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Old 05-21-2012, 09:43 PM  
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Science is Cool....

This is a repository for all cool scientific discussion and fascination. Scientific facts, theories, and overall cool scientific stuff that you'd like to share with others. Stuff that makes you smile and wonder at the amazing shit going on around us, that most people don't notice.

Post pictures, vidoes, stories, or links. Ask questions. Share science.

This is in support of the Penny 4 NASA project. If you enjoy anything you learned from this thread, consider making a donation and signing the petition.

http://www.penny4nasa.org/

Why should I care?:


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Old 01-06-2013, 12:50 PM   #466
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Originally Posted by aturnis View Post
Exactly. It seems to me we blink more than necessary b/c we're strategically blinking to maximize efficiency in our intake of visual information.
LMFAO at the juxtaposition of your post and your avatar.
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:58 PM   #467
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Amazing science...



Flesh-eating flies map forest biodiversity
DNA in insects' guts reveals inventory of rare mammals.

Ed Yong
04 January 2013

The blowflies and flesh flies that settle on dead animals aren't just feasting on the carrion — they're sampling their DNA. Scientists in Germany have now shown that this DNA persists for long enough to be sequenced, providing a quick and cost-effective snapshot of mammal diversity in otherwise inaccessible rainforests.

Researchers stumbled on the grisly cataloguing technique while studying a form of anthrax that kills chimpanzees in Côte d'Ivoire. They started sampling flies to see whether the insects could harbour the anthrax bacterium after feasting on infected bodies, but soon realized “that detecting mammal DNA from flies could also be an extremely cool tool for assessing biodiversity”, says team leader Sébastien Calvignac-Spencer, an evolutionary biologist at the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin.

By baiting nets and traps with meat, the team collected carrion flies from Taï National Park in Côte d'Ivoire and Kirindy Reserve in Madagascar, and found that 40% of them carried mammal DNA. The researchers sequenced this material to identify 16 mammals in Côte d'Ivoire, including six of the nine local primate species, as well as Jentink’s duiker (Cephalophus jentinki) — an endangered antelope of which fewer than 3,500 remain. In Madagascar, the team identified four mammal species — including two lemurs — representing one in eight of all the island’s mammals. The work will appear on 7 January in Molecular Ecology1.
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:59 PM   #468
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:00 PM   #469
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:17 PM   #470
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Saw this yesterday, thought it was neat:
Quote:
Nasa scientists are planning to capture a 500 ton asteroid , relocate it and turn it into a space station for astronauts on their way to Mars.

The White House's Office of Science and technology will consider the £1.6bn plan in the coming weeks as it prepares to set its space exploration agenda for the next decade.

If approved it would be the first time a celestial object has ever been moved by humans.

A feasibility report prepared by Nasa and California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
scientists outlined how they would go about capturing the asteroid.

A, 'asteroid capture capsule' would be attached to an old Atlas V rocket and directed the asteroid between the earth and the moon.

Once close, the asteroid capsule would release a 50ft diameter bag that wrap around the spinning rock using drawstrings.

The craft would then turn on its thrusters, using an estimated 300kg of propellant, to stop the asteroid in its tracks and tow it into a gravitationally neutral spot.

From here space explorers would have a stationary base from which to launch trips deeper into space.

The report said: 'The idea of exploiting the natural resources of asteroids dates back over a hundred years, but only now has the technology become available to make this idea a reality.

The feasibility is enabled by three key developments: the ability to discover and characterize an adequate number of sufficiently small near-Earth asteroids for capture and return; the ability to implement sufficiently powerful solar electric propulsion systems to enable transportation of the captured asteroid; and the proposed human presence in cislunar space in the 2020s enabling exploration and exploitation of the returned asteroid.
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:27 PM   #471
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:50 PM   #472
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Blame every pop culture depiction of school as something that is the closest analogue to torture a child will endure and that people that enjoy learning are dweebs that deserved to be stuffed in a toliet.
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Old 01-06-2013, 11:15 PM   #473
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Blinking. It's not just about lube...



Why Do We Blink So Frequently?

We all blink. A lot. The average person blinks some 15-20 times per minute—so frequently that our eyes are closed for roughly 10% of our waking hours overall.

Although some of this blinking has a clear purpose—mostly to lubricate the eyeballs, and occasionally protect them from dust or other debris—scientists say that we blink far more often than necessary for these functions alone. Thus, blinking is physiological riddle. Why do we do it so darn often? In a paper published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a group of scientists from Japan offers up a surprising new answer—that briefly closing our eyes might actually help us to gather our thoughts and focus attention on the world around us.

The researchers came to the hypothesis after noting an interesting fact revealed by previous research on blinking: that the exact moments when we blink aren’t actually random. Although seemingly spontaneous, studies have revealed that people tend to blink at predictable moments. For someone reading, blinking often occurs after each sentence is finished, while for a person listening to a speech, it frequently comes when the speaker pauses between statements. A group of people all watching the same video tend to blink around the same time, too, when action briefly lags.

As a result, the researchers guessed that we might subconsciously use blinks as a sort of mental resting point, to briefly shut off visual stimuli and allow us to focus our attention. To test the idea, they put 10 different volunteers in an fMRI machine and had them watch the TV show “Mr. Bean” (they had used the same show in their previous work on blinking, showing that it came at implicit break points in the video). They then monitored which areas of the brain showed increased or decreased activity when the study participants blinked.

Their analysis showed that when the Bean-watchers blinked, mental activity briefly spiked in areas related to the default network, areas of the brain that operate when the mind is in a state of wakeful rest, rather than focusing on the outside world. Momentary activation of this alternate network, they theorize, could serve as a mental break, allowing for increased attention capacity when the eyes are opened again.

To test whether this mental break was simply a result of the participants’ visual inputs being blocked, rather than a subconscious effort to clear their minds, the researchers also manually inserted “blackouts” into the video at random intervals that lasted roughly as long as a blink. In the fMRI data, though, the brain areas related to the default network weren’t similarly activated. Blinking is something more than temporarily not seeing anything.

It’s far from conclusive, but the research demonstrates that we do enter some sort of altered mental state when we blink—we’re not just doing it to lubricate our eyes. A blink could provide a momentary island of introspective calm in the ocean of visual stimuli that defines our lives.



Read more: http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/scie...#ixzz2HBLttFZA
Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter
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Old 01-06-2013, 11:23 PM   #474
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wow.
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Old 01-06-2013, 11:25 PM   #475
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I disagree. I think it has a lot to do with a lot of different things. The way we train and assign/hire teachers. Also, think we need to tailor schools to different learning styles(visual, audible, reading, hands on) and put kids who learn a certain way, in a environment more suitable for learning.

Also, especially today, kids need stimulation. More interactive learning. Classroom lessons on ipads(tablets) or interactive surface desks etc.
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Old 01-06-2013, 11:30 PM   #476
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Originally Posted by aturnis View Post
I disagree. I think it has a lot to do with a lot of different things. The way we train and assign/hire teachers. Also, think we need to tailor schools to different learning styles(visual, audible, reading, hands on) and put kids who learn a certain way, in a environment more suitable for learning.

Also, especially today, kids need stimulation. More interactive learning. Classroom lessons on ipads(tablets) or interactive surface desks etc.
Or.. You know... Some tool that's been around since the establishment of civilization.. such as discipline.
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:26 PM   #477
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Odd Mars 'Flower' & Snakelike Formation Spied By NASA's Curiosity Rover (PHOTOS)

Posted: 01/06/2013 10:06 am EST | Updated: 01/07/2013 3:02 pm EST


By: Tariq Malik
Published: 01/05/2013 11:30 AM EST on SPACE.com

New photos of Mars from NASA's Curiosity rover have sparked a buzz of discussion over an odd formation that some have dubbed a "flower" embedded in a Martian rock. The rover has also found a snake-like rock formation winding across the Red Planet's surface.

The so-called Mars "flower" photo was snapped on Dec. 19 by the microscope-like Mars Hand Lens Imager at the end of Curiosity's robotic arm. At the lower left of the image is a strange, apparently transparent formation that some Internet forum users on the website claimed looked much like a flower, according to NBCNews.com's photoblog.

NASA posted a raw, unprocessed version of the photo online on the Curiosity rover’s mission website overseen by the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. Internet forum readers on the website Above Top Secret christened the object a flower, according to NBCNews.com's Alan Boyle.

Curiosity has seen bits of clear plastic (pieces of the rover itself) on the surface of Mars before, but NASA officials said that doesn’t appear to be the case this time.

JPL spokesman Guy Webster told NBCNews.com that the object "appears to be part of the rock, not debris from the spacecraft." [Face on Mars & More Martian Illusions (Photos)]



This image shows the full photo from Mars rover Curiosity of a strange transparent feature on a rock, which some have nicknamed a "flower." It appears at lower left. Image taken Dec. 19, 2012.

On Friday (Jan. 4), NASA also unveiled a new panorama of Curiosity’s current location on Mars, a shallow depression called YellowknifeBayinside the vast Gale Crater. The image is a mosaic of photos that is dominated by a sinewy, snake-like rock winding across its center.

NASA scientists have dubbed the rock "Snake River." It is a thin curving line of dark rock that rises above the flatter rocks of its surroundings, making it an intriguing target for Curiosity's instruments, JPL officials said.

"It's one piece of the puzzle," rover mission project scientist John Grotzinger, of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, said in a statement. "It has a crosscutting relationship to the surrounding rock and appears to have formed after the deposition of the layer that it transects."



The sinuous rock feature in the lower center of this mosaic of images recorded by the NASA Mars rover Curiosity is called "Snake River." Image taken Dec. 20, 2012.

The $2.5 billion Mars rover Curiosity landed on Aug. 5 to begin a two-year primary mission of determining whether the planet could have once been habitable for primitive microbial life. It is currently driving toward a 3-mile-high (5 kilometers) mountain rising up from the center of its Gale Crater landing site.

Curiosity is destined for a point called Glenelg at the base of the Martian peak, which scientists have named MountSharp. But first, mission scientists are looking over Curiosity's images of YellowknifeBay in order to pick a rock target for the rover to use as its first drill site. That drill test is expected soon, JPL officials said.

“The area the rover is in looks good for our first drilling target," rover project manager Richard Cook said.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/0...#slide=1212378
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Old 01-08-2013, 02:35 PM   #478
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:45 AM   #479
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NASA Eyes Wild Plan to Drag Asteroid Near the Moon

http://news.yahoo.com/nasa-eyes-wild...133639284.html

Capturing a near-Earth asteroid and dragging it into orbit around the moon could help humanity put boots on Mars someday, proponents of the idea say.
NASA is considering a $2.6 billion asteroid-retrieval mission that could deliver a space rock to high lunar orbit by 2025 or so, New Scientist reported last week. The plan could help jump-start manned exploration of deep space, carving out a path to the Red Planet and perhaps even more far-flung destinations, its developers maintain.
"Experience gained via human expeditions to the small returned NEA would transfer directly to follow-on international expeditions beyond the Earth-moon system: to other near-Earth asteroids, [the Mars moons] Phobos and Deimos, Mars and potentially someday to the main asteroid belt," the mission concept team, which is based at the Keck Institute for Space Studies in California, wrote in a feasibility study of the plan last year.
Space agency officials confirm that NASA is indeed looking at the Keck proposal as a way to help extend humanity's footprint out into the solar system. But the assessment is still in its early stages, with nothing decided yet.
"There are many options — and many routes — being discussed on our way to the Red Planet," Bob Jacobs, deputy associate administrator for the Office of Communications at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., told SPACE.com via email. "NASA and the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory are giving the study further review to determine its feasibility." [NASA's Spacecraft for Asteroid Missions Revealed (Photos)]
Enabling manned exploration of deep space
In the Keck plan, an unmanned probe would snag a 25-foot-wide (7 meters) near-Earth asteroid, then haul it back to lunar orbit for future study and exploration.
Its developers see the mission as a way for humanity to get a toehold beyond low-Earth orbit, allowing our species to hone techniques and acquire skills that manned missions to more distant destinations will require.
For example, the robotic mission would help develop the precision flying techniques demanded by a manned mission to a near-Earth asteroid. Further, study of the captured space rock could teach researchers how to efficiently extract water from asteroids — a resource that could be an off-Earth source of radiation shielding and rocket fuel for journeying spacecraft.
"Extraction of propellants, bulk shielding and life support fluids from this first captured asteroid could jump-start an entire space-based industry," the Keck team writes. "Our space capabilities would finally have caught up with the speculative attractions of using space resources in situ."
Up-close examination of a captured asteroid would also yield insights into the economic value of space rock resources and shed light on the best ways to deflect potentially dangerous asteroids away from Earth.
Overall, the potential benefits of the mission are huge, the Keck team says.
"Placing a NEA in lunar orbit would provide a new capability for human exploration not seen since Apollo," the report reads. "Such an achievement has the potential to inspire a nation. It would be mankind’s first attempt at modifying the heavens to enable the permanent settlement of humans in space."
NASA's new spaceships
Human exploration of deep space beyond the moon is a NASA priority. In 2010, President Barack Obama directed the agency to get astronauts to a near-Earth asteroid by 2025, then on to the vicinity of the Red Planet by the mid-2030s.
To make all of this happen, NASA is developing a crew capsule called Orion and a huge rocket known as the Space Launch System. The Orion-SLS combo is slated to begin flying crews by 2021. The first unmanned Orion test flight is expected in 2017.
The space agency is also developing a new Space Exploration Vehicle for astronauts bound to explore a near-Earth asteroid. A prototype of the new vehicle, which could feature a rocket sled and "pogo stick" device for docking with an asteroid, coul dbe tested at the International Space Station in 2017, project officials have said.
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Old 01-15-2013, 05:32 PM   #480
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