Matthew Похоронить

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The Oldest Living Things On Earth

<i>The photographer Rachel Sussman has been traveling the world to take pictures of the oldest living organisms on our planet. She described her journey in this TED talk, and now, at last, she’s created a gorgeous new book, The Oldest Living Things in the World, published by the University of Chicago</i> …

Elephant Trunk Robot Learns Like A Child

You know, like a child with mechanical tentacles.<p>Four years ago, German engineering firm Festo came up with a concept for a robotic arm. Somewhere between an iron snake, a mechanical claw, and a sci-fi tentacle, the Bionic Handling Assistant is functionally most similar to an elephant's trunk.<p>But …

Taxpayers fund teaching creationism

Taxpayers in 14 states will bankroll nearly $1 billion this year in tuition for private schools, including hundreds of religious schools that teach Earth is less than 10,000 years old, Adam and Eve strolled the garden with dinosaurs, and much of modern biology, geology and cosmology is a web of …

5 Bar Tricks You Can Do With Science

Courtesy of Tim Shaw, whose television show launches tonight<p>As Kurt Vonnegut wrote in his classic <i>Cat's Cradle</i>, "science is magic that works." The same can be applied to these seemingly magical bar tricks, which are not really tricks but based in simple physics and science. They were shown to me by …

APOD: The Cloudy Cores of Active Galaxies (2014 Feb 24) Image Credit: NASA's GSFC, W. Steffen (UNAM) Explanation: What would it look like to travel to the center of an active galaxy? Most galactic centers are thought to house black holes millions of times more massive than our Sun. The spaces surrounding these supermassive black holes may be far from dormant, however, flickering in many colors and earning the entire object class the title of Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN). Pictured above is a video illustrating how an active galactic nucleus may appear up close. AGN typically sport massive accretion disks feeding the central black hole, as well as powerful jets shooting electrically charged matter far into the surrounding universe. Clouds of gas and dust seen orbiting the central black holes have recently been found to be so dense that they intermittently eclipse even penetrating x-rays from reaching us. These X-ray dimming events, as short as hours but as long as years, were detected in an analysis encompassing over a decade of data taken by the NASA's orbiting Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE). Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page #APOD

APOD: Cassini Spacecraft Crosses Saturn's Ring Plane (2014 Feb 23) Image Credit: Cassini Imaging Team, ISS, JPL, ESA, NASA Explanation: If this is Saturn, where are the rings? When Saturn's "appendages" disappeared in 1612, Galileo did not understand why. Later that century, it became understood that Saturn's unusual protrusions were rings and that when the Earth crosses the ring plane, the edge-on rings will appear to disappear. This is because Saturn's rings are confined to a plane many times thinner, in proportion, than a razor blade. In modern times, the robot Cassini spacecraft orbiting Saturn now also crosses Saturn's ring plane. A series of plane crossing images from 2005 February was dug out of the vast online Cassini raw image archive by interested Spanish amateur Fernando Garcia Navarro. Pictured above, digitally cropped and set in representative colors, is the striking result. Saturn's thin ring plane appears in blue, bands and clouds in Saturn's upper atmosphere appear in gold. Details of Saturn's rings can be seen in the high dark shadows across the top of this image, taken back in 2005. Moons appear as bumps in the rings. Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page #APOD

APOD: Aurora over New Zealand (2014 Feb 26) Image Credit & Copyright: David Weir (Earth and Sky Ltd.) Explanation: Sometimes the more you look at an image, the more you see. Such may be the case for this beautiful nighttime panorama taken last week in New Zealand. Visible right off, on the far left, are common clouds, slightly altered by the digital fusion of combining 11 separate 20-second exposures. More striking, perhaps, is the broad pink aurora that dominates the right part of the image, a less common auroral color that is likely tinted by excited oxygen atoms high in Earth's atmosphere. Keep looking and you might notice a bright light just beyond the mountain on the left. That is the rising Moon -- and an even closer look will reveal faint crepuscular rays emanating from it. Musing over the image center may cause you to notice the central band of the Milky Way Galaxy which here appears to divide, almost vertically, the left clouds from the right aurora. Inspecting the upper right of the image reveals a fuzzy patch, high in the sky, that is the Small Magellanic Cloud. Numerous stars discretely populate the distant background. Back on Earth, the image foreground features two domes of the Mt. John University Observatory and a camera tripod looking to capture much of this scene over a serene Lake Tekapo. Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page #APOD

APOD: Martian Sunset (2014 Mar 02) Image Credit: Mars Exploration Rover Mission, Texas A&M, Cornell, JPL, NASA Explanation: What would it be like to see a sunset on Mars? To help find out, the robotic rover Spirit was deployed in 2005 to park and watch the Sun dip serenely below the distant lip of Gusev crater. Colors in the above image have been slightly exaggerated but would likely be apparent to a human explorer's eye. Fine martian dust particles suspended in the thin atmosphere lend the sky a reddish color, but the dust also scatters blue light in the forward direction, creating a bluish sky glow near the setting Sun. Because Mars is farther away, the Sun is less bright and only about two thirds the diameter it appears from Earth. Images like this help atmospheric scientists understand not only the atmosphere of Mars, but atmospheres across the Solar System, including our home Earth. Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page #APOD

APOD: Sun and Prominence (2014 Mar 04) Image Credit & Copyright: jp-Brahic Explanation: Dramatic prominences can sometimes be seen looming just beyond the edge of the sun. Such was the case last week as a large prominence, visible above, highlighted a highly active recent Sun. A waving sea of hot gas is visible in the foreground chromosphere in great detail as it was imaged in one specific color of light emitted by hydrogen. A solar prominence is a cloud of solar gas held just above the surface by the Sun's magnetic field. The Earth, illustrated in the inset, is smaller than the prominence. Although very hot, prominences typically appear dark when viewed against the Sun, since they are slightly cooler than the photosphere below them. A quiescent prominence typically lasts about a month, and may erupt in a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) expelling hot gas into the Solar System, some of which may strike the Earth and trigger auroras. Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page #APOD

APOD: NGC 1333 Stardust (2014 Mar 06) Image Credit & Copyright: Al Howard Explanation: NGC 1333 is seen in visible light as a reflection nebula, dominated by bluish hues characteristic of starlight reflected by dust. A mere 1,000 light-years distant toward the heroic constellation Perseus, it lies at the edge of a large, star-forming molecular cloud. This striking close-up view spans about two full moons on the sky or just over 15 light-years at the estimated distance of NGC 1333. It shows details of the dusty region along with hints of contrasting red emission from Herbig-Haro objects, jets and shocked glowing gas emanating from recently formed stars. In fact, NGC 1333 contains hundreds of stars less than a million years old, most still hidden from optical telescopes by the pervasive stardust. The chaotic environment may be similar to one in which our own Sun formed over 4.5 billion years ago. Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page #APOD