Science Solved It: theories and solutions to strange occurances
September 2, 2018 7:51 AM Subscribe
Last year, Vice's Motherboard debuted a podcast with science reporter Kaleigh Rogers devoted to talking to the scientists about mysteries they've solved, from the "Sailing Stones" of Death Valley to Antarctica’s Blood Falls. Links to the episodes, their source articles and bonus links below the break.
- The Bloop: An Underwater Mystery That Took Nearly 10 Years to Solve It was one of the loudest sounds ever recorded under the sea. -- Solved by Robert Dziak and others at NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL). [discussed previously]
- Mysterious Moving Rocks in the Desert Stumped Scientists for 70 Years -- Death Valley’s ‘sailing stones’ are able to move thanks to unique environmental conditions. -- Solved by Richard Norris, an oceanographer at University of California San Diego, who observed and documented the rocks in motion.
- Scientists Can’t Fully Explain These Strange Floating Lights in Texas -- Researchers have been able to decipher half the mystery of the Marfa lights, but some things are still unexplained. Karl Stephan and others reported on the Quantitative intensity and location measurements of an intense long-duration luminous object near Marfa, Texas (abstract only; paywalled article).
- Satellite Images Revealed the Secret Meaning of These Ancient Desert Spirals -- The Nazca lines are world famous geoglyphs, and their nearby spiral structure help explain why they were built. Rosa Lasaponara, a senior research at the National Research Council in Rome, talks about their investigation into human-made puquios that appear related to the well-known geoglyphs (BBC discussion of material presented in Ancient Nasca World: New Insights from Science and Archaeology - abstracts and chapter previews only, rest is paywalled). [Discussed previously]
- Doctors Didn’t Know How Cholera Spread Until One Genius Drew a Map -- In the midst of a deadly cholera outbreak in London, a local anesthetist figured out how the disease was spreading using data visualization. Sonia Shah, a science journalist and the author of Pandemic, talks about Dr. John Snow's mapping of the local cholera outbreak, and his theory that the disease was reproduced in the human body and was spread through contaminated water, counter to the prevailing theory that diseases were spread by "miasma" in the air. His theories weren't accepted until after his death.
- Did 'Pokemon' Actually Give Kids Seizures In the 90s? -- An investigation. Benjamin Radford talks about his paper, Pokemon Contagion: Photosensitive Epilepsy or Mass Psychogenic Illness? (PDF)
- These Mysterious Pure White Redwood Trees Defy the Laws of Nature -- Zane Moore has a theory for how these trees defy the laws of nature. He talks about his work with Tom Stapleton, an arborist, here and later in this piece for the Washington Post, which links to the website maintained by Stapleton that documents their work, Chimera Redwoods.
- Send This Article to All Your Friends Who Believe in Chemtrails -- On the season two premiere >of Science Solved It, we dive into one of the most pervasive conspiracy theories: chemtrails. Ken Caldeira, a climate scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science, talks about his paper, Quantifying expert consensus against the existence of a secret, large-scale atmospheric spraying program
- The Mystery of the Kentucky 'Meat Shower' -- A “meat shower” is exactly what it sounds like, but it turns out there’s a pretty simple, likely explanation for what caused it. Kurt Gohde, a professor of art of Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, and an expert on the meat showers, talks about a fairly straightforward theory.
- It Took 600 Years to Figure Out This Mysterious, Exploding Ancient Star -- Korean royal astrologers saw a new star appear in the sky in 1437 AD, and it took 600 years for astronomers to find what they had seen, and explain why it appeared that night. Michael Shara, curator of astrophysics for the American Museum of Natural History and one of the researchers who solved the mystery, talks about the work of retracing historic observations, as reported in Nature (abstract; full article as PDF available via Space.com)
- After Hundreds of Years, We’ve Finally Figured Out How These Flies Can Swim Underwater -- Alkali flies have been a fixture of Mono Lake, California for hundreds of years, but scientists only recently unravelled the secret of their aquatic abilities. Floris Van Breugel, a biology research associate at the University of Washington and lead author of the 2017 study, talks about the research.
- Where the Devil's Kettle 'Waterfall to Nowhere' Really Goes -- It turns out the water doesn’t disappear at all. Jeff Green, a groundwater hydrologist with the Minnesota department of natural resources, talks about the world of stream gauging.
- To Solve a Medical Mystery, This Doctor Drank Live Bacteria -- Dr. Barry Marshall swallowed helicobacter pylori to prove it was the cause of a common ailment. Dr. Marshall, a medical microbiologist at the University of Western Australia, talks about his work with Dr. Robin Warren, the chief pathologist at the Royal Perth Hospital, which was rewarded with Nobel Prize in Medicine for 2005.
- Scientists Finally Solved the Mystery of Antarctica’s Blood Falls -- The blood red falls tumble out of a glacier 100 feet to a lake below. Erin Pettit, one of the scientists who solved the mystery of Blood Falls, talks about tracking the source of the blood-red water, as reported in the article An englacial hydrologic system of brine within a cold glacier: Blood Falls, McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica.