26
Mar
kenobi-wan-obi:

Equinox At The Egyptian Pyramids of Giza by Aymen Ibrahem


  The Sun, setting beyond the southern foot of Khephrens Pyramid. This occurs every equinox, as the Pyramids and the Great Sphinx are east-west aligned.

kenobi-wan-obi:

Equinox At The Egyptian Pyramids of Giza by Aymen Ibrahem

The Sun, setting beyond the southern foot of Khephrens Pyramid. This occurs every equinox, as the Pyramids and the Great Sphinx are east-west aligned.

(via scinerds)

6
Feb
physicsphysics:

transagenda:

codeawayhaley:

According to the laws of physics, a planet in the shape of a doughnut (toroid) could exist. Physicist Anders Sandberg says that such planets would have very short nights and days, an arid outer equator, twilight polar regions, moons in strange orbits and regions with very different gravity and seasons.
Read more: http://bit.ly/1kPLXGT via io9

petition to turn the earth into a fucking doughnut

We’re on board.

physicsphysics:

transagenda:

codeawayhaley:

According to the laws of physics, a planet in the shape of a doughnut (toroid) could exist. Physicist Anders Sandberg says that such planets would have very short nights and days, an arid outer equator, twilight polar regions, moons in strange orbits and regions with very different gravity and seasons.

Read more: http://bit.ly/1kPLXGT via io9

petition to turn the earth into a fucking doughnut

We’re on board.

6
Feb

neuromorphogenesis:

How Language Seems To Shape One’s View Of The World

Lera Boroditsky once did a simple experiment: She asked people to close their eyes and point southeast. A room of distinguished professors in the U.S. pointed in almost every possible direction, whereas 5-year-old Australian aboriginal girls always got it right.

She says the difference lies in language. Boroditsky, an associate professor of cognitive science at the University of California, San Diego, says the Australian aboriginal language doesn’t use words like left or right. It uses compass points, so they say things like “that girl to the east of you is my sister.”

If you want to learn another language and become fluent, you may have to change the way you behave in small but sometimes significant ways, specifically how you sort things into categories and what you notice.

Researchers are starting to study how those changes happen, says Aneta Pavlenko, a professor of applied linguistics at Temple University. She studies bilingualism and is the author of an upcoming book on this work.

If people speaking different languages need to group or observe things differently, then bilinguals ought to switch focus depending on the language they use. That’s exactly the case, according to Pavlenko.

For example, she says English distinguishes between cups and glasses, but in Russian, the difference between chashka (cup) andstakan (glass) is based on shape, not material.

Based on her research, she started teaching future language teachers how to help their English-speaking students group things in Russian. If English-speaking students of Russian had to sort cups and glasses into different piles, then re-sort into chashka andstakan, they should sort them differently. She says language teachers could do activities like this with their students instead of just memorizing words.

"They feel generally that this acknowledges something that they’ve long expected, long wanted to do but didn’t know how," Pavlenko says. "They felt that it moved them forward, away from teaching pronunciation and doing the ‘repeat after me’ activities."

Pavlenko points to research showing that if you’re hungry, you’ll pay more attention to food-related stimuli, and she says speaking another language fluently works the same way.

One’s native language could also affect memory, says Pavlenko. She points to novelist Vladimir Nabokov, who was fully trilingual in English, French and Russian. She says Nabokov wrote three memoirs: He published one in English, and when another publishing house asked for one in Russian, he accepted, thinking he would simply translate his first memoir.

"When Nabokov started translating it into Russian, he recalled a lot of things that he did not remember when he was writing it in English, and so in essence it became a somewhat different book," Pavlenko says. "It came out in Russian and he felt that in order to represent his childhood properly to his American readership, he had to produce a new version. So the version of Nabokov’s autobiography we know now is actually a third attempt, where he had to recall more things in Russian and then re-translate them from Russian back into English."

Boroditsky also studied the differences in what research subjects remembered when using English, which doesn’t always note the intent of an action, and Spanish, which does. This can lead to differences in how people remember what they saw, potentially important in eyewitness testimony, she says.

John McWhorter, a linguist at Columbia University, acknowledges such differences but says they don’t really matter. The experiments “show that there are these tiny differentials that you can find that seem to correlate with what language you speak,” McWhorter says. “Nothing has ever demonstrated that your language makes you process life in a different way. It just doesn’t work.”

As an example, he refers to modern speakers of a Mayan language, who also use directions that roughly correspond to compass points, rather than left or right. Researchers asked people, most of whom only knew this language, to do tasks like memorizing how a ball moved through a maze, which would have been easier had they thought about it in terms of left and right, rather than compass points. The participants were just as good at these tasks and sometimes better, leading the experimenters to conclude they were not constrained by their language.

Boroditsky disagrees. She says the counterexamples simply prove language isn’t the only factor affecting what we notice. Like studying to be a pilot or doctor, she says, learning to speak a different language fluently can also change us, and this means we can learn those changes, like learning any other skill.

"It’s like a very extensive training program," Boroditsky says. "There’s nothing exotic about the effects that language has on cognition. It’s just the same that any learning has on cognition."

(via thescienceofreality)

6
Feb

curiosamathematica:

Impossible to ride a square-wheeled bike?

Maybe hard to believe, but square wheels can move smoothly (with their axles in a straight line and at a constant velocity), if they roll over evenly spaced bumps in the shape of an inverted catenary.

Not only squares, but also lots of other interesting shapes can be used as wheel, as long as the shape of the road is appropriate. For instance, for cardioid-shaped wheels you need cycloid-shaped roads:

It’s not about reinventing the wheel, it’s about reinventing the road.

(http://mathtourist.blogspot.be/2011/05/riding-on-square-wheels.html)

(via thescienceofreality)

15
Dec
7
Dec

skeptv:

Chromosome 2 - What separates chimps from humans?

At the genetic level chimpanzees are almost indistinguishable from humans, so how did the formation of human chromosome 2 lead to our divergence from our primate relatives?

Geneticist Aoife McLysaght heads to Dublin Zoo to explain more…

via The Royal Institution.


(via scinerds)

7
Dec
7
Dec

thescienceofreality:

The Science of Glow-worm Beetles By Erin Mae Dul.

The more popular, yet less-encountered glowing insects pictured above belong to the beetle family of Phengodidae, or in layman’s term glow-worm beetles, or glowworms. In the first, top image is a male glow-worm beetle in adult form; the branched antennae that almost look like the bone structure of a pair of wings aid in the detection of female glow-worm pheromones. 

There are three stages of life for glow worms. The females start at the egg stage, as do males, before birthing into larvae. After larvae it takes 12-13 days for the females pupation into Zarhipis integripennis, and 20-35 days for the males. 

Although the name gives a simplified explanation of the beetles’ luminous abilities, it is still a little known fact that not all glow-worms actually glow, and it is actually the females in apparent larviform who are able to produce a glow. The paired photic organs that produce the light found on adult females are located on each body segment, one spot for each side, which are said to resemble train-car windows lit up at night, earning them the nickname of railroad-worms. Sometimes these photic organs manifest into luminous bands between each body segment as opposed to singular spots.

Unlike the female glow-worm, males are not in larviform, rather resembling other beetles. The male glow-worms boast two pairs of wings, along with the branched, feather-like antennae that are present within males of most species. However, it should be noted that in certain documented instances, it has been found that larvae as well as the males within the Mastinocerini tribe [as well as others] produce a luminous glow from their larval photic organs, which like the respective female photic emissions, are believed to serve as a defensive function.

Even though the females, larvae, and with some exceptions certain males, of the glow-worm beetle family may glow brightly, they aren’t always easily found. If one was inclined enough to look, it would be best to search for these glowing insects at night, which is when they are suspected to be most active, either within moist soils or on the bark and leaves of trees, preferably in a tropical region with high above-ground moisture levels. Similar to worms, glow-worm beetles seem to enjoy coming out onto the ground surface after a summer rainstorm. Since they are not one of the more commonplace insects that humans happen to come across without meaning to that even when they are found, they aren’t always recognizable to layman’s eyes, especially during the daytime when their glow is more subdued. 

So if you’re out on a warm, moist night, make sure to keep your eyes open, and remember that glow-worm beetles are not the only bioluminescent creatures crawling around on the ground. If you see something glowing in the grass, or on a tree, put that scientific curiosity to use and see if you can figure out what it is. Even if you can’t make a good educated guess, it’s still an amazing natural phenomenon to witness, and definitely one to not forget. 

  • Read more about glow-worm beetles here.
  • Read more about how bioluminescence works, and what other types of creatures from around the world produce luminous glows here, here, and here.

Image Credits [From top to bottom]: First image, Colin Hutton | DeviantArt | Flickr. Second image, James E. Lloyd, University of Florida. Third image, James E. Lloyd, University of Florida.

7
Dec

jtotheizzoe:

What is Sea Level?

Thanks to MinutePhysics, you’ll never look at this oblate spheroid you live on the same way again. Earth, and the water that covers it, is subject to a score of dips, tugs and bulges thanks to the wibbly-wobbly nature of rocky-craggy-gravity… stuff.

Anyway, the question of how high above sea level you or Mt. Everest is is a lot more fascinating and complicated than you think. Elevate your understanding!

These are may favorite science stories. Finding out that the things that just ARE, those things that we take intellectually and observationally for granted, like blue skies, wind, tall trees, or seasons … the world is even more amazing when you discover how it works. I have found no exception to this rule.

(via thescienceofreality)

7
Dec
sci-universe:


This is the Sculptor galaxy viewed from the Spitzer Space Telescope. It is known as a starburst galaxy for the extraordinarily strong star formation in its nucleus. This activity warms the surrounding dust clouds, causing the brilliant yellow-red glow in the center of this infrared image.

sci-universe:

This is the Sculptor galaxy viewed from the Spitzer Space Telescope. It is known as a starburst galaxy for the extraordinarily strong star formation in its nucleus. This activity warms the surrounding dust clouds, causing the brilliant yellow-red glow in the center of this infrared image.

(Source: jpl.nasa.gov, via thescienceofreality)

7
Dec
the-science-llama:

Physicists add ‘Quantum Cheshire Cats’ to list of quantum paradoxes

Given all the weird things that can occur in quantum mechanics—from entanglement to superposition to teleportation—not much seems surprising in the quantum world. Nevertheless, a new finding that an object’s physical properties can be disembodied from the object itself is not something we’re used to seeing on an everyday basis. In a new paper, physicists have theoretically shown that this phenomenon, which they call a quantum Cheshire Cat, is an inherent feature of quantum mechanics and could prove useful for performing precise quantum measurements by removing unwanted properties.

Read more: Phys.orgVia FQTQ

the-science-llama:

Physicists add ‘Quantum Cheshire Cats’ to list of quantum paradoxes

Given all the weird things that can occur in quantum mechanics—from entanglement to superposition to teleportation—not much seems surprising in the quantum world. Nevertheless, a new finding that an object’s physical properties can be disembodied from the object itself is not something we’re used to seeing on an everyday basis. In a new paper, physicists have theoretically shown that this phenomenon, which they call a quantum Cheshire Cat, is an inherent feature of quantum mechanics and could prove useful for performing precise quantum measurements by removing unwanted properties.

Read more: Phys.org
Via FQTQ

(via thescienceofreality)