Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday beautiful science

Today's Friday beautiful science comes from The Vector Site. They have a nice primer for young students on how evolution by natural selection works. One of the photos they show is of the leafy sea dragon. They look like kelp, but they're sea dragons. Look again?

I've seen these in tanks at an aquarium before, and they are truly stunning to behold. As much as I hate to admit it, Wikipedia has a pretty good description of them here.


Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin, 1937-2008

George Carlin died of a heart attack yesterday. He was 71.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday beautiful science

Today's Friday beautiful science shows the construction of a Buckeyball in action.  From the News Release:  

heating bends single-atomic-layer carbon sheets into nano bowls, and then adds more carbon atoms to the edge of the bowls until the formation of giant fullerenes — larger, less stable versions of the C-60 molecule. Continued application of heat reduces these fullerenes — “shrink-wrapping” is the favored term — to the size of stable C-60 molecules, the buckyball: the smallest stable arrangement of carbon atoms in that shape.

In further heating, the buckyball vanishes, providing more proof that the buckyball stage had been reached.

Buckyball codiscoverer (1985) and Nobel laureate (1996) Richard Smalley had hypothesized that buckyballs are formed in this fashion, but at his death in 2005 no experimental confirmation was yet available and other methods have been proposed.
Way cool. Follow the link to check out a live-action movie. Neat!


Friday, June 13, 2008

Don't let it happen again

This gave me chills. Carl Sagan contemplates the possibility of the loss of past discoveries. While on the surface of it, it seems unlikely, and most people will say, "That could only happen in Islamic fundamentalist cultures", keep in mind that there are organizations here in the U.S. devoted to rolling back the Enlightenment.

Hat tip: Pharyngula


Friday beautiful science

Today's Friday beautiful science comes a bit late.  It's a picture of the Phoenix lander, landing on Mars.  Check it out:  

This amazing image was captured as Phoenix came in for its Mars landing on May 25, 2008. The HiRISE camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter pointed at Phoenix, which is seen here against the background of a 10-kilometer-diameter crater called Heimdall. The dramatic view makes it appear that Phoenix is falling into the crater, but in fact Phoenix was 20 kilometers closer to HiRISE than Heimdall, and it landed nowhere near the crater. The photo was taken 20 seconds after Phoenix' parachute opened.

Posts should become more frequent again. I'm preparing to move to California, but some of the most brutal parts are behind me (I hope) and I should be able to at least keep a regular Friday beautiful science coming.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Sucked out into space!

How long could you survive in the vacuum of space?
OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets


Thursday, June 5, 2008


New Wearable Feedbags Let Americans Eat More, Move Less