Physics

Plenty of dark matter near the Sun

Astronomers have found large amounts of invisible "dark matter" near the Sun. Their results are consistent with the theory that the Milky Way Galaxy is surrounded by a massive "halo" of dark matter, but this is the first study of its kind to use a method rigorously tested against mock data from high quality simulations. The authors also find tantalizing hints of a new dark matter component in our Galaxy.

Blame Climate Change for Increasingly Extreme Summers, Says Leading Climatologist | 80beats

Even ignoring the wildfires and drought this season, the sweltering heat itself is proclaiming this an intense summer. And unusually hot summers are becoming not so unusual, according to a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Advance in X-ray imaging shines light on nanomaterials

A new advance in X-ray imaging has revealed the dramatic three-dimensional shape of gold nanocrystals, and is likely to shine a light on the structure of other nano-scale materials.

Mars Science Laboratory Touches Down Tonight | Cosmic Variance

Nowadays everyone calls it the “Curiosity rover,” but I got to know it as the Mars Science Laboratory, and I’m too old and set in my ways to switch. Launched on November 26, 2011, the mission is scheduled to land on Mars’s Gale Crater tonight/tomorrow morning: 5:31 UTC, which translates to 1:30 a.m. Eastern time or 10:20 p.m. Pacific.

Higgs Papers Out | Cosmic Variance

We were all transfixed by the Higgs seminars on July 4, but the work was nowhere near over for the experimentalists — they had to actually write up papers describing the results. And of course taking the opportunity to do a little more analysis along the way.

Physicists Build the Best Sandcastles | Discoblog

Attention, beach-going children: science has something to say to you.
You know that towering castle of bucket-ramparts and seashell turrets you built last week with your dad?
Can’t touch this.

Music Was Better in the Sixties, Man | Cosmic Variance

Actually, popular music is arguably “better” today. But in the Sixties it was more creative — or at least more experimental. So says science. (Via Kevin Drum.)

Tools of the Trade: The Pendulum That Detects 
Extra Dimensions

While most of us take gravity for granted, physicists have a big problem with it. Their beef: As forces go, gravity is implausibly feeble.

Which Airports Will Give Wings to the Next Pandemic? | 80beats

Knowing how bugs will spread through the population is critical to containing epidemics—and airports play a huge role in the global spread of disease. Although mathematical models have attempted to predict how individual airports influence contagion, the models often looked at the later stages of an epidemic, or assumed that travellers moved randomly.

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