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Weird Science
Cool and fascinating tidbits from the world of science
Curated by Daniel House
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Ocean Impact on the Global Weather

Phenomenal high speed images taken from satellite pictures and deep in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans charting the creation of great storms, and the impact of the oceans on the continents. Brilliant video from BBC natural history epic, 'Planet Earth'.

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NASA SDO - Incandescent Sun

This video takes SDO images and applies additional processing to enhance the structures visible. While there is no scientific value to this processing, it do...
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NASA: How much water is on Planet Earth? Visualization: All water bunched up to a single ball [photo]

NASA: How much water is on Planet Earth? Visualization: All water bunched up to a single ball [photo] | Weird Science | Scoop.it

How much of planet Earth is made of water? Very little, actually. Although oceans of water cover about 70 percent of Earth's surface, these oceans are shallow compared to the Earth's radius. The above illustration shows what would happen if all of the water on or near the surface of the Earth were bunched up into a ball. The radius of this ball would be only about 700 kilometers, less than half the radius of the Earth's Moon, but slightly larger than Saturn's moon Rhea which, like many moons in our outer Solar System, is mostly water ice. How even this much water came to be on the Earth and whether any significant amount is trapped far beneath Earth's surface remain topics of research.

 

 


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Genetically Engineered Viruses Could Someday Make Typing-Powered Gadgets Possible

Genetically Engineered Viruses Could Someday Make Typing-Powered Gadgets Possible | Weird Science | Scoop.it
There have been quite a few efforts to harness people power, by putting specially designed energy harvesters in exercise machines, yo-yos, or right inside your shoes.
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14 extinct animals that could be resurrected

14 extinct animals that could be resurrected | Weird Science | Scoop.it
Can lost species ever become un-extinct? In the 1993 science fiction film "Jurassic Park," dinosaurs are cloned back to life after their DNA is discovered still intact within the bellies of ancient mosquitoes that were preserved in amber. While the science of cloning is still in its infancy, many scientists now believe it's only a matter of time before many extinct animals again walk the Earth.

 


Via Sakis Koukouvis, Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Self Powered Laser pistol Revolutionizes Warfare

Self Powered Laser pistol Revolutionizes Warfare | Weird Science | Scoop.it
Five years ago, Dr. Victor Klimov at Los Alamos National Laboratory produced a permanent solution to the world’s energy crisis. This work is printed in leading physics journals of the world and was validated by two US National Labs: LANL and NREL. It is scientific fact so look it up before you disrespect in the comments below. Nanocrystalline power is what we’re talking about here folks. The solution to the world’s energy crisis lies in tiny nanoycrystalline solar cells which can absorb the light of a specific wave length in such a way that one photon input to a solar cell can energize more than one output electron.
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A Most Peculiar Sunset : NPR

A Most Peculiar Sunset : NPR | Weird Science | Scoop.it
Think about the sunsets you've seen. Often the sky turns golden, orange or sometimes pink and red. But on Mars, the sunsets are blue. Why?
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Can Behavior be Controlled by Genes? The Case of Honeybee Work Assignments

Can Behavior be Controlled by Genes? The Case of Honeybee Work Assignments | Weird Science | Scoop.it
What worker bees do depends on how old they are. A worker a few days old will become a nurse bee that devotes herself to feeding larvae (brood), secreting beeswax to seal the cells that contain brood and attending to the queen.

 

Yehuda Ben-Shahar, PhD, assistant professor of biology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, wondered if this highly stereotyped system of task allocation wasn't somehow under genetic control.

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International team uncovers new genes that shape brain size, intelligence | Machines Like Us

International team uncovers new genes that shape brain size, intelligence | Machines Like Us | Weird Science | Scoop.it
In the world's largest brain study to date, a team of more than 200 scientists from 100 institutions worldwide collaborated to map the human genes that boost or sabotage the brain's resistance to a variety of mental illnesses and Alzheimer's disease.
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MIT Crowdsources and Gamifies Brain Analysis

MIT Crowdsources and Gamifies Brain Analysis | Weird Science | Scoop.it
There are around 100 billion neurons in a human brain, forming up to 100 trillion synaptic interconnections. Neuroscientists believe that these synapses are the key to almost every one of your unique, identifiable features: Memories, mental disorders, and even your personality are encoded in the wiring of your brain.

 

Understandably, neuroscientists really want to investigate these neurons and synapses to work out how they play such a vital role in our human makeup. Unfortunately, these 100 trillion connections are crammed into a two-pound bag of soggy flesh, making analysis rather hard. At the moment we know that neurons trigger an electrical signal, and that hormones affect the speed at which signals cross between synapses, and that somehow this results in a mental image of a naked Kristen Bell from her Veronica Mars period, but that’s about it.
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Geometry, Topology and Destiny | Cosmic Variance

Geometry, Topology and Destiny | Cosmic Variance | Weird Science | Scoop.it

Roughly stated, these are; What is the shape of the universe? Is the universe finite or infinite? and Will the universe expand forever or recollapse. There are three very distinct concepts when thinking about the universe.

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First Human Infected with a Computer Virus

First Human Infected with a Computer Virus | Weird Science | Scoop.it
As if humans didn't have enough viruses to worry about, one British researcher has successfully infected himself with a computer virus.

 

Mark Gasson, senior research fellow at the University of Reading, was able to infect a tiny, radio frequency identification (RFID) chip with a virus before he placed it under the skin on his hand. He uses that chip to activate his cell phone, as well as open secure doors.

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Google Gets Transparent with Glass, Its Augmented Reality Project

Google Gets Transparent with Glass, Its Augmented Reality Project | Weird Science | Scoop.it

Larry Page and Sergey Brin have long had the dream of a hands-free, mobile Google, where search was a seamless process as you moved around the world. As the years progressed the vision did, too, expanding beyond search to persistent connections with the people in your lives.

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Metamaterials, Quantum Dots Show Promise for new Technologies

Metamaterials, Quantum Dots Show Promise for new Technologies | Weird Science | Scoop.it
Researchers are edging toward the creation of new optical technologies using "nanostructured metamaterials" capable of ultra-efficient transmission of light, with potential applications including advanced solar cells and quantum computing.

 

The metamaterial -- layers of silver and titanium oxide and tiny components called quantum dots -- dramatically changes the properties of light. The light becomes "hyperbolic," which increases the output of light from the quantum dots.

 

Such materials could find applications in solar cells, light emitting diodes and quantum information processing far more powerful than today's computers.

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The Neuroscience of Effort

The Neuroscience of Effort | Weird Science | Scoop.it

Given the importance of this mental tug of war, I’ve always been deeply curious about how it unfolds inside my head. A fascinating new paper in the Journal of Neuroscience led by Michael Treadway at Vanderbilt University begins to unpack the mystery. It’s a first draft of what happens in the brain as we choose between effort and indulgence, work and distraction.

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Do Genes Really Augur Your Future?

Do Genes Really Augur Your Future? | Weird Science | Scoop.it
For some people, genes are key to predicting our future health. For others, genes as crystal balls are overhyped. Let's call it a truce because both sides are right.
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Inside The First Production-Ready Electric Airplane

Inside The First Production-Ready Electric Airplane | Weird Science | Scoop.it

An electric plane could be significantly less expensive to operate than a conventional aircraft. A 200-mile electric-powered flight in a single-engine personal plane would consume about $20 of electricity, compared with about $80 worth of aviation-grade gasoline, and an electric motor has only one moving part, so it would be largely maintenance-free. Peterson says that such cost reductions, combined with shared-ownership models, could make personal aviation vastly more accessible.

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ScienceShot: World's Oldest Blood Cells Found on Iceman

ScienceShot: World's Oldest Blood Cells Found on Iceman | Weird Science | Scoop.it

When Ötzi the Iceman was alive 5300 years ago, eating ibex and deer and traipsing over the Alps, his veins pulsed with blood. But when Ötzi's frozen, mummified body was discovered in 1991, his vessels were empty; scientists assumed his blood had degraded over time. Now, a team of researchers has zoomed in on two spots on the Iceman's body: a shoulder wound found with an embedded arrowhead and a hand lesion resembling a stab wound. The scientists used atomic force microscopy, a visualization method with resolution of less than a nanometer, to scan the wounds for blood residue.

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ScienceShot: A Late Pummeling for Earth

ScienceShot: A Late Pummeling for Earth | Weird Science | Scoop.it
From the Mars-size object that slammed into our planet 4.5 billion years ago, forming the moon, to a bombardment that boiled off early oceans as recently as 2.5 billion years ago, Earth has taken some massive stonings in its lifetime. Now scientists think they know where the rocks were coming from.
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Using Science to Bring Together Enemies | Science Diplomacy

Using Science to Bring Together Enemies | Science Diplomacy | Weird Science | Scoop.it

The idea behind science diplomacy is to build bridges and relationships through research and academics despite political tensions. This month, a delegation of North Korean economic experts visited Silicon Valley to see various American businesses and academic institutions such as Stanford University. It may seem like a bizarre concept that two countries, at odds with each other, would share scientific knowledge.

"A group of us who believe in science diplomacy, believe that it is useful to find people in those countries with whom you can find something in common, with whom you can discuss and can perhaps cooperate in areas not strategic, military or defense-related," said Dr. Norman Neureiter, senior adviser to the Center for Science, Technology and Security Policy, which is part of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science.

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Did Humans Invent Music?

Did Humans Invent Music? | Weird Science | Scoop.it

Did Neanderthals sing? Is there a "music gene"? Two scientists debate whether the capacity to make and enjoy songs came from biological evolution—or from the advent of civilization.

 

Music is everywhere, but it remains an evolutionary enigma. In recent years, archaeologists have dug up prehistoric instruments, neuroscientists have uncovered brain areas that are involved in improvisation, and geneticists have identified genes that might help in the learning of music. Yet basic questions persist: Is music a deep biological adaptation in its own right, or is it a cultural invention based mostly on our other capacities for language, learning, and emotion?

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Weird Super-Earths Found Orbiting Neighbor Star

Weird Super-Earths Found Orbiting Neighbor Star | Weird Science | Scoop.it
Astronomers believe they have found a second distant planet around Fomalhaut, a bright young neighbor star, and that the far-out world -- like its sister planet -- is shepherding and shaping the star's ring of dust.

 

If confirmed, theorists have some work to do explaining how the planet, believed to be a few times bigger than Mars, ended up 155 times as far away from its parent star as Earth is to the sun.

 

Scientists want to know how the heck they got there.

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Richard Feynman Presents Quantum Electrodynamics for the NonScientist

Richard Feynman Presents Quantum Electrodynamics for the NonScientist | Weird Science | Scoop.it
In 1979, the charismatic physicist Richard Feynman journeyed to the University of Auckland (New Zealand) and delivered a series of four lectures on Quantum Electrodynamics (QED), the theory for which he won his Nobel Prize. It’s some heady material, but Feynman made a point of making difficult concepts intelligible to a crowd not necessarily trained in scientific thinking.
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Scientists Redraw the Blueprint of the Body's Biological Clock

Scientists Redraw the Blueprint of the Body's Biological Clock | Weird Science | Scoop.it
The discovery of a major gear in the biological clock that tells the body when to sleep and metabolize food may lead to new drugs to treat sleep problems and metabolic disorders, including diabetes.
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Can Food Really Be Addictive? Yes, Says National Drug Abuse Expert

Can Food Really Be Addictive? Yes, Says National Drug Abuse Expert | Weird Science | Scoop.it
In an impassioned lecture at Rockefeller University on Wednesday, Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, made the case that the answer is yes and that understanding the commonalities between food and drug addictions could offer insights into all types of compulsive behavior.

 

Many experts dismiss food as an addictive substance because it doesn’t lead to most people behaving like addicts — compulsively seeking food despite negative consequences. So, the reasoning goes, food can’t be as addictive as a drug like crack cocaine.

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