lunar corona was captured around a Strawberry Moon on June 2 from La Plata, Argentina. Similar coronae that form...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- M101: The Pinwheel Galaxy

    06/15/2015 4:20:11 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | June 14, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Why do many galaxies appear as spirals? A striking example is M101, shown above, whose relatively close distance of about 27 million light years allows it to be studied in some detail. Observational evidence indicates that a close gravitational interaction with a neighboring galaxy created waves of high mass and condensed gas which continue to orbit the galaxy center. These waves compress existing gas and cause star formation. One result is that M101, also called the Pinwheel Galaxy, has several extremely bright star-forming regions (called HII regions) spread across its spiral arms. M101 is so large that its immense...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- 1000 Sols

    06/15/2015 4:18:08 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | June 13, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Shortly before Mars' June 2015 conjunction, the Curiosity Rover celebrated 1000 sols on the red planet. After its August 5, 2012 landing, Curiosity's 1000th sol or martian day on the surface corresponded to planet Earth's calendar date May 31, 2015. Because the line-of-sight to Mars is close to the Sun near the conjunction, radio communications are affected and the six-wheeled, car-sized robotic rover cautiously remains parked at this spot for now. The view looks back toward the stomping grounds for Curiosity's nearly 10.6 kilometer trek so far, with the hazy rim of Gale Crater in the distance. The mosaicked...
  • Surprise! Scientists ‘Crack Code’ to Happiness

    06/15/2015 5:38:13 AM PDT · by Kaslin · 24 replies
    Townhall.com ^ | June 15, 2015 | Matt Barber
    I love this quote by illustrious NASA scientist Dr. Robert Jastrow (1925-2008): “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountain of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.” I would just add to Dr. Jastrow’s keen insight, that it’s not merely theologians at large who have long lounged atop Mount Understanding. It is, more precisely, Judeo-Christian theologians....
  • Scalia is unfit to serve: A justice who rejects science and the law for religion is of unsound mind

    06/14/2015 10:41:41 AM PDT · by EveningStar · 83 replies
    Salon ^ | June 14, 2015 | Jeffrey Tayler
    Full title: Antonin Scalia is unfit to serve: A justice who rejects science and the law for religion is of unsound mind Readers of this column already know that faith-derangement syndrome has stricken the highest levels of the executive branch of government, afflicting President Obama and virtually all his potential successors. Now we have evidence that it has spread to the top organ of the judiciary, the Supreme Court. But first, a clarification. Sufferers of faith-derangement syndrome (FDS) exhibit the following symptoms: unshakable belief in the veracity of manifest absurdities detailed in ancient texts regarding the origins of the cosmos...
  • Airbus Unveils Partially Reusable Rocket Design 'Adeline'

    06/13/2015 8:15:31 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 20 replies
    Popular Science ^ | June 8th, 2015 | Loren Grush
    But can it ever hope to compete with SpaceX? Like the Falcon 9, Adeline is only partially reusable -- but the way it's meant to work is quite creative. While most of the rocket's fuselage goes unrecovered after launch, the bottom portion of the rocket housing the main engine (most expensive part and arguably the most important) is designed to safely return back home. The design calls for the first stage of the rocket to come equipped with wings and propellers, allowing it to travel back to Earth like a small plane and land gently on a runway. The key...
  • First Ever Glass Deposits Found On Martian Surface

    06/13/2015 9:17:43 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 28 replies
    Popular Science ^ | June 8th, 2015 | Mary Beth Griggs
    It seems like Mars has just about everything: auroras, water, and now... glass? In a paper published recently in Geology researchers announced that NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) found deposits of glass in craters on the Martian surface. These are the first deposits ever found on Mars, and they could help us figure out if there was ever life on the red planet. On Mars, the glass was created when meteorites slammed into the Martian surface with enough force to melt some of the rocks, which then cooled quickly enough in the atmosphere, turning them into a type of glass...
  • SpaceX and the Russian Rocket Mess

    06/13/2015 8:55:34 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 27 replies
    Wall St Journal ^ | June 12, 2015 | Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.
    The first thing to notice is how rapidly Elon Musk's SpaceX is altering the market for government-sponsored rocket launches. Witness how frequently the words "to compete with SpaceX" appear in industry statements and press coverage. To compete with SpaceX, say multiple reports, the United Launch Alliance, the Pentagon's traditional supplier, is developing a new Vulcan rocket powered by a reusable engine designed by Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin. Because of SpaceX, says Aviation Week magazine, Japan's government has instructed Mitsubishi to cut in half the cost of the Japanese workhorse rocket, and China is planning a new family of kerosene-fueled Long...
  • We're Pumped Up About Visiting Pluto After Seeing This NASA Video

    06/13/2015 7:28:00 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 29 replies
    Popular Science TV ^ | June 12th, 2015 | Sarah Fecht
    In July, New Horizons crosses the next great frontier in our solar system. Mankind is about to visit one of the strangest places in our solar system. Out beyond Neptune, the Kuiper belt is home to hordes of cold, lumpy worlds -- some of which are large enough to have their own moons, but none of which we've seen up-close before. That's going to change this summer, when NASA's New Horizons spacecraft flies by "the king of the Kuiper belt": Pluto. It's no longer considered a planet, but Pluto is still an important member of our solar system, and one...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Medusa Nebula

    06/12/2015 4:11:16 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | June 12, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Braided, serpentine filaments of glowing gas suggest this nebula's popular name, The Medusa Nebula. Also known as Abell 21, this Medusa is an old planetary nebula some 1,500 light-years away along the southern border of the constellation Gemini. Like its mythological namesake, the nebula is associated with a dramatic transformation. The planetary nebula phase represents a final stage in the evolution of low mass stars like the sun, as they transform themselves from red giants to hot white dwarf stars and in the process shrug off their outer layers. Ultraviolet radiation from the hot star powers the nebular glow....
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Light, the Dark, and the Dusty

    06/11/2015 4:01:59 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | June 11, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This colorful skyscape spans about three full moons (1.5 degrees) across nebula rich starfields along the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy in the royal northern constellation Cepheus. Near the edge of the region's massive molecular cloud some 2,400 light-years away, bright reddish emission region Sharpless (Sh) 155 lies at the upper left, also known as the Cave Nebula. About 10 light-years across the cosmic cave's bright rims of gas are ionized by ultraviolet light from hot young stars. Dusty blue reflection nebulae also abound on the interstellar canvas cut by dense obscuring clouds of dust. The long core...
  • Is There a STEM Worker Shortage? (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics)

    06/10/2015 5:51:33 PM PDT · by xzins · 34 replies
    Center for Immigration Studies ^ | May 2014 | Karen Zeigler, Steven A. Camarota
    Steven A. Camarota is the Director of Research and Karen Zeigler is a demographer at the Center for Immigration Studies. While employers argue that there are not enough workers with technical skills, most prior research has found little evidence that such workers are in short supply. This report uses the latest Census Bureau data available to examine the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. Consistent with other research, the findings show that the country has more than twice as many workers with STEM degrees as there are STEM jobs. Also consistent with other research, we find only modest levels...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Fly Over Dwarf Planet Ceres

    06/10/2015 3:55:24 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | June 10, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What would it look like to fly over dwarf planet Ceres? Animators from the German Aerospace Center recently took actual images and height data from NASA's robotic Dawn mission -- currently visiting Ceres -- to generate several fascinating virtual sequences. The featured video begins with a mock orbit around the 950-km wide space rock, with the crater featuring two of the enigmatic white spots soon rotating into view. The next sequences take the viewer around the Ceres' north and south poles, and then over a limb of the dark world highlighting its heavily cratered surface. Here, terrain height on...
  • Air Pollution And Not-So-Premature-Deaths

    06/09/2015 3:03:10 PM PDT · by Sean_Anthony · 2 replies
    Canada Free Press ^ | 06/09/15 | Jack Dini
    Scientific reality: PM2.5 does not kill anyone. The EPA's claims of PM2.5 lethality rank among the most nonsensical fraudulent and readily disprovable scientific claims ever. Chinese cities have some of the worst air pollution in the world. Two are Xi’an and Shanghai. Yet reports claim life expectancy in both these cities is higher than the US. According to a 2012 report, even though the air in Xi’an is, on average, 9-10 times more polluted in terms of PM2.5 particles than the median PM2.5 levels of the two most polluted cities in a 112 US city study (Rubidoux, CA and Los...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Galaxy NGC 7714 After Collision

    06/09/2015 9:36:36 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | June 09, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Is this galaxy jumping through a giant ring of stars? Probably not. Although the precise dynamics behind the featured image is yet unclear, what is clear is that the pictured galaxy, NGC 7714, has been stretched and distorted by a recent collision with a neighboring galaxy. This smaller neighbor, NGC 7715, situated off to the left of the featured frame, is thought to have charged right through NGC 7714. Observations indicate that the golden ring pictured is composed of millions of older Sun-like stars that are likely co-moving with the interior bluer stars. In contrast, the bright center of...
  • Gasland Producer Kicked Off Fox For Calling Host A ‘Liar’ [Stuart Varney kicks butt]

    06/09/2015 1:44:00 AM PDT · by Cincinatus' Wife · 7 replies
    The DC - The Daily Caller ^ | June 8, 2015 | Michael Bastasch
    Josh Fox, creator of the “Gasland” films, has been playing up on Twitter that he got kicked off the Fox Business show Varney & Co. after a heated debate with the show’s host on the EPA’s hydraulic fracturing report. Fox and his supporters claimed he was kicked off the Fox show for schooling its host Stuart Varney in a fracking debate. Fox claims Varney kicked him off the show after being “confronted with the truth on fracking.” But Fox’s claim of being kicked off Fox Business for beating them down with facts is very far from the truth. The Daily...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Milky Way over the Temple of Poseidon

    06/08/2015 6:54:13 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | June 08, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What's that glowing in the distance? Although it may look like a lighthouse, the rays of light near the horizon actually emanate from the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion, Greece. Some temple lights are even reflected in the Aegean Sea in the foreground. Although meant to be a monument to the sea, in this image, the temple's lights seem to be pointing out locations on the sky. For example, the wide ray toward the right fortuitously points toward the Lagoon Nebula in the central band of our Milky Way, which runs diagonally down the image from the upper...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 3132: The Eight Burst Nebula

    06/06/2015 10:50:20 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | June 07, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: It's the dim star, not the bright one, near the center of NGC 3132 that created this odd but beautiful planetary nebula. Nicknamed the Eight-Burst Nebula and the Southern Ring Nebula, the glowing gas originated in the outer layers of a star like our Sun. In this representative color picture, the hot blue pool of light seen surrounding this binary system is energized by the hot surface of the faint star. Although photographed to explore unusual symmetries, it's the asymmetries that help make this planetary nebula so intriguing. Neither the unusual shape of the surrounding cooler shell nor the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Into the Void

    06/06/2015 4:37:43 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 13 replies
    NASA ^ | June 06, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Fifty years ago, on June 3, 1965, Edward White stepped out of the orbiting Gemini 4 spacecraft to become the first US astronaut to walk in space. White is captured in this photo taken by mission commander James McDivit from inside the capsule as White's spacewalk began over the Pacific Ocean on Gemini 4's third orbit. Planet Earth, spacecraft, and tether are reflected in White's gold tinted helmet visor. A gas powered manuevering gun is held in his right hand. Though the gun ran out of gas after only 3 minutes, he continued to manuever by twisting his body...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Green Flash at Moonrise

    06/05/2015 3:01:47 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | June 05, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Follow a sunset on a clear day against a distant horizon and you might glimpse a green flash just as the Sun disappears, the sunlight briefly refracted over a long sight-line through atmospheric layers. You can spot a green flash at sunrise too. Pinpointing the exact place and time to see the rising Sun peeking above the horizon is a little more difficult though, and it can be harder still to catch a green flash from the fainter rising Moon. But well-planned snapshots did record a green flash at the Full Moon's upper edge on June 2nd, from the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 2419 - Intergalactic Wanderer

    06/04/2015 12:17:37 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | June 04, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Three objects stand out in this thoughtful telescopic image, a view toward the mostly stealthy constellation Lynx. The two brightest (the spiky ones) are nearby stars. The third is the remote globular star cluster NGC 2419, at distance of nearly 300,000 light-years. NGC 2419 is sometimes called "the Intergalactic Wanderer", an appropriate title considering that the distance to the Milky Way's satellite galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud, is only about 160,000 light-years. Roughly similar to other large globular star clusters like Omega Centauri, NGC 2419 is itself intrinsically bright, but appears faint because it is so far away. NGC...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Flyby Image of Saturn's Sponge Moon Hyperion

    06/03/2015 6:22:25 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | June 03, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Why does this moon look like a sponge? To better investigate, NASA and ESA sent the Saturn-orbiting robotic spacecraft Cassini zooming past Saturn's moon Hyperion, once again, earlier this week. One of the images beamed back to Earth is featured above, raw and unprocessed. Visible, as expected, are many unusually shaped craters with an unusual dark material at the bottom. Although Hyperion spans about 250 kilometers, its small gravitational tug on Cassini indicates that it is mostly empty space and so has very low surface gravity. Therefore, the odd shapes of many of Hyperion's craters are thought to result...
  • The Liberal Arts Are Dead; Long Live STEM

    06/02/2015 10:27:42 AM PDT · by pabianice · 36 replies
    The Federalist ^ | 6/2/15 | Thielman
    In recent months, Christopher Scalia in the Wall Street Journal and Fareed Zakaria in the Washington Post have defended studying the liberal arts in college, primarily to confront advocates of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Zakaria’s article previewed his new book, “In Defense of a Liberal Education.” From my perspective as a former engineer, two caveats arise regarding their pleas: first, “liberal” education that involves “critical thinking” disappeared decades ago, to be replaced by hyper-sensitive grievance mongering; second, the quantitative reasoning STEM occupations develops also facilitates the understanding of trade-offs people need to make rational decisions among myriad conflicting...