Posts filed under ‘Science’
Me neither. Here’s a short blurb from November 30 from ScienceMag.org. It requires a subscription so this is all I can grab but amazing isn’t it, that we didn’t hear a peep about this in the U.S.
corporate liberal media? They were too busy tracking Obama’s “plunging” poll numbers and the supposed demise of Obamacare I guess.
Featuring the first lunar rover in 40 years, Chang’e-3 is seen as an important milestone on China’s quest to send a crewed mission to the moon by 2030. Its premier scientific instrument is a wide-angle extreme ultraviolet camera that will continuously observe Earth’s plasmasphere and the tail of comet ISON.
Oh, and for the most part, we just don’t do science around here.
UPDATED: Here’s more:
For the first time in more than three decades, the moon may soon see some soft-landing, human-made visitors. China launched its first moon rover—and third moon mission—at 1:30 am today, local time.
The Chinese rover should land December 14 or 15, Space.com reports. The last soft lander to visit the moon’s surface was a Russian craft in 1976. The last people on the moon were Americans, in 1972. Since then, space agencies have sent instruments purposefully crashing onto the moon’s surface, but nothing designed to remain intact after landing, which is more difficult to do.
I don’t think of myself as someone who’s good at science and tech stuff at all but I took the Pew
and I scored a 12, “better than 85% of the public.” I’m shocked.
This article, from the Australian newspaper, The Herald, is about Ivan Macfadyen’s trek from Melbourne to Osaka, ten years go and then again this past spring:
IT was the silence that made this voyage different from all of those before it.
Not the absence of sound, exactly.
The wind still whipped the sails and whistled in the rigging. The waves still sloshed against the fibreglass hull.
And there were plenty of other noises: muffled thuds and bumps and scrapes as the boat knocked against pieces of debris.
What was missing was the cries of the seabirds which, on all previous similar voyages, had surrounded the boat.
The birds were missing because the fish were missing.
Exactly 10 years before, when Newcastle yachtsman Ivan Macfadyen had sailed exactly the same course from Melbourne to Osaka, all he’d had to do to catch a fish from the ocean between Brisbane and Japan was throw out a baited line.
“There was not one of the 28 days on that portion of the trip when we didn’t catch a good-sized fish to cook up and eat with some rice,” Macfadyen recalled.
But this time, on that whole long leg of sea journey, the total catch was two.
No fish. No birds. Hardly a sign of life at all.
But in March and April this year, only silence and desolation surrounded his boat, Funnel Web, as it sped across the surface of a haunted ocean.
North of the equator, up above New Guinea, the ocean-racers saw a big fishing boat working a reef in the distance.
“All day it was there, trawling back and forth. It was a big ship, like a mother-ship,” he said.
And all night it worked too, under bright floodlights. And in the morning Macfadyen was awoken by his crewman calling out, urgently, that the ship had launched a speedboat.
“And they gave us five big sugar-bags full of fish,” he said.
“They were good, big fish, of all kinds. Some were fresh, but others had obviously been in the sun for a while.
“We told them there was no way we could possibly use all those fish. There were just two of us, with no real place to store or keep them. They just shrugged and told us to tip them overboard. That’s what they would have done with them anyway, they said.
Macfadyen felt sick to his heart. That was one fishing boat among countless more working unseen beyond the horizon, many of them doing exactly the same thing.
No wonder the sea was dead. No wonder his baited lines caught nothing. There was nothing to catch.
If that sounds depressing, it only got worse.
After we left Japan, it felt as if the ocean itself was dead,” Macfadyen said.
“We hardly saw any living things. We saw one whale, sort of rolling helplessly on the surface with what looked like a big tumour on its head. It was pretty sickening.
“In a lot of places we couldn’t start our motor for fear of entangling the propeller in the mass of pieces of rope and cable. That’s an unheard of situation, out in the ocean.
Plastic was ubiquitous. Bottles, bags and every kind of throwaway domestic item you can imagine, from broken chairs to dustpans, toys and utensils.
And something else. The boat’s vivid yellow paint job, never faded by sun or sea in years gone past, reacted with something in the water off Japan, losing its sheen in a strange and unprecedented way.
Tough as it is, I recommend reading the whole article. It isn’t all that long and it’s good to get a first-person account — with a first-person, ten-year perspective — as opposed to reading about “what scientists predict…”
Far as I know, what Macfadyen experienced is what scientists are predicting will happen 30, 40 years from now, not RIGHT NOW.
The farm and pharmaceutical lobbies have blocked all meaningful efforts to reduce the use of antibiotics in raising livestock in America, a practice that contributes to a major public health risk, a study released Tuesday found.The report says Congress has killed every effort to legislate a ban on feeding farm animals antibiotics that are important in human medicine. Not only that, but regulation of livestock feeding practices has grown weaker under the Obama administration, the study says.
“Our worst fears were confirmed,’’ said Bob Martin, executive director of the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, which issued the report. The Food and Drug Administration’s statistics, he said, show that fully 80 percent of the antibiotics sold in this country are fed to food animals.
FDA guidelines in the pipeline, Martin said, would require the industry to stop using antibiotics specifically to bulk up cows and other food animals but would continue to allow their use for “disease-control.” What constitutes disease-control is so loosely defined, however, that there would be “no change” in the use of antibiotics, Martin said.
“In a couple of areas, the Obama administration started off with good intentions. But when industry pushed back, even weaker rules were issued,” he said. “We saw undue influence everywhere we turned.”
This article illustrates the incredible power of lobbyists. Surely just about everyone in congress, if they’d stop and think for a sec, understands that pumping feed animals full of antibiotics is a very bad idea. I mean, even doctors at the esteemed John Hopkins for God’s sake are telling them that but do they listen? No, because they’re more terrified of the lobbyists than medical experts or even of us, the voters.
Think about it for a second: The United States congress may singlehandedly be making antibiotics ineffective worldwide because it’s succumbing to bribes by corporate lobbyists, putting 7 billion people at risk.
How do these guys sleep at night?
Ah yes, fickle Republicans strike again. Ethics? Morality? Character? Doing what’s just plain right to help their fellow humans? Nah. It’s all about what will get them re-elected:
As historic floods of “biblical” proportions continue to ravage Colorado, President Obama signed an emergency declaration on Sunday — a move that was encouraged by a bipartisan letter last week from the state’s nine-member Congressional delegation. But the four Republican Congressmen who are now supporting disaster relief for their own state were among those voting earlier this year against the emergency aid funding for Superstorm Sandy victims on the East Coast.
Colorado Republican Reps. Mike Coffman, Cory Gardner, Doug Lamborn, and Scott Tipton joined their delegation in asking the president to send emergency funds to help their constituents combat and recover from the more than 14 inches of rain that have flooded Colorado this month.
The next time you hear a Republican say he or she wants to “cut the deficit” laugh and tell them about this. What they bloviate about to their Fox & Friends has nothing to do with their convictions. It has everything to do with sticking one’s finger in the air and deciding which way the wind is blowing.Turning that upside down, both of Colorado’s Democratic senators voted for Sandy relief earlier this year, despite the fact that that that relief didn’t go to their state. Hello!
In a 62-36 vote, the Senate on Monday approved legislation providing $50.7 billion to help New York, New Jersey and other states hit by Hurricane Sandy.
All 36 “no” votes came from Republicans.
Recently a group of researchers from Harvard and Oregon State University has published the first global temperature reconstruction for the last 11,000 years – that’s the whole Holocene (Marcott et al. 2013). The results are striking and worthy of further discussion.
This, from NASA:
Expedition 36 Soyuz Landing
The Soyuz TMA-08M spacecraft with Expedition 36 Commander Pavel Vinogradov of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), Flight Engineer Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos and Flight Engineer Chris Cassidy of NASA aboard, is seen as it lands in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013. Vinogradov, Misurkin and Cassidy returned to Earth after five and a half months on the International Space Station.
I would imagine it gets pretty hot inside that little capsule during reentry. Yikes.
We are watching the United States collapse from within:
A new, eye-opening study shows that the United States is not only falling behind in scientific research, but now we are in danger of losing our scientists, too.
In a study called, “Unlimited Potential, Vanishing Opportunity,” The American Society For Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) surveyed nearly 4,000 scientists from nearly all fields of research about the effects of budget cuts and sequestration on scientific research. The results are quite disturbing for anyone who cares about the future of science in our country.
In its press release summarizing its findings, the ASBMB wrote that the cuts are “tearing at the fabric of the nation’s scientific enterprise” while having a “minimal impact” on our national debt and deficit. Also, “The overwhelming majority of scientists in all fields believes the U.S. has lost its position as the global leader in scientific research.”
Sam Stein, at the Huffington Post, dug through the weeds and found, “Nearly one-fifth of scientists are considering going overseas to continue their research because of the poor funding climate in America.”
This time of year I’m usually scrambling to keep the plants I’m summering on the deck watered and protected from drying out overnight. Today I brought them inside because they’re going to rot if they get more rain, which we’ve had here in Boulder for at least two weeks now.
Oh, and I put up a window box on the west side of the house and planted it full of Calibrachoa:
Calibrachoa need “at least” six hours of direct sun every day.
They haven’t had direct sun in a month.
Look how pitiful they are. They should be spilling out over the box and down the side.
Ugh. If it weren’t for Faux News, I’d think there was something fishy going on with, you know, the climate.
One of the most beautiful photos ever via astronaut Karen L. Nyberg. “Sunset:”
Wow. This is fantastic news, especially in light of the fact that I read something the other day about how President Obama is surrounded by pro-Keystone corporate types:
With President Obama preparing to return to California on June 6 for fundraising in the Bay Area, a crowd of major donors — including from California — have signed a strong letter urging his rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline extension.
The letter comes in a week when it appears Vice President Joe Biden may have tipped his hand regarding his opposition to the pipeline.
On June 6, the President will travel to the Bay Area for a DSCC event in the evening, White House officials have said.
On June 7, the President will travel to Los Angeles for a DNC lunch event.
The letter on Keystone includes signatures of major California deep pocketed donors who regularly write big checks to the Democratic party — folks like San Francisco Democrat Susie Tompkins Buell, one of the Party’s most generous donors, Silicon Valley venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, and CREDO Mobile’s Michael Michael Kieschnick, among many others.
Click on “More…” immediately above to read the letter and to see the huge list of signatories. Fantastic.
Carbon Dioxide Level Passes Long-Feared Milestone
The level of the most important heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere, carbon dioxide, has passed a long-feared milestone, scientists reported on Friday, reaching a concentration not seen on the earth for millions of years.
Scientific monitors reported that the gas had reached an average daily level that surpassed 400 parts per million — just an odometer moment in one sense, but also a sobering reminder that decades of efforts to bring human-produced emissions under control are faltering.
The best available evidence suggests the amount of the gas in the air has not been this high for at least three million years, before humans evolved, and scientists believe the rise portends large changes in the climate and the level of the sea.
“It symbolizes that so far we have failed miserably in tackling this problem,” said Pieter P. Tans, who runs the monitoring program at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that reported the new reading.
The new measurement came from analyzers high atop Mauna Loa, the volcano on the big island of Hawaii that has long been ground zero for monitoring the worldwide carbon dioxide trend.
Devices there sample clean, crisp air that has blown thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean, producing a record of rising carbon dioxide levels that has been closely tracked for half a century.
I’m going to be dead before the effect of this really kicks in but for the life of me, I don’t know why parents of little kids all around the world aren’t marching in the streets over this. Well, yes I do know why. They’re trying to stay afloat in this dog-eat-dog world, but you know what I mean.
Wow, what an interesting project:
[I'm Kate Green and] I’m on the Big Island of Hawaii right now, but I’m not on vacation. I’m not honeymooning, nor am I attending a conference or visiting relatives.
I’m on the Big Island to find Mars.
Starting next week, I will begin a simulated Mars mission. For 120 days, my five crewmates and I will live on the red, rocky slopes of the Hawaiian volcano called Mauna Loa.
We will eat, sleep, work, exercise and relax inside a two-story dome that offers a little less than 1000 square feet of floor space. When we go outside, we will wear mock spacesuits. There will be very little sunshine, no fresh fruit, and no ocean breeze.
But there will be science.
In fact, the purpose of the Mars simulation, called HI-SEAS (Hawaiian space Exploration Analog and Simulation), is to study astronaut food for long-haul space missions. Developed by Jean Hunter at Cornell University and Kim Binsted at the University of Hawaii and funded by NASA, it boils down to these questions: Does it make sense to provide dehydrated, shelf-stable ingredients to astronauts on a mission to Mars? Does it make sense for astronauts to actually cook some of their meals?
Questions of food are more critical than you might think. On longer missions, astronauts tire of the just-add-water-and-heat meals that squirt out of pouches. They eat fewer calories, and they lose weight. Neither is good for performance and overall health, especially during a dangerous, multi-year trip to the red planet.
Here’s a short video introducing Kate Green and her five fellow “crew” members:
And here is the Hi-SEAS’ website.
I’m going to follow this project!
Folks, if you don’t go to this site you’ll be sorry. Just make sure you have a good half hour to kill: SCALE OF THE UNIVERSE 2.
Big news in the science world:
The search is all but over for a subatomic particle that is a crucial building block of the universe.
Physicists announced Thursday they believe they have discovered the subatomic particle predicted nearly a half-century ago, which will go a long way toward explaining what gives electrons and all matter in the universe size and shape.
The elusive particle, called a Higgs boson, was predicted in 1964 to help fill in our understanding of the creation of the universe, which many theorize occurred in a massive explosion known as the Big Bang. The particle was named for Peter Higgs, one of the physicists who proposed its existence, but it later became popularly known as the “God particle.”[...]
“The preliminary results with the full 2012 data set are magnificent and to me it is clear that we are dealing with a Higgs boson, though we still have a long way to go to know what kind of Higgs boson it is,” said Joe Incandela, a physicist who heads one of the two main teams at CERN, each involving several thousand scientists.
Whether or not it is a Higgs boson is demonstrated by how it interacts with other particles and its quantum properties, CERN said in the statement. After checking, scientists said the data “strongly indicates that it is a Higgs boson.”
Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield demonstrates how astronauts on the International Space Station clean up everything from water spills to toxic waste. Pay attention to the microphone. So funny.
Here’s a short video from Science at NASA on that asteroid that exploded over Russia. They’ve done some interesting calculations on its size, speed and where it came from.
Over the last several weeks I’ve seen a ton of articles about 3D printing. I read a few of them but I was like, what? I still didn’t get it. Actually, I take that back. I get it if everything’s made out of plastic or a polymer, i.e., something that could be shot out of a print nozzle but fighter jets? Are we talking a 100% plastic fighter jet?
Then I came across this video which helped me understand the process a bit better:
But this morning I read this — China’s 3D Printing: Not a Revolution – Yet — which includes these tidbits:
Theoretically, this type of system could be used to build a plane, car or even a human organ. Some forecasters predict 3D printers will be making home-cooked meals by 2020.
One of the company’s systems has shown remarkable potential. “It’s even produced a small piece of meat,” he said.
Now I’m back to square one. How is it possible a printer could produce a piece of meat?
Aye yie yie.
Asteroid 2012 DA14 is scheduled to pass by today at a distance of roughly 17,000 miles. According to PopSci.com, it will be closest to the Earth at 2:25 p.m. EST, roughly half an hour from now.
PopSci.com is providing two live video feeds of the fly-by, HERE.
Oh, wait. The PopSci videos aren’t working very well. Here’s a better spot to watch it.
Remember NASA’s “Mohawk Guy?”
It’s been quite a six months for Bobak Ferdowsi, the NASA flight director on the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity mission, whose aggressively mohawked hair — and otherwise charming appearance — first attracted attention last summer. Now, he is going to be a guest of First Lady Michelle Obama in her box at President Obama’s State of the Union address.
“I found out less than a week ago, honestly, that I’d been invited to the State of the Union,” he said. “I freaked out for a few minutes, just needed a moment to gather myself. It’s really cool, I’m really excited, yet again, to represent NASA and JPL and all of the work that everybody here does. It’s really amazing to me. Sometimes I feel unworthy in some ways to do all this. I think there’s so many talented and fun and amazing people on the project that I worked on, but all across our place. I just feel very lucky to get to do stuff like this.”
As for what he is most excited about, he told BuzzFeed, “I’m really excited to get to represent NASA. I’m excited that people have been excited and watching and paying attention. I am excited to — like anyone would be — to meet the First Family. A little giddy with excitement there, I don’t think I have to hide that. It’s really cool.”
The hair colors Tuesday night will not be missed. Bright red and blue streaks run along the top of his freshly coiffed mowhawk [sic].
Republicans are going to hate this because — SCIENCE — but what better way to say it’s cool to be smart?
And I can’t wait to hear what Fox does with it: OMG, there’s one of the Obama’s hippy Muslim friends!
Geezus, you’ve got to hand it to Bill Nye for not saying something like, “No, dummy!”
This is like asking if the weather or global warming causes earthquakes, which I’ve heard before too.
Far as I can tell, the Discover folks haven’t written anything more about it because the link in the tweet (above) redirects to this, which isn’t new.
Anyway, we now know they found bacteria and that they’re very excited about it. Now we wait to see if it’s a bacteria scientists recognize. Or not.
Again, I’ll continue to update on this cool real-life mystery.
This is how crazy they’re getting.
This would be Generations Radio host Kevin Swanson on his show this week:
And they have found that with women who are on the birth control pill, there are these little tiny fetuses, these little babies, that are embedded into the womb. They’re just like dead babies. They’re on the inside of the womb. And these wombs of women who have been on the birth control pill effectively have become graveyards for lots and lots of little babies.
53-year-old Chris Hadfield is a Canadian astronaut. On December 21, 2012 he arrived at the International Space Station aboard the Soyuz for a “long duration stay.”
Since his arrival he has been posting absolutely gorgeous photos to his Twitter account, which you can find (and follow) here. If you’re unfamiliar with Twitter, click on the photos on the left to begin looking at them.
Here are a few of my favorites. Incredible:
Again, go here to follow Commander Hadfield, to see more pix, or both!
There has got to be life out there somewhere:
Andromeda’s Colorful Rings
The ring-like swirls of dust filling the Andromeda galaxy stand out colorfully in this new image from the Herschel Space Observatory, a European Space Agency mission with important NASA participation.
The glow seen here comes from the longer-wavelength, or far, end of the infrared spectrum, giving astronomers the chance to identify the very coldest dust in our galactic neighbor. These light wavelengths span from 250 to 500 microns, which are a quarter to half of a millimeter in size. Herschel’s ability to detect the light allows astronomers to see clouds of dust at temperatures of only a few tens of degrees above absolute zero. These clouds are dark and opaque at shorter wavelengths. The Herschel view also highlights spokes of dust between the concentric rings.
The colors in this image have been enhanced to make them easier to see, but they do reflect real variations in the data. The very coldest clouds are brightest in the longest wavelengths, and colored red here, while the warmer ones take on a bluish tinge.
Three or four months ago I read about this project and now it’s finally done. I can’t wait to hear what scientists find in this virgin water that could be as old as one million years. Wow.
Scientists have peered for the first time into the interior of a lake hidden beneath the Antarctic ice sheet. Subglacial Lake Whillans, located less than 400 miles from the South Pole, had sat isolated under the ice for hundreds of thousands of years—perhaps up to a million years. But over the last week a team of ice drillers has used a jet of hot water to melt a narrow hole into the lake through 2,600 feet of ice.
The drilling of the hole represents only the beginning of the work. This narrow, 20-inch aperture into the subglacial world will gradually freeze shut over the next few days. Twenty researchers are now working round the clock to take advantage of this opportunity that they have waited years for.
A variety of instruments will be dropped into the lake—as many as time allows. Bottles lowered on cables will sample lake water. That water will be analyzed for dissolved minerals and living cells. Water currents will be measured. Sediment cores will be punched out of the lake floor; the layers of sand or mud could provide clues to the history of the lake—and perhaps, an idea of how long this spot has been covered by ice. The researchers will also scrutinize these sediments for microbes. If Lake Whillans contains life, then most of it will probably reside in the mud at the bottom of the lake: in this world devoid of sunlight and photosynthesizing plants, the ultimate source of energy will most likely be minerals, which bacteria chew on in the dark.
Dow’s Controversial New GMO Corn Delayed, Protests Continue
Jan 18 (Reuters) – A controversial new biotech corn developed by Dow AgroSciences, a unit of Dow Chemical,, will be delayed at least another year as the company awaits regulatory approval amid opposition from farmers, consumers and public health officials.
Dow AgroSciences officials said Friday that they now expect the first sales of Enlist for planting in 2014. Previously officials had set the 2013 planting season as a target, but U.S. farmers are already buying seed for planting this spring, and Dow has yet to secure U.S. approval for Enlist.
Dow wants to roll out Enlist corn, and then soybeans and cotton to be used in combination with its new Enlist herbicide that combines the weed-killers 2,4-D and glyphosate. The Enlist crops are genetically altered to tolerate treatments of the Enlist herbicide mixture.
Wow. Love the thought of eating a corn that is immune to, and has been doused with, weed-killers, 2,4-D, and glyphosate.
Slightly off topic: While looking around the internets just now I came across this about 2,4-D from last April:
The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday said that the widely used herbicide 2,4-D would remain on the market, denying a petition from an environmental group (the Natural Resources Defense Council) that sought to revoke the chemical’s approval.
The agency in particular cited a study, financed by the 2,4-D manufacturers and conducted by Dow, in which the chemical was put into the feed of rats. The study did not show reproductive problems in the rats or problems in their offspring that might be expected if 2,4-D were disrupting hormone activity, the E.P.A. said.
So the EPA kept 2,4-D on the market based on a study about its safety conducted by a 2,4-D manufacturer? What a farce.
Of course we don’t hear about this in the U.S. because it’s well, outside the U.S.:
Australia is bracing for days of “catastrophic” fire and heatwave conditions.
Fires are already burning in five states as a search continued for people missing after devastating wildfires in the island state of Tasmania.
Bushfires were ablaze in five of Australia’s six states, with 90 fires in the most populous state New South Wales, and in mountain forests around the national capital Canberra.
Severe fire conditions were forecast for tomorrow (local time), replicating those of 2009, when “Black Saturday” wildfires in Victoria state killed 173 people and caused $4.4 billion worth of damage.
A record heatwave, which began in Western Australia on 27 December and lasted eight days, was the fiercest in more than 80 years in that state and has spread east across the nation, making it the widest-ranging heatwave in more than a decade, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.
The highest “catastrophic” bushfire temperature conditions are expected tomorrow, said fire officials, under which people are advised to flee if fire threatens, as the blaze is likely to be too fierce for fire crews to easily extinguish.
In the Australian capital Canberra, hit by a firestorm in 2003 that destroyed hundreds of homes, authorities said they were expecting the worst conditions in the decade since, with a fifth day of searing temperatures and strong winds.
Imagine being told “to flee if fire threatens” because strong winds make any potential fire “too fierce for fire crews to easily extinguish.”
I can relate. This was the view from my living room last June:
The wind wasn’t blowing when I took this photo but it did before the fire was put out. We were all thinking embers. What if flying embers started a fire closer in.
My thoughts are with the folks in Australia tonight because it’s tomorrow there now. Wind, fire and drought are an awful, terrifying mix.
Good luck Australia. And h/t to the U.S. media for their total failure at ah, delivering news. Not to mention mentioning that thing called CLIMATE CHANGE.
Hey, if it helps kids — even a tiny bit — get interested in science, why not?
This is not your grandfather’s NASA.