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  • February 13, 2016
  • 05:02 AM
  • 47 views

Now we can hear the Universe

by TakFurTheKaffe in Tak Fur The Kaffe

The detection of gravitational waves produced by the collision of two black holes over 1 billion light years away confirms Einstein's vision of our Universe.... Read more »

Abbott, B., Abbott, R., Abbott, T., Abernathy, M., Acernese, F., Ackley, K., Adams, C., Adams, T., Addesso, P., Adhikari, R.... (2016) Observation of Gravitational Waves from a Binary Black Hole Merger. Physical Review Letters, 116(6). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.116.061102  

  • February 8, 2016
  • 12:41 PM
  • 145 views

Why Ask for Directions? (A Guest Post)

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

by Anna Schneider For the iconic monarch butterfly, the shorter days in fall mean it’s time to pack up and head south to a warmer climate! Just like clockwork, the Eastern population of monarch butterflies makes a 2000 mile journey to their winter paradise roosts in central Mexico. The journey in itself is one of the greatest migrations among all animals. But here’s the catch: none of these butterflies has made this trip before. Several generations of monarchs have come and gon........ Read more »

  • February 5, 2016
  • 03:00 PM
  • 177 views

Four Legs Good, Two Legs Better for Hurdling Obstacles

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Although lizards mostly scurry on all fours, certain species can run on two legs when the mood strikes. What's the benefit to this human-like running style? For one thing, it seems to let lizards get over obstacles without slowing down. They just have to make sure not to tip over.

Georgia Southern University biologist Lance McBrayer and graduate student Seth Parker studied running in a handsome little reptile called Sceloporus woodi, or the Florida scrub lizard. McBrayer says there's been... Read more »

  • February 5, 2016
  • 09:09 AM
  • 170 views

Greenland ice sheets losing ability to absorb meltwater

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Greenland has long held sea-level rise at bay, absorbing melted water into spongy upper layers. But new research has found that icy covers to these layers are preventing water absorption and driving water into the oceans.... Read more »

Machguth, H., MacFerrin, M., van As, D., Box, J., Charalampidis, C., Colgan, W., Fausto, R., Meijer, H., Mosley-Thompson, E., & van de Wal, R. (2016) Greenland meltwater storage in firn limited by near-surface ice formation. Nature Climate Change. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2899  

  • January 29, 2016
  • 12:29 PM
  • 145 views

Lizards Overcome Lack of Mirrors to Find Rocks That Match Their Colors

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Think about the last time you stood squinting in front of a full-length mirror, trying to decide whether the colors in your outfit went together. Now imagine you're a reptile, and you wouldn't even understand a mirror if you saw one, but somehow you need to find a rock that matches your skin color. Otherwise you might get eaten by a bird today. Oh, and the skin color you need to match is on your back.

Certain lizards in Greece manage to pull this off every day, though how they do it is a ... Read more »

  • January 29, 2016
  • 08:39 AM
  • 136 views

The power of poop: revolutionizing wastewater treatment

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

A commentary in Nature proposes a complete overhaul of how we treat our wastewater. Among the benefits would be new energy-producing industry and reduce greenhouse gas emissions!... Read more »

Li, W., Yu, H., & Rittmann, B. (2015) Chemistry: Reuse water pollutants. Nature, 528(7580), 29-31. DOI: 10.1038/528029a  

  • January 22, 2016
  • 10:21 AM
  • 145 views

When good intentions don't mix: designing policy to stop global warming and improve clean cookware access

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Carbon fees are a tremendous policy tool to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But what is their effect on other public health missions, like providing cleaner cookware to the poor in developing countries. We take a look at new research designing policy to meet both public health needs.... Read more »

  • January 16, 2016
  • 03:12 PM
  • 205 views

‘Space Warps’ and other citizen science projects reap major dividends for astrophysics

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Thanks to the Internet, amateur volunteers known as "citizen scientists" can readily donate their time and effort to science--in fields ranging from medicine to zoology to astrophysics. The astrophysics project Space Warps offers a compelling example of why citizen science has become such a popular tool and how valuable it can be.

... Read more »

Marshall, P., Verma, A., More, A., Davis, C., More, S., Kapadia, A., Parrish, M., Snyder, C., Wilcox, J., Baeten, E.... (2015) SPACE WARPS - I. Crowdsourcing the discovery of gravitational lenses. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 455(2), 1171-1190. DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stv2009  

More, A., Verma, A., Marshall, P., More, S., Baeten, E., Wilcox, J., Macmillan, C., Cornen, C., Kapadia, A., Parrish, M.... (2015) SPACE WARPS- II. New gravitational lens candidates from the CFHTLS discovered through citizen science. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 455(2), 1191-1210. DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stv1965  

  • January 15, 2016
  • 12:08 PM
  • 167 views

Amazon resilience buoyed by diversity

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Previous research has suggested that the Amazon could reach a tipping point when rainforest gives way to a grassy savannah. Could this really happen? A new modeling study suggests the diversity of the Amazon could prevent such a drastic change.... Read more »

Levine NM, Zhang K, Longo M, Baccini A, Phillips OL, Lewis SL, Alvarez-Dávila E, Segalin de Andrade AC, Brienen RJ, Erwin TL.... (2015) Ecosystem heterogeneity determines the ecological resilience of the Amazon to climate change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 26711984  

  • January 13, 2016
  • 03:44 PM
  • 226 views

Beam me up! Teleporting the memory of an organism

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

In "Star Trek", a transporter can teleport a person from one location to a remote location without actually making the journey along the way. Such a transporter has fascinated many people. Quantum teleportation shares several features of the transporter and is one of the most important protocols in quantum information.... Read more »

  • December 27, 2015
  • 11:07 AM
  • 251 views

Quantum gravity

by Marco Frasca in The Gauge Connection

Quantum gravity appears today as the Holy Grail of physics. This is so far detached from any possible experimental result but with a lot of attentions from truly remarkable people anyway. In some sense, if a physicist would like to know in her lifetime if her speculations are worth a Nobel prize, better to work […]... Read more »

Ali H. Chamseddine, Alain Connes, & Viatcheslav Mukhanov. (2014) Quanta of Geometry: Noncommutative Aspects. Phys. Rev. Lett. 114 (2015) 9, 091302. arXiv: 1409.2471v4

Ali H. Chamseddine, Alain Connes, & Viatcheslav Mukhanov. (2014) Geometry and the Quantum: Basics. JHEP 12 (2014) 098. arXiv: 1411.0977v1

  • December 24, 2015
  • 03:54 PM
  • 331 views

It came from planet X: ‘Forbidden’ substances on super-Earths

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Using mathematical models, scientists have ‘looked’ into the interior of super-Earths and discovered that they may contain compounds that are forbidden by the classical rules of chemistry — these substances may increase the heat transfer rate and strengthen the magnetic field on these planets.... Read more »

  • December 18, 2015
  • 11:24 AM
  • 261 views

Beyond the headlines: clarifying the connection between healthy diets, resource use, and greenhouse gas emissions

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

A recent study looking at the impact of USDA-recommended diets on the environment has received significant media attention. Some of these reports have been a bit misleading, so read here to learn the details about this important study that should impact US dietary policy!... Read more »

  • December 17, 2015
  • 07:54 AM
  • 206 views

News from CERN

by Marco Frasca in The Gauge Connection

Two days ago, CERN presented their new results at 13 TeV to the World. Of course, collected data so far are not enough for conclusive results but the these are exciting anyway. The reason is that both the collaborations, CMS and ATLAS, see a bump at around 750 GeV in the decay. Summing up the results […]... Read more »

Marco Frasca. (2015) Quantum Yang-Mills field theory. arxiv. arXiv: 1509.05292v1

  • December 15, 2015
  • 03:56 PM
  • 302 views

‘Hydricity’ concept uses solar energy to produce power round-the-clock… really?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers are proposing a new "hydricity" concept aimed at creating a sustainable economy by not only generating electricity with solar energy but also producing and storing hydrogen from superheated water for round-the-clock power production.... Read more »

Emre Gencer, Dharik S. Mallapragada, Francois Marechal, Mohit Tawarmalani. (2015) Round-the-clock power supply and a sustainable economy via synergistic integration of solar thermal power and hydrogen processes. Proceedings of the natural sciences academy of the United States of America. info:/http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2015/12/09/1513488112.abstract

  • December 10, 2015
  • 03:22 PM
  • 284 views

Eyes on Environment: where fuel goes, water cannot follow

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Water and energy policy have long been separate despite the deep link between energy production and freshwater consumption. Here we discuss a new study examining this link with policy implications about how to prevent resource scarcity.... Read more »

Holland RA, Scott KA, Flörke M, Brown G, Ewers RM, Farmer E, Kapos V, Muggeridge A, Scharlemann JP, Taylor G.... (2015) Global impacts of energy demand on the freshwater resources of nations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(48). PMID: 26627262  

  • December 9, 2015
  • 03:38 PM
  • 334 views

Computing with time travel

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Why send a message back in time, but lock it so that no one can ever read the contents? Because it may be the key to solving currently intractable problems. It turns out that an unopened message can be exceedingly useful. This is true if the experimenter entangles the message with some other system in the laboratory before sending it.... Read more »

Yuan, X., Assad, S., Thompson, J., Haw, J., Vedral, V., Ralph, T., Lam, P., Weedbrook, C., & Gu, M. (2015) Replicating the benefits of Deutschian closed timelike curves without breaking causality. npj Quantum Information, 15007. DOI: 10.1038/npjqi.2015.7  

  • December 2, 2015
  • 07:47 PM
  • 273 views

The Many Stories of Climate Change

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

World leaders meet in Paris this week to agree to legally binding agreements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In honor of this historic conference, I take a look at a few stories around the world about how climate change already influences our global civilization.... Read more »

  • November 27, 2015
  • 10:45 PM
  • 296 views

A Treatise on the Physics and Psychology of Heavy Metal Music

by Amiya Sarkar in Physiology physics woven fine

A rather panoramic view of the heavy metal arena encompassing various aspects of science and psychology. ... Read more »

Jesse L. Silverberg, Matthew Bierbaum, James P. Sethna, & Itai Cohen. (2013) Collective Motion of Moshers at Heavy Metal Concerts. 10.1103/PhysRevLett.110.228701. arXiv: 1302.1886v1

  • November 27, 2015
  • 03:43 PM
  • 304 views

How to Build an Ant Bridge: Start Small

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



You know when you're out walking with a big horde of your friends and you come to a chasm you can't step across, so a bunch of you clasp each other's limbs and make yourselves into a bridge for the rest to walk on?

...No?

Eciton army ants do this. And they're not the only ants that build incredible structures out of their strong, near-weightless bodies. Weaver ants make chains between leaves by holding onto each other's waists. Fire ants cling together to form rafts and survive floodin........ Read more »

Reid CR, Lutz MJ, Powell S, Kao AB, Couzin ID, & Garnier S. (2015) Army ants dynamically adjust living bridges in response to a cost-benefit trade-off. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 26598673  

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