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April 2012

Written By: grant on April 30, 2012 No Comment

And it’s a USB! Well, that’s what Science Daily says it’s made of, anyway. It’s formally called a “Xi_b^*” and it’s just been spotted at the Large Hadron Collider:

In the course of proton collisions in the LHC at CERN, physicists Claude Amsler, Vincenzo Chiochia and Ernest Aguiló from the University of Zurich’s Physics Institute [...]

Written By: grant on April 29, 2012 No Comment
Science Art: <i>CERN-EX-1107175 01 </i> by the LHCB Team at the CERN Large Hadron Collider.


Click to embiggen

The formal name for this image: LHCb: Event display presented at the EPS-HEP 2011 conference showing a B0s meson decaying into a ?+ and ?- pair.

It’s what happens when a strange beauty particle called B0s, made from a beauty antiquark (b) stuck together with a strange quark (s), falls apart into two [...]

Written By: grant on April 27, 2012 No Comment

PhysOrg calls it “man’s remotest relative,” a living thing that has no branch on the tree of life. Why can’t they just call a shoggoth a shoggoth, man?:

The elusive, single-cell creature evolved about a billion years ago and did not fit in any of the known categories of living organisms — it was [...]

Written By: grant on April 26, 2012 No Comment

New Scientist discusses the future of the academy, in which teachers have been replaced by essay-grading robots:

Grading software from nine manufacturers, which together cover 97 per cent of the US market, was used in the test. To calibrate the systems, each looked for correlations between factors associated with good essays, such as strong [...]

Written By: grant on April 25, 2012 No Comment

Science News chills us to the bone with the latest breakthrough from Mark Mayford and Susumu Tonegawa, neuroscientists at Scripps and MIT, respectively. They’ve been able to manufacture memories – terrifying memories of things that never happened – in mice:

Though the two teams used different approaches, they both created a false memory of a [...]

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Written By: grant on April 24, 2012 No Comment

Scientific American veers into “No, really?” territory with news that cocaine ages your brain prematurely:

“As we age we all lose gray matter,” Karen Ersche of the Behavioral and Clinical Neuroscience Institute at the University of Cambridge and co-author of the new study, said in a prepared statement. But, she noted, “chronic cocaine users [...]

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Written By: grant on April 23, 2012 No Comment

…of killing endangered animals. Or at least Nature hypes up enough evidence to put Chinese medicine on trial:

“There’s absolutely no honesty in the labelling of these products. What they declare is completely at odds with what’s in there,” says Mike Bunce, a geneticist at Murdoch University near Perth, Australia, who led the study. [...]

Written By: grant on April 23, 2012 No Comment
Science Art: <i>Amerique</i>, from the <i>Larousse pour tous</i> encyclopedia, 1909.


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This is what America meant for Claude Auge, who edited Le Larousse pour tous nouveau dictionnaire encyclopedique in 1909.

Eskimos and tapirs.

You can browse through your Larousse at the Open Library.

Written By: grant on April 20, 2012 No Comment

Physics World has a solution for the Pioneer Anomaly – the strange slowdown experienced by both Pioneer space probes as they passed beyond the farthest reach of the solar wind. It’s not as exciting as aliens with tractor beams or magnetic walls built to keep humans from exploring the galaxy, but it is an [...]

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