Science is the poetry of Nature.

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Posts tagged "science"


Yesterday we discussed some of the basic mechanics of a frisbee in flight. Although frisbees do generate lift similarly to a wing, they do have some unique features. You’ve probably noticed, for example, that the top surface of a frisbee has several raised concentric rings. These are not simply decoration! Instead the rings disrupt airflow at the surface of the frisbee. This actually creates a narrow region of separated flow, visible in region B on the left oil-flow image. Airflow reattaches to the frisbee in the image after the second black arc, and the boundary layer along region C remains turbulent and attached for the remaining length of the frisbee. Keeping the boundary layer attached over the top surface ensures low pressure so that the disk has plenty of lift and remains aerodynamically stable in flight. A smooth frisbee would be much harder to throw accurately because its flight would be very sensitive to angle of attack and likely to stall. (Image credits: J. Potts and W. Crowther; recommended papers by: V. Morrison and R. Lorentz)

Traces of One of Universe’s First Stars Detected

An ancient star in the halo surrounding the Milky Way galaxy appears to contain traces of material released by the death of one of the universe’s first stars, a new study reports.

The chemical signature of the ancient star suggests that it incorporated material blasted into space by a supernova explosion that marked the death of a huge star in the early universe — one that may have been 200 times more massive than the sun.

"The impact of very-massive stars and their explosions on subsequent star formation and galaxy formation should be significant," lead author Wako Aoki, of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, told by email.

(via afro-dominicano)


Cygnus X-1

This image only shows part of the black hole jet powered bowshock nebula associated with Cygnus X-1.

Copyright: T.A. Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage) and H. Schweiker (WIYN and NOAO/AURA/NSF)


Rocket engine. Bruce Schmitz examines a rocket engine being developed for NASA by Rocket Research Corp. It will be designed to deliver highly reproducible thrusts for making small corrections in the speed and direction of spacecraft. The propellant will be pure hydrazine or mixtures of hydrazine, nitric acid, and water, so the propellant’s freezing point can be reduced to -20° F.

Chemical & Engineering News, January 17, 1966


Citizen Scientists Save Lives

Citizen scientists are saving the lives of people living in the shadow of deadly volcanoes according to new research from the Univ. of East Anglia.

A report, published today in the Journal of Applied Volcanology, reveals the success of a volunteer group set up to safeguard communities around the “Throat of Fire” Tungurahua volcano in the Ecuadorian Andes. More than 600 million people live close to active volcanoes worldwide. The research shows that living safely in these dangerous areas can depend on effective communication and collaboration between volcanologists, risk managers and vulnerable communities.

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microscopic bone marrow transplant — hematopoietic stem cells (the immortal source of both red and white blood cells) poised in a syringe for transplant

colored SEM composite image

credit: Steve Gschmeissner


Hair cells: the sound-sensing cells in the ear

These cells get their name from the hairlike structures that extend from them into the fluid-filled tube of the inner ear. When sound reaches the ear, the hairs bend and the cells convert this movement into signals that are relayed to the brain. When we pump up the music in our cars or join tens of thousands of cheering fans at a football stadium, the noise can make the hairs bend so far that they actually break, resulting in long-term hearing loss.

Image courtesy of Henning Horn, Brian Burke and Colin Stewart, Institute of Medical Biology, Agency for Science, Technology, and Research, Singapore.



… inside Atlas booster!

Source: x-ray delta one


IC4628 by Paul Haese

Prawn Nebula, IC 4628, is an emission nebula located around 6000 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Scorpius.


Rosetta rondezvouzed with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Now we wait for the landing of the Philae lander.

“After 10 years, five months and four days travelling towards our destination, looping around the Sun five times and clocking up 6.4 billion kilometres, we are delighted to announce finally ‘we are here’,” says Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA’s Director General.

“Europe’s Rosetta is now the first spacecraft in history to rendezvous with a comet, a major highlight in exploring our origins. Discoveries can start.” (via The Register)


Superhydrophobic surfaces repel water. Both naturally occurring and manmade materials with this property share a common feature: micro- or nanoscale structures on their surface. Lotus and lily leaves are coated with tiny hairs, and synthetic coatings or micro-manufactured surfaces like the one in the video above can be made in the lab. This nanoscale roughness traps air between the surface and the water, preventing adhesion to the surface and enabling the water-repelling behavior we observe at the human scale. Although effective, these nanoscale structures are also extremely delicate, which makes widespread application of superhydrophobic coatings and textures difficult. (Video credit: G. Azimi et al.)

Researchers tracked the rise and fall of cultural centers in Europe and North America over hundreds of years. Here a visualization of notable people being born and moving toward their death locations in Europe, through 2012. [x]



The work of Paris-based artist and E.N.S.A.D. researcher Lia Giraud is further proof that Science + Art = Awesome. These green photos weren’t taken, they were grown. Giraud cultures microscopic algae to form living landscapes and portraits. They aren’t photographs, they’re ‘algaegraphs.’

"The technique is similar to photography, but the photosensitivity of silver grains [in film] is replaced by photosensitive organisms: microalgae," says Giraud, 29.

To create each “algaegraph”, Giraud immerses the algae in a Petri dish filled with a mix of chemical nutrients, and exposes them to an image. “The cells react to the light and form solids of different densities,” she explains.

The outline of the image forms in just a few minutes, but it can take up to four days to achieve the final result. Click here to learn more.

[via designboom and Wired]

These are the best ones I’ve seen yet, fucking amazing.


Scientists set to excavate Natural Trap Cave

For the first time in three decades, scientists are about to revisit one of North America’s most remarkable troves of ancient fossils: the bones of tens of thousands of animals piled at least 10 metres deep at the bottom of a sinkhole-type cave.

Natural Trap Cave in north-central Wyoming is 25 metres and almost impossible to see until you’re standing right next to it. Over tens of thousands of years, many, many animals – including now-extinct mammoths, short-faced bears, American lions and American cheetahs – shared the misfortune of not noticing the 3-metre-wide opening until they were plunging to their deaths.

Now, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management is preparing to reopen a metal grate over the opening to offer scientists what may be their best look yet at the variety of critters that roamed the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains during the planet’s last glacial period around 25,000 years ago.

Des Moines University palaeontologist Julie Meachen said she has been getting ready to lead the international team of a dozen researchers and assistants by hitting the climbing gym.

“I’m pretty terrified,” Meachen admitted Wednesday.

In an image provided by the Bureau of Land Management, date not known, Bureau of Land Management cave specialist Bryan McKenzie rappels into Natural Trap Cave in north-central Wyoming during a cleanup expedition.


This Isn’t Your Grandparents’ Machine Lubricant

by Michael Keller

Gears, actuators and whirring machine parts are all around us. The modern automobile alone can have upwards of 50 electric motors—from electric windshield wipers to alternators—whose guts include pieces of metal rubbing against other parts.

The only thing that keeps these components from grinding away into powder is a liquid lubricant, a substance typically made of a petroleum-derived base oil mixed with additives that reduce friction between moving parts. 

Now researchers in Germany say they have made a breakthrough in developing the next generation of lubricants. Their new liquid formulation, they say, lets small gears run with virtually no friction. The source of this wear-reducing elixir? The liquid crystals inside your computer and TV screen.

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