Fun Fact

thestarvoyager:

Americans spent about $7 billion on potato chips in 2012.  We spent just under $18 million on NASA.  That’s less than half of 1% of the national budget.  

If this bothers you, you can and should write your Congressional representatives. penny4nasa.org

A message from silvieja
Hi what does the dragon in my garage mean?

thedragoninmygarage:

"A fire-breathing dragon lives in my garage."

Suppose I seriously make such an assertion to you. Surely you’d want to check it out, see for yourself. There have been innumerable stories of dragons over the centuries, but no real evidence. What an opportunity!

"Show me", you say, and I lead you to my garage. You look inside and see a ladder, empty paint cans, an old tricycle - but no dragon

"Where’s the dragon", you ask.

"Oh, she’s right here", I reply, waving vaguely. "I neglected to mention that she’s an invisible dragon".

You propose spreading flour on the floor of the garage to capture the dragon’s footprints. “Good idea”, I say, “but this dragon floats in the air”. Then you’ll use an infrared sensor to detect the invisible fire. “Good idea, but the invisible fire is also heatless”, I say. You’ll spray-paint the dragon and make her visible. “Good idea, except she’s an incorporeal (bodyless) dragon and the paint won’t stick!”

And so on. I counter every physical test you propose with a special explanation of why it won’t work.

Now what is the difference between an invisible, incorporeal, floating dragon who spits heatless fire and no dragon at all? If there’s no way to disprove my contention, no conceivable experiment that would count against it, what does it mean to say that my dragon exists? You’re inability to invalidate my hypothesis is not at all the same thing as proving it true. Claims that cannot be tested, assertions immune to disproof are veridically worthless, whatever value they may have in inspiring us or in exciting our sense of wonder. What I’m asking you to do comes down to believing, in the absence of evidence, on my say-so.

A story from “The Demon Haunted World”, by Carl Sagan

Thank you for the great question :)

"

I don’t want students who could make the next major breakthrough in renewable energy sources or space travel to have been taught that anything they don’t understand, and that nobody yet understands, is divinely constructed and therefore beyond their intellectual capacity.

The day that happens, Americans will just sit in awe of what we don’t understand, while we watch the rest of the world boldly go where no mortal has gone before.

"
Neil deGrasse Tyson (via whats-out-there)
confrontingbabble-on:

"Neil deGrasse Tyson may not be a GMO expert, but the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the European Commission all agree with him on the safety of GMO foods. So does the research.
"I’m amazed how much objection genetically modified foods are receiving from the public. It smacks of the fear factor that exists at every new emergent science, where people don’t fully understand it or don’t fully know or embrace its consequences, and therefore reject it. What most people don’t know, but they should, is that practically every food you buy in a store for consumption by humans is genetically modified food.
There are no wild seedless watermelons; there’s no wild cows; there’s no long-stem roses growing in the wild — although we don’t eat roses. You list all the fruit, and all the vegetables, and ask yourself: Is there a wild counterpart to this? If there is, it’s not as large, it’s not as sweet, it’s not as juicy, and it has way more seeds in it.
We have systematically genetically modified all the foods, the vegetables and animals, that we have eaten ever since we cultivated them. It’s called “artificial selection.” That’s how we genetically modify them. So now that we can do it in a lab, all of a sudden you’re going to complain?
If you’re the complainer type, go back and eat the apples that grow wild. You know something? They’re this big, and they’re tart. They’re not sweet, like Red Delicious apples. We manufactured those. That’s a genetic modification.
Do you realise silk cannot be produced in the wild? The silkworm, as we cultivate it, has no wild counterpart because it would die in the wild. So there’s not even any silk anymore. So we are creating and modifying the biology of the world to serve our needs. I don’t have a problem with that, cause we’ve been doing that for tens of thousands of years. So chill out.”
http://www.businessinsider.com.au/neil-degrasse-tyson-believes-in-gmos-2014-7?nr_email_referer=1&utm_source=Triggermail&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Science%2520Select&utm_campaign=BI%2520Science%25202014-07-31&utm_content=emailshare

confrontingbabble-on:

"Neil deGrasse Tyson may not be a GMO expert, but the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the European Commission all agree with him on the safety of GMO foods. So does the research.

"I’m amazed how much objection genetically modified foods are receiving from the public. It smacks of the fear factor that exists at every new emergent science, where people don’t fully understand it or don’t fully know or embrace its consequences, and therefore reject it. What most people don’t know, but they should, is that practically every food you buy in a store for consumption by humans is genetically modified food.

There are no wild seedless watermelons; there’s no wild cows; there’s no long-stem roses growing in the wild — although we don’t eat roses. You list all the fruit, and all the vegetables, and ask yourself: Is there a wild counterpart to this? If there is, it’s not as large, it’s not as sweet, it’s not as juicy, and it has way more seeds in it.

We have systematically genetically modified all the foods, the vegetables and animals, that we have eaten ever since we cultivated them. It’s called “artificial selection.” That’s how we genetically modify them. So now that we can do it in a lab, all of a sudden you’re going to complain?

If you’re the complainer type, go back and eat the apples that grow wild. You know something? They’re this big, and they’re tart. They’re not sweet, like Red Delicious apples. We manufactured those. That’s a genetic modification.

Do you realise silk cannot be produced in the wild? The silkworm, as we cultivate it, has no wild counterpart because it would die in the wild. So there’s not even any silk anymore. So we are creating and modifying the biology of the world to serve our needs. I don’t have a problem with that, cause we’ve been doing that for tens of thousands of years. So chill out.”

http://www.businessinsider.com.au/neil-degrasse-tyson-believes-in-gmos-2014-7?nr_email_referer=1&utm_source=Triggermail&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Science%2520Select&utm_campaign=BI%2520Science%25202014-07-31&utm_content=emailshare

sweetteascience:

markscherz:

bookreada:

Can someone from the science side of Tumblr explain this?

Basically this argument uses a flawed understanding of (i) the process of evolution and (ii) the evolution of humans and other apes.
What you have to understand is that evolution does not mean that every individual of species A turns into species B over time, without any individuals of species A persisting - this is transmutation and, while it does occasionally happen, it is not the main mechanism of evolution. Rather, evolution works by gradual mutation and selection acting over time, such that species A at time 0 can give rise to species B at time N. It is possible for species B to arise from species A without species A having ever gone extinct - when this happens without any gene flow between the two populations, usually in some kind of geographic isolation, we call this ‘allopatric speciation’. It is equally possible for species A to give rise to species B and species C, while at the same time going extinct itself.
This means that if you trace lineages backward through time, they converge. Each convergence is the point where the two lineages have a common ancestor. The most recent common ancestor (mrca) of a set of lineages is the most recent point at which all lineages were the same species.
Chimps, Gorillas, and other apes, are not our ancestors. Rather, they are other lineages that diverged from a common ancestor of our group. That common ancestor was an ape, but it was not an ape that is still around today. 
I hope that helped. If you have more questions, don’t hesitate to ask.
Yours sciencerely,
Mark Scherz
On behalf of the Science Side of Tumblr.

Have you asked your local Science Side neighbor a question yet today? 

sweetteascience:

markscherz:

bookreada:

Can someone from the science side of Tumblr explain this?

Basically this argument uses a flawed understanding of (i) the process of evolution and (ii) the evolution of humans and other apes.

What you have to understand is that evolution does not mean that every individual of species A turns into species B over time, without any individuals of species A persisting - this is transmutation and, while it does occasionally happen, it is not the main mechanism of evolution. Rather, evolution works by gradual mutation and selection acting over time, such that species A at time 0 can give rise to species B at time N. It is possible for species B to arise from species A without species A having ever gone extinct - when this happens without any gene flow between the two populations, usually in some kind of geographic isolation, we call this ‘allopatric speciation’. It is equally possible for species A to give rise to species B and species C, while at the same time going extinct itself.

This means that if you trace lineages backward through time, they converge. Each convergence is the point where the two lineages have a common ancestor. The most recent common ancestor (mrca) of a set of lineages is the most recent point at which all lineages were the same species.

Chimps, Gorillas, and other apes, are not our ancestors. Rather, they are other lineages that diverged from a common ancestor of our group. That common ancestor was an ape, but it was not an ape that is still around today. 

I hope that helped. If you have more questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

Yours sciencerely,

Mark Scherz

On behalf of the Science Side of Tumblr.

Have you asked your local Science Side neighbor a question yet today? 

sagansense:

s-c-i-guy:

Bill Nye Fights Back
How a mild-mannered children’s celebrity plans to save science in America—or go down swinging.
Read the full article on Popular Science

From the article:

“We would not have this”—he paused—“all this, without the body of knowledge of science.” He added, “And to have people suppress that, ignore that, it’s certainly their First Amendment right, but it’s not in our best interest. And I don’t just mean the people of Kentucky or America, I mean humanity.”

Read and enjoy. If you tuned into the Ham/Nye “debate” you aren’t missing much, but the piece is a nice peek into the personal life of Bill and a reflection of the current state of science illiteracy in America.

sagansense:

s-c-i-guy:

Bill Nye Fights Back

How a mild-mannered children’s celebrity plans to save science in America—or go down swinging.

Read the full article on Popular Science

From the article:

We would not have this—he paused—all this, without the body of knowledge of science. He added, And to have people suppress that, ignore that, it’s certainly their First Amendment right, but it’s not in our best interest. And I don’t just mean the people of Kentucky or America, I mean humanity.

Read and enjoy. If you tuned into the Ham/Nye “debate” you aren’t missing much, but the piece is a nice peek into the personal life of Bill and a reflection of the current state of science illiteracy in America.

thatscienceguy:

Plankton Found on the Exterior of the International Space Station!
While examining samples taken from the exterior surface of the ISS, scientists discovered something completely unexpected - Marine Plankton living on the surface, despite the harsh condition (Vacuum, temperature, and radiation.)
There was evidence that the plankton had been living there for years, and possibly even developing, too.
This gives more plausibility to the panspermia theory - that life all over the solar system/galaxy/universe is all related thanks to bacteria catching rides on asteroids and comets. We already know it is possible for rocks to be thrown away from a planet by something like an asteroid impact or large volcanic eruption - some meteorites have had their lineage traced back to mars.
So do you believe the panspermia theory to be plausible? what about alien life in general?

thatscienceguy:

Plankton Found on the Exterior of the International Space Station!

While examining samples taken from the exterior surface of the ISS, scientists discovered something completely unexpected - Marine Plankton living on the surface, despite the harsh condition (Vacuum, temperature, and radiation.)

There was evidence that the plankton had been living there for years, and possibly even developing, too.

This gives more plausibility to the panspermia theory - that life all over the solar system/galaxy/universe is all related thanks to bacteria catching rides on asteroids and comets. We already know it is possible for rocks to be thrown away from a planet by something like an asteroid impact or large volcanic eruption - some meteorites have had their lineage traced back to mars.

So do you believe the panspermia theory to be plausible? what about alien life in general?

thejunglenook:

rhamphotheca:

Scientists Study “Talking” Turtles in Brazilian Amazon
via: Wildlife Conservation Society
Authors find that Giant South American river turtles have a repertoire of vocalizations for different behavioral situations, including caring for young
Turtles are well known for their longevity and protective shells, but it turns out these reptiles use sound to stick together and care for young, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society and other organizations.  Scientists working in the Brazilian Amazon have found that Giant South American river turtles (Podocnemis expansa), or Arraus, actually use several different kinds of vocal communication to coordinate their social behaviors, including one used by female turtles to call to their newly hatched offspring in what is the first instance of recorded parental care in turtles.
“These distinctive sounds made by turtles give us unique insights into their behavior, although we don’t know what the sounds mean,” said Dr. Camila Ferrara, Aquatic Turtle Specialist for the WCS Brazil Program. “The social behaviors of these reptiles are much more complex than previously thought.”…
(read more: Wildlife Conservation Society)
photograph by © C. Ferrara/WCS

Don’t forget to check out the full journal article (unfortunately it isn’t open access):
Camila Rudge Ferrara, Richard C. Vogt, Renata S. Sousa-Lima, Bruno M.R. Tardio, Virginia Campos Diniz Bernardes. Sound Communication and Social Behavior in an Amazonian River Turtle (Podocnemis expansa). Herpetologica, 2014; 70 (2): 149 DOI: 10.1655/HERPETOLOGICA-D-13-00050R2

thejunglenook:

rhamphotheca:

Scientists Study “Talking” Turtles in Brazilian Amazon

via: Wildlife Conservation Society

Authors find that Giant South American river turtles have a repertoire of vocalizations for different behavioral situations, including caring for young

Turtles are well known for their longevity and protective shells, but it turns out these reptiles use sound to stick together and care for young, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society and other organizations.

Scientists working in the Brazilian Amazon have found that Giant South American river turtles (Podocnemis expansa), or Arraus, actually use several different kinds of vocal communication to coordinate their social behaviors, including one used by female turtles to call to their newly hatched offspring in what is the first instance of recorded parental care in turtles.

“These distinctive sounds made by turtles give us unique insights into their behavior, although we don’t know what the sounds mean,” said Dr. Camila Ferrara, Aquatic Turtle Specialist for the WCS Brazil Program. “The social behaviors of these reptiles are much more complex than previously thought.”…

(read more: Wildlife Conservation Society)

photograph by © C. Ferrara/WCS

Don’t forget to check out the full journal article (unfortunately it isn’t open access):

Camila Rudge Ferrara, Richard C. Vogt, Renata S. Sousa-Lima, Bruno M.R. Tardio, Virginia Campos Diniz Bernardes. Sound Communication and Social Behavior in an Amazonian River Turtle (Podocnemis expansa)Herpetologica, 2014; 70 (2): 149 DOI: 10.1655/HERPETOLOGICA-D-13-00050R2

nanodash:

psychonauticthought:

nanodash:

This is an image of Tourmaline, photographed from two different angles with polarised light.
Tourmaline is Pleochromic, meaning it changes colour as the angle changes. This isn’t a surface effect like the changing rainbow colours on an oil slick, it happens throughout the crystal.
The crystal structure in Tourmaline is anisotropic, which means it looks different from different directions. That means light coming in from different directions experience different effects and can get absorbed in different amounts, leading to something very cool.
It also happens with other crystals, like this Cordierite


There needs to be a video of this!

Here’s a gif. I like gifs. This is Iolite, the gem version of Cordierite, changing colour as the angle changes. Pretty. If you absolutely need a video though, here’s the source

nanodash:

psychonauticthought:

nanodash:

This is an image of Tourmaline, photographed from two different angles with polarised light.

Tourmaline is Pleochromic, meaning it changes colour as the angle changes. This isn’t a surface effect like the changing rainbow colours on an oil slick, it happens throughout the crystal.

The crystal structure in Tourmaline is anisotropic, which means it looks different from different directions. That means light coming in from different directions experience different effects and can get absorbed in different amounts, leading to something very cool.

It also happens with other crystals, like this Cordierite

There needs to be a video of this!

Here’s a gif. I like gifs. This is Iolite, the gem version of Cordierite, changing colour as the angle changes. Pretty. If you absolutely need a video though, here’s the source

image

kellymagovern:

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey - Season 1 Episode 13

[Video Link]

sagansense:

skunkbear:

First prize in Science’s Visualization Challenge (video category) went to this NASA video by Greg Shirah, Horace Mitchell, and Tom Bridgman. It shows Earth’s “climate engine” — the wind patterns and ocean currents that are powered by the sun.

If you haven’t already, indulge in the wonders of our vibrant planet Earth in the PBS NOVA feature “Earth From Space:

"Earth From Space" is a groundbreaking two-hour special that reveals a spectacular new space-based vision of our planet. Produced in extensive consultation with NASA scientists, NOVA takes data from earth-observing satellites and transforms it into dazzling visual sequences, each one exposing the intricate and surprising web of forces that sustains life on earth. Viewers witness how dust blown from the Sahara fertilizes the Amazon; how a vast submarine "waterfall" off Antarctica helps drive ocean currents around the world; and how the Sun’s heating up of the southern Atlantic gives birth to a colossally powerful hurricane. From the microscopic world of water molecules vaporizing over the ocean to the magnetic field that is bigger than Earth itself, the show reveals the astonishing beauty and complexity of our dynamic planet.

This continues to be one of the most remarkable films I’ve ever seen regarding the symbiosis of Earth as viewed in multiple wavelengths from outside our planet. Every child should be required to watch this to understand the interconnectivity between all living systems, which would illuminate just how ridiculous the “arguments” are over climate change and the vague knowledge of our biosphere politicians continue to perpetuate.

"We seem to crave privilege, merited not by our work, but by our birth, by the mere fact that, say, we are humans and born on Earth. We might call it the anthropocentric—the “human-centered”—conceit. This conceit is brought close to culmination in the notion that we are created in God’s image: The Creator and Ruler of the entire Universe looks just like me. My, what a coincidence. How convenient and satisfying! The sixth-century-B.C. Greek philosopher Xenophanes understood the arrogance if this perspective:
The Ethiopians make their gods black and snub-nosed; the Thracians say theirs have blue eyes and red hair… Yes, and if oxen and horses or lions had hands, and could paint with their hands, and produce works of art as men do, horses would paint the forms of the gods like horses, and oxen like oxen…"
Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space (1994)
"The scientist is not a person who gives the right answers, he’s one who asks the right questions."
Claude Lévi-Strauss (via currentsinbiology)
conservationbiologist:

3D Printed Hermit Crab Shells Depict Famous Landmarks
by ILFN
3D printing technology is completely amazing. The technology can be used to create prosthetic limbs for people or ducks, potential concrete infrastructure on Mars, tools for the ISS, replacement skulls or bones for facial reconstruction, replacement blood vessels, and much more. 
All of those uses are extremely worthwhile and noble, but 3D printers can also be used to make things that are just awesome and fun, like decked out shells for hermit crabs (the most adorable of crustaceans). Hermit crabs have soft, vulnerable bodies. Rather than make their own shells for protection, they will forage for shells left by other animals, and will switch homes quite often. If shells aren’t available, they’ll lug around bits of wood or even plastic bottle caps to protect themselves.
Artist Aki Inomata from Japan has created a collection of 3D printed shells out of clear plastic for her project, “Why Not Hand Over a “Shelter” to Hermit Crabs?”. While clear hermit crab shells have been done before, Inomata has given them a new twist by putting famous architecture from around the globe on the top of each one. She claims she was inspired by a piece of land that had held the French Embassy in Japan. Ownership of the land, she says, was peacefully transferred back and forth between France and Japan without causing a fuss. People also often move between countries, and even hermit crabs are able to seamlessly transfer from one home to the next.

conservationbiologist:

3D Printed Hermit Crab Shells Depict Famous Landmarks

by ILFN

3D printing technology is completely amazing. The technology can be used to create prosthetic limbs for people or ducks, potential concrete infrastructure on Marstools for the ISSreplacement skulls or bones for facial reconstructionreplacement blood vessels, and much more

All of those uses are extremely worthwhile and noble, but 3D printers can also be used to make things that are just awesome and fun, like decked out shells for hermit crabs (the most adorable of crustaceans). Hermit crabs have soft, vulnerable bodies. Rather than make their own shells for protection, they will forage for shells left by other animals, and will switch homes quite often. If shells aren’t available, they’ll lug around bits of wood or even plastic bottle caps to protect themselves.

Artist Aki Inomata from Japan has created a collection of 3D printed shells out of clear plastic for her project, “Why Not Hand Over a “Shelter” to Hermit Crabs?”. While clear hermit crab shells have been done before, Inomata has given them a new twist by putting famous architecture from around the globe on the top of each one. She claims she was inspired by a piece of land that had held the French Embassy in Japan. Ownership of the land, she says, was peacefully transferred back and forth between France and Japan without causing a fuss. People also often move between countries, and even hermit crabs are able to seamlessly transfer from one home to the next.

"We are all connected; To each other, biologically. To the earth, chemically. To the rest of the universe, atomically."
Neil deGrasse Tyson  (via elige)