Well, to be fair, the bees did half the work :)
Well, to be fair, the bees did half the work :)
NEW VIDEO! As massive magnetic fusion reactors go, the sun is pretty awesome. This week’s video features all the violence and beauty that erupt from that big bright thing at the center of our solar system.
We’ve got sunspots, coronal loops, solar flares, coronal mass ejections! Even an aurora or two!
And thanks to the fine people of NASA and their fancy satellites, this one is dripping with #spaceporn. Watch below:
This animation is about one of the most significant problems in the history of mathematics: the brachistochrone challenge.
If a ball is to roll down a ramp which connects two points, what must be the shape of the ramp’s curve be, such that the descent time is a minimum?
Intuition says that it should be a straight line. That would minimize the distance, but the minimum time happens when the ramp curve is the one shown: a cycloid.
Johann Bernoulli posed the problem to the mathematicians of Europe in 1696, and ultimately, several found the solution. However, a new branch of mathematics, calculus of variations, had to be invented to deal with such problems. Today, calculus of variations is vital in quantum mechanics and other fields.
A brief look at the prehistoric rock art of Laas Geel, Somaliland (East Africa).
Despite already being known to the local inhabitants of the area for centuries, the art was ‘discovered’ by a team of French archaeologists carrying out an archaeological survey in northern Somalia in 2002, thus only recently gaining international recognition.
Laas Geel is one of the most remarkable archaeological sites in the Horn of Africa, and contains some of the earliest known cave paintings in the region. These paintings are estimated to date to between 9,000-3,000 BCE, and are incredibly preserved considering this.
The artworks, painted in the distinctive Ethiopian-Arabian style, depict predominantly wild animals, decorated cows, and herders, the latter believed to have been the creators of the paintings. Note the herd of cows shown in the first photo, the ceremonial cow shown in the seventh, and the herder shown aside the cow in the final photograph.
Photos taken by joepyrek.
Recommended reading: Grenier L., P. Antoniotti, G. Hamon, and D. Happe. “Laas Geel (Somaliland): 5000 year-old paintings captured in 3D.” International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences, Volume XL-5/W2 (2013): 283-288.
Apollo 11 carried a number of cameras for collecting data and recording various aspects of the mission, including a 35-mm surface close-up stereoscopic camera. It was designed for the highest possible resolution of a 3-inch square area with a flash illumination and fixed distance. Photography was accomplished by holding the camera on a walking stick against the object to be photographed. The camera was powered by four nickel-cadmium batteries that operated the motor-drive mechanism and an electronic flash strobe light.
There are many details seen in these pictures that were not known previously or that could not be seen with similar definition by astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin in their careful inspection of the lunar surface. The photographs taken on the mission with the close-up stereoscopic camera are of outstanding quality and show in detail the nature of the lunar surface material. From the photographs, information can be derived about the small-scale lunar surface geologic features and about processes occurring on the surface.
Image Credit: John Lloyd/NASA
NGC 520 is the product of a collision between two disc galaxies that started 300 million years ago. It exemplifies the middle stages of the merging process: the discs of the parent galaxies have merged together, but the nuclei have not yet coalesced. It features an odd-looking tail of stars and a prominent dust lane that runs diagonally across the centre of the image and obscures the galaxy. NGC 520 is one of the brightest galaxy pairs on the sky, and can be observed with a small telescope toward the constellation of Pisces, the Fish, having the appearance of a comet. It is about 100 million light-years away and about 100,000 light-years across. The galaxy pair is included in Arp’s catalogue of peculiar galaxies as ARP 157.
Credit: NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration and B. Whitmore (STScI)
In June, Museum Curator John Sparks was trained in the Exosuit, a next-generation atmospheric diving system, at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.
Weighing more than 500 pounds (227 kg), the Exosuit offers divers protection from the ocean’s pressure while allowing them to maintain the dexterity and maneuverability to perform delicate tasks. The diving system allows a trained pilot to work at depths of up to 1,000 feet (305 meters) for hours.
For comparison, here’s a more modern representation of this fractal wonder:
(via Cliff Pickover)
On July 20, 1969, with 600 million people watching on TV, an American crew landed on the Moon—the first people ever to walk on another world. The Apollo 11 mission had three crew members: Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, who piloted the craft that would return them to Earth, while the others became the first two men ever to walk its surface.
Cancer treatment clears two Australian patients of HIV
Patients’ virus levels became undetectable after bone-marrow therapy with stem cells.
Scientists have uncovered two new cases of HIV patients in whom the virus has become undetectable.
The two patients, both Australian men, became apparently HIV-free after receiving stem cells to treat cancer. They are still on antiretroviral therapy (ART) “as a precaution”, but those drugs alone could not be responsible for bringing the virus to such low levels, says David Cooper, director of the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, who led the discovery. A year ago, a different group of researchers had reported cases with a similar outcome.