Science Art: Jupiter's Rings by LORRI, 2007.

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The New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) snapped this photo of Jupiter’s ring system on February 24, 2007, from a distance of 7.1 million kilometers (4.4 million miles).

This processed image shows a narrow ring, about 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) wide, with a fainter sheet of material inside it. The faint glow extending in from the ring is likely caused by fine dust that diffuses in toward Jupiter. This is the outer tip of the “halo,” a cloud of dust …

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SONG: Thirty-Five Minutes (from Earth)

SONG: “Thirty-Five Minutes (from Earth)”.

ARTIST: grant.

SOURCE:Based on “NASA Windbots Could Explore Gas Giant Jupiter”, Sky News, 24 July 2015, as used in the post as used in the post “Windbots to explore Jupiter – the bumpier the ride, the better..”

ABSTRACT: The planet Jupiter is 35 light-minutes from Earth (give or take a couple of minutes depending on where in its orbit the planet is).

So a robot floating in the turbulent winds of Jupiter would take that long to send a mes…

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Science Art: Doree, Zeus, Faber by Edward Donovan

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Three names for one little fish. And those are just the beginning.

I found this one on the Scientific Illustration tumblog, which quoted Wikipedia on the doree (etc.):

John Dory, St Pierre or Peter’s Fish, refers to fish of the genus Zeus, especially Zeus faber, of widespread distribution. It is an edible benthic coastal marine fish with a laterally compressed olive-yellow body which has a large dark spot, and long spines on the dorsal fin. The dark spot is used to flash an ‘evil ey…

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Science Art: Her Majesty's Cochins; Imported in 1843, published 1904.

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These are ostensibly Cochin chickens, or forerunners of what we’d call Cochins today. They’re a breed with a *lot* of character, and are uniquely suited, temperamentally, for being “pet” chickens moreso than egg factories or walking meat supplies. Despite the name (after a part of India), they’re originally from China.

This picture is from The Asiatics; Brahmas, Cochins and Langshans, all varieties, their origin; peculiarities of shape and color; egg production; their ma…

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Science Art: Soaking Up the Rays of a Sun-Like Star, by NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle, 2015.

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This is an artist’s impression of a planet just discovered by NASA’s Kepler mission that’s gotten the folks at SETI all excited.

It’s the most Earth-like planet yet discovered. Kepler 452b sits in the “Goldilocks” zone around its star, not too hot and not too cold, and is about the same size (or is a little larger) and made of something like the same stuff as the planet we’re sitting around on right now. It takes 365 days to orbit around its sun, too. NASA’s calling it ou…

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SONG: "Kavachi"

SONG: “Kavachi”.

ARTIST: grant.

SOURCE:Based on “Deep-Sea Cameras Reveal a ‘Sharkcano'”, National Geographic Explorers’ Journal, 9 July 2015, as used in the post as used in the post “Live Sharks Discovered Inside A Live Volcano.”

ABSTRACT: There’s nothing I didn’t like about the process of writing this. If I was influenced by anyone in the making of this song, I guess it was The Residents, although the basic structure of it was unabashedly ripped off… myself. For about, oh, 15 ye…

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Earworms (hopelessly catchy tunes) get stuck in certain brain shapes.

17 July 2015 // 0 Comments

New Scientist reveals the anatomy of the earworm: The study is the first to look at the neural basis for “involuntary musical imagery” – or “earworms”. They aren’t just a curiosity, says study co-author Lauren Stewart at Goldsmith’s, University of London, but could have a biological function. Stewart, a music psychologist, was first inspired to study earworms by a regular feature on the radio station BBC 6Music, in which listeners would write in with songs they had woken up with in their heads. There was a lot of interest from the public in what they are and where they had come from, but there was little research on the topic, she says. … People who suffered earworms more frequently had thicker cortices in areas involved in auditory perception and pitch discrimination. “Areas in the auditory cortex that we know are active when you actually listen to music seem to be physically different in people who […]

Archaeologists unearth magic Viking sword.

16 July 2015 // 0 Comments

Science Daily has a for-real scientific report with an abstract that begins “Have you held the sword? Have you felt its weight?”: Have you felt how sharp and strong the blade is? A deadly weapon and symbol of power — jewellery for a man, with ‘magical properties’. The sword gave power to the warrior, but the warrior’s strength could also be transferred to the sword. That is how they were bound together: man and weapon, warrior and sword. This sword was found in Langeid in Bygland in Setesdal in 2011. It is a truly unique sword from the late Viking Age, embellished with gold, inscriptions and other ornamentation. The discovery of the sword has not been published until now…. “Even before we began the excavation of this grave, I realised it was something quite special. The grave was so big and looked different from the other 20 graves in the burial ground. In each of […]

World’s oldest sperm found inside fossilized worm.

15 July 2015 // 0 Comments

It’s the sperm of perspective, is what it is. Nature is showing off the very seed of history – the oldest animal sperm ever discovered: The remains of long, thin cells preserved inside the 50-million-year-old fossilized cocoon of an unknown worm species represent the oldest animal sperm ever found, say researchers at the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm. Benjamin Bomfleur and his colleagues spotted the sperm fragments when they used an electron microscope to examine the inner surface of the cocoon fossil, which had been collected by an Argentinian expedition on Seymour Island, which lies off the Antarctic Peninsula. Their findings are published today in Biology Letters. … Bomfleur says that the discovery was a surprise — “we laughed”, he says, on seeing the microscope images — “but in retrospect, it makes sense that you would find them as common inclusions in fossil cocoons”. The cocoons are secreted by some worms, including earthworms […]

Sorry, no science news today. Busy WATCHING A SPACE SHIP FLY PAST PLUTO.

14 July 2015 // 0 Comments

You can too, over here: https://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/, or here: http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/. Remember, Pluto’s 4.5 light-hours away. You dial their number, it takes most of the day for the phone to start to ring. Just forget about the TV remote…. Still, there are already pictures and more pictures and videos and even more stuff. The next couple of days should be fun.

The Big One is coming. Sorry, Seattle. And Portland.

13 July 2015 // 0 Comments

The New Yorker paints a pretty vivid seismic picture of the quake that some scientists say is due to rip the Pacific Northwest in two: Most people in the United States know just one fault line by name: the San Andreas, which runs nearly the length of California and is perpetually rumored to be on the verge of unleashing “the big one.” That rumor is misleading, no matter what the San Andreas ever does. Every fault line has an upper limit to its potency, determined by its length and width, and by how far it can slip. For the San Andreas, one of the most extensively studied and best understood fault lines in the world, that upper limit is roughly an 8.2—a powerful earthquake, but, because the Richter scale is logarithmic, only six per cent as strong as the 2011 event in Japan. Just north of the San Andreas, however, lies another fault line. Known […]

Science Art: Fig. 3, The Pocket Cephalometer, or Compass of Coordinates, by Dr. Gustave Le Bon, c.1878.

12 July 2015 // 0 Comments

This is a demonstration of an instrument used to measure “cephalic index,” or how big a person’s head was. This was, at this point in the 1800s, deemed important so that we’d know how smart the person was and, generally, what kind of person he or she was. The same pamphlet, translated into English in the 1920s, also describes a device used to map out 3D models of solid objects… so the kind of modeling that, like, made Gollum and Jurassic Park‘s dinosaurs come to life. You can read how they work here, at archive.org.

Live sharks discovered inside a live volcano.

10 July 2015 // 0 Comments

National Geographic reveals an ecosystem my 10-year-old son might have dreamed up. It’s all lava, acid and sharks. Inside the cauldron of Kavachi is a “sharkcano”: “Absolutely, we were scared,” says [Brennan] Phillips, a National Geographic Society/Waitt Grants Program grantee. “But one of the ways you can tell that Kavachi is erupting is that you can actually hear it—both on the surface and underwater. Anywhere within 10 miles even, you can hear it rumbling in your ears and in your body.” No one heard rumbling, so they prepared to go right to the rim of the crater. … Even without such theatrics it’s a dangerous place though. “Divers who have gotten close to the outer edge of the volcano have had to back away because of how hot it is or because they were getting mild skin burns from the acid water.” So the team strategically deployed their instruments—including disposable robots, underwater cameras, and National […]

There’s an all-electric big rig out on the road today….

10 July 2015 // 0 Comments

Manufacturing.net explains how BMW put a pollution-free semi to work on the autobahn: The BMW Group began using an all-electric semi-truck to transport vehicle components from the SCHERM group logistics center to the BMW plant in Munich on July 7, making it the first automobile manufacturer in Europe to use a 40-ton, electric-driven truck for everyday hauling on public roads. The truck, built by the Dutch manufacturer Terberg, has a 100 kilometer range on a single charge, which takes three to four hours to complete. That lets it travel for a full work day – eight trips per day – without needing to recharge. BMW said the truck will save 11.8 tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere annually, as well as saving money on gas.

Genetically modified mosquitoes swarm Brazilian city.

8 July 2015 // 0 Comments

And, New Scientist points out, they’re here to help… because they breed fast and their young die too quickly to spread dengue fever: Millions of genetically modified mosquitoes have descended on the Brazilian city of Piracicaba in the battle against dengue and a test in Florida is also in prospect. The GM mosquitoes are all male, and when they mate with native females, they pass on a gene to offspring that causes the larvae to die before they mature. … The GM mosquitoes were designed by Oxitec of Abingdon, UK, and are bred en masse in a factory in Campinas, Brazil. The firm has a permit to commercialise and release the mozzies anywhere in Brazil. Oxitec is also waiting for a permission from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to test the mosquitoes on Key Haven in the Florida Keys. Since April, 6 million GM mozzies have been released in the suburb of Piracicaba […]

The Larkin Effect exposed: How parents pass anxiety on to their kids.

7 July 2015 // 0 Comments

Science Daily peers deep into our brains to reveal how exactly our parents messed us all up: The study is being published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). It shows that elevated activity in this prefrontal- limbic -midbrain circuit is likely involved in mediating the in-born risk for extreme anxiety, anxious temperament that can be observed in early childhood. “Over-activity of these three brain regions are inherited brain alterations that are directly linked to the later life risk to develop anxiety and depression,” says senior author Dr. Ned Kalin, chair of psychiatry at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. … Monkeys, like humans, can be temperamentally anxious and pass their anxiety-related genes on to the next generation. By studying nearly 600 young rhesus monkeys from a large multi-generational family, Drs. Andrew Fox, Kalin, and colleagues found that about 35 percent of variation in anxiety-like tendencies is explained […]

Sorry, arachnophobes. Spiders can go *everywhere*.

6 July 2015 // 0 Comments

Nature reveals how spiders can use webbing to sail through the air… and then land on water and keep on sailing: Morito Hayashi, a spider researcher at the Natural History Museum in London, says that it had been assumed that a wet landing would be deadly for what are known as ballooning spiders — those that drift to new habitats on wind-blown silken threads that they spin to lift themselves aloft. But laboratory experiments by Hayashi and his colleagues, conducted at the University of Nottingham, UK, have shown that spiders can survive afloat, and can also harness the wind to ‘sail’ on the surface of water bodies. “Because 70% of our planet is covered by water, if they’re ballooning, they have to face landing on water,” says Hayashi. … Their water-repellent legs kept them alive on both fresh and salt water in laboratory tests and allowed them to deal with waves up to 0.5 millimetres […]

Science Art: Scheutz mechanical calculator (Zeichnung der Difference Engine No.1 aus dem Jahr 1853), 1867.

6 July 2015 // 0 Comments

Click to embiggen Now, after that brief, regrettable interruption in service, a tribute to the computer. This illustration is from The Elements of Natural Philosophy; Or, An Introduction to the Study of the Physical Sciences, a book Charles Brooke wrote, expanding upon the work of Golding Bird. If Brooke did the illustrations or if someone else did, I’m not sure. This is a machine used to make mathematics; it’s an ancestor of the computer, and a kind of difference engine. The machine was the size of a piano and created logarithmic tables. It was a big hit at the 1855 World’s Fair. They got smaller and fancier after a while.

SONG: Vulnerable Ape Theory (Going to a Blues Show with the Young Earth Creationists)

29 June 2015 // 0 Comments

SONG: “Vulnerable Ape Theory (Going to a Blues Show with the Young Earth Creationists)”. [Download] ARTIST: grant. SOURCE:Based on “Vulnerability made us human: how our early ancestors turned disability into advantage”, PhysOrg, 15 June 2015, as used in the post “The Vulnerable Ape theory of human origins.” ABSTRACT: This is the late song. I had the chorus on time, but no verses. Will these do? They have mutations and selection in them. This is a song about tolerating people who are wrong and different, just because the more we do that, the better off our species is. Let selection happen. Maybe someday I’ll get someone with a sweet, fey voice to record this for me… it so wants to be twee. And I’ll actually play a slide guitar in the bridge, where we’re singing about slide guitars. (Because we’re going to a blues show, remember?) The Young Earth Creationists would actually be a pretty good […]

Science Art: Fig. XLIII. Hydromylos, sive aquaria mola, 1662.

28 June 2015 // 0 Comments

This is a waterwheel, from a book written by architect and engineer Georg Andreas Boeckler, under the title Theatrum machinarum novum : exhibens opera molaria et aquatica constructum industria Georgi Andrea Böckleri… and so on. (The title page doesn’t have a lot of white space on it.) For the Renaissance, this is pretty high tech – it turns running water into flour! Boeckler built fountains. He had a thing for moving water… and moving things with water. His whole book of wonderful machines is in the New York Public Library Digital Collections.

Land planarians are invading the U.S.!

26 June 2015 // 0 Comments

PeerJ has a study revealing how one the planet’s most invasive species has wormed its way into – of course – Florida: The land planarian Platydemus manokwari de Beauchamp, 1963 or “New Guinea flatworm” is a highly invasive species, mainly in the Pacific area, and recently in Europe (France). We report specimens from six additional countries and territories: New Caledonia (including mainland and two of the Loyalty Islands, Lifou and Maré), Wallis and Futuna Islands, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Puerto Rico, and Florida, USA. … The new reports from Florida and Puerto Rico are firsts for the USA, for the American continent, and the Caribbean. P. manokwari is a known threat for endemic terrestrial molluscs and its presence is a matter of concern. While most of the infected territories reported until now were islands, the newly reported presence of the species in mainland US in Florida should be considered a potential major threat to the whole […]

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