Physics

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

New Bragging Rights for Pluto? It May Be the Biggest Dwarf Planet

Pluto's dinky diameter wasn't the official reason it was demoted from the planetary club back in 2006, but symbolically, size was the last straw. When Caltech astronomer Mike Brown spotted the object we now call Eris back in 2005 and astronomers figured it to be larger than Pluto, the former ninth planet's fate was sealed. Now Pluto's reclassification as a "dwarf planet" and the subsequent public outcry is behind us, but new research suggests that the former planet's symbolic death knell—Eris' s

I Can See My House From Here

Visual Science readers may be way ahead of me on this, but I was psyched to find out that the International Space Station astronauts are on Twitter, where they are posting fresh images and updates. On Oct 29th 2010, from 220 miles above Earth, an Expedition 25 crew member onboard the ISS shot this nighttime image of the Gulf Coast.

Mobile Bay and the city of Mobile (beneath the solar panels of the docked Russian Soyuz spacecraft), New Orleans, and Houston are visible toward the southwest (dow

Watch Out for Comets! (a quiz)

Facebook quizzes may tell you which Hogwarts house you belong in, which U.S. city is right for you, or what your Disney princess spirit color is--but only Inkfish tests your knowledge of polar research volunteers and space similes.1. Researchers announced this week that which technology seen in the Star Wars movies is close to becoming a reality?a. 3D holographsb. Light sabersc. Death starsd. Doors that slide open when you wave your hand at them, Jedi-style2. Last week, the U.S. Department of Ju

Comet Flyby Yields Close-ups of the Lumpy, Icy Hartley 2

This morning, NASA’s EPOXI mission whizzed by the comet Hartley 2, coming as near as 450 miles to the comet at 8 a.m. and snapping pictures all the while. The icy comet is less than a mile in diameter and has an irregular shape that one NASA researcher recently described as "a cross between a bowling pin and a pickle."

The images are already streaming in: Head to Bad Astronomy for more pictures and a discussion of what these snapshots tell us about Hartley 2.

This is the second cometary encoun

The Super-Tight Spacesuits That Could Protect Astronauts' Bones

MIT may have found the answer to astronauts' bone loss in space: really, really tight suits.
The new suit -- the Gravity Loading Countermeasure Skinsuit -- aims to mimic the effect of gravity on the body. The tight catsuit wouldn’t look out of place in a superhero comic. It features stirrups that hook over the feet and it is purposefully cut too short so that it stretches over the body when worn, pulling the wearer’s shoulders down. The aim is to make sure the legs experience greater force than

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