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Current Topic: Science

NASA - Dreamy Lunar Eclipse
Topic: Science 2:16 am EDT, Aug  8, 2007

The event begins 54 minutes past midnight PDT (0754 UT) on August 28th when the Moon enters Earth's shadow. At first, there's little change. The outskirts of Earth's shadow are as pale as the Moon itself; an onlooker might not even realize anything is happening. But as the Moon penetrates deeper, a startling metamorphosis occurs. Around 2:52 am PDT (0952 UT), the color of the Moon changes from moondust-gray to sunset-red. This is totality, and it lasts for 90 minutes.

Night owls on the west coast and early risers on the east coast might catch this red moon...

NASA - Dreamy Lunar Eclipse

Beer in space: A short but frothy history - space - 31 July 2007 - New Scientist Space
Topic: Science 4:39 pm EDT, Jul 31, 2007

Graduate student Kirsten Sterrett at the University of Colorado in the US wrote a thesis on fermentation in space, with support from US beer behemoth Coors. She sent a miniature brewing kit into orbit aboard a space shuttle several years ago and produced a few sips of beer.

This is a fun article.

Beer in space: A short but frothy history - space - 31 July 2007 - New Scientist Space

RE: Damn Interesting » Reanimated Rodents and The Meaning of Life
Topic: Science 3:43 pm EDT, Jul 17, 2007

terratogen wrote:
The basic procedure worked like this:

1. Obtain desired number of Golden Hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus).

2. Place in ice bath at temperature -5°C.

3. Leave hapless rodents to cool until hearts have stopped beating, respiration has ceased, animals are frozen rigid and are-– by any conventional definition of life– no longer alive.

4. After 60-90 minutes, remove hamsters from ice bath.

5. If required, cut sections of one or more control animals to determine degree of freezing. Please note– animals thus examined should not be used in subsequent reanimation attempts.

6. Warm the hearts of the frozen hamsters until they start up again, followed by gentle re-warming of the rest of the animal(s) until miraculous recovery occurs.

7. Determine number of survivors.

Serves 5.

I want to put that list on random people's refrigerators.

An interesting read.

This article isn't too clear, but I seriously doubt they successfully reanimated a truly frozen hampster. If the water inside the hampster freezes, it breaks the cell membranes, creating hampster mush. A simple example involves placing fresh strawberries in a zip lock bag and then freezing them. Take the frozen berries out, allow them to thaw a bit, and you've got an awesome spread for toast.

Cryonicists have fluids that they have successfully injected into people that enable them to freeze those people without destroying their cells. Their hope is that through some as yet uninvented technology those people's memories can be restored, either into a machine, or a vat grown body, or maybe the original body could be restored around them with nanotechnology. Its a long shot, but death is certain. In my view, any option which is less certain than death may be worth a shot. However, I have yet to bite the bullet and buy the requisite life insurance policies. Its not cheap. Most of my friends think I'm crazy for contemplating this.

RE: Damn Interesting » Reanimated Rodents and The Meaning of Life

Rubens Tube Video
Topic: Science 7:34 pm EDT, Jul 13, 2007

Fucking awesome!

I want one!!!

Rubens Tube Video

To boldly surf: the new destinations for armchair astronauts - Independent Online Edition -- Sci_Tech
Topic: Science 1:32 pm EDT, Jul 12, 2007

The internet is revolutionising space exploration, bringing new sights and discoveries to anyone who cares to look just as quickly as to the scientists involved.

Lots of good links here.

To boldly surf: the new destinations for armchair astronauts - Independent Online Edition -- Sci_Tech

Baby mammoth find promises breakthrough| Science| Reuters
Topic: Science 11:50 pm EDT, Jul 11, 2007

The discovery of a baby mammoth preserved in the Russian permafrost gives researchers their best chance yet to build a genetic map of a species extinct since the Ice Age, a Russian scientist said on Wednesday.

Baby mammoth find promises breakthrough| Science| Reuters

Yawning may boost brain's alertness - being-human - 02 July 2007 - New Scientist
Topic: Science 8:36 pm EDT, Jul  2, 2007

Yawning is not something we usually aim to provoke among our readers, but have a yawn now. Does your brain feel cooler? Do you feel more attentive? According to psychologists Andrew Gallup and Gordon Gallup of the State University of New York at Albany, that is why we yawn: to boost blood flow and chill the brain.

Not only that, brain-cooling explains why you can "catch" a yawn, says Gordon Gallup. "We think contagious yawning is triggered by empathic mechanisms which function to maintain group vigilance." In other words, yawn-catching evolved to help raise the attentiveness of the whole group.

Sounds about right.

Yawning may boost brain's alertness - being-human - 02 July 2007 - New Scientist

Read the Sunspots
Topic: Science 1:56 am EDT, Jun 22, 2007

Solar scientists predict that, by 2020, the sun will be starting into its weakest Schwabe solar cycle of the past two centuries, likely leading to unusually cool conditions on Earth. Beginning to plan for adaptation to such a cool period, one which may continue well beyond one 11-year cycle, as did the Little Ice Age, should be a priority for governments. It is global cooling, not warming, that is the major climate threat to the world, especially Canada. As a country at the northern limit to agriculture in the world, it would take very little cooling to destroy much of our food crops, while a warming would only require that we adopt farming techniques practiced to the south of us.

The earth is, in fact, way overdue for an ice age... So perhaps we should actually increase greenhouse gas emmisions, killing the ozone layer, and thus trapping heat during the long, long solar winter that approaches.

Read the Sunspots

Communicating backwards in time
Topic: Science 12:37 pm EDT, Jun 14, 2007

terratogen wrote:

Back when we wrote about Cramer earlier this year, he was struggling to come up with a measly $20,000 to fund a high-risk experiment that would demonstrate, as he puts it, "signaling, or communication, in reverse time." Cramer could be wrong, but he ain't no crackpot; he's a physics professor at University of Washington who seems sincere in proving (or disproving) this testable idea with a simple experiment. Turns out, a lot of people really sympathized with the guy, and ponied up their own money. And why not? After all, it's going for university research (and this article even tells you how to donate).

If this will work, wouldn't he have messaged himself by now???

He hasn't built the receiver yet...

Communicating backwards in time

The wrath of 2007: America's great drought | Independent Online
Topic: Science 10:00 am EDT, Jun 11, 2007

America is facing its worst summer drought since the Dust Bowl years of the Great Depression. Or perhaps worse still.

From the mountains and desert of the West, now into an eighth consecutive dry year, to the wheat farms of Alabama, where crops are failing because of rainfall levels 12 inches lower than usual, to the vast soupy expanse of Lake Okeechobee in southern Florida, which has become so dry it actually caught fire a couple of weeks ago, a continent is crying out for water.

In the south-east, usually a lush, humid region, it is the driest few months since records began in 1895. California and Nevada, where burgeoning population centres co-exist with an often harsh, barren landscape, have seen less rain over the past year than at any time since 1924. The Sierra Nevada range, which straddles the two states, received only 27 per cent of its usual snowfall in winter, with immediate knock-on effects on water supplies for the populations of Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

But the long-term implications are escaping nobody. Climatologists see a growing volatility in the south-east's weather - today's drought coming close on the heels of devastating hurricanes two to three years ago. In the West, meanwhile, a growing body of scientific evidence suggests a movement towards a state of perpetual drought by the middle of this century. "The 1930s drought lasted less than a decade. This is something that could remain for 100 years," said Richard Seager a climatologist at Columbia University and lead researcher of a report published recently by the government's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

This is rather alarming. More data here.

The wrath of 2007: America's great drought | Independent Online

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