2017 science news predictions


This video series from the USA says about itself:

Looking ahead to 2017 | Science News

20 December 2016

From CRISPR to Cassini, science stories on the horizon in 2017 won’t disappoint. We asked our intrepid beat writers what they’ll be looking forward to covering next year. Read more here.

Filming, Production & Editing
Helen Thompson

Additional Video & Images

Physics
Matt Heintze/Caltech/MIT/LIGO Lab
Caltech/MIT/LIGO Lab
ESO/Digital Sky Survey 2

CRISPR
McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT
Rita Elena Serda,/Baylor College of Medicine/NCI/NIH
Donald Bliss/NLM
Sriram Subramaniam/NCI/NIH
Betty Partin/CDC

Earth
ECORD
IODP

Zika
Sarah C. Ogden/Florida State University, Tallahassee
NIAID
NIH

Brains
Stephen McNally
Roxanne Makasdjian
UC Berkeley

Space
NASA/JPL/SwRI/ASI/INAF/JIRAM
NASA/JPL-Caltech

Music
“Climbing The Mountain” by Podington Bear
CC BY-NC 3.0

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Top six science videos of 2016


This Dutch 30 December video shows what journalist Maarten Keulemans thinks are the best science videos of 2016.

Starting with #6, ants building a living bridge to cross water.

#5 bioluminescent marine animals discovered near the Mariana islands in the Pacific.

#4 chimpansees mourning one of them which died.

#3 a physics experiment about pressure.

#2 an electric eel jumping.

# 1 dogs having their brains scanned.

Some significant scientific developments of 2016: here.

2016 scientific discoveries, still unconfirmed


This video from the USA says about itself:

Planet 9 Explained and Explored with Astronomer Konstantin Batygin

27 January 2016

Planet 9 is the biggest astronomical “discovery” of recent memory, and the process of calculating its existence is revealed with astronomer Konstantin Batygin. When speculation of a large body of mass with an usual orbital alignment was detected, astronomers took to computer simulations, mathematical equations and a call to the public to discover the small gassous giant on the fringes of our solar system. Batygin breaks down this hypothesized planet that is estimated to be between 1 to 10 times the mass of the Earth, along with the Kuiper Belt, the discovery of Neptune, and why Dr. Mike Brown deemed Pluto no longer a planet in this episode of Antidote hosted by Michael Parker.

GUEST BIO:

Coined the next “physics rock star” by Forbes, Konstantin Batygin immigrated to the U.S. from Russia at age 13 and currently works as an Assistant Professor of Planetary Sciences at Caltech. Batygin landed on the 2015 Forbes list of 30 scientists under 30 who are changing the world with an unprecedented record of publishing 21 papers as first author. He’s discovered planets in other solar systems and solved a centuries-old puzzle: yes, it turns out eventually the planets in the solar system will careen away from the sun. Batygin also plays in a rock band.

From Science News:

These 2016 stories could be really big — if they’re true

Some scientific findings this year made a big splash but require more evidence

By Cassie Martin

10:00am, December 23, 2016

These findings would have rocked the scientific world, if only the evidence had been more convincing.

New Planet 9 clues

A giant planet lurking at the outskirts of the solar system could explain the odd orbits of far-flung hunks of icy debris (SN: 2/20/16, p. 6). If the planet exists, its average distance from the sun would be between 500 and 600 times Earth’s distance (SN: 7/23/16, p. 7).

Signs of ancient life

Mounds of minerals discovered in Greenland appear to have been deposited by clusters of microbes 3.7 billion years ago. If so, these stromatolites represent the oldest fossilized evidence of life on Earth (SN: 10/1/16, p. 7).

Lucy’s big fall

A controversial study claims that Lucy, the most famous fossil in the study of human evolution, died after falling from high up in a tree (SN: 9/17/16, p. 16). The autopsy supports the hypothesis that Australopithecus afarensis split its time between the ground and the trees.

Nucleus with no charge

Researchers have spotted signs of a “tetraneutron,” an atomic nucleus with four neutrons but no protons (SN: 3/5/16, p. 10). If confirmed, this first-of-its-kind nucleus might be explained by a new, interneutron force.

How baby starfish eat


This video from the USA says about itself:

15 November 2016

Eat, Prey, Swim: Dynamic vortex arrays created by starfish larvae

William Gilpin, Stanford University
Vivek N. Prakash, Stanford University
Manu Prakash, Stanford University

We show the surprising flow patterns created by a starfish larva, which churns the water around its body as it searches for algae, its primary food source. These vortices are unique to many invertebrates, which often struggle to obtain sufficient nutrients during the early stages of their development.

Our video shows how millions of years of evolution have allowed the larva to master fluid physics in order to solve the unique dilemma of feeding at the microscale. But this innovation comes with a price: the vortices decrease the animal’s swimming speed, and thus its ability to change locations and escape predators. By studying how physical forces shape the adaptation of simple animals, we hope to uncover the subtle manner in which physics shapes evolution.

From Science News:

Baby starfish whip up whirlpools to snag a meal

by Emily Conover

12:00pm, December 23, 2016

A baby starfish scoops up snacks by spinning miniature whirlpools. These vortices catch tasty algae and draw them close so the larva can slurp them up, scientists from Stanford University report December 19 in Nature Physics.

Before starfish take on their familiar shape, they freely swim ocean waters as millimeter-sized larvae. To swim around on the hunt for food, the larvae paddle the water with hairlike appendages called cilia. But, the scientists found, starfish larvae also adjust the orientation of these cilia to fine-tune their food-grabbing vortices.

Scientists studied larvae of the bat star (Patiria miniata), a starfish found on the U.S. Pacific coast, by observing their activities in seawater suffused with tiny beads that traced the flow of liquid. Too many swirls can slow a larva down, the scientists found, so the baby starfish adapts to the task at hand, creating fewer vortices while swimming and whipping up more of them when stopping to feed.

Bird flight, new research


This video says about itself:

5 December 2016

Using a high-speed camera, scientists captured the swirling vortices produced by a slowly flying bird. Surprisingly, they found that the vortices rapidly dissipated. The unexpected effect suggests that scientists need to rethink methods for calculating the lift produced under such conditions.

From Science News:

Bird plus goggles equals new insight into flight physics

Unexpected vortices form in parrotlet’s wing wake

By Emily Conover

6:21pm, December 5, 2016

A bird in laser goggles has helped scientists discover a new phenomenon in the physics of flight.

Swirling vortices appear in the flow of air that follows a bird’s wingbeat. But for slowly flying birds, these vortices were unexpectedly short-lived, researchers from Stanford University report December 6 in Bioinspiration and Biomimetics. The results could help scientists better understand how animals fly, and could be important for designing flying robots (SN: 2/7/15, p. 18).

To study the complex air currents produced by birds’ flapping wings, the researchers trained a Pacific parrotlet, a small species of parrot, to fly through laser light — with the appropriate eye protection, of course. Study coauthor Eric Gutierrez, who recently graduated from Stanford, built tiny, 3-D‒printed laser goggles for the bird, named Obi.

Gutierrez and colleagues tracked the air currents left in Obi’s wake by spraying a fine liquid mist in the air, and illuminating it with a laser spread out into a two-dimensional sheet. High-speed cameras recorded the action at 1,000 frames per second.

The vortex produced by the bird “explosively breaks up,” says mechanical engineer David Lentink, a coauthor of the study. “The flow becomes very complex, much more turbulent.” Comparing three standard methods for calculating the lift produced by flapping wings showed that predictions didn’t match reality, thanks to the unexpected vortex breakup.

No new blog posts, will re-start soon!


This video says about itself:

Physics of Bird Migration

It is spring and we went to check out the migratory birds returning from their winter grounds. It is pretty incredible to think that some of them have crossed deserts and oceans on their journeys, and they still manage to find their way back to the same locations every year.

For example, did you know that the Arctic Tern is the World Record holder when it comes to migration amongst birds? It spends Northern Hemisphere summers in the Arctic and then for winter it flies all the way to the Antarctic!

Absolutely crazy to think that in one year it has seen more of the world than most of us will in a lifetime. In this week’s video we take a look at the physics behind a few of the adaptations that the birds have evolved to be able to perform these annual migrations. Enjoy!

Produced by: Jonas Stenstrom

Filming help by: Louise Fornander & John-Mehdi Ghaddas

For about a week, there will no new blog posts on Dear Kitty. Some blog.

Then, the blog will re-start with lots of inspiration about, eg, the migratory season for birds (autumn migration in this case); and many other subjects, as usually.

So, see you all again soon!

American religious fundamentalist threatened to murder scientist Stephen Hawking


This video says about itself:

24 September 2014

The renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has labeled himself as an atheist, clearly stating that he doesn’t believe God exists at all.

Hawking reportedly made the announcement in an interview at the start of the Starmus Festival taking place at Tenerife in the Canary Islands.

El Mundo, a Spanish newspaper, was able to get an exclusive interview with Hawking and headlined the story with the scientist’s statement about his beliefs.

Hawking is quoted in the interview saying: “What I meant by ‘we would know the mind of God’ is, we would know everything that God would know, if there were a God, which there isn’t. I’m an atheist.”

But this isn’t the first time that Hawking has mentioned his lack of faith in a divine higher power.

In his book entitled The Grand Design, he says that the laws of science are in place and do not require a creator to have started everything.

Hawking has also previously said he doesn’t believe in heaven or an afterlife.

When asked in the interview if he thought space exploration was a good thing to invest billions of dollars in, he said that colonizing other planets might be humanity’s only hope for insurance of our long-term survival.

From daily El Pais in Spain:

US woman held in Tenerife for death threats against Stephen Hawking

“I am right next to you and I can kill you,” read one of the messages sent by the suspect, who traveled to the Spanish island to be near her target

Santa Cruz de Tenerife, 1 JULY 2016 – 16:55 CEST

Spanish police have arrested an American woman for issuing death threats against the astrophysicist Stephen Hawking at a science event on the island of Tenerife.

The 37-year-old suspect was detained in the municipality of Arona, on the most populous of the Canary Islands, on Wednesday – the same day that Hawking delivered his first lecture at the Starmus International Festival.

The woman, who has no prior record and had traveled to Tenerife by herself, could be facing a six-month prison sentence and immediate deportation for harassment and issuing serious threats against the famous scientist, legal sources told the Efe news agency.

The same sources said that one of the cosmologist’s children alerted authorities after detecting over 100 threatening messages on Twitter and in e-mails on Tuesday. The messages contained sentences such as “I am going to kill him.” …

Police investigators who searched her hotel room found a collection of esoteric items linked to religious extremism and contrary to Hawking’s theories denying the existence of God. They also found notes and documents detailing the scientist’s residence and workplace, and notebooks outlining precise plans on how to approach her target.

Hawking’s Wednesday address had attracted long lines of people at the science and arts festival. The astrophysicist arrived on stage flanked by two members of the Spanish National Police, an unusual sight that caused some alarm among members of the audience. Outside the venue, other officers checked visitors’ bags.

That same day, the police arrested the alleged stalker at a hotel located very near the festival venue, the Pirámide de Arona, which contains one of the biggest auditoriums in Europe.

The woman had apparently been issuing threats against Hawking for years, but the situation got out of hand in recent days, when the threats proliferated over e-mail an in the social media.

“I am going to kill you.” read one of the messages. “I am right next to you and I can kill you,” said another.

The e-mails included specific plans to end the scientist’s life, the police said.

According to this source, the suspect is 41 years old.

According to La Opinión de Tenerife, the suspect is Jenny Theresa C. These names sound Christian to me. If the suspect would have had a Muslim name like Fatima, then probably she would have been all over the Murdoch and other corporate merdia, not just in this Canary Islands local paper.

Rush Limbaugh Bashes Stephen Hawking On Climate Change: here.