Dennis Sturgill

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WIRED Space Photo of the Day 2013

PhysicsWhy Do You Feel Lighter at the Top of a Ferris Wheel?<p>Author: Rhett AllainRhett Allain<p>EcologyHow Plastic Straws Slip Through the Cracks of …

When Power Goes To Your Head, It May Shut Out Your Heart

Even the smallest dose of power can change a person. You've probably seen it. Someone gets a promotion or a bit of fame and then, suddenly, they're a little less friendly to the people beneath them.<p>So here's a question that may seem too simple: Why?<p>If you ask a psychologist, he or she may tell you …

Newly Discovered Pink Exoplanet on the Lighter Side

Researchers imaged this planet around a sun-like star, but its origins remain a mystery.<p><b>There is a pink exoplanet circling a star very much like our own, 57 light-years away from Earth. But its origins are a mystery.</b><p>In a new study announcing the magenta gas giant, researchers were able to directly …

Chips and white bread trigger cravings in the brain

Foods like white bread and potatoes trigger the parts of the brain that are linked to addiction, a new study has found.<p>It may explain why it can be so hard to stop nibbling on breadsticks and chips.<p>Researchers used scanning technology to watch brain activity in volunteers during the four hour …

PayPal: Galactic Currency Coming Soon for Space Travelers

The commercialization of space is now a reality. Virgin Galactic will launch its first commercial flight this year. A space hotel is set to be …

Virgin Galactic

APOD: M57: The Ring Nebula (2013 Jun 05) Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA) - ESA/Hubble Collaboration http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap130605.html Explanation: Except for the rings of Saturn, the Ring Nebula (M57) is probably the most famous celestial band. Its classic appearance is understood to be due to our own perspective, though. The recent mapping of the expanding nebula's 3-D structure, based in part on this clear Hubble image, indicates that the nebula is a relatively dense, donut-like ring wrapped around the middle of a football-shaped cloud of glowing gas. The view from planet Earth looks down the long axis of the football, face-on to the ring. Of course, in this well-studied example of a planetary nebula, the glowing material does not come from planets. Instead, the gaseous shroud represents outer layers expelled from the dying, once sun-like star, now a tiny pinprick of light seen at the nebula's center. Intense ultraviolet light from the hot central star ionizes atoms in the gas. In the picture, the blue color in the center is ionized helium, the cyan color of the inner ring is the glow of hydrogen and oxygen, and the reddish color of the outer ring is from nitrogen and sulfur. The Ring Nebula is about one light-year across and 2,000 light-years away. http://heritage.stsci.edu/2013/13/ http://hubblesite.org/news/2013/13 http://www.spacetelescope.org/news/heic1310/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=130605 Starship Asterisk* • On This Day in APOD http://asterisk.apod.com/view_retro.php?date=0605

'Rings of fire' blaze in outer space

A galactic ring of fire "burns, burns, burns" with starbirth in this image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The brilliant ring circling the core of the galaxy, known as Messier 94 or NGC 4736, signals a frenetic round of star formation inside the ring.<p>Here's what Spitzer's astronomers think is …

APOD: The Milky Trail (2013 Jun 01) Image Credit & Copyright: Wally Pacholka (AstroPics.com, TWAN) http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap130601.html Explanation: Have you ever hiked the Queen's Garden trail in Bryce Canyon, Utah, USA, planet Earth? Walking along that path in this dark night skyscape, you can almost imagine your journey continues along the pale, luminous Milky Way. Of course, the name for our galaxy, the Milky Way (in Latin, Via Lactea), does refer to its appearance as a milky band or path in the sky. In fact, the word galaxy itself derives from the Greek for milk. Visible on moonless nights from dark sky areas, though not so bright or quite so colorful as in this image, the glowing celestial band is due to the collective light of myriad stars along the plane of our galaxy, too faint to be distinguished individually. The diffuse starlight is cut by dark swaths of obscuring galactic dust clouds. Four hundred years ago, Galileo turned his telescope on the Milky Way and announced it to be "... a congeries of innumerable stars ..." http://twanight.org/pacholka http://astropics.com/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=130601 Starship Asterisk* • On This Day in APOD http://asterisk.apod.com/view_retro.php?date=0601

APOD: The Eagle and The Swan (2013 May 31) Image Credit & Copyright: Dieter Willasch (Astro-Cabinet) http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap130531.html Explanation: The Eagle Nebula and the Swan Nebula span this broad starscape, a telescopic view of the Sagittarius spiral arm toward the center of our Milky Way galaxy. The Eagle, also known as M16, is left, above center, and the Swan, or M17 at the lower right. The deep, wide-field image shows the cosmic clouds as brighter regions of active star-formation. They lie along the spiral arm suffused with reddish emission charactistic of atomic hydrogen gas, and dusty dark nebulae. In fact, the center of both nebulae are locations of well-known close-up images of star formation from the Hubble Space Telescope. M17, also called the Omega Nebula, is about 5500 light-years away, while M16 is some 6500 light-years distant. In the frame that covers 3 degrees across the sky, the extended wings of the Eagle Nebula are spread over 120 light-years. http://astro-cabinet.com/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=130531 Starship Asterisk* • On This Day in APOD http://asterisk.apod.com/view_retro.php?date=0531

Can Humans Really Feel Temperature?

APOD: One-Armed Spiral Galaxy NGC 4725 (2013 May 30) Image Data: Subaru Telescope (NAOJ), Hubble Space Telescope, Additional Color Data: Adam Block, Bob Franke, Maurice Toet Assembly and Processing: Robert Gendler http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap130530.html Explanation: While most spiral galaxies, including our own Milky Way, have two or more spiral arms, NGC 4725 has only one. In this sharp color composite image, the solo spira mirabilis seems to wind from a prominent ring of bluish, newborn star clusters and red tinted star forming regions. The odd galaxy also sports obscuring dust lanes a yellowish central bar structure composed of an older population of stars. NGC 4725 is over 100 thousand light-years across and lies 41 million light-years away in the well-groomed constellation Coma Berenices. Computer simulations of the formation of single spiral arms suggest that they can be either leading or trailing arms with respect to a galaxy's overall rotation. Also included in the frame, a more traditional looking spiral appears as a smaller background galaxy. http://www.robgendlerastropics.com/NGC4725-Subaru-HST.html Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=130530 Starship Asterisk* • On This Day in APOD http://asterisk.apod.com/view_retro.php?date=0530

A Generator That Harnesses Energy From Ocean Currents

A working model of the estimated $5-million device could be ready within a year.<p>The magic of ocean currents is that they surround every continent on Earth and they run all day, every day. That's what sets this energy source apart from wind, solar, tidal, or wave—all of which are cyclical, meaning …

WIRED Space Photo of the Day 2013

SatireOther Microbes That Will (Not) Make Your Startup a Unicorn<p>Author: Adam RogersAdam Rogers<p>PhysicsWhy Do You Feel Lighter at the Top of a Ferris …

Did Rock Climbing Help Us Start Walking Upright?

A new theory suggests humans became bipedal so that we could scramble up rugged terrain.<p>The story of how humans evolved from knuckle-walking primates to upright bipeds is still a matter of great debate among anthropologists. One of today's leading theories suggests that our forest-dwelling …

APOD: NGC 6960: The Witch's Broom Nebula (2013 May 29) Image Credit & Copyright: Martin Pugh http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap130529.html Explanation: Ten thousand years ago, before the dawn of recorded human history, a new light would have suddenly have appeared in the night sky and faded after a few weeks. Today we know this light was from a supernova, or exploding star, and record the expanding debris cloud as the Veil Nebula, a supernova remnant. This sharp telescopic view is centered on a western segment of the Veil Nebula cataloged as NGC 6960 but less formally known as the Witch's Broom Nebula. Blasted out in the cataclysmic explosion, the interstellar shock wave plows through space sweeping up and exciting interstellar material. Imaged with narrow band filters, the glowing filaments are like long ripples in a sheet seen almost edge on, remarkably well separated into atomic hydrogen (red) and oxygen (blue-green) gas. The complete supernova remnant lies about 1400 light-years away towards the constellation Cygnus. This Witch's Broom actually spans about 35 light-years. The bright star in the frame is 52 Cygni, visible with the unaided eye from a dark location but unrelated to the ancient supernova remnant. http://www.martinpughastrophotography.id.au/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=130529 Starship Asterisk* • On This Day in APOD http://asterisk.apod.com/view_retro.php?date=0529

Starwatch: The June night sky

The month of our summer solstice brings the shortest and most twilit nights of the year but also the best chance of spotting noctilucent clouds from …

Medical marijuana users can drive drugged, rule Michigan courts

In Michigan, you can smoke marijuana and still drive a car. That's what the Michigan Supreme Court ruled this Tuesday, albeit on a technicality. Though Michigan has a zero-tolerance policy for driving "under the influence" of marijuana, it also has a law on the books that exempts <i>medical</i> marijuana …

Rare, massive merging of two faraway galaxies

A massive and rare merging of two galaxies has been spotted in images taken by the Herschel space observatory.<p>Follow-up studies by several telescopes …

Universe

You knew it was going to happen... More -> http://bit.ly/16qJG0W

Orion’s hidden fiery ribbon

This dramatic new image of cosmic clouds in the constellation of Orion reveals what seems to be a fiery ribbon in the sky.<p>This orange glow represents …

Cosmology

FYI: Do I Really Need My Pinky Toe?

And without it, could I do everything a five-toed human does?<p>Walking, running and skipping with just four toes may be easier than you think.<p>"If you're born without a pinky toe or have an accident and it's removed, you can completely do everything you wanted to do," Dr. Anne Holly Johnson, …

Human stem cells cloned for the first time

An international team of scientists announced today that for the first time ever, they were able to create new human stem cells by cloning older, fully mature human cells. The process cannot be used to create full human clones, as the scientists involved were quick to point out, but it does allow …

APOD: Kepler's Supernova Remnant in X-Rays (2013 May 15) Image Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/NCSU/M. Burkey et al; Optical: DSS http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap130515.html Explanation: What caused this mess? Some type of star exploded to create the unusually shaped nebula known as Kepler's supernova remnant, but which type? Light from the stellar explosion that created this energized cosmic cloud was first seen on planet Earth in October 1604, a mere four hundred years ago. The supernova produced a bright new star in early 17th century skies within the constellation Ophiuchus. It was studied by astronomer Johannes Kepler and his contemporaries, without the benefit of a telescope, as they searched for an explanation of the heavenly apparition. Armed with a modern understanding of stellar evolution, early 21st century astronomers continue to explore the expanding debris cloud, but can now use orbiting space telescopes to survey Kepler's supernova remnant (SNR) across the spectrum. Recent X-ray data and images of Kepler's supernova remnant taken by the orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory has shown relative elemental abundances typical of a Type Ia supernova, and further indicated that the progenitor was a white dwarf star that exploded when it accreted too much material from a companion Red Giant star and went over Chandrasekhar's limit. About 13,000 light years away, Kepler's supernova represents the most recent stellar explosion seen to occur within our Milky Way galaxy. http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2013/kepler/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=130515 Starship Asterisk* • On This Day in APOD http://asterisk.apod.com/view_retro.php?date=0515

Sun halo over U.S. East Coast yesterday

A ring or circle of light around the sun or moon is called a halo by scientists. They’re a sign of high thin cirrus clouds drifting above our …