Science is the poetry of Nature.

Contributing Authors


omg so howtobeterrell, ethiopienne and myself are hitting up the amnh planetarium to see the new ‘dark matter’ movie narrated by ndt (this would be my 2nd time but it’s sooooo good i gotto see it again!) so excited!! :»>


Remembering Stellafane

  "The image is assembled from several hundred 30-second exposures made while attempting to record Perseid meteors in August 2006. The unusual-looking building in the foreground is the famous Porter Turret telescope at Stellafane. Moonlight illuminated the foreground during the exposures" - Dennis di Cicco


Remembering Stellafane

"The image is assembled from several hundred 30-second exposures made while attempting to record Perseid meteors in August 2006. The unusual-looking building in the foreground is the famous Porter Turret telescope at Stellafane. Moonlight illuminated the foreground during the exposures" - Dennis di Cicco



Astronauts play with fire on board the International Space Station.

When a fire breaks out in space, the basic rule of “stop, drop and roll” that we all learned in school doesn’t apply. That’s because flames in microgravity behave differently than they do on Earth. For one thing, flames in near-zero gravity are circular, not tear-shaped. And even after a flame appears to have gone out it may still be burning. To better understand how these fires burn and how best to extinguish them, astronauts are conducting experiments aboard the International Space Station. One such experiment, called FLEX-2, explores the characteristics of flames using droplets of fuel that are ignited in a test chamber. The steps to perform the experiment are straightforward: place a sample of flammable liquid inside the chamber, ignite the liquid and watch it burn. The research has applications ranging from fire safety to improving the performance of fuel combustion engines.


The droplet is ignited, producing a bright flash. 


A flame shaped like a ball forms around the droplet. The white-hot glow is due to the production of soot particles. 


Astronauts use a video camera to record the flame as the droplet is consumed.

Watch the video to learn more.

Credit: Science@NASA and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center


Ancient Egyptian Woman with 70 Hair Extensions Discovered

More than 3,300 years ago, in a newly built city in Egypt, a woman with an incredibly elaborate hairstyle of lengthy hair extensions was laid to rest.

She was not mummified, her body simply being wrapped in a mat. When archaeologists uncovered her remains they found she wore “a very complex coiffure with approximately 70 extensions fastened in different layers and heights on the head,” writes Jolanda Bos, an archaeologist working on the Amarna Project, in an article recently published in the Journal of Egyptian Archaeology.

Researchers don’t know her name, age or occupation, but she is one of hundreds of people, including many others whose hairstyles are still intact, who were buried in a cemetery near an ancient city now called Amarna.


(via afro-dominicano)


The meteorite that is believed to have wiped dinosaurs off the planet millions of years ago also decimated the evergreen flowering plants of the time, but the harsh conditions that followed the killer impact favored fast-growing, deciduous plants, and helped ancient forests bloom, according to a new study, published in the journal PLOS Biology on Tuesday.

Scientists believe that a chunk of rock, measuring six miles in diameter, hit the Yucatán Peninsula in southeastern Mexico some 66 million years ago and triggered various natural calamities such as tsunamis, wildfires, earthquakes and volcanic explosions that led to the extinction of dinosaurs. Now, the new study, conducted by researchers from the University of Arizona, reveals that the properties of deciduous plants helped them cope with the varying “post-apocalyptic” climate conditions on the planet.

“When you look at forests around the world today, you don’t see many forests dominated by evergreen flowering plants,” Benjamin Blonder, the study’s lead author, said in a statement. “Instead, they are dominated by deciduous species, plants that lose their leaves at some point during the year.”

Read more

(via afro-dominicano)


Autumn equinox is arriving on September 23, 2014 at 2:29 (UTC). You can check the exact time in your area from here!

The autumn equinox is when the Earth has almost no tilt on its axis in regards to the sun. This means that both hemispheres of the Earth receive approximately the same amount of sunlight. You’ll notice that on equinox days, night and day are almost equal in length! 

Get ready for sweater weather and foliage!


(via afro-dominicano)


Neuroscientists identify key role of language gene
Neuroscientists have found that a gene mutation that arose more than half a million years ago may be key to humans’ unique ability to produce and understand speech. Researchers from MIT and several European universities have shown that the human version of a gene called Foxp2 makes it easier to transform new experiences into routine procedures. When they engineered mice to express humanized Foxp2, the mice learned to run a maze much more quickly than normal mice. The findings suggest that Foxp2 may help humans with a key component of learning language — transforming experiences, such as hearing the word “glass” when we are shown a glass of water, into a nearly automatic association of that word with objects that look and function like glasses, says Ann Graybiel, an MIT Institute Professor, member of MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research, and a senior author of the study. “This really is an important brick in the wall saying that the form of the gene that allowed us to speak may have something to do with a special kind of learning, which takes us from having to make conscious associations in order to act to a nearly automatic-pilot way of acting based on the cues around us,” Graybiel says. Wolfgang Enard, a professor of anthropology and human genetics at Ludwig-Maximilians University in Germany, is also a senior author of the study, which appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week. The paper’s lead authors are Christiane Schreiweis, a former visiting graduate student at MIT, and Ulrich Bornschein of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany. All animal species communicate with each other, but humans have a unique ability to generate and comprehend language. Foxp2 is one of several genes that scientists believe may have contributed to the development of these linguistic skills. The gene was first identified in a group of family members who had severe difficulties in speaking and understanding speech, and who were found to carry a mutated version of the Foxp2 gene. In 2009, Svante Pääbo, director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, and his team engineered mice to express the human form of the Foxp2 gene, which encodes a protein that differs from the mouse version by only two amino acids. His team found that these mice had longer dendrites — the slender extensions that neurons use to communicate with each other — in the striatum, a part of the brain implicated in habit formation. They were also better at forming new synapses, or connections between neurons. (via Neuroscientists identify key role of language gene — ScienceDaily)

(via afro-dominicano)


Skulls of Marine Mammals (L to R)

  1. Bottlenose Dolphin - Tursiops truncatus
  2. Orca - Orcinus orca
  3. Dugong - Dugong Dugon
  4. West Indian Manatee - Trichechus manatus
  5. Steller’s Sea Cow - Hydromalis gigas
  6. Dwarf Sperm Whale - Kogia sima
  7. California Sea Lion - Zalophus californiaus
  8. Hooker’s Sea Lion- Phocarctos hookeri
  9. Minke Whale - Balaenoptera acutorostrata
  10. Crab Eater Seal - Lobodon carinophagus

(via afro-dominicano)


High doses of type I IFNs for cancer therapy act through non-haematopoetic endothelial cells. 
Image: Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a resin cast of blood vessels supplying the small intestine. Credit: Susuma Nishinaga


High doses of type I IFNs for  therapy act through non-haematopoetic endothelial cells.


Image: Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a resin cast of blood vessels supplying the small intestine. Credit: Susuma Nishinaga


A lot of these recent research articles that are discussing providing bio-medical products or advances in human developmental biology use very cis & patriarchalized language.  New language has to be constructed for this research work so that we can be able to discuss these products in a decolonized fashion, such as:

  • understanding that not all people with vaginas are women & not all women necessarily have vaginas
  • that advances that could dramatically change how we understand human developmental biology such as turning embryos into primitive sperm isn’t just appealing to lesbians, and to state it in such a way contributes to & perpetuates transmisogyny
  • Medical professionals need to be schooled on understanding gender & sexuality apart from biological determinist arguments they are taught in medical school


How does melatonin work?
The supplement, which has been shown to help ease some jet lag, has found increasing popularity among parents as a sleep aid for restless children.


Milky Way above Atacama Salt Lagoon

Galaxies, stars, and a serene reflecting pool combine to create this memorable land and skyscape.

Image Credit & Copyright: Alex Tudorica (AIfA, U. Bonn)

The featured panorama is a 12-image mosaic taken last month from the Salar de Atacama salt flat in northern Chile. The calm water is Laguna Cejar, a salty lagoon featuring a large central sinkhole. On the image left, the astrophotographer’s fiancee is seen capturing the same photogenic scene.

The night sky is lit up with countless stars, the Large and Small Magellanic Cloud galaxies on the left, and the band of our Milky Way galaxy running diagonally up the right. The Milky Way may appear to be causing havoc at the horizon, but those are just the normal lights of a nearby town.


Stellar Flare Hits HD 189733b

This artist’s impression shows exoplanet HD 189733b, as it passes in front of its parent star, called HD 189733A.

Hubble’s instruments observed the system in 2010, and in 2011 following a large flare from the star (depicted in the image). Following the flare, Hubble observed the planet’s atmosphere evaporating at a rate of over 1000 tonnes per second.

In this picture, the surface of the star, which is around 80% the mass of the Sun, is based on observations of the Sun from the Solar Dynamics Observatory.


The Best Language for Math

What’s the best language for learning math? Hint: You’re not reading it.

Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Turkish use simpler number words and express math concepts more clearly than English, making it easier for small children to learn counting and arithmetic, research shows.

The language gap is drawing growing attention amid a push by psychologists and educators to build numeracy in small children—the mathematical equivalent of literacy. Confusing English word names have been linked in several recent studies to weaker counting and arithmetic skills in children. However, researchers are finding some easy ways for parents to level the playing field through games and early practice.

(via afro-dominicano)