Stories tagged On this day

Tell us about something that happened today in history, and make it relate to current science.

Graphene Looks a Little Like Chicken Wire
Graphene Looks a Little Like Chicken WireCourtesy By English Wikipedia [CC-BY-SA-3.0-migrated-with-disclaimers or GFDL-en], from Wikimedia Commons
What would happen if you stretched a piece of graphene (a chicken-wire looking sheet of carbon one atom wide) across a teacup, then rested the weight of a truck on top of a pencil on top of the whole thing? NOTHING. Cool.

Check out what the New York Times had to say about it.

Lighting Up the Night
Lighting Up the NightCourtesy Tom Moler
Lights and space shuttle Discovery are reflected in the water as it rolls to the pad on its final planned mission to the International Space Station.

Preparing for Flight
Preparing for FlightCourtesy NASA/Jack Pfaller
From the NASA Image of the day:

In preparation for its last planned mission to the International Space Station, shuttle Discovery was lowered onto its external fuel tank and solid rocket boosters in High Bay 3 of the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The lift and mate operation began Sept. 9 and wrapped up early Sept. 10.

On Sept. 21, 2010, Discovery completed its last planned trip to the launch pad at 1:49 a.m., leaving the Vehicle Assembly Building at about 7:23 p.m. on the slow, 3.4-mile crawl to the pad.

Discovery, the oldest of NASA's three active orbiters, first launched Aug. 30, 1984, on STS-41D and is being readied for the STS-133 mission to station. Liftoff is targeted for Nov. 1 at 4:40 p.m. EDT.

Stephen J. Gould

by Anonymous on Sep. 10th, 2010

Stephen J. Gould
Stephen J. GouldCourtesy Kathy Chapman via Wikipedia
This is a late post but today is the birthday of Stephen J. Gould, born 1941 in New York City. Gould was a well-known paleontologist, evolutionist and prolific writer. He wrote monthly essays for Natural History magazine, and was author of several books (many of which were compilations of his essays) including such titles as Bully for Brontosaurus, Mismeasure for Man, and one of my favorites, Wonderful Life, a reassessment of the fossils found in the Burgess Shale. Gould (along with paleontologist Niles Eldredge) developed the evolution theory of punctuated equilibrium. Read more.

A major earthquake (magnitude 7.0) has struck near Christchurch, the second-largest city in New Zealand. Early reports describe extensive damage, but few injuries.

Wonder what magnitude really means?

Ask a curator

by Liza on Sep. 01st, 2010

It's "ask a curator" day on Twitter.

TwitterCourtesy Twitter

SMM curators are in on the action. You can post to Twitter, or leave a question on SMM's Facebook wall.

Even though #askacurator is a special event -- a one-time offer -- EVERY day is "ask us!" day on Science Buzz. So jump into the conversation!

The mushroom cloud over Hiroshima after the detonation of Little Boy
The mushroom cloud over Hiroshima after the detonation of Little BoyCourtesy Public Domain
On August 6th, 1945, the United States dropped the atomic bomb "Little Boy" on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The bomb worked though nuclear fission, forcing a mass of uranium-235 to absorb extra neutrons to become uranium-236. The uranium 236 then immediately broke apart into lighter elements, releasing a vast amount of energy. Nearly 70,000 people were killed in the blast from Little Boy, and more than 100,000 others would die from the bomb's long-term radioactive effects in the following years.

After just one test explosion, Little Boy was only the second nuclear weapon ever to be detonated, and the first to be used against humans. Three days later, a larger, plutonium-based bomb, "Fat Man," would be dropped on the city of Nagasaki. On August 15, the Emperor of Japan announced the country's surrender, ending World War II, a conflict that had already claimed over 60 million lives.

August 6th marks an important and frightening day for science and humanity. Although only two bombs were used in conflict, since then thousands of nuclear weapons have been tested, in the process of building more powerful or more precise bombs, and for one country to show others just what it could do.

Here's an interesting visualization of all the nuclear bombs detonated between 1945 and 1998, showing who tested them, and where:

The Guthrie Theater: Come visit this state-of-the-art theater right here in Minneapolis!  This weekend, see Macondo, a play about the BP oil spill for only $10/ticket.
The Guthrie Theater: Come visit this state-of-the-art theater right here in Minneapolis! This weekend, see Macondo, a play about the BP oil spill for only $10/ticket.Courtesy stevelyon

Whether you've been following the Deepwater Horizon (BP) oil spill or not, if you like theater, have I got a show for you!

A friend turned me on to Macondo playing at the Guthrie theater through this weekend (last show is Sunday, Aug. 1st at 1:00pm). The play is A Guthrie Experience for Actors in Training production, so tickets are only $10/each. I've posted the Guthrie's description of the play below, but if you want more information or to reserve your tickets, click here.

"Macondo is a place of myth, a place where oil spills under and over water, creating a chain reaction that devastates human lives and animal habitats. It is also the name of the ruptured BP undersea oil field and oil well responsible for the current Gulf of Mexico spill. The gods awake from their slumber and intervene in this dramatically unfolding story that currently weaves itself through the fabric of our lives."

Just when you thought it couldn't get worse, now there's an oil spill in the Kalamazoo River in Michigan. Enbridge, the company responsible, is trying to keep the spill from reaching Lake Michigan.