High Speed Video of Flipping Cats
A video in which a man claims watching him attempt to flip a cat (without pissing people off) will make you smarter. Bonus intro video.
Gratuitous Father Guido Sarducci
"As a climber goes up even higher in altitude, into the so-called death zone, the dangerously thin air above 26,000 feet, there is so little oxygen available that the body makes a desperate decision: it cuts off the digestive system. The body can no longer afford to direct oxygen to the stomach to help digest food because that would divert what precious little oxygen is available away from the brain. The body will retch back up anything the climber tries to eat, even if it’s as small as an M&M."
from To the Last Breath: A Journey of Going to Extremes
Russian billionaire Milner's new physics prize
is awarding nine scientists 3 million dollars each in its inaugural year. Aside from the size of the prize, it's different from the Nobel in physics in that it can be awarded to scientists whose ideas have not yet been verified by experiments. According to the Forbes article
, the winners "can be groups of any size; scientists of any age; and there is no limit on how many prizes an individual can win." And soon the prize would be open to online nominations
. [more inside]
In case you needed another reason
to love/fear them:
With a tone that sometimes rings condescending or conspiratorial but always wonderfully flippant, the best minds of cracked.com discuss the grandest extremities
of modern physics.
Morton and Vicary on the Categorified Heisenberg Algebra
- "In quantum mechanics, position times momentum does not equal momentum times position! This sounds weird, but it's connected to a very simple fact. Suppose you have a box with some balls in it, and you have the magical ability to create and annihilate balls. Then there's one more way to create a ball and then annihilate one, than to annihilate one and then create one. Huh? Yes: if there are, say, 3 balls in the box to start with, there are 4 balls you can choose to annihilate after you've created one but only 3 before you create one..." [more inside]
Escape The Red Giant
is a Flash game that is both incredibly relaxing and incredibly addictive. [more inside]
Science for the people: take a renowned scientist (Nobel Laureate Leon Lederman
(Physics), Stephen Benkovik
(Chemisty)) and sit them down on a street corner to answer questions.
Also: The No Excuse List
(resources to learn just about anything), Minute Physics
(free, University-level courses online) and PetriDish
, a Kickstarter for science projects.
Your music played through giant Tesla Coils
in Cleveland Ohio. [more inside]
What began with one man in a patent office and the insight that mass and energy are the same has culminated at the largest particle collider ever built, employing 2400 full-time employees and 10,000 visiting scientists: CERN
has announced the discovery of the Higgs boson, a major vindication for the Standard Model of particle physics. [more inside]
The Royal Society of Chemistry is offering £1000
to the person or team producing the best and most creative explanation of the phenomenon, known today as The Mpemba Effect [more inside]
The Flame Challenge:
The Center For Communicating Science asked scientists to answer the question, "What is a flame?," in a way that 11-year-olds would understand. Ben Ames won. In addition to his winning video
, you can see the runners-up.
Friday Flash Fun.
Science off the Sphere
is a video series by Don Pettit aboard the ISS showing off the neat things you can do in zero-gravity. [more inside]
The Royal Observatory, Greenwich has put together the fantastic short video Measuring the Universe
which briefly describes the different techniques used to allow us to calculate the vast distances to stellar objects in space. [via]
The Square Kilometre Array
) Organisation recently announced a two site
approach, in Australia-NZ and Southern Africa
, a move that was applauded
by the Australian
team. Once fully operational
in 2024, SKA's one square kilometre collecting area
should lead to major advances
. [more inside]
The trend of mathematics and physics towards unification provides the physicist with a powerful new method of research into the foundations of his subject, a method which has not yet been applied successfully, but which I feel confident will prove its value in the future. The method is to begin by choosing that branch of mathematics which one thinks will form the basis of the new theory. One should be influenced very much in this choice by considerations of mathematical beauty.
 [more inside]
Physicist Lawrence Krauss wrote a book titled A Universe from Nothing
. Philosopher David Albert wrote a rather scathing review
. In a later interview with The Atlantic
, Krauss suggested that philosophers feel threatened by science
"because science progresses and philosophy doesn't." Philosopher Massimo Pigliucci weighed in on Krauss' comments
, and Krauss non-apologized to philosophers who may have been offended
. Evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne reflects on the controversy
"Using four photons, we can actively delay the choice of measurement on two of the photons into the time-like future of the registration of the other two photons. This effectively projects the two already registered photons onto one of two mutually exclusive quantum states in which the photons are either entangled (quantum correlations) or separable (classical correlations). This can also be viewed as ‘quantum steering into the past’."
, Nature Physics
, Ars Technica
Writing in the New York Review of Books
, Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg
discusses his reason for suspecting that advances in particle physics and astronomy will not just slow down in the coming years, but cease entirely.
Late in life, Claude Monet had surgery to remove the lens of his left eye as a remedy for cataracts, and found that as the lens was no longer blocking them, he could now see ultraviolet light
.* When Alek Komarnitsky, engineer and self professed geek, had the natural lens replaced in one of his eyes due to cataracts
, he found that he, too could see UV. Naturally, he decided to test the limits of his newfound ability, and to show others what it's like to have ultraviolet vision
Some physicists celebrate April Fools Day by posting spurious papers to the arXiv
Non-detection of the Tooth Fairy at Optical Wavelengths
We report a non-detection, to a limiting magnitude of V = 18.4, of the elusive entity commonly described as the Tooth Fairy. We review various physical models and conclude that follow-up observations must precede an interpretation of our result. [more inside]
The New Priesthood
- "The hapless economist uses the same tools as acclaimed physicists and astronomers. She has trained for years to speak precisely the same language as them, to understand the same advanced mathematics, to deploy most complex statistical methods
which are an essential part of the scientific toolbox. It is, understandably, incredibly difficult to accept that her work is a form of higher order superstition
; a religion couched
in the language of mathematics and statistics. Tragically, this is precisely what it is." [more inside]
You may have heard that they made a movie of the The Hunger Games
. While others discuss its dystopian vision of a barbaric future America, we will concern ourselves with something more important: the clothes
. [more inside]
The mathematical theory behind shockwave traffic jams was developed more than 20 years ago using models that show jams appearing from nowhere on roads carrying their maximum capacity of free-flowing traffic - typically triggered by a single driver slowing down. After that first vehicle brakes, the driver behind must also slow, and a shockwave jam of bunching cars appears, traveling backwards through the traffic. The theory has frequently been modeled in computer simulations, and seems to fit with observations of real traffic, but had never been recreated experimentally until recently (PDF of SCIENCE)
. The authors also released video of their experiments which has since been posted to YouTube
. [more inside]
Today the Icarus Experiment
released their measurement on the speed of neutrinos
from CERN. Within small errors, they find them to be traveling at the speed of light, in accordance with the theory of relativity. [more inside]
is a blog that looks at the science in Breaking Bad
and the non-science in Fringe
(aka, the Ranque-Hilsch Vortex Tube
) You put a stream of air in, you get a hot stream and a cold stream out. Invented in 1930, there are no moving parts and no electricity supplied. [more inside]
MIT's beloved professor Walter Lewin
is famous for his engaging video lectures on classical mechanics.
Here are some of his best lines.
We’re on the verge of two world-changing antimatter discoveries
While the Large Hadron Collider is looking for the Higgs boson, we're on the verge of two huge antimatter-related breakthroughs. One could finally solve the universe's oldest mystery, while the other could reveal strange new particles that are perfect for quantum computers.
Towards the end of the 1800s, there were three primary American groups competing to invent technology to record and play back audio. Alexander Graham Bell worked with with Charles Sumner Tainter and Chichester Bell
in at their Volta Laboratory
in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., while Thomas A. Edison
worked from his Menlo Park facilities
, and Emile Berliner
worked in his independent laboratory
in his home
. To secure the rights to their inventions, the three groups sent samples of their work to the Smithsonian. These recordings became part of the permanent collections, now consisting of 400 of the earliest audio recordings ever made. But knowledge of their contents was limited to old, short descriptions, as the rubber, beeswax, glass, tin foil and brass recording media are fragile
, and playback devices might damage the recordings, if such working devices are even available. That is, until a collaborative project with the Library of Congress and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory came together to make 2D and 3D optical scanners
, capable of visually recording the patterns marked on discs and cylinders
, respectively. [more inside]
Is the Earth getting lighter?
BBC Radio's More or Less
("the mathematical icing on the cake of life") talks to some of the Naked Scientists
from Cambridge about whether the Earth is gaining or losing mass, revealing some surprising and interesting facts.
Theory of the Origin, Evolution, and Nature of Life
, in which the author, Erik Andrulis, proposes an "axiomatic, experimentally testable, empirically consistent, heuristic, and unified theory of life." He also claims to be able to unify physics.....ahem. All this is done using the chemistry notation you learned in highschool. [more inside]
What Happened Before the Big Bang? The New Philosophy of Cosmology
Professor Brian Cox (previously 1 2)
goes unplugged in a specially recorded programme from the lecture theatre of the Royal Institution of Great Britain. In his own inimitable style, Brian takes an audience of famous faces, scientists and members of the public on a journey through some of the most challenging concepts in physics. [more inside]
So you wake up tomorrow morning to find almost everyone on Earth missing. The Internet will continue to work for a few hours
: what information could you download to ensure your survival and rebuild civilization? A few suggestions: The CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics
. Third Word Development
(18 GB of information on agriculture, livestock, food processing, construction, water, sanitation, health and much more). The Global Village Construction Set (previously)
. Copies of Gray's Anatomy
, Where There Is No Doctor
, and The Ship Captain’s Medical Guide
A few more that might be handy even in ordinary times: all of Wikipedia
, or perhaps just a portion
. (Ideally, of course, you’d already have a bound, printed copy
), Offline Google Mail (Chrome)
to save correspondence; SiteSucker
to download sites you’d like to keep around while offline.
From 1981 - 1993, documentary producer Christopher Sykes created three films about Dr. Richard Feynman. All are now available in their entirety on YouTube: Richard Feynman: No Ordinary Genius
, The Pleasure of Finding Things Out
and Last Journey of a Genius (previously)
. [more inside]
On November 22, 2011, TEDxBrussels held an all day event whose theme was: "A Day in the Deep Future
." Speakers were asked to try and contemplate what life will be like for mankind in 50 years
. [more inside]
whitney music box -- a fantastic animation
You may notice some interesting links between the visuals and the audio, especially if you are a musician. For example, when the pattern forms a 3-arm starfish, the chords you are hearing are diminished chords, which consist of minor thirds, an interval in which the notes are 3 chromatic steps apart. The chords you hear always bear this type of relationship to the pattern you are seeing, consisting of intervals which match the arrangement of arms.
Really, just look, and you'll get it. [more inside]
is a science fiction writer
and a physicist. She describes
her work as "ponder[ing] deep questions about the universe." In a series
of three essays
for Strange Horizons she just does that, probing the relationships between (as her subtitle indicates) science, emotions and culture. [more inside]