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Cocktail Party Physics

Cocktail Party Physics

Physics With a Twist

  • A Whale of a Tale: Those Cetacean Waste Products Are More Valuable Than You Think

    A Whale of a Tale: Those Cetacean Waste Products Are More Valuable Than You Think

    By Jennifer Ouellette | July 27, 2015 |

    Jen-Luc Piquant was fascinated to read about so-called "Snotbots" this past week, designed to hover around whales in the wild and collect the "blow" when the creatures exhale -- i.e., their snot. Scientists can learn a lot from whale snot about the impact of human activity (environmental toxins, noise pollution, etc.) on things like their reproductive cycles and stress levels  But how to get those samples  as quickly and least intrusively as possible? […]

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  • Physics Week in Review: July 25, 2015

    Physics Week in Review: July 25, 2015

    By Jennifer Ouellette | July 25, 2015 |

    Start your weekend by savoring this Stunning Arabic Light Calligraphy by Julien Breton , aka "Kaalam," a "master of photographic light painting, turning full-body gestures reminiscent of dance movements into the invisible pen strokes of Arabic calligraphy." For more on light painting, check out my 2013 post , Tripping the Light Fantastic: Artists Paint with light. […]

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  • Physics Week in Review: July 18, 2015

    Physics Week in Review: July 18, 2015

    By Jennifer Ouellette | July 18, 2015 |

    Pluto-mania struck this week as NASA’s New Horizons Spacecraft Finally Completed Its Flyby of Pluto -- an event that was a decade in the making, so naturally it dominated science news all over. And the plucky little spacecraft did not disappoint , producing t he first-ever photos of Pluto's surface within the first 24 hours, followed by an extreme close-up the following day. […]

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  • Physics Week in Review: July 11, 2015

    Physics Week in Review: July 11, 2015

    By Jennifer Ouellette | July 11, 2015 |

    Start your weekend off right with an appreciation of The Art of Schrodinger’s Cat , whereby non-physicists, including artists, look at Schrodinger's Cat without the quantum mechanics. Jen-Luc Piquant's favorite (pictured at right): "Artist Jie Qi saw that the two states of the cat, alive and dead at the same time, were impossible. […]

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  • Physics Week in Review: July 4, 2015

    Physics Week in Review: July 4, 2015

    By Jennifer Ouellette | July 4, 2015 |

    Check out these 16 beautiful solargraphs --records of the sun's annual movement--made with beer-can cameras. "Last week we have received around 50 solargraphs of visitors of our Public Observatory Philippus Lansbergenin Middelburg, the Netherlands. […]

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  • Physics Week in Review: June 27, 2015

    Physics Week in Review: June 27, 2015

    By Jennifer Ouellette | June 27, 2015 |

    "Light Echoes" Prove That This Neutron Star is Weirdly Like a Black Hole, judging by new images of X-ray image of Circinus X-1 from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory. Per io9 : "It’s twice as far away as we thought it was, meaning it’s much brighter. […]

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  • Physics Week in Review: June 20, 2015

    Physics Week in Review: June 20, 2015

    By Jennifer Ouellette | June 20, 2015 |

    This week's viral images: Yes, androids do dream of electric sheep . Google set up a feedback loop in its image recognition neural network - which looks for patterns in pictures - "thereby creating hallucinatory images of animals, buildings and landscapes which veer from beautiful to terrifying," per the Guardian . […]

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  • Physics Week in Review: June 13, 2015

    Physics Week in Review: June 13, 2015

    By Jennifer Ouellette | June 13, 2015 |

    To Predict Turbulence, Just Count the Puffs . These tiny swirls of fluid live, die, reproduce, and spark turbulence. "Turbulence emerges when the birth rate of puffs exceeds the death rate, and the puffs are able to colonize the fluid." Black Hole Hunters and their Event Horizon Telescope : Aiming to make the first portrait of the hungry monster at the center of our galaxy, astronomers built ‘a telescope as big as the world' -- a network of antennas that reaches from Spain to Hawaii to Chile. […]

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  • Physics Week in Review: June 6, 2015

    Physics Week in Review: June 6, 2015

    By Jennifer Ouellette and Jennifer Ouellette | June 6, 2015 |

    Astronomers Describe Chaotic Dance of Pluto’s Moons, which turn out to tumble in orbit, Hubble measurements reveal. Analysis of ten years of data from the space telescope has r evealed the unusual trajectories , and also suggests Pluto might in fact be a binary dwarf planet. […]

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  • Physics Week in Review: May 30, 2015

    Physics Week in Review: May 30, 2015

    By Jennifer Ouellette | May 30, 2015 |

    First up: feast your eyes on this Stunning, Multi-Wavelength Image Of The Solar Atmosphere , courtesy of NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, showing a brilliant array of “coronal loops,” magnetic fluxes which form around sunspots and extend into the solar atmosphere. […]

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