Posts from the ‘awesome’ Category

jtotheizzoe:

An Interactive Simulation to Count Alien Worlds

Enrico Fermi famously asked, in his paradoxical analysis of the likely existence of extraterrestrial life, “Where is everybody?” If there are a certain (large) number of planets in the universe that are habitable, then a subset of these (also a large number) should be inhabited. Any civilization that formed, given enough time, could develop the means for interstellar communication or travel.

So yeah, “Where is everybody?

Years later, Frank Drake developed a precise equation to calculate the likely number of inhabitable worlds within range of observation or communication from Earth. Well, it’s as precise as you define it, anyway, given that the variables that go in are just that – variable. Things like how long it would take a civilization to develop communication, how long said civilization would last, how many stars and planets are estimated to exist … just the basics.

It’s called the Drake Equation, and thanks to the stupendous folks over at BBC Future, you can go tweak the equation with an interactive tool! Click here to start defining your galaxial parameters and see how many civilizations you think should exist.

I’m getting some pretty big numbers . . !

(via BBC, tip o’ the SETI dish to Russ Creech)

Played around with this some earlier, definitely worth checking out. It’s important to remember that the Drake Equation is an approximation and many factors that we’re a little unsure about go into it.

On the other hand, even setting most of the variables very low results in several billion planets with life on them. We should be able to develop interstellar communication in a manner that is observable and understandable within our lifetimes..right? Please?

quantumaniac:

Happy Birthday NASA! 

Today, July 29th, marks the 54th anniversary of the passage of the National Aeronautics and Space Act – which established NASA. Since February 2006, NASA’s mission statement has been to ”pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research.” NASA replaced its predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). The agency became operational on October 1, 1958.

jtotheizzoe:

“I Am a Scientist”

Mates of State cover Guided by Voices to promote girls in science

The problems are clear. Science and technology fields hold the jobs of the future, but our young women aren’t being prepared effectively to lead, or even compete. Interest in science is equal among younger girls and boys, and then diverges from middle school onward. There’s many culprits to blame, and most of them are social.

So again we ask: How do we fix it?

There’s wrong ways. And then there’s really wrong ways, like last week’s “Science, It’s A Girl Thing” fiasco. You don’t encourage girls in science by creating unrealistic role models and more stereotypes. That’s why I love the soon-to-be-released Science Fair album, especially this track from Mates of State.

To me, it captures all the right stuff about science. The happy curiosity, the proud young girl hard at work on what makes her feel good, and getting to prove the naysayers wrong in the end. I love that the full album features tracks that serve to inspire young girls in education, all performed by female singers, and that all of the proceeds will go to girls’ STEM programs through Girls, Inc..

If you’d like more information on the Science Fair album, check out their website. 

(Special thanks to video director Lindsay Van Dyke for sending this my way)

jtotheizzoe:

More science/photo experiments from Caleb Charland. Couldn’t resist.

This is a simple battery made from a stack of coins and saltwater-soaked paper. A grade-school science experiment, but a photo that captures the simple “wow” feeling of an experiment, don’t you think?

FastCo.Design has a gallery that you won’t want to miss. He is one of the most creative capturers of curiosities working out there, if you ask me. And no Photoshop on any of them!

(via Co.Design)

jtotheizzoe:

mapmeoblivion:

‘K-MISTRY’ Typeface by Ranmalee Jayaratne

Yes please.

Dem bonds, dat type

jtotheizzoe:

The Most Astounding Cartoon

Neil deGrasse Tyson is no stranger to memorable words. Remember the stunning monologue he delivered on the most astounding fact in the universe? Zen Pencils has turned it into a wonderful comic, click here to read the whole thing.

( Zen Pencils)

More deGrasse Tyson love!

quantumaniac:

How Much Does Fire Weigh? 

Question: Since fire is a plasma, and plasma is a state of matter, and matter is defined as anything that has mass, would that then mean that fire has mass and weight to it? If so, is there a way to measure its weight? How much space would, say, a pound of fire take up?

AnswerIt weighs more than nothing, but if you’re at the bottom of a pillar of fire, being crushed should be your second concern

Fires, putting aside details about plasma and chemicals or whatever, is just hot air.  For a given pressure the ideal gas law says that the density of a gas is inversely proportional to temperature, in Kelvin.  You can use this fact, the temperature and density of air (300°K 1.3 kg/m3), and the temperature of your average run-of-the-mill open flame (about 1300°K) to find the density of fire. For most “everyday” fires, the density of the gas in the flame will be about 1/4 the density of air.  So, since air (at sea level) weighs about 1.3 kg per cubic meter (1.3 grams per liter), fire weighs about 0.3 kg per cubic meter.

One pound of ordinary fire, here on Earth near sea level, would take up a cube about 1.2 meters to a side.  The reason that fires always flow upward is that its density is lower than air.  So, fire rises in air for the same reason that bubbles rise in water: it’s buoyant.  Enterprising individuals sometimes even take advantage of that fact.

If you were on a planet with no air at all, fire would fall to the ground instead of rise because, like all matter, it’s pulled by gravity.  Also, it would be hard to keep the fire going (what with there being no air).

Well that’s fascinating. Not sure if being crushed or burnt to death would be worse!

As was predicted, the company Planetary Resources is beginning work on the prospecting and future mining of asteroids. No timetable is set, but it’s possible that the mining (by unmanned robots) will begin as soon as 2025. Expected rewards range from tons of rare metals that can be applied more liberally from anything from catalysts and fuel cells to defibrillators, to water that can be applied as radioactive shielding, remade into rocket fuel, and cheapen the cost of living in space. Obviously there will be some road bumps, but it’s an exciting announcement all the same!

Asteroid Mining Venture Backed by Google Execs, James Cameron Unveiled

quantumaniac:

Isaac Newton Fun Facts
Isaac Newton (1642-1727) was without a doubt one of the most important scientists of all time, if not the most important. Here are some fun facts about ol’ Ike: 
  • Newton became a professor of mathematics at only 26.
  • Newton practiced Alchemy. 
  • Newton was elected as a member of parliment. His membership lasted only a year.
  • Newton earned the title of Warden of the Royal Mint.
  • Newton oversaw the recoinage of the whole country.
  • Newton was knighted because of his political activites.
  • He was named after his father who died three months before Isaac was born.
  • Isaac was born early. He was so small he could have put him in a quart jug.
  • Isaac’s father could hardly write his name.
  • Isaac was one of the worst in his class until a bully at school kicked him. Isaac challenged him to a fight even though he was smaller. He won. That wasn’t enough for him, he decided to be better than the bully at school as well.
  • Isaac liked to draw, his room was even colored on the ceilings and walls.
  • Newton was born on Christmas.

Posted a little bit ago, he is also Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s favorite scientist! Because who doesn’t like a guy who creates a whole new math just to prove he’s right?

quantumaniac:

Earth Will One Day See a Second Sun

Betelgeuse, a red supergiant star located in the Orion constellation, about 640 light-years away from Earth – is preparing to explode via a supernova. When it does, the Earth will have a front-row seat; in fact, the explosion will be so bright that Earth will seem to briefly have two suns in the sky. 

Betelgeuse is one of the brightest and largest stars in our immediate galactic neighborhood – if you dropped it in our Solar System, it would extend all the way out to Jupiter, leaving Earth completely engulfed. In stellar terms, it’s predicted to explode in the very near future. Of course, the conversion from stellar to human terms is pretty extreme, as Betelgeuse is predicted to explode anytime in the next million years.

But still, whether the explosion occurs in 2011 or 1002011 (give or take 640 years for the light to reach Earth), it’s going to make for one of the most unforgettable light shows in our planet’s history. For a few weeks, the supernova will be so bright that there will appear to be two stars in the sky, and night will be indistinguishable from day for much of that time. So don’t count on getting a lot of sleep when Betelgeuse explodes, because the only sensible thing for the world to do will be to throw a weeks-long global supernova party.

Physicist Brad Carter explains what Earth (and hopefully humanity) can look forward to:

“This is the final hurrah for the star. It goes bang, it explodes, it lights up – we’ll have incredible brightness for a brief period of time for a couple of weeks and then over the coming months it begins to fade and then eventually it will be very hard to see at all.”

Although there’ll be no missing the explosion, Carter points out that the vast majority of material shot out from the supernova will pass by Earth completely unnoticed:

“When a star goes bang, the first we will observe of it is a rain of tiny particles called neutrinos. They will flood through the Earth and bizarrely enough, even though the supernova we see visually will light up the night sky, 99 per cent of the energy in the supernova is released in these particles that will come through our bodies and through the Earth with absolutely no harm whatsoever.”

In any event, the Betelgeuse explosion will likely be the most dramatic supernova Earth ever witnesses – well, unless our Sun eventually explodes and destroys our planet, which would probably leave Betelgeuse the runner-up.

We should have a global supernova party every year anyway!