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Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot image is 30 years old today

Thirty years ago today, the Voyager 1 spaceprobe had completed its ncounters with the outer planets and was careening out of our solar system. The time came to shut off the probes' cameras to preserve power and memory for the other onboard scientific instruments. But before engineers flipped the switch, one last photo opportunity was not to be missed. From my liner notes to the Voyager Golden Record vinyl box set: Astronomer and educator Carl Sagan, a member of the Voyager Imaging Team,...
Tags: Post, Space, Science, News, Nasa, Earth, Mars, Carl Sagan, Sagan, Voyager, Voyager Imaging Team

The scientific secrets inside a single grain of moon dust

While scientists have studied Moon rocks for 50 years, researchers have for the first time conducted deep analysis on a single grain of lunar dust, atom by atom. Using a common materials science technique called atom probe tomography that's not widely used by geologists, the Chicago Field Museum's Jennika Greer and colleagues probed the grain of soil -- about the width of a human hair -- and were able to learn about the Moon's surface its elemental composition. From the Field Museum: In...
Tags: Post, Space, Science, News, Moon, Geology, Greer, Chicago Field Museum, Nanoscience, Jennika Greer, Northwestern University Greer

Watch how a heavy anvil floats in a vat of mercury

This is so amazing. Watch what happens when a blacksmithing anvil is lowered into a large vat of pure liquid mercury. [H/t Alberto Gaitán via Bryce Lynch] Image: Screengrab from GIF
Tags: Post, Science, News, Chemistry, Weird Science, Alberto Gaitán, Bryce Lynch

Scientists claim 100% accurate way to tell pot from hemp: lasers

Researchers from Texas A&M say they have found a quick, cheap, and accurate way for law enforcement agents to differentiate pot and hemp – using lasers. In a study released last month, Texas AgriLife researchers Dmitry Kurouski and Lee Sanchez claim their new laser testing method is a better way for law enforcement to figure out whether a substance they've seized is cannabis or non-psychoactive hemp. Lasers, how do they work? From Austin NPR affiliate KUTR: Put simply, a laser from a spectr...
Tags: Health, Post, Texas, Science, News, Medicine, Weed, Drugs, Cannabis, Pot, Lasers, Amarillo, Dmitry Kurouski, Lee Sanchez, Austin NPR, KUTR

This newly discovered cannabis compound is possibly 30 times more powerful than THC

Researchers identified a phytocannabinoid in Cannabis sativa that they say could be 30 times more powerful than THC, at least in their lab results. The scientists from Italy's University of Modena and Reggio Emilia and their colleagues found that in their in vitro tests, tetrahydrocannabiphorol (THCP) showed an attraction to the nervous system's cannabinoid (CB1) receptor that's more than thirty times higher than good ol' THC. From CNN: CBD has mostly been the focus of studies on the he...
Tags: Post, Science, News, Biology, Weed, Drugs, Marijuana, Cnn, Cannabis, Italy, Reggio Emilia, University of Modena, Thc, THCP, Jane Ishmael, Oregon State University s College of Pharmacy

How cows use their unique voices to cowmoooonicate

For five months, University of Sydney PhD student Alexandra Green spent time in the field, literally, with 18 Holstein-Friesian heifers, recording and studying their sounds. While it's been known that cow moms and calves use unique vocalizations with one another, Green confirmed that cattle "also maintain individual voices in a variety of emotional situations," from chow time to periods when they are isolated from the others in the herd. From the University of Sydney: Cows ‘talk’ to one anot...
Tags: Post, Science, News, Biology, Animals, Green, Cows, Atlas Obscura, University of Sydney, Alexandra Green, Til The Cows Come Home

The most detailed image of the sun

Behold the turbulent seas of our sun, plasma waves rising and falling under the watchful gaze of the Inouye solar telescope in Hawaii. Science News: We have now seen the smallest details on the largest object in the solar system,” said Inouye telescope director Thomas Rimmele during a January 24 news teleconference. Covering an area 36,500 kilometers across — roughly three times the diameter of Earth — the images show familiar bubbles of plasma percolating up from the depths. In the dark lane...
Tags: Post, Video, Science, News, Earth, Hawaii, Inouye, Thomas Rimmele

Sex pheromone named after a character in Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" changes mice brains

Darcin is a pheromone found in the urine of male mice. It's used to mark territory and signal mating availability, and was named after the character Mr. Darcy who appears in Jane Austin's Pride and Prejudice. In the new issue of Nature, researchers at Columbia University report on how darcin "takes hold in the brains of female mice, giving cells in the brain's emotion center the power to assess the mouse's sexual readiness and help her select a mate." From the press release: Pheromones, such as ...
Tags: Post, Science, News, Biology, Sex, Jane Austen, Columbia University, Animal Behavior, Darcy, Jane Austin, Pheromones, Adam Kepecs, Rama Own, Hurst Dr Beynon

Albatrosses deployed to detect illegal fish vessels out at sea

With their massive wingspans and high speed, albatrosses fly across the seas in search of food. That's why marine ornithologist Henri Weimerskirch of the French National Center for Scientific Research calls the birds the “sentinels of the sea" and is using them to survey the ocean for illegal fishing boats. Apparently, the operators of these vessels frequently turn off their automatic identification system (AIS) that broadcasts who they are and their location. From Katherine J. Wu's article in ...
Tags: Post, Science, News, Marine, Birds, Marine Life, Ocean, Fishing, Marine Biology, PNAS, AIS, National Center for Scientific Research, JJ Harrison CC BY SA, Henri Weimerskirch, Weimerskirch, Katherine J Wu

Groundbreaking 1979 visualization of black hole

French physicist Jean-Pierre Luminet hand-plotted this image of a black hole in 1978, said to be the the first based on data rather than artistic speculation. From Wikipedia: 1979 - He created the first "image" of a black hole with an accretion disk using nothing but an early computer, lots of math and India ink, predicting that it could apply to the supermassive massive black hole in the core of the elliptical galaxy M87. In April 2019 the Event Horizon Telescope Consortium provided a spectacu...
Tags: Post, Science, News, Wikipedia, India, Nasa, Ibm, Black Holes, Canson, Jean Pierre Luminet, Event Horizon Telescope Consortium, Luminet, Jean Alain Marck, Jeremy Schnittman, Goddard Space Flight Center Luminet

Albert Einstein's funny face is on the world's smallest gold coin

In Switzerland, the state-owned Swissmint says today that a 2.96-millimeter (0.12-inches) gold coin created with Albert Einstein's face on it is the smallest in the world. The coin, shown above, weighs 0.063 grams (1/500th of an ounce) and has a nominal value of 1/4 Swiss francs ($0.26). From the Associated Press: Swissmint said the coin, of which just 999 have been made, will be sold for 199 francs with a special magnifying glass so owners can see the famous physicist on its face. IMAGE cou...
Tags: Post, Science, News, Cool, Switzerland, Albert Einstein, Associated Press, Einstein, Coins, Swissmint

Scientists recreate sound of Egyptian mummy's voice from 3,000 years ago

Researchers in Berlin claim to have succeeded in re-creating the sound of the voice of an Egyptian person who died 3,000 years ago, and was entombed as a mummy. The scientists say they managed to mimic the mummy's voice (well, the voice of the living person the mummy used to be) by recreating portions of the vocal tract using medical scanners, 3D printing and an electronic larynx. Excerpt: In a paper published Thursday by the journal Scientific Reports, the authors say the technique allow...
Tags: Post, Science, London, News, Berlin, Associated Press, Sound, Mummies, Ancient History, Royal Holloway, Nesyamun, Scientific Reports the authors, David M Howard

Greta Thunberg: 'You have not seen anything yet,' climate activist says as Davos nears

“To the world leaders and those in power, I would like to say that you have not seen anything yet. You have not seen the last of us, we can assure you that. And that is the message that we will bring to the World Economic Forum in Davos next week.” In the Swiss city of Lausanne on Friday, Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and was joined by an estimated 10,000 others for a protest march, before many of them travel to Davos for next week's annual gathering of political and business elites. Their g...
Tags: Post, Business, Politics, Science, News, Climate Change, Environment, Climate, World news, Davos, Lausanne, Reuters, World Economic Forum, Klosters, Greta, Cecile Mantovani

Australia fires: Air-dropping veggies to feed wallabies [NEW VIDEO]

The massive scale and force of the ongoing bushfires in Australia is hard to comprehend. The number of living creatures killed by flame, smoke, and habitat destruction fires is already staggering, and incomplete. Here is a new video from Reuters with more on a story we've covered here at Boing Boing previously -- NWS workers are dropping vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes from aircraft, to feed displaced wallabies who can't find anything to eat because everything has burned. Vid...
Tags: Post, Video, Science, News, Delightful Creatures, Climate Change, Australia, Animals, Environment, Climate, Fire, World news, Earth, Wildfires, Nws, Bushfires

Genetic research solves mystery of ‘curse of sudden death’ among Amish children

A breakthrough in genetic research has solved the mystery of why children in the close-knit Amish community in the northeast US kept dying suddenly, and with no apparent explanation.The deaths occurred when the children were playing and running around, and one family lost four childrenover an eight year period. Post-mortem examinations failed to identify any known cause of death.
Tags: Post, Science, US

First asteroid found inside orbit of Venus: Caltech

Some extra-planetary Caltech news to take your mind off Earth Reports Caltech: “A rare asteroid orbiting snugly within the inner confines of our solar system has been discovered by Caltech's Zwicky Transient Facility, or ZTF, a survey camera based at Palomar Observatory. The newfound body, named 2020 AV2, is the first asteroid found to orbit entirely within the orbit of Venus.” 2020 AV2 orbits entirely within the orbit of Venus.PHOTO: Bryce Bolin/Caltech More from the Caltech media announc...
Tags: Post, Astronomy, Space, Science, News, Nasa, Taiwan, University Of Maryland, Venus, Jpl, Caltech, Palomar Observatory, Palomar, Picks, Minor Planet Center, IPAC

CLIMATE: 2019 was hottest year on record, NASA and NOAA report

It's official. NASA and NOAA report today that 2019 was Earth's hottest year in recorded history. Excerpt from the joint January 15, 2020 announcement: Earth's global surface temperatures in 2019 ranked second-warmest since 1880, according to independent analyses by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Global temperatures in 2019 were 2 degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius) warmer than the late 19th century, according to scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institut...
Tags: Post, New York, Science, News, Climate Change, Climate, Global Warming, Nasa, Earth, United States, Arctic, Antarctica, Noaa, Greenland, Antarctic, NASA NOAA

More than 800 Russian academic articles retracted after "bombshell" report reveals plagiarism and other misconduct

After Antiplagiat, a private plagiarism detection company, accused Russia's scientific and scholarly journals of being rife with plagiarism, self-plagiarism, duplication and other misconduct, the Russian Academy of Sciences chartered a committee to investigate the problem: their report confirmed the accusations, finding more instances of plagiarism/self-plagiarism, as well as instances in which the same paper was published in different journals under different authors' names. The committee ...
Tags: Post, Publishing, Corruption, Science, News, Russia, Fraud, Scholarship, Plagiarism, St Petersburg, Russian Academy of Sciences, ITMO University, Antiplagiat, Victor Glukhov, Zayakin, Dmitry Malkov

The secrets within a 2,600-year-old preserved brain of a decapitated man

Back around 500 BCE or so in what is now York, U.K, a gentleman was decapitated for who-knows-why and his head quickly buried. To the amazement of the archaeologists who dug up the skull in 2008, the cranium still contained a well-preserved brain. According to University of London neurologist Axel Petzold and his colleagues, understanding how the tissue has survived for more than 2,500 years may lead to new methods for extracting valuable information from ancient tissue. From Science: Using s...
Tags: Post, Science, News, Archaeology, Neurology, Brains, Diseases, University of London, York U K, Axel Petzold

Seeking out extraterrestrials by their stench

One way to determine whether distant worlds may be home to extraterrestrials is to seek out the presence of biosignatures, molecules that indicate the existence of past or present life, in the exoplanet's atmosphere. (The chemical composition of the atmosphere affects its color spectra, observable with telescopes.) According to new MIT research, one biosignature may be a stinky, poisonous gas found in swamps, bogs, and even some animals' bowels. From MIT: MIT researchers have found that ph...
Tags: Post, Science, News, Mit, Aliens, James Webb Space Telescope, Seti, Astrobiology, Extraterrestrials, Clara Sousa Silva, Department of Earth Atmospheric

Wanda Diaz Merced is a blind astronomer who hears the science of the stars

Wanda Diaz Merced is an astronomer at the International Astronomical Union (IAU) Office for Astronomy Outreach in Mitaka, Japan. Diaz Merced is blind and uses a technique to transform data from astronomical surveys into sounds for analysis. Over at Nature, Elizabeth Gibney interviewed Merced about how "converting astronomical data into sound could bring discoveries that conventional techniques miss." From Nature: How did you begin your work with sonification? Sonification has been around ...
Tags: Post, Video, Astronomy, Science, News, US, Nasa, Accessibility, Sound, Merced, Blindness, University of Glasgow UK, Elizabeth Gibney, Wanda Díaz Merced, Mitaka Japan Diaz Merced, Karl Jansky

We need a "science of the night"

In the journal Nature, University of Melbourne researcher Michele Acuto argues that what happens in our cities after dark has a tremendous impact on energy, sustainability, waste, and inequality "yet scholarship and policy often neglect these dark hours." According to Acuto, we need a coordinated and cross-disciplinary "science of the night" to gather data and build understanding if we hope to tackle societal-scale issues and build truly smart cities. From Nature: For instance, few analyses...
Tags: Post, Science, Design, London, News, Cities, United Nations, Urban Planning, Ucl, Nightlife, Empire State Building, University College London UCL, Midtown Manhattan, Arup, Melbourne School of Design, Nature University of Melbourne

Sequencing an anciet girl's genome from a 5,700-year-old piece of chewing gum

Almost 6,000 years ago on the island of Lolland, Denmark, a young girl disposed of her chewing gum. Now, University of Copenhagen researchers have used that gum, made from birch pitch, to sequence the girl's full genome. From Science: The child had black hair, blue eyes, and dark skin, and was more closely related to hunter-gatherers from Western Europe than to farmers who had more recently settled in the region. She left traces of her most recent meal in the gum—she had been chewing hazel...
Tags: Post, Science, News, Biology, Genetics, Gum, Chewing Gum, Western Europe, Epstein Barr, University of Copenhagen, Lolland Denmark

The Life Cycle podcast talks transhumanism with Kernel CEO Bryan Johnson & "To Be a Machine" author Mark O'Connel

Is your brain a machine? Are your thoughts and feelings just malware of the mind? (And what "really" is a machine, anyway?) John and Eva referee the transhumanist fight of the century. In the blue corner, we have Eva meeting founder and Bryan Johnson, CEO of Kernel, straight from his office in LA. And in the red corner, John meets with To Be a Machine author Mark O'Connell in a cafe in Dublin. Time to get out the popcorn! Round One, ding-ding... The Life Cycle is a production of Klang Games, cre...
Tags: Post, Science, News, Podcasts, La, John, Robotics, Eva, Mark O Connell, Brain Implants, Transhumanism, Bryan Johnson, Mark O Connel, Dublin Time

People with half a brain. Literally.

For some children with severe epilepsy, the best treatment may be a very rare surgical procedure in which a large portion -- even half -- of the child's brain is removed or disconnected. Amazingly, many of these individuals can relearn motor, language, and cognitive skills. How? The brain reorganizes itself and builds new connections. To better understand this incredible process, and hopefully inform new interventions and rehabilitation, Caltech neuroscientists conducted brain scans on six adult...
Tags: Post, Science, News, Medicine, Neuroscience, Epilepsy, Brains, Caltech, Ralph Adolphs, Dorit Kliemann, Caltech Brain Imaging Center, Kliemann

Randall "XKCD" Munroe has a New York Times column where he answers weird science questions

Randall Munroe's "Good Question" column in the New York Times is in the vein of his How To and What If books, in which he answers weird science questions with equally weird thoroughness. In his inaugural column, Munroe answers: "If I Touched the Moon, What Would It Feel Like?" Touching lunar rocks inside a spacecraft, or in a museum, is one thing; removing a glove and exposing yourself to the vacuum of space is another. In science fiction, terrible things befall such astronauts: their ...
Tags: Post, Happy Mutants, Space, Science, News, Webcomics, New York Times, Xkcd, Randall Munroe, Munroe, Randall XKCD Munroe, You're Soaking In It (regolith Edition, Col Joe Kittinger

Rats' nests are rich with unrecorded history and urgent scientific data

Pack rats, aka woodrats, build their nests, called middens, from plant debris, rocks, animal parts, paper, and almost any other bits of detritus nearby. Frequently, they urinate on their middens. The urine crystalizes and encases the nest material, preserving it for as long as 50,000 years by some estimates. For paleobotanists, middens are a great source of information about how flora has changed over time. Zoologists study the animal remains and poop. And climatologists analyze the material for...
Tags: Post, Science, News, Climate Change, Animals, History, Rodents, Rats, Charleston South Carolina, University of Delaware, Nests, Nathaniel Russell, Packrats, Paleobotany, Sadie Witkowski, Nathaniel Russel

How to (maybe) see the Leonid meteor shower before dawn on Monday

This year's episode of the grand meteor shower the Leonids will peak on Monday morning before dawn. The meteors are bits of debris dropping off the comet Tempel-Tuttle that intersects Earth's orbit every November. Unfortunately, it may be tough to see many shooting stars because activity this year will be low and the waning gibbous moon will shine brightly. Still, it's always fun and meditative to watch the skies. From EarthSky: In 2019, no matter where you are on Earth – and no matter when ...
Tags: Post, Astronomy, Space, Science, News, Earth, Leonids, Meteors, Watch The Skies, Tempel Tuttle, Navicore CC

Voyager 2's messages home illuminate the mysteries of interstellar space

In 1977, NASA launched two spacecraft, Voyager 1 and 2, on a grand tour of the solar system and into the mysteries of interstellar space. Famously attached to each of these probes is the Voyager Golden Record containing a message for any extraterrestrial intelligence that might encounter it, perhaps billions of years from now. Voyager 1 entered interstellar space in 2012. Last year, Voyager 2 joined its twin beyond the heliosphere, described by NASA as "the protective bubble of particles and mag...
Tags: Post, Space, Science, News, Nasa, Earth, Voyagers

Voyager 2's new messages home illuminate the mysteries of interstellar space

In 1977, NASA launched two spacecraft, Voyager 1 and 2, on a grand tour of the solar system and into the mysteries of interstellar space. Famously attached to each of these probes is the Voyager Golden Record containing a message for any extraterrestrial intelligence that might encounter it, perhaps billions of years from now. Voyager 1 entered interstellar space in 2012. Last year, Voyager 2 joined its twin beyond the heliosphere, described by NASA as "the protective bubble of particles and mag...
Tags: Post, Space, Science, News, Nasa, Earth, Voyagers

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