A few moments from Skunk Bear’s new video about Milena Channing — a woman blinded by a stroke — who begins to see moving objects:
You can hear Lulu Miller’s amazing radio piece on Milena Channing here.
A Visual History of Supernova, Gamma Ray Burst, and Pulsar Discoveries
This data visualization, created by UC Berkeley grad student Isaac Shivvers, shows a time lapse animation of known supernovae, gamma ray bursts, and pulsars.
The three different visual histories can be viewed here:
Image: A compilation of the different visualizations: supernovae in red, gamma ray bursts in blue, and pulsars in yellow.
Chemists Expand Nature’s Genetic Alphabet
For the first time, scientists have expanded life’s genetic alphabet, by inserting two unnatural, man-made “letters” into a bacterium’s DNA, and by showing that the cell’s machinery can copy them.
The advance means that scientists have a new tool for exploring how life encodes information, which could help them understand life’s origins.
What’s more, this is a step towards giving living cells new abilities, like being able to make more and better medicines, cheaper and faster.
Read more (via npr.org)
Scientists at MIT have developed a new simulation that traces 13 billion years of cosmic evolution. They start the simulation shortly after the big bang with a region of space much smaller than the universe (a mere 350 million light years across). Still, it’s big enough to follow the forces that helped create the galaxies we see today, and correctly predict the gas and metal content of those galaxies.
At first, we see dark matter clustering due to the force of gravity (first two GIFs). Then we see visible matter — blue for cool clouds of gas where galaxies form, red for more violent explosive galaxies (second two GIFs).
Super massive blackholes form, superheating the material around them, causing bright white explosions that enrich the space between galaxies with warm but sparse gas (fifth GIF).
Different elements (represented by different colors in the sixth GIF) are spread through the universe.
We arrive at a distribution of dark matter that looks similar to the one we see in our universe today (seventh GIF).
The simulation is so complex it would take two thousand years to render on a single desktop. And it’s kinda beautiful.
Image Credit: MIT and Nature Video
Stephen Colbert continues to make science compelling.
There’s something else to go along with this.
Brian Greene the man being interviewed was on the show because of World Science U, a free website that’s about “free science for everyone at all levels of interest and knowledge”. This wasn’t just about Colbert nerding out, but a free educational opportunity.
You can sign up for updates now (x), and the first classes are on Einstein’s Special Relativity, which they were talking about on Colbert last night.
Essentially, entanglement involves two particles, each occupying multiple states at once — a condition referred to as superposition. For example, both particles may simultaneously spin clockwise and counterclockwise. But neither has a definite state until one is measured, causing the other particle to instantly assume a corresponding state. The resulting correlations between the particles are preserved, even if they reside on opposite ends of the universe.
But what enables particles to communicate instantaneously — and seemingly faster than the speed of light — over such vast distances? Earlier this year, physicists proposed an answer in the form of “wormholes,” or gravitational tunnels. The group showed that by creating two entangled black holes, then pulling them apart, they formed a wormhole — essentially a “shortcut” through the universe — connecting the distant black holes.
A response to the recent PNAS article about brain wiring that I posted about earlier in the week.
Late last week, Emily Graslie of Brain Scoop posted a new video in which she explains exactly why it’s so difficult to be a woman in a STEM field: While she gets a lot of support and positive feedback, many “fans” simply want to discuss her appearance and how fuckable she is.
ATLAS sees Higgs boson decay to fermions
The ATLAS experiment at CERN has released preliminary results that show evidence that the Higgs boson decays to two tau particles. Taus belong to a group of subatomic particles called the fermions, which make up matter. This result – measured at 4.1 sigma on the 5-point scale particle physicists use to determine the certainty of a result – is the first evidence for a Higgs decay to fermions.