Showing posts tagged science
The basic urge to recognize something bigger than [ourselves] still gives theistic theories an audience, even as their explanations of the lightning-maker turn ever gappier and gassier. Expert defenders are more and more inclined to seize on the tiniest of scientific gaps or to move ever upward to ideas of God so remote from existence as to become pure hot air…. Experience shows that those who adopt this strategy end up defending a smaller and smaller piece of ground. They used to find God’s hand in man’s very existence, then in the design of his eyes, then, after the emergence of the eye was fully explained, they were down to the bird’s wing, then they tried the bacterial flagellum, and now they’re down to pointing to the cilia in the gut of worms and the emergence of a few kinds of multi-cellular organisms in the Cambrian as things beyond all rational explanation. Retreat always turns to rout in these matters.
Adam Gopnik, in The New Yorker

(Source: newyorker.com)

theatlantic:

For the First Time, We Have a Detailed Model of the Universe

It is, if you except the powers of human memory, the closest thing we have to a time machine.

Scientists have created the first realistic model of the universe, capable of recreating 13 billion years of cosmic evolution. The simulation is called “Illustris,” and it renders the universe as a cube (350 million light-years on each side) with, its creators say, unprecedented resolution: The virtual universe uses 12 billion 3-D “pixels,” or resolution elements, to create its rendering. And that rendering includes both normal matter and dark matter.

The rendering, importantly, also includes elliptical and spiral galaxies—bodies that, because of numerical inaccuracies and incomplete physical models, we’d been unable to see with such detail in previous simulations of the universe. It also does a better job than previous renderings of modeling the feedback from star formation, supernova explosions, and supermassive black holes.

Read more. [Image: Illustris Collaboration]

(Reblogged from theatlantic)
(Reblogged from climateadaptation)
Fourteen whales in the Firth of Forth were followed from Fidra to the Lamb and then to Fife.
Harper’s “Findings.” But its alliteration and quasi-trochaic cadence make it sound like the opening lines of some sort of nursery rhyme.

motherjones:

"The search for an Earth 2.0 is very close" to succeeding 

"In one minute we are seeing planets that used to take us an hour to detect."

This is fascinating. 

(Reblogged from motherjones)
It’s, like, science.

Head shop counter guy, explaining the difference between pipes with carbs versus pipes without

(I was shopping for white elephant gifts!)

Now a new version of the Big Bang, known as eternal inflation, is ascendant, in which there seem to be an endless number of universes bubbling violently forth from a background of primordial energy — “false vacuum,” in the jargon.

One of many mind-bending concepts and questions broached by Dennis Overbye in Sunday’s Times.

My newest obsession is cosmology. Been watching a lot of nerdy, NatGeo-type series on Netflix this summer — How the Universe Works, The Cosmos: A Beginner’s Guide, Where Did We Come From?, and the like. I highly recommend any or all of them. World(/universe) view-changing stuff.

Virtually all Americans have flame retardants in their blood, and at much higher levels than people in other countries.
Let the idiot-American jokes commence… now.

(Source: medicalxpress.com)

theatlantic:

In Focus: Scenes From Antarctica

Summer is returning to Antarctica and researcher teams from around the world are heading south for the (relatively) warm season. Among them are members of a Russian team that drilled into Lake Vostok last February. Vostok is a subglacial lake some 4,000 meters below the surface of the ice, and the plan is to send a robot down there this summer to collect water samples and sediments from the bottom. Research also continues at the South Pole Telescope, the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, and dozens of other locations around Antarctica. Gathered here are recent images of Antarctica, its environment, and some of the scientific work taking place there.

See more. [Images: National Science Foundation]


Amazing photography.

(Reblogged from theatlantic)
And the lede: “The fact that men love breasts seems so obvious that you may wonder why anyone would even bother to look for a meaningful explanation for the obsession.”
And yet, I clicked.
Because I’m a boob.

And the lede: The fact that men love breasts seems so obvious that you may wonder why anyone would even bother to look for a meaningful explanation for the obsession.”

And yet, I clicked.

Because I’m a boob.

climateadaptation:

Siberian Salamander can freeze for years down to -50 degrees Fahrenheit.

sciencesoup:

The Remarkable Freezing Salamander

Found mainly in the Arctic Circle, Russia and Northeast Asia, the Siberian Salamander (Salamandrella keyserlingii) is a unique creature that can survive long periods of time frozen. The adult salamander is able to adapt to temperatures as low as –45 degrees Celsius by replacing the water in its blood and cells with ‘antifreeze’ chemicals, thereby protecting its tissues from damage. Other animals are known to use glucose or glycerol for protection in a similar fashion, but the exact mechanism the Siberian salamandar uses to produce its chemicals is so far unknown—but it’s highly effective. They can survive frozen for years, metres under the permafrost, and then they just casually thaw out and walk off again. Local legends claim that salamanders have revived after being frozen alongside mammoths of the Pleistocene age, but although they’ve been found 4–14 m deep in ice, it’s more likely that they just fell down cracks in more recent years. If we could discover how these creatures manage to produce antifreeze chemicals, the process could have useful applications in food storage, medical supplies, and protection of people who live or explore in the snow.

(Image Credit: 1, 2)

(Reblogged from climateadaptation)