A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘science

[NEWS] Five science links: He Jiankui clones, submoons, ayahuasca, planetary nebulas, black holes

  • Chinese scientist He Jiankui, responsible for genetically engineering babies, is along with his team facing serious legal consequences from the Chinese government. SCMP reports.
  • A new paper suggests that submoons, moons of a world that is itself a moon, is not only theoretically possible but imaginable in orbit of known worlds including the Moon, Callisto, and Titan. Where are these?
  • Is ayahuasca becoming a drug of widespread and legitimate mainstream usage? VICE reports.
  • Planetary nebulas, Universe Today reports, are visible for only ten thousand years before their beautiful gases dissipate.
  • The interiors of black holes apparently continue to grow indefinitely. (The physics is complicated, as one might expect.) Nautilus has the article.

[NEWS] Six D-Brief links: Sagittarius A*, GRBs, Saturn, Planet Nine, Earth, starlight

  • Are the radio jets of Sagittarius A* at the heart of our galaxy pointed directly at Earth? D-Brief reports reports.
  • Astronomers might finally have established a firm connection between supernovas and gamma-ray bursts. D-Brief reports reports.
  • The length of a day on Saturn has finally been established, at just over 10 hours and 33 minutes. D-Brief reports reports.
  • The supposed signature of Planet Nine might be a creation not of a ninth planet but rather by a thick distant belt of objects. D-Brief reports reports.
  • Did the collision of protoplanet Theia with the young Earth seen the subsequent world with the materials needed for life? D-Brief reports reports.
  • The very idea of an encyclopedia of galactic starlight is profoundly poetic, to say nothing of its scientific uses. D-Brief reports reports.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 26, 2019 at 9:30 pm

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait writes about the ephemeral nature and historically recent formation of the rings of Saturn.
  • Centauri Dreams hosts an essay looking at the controversies surrounding the arguments of Avi Loeb around SETI and ‘Oumuamua.
  • D-Brief links to a new analysis of hot Jupiters suggesting that they form close to their stars, suggesting further that they are a separate population from outer-system worlds like our Jupiter and Saturn.
  • Colby King at the Everyday Sociology Blog takes a look at the sociology of the online world, using the critical work of Zeynep Tufekci as a lens.
  • L.M. Sacasas at The Frailest Thing makes a great point about the seemingly transparent online world: We might, like a protagonist in a Hawthorne story, confine ourselves falsely that we know everything, so becoming jaded.
  • JSTOR Daily notes how, in the early 20th century, US Park Rangers were actually quite rough and tumble, an irregular police force.
  • Language Hat looks at the overlooked modernist fiction of Dorothy Richardson.
  • Language Log examines the origins of the phrase “Listen up”.
  • The LRB Blog visits a Berlin cemetery to note the annual commemoration there of the lives of Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg.
  • Marginal Revolution considers the proportion of centenarians on Okinawa, and considers if a carbohydrate-heavy diet featuring sweet potatoes is key.</li<
  • Tim Parks at the NYR Daily engages with the idea of a translation being an accomplishment of its own.
  • Roads and Kingdoms has a fascinating interview with Tanja Fox about the history and development of the Copenhagen enclave of Christiania.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel notes that early returns from New Horizons suggest Ultima Thule is a typical “future comet”.
  • Strange Company shares the story of the haunting of 18th century Gael Donald Bán.
  • Towleroad shares the account by Nichelle Nichols of how her chance encounter with Martin Luther King helped save Star Trek.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the different quasi-embassies of different Russian republics in Moscow, and their potential import.
  • Arnold Zwicky, looking at penguins around the world, notices the CIBC mascot Percy the Penguin.

[NEWS] Five science links: redwood clones, rhea of Germany, Pescadero Basin, deep biosphere, climate

  • Motherboard looks at how some ecological activists are cloning the stumps of dead redwoods to produce new trees.
  • Rheas imported to the north German plains from South America are thriving, possibly even becoming indigenous. Well done! Deutsche Welle reports.
  • Motherboard reports on the unique oceanic ecologies found in the upside-down lakes of the Pescadero Basin.
  • The sheer mass of the deep biosphere underneath the Earth is immense, greater than that of humanity. Universe Today reports.
  • The Conversation notes how we can use archeology to understand the impact of climate change.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 21, 2019 at 10:30 pm

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • Dangerous Minds takes note of a robot that grows marijuana.
  • The Dragon’s Tales has a nice links roundup looking at what is happening with robots.
  • Far Outliers notes the differences between the African and Indian experiences in the Indian Ocean islands of Mauritius and the Seychelles.
  • L.M. Sacasas at The Frailest Thing recovers a Paul Goodman essay from 1969 talking about making technology a domain not of science but of philosophy.
  • JSTOR Daily notes the mid-19th century origins of the United States National Weather Service in the American military.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the extent to which Jared Kushner is not an amazingly good politician.
  • The Map Room Blog notes artist Jake Berman’s maps of vintage transit systems in the United States.
  • The NYR Daily examines The Price of Everything, a documentary about the international trade in artworks.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw wonders how long the centre will hold in a world that seems to be screaming out of control. (I wish to be hopeful, myself.)
  • Drew Rowsome reports on a Toronto production of Hair, 50 years young.
  • Frank Jacobs at Strange Maps shows maps depicting the very high levels of air pollution prevailing in parts of London.
  • Window on Eurasia remembers Black January in Baku, a Soviet occupation of the Azerbaijani capital in 1990 that hastened Soviet dissolution.

[NEWS] Five science links: geoengineering, Europa probe, ocean worlds, oxygen, black hole portals

  • The National Observer takes a look at the challenges, both technological and psychological, facing geoengineers as they and us approach our their hour of trial.
  • Evan Gough at Universe Today shares a proposal for a nuclear-fueled robot probe that could tunnel into the possibly life-supporting subsurface oceans of Europa.
  • Meghan Bartels at Scientific American notes a new study suggesting that most worlds with subsurface oceans, like Europa, are probably too geologically inactive to support life.
  • Matt Williams at Universe Today notes a new study demonstrating mechanisms by which exoplanets could develop oxygen-bearing atmospheres without life.
  • Gaurav Khanna writes at The Conversation about how, drawing on research done for the film Interstellar, it does indeed seem as if supermassive black holes like Sagittarius A* might be used as hyperspace portals if they are also slowly rotating.

[URBAN NOTE] Five science links: coffee, CERN, Titan, HCN–0.009–0.044, panspermia

  • Motherboard notes that climate change endangers a majority of the coffee species growing in the wild.
  • Universe Today notes that CERN is planning to build a successor to the LHC, one a hundred kilometres in diameter.
  • A review of data from Cassini, Universe Today reports, suggests the probe saw rain fall in the north polar region of Titan.
  • A new analysis suggests that mysterious object in the heart of the galaxy, HCN–0.009–0.044, is actually a black hole massing 32 thousand suns. Universe Today has it.
  • Universe Today shares an ambitious proposal for future humanity to use interstellar probes to seed life on potentially hospitable but lifeless worlds, a planned panspermia.

[NEWS] Five science links: desalination brine, Venezuela glacier, Venus, red dwarf plants, AT2018cow

  • Wired asks what is to be done with the toxic brine produced by desalination plants.
  • This article from The Atlantic tells the story of the last glacier in Venezuela, disappearing as the climate warns and as the county falls apart.
  • Universe Today notes the discovery of a mysterious streak in the upper atmosphere of Venus.
  • A new study via Universe Today suggests potentially Earth-like exoplanets orbiting red dwarfs stars might not receive enough high-energy photons to support plant life.
  • Universe Today suggests that the mysterious AT2018cow event saw the formation of either a black hole or a neutron star.

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

  • Cody Delistraty considers the new field of dystopian realism–of dystopia as a real thing in contemporary lives–in popular culture.
  • D-Brief notes how direct experiments in laboratories have helped geologists better understand the mantle of the Earth.
  • Far Outliers shares a terribly sad anecdote of a young woman in China who killed herself, victim of social pressures which claim many more victims.
  • Imageo notes how recent headlines about ocean temperature increases are misleading in that they did not represent the steady incremental improvements of science generally.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the unexpectedly rapid shift of the location of the northern magnetic pole.
  • JSTOR Daily links to a paper that links to the quietly subversive aesthetics and politics of the 1950s and 1960s surf movie.
  • Language Hat links to an intriguing paper looking at the relationship between the size of an individual’s Broca’s area, in their brain, and the ways in which they can learn language.
  • Language Log shares a poster from Taiwan trying to promote use of the Hakka language, currently a threatened language among traditional speakers.
  • Dan Nexon at Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the extreme secrecy of Trump regarding his Helsinki discussions with Putin, going so far as to confiscate his translator’s notes.
  • Justin Petrone at north! writes about the exhilarating and liberating joys of hope, of fantasy.
  • The NYR Daily examines the new Alfonso Cuarón film, the autobiographical Roma.
  • Drew Rowsome takes a look at the interesting show by Damien Atkins at Crow’s Nest Theatre, We Are Not Alone.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel reports on what a report of the discovery of of the brightest quasar actually means.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the historical cooperation, before Operation Barbarossa, between the Nazis’ Gestapo and Stalin’s NKVD.
  • Arnold Zwicky shares a video examining Chavacano, the Spanish-based creole still spoken in the Philippines.

[NEWS] Five space science links: red dwarfs, zombie stars, LMC, M94, dark matter

  • Evan Gough at Universe Today, looking at a study of nearby young red dwarf AU Microscopii, points to findings suggesting that red dwarfs quickly lose volatiles like water in their protoplanetary disks, leaving their worlds sterile.
  • Paul Sutter at Universe Today looks at zombie stars, white dwarfs which underwent Type 1a supernovas which did not totally destroy them.
  • The SCMP notes a new study suggesting that the Large Magellanic Cloud, the largest satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, will collide with our galaxy in a mere 2.5 billion years.
  • IFLScience notes that nearby spiral galaxy M94 is unusually lacking in satellites, leaving interesting hints about the nature of dark matter and its distribution.
  • New models of dwarf galaxy formation suggest dark matter can be heated, driven away from a galaxy’s core by–for instance–active star formation. Scitech Daily reports.