Investigating the “Charlie Brown Effect”: Astronauts’ Chubby Faces and Hot-Sauce Cravings | Discoblog

One of these pockets must have Tabasco.
Does this zero gravity make me look fat? Yup. It’s called the Charlie Brown effect, according to Michele Perchonok, NASA’s shuttle food system manager, and it’s not because she’s fattening them up with shrimp cocktail and chicken consommé. Without the benefit of gravity, bodily fluids accumulate in the head, giving the astronauts rounder, cartoon-like faces.

How to See the Invisible: 3 Approaches to Finding Dark Matter

Spiral galaxy M74 holds 100 billion stars. Oddly, stars at its outer edges rotate with the same velocity as those closer in, suggesting the influence of a substantial mass of unseen dark matter. Credit: NASA

Getting Personal: How I Dismantled the World’s Deadliest Weapon

In October Sandia National Laboratories engineer Phil Hoover dismantled the U.S. arsenal’s last B53, a 9-megaton bomb 600 times as powerful as the one dropped on Hiroshima. Hoover talked to DISCOVER about taking apart America’s most powerful weapon.

Black Box Bot Soaks Up Heat, Then Follows You Around and Keeps You Warm | Discoblog

When it gets cold out, staying warm usually means either cranking up the heat—and, thus, the heating bill—or piling on the sweaters and straying from the radiator’s immediate vicinity only when absolutely necessary. But your days of dashing between warm spots, or paying extra for the privilege of not, may soon be at an end. A new robot can keep you warm by saving up the heat you’ve already got until you need it.

20 Things You Didn't Know About... Clouds

4  So much for People Power. After reviewing 40 years of cloud-seeding efforts in an area north of Israel, researchers at Tel Aviv University have concluded that seeding doesn’t actually produce additional precipitation (pdf).

High Schoolers Fold TP a Record Number of Times, Can Now Pad Resumes | Discoblog

High school kids armed with rolls of toilet paper usually mean there’s going to be a mess on someone’s lawn. A group of Massachusetts students, who had amassed a stockpile of more than 10 miles of toilet paper, could have been the terror of the neighborhood—had they not put their arsenal towards a more cerebral purpose: folding it 13 times.

Top 100 Stories of 2011: #1: Faster than the Speed of Light

Einstein, relativity, and much of 20th-century physics have come under assault from an esoteric but far-reaching experiment. A collaboration of 174 physicists fired bursts of neutrinos from the headquarters of CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, in Geneva, Switzerland, to a detector in Gran Sasso, Italy. They tracked 16,111 of the ghostlike particles and measured how long they took to complete the trip. After three years of experiments and intense analysis, the team reported in September that the neutrinos were arriving one 17-millionth of a second early.

6 Servings of Thanksgiving Science: Ideal Turkey Diet, Black Friday Sales Tricks, Turkey-Phobia… | Discoblog

It’s almost Thanksgiving here the US. Before you tuck into your stuffing, pumpkin pie, and cranberry sauce, save a little room for a big helping of science. Here are a few of our favorite Thanksgiving science stories from around the Internet, detailing the research behind fattening turkeys, giving thanks, post-holiday shopping, and more:

NASA Astronaut Mark Kelly Resumes Training For STS-134 Mission

NASA astronaut Mark Kelly will resume training as commander of the STS-134 space shuttle mission on Monday, Feb. 7.

Found: Giant Gamma Ray Bubbles at the Heart of the Galaxy

Those two purple lobes in the figure-eight shape are balloons of gamma ray energy that reach out 25,000 light years above and below the plane of the galaxy. Yet these huge structures have remained hidden from astronomers, until now.

Using NASA's Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope, Doug Finkbeiner and colleagues detected the bubbles after they managed to remove from their images an obstructing "fog" of gamma rays between here and there.
Researchers do not yet know what produced the bubbles, but the


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