Category Archives: Science

Paging Dr. Obama

Maddie Stone on io9/Gizmodo reports on the annual “top 100” most popular scientific articles (by volume of discussion in the news and on social media) as listed by the scholarly analytics tracker Altimetric, where the #1 entry is United States and Health Care Reform: Progress to Date and Next Steps, written by President Barack Obama.  …

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Nine T. Rex’s in amber, with plumage

National Geographic is reporting on a recent discovery in China of a piece of amber from Myanmar (Burma) in which, along with Cretaceous plants and an ant, is a piece of dinosaur tail, with feathers clearly displayed: The amber specimen had already been worked by jewelers shaping it into an oval form, which is bit …

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The revolution will be televised, but on “mute”

Award-winning sf author Cixin Liu (The Three-Body Problem) has published a think piece in the NY Times Turning Points magazine on the rise of robotic systems and artificial intelligence.  His forecast is not a pretty one: “As A.I. whisks us from place to place … we will look out the windows, as unaware of its …

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Space, on tilt

Tilt-shift photography relies on the neat effects of moving the lens of the instrument to capture the whole of a subject without the distortion of perspective lines, which leads to a 3-D effect of seeing a photo subject as a miniature that can be “moved” around in the photo field of focus. While we lack …

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Politics makes for orbital bedfellows

Andrew Liptak on Gizmodo reports that the White House Office of Science and Technology, following on President Obama’s call in his 2015 State of the Union address to make space a place “not just to visit, but to stay,” convened a meeting of scientists, engineers, artists, and policymakers to discuss getting the human race into …

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Wet planet Mars

NASA has announced that Mars has flowing water.  It is found in subsurface flows, is rather briny, and only flows during summer warm weather (temperatures at or above -10 degrees Fahrenheit, -23 degrees Celsius).  The strongest evidence are dark streaks called “recurring slope lineae” (RSL) that show up on the faces of crater walls periodically. …

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One small photo of a man, one giant backyard for mankind

On the 46th anniversary of humanity visiting our moon, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin put the caption that we all wanted on the photo that Neil Armstrong took of him taking a walk around the new property: Buzz Aldrin ‏@TheRealBuzz  12h12 hours ago I have 3 words to describe why this photo Neil took of me is so iconic: …

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Climate change most extreme

If the current state of climate debate here on planet Earth seems a bit fraught with pending disaster, NASA has been studying the past history of our neighbor (and nearest partner in climate) Mars, and they are ready to proclaim that what is past is not quite prologue to what is present.  An entire ocean, …

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Prime Delight

Being a review of A Certain Ambiguity by Gaurav Suri & Hartosh Singh Bal. This book was the winner of the 2007 Award for Best Professional/Scholarly Book in Mathematics by the Association of American Publishers. Ravi Kapoor, a young man from India, is studying at Stanford in the late 1980s. Like many college students, he …

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They’re lights in the sky, kid

Displaying an excess of modesty, Dr. Charles Liu has requested that the title of Official Astrophysicist of Montclair be awarded instead to Dr. Greg Bryan of Columbia University.  Dr. Bryan is an expert in computational astrophysics and uses supercomputer simulations to study galaxy formation and the birth of the first stars.  The following is one …

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