How do magnets affect things at a distance? How does the Sun heat our planet from 93 million miles away? How can we send messages across the world with our cell phones? We take these seemingly simple things for granted, but in fact there was a time not too long ago when the processes behind them were poorly understood, if at all… and, to the uninformed, there could seem to be a certain sense of “magic” about them.
This video from MinutePhysics, featuring director of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics Neil Turok, illustrates how our understanding of electromagnetic fields was developed and why there’s nothing magic about it… except, perhaps, how they pack all that excellent info into 5 minutes. Enjoy!
Video: MinutePhysics (Created by Henry Reich.) In conjunction with The CBC Massey Lectures.
As opposed to this fake image that has been propagated around the ‘net, this one is from NASA’s Goddard flickr page. This is the first image ever taken of Earth from the surface of a planet beyond the Moon.It was taken by the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit one hour before sunrise on the 63rd Martian day, or sol, of its mission. (March 8, 2004)
The image is a mosaic of images taken by the rover’s navigation camera showing a broad view of the sky, and an image taken by the rover’s panoramic camera of Earth. The contrast in the panoramic camera image was increased two times to make Earth easier to see.The inset shows a combination of four panoramic camera images zoomed in on Earth. The arrow points to Earth. Earth was too faint to be detected in images taken with the panoramic camera’s color filters.
Credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell/Texas A&M
From the Department of Ancient Awesomeness comes the discovery of the incredibly well-preserved body of a baby woolly mammoth that had been buried for 42,000 years under snow and ice in Siberia:
“The body of the world’s most well-preserved baby mammoth has been unveiled at an exhibition in Hong Kong ahead of a grand tour of Asia. The 3ft beast, named Lyuba, was found in Siberian mountains by a reindeer herder five years ago and is thought to have drowned 40,000 years ago when she was just a month old.
Now her carcass will travel in sub-zero temperatures – in a bid to preserve her – to China, Indonesia, Singapore and Taiwan. The public will be allowed to glimpse at her body in a specially chilled room at the IFC Mall in Hong Kong from Thursday. It is not yet known how long the tour will last – and is likely to depend on demand for viewings.
Discovered in 2007, she is thought to have died in a mudslide at a month old. The mud effectively ‘pickled’ the baby, who has been named Lyuba, preserving her in a nearly pristine state. ‘She was doing great, very healthy. She just had this terrible misfortune,’ said palaeontologist Dan Fisher, of the University of Michigan, who is part of the international team researching the find.
Although her woolly coat and toenails have disintegrated, her skin and internal organs are intact. There were even traces of her mother’s milk in her stomach. The only damage to the mammal are bite marks from the village dogs.
Scientists, based in Siberia, hope that studying the mammoth will help explain what caused mammals from the Ice Age to vanish about 10,000 years ago. They hope to discover if climate or hunting were the causes of extinction.”
“After reading The Five Fists of Science, a retelling of ‘war of the currents’ between [Tesla] and [Edison], [Rob] knew he needed a Tesla gun, the sidearm of the story’s protagonist. Since nothing as stupidly awesome and dangerous as a portable Tesla coil has ever been made, [Rob] needed to make his own.
[Rob] started his build as any good weird weapon build begins: taking apart a Nerf gun. A new Aluminum sand cast body replaced the wimpy plastic body of the Nerf gun and after a few days on a mill, [Rob] had an aluminum Nerf gun perfect for holding the guts of a Tesla coil. The high voltage switch is made of porcelain, and the power supply is an 18 V cordless drill battery and a flyback transformer potted with silicone in a PVC pipe end cap.
[Rob] really has a remarkable build on his hands here, and certainly something no one else has ever tried before. While he hasn’t fired his gun yet, we’re sure we’ll hear about it on the nightly news when he does.”
Want to see more photos? We sure did! Visit Rob’s step-by-step photo diary of the creation process of the Tesla Gun.
[via Hack a Day]
Nope, this is not a movie monster. If you’ve watched the indescribably awesome BBC nature documentary series Life, then you might recognize this awesome little brute. And if you haven’t (which you really should), then allow us to introduce a fish with one of the best names we’ve ever heard: the Sarcastic Fringehead.
“The Sarcastic Fringehead is a ferocious fish which has a large mouth and aggressive territorial behaviour. They can be up to 30 centimetres (12 in) wide and are mostly scaleless with great pectoral fins and reduced pelvic fins. With highly compressed bodies, some may be so widened as to appear eel-like. They tend to hide inside shells or crevices. After the female spawns under a rock or in clam burrows the male guards the eggs. They are found in the Pacific, off the coast of North America, from San Francisco, California, to central Baja California and their depth range is from 3 to 73 metres (9.8 to 240 ft).”
You can watch a clip from the Life episode that features the Sarcasting Fringehead here. That gaping maw is already impressive in the photo above, but seeing these fish in action really something else. Besides, as far as we’re concerned, listening to a little narration by Sir David Attenborough each day is good medicine. So here’s a dose.
More information about these awesome fish can be found here.