nevver:

Design Crush

insteadofwatchingtv:

Science of Marathon Running

explore-blog:

A conversation with Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Pair with Carl Sagan on science and spirituality and a meditation on the subject from Alan Lightman. 
"In a first for laser-driven fusion, scientists at a US lab say they have reached a key milestone called fuel gain: they are producing more energy than the fuel absorbed to start the reaction."

Laser-sparked fusion power passes key milestone  |  New Scientist

Okay, okay, okay, okay, guys. Scientists at the National Ignition Facility have taken the first itty bitty baby steps towards fusion and I’m having trouble containing my excitement.

First of all, they’re using 192 laser beams, which are pointed at a gold chamber that converts the lasers into X-ray pulses, which then squeeze a small fuel pellet and make it implode and undergo fusion. That anyone ever figured out even how to do this is completely nutso.

Secondly, the lead researcher is named Omar Hurricane. I have never in my life heard a better name. He sounds like a comic book character. Please someone write a comic starring Omar Hurricane and his band of laser-wielding scientists.

And then there’s what it actually means. So far, they’ve been able to get 15 kilojoules of energy out of a fuel pellet that was blasted with 10 kilojoules. But, as The Guardian points out, much more energy is delivered by the lasers (and lost in the conversion to X-rays): “The lasers unleash nearly two megajoules of energy on their target, the equivalent, roughly, of two standard sticks of dynamite.” 

Even so, this is a hugely significant tiny step forward toward recreating the clean energy production that happens in the heart of stars.

(via chels)

Due to a peculiarity of nuclear physics, you can release energy either by 1) breaking apart heavy atoms, or 2) forcing together light atoms. Breaking apart is called fission and forcing together is called fusion. We already know how to generate energy by man-made fission, but generating energy by man-made fusion remains an aspiration. (Of course, we know how to build bombs both ways. Nuclear and thermonuclear bombs respectively.)

Essentially, solar power is fusion, though. Because the sun is a fusion reactor, and its light lands on our planet and makes everything happen. 

(via clearscience)

(via clearscience)

"

When the moment comes to pop the question, he will not be so foolish as to say, “Will you marry me?” That would smack of the old Victorian repressions — and besides, marriage will long since have been abolished. Instead the lover (hereinafter to be known as “the Response”) will exclaim to the sweetheart (hereinafter to be known as “the Stimulus”):

“My IQ is satisfactory, my blood count satisfactory, my basic metabolism satisfactory, my male hormones present in satisfactory qualities. My instincts are wholly mature, my thyroid and pituitary glands properly adjusted, and I am capable of following the higher mammalian mating pattern. Will you live with me happily ever after in heterosexual matehood?”

“Let’s synthesize!” the Stimulus will reply, as hand in hand these twain go marching into the heterosexual dawn.

"

— Malcolm Cowley’s parodic prediction for the future of love circa 1930, doubly amusing yet uncomfortably prescient today, in the age of data and personal genomics and the quantified self. (via explore-blog)

pewinternet:

Who in America is reading—and how. 
76% of U.S. adults ages 18+ said  they read at least 1 book in the past year. The typical American read 5 books in the past year.
More from our brand new report on electronic and print reading: http://pewrsr.ch/L9ZvQG

pewinternet:

Who in America is reading—and how. 

76% of U.S. adults ages 18+ said  they read at least 1 book in the past year. The typical American read 5 books in the past year.

More from our brand new report on electronic and print reading: http://pewrsr.ch/L9ZvQG

(via npr)

theatlantic:

What Jobs Will the Robots Take?

It is an invisible force that goes by many names. Computerization. Automation. Artificial intelligence. Technology. Innovation. And, everyone’s favorite, ROBOTS.
Whatever name you prefer, some form of it has been stoking progress and killing jobs—from seamstresses to paralegals—for centuries. But this time is different: Nearly half of American jobs today could be automated in “a decade or two,” according to a new paper by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne, discussed recently in The Economist. The question is: Which half?
Another way of posing the same question is: Where do machines work better than people? Tractors are more powerful than farmers. Robotic arms are stronger and more tireless than assembly-line workers. But in the past 30 years, software and robots have thrived at replacing a particular kind of occupation: the average-wage, middle-skill, routine-heavy worker, especially in manufacturing and office admin. 
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

theatlantic:

What Jobs Will the Robots Take?

It is an invisible force that goes by many names. Computerization. Automation. Artificial intelligence. Technology. Innovation. And, everyone’s favorite, ROBOTS.

Whatever name you prefer, some form of it has been stoking progress and killing jobs—from seamstresses to paralegals—for centuries. But this time is different: Nearly half of American jobs today could be automated in “a decade or two,” according to a new paper by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne, discussed recently in The Economist. The question is: Which half?

Another way of posing the same question is: Where do machines work better than people? Tractors are more powerful than farmers. Robotic arms are stronger and more tireless than assembly-line workers. But in the past 30 years, software and robots have thrived at replacing a particular kind of occupation: the average-wage, middle-skill, routine-heavy worker, especially in manufacturing and office admin.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

sciencesoup:

Frozen Smoke
Translucent, ethereal blue and over 96% air, aerogels are the lightest solids in the world. They’re not actually frozen smoke—they’re an artificial material—but the nickname fits. They owe their creation to a bet between two chemists, Charles Learned and Samuel Stephens Kistler, in 1931: they wanted to see if they could take a gel and replace its constituent liquid with gas, without causing shrinkage. Kistler won.
Though aerogels have been improved upon in the years since, his original premise is the same: a polymer is combined with a solvent to form a gel, then the liquid is extracted from it and replaced with air, hence creating aerogel. The crucial part is that the aerogel must maintain the gel’s structure, so they’re solid to the touch and don’t disintegrate.
Aerogels are actually pretty remarkable—they’re the world’s best insulators, being extremely porous but low in density; they can withstand explosive damager; and they can support several thousand times their weight. Silica-based aerogels are quite fragile, but newer polymer-based ones are extremely strong and flexible.
Aerogels have been used to insulate electronics on a Mars Rover, and because they’ll perform well in differeny gravity situations, they have a lot of space-related applications such as in space suits or for use in cryogenics. There are more down-to-Earth applications too, such as insulating blankets or tents, and uses in refrigeration and construction.

sciencesoup:

Frozen Smoke

Translucent, ethereal blue and over 96% air, aerogels are the lightest solids in the world. They’re not actually frozen smoke—they’re an artificial material—but the nickname fits. They owe their creation to a bet between two chemists, Charles Learned and Samuel Stephens Kistler, in 1931: they wanted to see if they could take a gel and replace its constituent liquid with gas, without causing shrinkage. Kistler won.

Though aerogels have been improved upon in the years since, his original premise is the same: a polymer is combined with a solvent to form a gel, then the liquid is extracted from it and replaced with air, hence creating aerogel. The crucial part is that the aerogel must maintain the gel’s structure, so they’re solid to the touch and don’t disintegrate.

Aerogels are actually pretty remarkable—they’re the world’s best insulators, being extremely porous but low in density; they can withstand explosive damager; and they can support several thousand times their weight. Silica-based aerogels are quite fragile, but newer polymer-based ones are extremely strong and flexible.

Aerogels have been used to insulate electronics on a Mars Rover, and because they’ll perform well in differeny gravity situations, they have a lot of space-related applications such as in space suits or for use in cryogenics. There are more down-to-Earth applications too, such as insulating blankets or tents, and uses in refrigeration and construction.

(via jacobjangelo)

nevver:

How to Recover from 5 Types of Skids

Public Service Announcement

Human Engineering for Climate Change© Joel Pett, USA Today (2009).
Humans as a species of beings, while supposedly rational, are…View Post

Human Engineering for Climate Change

© Joel Pett, USA Today (2009).

Humans as a species of beings, while supposedly rational, are…

View Post