Science & Technology
Tue, 15 May 2007 05:25 CDT
Smack bang in the middle of Antarctica sits a mysterious mountain range. Its jagged peaks cover an area similar to that of the Alps, and its highest point is around 3500 metres above sea level. Yet by rights these mountains shouldn't exist at all.
Fri, 11 May 2007 23:44 CDT
The space shuttle and its newly repaired hail-damaged fuel tank are ready to return to the launch pad for an 8 June launch, NASA managers said on Friday, even though the tank is a bit of an eyesore.
Fri, 11 May 2007 15:48 CDT
The Taoist poet Lao Tse famously wrote that water exemplifies the highest good, benefiting all and flowing easily without effort. While this makes for a lovely metaphor, there's more to H20 than is dreamt of in Lao Tse's philosophies.
Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology have found that, at the molecular level, water exhibits viscous, even solid-like properties.
When molecules of water are forced to move through a small gap between two solid surfaces, the substance's viscosity increases by a factor of 1,000 to 10,000, approaching that of molasses.
Mon, 14 May 2007 11:41 CDT
The weather in space is controlled by events at the centre of the Earth. A pity, then, that the magnetic field generated there may be about to go into reverse
Mon, 14 May 2007 10:25 CDT
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Mars, Neptune, Uranus and Jupiter. The evening stars are Venus, Mercury and Saturn.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Taurus. They include English portrait painter Thomas Gainsborough in 1727; Scottish reformer Robert Owen in 1771; opera coloratura soprano Patrice Munsel in 1925 (age 82); singer Bobby Darin in 1936; filmmakers George Lucas ('Star Wars') in 1944 (age 63) and Robert Zemeckis ('Forrest Gump') in 1952 (age 55); and actor Tim Roth in 1961 (age 46).
CanWest News Service
Mon, 14 May 2007 07:35 CDT
A comet or some other extraterrestrial object appears to have slammed into northern Canada 12,900 years ago and triggered an abrupt and catastrophic climate change that wiped out the mammoths and many other prehistoric creatures, according to a team of U.S. scientists.
Evidence of the ecological disaster exists in a thin layer of sediment that has been found from Alberta to New Mexico, say the researchers, whose work adds a dramatic and provocative twist to the decades-old debate about the demise of the mammoths, mastodons and sloths that once roamed North America.
The Boston Globe
Mon, 14 May 2007 05:43 CDT
A blink lasts about a 10th of a second, and most people blink about 15 times a minute, or every 4 seconds.
Obviously there is some cleaning and lubrication of the eye that gets handled by blinking, and you certainly know that if you get something in your eye you'll start blinking fiercely. You can also experiment with stopping yourself from blinking and will find after a while that it's a bit uncomfortable. A blink can also be a protective mechanism against bright lights, as any photography buff is only too well aware! Similarly, you may well blink in the presence of irritants like freshly cut onions or tear gas.
Blink rates vary quite a bit depending on emotional and mental states. Stress and anxiety tend to increase a person's blink rate, and this can sometimes give away a lie. Intense concentration tends to reduce the blink rate, and if you're in a situation that implies some danger, your blinking rate can go way down -- presumably to help you look around quickly without missing things.
Physorg / AP
Mon, 14 May 2007 05:25 CDT
Researchers have installed a seismometer atop an active volcano called Kick 'em Jenny under the Caribbean Sea to warn of eruptions or earthquake activity, scientists said Saturday.
The device allows scientists to collect real-time rumbling from tremors or as bubbling magma and gases are released from the volcano, about 820 feet beneath the sea's surface off Grenada's northwest coast.
"The system essentially acts as a kind of doctor's stethoscope so we can directly listen to the pulse of the volcano," said Richard Robertson, director of the Seismic Research Unit at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad.
He said the seismometer is connected to a flexible hose that runs to a buoy, where a high-frequency radio transmitter sends readings to an observatory in a northern Grenadian village - all within milliseconds.
A team of scientists led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts attached the monitoring system to the volcano by a remote-controlled underwater craft on May 6.
Breitbart.com - AFP
Sat, 12 May 2007 16:19 CDT
Astronomers have used a unique process to determine that a star in our galaxy is nearly as old as the universe itself.
|©ESO via livescience.com
|The Big Bang occurred 13.7 billion years ago, making the Milky Way star HE 1523 the oldest-known star at 13.2 billion years old. The star's age was gleaned from what's left of its radioactive elements compared to stable "anchor" elements, like europium, osmium, and iridium.
. Waiting for more "dawn of time" dates to come.
Sun, 13 May 2007 06:44 CDT
Does your house address start with a 1? According to a strange mathematical law, about 1/3 of house numbers have 1 as their first digit. The same holds true for many other areas that have almost nothing in common: the Dow Jones index history, size of files stored on a PC, the length of the world's rivers, the numbers in newspapers' front page headlines, and many more.
The law is called Benford's law after its (second) founder, Frank Benford, who discovered it in 1935 as a physicist at General Electric. The law tells how often each number (from 1 to 9) appears as the first significant digit in a very diverse range of data sets.