@joebloggs8040: Wait for it…
(Yes, it's a video in a tweet. But what a video!)
(Yes, it's a video in a tweet. But what a video!)
What does any of this have to do with physics? An excellent long form essay on graduate school in physics.
Technically, melanin is a set of biomolecules that we think are synthesized by enzymes and that are notably very visibly colored. There are three types of melanin: the most common, eumelanin, which appears black or brown and occurs in skin and hair; the less abundant pheomelanin, which is on the yellow-to-red spectrum; and neuromelanin, which appears in high concentrations in the human brain, but the function of which we essentially don’t understand at all. For the most part, it seems, we don’t understand melanin. Despite this lack of scientific understanding, the social consequences of melanin are understood intimately by many of us.
How do humans deal with and survive extreme cold? Your best defense is knowing how to dress. "The Protective Combat Uniform emphasizes durability and functionality and has been described as the best cold weather clothing system ever developed. The primary operational theory for how it works requires some understanding of physics, so buckle in." [more inside]
Dilatant Compound 3179 (previously), better known to kids young and old as Silly Putty, may finally have a proper scientific use (besides the other semi-proper uses). Add graphene to the polymer, you get a very sensitive electro-mechanical sensor that can measure breathing, pulse and even blood pressure when placed on a person's neck or chest, and even detect the footsteps of small spiders (via NPR; abstract, paywalled article on Science Mag: Sensitive electromechanical sensors using viscoelastic graphene-polymer nanocomposites).
The Map of Physics : "Everything we know about physics - and a few things we don't - in a simple map." (SLYT, via Kottke)
Diving Into One Dishonored 2 Player's Obsession With “Explosive Orgies” [PC Gamer] “Videogames aren't just for entertainment, they are also the foundation for scientific research. For years players have been asking questions like "How many tanks does it take to stop the train in GTA 5?" [YouTube] or "How many people can I lure into a pool of electrified water?" [YouTube] You know, the difficult inquiries that really further us as a species. But sometimes science goes too far, as might be the case with one player and their obsession with "explosive orgies." What started as a little joke has spiralled into a madness to test the limits of what Dishonored 2's physics engine can handle. His name is 'Fattydude66' and he originally posted a screenshot to Reddit entitled "Is this one of the orgies the Duke loves so much?" It was a morbid jab at Luca Abele, the Duke of Serkonos, an oppressive ruler who offhandedly mentions a certain affinity for orgies during Dishonored 2's story. Fattydude66 was so committed to his joke that he spent an hour piling up 80 unconscious bodies, four dead ones, and two wolfhound. But that's where things got a wee bit dark. [.gif]”
On January 15, 1919, in Boston's North End, a 50-foot-tall tank holding 2.3 million gallons of molasses burst, unleashing a deadly wave that rose nearly 25 feet high at one point. The disaster killed 21 people and injured another 150. Nearly one hundred years later, an analysis carried out by a group of Harvard fluid dynamics physicists explains how "cold temperatures and unusual currents conspired to turn slow sticky goop into a deadly speeding wave." [more inside]
NASA's long awaited paper, Measurement of Impulsive Thrust from a Closed Radio-Frequency Cavity in Vacuum, has passed peer review and been published in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)’s Journal of Propulsion and Power. The takeaway? They consistently measured 1.2 millinewtons per kilowatt of thrust in a vacuum with no apparent reaction mass. Several potential sources of error were considered and examined. If the results are replicated and not the result of error our current understanding of physics would be shattered. [more inside]
A group of Science YouTubers got together to perform a tribute to a scientist Hamilton, in the style of his political musical namesake.
Logic hacking - "Writing shorter and shorter computer programs for which it's unknowable whether these programs run forever, or stop... the winner of the Busy Beaver Game for N-state Turing machines becomes unknowable using ordinary math - somewhere between N = 5 and N = 1919." [more inside]
Mission Juno Tonight, Earth species Homo sapiens sapiens, with ongoing support from photosynthesizing relatives in the Plant kingdom, will attempt the delicate task of inserting a large machine into polar orbit around the highly radioactive gas giant Jupiter. After using a slingshot maneuver around Earth and Jupiter's tremendous gravitational pull to become "one of the fastest human-made objects ever built," it is hoped Juno will collect data for 20 months, shedding light on the composition of the planet and what it can tell us about the origin of the Sol system 4.6 billion years ago. [more inside]
...Takagi and colleagues observed that cats tend to stare longer at rattling boxes during the experiment, which suggest that they correctly anticipated the presence of an object based on the container's rattling sound. The felines also stared longer when a turned over box yielded unexpected results that defy the laws of physics. Takagi explained that these animals use a causal-logical understanding of noise or sounds when predicting the presence of invisible objects.Cats Utilize Physics? Study Says Cats Understand Physics And Use Law Of Cause And Effect To Detect Hiding Prey
The demonstration began on the afternoon of May 21, 1946, at a secret laboratory tucked into a canyon some three miles from Los Alamos, New Mexico, the birthplace of the atom bomb. Louis Slotin, a Canadian physicist, was showing his colleagues how to bring the exposed core of a nuclear weapon nearly to the point of criticality, a tricky operation known as “tickling the dragon’s tail.” - The Demon Core and the Strange Death of Louis Slotin
"Although it will seem remedial to mention this, all Breakout-style games have at least three things in common – each contains paddles, balls, and target objects for the balls to hit." -- Lego Bricktopia level designer, Mark Nelson, shares his vast of knowledge of Breakout-style games (previously 1, 2) in Breaking Down Breakout: System And Level Design For Breakout-style Games. [more inside]
Henri Bergson was one of the most celebrated philosophers of the early 20th century, and his very public conflict with Albert Einstein over "the nature of time" was considered the reason that Einstein's 1921 Nobel Prize was NOT awarded specifically for his Theory of Relativity. Ouch.
Tim Blais, aka A Capella Science [of Rolling in the Higgs and Bohemian Gravity] sings in reverse about the physics of "Entropic Time." "Stars explode and leaves turn brown and fall /That's thermodynamics' second Law /But from a deep view /That doesn't need to be true /Time symmetry precludes entropic time." [more inside]
Physics Fun is an Instagram account with short videos of physics, math and science 'toys.' An accompanying blog looks at some in more detail.
Gravitational Waves Exist: The Inside Story of How Scientists Finally Found Them. The New York Times also has a writeup.
Signs of Modern Astronomy Seen in Ancient Babylon - "Scientists have found a small clay tablet with markings indicating that a sort of precalculus technique was used to track Jupiter's motion in the night sky." [more inside]
Published in 1913, a best-seller in the 1930s and long out of print, Physics for Entertainment was translated from Russian into many languages and influenced science students around the world ... In the foreword, the book’s author describes the contents as “conundrums, brain-teasers, entertaining anecdotes, and unexpected comparisons,” adding, “I have quoted extensively from Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, Mark Twain and other writers, because, besides providing entertainment, the fantastic experiments these writers describe may well serve as instructive illustrations at physics classes.”
Illustrations, diagrams, and animations, many of maths and physics concepts, created for Wikipedia by Lucas Vieira Barbosa.
Let’s draw Feynman diagrams! (Part 1 of 20) You do not need to know any fancy-schmancy math or physics to do this! That’s right. I know a lot of people are intimidated by physics: don’t be! Today there will be no equations, just non-threatening squiggly lines. Even school children can learn how to draw Feynman diagrams (and, I hope, some cool science). Particle physics: fun for the whole family.
A man who draws pictures for the computer explains the space doctor's big idea about time and space using only simple words. [more inside]
Nima Arkani-Hamed is championing a campaign to build the world's largest particle collider - "Two years ago, he agreed to become the inaugural director of the new Center for Future High Energy Physics in Beijing. He has since visited China 18 times, campaigning for the construction of a machine of unprecedented scale: a circular particle collider up to 60 miles in circumference, or nearly four times as big around as Europe's Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Nicknamed the 'Great Collider', and estimated to cost roughly $10 billion over 30 years, it would succeed the LHC as the new center of the physics universe. According to Arkani-Hamed and those who agree with him, this 100-trillion-electron-volt (TeV) collider would slam subatomic particles together hard enough to either find the particles that the LHC could not muster or rule them out, rescuing or killing the naturalness principle and propelling physicists toward one of two radically different pictures: that of a knowable universe, or an unknowable multiverse." [more inside]
A series of 55 animated vintage book graphics by Henning M. Lederer
Maybe Jesus could walk on water, but anybody can walk on this non-Newtonian fluid (SLYT)
The 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics Takaaki Kajita of Japan and Arthur B. McDonald of Canada share the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics for their work in neutrino oscillations ("metamorphosis in neutrinos" in the press release), in which neutrinos switch flavors as it propagates through space. The finding has a large impact on the standard model, as it requires neutrinos to have non-zero mass.
Atop the twin spires of the Andromeda and Milky Way Galaxies the eerie call-and-response of bagpipe players echoed across the valley. I watched four siblings race one another up to the top of the Multiverse's spire as their mother, standing at the base, tried to maneuver a cell phone around the fifth child strapped to her chest.-The Duke, the Landscape Architect and the World's Most Ambitious Attempt to Bring the Cosmos to Earth by Alina Simone is an article about the Crawick Multiverse in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, and its designer, landscape architect Charles Jencks. The garden is designed to represent modern cosmological theories.
Dr. Prescod-Weinstein talks about her inspiration, teaching herself what she needed to know, how she keeps balance in her life, and being one of 89 black women with a physics Ph.D., and the only theoretical physicist. [more inside]
Explore the deepest mysteries at the frontier of fundamental physics, and the most promising ideas put forth to solve them. A map of the frontier of fundamental physics built by interactive developer Emily Fuhrman.
“In 1999, two Canadian astrophysicists, Stéphane Dumas and Yvan Dutil, composed and sent a message into space. The message was composed of twenty-three pages of bitmapped data, and was sent from the RT-70 radio telescope in Yevpatoria, Ukraine, as part of a set of messages called Cosmic Call.” [more inside]
Science "explains things" in various ways. You can start with initial conditions, and apply laws of motion (classical kinematics). Or you can predict things via evolving probabilities (quantum mechanics). Or you can find emergent laws (thermodynamics). Or ... - There are many different modes of explanation. Recently, David Deutsch invented a new one: Constructor Theory. [more inside]
The Last True Know-It-All reviews Andrew Smith's biography of Thomas Young - "The Last Man Who Knew Everything (including hieroglyphs). Was Young The Smartest Person Ever? [more inside]
The Singular Mind of Terry Tao - "Imagine, he said, that someone awfully clever could construct a machine out of pure water. It would be built not of rods and gears but from a pattern of interacting currents." (via) [more inside]
Princeton researchers have discovered a long-theorized, never-observed variety of massless (quasi)-particle called the Weyl fermion. Exciting things to come maybe! (Bat-signal: expert.) [more inside]
French magician and juggler Antoine Terrieux created a series of remarkably self-sustaining sculptures using different arrangements of hair dryers, and has also incorporated them in funny ways in his stage performance. He also plays with a diabolo in ways that seem to defy gravity. [via]
At Robert Krulwich's NPR science blog, a couple of reflections on nothingness: Building Me and 2 Ways To Think About Nothing.
Rumble roar clatter. Does what it says, etc. Home page of the creator, Jelle Bakker, the Marble Master. [more inside]
While you were out, your childminders have been entertaining your offspring with dry ice experiments. You're that sort of parent, with those sorts of friends. On your return, you discover that this has gone down very well with junior, and that there's some solid CO2 left over. What could be better than to continue the science fun in the morning? All you have to do is keep the stuff cool overnight. Simple enough? Perhaps not. (Previously)
Here's a neat browser toy where you can play with gravitation interaction and make planetary orbits...or horribly destabilize them.
Calculating the Speed of Light Using a Microwave and PEEPS (or other melty things) from National Geographic's Education Blog and NPR's Skunk Bear videos (showing some history of calculating the speed of light... with peeps as historical scientists, of course)
Frank Wilczek: Physics in 100 Years [pdf] - "Here I indulge in wide-ranging speculations on the shape of physics, and technology closely related to physics, over the next one hundred years. Themes include the many faces of unification, the re-imagining of quantum theory, and new forms of engineering on small, intermediate, and large scales." [more inside]
Twirl an upside-down soda glass and toss it down a tabletop (somewhat like the hero in the video game Tapper), and the glass will pull off in a direction opposite of the spin. Spin a granite curling stone and throw it down the ice, however, and it will travel in the same direction as the spin. Video blog SmarterEveryDay looks at physics theories that try to figure out why this counterintuitive result happens.