I love neutrinos. I’ve written about them over and over and over again because they’re super fascinating and we’re only starting to uncover their secrets. So naturally I’m psyched that the physics Nobel Prize this year was awarded to two scientists that theorized neutrino oscillation: The 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded this morning to two physicists whose teams discovered a fundamental property of neutrinos. Neutrinos come in three types: electron, muon and tau.
Wondering what that big NASA announcement planned for today was all about? Wonder no more. The dark features, which can reach 5 meters wide and more than 100 meters long, were first noticed in 2010. By analyzing their reflected light signature, a team of eight scientists has concluded that the streaks consist of mineral salts that easily absorb moisture—and that flowing water is the likeliest explanation for their appearance. Flowing liquid water on Mars.
I’m pretty bummed about this. The Central Subway is nearing completion and there’s a lot of pro-transit sentiment out there right now. It seems like a real waste to let this site slip away when it would be perfect for a future North Beach station as part of a Central Subway expansion. Update: Looks like Supervisors Julie Christensen and Scott Wiener are on the task. Source
That red arrow in the NASA “meatball” logo isn’t just a fancy design flourish from the 60s, it’s modeled after some of the earliest supersonic swept-wing designs from inside NASA. This one in particular was designed for Mach 3: James J. Modarelli, head of the Research Reports Division at the NASA Lewis Research Center (now the NASA Glenn Research Center), was the chief designer of the NASA seal and meatball insignia.
More and more awesome photos are starting to arrive from New Horizons after its July swing by Pluto. Here’s a great “synthetic perspective” made from a few different photos: There are some awesome closeups in this batch and a good shot of Charon, Pluto’s largest moon (largest dwarf moon?), with a huge ridge or canyon down the equator. It’s reminiscent of the equatorial ridge on Iapetus. Source
Automated harvesting technology for crops has been around for a long time but it’s definitely not a smart process. More pulling corn from stalks than identifying and picking tomatoes: Machines don’t yet exist for these crops because there have been ample people to do the work, and because it’s hard to design machines that can cut or pick the fruit or vegetables without squishing or damaging them too much. This is interesting in two respects.
Really detailed and fascinating look at how memory was implemented back in the days of punch cards and room-sized computers. The IBM 1401 mainframe computer was announced in 1959 and by the mid-1960s had become the best-selling computer, extremely popular with medium and large businesses because of its low cost. A key component of the 1401’s success was its 4,000 character core memory, which stored data on tiny magnetized rings called cores.
A breath of fresh air (science) in the never-ending media cycle that covers new iPhone rumors. Last week, a new iPhone bending video was released by Unbox Therapy. It compares the shell of the current iPhone 6 to that of a new shell that’s said to be from the upcoming iPhone 6S. …Lew’s basic conclusion holds: the new shell is far stronger than the current one. But no “basic conclusion” is complete without a visit from the X-ray fluorescence unit!
Interesting prototype drone from the partnership company between Sony and Japanese robotics firm ZMP, Aerosense. It looks like counter-rotating blades on a transverse axle that can transform between rear-facing and vertical modes for level flight and takeoff/landing. A couple aerodynamic things it would be interesting to know more about: In vertical mode, it looks like the body provides half a duct for the fan but possibly not for both propellers and definitely not on the back side of the drone.
How many shapes are able to “tile the plane” — meaning the shapes can fit together perfectly to cover any flat surface without overlapping or leaving any gaps. Mathematicians have proved that all triangles and quadrilaterals, or shapes with four sides, can tile the plane, and they have documented all of the convex hexagons that can do it. But it gets a lot more complicated when dealing with pentagons — specifically convex, or non regular pentagons with the angles pointing outward.