Hope everyone enjoyed their Halloween festivities. Here's a few other related links: The ghostly glow of St. Elmo's fire: it works the same way that a neon light glows. The Levitating Halloween Pumpkin with a superconductor inside. Bonus: More Conceptual Physics Halloween Costumes.This year, go out as The Holographic Principle!
Anticipation is still building for next weekend's premiere of Interstellar, with lots of posts focusing on the science of the film - including a documentary on the Science Channel. Discovery News thinks the film's black hole is the best such depiction in science fiction films, and Rhett Allain of Dot Physics explored the physics of the spinning spacecraft in the film. But Interstellar Travel Won't Look Anything Like The Movie. Mae Jemison, the astronaut leading humankind's journey to the stars, says if we want to get to another Earth, we'll have to expand our thinking. Related: What It Will Take to Become an Interstellar Civilization? Will Wormhole Travel Ever Be Possible? Popular Science says science fiction’s favorite method for exploring the universe won't be easy.
NASA's launch of its Antares mission ended in smoke and flames earlier this week when the rocket exploded after liftoff. The disaster is stark reminder of the 'incredible dangers' of spaceflight, a former NASA engineer and analysts told the Guardian. Related: What Science Lost in the Antares Rocket Explosion. Also: Sad students see science experiments go up in smoke aboard Antares rocket. Children at schools in Texas, New Jersey and Michigan had worked for a year to develop projects for the International Space Station. It seems the Operator Blew Up Antares Rocket Deliberately to minimize damage after the launch went wrong.
That event was overshadowed on Friday, however, when tragic news broke that Virgin Galactic's SpaceShip Two Had Been Lost during a test flight – with one major injury and One Pilot Confirmed Dead. Space Tourism Isn't Worth Dying For, per Adam Rogers in Wired: "Virgin Galactic is building the world’s most expensive roller coaster, the aerospace version of Beluga caviar. It’s a thing for rich people to do: pay $250,000 to not feel the weight of the world."
Dwarf Galaxies Dim Hopes of Dark Matter. For five years physicists have been tantalized by possible evidence of dark matter in the Milky Way’s center. But new results from small satellite galaxies have complicated the story. Related: Fresh hints of dark matter at Milky Way's core. Also: Dark matter: Out with the WIMPs, in with the SIMPs (strongly interacting massive particles).
Neutrinos on Ice: ANITA Detection Balloon Heads to Antarctica.
Pumpkin geometry: stunning shadow sculptures that illuminate an ancient mathematical technique. Henry Segerman and Saul Schleimer paint beautiful shadows based on the maths of stereographic projection, a method originally used by cartographers to map the Earth.
Does the Universe Violate the Laws of Thermodynamics? Total energy must be conserved. Every student of physics learns this fundamental law. The trouble is, it does not apply to the universe as a whole.
How will the universe end? A bubble of alien matter will consume us all. Alina Simone, daughter of cosmologist Alex Vilenkin, interviews him to better understand a recent talk he gave at the Hayden Planetarium in New York City. Alina: "I’m kind of picturing the universe as this nice, merino wool blanket and then suddenly this giant moth appears and eats the whole thing." Vilenkin (confused): "A mop?"
Quantum weirdness is everywhere in the living world. Weird quantum effects are so delicate it seems they could only happen in a lab. How can life on earth depend on them?
Many Interacting Worlds: Parallel Universes Colliding Could Explain Quantum Weirdness. Quantum World Proposed to Arise from Many Ordinary Ones. A radical theory proposes that interactions among classical worlds can explain some quantum phenomena.
A Leafy Cure: The Physics of Leaves on the Track. "If a train driver wants to avoid 'spinning' the wheels, then she or he must not accelerate or decelerate too quickly."
How This Special Sand from Cuba Created a New Physics Phenomenon. "In the year 2000, scientists officially confirmed that sand from Santa Teresa in Cuba could be used to create a new physical phenomenon known as a 'revolving river.'"
Seeking the Source of Cosmic Rays. "Compared with the electronics at the Auger, Whiteson says, “individual smartphones are really lousy detectors.” Link enough of them together, however, and the weakness of each phone becomes less important. And it costs next to nothing for smartphones to cover an area much larger than twelve hundred square miles." Related: Two groups have released early versions of apps to turn your smart phone into a cosmic ray detector.
Einstein’s greatest legacy- How demons and angels advanced science. "Einstein’s greatest legacy is not General Relativity, it’s not quantum entanglement, and it’s not slices of his brain either. It’s a word: Gedankenexperiment – German for 'thought experiment.'" Related: Ghostly Physics: Why quantum entanglement spooked Einstein his entire life.
Beyond Digital Logic: Ferroelectric Materials Feat Might Mean New Transistors.
Double the Flame Half the Time: When you throw more fuel on the fire, why does it burn out in less time?
Derek Muller explains how an experiment known as Lord Kelvin’s thunderstorm generates electricity from falling water.
Fireball in space: Astronomers capture images of a star going nova.
Would aliens spot our planet from the star system nearby? NASA answers Kepler mission questions on Reddit.
How Sneeze Particles Travel Inside An Airplane: Simulation technology shows why you should sit very far behind a sick passenger.
Rosetta's comet stinks -- literally. "if you could take a whiff of the cloud of gas surrounding the icy nucleus of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko you would smell a pungent mix of hydrogen sulfide (rotten eggs); ammonia (horse stable); and formaldehyde. There would also be a hint of vinegar (sulfur dioxide) and a whiff of alcohol (methanol). Carbon disulfide would add just a touch of sweetness."
Walking molecular machines could someday travel through our bodies to deliver drugs or detect disease.
Interactions in a dense vapor of quantum emitters can manipulate the properties of the light.
Scientific Starbucks: Schrodinger and Hawking in the Starbucks line. "Newton slowly walks up to the counter and is thinking of ordering some biscuits instead of a drink. Before he can say anything he sees a few biscuits in the display window named "Leibniz". He grows red in the face, curses loudly and storms out."
Mathematicians illustrate what your brain looks like on mushrooms.
If Trigonometric Functions Wrote Letters to Each Other. "Stop leering and asking me “What’s your sine?” I’ve already told you, it’s ½. Why don’t you ask me about my hobbies or something?"
After 400 Years, Mathematicians Find A New Class Of Solid Shapes.
Per Slate: "A recent episode of The Big Bang Theory shows Sheldon, Leonard, Raj, and Howard watching Back to the Future, Part II and discussing the appropriate tense to use when talking about something that happened in an alternate past timeline."
After the Higgs Boson, the Pressure Is On to Find More Particles.
Mysteries of the universe: CERN's astonishing unseen archive – in pictures. The Geneva-based laboratory for particle physics has released a vast archive of photographs dating back to the mid-1950s. The problem is that many of them have no captions – so scientists at CERN are asking the public for help.
Laser experiments mimic cosmic explosions and planetary cores.
The Leaky Science of Hollywood: Stephen Hawking’s Movie Life Story Is Not Very Scientific. "The equations on the blackboard appear to be authentic — the movies are always great at getting the design details right — but as usual it misses the big picture, the zigzaggy path of collaboration, competition and even combat by which science actually progresses."
The Weird Physics of H.P. Lovecraft’s "Corpse-City," R’lyeh.
Here's what What a Star Wars Blaster Bolt Actually Looks Like. Also: Han totally shot first.
The math behind the "shoe size age" trick.
Generally speaking: "why I’ve chosen a life in which I use calculus more often than laundry detergent."
Thirty-one physics Nobel laureates called for the release of an Iranian scientist jailed for refusing to work on his country's weapons program.
Frankenstein and the monster in an age of NIH funding. Nobel-Prize winning physicist Robert Laughlin "imagines what Mary Shelley's Frankenstein would have been like in the modern age of cut-throat federal funding, media frenzy and winner-take-all economic incentives"
That weird Space-fruit-poker the crew of the Serenity play on the TV series, Firefly, is now an actual Card Game.
Inventors, educators and scientists inspired audiences at this year’s TEDxCERN.
Who put the "Bose" in Bose-Einstein condensates? Find out in The Quantum Indians, an award-winning documentary film that is a tribute to three exemplary minds.
The Marangoni Effect: Why Your Future GPS Could be Chemistry.
Yoga in an X-Ray Machine, Courtesy of Hybrid Medical Animations. You’ve never seen a tree pose that looks like this. "The goal of the animation was to create a realistic representation of x-rays, while also capturing the beauty of various yoga poses."