Enjoy the Aurora Borealis from Space in 4K Glory

NASA recently released a video of the Aurora Borealis from space and it is beautiful. What’s more it’s in 4K so you can really enjoy the clarity and beauty of this wonder of nature/science. It’s not just the aurora that gets a view too – as this is a video of space from earth you get to see some rather beautiful shots of cities at night all in that glorious format we call UHD. The video was produced by compositing time lapsed photos and provides a truly stunning view of something NASA explains thusly: “Auroras happen when electrons and protons … Continue reading

50 year 1-trillion fold increase in computing – keep on going!

  In 1954, IBM released the IBM 704 – the “supercomputer” of its time. Since then computer power has stuck relatively close to Moore’s Law and we now have a 1-trillion fold increase in the computing power available to us (or at least to people with access to modern day super computers, the rest of us are close, but not quite there). Something people often don’t think about is the relative tech changes as a fraction of human existence: we spent 3 million years to get to an era where we had an industrial revolution then decades later a PC, then decades … Continue reading

The vastness of our solar system in a video at the speed of light

I recently started playing Elite: Dangerous as I’ve always been a fan of the concept of FTL space travel that humans can do and still be aware of without experiencing infinite mass or time appearing to stand still. I’ve spent hours on some weekends just jumping around from solar system to solar system exploring the vastness of space and it still taking forever to get anywhere, even going at 30x the speed of light. While randomly stumbling around the internet I came across this video which is a great way of showing the vastness of space to someone (who understands … Continue reading

Photo of Ant Holding 500 times its own Bodyweight

This amazing picture of an ant holding its own bodyweight while upside down was taken by zoology specialist Dr Thomas Endlein of Cambridge University while researching creatures sticky feet. This photo snatched the guy £700 in photographic vouchers from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. His hope is studying the way ants feet self clean and change their size to support varying weights will help develop new adhesives. “The pads on ants’ feet are self-cleaning and can stick to almost any type of surface,” he said. “No man-made glue or adhesive system can match this. Understanding how animals can … Continue reading

Large Hadron Collider (LHC) only two weeks away from real experiments, hopefully

It seems the large hadron collider has had no end of problems, which led some people to believe it was due to something in the future time travelling into the past to prevent its launch. But now it seems that it’s almost there as initial tests have finally succeeded. CERN, the Swiss facility where the enormous underground experiment is located, has announced that test beams in the LHC have zoomed around most parts of the accelerator without incident: Particles are smoothly making their way around the 27 km circumference of the LHC. Last weekend (7-8 November), the first bunches of … Continue reading

Artificial Black Hole Could Power Space Ships Soon

Artificially generated black holes could provide us with the power to make inter-solar travel a possibility. New research shows how strapping a black hole to your starship might just give you the juice to get to Alpha Centauri. Louis Crane and Shawn Westmoreland of Kansas State University propose a way to use black holes as fuel that is entirely within the bounds of physics and technology as we know them, but would take phenomenal amount of engineering. The crux of their idea involves using using a laser to form a micro black hole, which could be used as an energy … Continue reading

Maybe we need sex education for birds? Bird flu is an STD.

According to a post at NewScientist, bird flu (avian flu) is actually an STD – at least, it is in ducks. While not completely confirmed yet, it is believed to be the case. Although unlike humans, the more promiscuous the duck, the less likely it is to become infected (wha?); apparently “…It’s all to do with penis size and the complexity of the females’ vagina…” When the researchers compared data on the prevalence of low-pathogenic bird flu strains in different duck species with what is known about the anatomy of duc k reproductive parts and mating behaviour, they found that … Continue reading

Peeling Scotch Tape Emits X-Rays

It turns out that if you peel the popular adhesive tape off its roll in a vacuum chamber, it emits X-rays. The researchers even made an X-ray image of one of their fingers. Actually, more than 50 years ago, some Russian scientists reported evidence of X-rays from peeling sticky tape off glass. But the new work demonstrates that you can get a lot of X-rays, a study co-author says. The scientists even demonstrated that the X-rays were bright enough to take an X-ray of a finger. Escobar, a graduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles, reports the work … Continue reading