Mahtaab Physics

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Eating More 'Healthy Fats' May Lower Diabetes Risk

Replacing some of the meat and cheese in your diet with vegetable oils or nuts could help slow the progression of diabetes in some people, according …

DNA from mysterious 'Denisovans' helped modern humans survive

Genetic mutations from extinct human relatives called the Denisovans might have influenced modern human immune systems, as well as fat and blood sugar levels, researchers say.<p>Very little is known about the Denisovans. The first evidence of them was discovered in Denisova Cave in Siberia in 2008, …

Viva vagus: Wandering nerve could lead to range of therapies

With outposts in nearly every organ and a direct line into the brain stem, the vagus nerve is the nervous system’s superhighway. About 80 percent of …

Neurology

Science Is a Good Substitute for God

Religious believers tend to be happier than non-religious folk, according to a long line of psychological research. Scientists have suggested several …

Smallest-yet genome reveals how little we know about life - synthetic or real - ExtremeTech

Smallest-yet genome reveals how little we know about life — synthetic or real<p>By on March 25, 2016 at 8:04 am<p>This site may earn affiliate commissions …

Being a ‘morning person’ has a genetic basis, 23andMe study says

Night owls get a genetic excuse<p>Researchers at the genetics company 23andMe have identified 15 regions of the human genome that influence whether someone considers themselves a "morning person," meaning someone who likes to wake up and go to bed early, or an "evening person." The finding, published …

If You Keep Your Eyes Open When You Sneeze, Would They Pop Out?

Achoo!<p>We’ve all heard the rumour, but what would actually happen if you sneezed while keeping your eyes open? Nothing? Or would your eyes pop out of …

Why Does Hot Water Freeze Faster Than Cold Water?

Yep, it's true - and the chemistry is fascinating.<p>Lots of you in the Northern Hemisphere will be in the middle of yet another winter, and some might …

Here’s The Simple Proof That There Must Be Multiple Levels of Infinity

Easy!<p>Infinity is a powerful concept. Philosophers, artists, theologians, scientists, and people from all walks of life have struggled with ideas of …

How Hubble “Sees” Gravity

[Note: this post is cross-posted on the Hubble’s Universe Unfiltered blog.]Gravity is the familiar force of nature responsible for the diverse …

Photograph: Terry Smith/The Life Images Collection/Getty<p>Richard Dawkins at Oxford in 1976, pictured right, studying insect behaviour with student Ted …

Mark Twain

More Chemical Ingredients for Life Identified on Mars

The more scientists learn about Mars, the more intriguing the Red Planet becomes as a potential haven for primitive life in the ancient past ... and perhaps even the present.<p>A study released Monday (March 23) reports that ancient Mars harbored a form of nitrogen that could potentially have been …

National Academy of Sciences

NASA Wants To Send A Nuclear Submarine To Saturn's Moon Titan

Nothing says "we come in peace" like a military spaceplane delivering a nuclear sub<p>There are places beyond the reach of NASA’s current army of robot space explorers. Impressive and capable as Curiosity and other land rovers are, they’d be pretty useless in the liquid hydrocarbon lakes of Saturn’s …

Is this proof that male and female brains really are wired differently?

Study finds that men are less likely to react to emotional images, and forget them much quicker than women<p>The oft-repeated mantra that men are from Mars and women are from Venus has been lent credence by a major new study, which claims to show that the two genders process emotion differently.<p>Not …

Why can’t the world’s greatest minds solve the mystery of consciousness?

One spring morning in Tucson, Arizona, in 1994, an unknown philosopher named David Chalmers got up to give a talk on consciousness, by which he meant the feeling of being inside your head, looking out – or, to use the kind of language that might give a neuroscientist an aneurysm, of having a soul. …

Consciousness

How To Win The Impulse War Inside Your Brain

Your brain is complicated. Understanding how it works can help you make better decisions.<p>What role do our emotions play in decision-making? Some might say it’s a fairly contentious one. Acting on emotions without reason can be dangerous. 17th-century French philosopher Descartes would have you …

Week's Best Space Pictures: Saturn's Rings Go Dark, X-Rays Burst, and a Skyline Burns

Cassini views Saturn's rings in a different light, x-rays flare from the sun, and a city's skyline stands out against a fiery sunset.

One More Reason To Reach For A Paper Book Before Bed

E-readers may make it particularly hard to get a good night's sleep, according to research out this week.<p>A study that followed every nightly twitch, turn and snore of 12 volunteers for a couple weeks found that those who read from an iPad before hitting the sack had a harder time falling asleep, …

APOD: W5: Pillars of Star Formation (2014 Dec 16) Image Credit: WISE, IRSA, NASA; Processing & Copyright : Francesco Antonucci http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap141216.html Explanation: How do stars form? Images of the star forming region W5 like those in the infrared by NASA's Wide Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) satellite provide clear clues with indications that massive stars near the center of empty cavities are older than stars near the edges. A likely reason for this is that the older stars in the center are actually triggering the formation of the younger edge stars. The triggered star formation occurs when hot outflowing gas compresses cooler gas into knots dense enough to gravitationally contract into stars. In the featured scientifically-colored infrared image, spectacular pillars, left slowly evaporating from the hot outflowing gas, provide further visual clues. W5 is also known as IC 1848, and together with IC 1805 form a complex region of star formation popularly dubbed the Heart and Soul Nebulas. The above image highlights a part of W5 spanning about 2,000 light years that is rich in star forming pillars. W5 lies about 6,500 light years away toward the constellation of Cassiopeia. http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/WISE/main/ http://irsa.ipac.caltech.edu/Missions/wise.html http://www.astrobin.com/users/FrankAntonucci/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=141216 #APOD

APOD: The Potsdam Gravity Potato (2014 Dec 15) Image Credit: CHAMP, GRACE, GFZ, NASA, DLR http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap141215.html Explanation: Why do some places on Earth have higher gravity than others? Sometimes the reason is unknown. To help better understand the Earth's surface, sensitive measurments by the orbiting satellites GRACE and CHAMP were used to create a map of Earth's gravitational field. Since a center for studying this data is in Potsdam, Germany, and since the result makes the Earth look somewhat like a potato, the resulting geoid has been referred to as the Potsdam Gravity Potato. High areas on this map, colored red, indicate areas where gravity is slightly stronger than usual, while in blue areas gravity is slightly weaker. Many bumps and valleys on the Potsdam Gravity Potato can be attributed to surface features, such as the North Mid-Atlantic Ridge and the Himalayan Mountains, but others cannot, and so might relate to unusually high or low sub-surface densities. Maps like this also help calibrate changes in the Earth's surface including variable ocean currents and the melting of glaciers. The above map was made in 2005, but more recent and more sensitive gravity maps of Earth was produced in 2011. http://science.nasa.gov/missions/champ/ http://science.nasa.gov/missions/grace/ http://www.gfz-potsdam.de/en/home/ http://www.nasa.gov/ http://www.dlr.de/ Now Available: APOD 2015 Wall Calendars http://friendsofapod.org/?page_id=42 http://www.facebook.com/FoAPoD Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=141215 #APOD

APOD: Geminid Fireball over Mount Balang (2014 Dec 17) Image Credit: Alvin Wu http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap141217.html Explanation: This was a sky to remember. While viewing the Geminids meteor shower a few days ago, a bright fireball was captured over Mt. Balang, China with particularly picturesque surroundings. In the foreground, a sea of light clouds slowly floated between dark mountain peaks. In the background, the constellation of Orion shone brightly, with the familiar three stars of Orion's belt visible near the image top right. Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, is visible near the image center. The bright fireball flashed for only a fraction of second on the lower right. The source of the fireball was a pebble that intersected the protective atmosphere of Earth, originally expelled by the Sun-orbiting asteroid-like object 3200 Phaethon. Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=141217 #APOD

APOD: NGC 7331 and Beyond (2014 Dec 18) Image Credit & Copyright: Tony Hallas http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap141218.html Explanation: Big, beautiful spiral galaxy NGC 7331 is often touted as an analog to our own Milky Way. About 50 million light-years distant in the northern constellation Pegasus, NGC 7331 was recognized early on as a spiral nebula and is actually one of the brighter galaxies not included in Charles Messier's famous 18th century catalog. Since the galaxy's disk is inclined to our line-of-sight, long telescopic exposures often result in an image that evokes a strong sense of depth. The effect is further enhanced in this sharp image from a small telescope by galaxies that lie beyond the gorgeous island universe. The most prominent background galaxies are about one tenth the apparent size of NGC 7331 and so lie roughly ten times farther away. Their close alignment on the sky with NGC 7331 occurs just by chance. Seen through faint foreground dust clouds lingering above the plane of Milky Way, this visual grouping of galaxies is known as the Deer Lick Group. http://astrophoto.com/contact.htm Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=141218 #APOD

APOD: Apollo 11 Landing Site Panorama (2014 Dec 20) Neil Armstrong, Apollo 11, NASA http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap141220.html Explanation: Have you seen a panorama from another world lately? Assembled from high-resolution scans of the original film frames, this one sweeps across the magnificent desolation of the Apollo 11 landing site on the Moon's Sea of Tranquility. Taken by Neil Armstrong looking out his window of the Eagle Lunar Module, the frame at the far left (AS11-37-5449) is the first picture taken by a person on another world. Toward the south, thruster nozzles can be seen in the foreground on the left, while at the right, the shadow of the Eagle is visible toward the west. For scale, the large, shallow crater on the right has a diameter of about 12 meters. Frames taken from the Lunar Module windows about an hour and a half after landing, before walking on the lunar surface, were intended to initially document the landing site in case an early departure was necessary. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Armstrong http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/alsj/a11/a11.crew.html http://www.nasa.gov/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=141220 #APOD

APOD: Reflections on the 1970s (2014 Dec 19) Image Credit & Copyright: Jimmy Walker http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap141219.html Explanation: The 1970s are sometimes ignored by astronomers, like this beautiful grouping of reflection nebulae in Orion - NGC 1977, NGC 1975, and NGC 1973 - usually overlooked in favor of the substantial glow from the nearby stellar nursery better known as the Orion Nebula. Found along Orion's sword just north of the bright Orion Nebula complex, these reflection nebulae are also associated with Orion's giant molecular cloud about 1,500 light-years away, but are dominated by the characteristic blue color of interstellar dust reflecting light from hot young stars. In this sharp color image a portion of the Orion Nebula appears along the bottom border with the cluster of reflection nebulae at picture center. NGC 1977 stretches across the field just below center, separated from NGC 1973 (above right) and NGC 1975 (above left) by dark regions laced with faint red emission from hydrogen atoms. Taken together, the dark regions suggest to many the shape of a running man. http://jwalk.smugmug.com/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=141219 #APOD

APOD: Tyrrhenian Sea and Solstice Sky (2014 Dec 21) Image Credit & Copyright: Danilo Pivato http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap141221.html Explanation: Today the solstice occurs at 23:03 Universal Time, the Sun reaching its southernmost declination in planet Earth's sky. Of course, the December solstice marks the beginning of winter in the northern hemisphere and summer in the south. When viewed from northern latitudes, and as shown in the above horizontally compressed image, the Sun will make its lowest arc through the sky along the southern horizon. So in the north, the solstice day has the shortest length of time between sunrise and sunset and fewest hours of daylight. This striking composite image follows the Sun's path through the December solstice day of 2005 in a beautiful blue sky, looking down the Tyrrhenian Sea coast from Santa Severa toward Fiumicino, Italy. The view covers about 115 degrees in 43 separate, well-planned exposures from sunrise to sunset. http://www.danilopivato.com/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=141221 #APOD

Deck the halls with Nobel physicists

If you’re looking for a way to decorate for the holidays while also proudly declaring your love of science, <i>symmetry</i> has got your back. Below you’ll …

APOD: IC 1795: The Fishhead Nebula (2014 Dec 24) Image Credit & Copyright: Bill Snyder (Bill Snyder Photography) http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap141224.html Explanation: To some, this nebula looks like the head of a fish. However, this colorful cosmic portrait really features glowing gas and obscuring dust clouds in IC 1795, a star forming region in the northern constellation Cassiopeia. The nebula's colors were created by adopting the Hubble false-color palette for mapping narrow emission from oxygen, hydrogen, and sulfur atoms to blue, green and red colors, and further blending the data with images of the region recorded through broadband filters. Not far on the sky from the famous Double Star Cluster in Perseus, IC 1795 is itself located next to IC 1805, the Heart Nebula, as part of a complex of star forming regions that lie at the edge of a large molecular cloud. Located just over 6,000 light-years away, the larger star forming complex sprawls along the Perseus spiral arm of our Milky Way Galaxy. At that distance, this picture would span about 70 light-years across. http://billsnyderastrophotography.com/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=141224 #APOD