Science news of the day thread.

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Science news of the day thread.

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Thu Aug 11, 2011 1:00 pm

What a cute, fluffy galaxy!
Alan Boyle writes

The spiral galaxy NGC 3521 spans 50,000 light-years and holds billions upon billions of blazing stars. Like most spiral galaxies, it's thought to contain a supermassive black hole at its center. It's a swirling maw of raw cosmic power. So how could you call it "fluffy"?

NGC 3521, which is 35 million light-years away in the constellation Leo, is called a flocculent spiral galaxy because of the patchy, woolly look of its spiral arms. (Webster's defines "flocculent" as being "like wool or tufts of wool; fluffy.") Grand-design spirals such as the Whirlpool Galaxy have well-defined arms, but NGC 3521's irregular arms are heavy with interstellar dust. The galaxy has a warm and fuzzy look in this new image from the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile.

The galaxy is actually easy to spot with a small telescope, but the folks behind NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day say it's often overlooked by amateur astronomers in favor of the constellation's better-known spirals, such as the three amigos that form the Leo Triplet. That'd be a shame. Ukrainian amateur astronomer Oleg Maliy didn't forget about NGC 3521. He picked up on the ESO's archived imagery of the flocculent spiral, and submitted this processed image for the ESO's "Hidden Treasures 2010" competition. The picture ended up being ranked No. 15 on the treasure list. Diakuiu, Oleg!

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Re: Science new of the day thread.

Post by Mysturji » Thu Aug 11, 2011 1:04 pm

Thread name grammar fail.
flocculent
:hehe:
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Re: Science new of the day thread.

Post by Animavore » Thu Aug 11, 2011 1:04 pm

You're not just content in dropping the S in maths, are you?

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Re: Science new of the day thread.

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Thu Aug 11, 2011 1:06 pm

Mysturji wrote:Thread name grammar fail.
flocculent
:hehe:
Hey, I'm only on my first pot of coffee here. :lay:
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Re: Science new of the day thread.

Post by Mysturji » Thu Aug 11, 2011 1:12 pm

I like the old thread better. :ddpan:
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Cormac wrote:Doom predictors have been with humans right through our history. They are like the proverbial stopped clock - right twice a day, but not due to the efficacy of their prescience.
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Re: Science new of the day thread.

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Thu Aug 11, 2011 1:14 pm

Mysturji wrote:I like the old thread better. :ddpan:
Link?
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Re: Science new of the day thread.

Post by Mysturji » Thu Aug 11, 2011 1:15 pm

Gawdzilla wrote:
Mysturji wrote:I like the old thread better. :ddpan:
Link?
http://www.rationalia.com/forum/viewtop ... 94#p942594
Sir Figg Newton wrote:If I have seen further than others, it is only because I am surrounded by midgets.
Cormac wrote:Doom predictors have been with humans right through our history. They are like the proverbial stopped clock - right twice a day, but not due to the efficacy of their prescience.
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Re: Science new of the day thread.

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Thu Aug 11, 2011 1:19 pm

Mysturji wrote:
Gawdzilla wrote:
Mysturji wrote:I like the old thread better. :ddpan:
Link?
http://www.rationalia.com/forum/viewtop ... 94#p942594
Trigger Warning!!!1! :
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Re: Science news of the day thread.

Post by apophenia » Fri Aug 12, 2011 8:52 pm

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Re: Science news of the day thread.

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Fri Aug 12, 2011 8:54 pm

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Re: Science news of the day thread.

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Sun Aug 21, 2011 11:11 am

New Earth-like planet could hold life

A team of astronomers have discovered another terrestrial planet around a distant star which could turn out to be suitable for life. The planet, dubbed HD 85512b, has only recently been found using a special detector called the High Accuracy Radial...

Read the whole entry at skymania.com »
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Re: Science news of the day thread.

Post by Linus » Sat Sep 17, 2011 10:05 am

Brute-force bond breaking:
(PhysOrg.com) -- Normally when chemists think of methods to urge chemical reactions, brute force is not really very high on the list; while such techniques might be useful for breaking apart materials, i.e. bashing cement to get smaller pieces of cement; it’s generally not been a useful way to tear apart the molecules that actually comprise the compound itself. At least till now. Christopher Bielawski and colleagues at the University of Texas, as described in their paper in Science, have figured out a way to unbind triazole to get back its original components azide and alkyne, using nothing but force.

Triazole is a ring shaped chemical compound that is formed during the reaction that occurs between azide and alkyne when mixed with copper. Its formation is considered to be a type of “click” or snap-together chemistry reaction due to the fact that the components click together in a very tight formation; sort of like wooden floor panels that click together to keep from sliding apart under constant abuse from foot traffic. Such bonds once formed have traditionally been very difficult to force apart, even under intense heat. Now however, Bielawski and his team have figured out a way to do it using brute force.

To pull the components of triazole apart, the team attached polymer chains to either side of the individual molecules, then immersed them in a solution and applied ultrasound. Doing so caused tiny bubbles to form of a certain size that soon collapsed, leaving a vacuum behind. The vacuum force then pulled the components of the molecule apart by yanking on the polymer chains. The end result is azide and alkyne, the original components in their original forms.
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Re: Science news of the day thread.

Post by Tero » Fri Sep 30, 2011 4:02 pm

That's cheating. All ultrasound is banned from lab except to clean out syringe needles. Cause I do scale up and it jsut never scales up well.
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Re: Science news of the day thread.

Post by Audley Strange » Thu Oct 06, 2011 11:10 pm

Monkey mind-controlled arm: It sounds like the name of an awesomely terrible sci-fi film or a fledgling grindcore group, but it's a very real phenomenon, and one that could pay significant dividends for paraplegics everywhere. Neurobiology professor Miguel Nicolelis and his team of researchers at Duke University recently devised a method by which monkeys (and, perhaps one day, humans) can control a virtual arm using only their brains. It's a concept similar to what DARPA has been pursuing with its mind-controlled "Luke" arm, with one important difference: Nicolelis' system not only allows users to remotely execute motor functions, but provides them with near-instantaneous sensory feedback, as well. Most similar techniques use electrode implants to stimulate brain activity, but this can create confusion when a patient's brain sends and receives signals to and from a prosthetic arm. Nicolelis circumvented this problem with a new interface that can read and transmit brain signals to an artificial limb, before switching to a receptive mode in just milliseconds.

http://www.engadget.com/2011/10/06/monk ... ld-breakt/
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Re: Science news of the day thread.

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Tue Oct 18, 2011 6:50 pm

First Commercial Spaceport Hangar Dedicated in New Mexico
TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES, N.M. — The hangar at the operating hub for public space travel is being dedicated here today (Oct. 17), home base for pay-per-view suborbital treks out of Earth's atmosphere.

The Spaceport America Terminal Hangar Facility is to be utilized by Virgin Galactic, a spaceline operation backed by British billionaire and adventurer Richard Branson.

The hangar-dedication ceremony is the latest in a string of opening events for the spaceport. In October 2010, officials dedicated the facility's long runway, named "The Governor Bill Richardson Spaceway."

The hangar itself is a Tomorrowland-looking piece of work. It is expected to house up to two of Virgin Galactic's WhiteKnightTwo launch planes and five SpaceShipTwo tourist-carrying rocket planes, in addition to all of Virgin's astronaut preparation facilities and a mission control. [Photos: Spaceport America Blooms in New Mexico Desert]

The Terminal Hangar Facility "has turned out better that anyone could have imagined," said Christine Anderson, executive director of the New Mexico Spaceport Authority.

"It is a beautiful building befitting of the beginning of a new era where all of us can now not only dream of going into space but actually have the opportunity to do so," Anderson told SPACE.com. She said that there are more milestones ahead in anchoring the future of commercial space travel.

Rambling desert locale

Spaceport America is tagged as the world's first purpose-built commercial spaceport. The rambling desert locale is roughly 45 miles north of Las Cruces, N.M., covering 18,000 acres and containing a nearly 2-mile-long (3.2 km), 200-foot-wide (61 meter) "spaceway" – a specially built runway that can handle Virgin Galactic's use of the WhiteKnightTwo/SpaceShipTwo dual-action system.

The Terminal Hangar Facility was designed by United Kingdom-based Foster + Partners, along with URS and local New Mexico architects SMPC. The trio won an international competition to build the first private spaceport in the world.

Now undergoing extensive testing, the SpaceShipTwo craft dubbed the VSS Enterprise, and carrier WhiteKnightTwo, christened the VMS Eve, have both been developed for Virgin Galactic by Mojave, Calif.-based Scaled Composites.

This launch system is designed to haul six customers and two pilots on suborbital space flights, allowing an out-of-the-seat, zero-gravity experience and out-the-window views of Earth from the black sky of space.

After VSS Enterprise and VMS Eve test flights are completed, Virgin Galactic will begin commercial operations here at Spaceport America.

Iconic infrastructure

Today's Terminal Hangar Facility dedication "is a very important milestone on the path to commercial operations for Virgin Galactic," George Whitesides, Virgin Galactic president and chief executive officer told SPACE.com.

"While there is still work to be done in driving to completion of the vehicle development program," Whitesides said, "the dedication event is an opportunity for us to recognize all the people in New Mexico and around the world who have worked so hard to turn a patch of ranch land into the world's first commercial spaceport."

Whitesides said that architectural teams from abroad and here in New Mexico have designed iconic infrastructure that will long be remembered as the first dedicated home for operational commercial spaceships. "We anticipate that over the coming years, thousands of our customers will receive their space training here, preparing for the experience of their lifetimes," he said.

There remains more work on outfitting Spaceport America, Whitesides added. "Over the coming months, we will be working closely with the New Mexico Spaceport Authority," he said, "to finish the overall facilities of the spaceport, including certain infrastructure features and fit-out of the building's interior."
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