Category Archives: Science

Fabien Cousteau set to surface after marathon undersea mission

aquarius base

After 31 days underwater, Fabien Cousteau and his crew are about to become land dwellers again. An ocean explorer and filmmaker like his famous grandfather Jacques, Cousteau will ascend Wednesday morning from the world’s only undersea lab, Aquarius Reef Base. Since June 1, Cousteau and his fellow aquanauts have been living mostly on freeze-dried food and conducting scientific research on the marine life and themselves — all the while broadcasting the mission live online from the school-bus-size lab. Known as … Continue reading

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The Triple Point

This video shows a liquid both boiling and freezing at the same time! Due to a drop in pressure, the mixture decreases in temperature. But the pressure drop also lowers the boiling point so the liquid both freezes and boils at the same time! This liquid is at what is called the triple point, a specific pressure and temperature that freezes, boils, and liquefies a substance all at once.

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Fritz Zwicky

Fritz Zwicky

Fritz Zwicky (1898 – 1974) was a Swiss astronomer. He worked most of his life at the California Institute of Technology in the United States of America, where he made many important contributions in theoretical and observational astronomy. Zwicky was an extraordinarily original thinker, and his contemporaries frequently had no way of knowing which of his ideas would work out and which would not. In a retrospective look at Zwicky’s life and work, Stephen Maurer said: When researchers talk about neutron stars, dark matter, and gravitational … Continue reading

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Nanopore technique rapidly decodes long DNA strands

A low-cost technology may make it possible to read long sequences of DNA far more quickly than current techniques. The research advances a technology, called nanopore DNA sequencing. If perfected it could someday be used to create handheld devices capable of quickly identifying DNA sequences from tissue samples and the environment, the University of Washington researchers who developed and tested the approach said. “One reason why people are so excited about nanopore DNA sequencing is that the technology could possibly … Continue reading

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Trio of Monster Black Holes Rumble Spacetime

For the first time, three supermassive black holes have been discovered in a tight orbital dance inside the center of a galaxy 4 billion light-years away. The discovery was made by radio telescopes located in Europe, Asia and South Africa, and astronomers believe that it’s extreme gravitational environments such as these that rumble spacetime, generating gravitational waves that are theorized to propagate throughout the cosmos. “What remains extraordinary to me is that these black holes, which are at the very … Continue reading

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Antibiotics to be focus of £10m Longitude prize

Antibiotic resistance has been selected as the focus for a £10m prize set up to tackle a major challenge of our time. Six themes were initially identified by organisers of the Longitude Prize; these were then put to a public vote. The winning theme was announced on the BBC’s One Show, broadcast on Wednesday evening. The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned of a “post-antibiotic era” where key drugs no longer work and people die from previously treatable infections. The … Continue reading

Posted in Biology, Medical | 1 Comment

Normal Fault


This image shows a classic normal fault in fairly young (<20 million year old) sedimentary rocks outside of Harrison, Montana. The fault plane is clear and it dips to the right in this image. If you look at both sides of the fault, layers on the right and left are nearly identical, just the layers on the right have moved down. The layers even have specific features; the more resistant layer sticks out, while the weaker layer has been used … Continue reading

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The Kundt’s Tube


Thanks to Deskarati regular Steve Barker for suggesting this post. Kundt’s tube is an experimental acoustical apparatus invented in 1866 by German physicist August Kundt for the measurement of the speed of sound in a gas or a solid rod. It is used today only for demonstrating standing waves and acoustical forces. How it works – The tube is a transparent horizontal pipe which contains a small amount of a fine powder such as cork dust, talc or Lycopodium. At … Continue reading

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New materials are as light as “frozen smoke” but 10,000 times stiffer


The new materials are as light as aerogel, a synthetic porous material that’s the lowest known density solid – but 10,000 time tougher. They were created by researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US using an additive micro-manufacturing process.  This means that the researchers first create 3D microscale super-tough “building blocks”, so that the strength comes from the materials’ geometric layout rather than their chemical composition. Using this method, the researchers created … Continue reading

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This striking image was captured by Michael Shainblum and was one of his first Astro panoramas taken outside of Santa Barbara, California at Mount Figueroa. Via The Earth Story.

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Planetary Panoramas

Posted in Cosmology | 1 Comment

Snell’s Window

snells window

Snell’s window is a phenomenon by which an underwater viewer sees everything above the surface through a cone of light of width of about 96 degrees. This phenomenon is caused by refraction of light entering water, and is governed by Snell’s Law. The area outside Snell’s window will either be completely dark or show a reflection of underwater objects. Underwater photographers sometimes compose photographs from below such that their subjects fall inside Snell’s window, which backlights and focuses attention on … Continue reading

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Cosmic inflation: Confidence lowered for Big Bang signal

Scientists who claimed to have found a pattern in the sky left by the super-rapid expansion of space just fractions of a second after the Big Bang say they are now less confident of their result. The BICEP2 Collaboration used a telescope at the South Pole to detect the signal in the oldest light it is possible to observe. At the time of the group’s announcement in March, the discovery was hailed as a near-certain Nobel Prize. But the criticism … Continue reading

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Volcanic rocks are born as lavas or layers of ash, and stack up eruption after eruption, sometimes thick enough to form islands such as Japan and Iceland (in the featured image) on the mid Atlantic ridge. Much of the rock in the latter is basaltic, but gets transformed after its birth into a variety of chewed up and brightly coloured rock remnants. As ground or sea water percolates into the lava, it interacts with the magma or pressure heated rocks … Continue reading

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A novel way to end the superbug reign


Researchers have found a way to make drugs that target the bacteria’s outer layer, so that they don’t become drug resistant in the future. A team of researchers from the University of East Anglia, in the UK, have found a weak spot in the outer membrane of gram-negative bacteria. These bacteria are found in our gastrointestinal tract, and due to the wide misuse of antibiotics, some are now antibiotic-resistant. These superbugs can cause a variety of ailments that range from … Continue reading

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We hear lots about red and white blood cells, but Phil Krause tells us that we should also know more about Platelets – Deskarati Platelets, also called “thrombocytes”, are blood cells whose function (along with the coagulation factors) is to stop bleeding. Platelets have no nucleus: they are fragments of cytoplasm which are derived from the megakaryocytes of the bone marrow, and then enter the circulation. These unactivated platelets are biconvex discoid structures shaped like a lens, 2–3 µm in greatest … Continue reading

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Scientists may have found a way to “close” the broken nitrogen cycle


The use of nitrogen-based fertilisers has helped to feed millions of people – but it’s also disrupted the nitrogen cycle, and resulted in unhealthy waterways. Now a researcher at the University of Waikato in New Zealand may have come up with a way to release the nitrogen trapped in our soil back into the atmosphere, and “close” the cycle. To do this, Professor Louis Schipper and his team have studied the soil microorganisms that are supposed to naturally turn nitrogen … Continue reading

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Christiaan Huygens


Christiaan Huygens was a mathematician, physicist and astronomer who formulated the wave theory of light. He also discovered the pendulum clock, centrifugal force and the true shape of the rings of Saturn (as well as its moon, Titan). Huygens is credited as the first theoretical physicist to use formulae in physics. Recently a probe bearing his name has landed on Titan as part of the ESA’s Cassini-Huygens mission Early Life and Education: – Born in 1629 to a poet father, … Continue reading

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Metabolic map of human body created

Microsoft Word - Soranzo_text_with_comments.docx

Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMC-Q) scientists have drafted a metabolic map of the human body that shows how human metabolism works as a system, and how it can potentially be modified to treat disease. The map, published in Nature Genetics shows different pathways between genes, enzymes and metabolites, demonstrating that a drug used to target one gene may have several different effects—and consequences—on other pathways. A single genetic difference in the way that an enzyme behaves may produce … Continue reading

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Life’s Greatest Miracle

Here is another quite long video that is worth the time. I suggest you might want to skip through the interview segments. You can do this by hovering your mouse over the progress bar at the bottom of the video and you will see small preview slides, then just skip past the humans. – Deskarati

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