Did you just uncover an interesting tidbit of knowledge related to current science? Tell us.
No. Freakin'. Way.
National Geographic just made my afternoon by reporting on an extremely rare "Cyclops" albino shark -- and they have photos! Check 'em out here.
Dude kinda reminds me of Mike Wazowski from Monster's Inc.
Anyway, here's some of the science behind "Mike," as I shall now call him:
Courtesy Mark RyanNext week the Geological Society of America is convening in Minneapolis, Minnesota for the GSA's 2011 Annual Meeting and Exposition. That means something like 6000 geologist, paleontologist, hydrologists, and other ologists from around the world will be in our area to share new ideas and hobnob with their fellow earth scientists. The four-day event, which is hosted by the Minnesota Geological Survey, runs from Sunday, October 9 through Wednesday, October 12 at the Minneapolis Convention Center, and will include special lectures, award ceremonies, poster sessions, an exhibit hall, and several hundred technical talks covering a full range of geology-related subjects. There will also be a silent auction, a photo exhibition, short courses (available to non-registrants), and a screening of the locally produced documentary, “Troubled Waters: A Mississippi River Story”. Field trips happening before, during, and after the official meeting dates will give visiting geologists an opportunity to take in some of the spectacular and diverse geology that Minnesota and the Upper Midwest has to offer, not to mention the fall colors. This year’s meeting is titled “Archean to Anthropocene: The Past is the Key to the Future”, and even if you can’t make it to Minneapolis, you can download a cool poster of the event here.
Who’da thunk it? But you can mine sand. Not just for beaches, but for hydrofracking (or 'hydraulic fracturing').
[Side bar: Hydrofracking is a method of squeezing natural gas from certain special rocks. It’s expensive and has environmental consequences, but increasing demand coupled with oil and gas prices being what they are (high!) we’ll be hearing a lot more about the extraction technique. This Strib article calls silica sand "the new gold."]
And… back to sand mining. Silica sand is used by drillers in hydrofracking. According to this blog post, Red Wing, MN is primo silica sand mining land, so it’s no wonder Windsor Permian, a Texas drilling company, wants in.
A sand mining pit could create a lot of local jobs. Or it could cause lung diseases, including cancer, in the local population. Or both. Or neither.
Yikes. What’s a person to think? On the one hand, people need jobs and affordable energy. On the other hand, the very same people need good health and a stable environment.
As the global population rises in absolute size and affluence, we’ll face more difficult decisions like this one. Looking for solutions that benefit both people and the environment will characterize the future of life on Earth.
Check out L.A. graphic artist Darren Pearson's set of amazing light drawings of dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures on Flickr. They're all created in-camera with light and long exposures. I sure wish I could draw like that. Click here for an added bonus of one of his incredible non-dinosaur images.
If the timing's right tonight, this could make for an interesting celestial light show.
Courtesy Berkeley LabScientists at CERN are tentatively "claiming" that they've clocked sub-atomic particles known as neutrinos going faster than the speed of light, something physics has long held impossible.
The speed of light (approximately 186,282 miles per second) is a constant in Einstein's famous general theory of relativity and considered one of the foundations of modern physics. The experiment's physicists seem almost embarrassed bringing the matter to the public's attention but they're baffled by their test results and hope some other scientists will pick up the ball and prove them right or wrong. The abstract of their study is posted online here.
Neutrinos are those oddball, nearly massless sub-atomic particles that, because of their lack of an electric charge, can seemingly pass straight through just about anything without interacting with other particles of matter. In an experiment called Oscillation Project with Emusion tRacking Apparatus (OPERA) beams of neutrinos were shot from a particle accelerator at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland under the Apennines mountains to a detector in the Gran Sasso cavern in Italy. Measurements showed that the neutrinos arrived 60 nanoseconds sooner than they should have if they were obeying the speed of light limit. One bizarre explanation is that the neutrinos somehow managed to take a shortcut across a hidden fifth dimension to beat out other particles to the finish line. If that proves true it would keep intact the speed limit of light. This is weird, weird science. It will be fascinating to see where this goes.
Earthen “Beehive Houses” made from Mud, Straw, Dirt have been keeping Syrians cool for Centuries: http://bit.ly/qHxccE
Courtesy Thunderf00t via Wikimedia CommonsIn the coming nights, a nearby supernova should be visible using just a pair of binoculars. Located in the Pinwheel Galaxy ( aka NGC 5457) , the supernova, designated PTF 11kly was first detected earlier this week, and is estimated to be 21 million light-years from Earth - fairly close in astronomical terms. According to this report in Reuters, the supernova "will appear, blueish-white, just above and to the left of the last two stars in the Big Dipper handle". At its peak brightness, the phenomenon will outshine all the stars in the Pinwheel Galaxy. This particular kind of supernova, classified as a "Type 1a" event, takes place when an Earth-sizes white dwarf star packed with more mass than our sun suddenly explodes in a thermonuclear blaze of glory. The massive explosion blasts the star's matter out into space in all directions. This stellar material is used in the creation new stars and planets. Past supernova are the reason there are heavy elements in the universe. And speaking of the past, if you're lucky enough to spot PTF 11kly, you'll actually be looking back in time. The light from the exploding star that will be hitting your eyes this week left the Pinwheel Galaxy 21 million years ago. That's a long wait, but I'm sure it will be worth it.