A little bit of knowledge for your day. Updates thrice a week.

Posts Tagged: science

Pigeons navigate by magnetic fields, much like you use a compass to do the same. While we’re pretty sure that they use the magnetosphere to find their way, the particulars have eluded us thus far. We used to think it was guided by its iron-rich beak!

Lobsters are immortal: As in, they don’t age. We have records of certain lobsters living happy as clams well past one hundred years.

Lobsters are immortal: As in, they don’t age. We have records of certain lobsters living happy as clams well past one hundred years.

Remember when we shot a laser at the moon?: We did, in 1962, to determine how far away the Moon was from the Earth. During the first Moon landing, a mirror array was placed to make further readings more accurate.

How the Higgs Boson imparts mass

As you’ve probably heard, they found the Higgs Boson. They call it the “God Particle” for good reason: it lends everything around us mass. It’s probably the biggest physics news since Relativity and Quantum Mechanics… and is about as well understood.

That’s what the link above is for.

But I don’t want to talk about that. I’m more amazed that this actually happened. Since I was about twelve years old and became familiar with the term “Higgs Boson”, almost everything else I heard was a joke about how they’ll never find it. To me, it was just like our — hopeful — first contact with aliens: A great occasion, that would happen far, far in the future.


And so, I’m amazed that Discovery — big, capital-letter discovery — happened not only inmylifetime, but almostquietly.

I am amazed that a Discovery like this just… happens. 

I might not live long enough to see another Discovery again. But this is amazing, and it truly is an exciting time to be a learner.

Sincerely,

Learn A Little

Fatty foods cause a marijuana-like high: The simple act of tasting a juicy burger releases endocannabinoids, a group of chemicals that includes THC — the “active ingredient” of marijuana. The raised level of pleasure chemicals in the intestine could explain why comfort food is so comforting.

Fatty foods cause a marijuana-like high: The simple act of tasting a juicy burger releases endocannabinoids, a group of chemicals that includes THC — the “active ingredient” of marijuana. The raised level of pleasure chemicals in the intestine could explain why comfort food is so comforting.

The “Breast Cloud”: Mammatus clouds are a rare formation that often accompany thunderstorms. They are named after… well, mamma,which means “udder” or “breast”. The reasons behind their formation are cloudy, but they only appear during rapid changes of moisture, temperature, and wind speed.

(Image credit goes to Wikipedia, En-Derin, and flickr.)

Petrified Lightning: Natural glass formed by lightning strikes is called fulgurite. It is created when a lightning strike hits a sandbank, blowing a super-heated hole right through it. This quickly cools into a beautiful glass. The name comes from Latin fulgur, or lightning.

(Image credit to flickr, Carion Mineraux, and Nature. Thanks Grandma.)

You can solve any Rubik’s Cube in 26 moves. Yes, even your “impossible” cube is 26 moves or fewer away from being solved. In 2007, researchers at Northeastern University proved this using highly advanced algorithms. Now, if only they’d lend me that program for a minute…

You can solve any Rubik’s Cube in 26 moves. Yes, even your “impossible” cube is 26 moves or fewer away from being solved. In 2007, researchers at Northeastern University proved this using highly advanced algorithms. Now, if only they’d lend me that program for a minute…

Wine tastes better if you say it’s older. Many studies have shown that the only difference between a cheap wine and a pricier one is the cost: You simply can’t detect the age by the taste. Next time you’re serving up Two-Buck Chuck, just say it’s a century old — you can thank me later.
(Image credit to City Wine Cellar.)

Wine tastes better if you say it’s older. Many studies have shown that the only difference between a cheap wine and a pricier one is the cost: You simply can’t detect the age by the taste. Next time you’re serving up Two-Buck Chuck, just say it’s a century old — you can thank me later.

(Image credit to City Wine Cellar.)

Breathing? Thank some plankton. Enormous amounts of coccolithophore, a type of plankton, die from viruses in the worlds’ oceans: enough that their collective bodies can be seen from space as bright blue spots. Their defenses against the virus create oxygen: about 50% of the total amount on Earth.

(Image credit to Wikipedia, and VIMS)