Physics

The Arrow of Time in a Restless Universe | Cosmic Variance

A group of philosophers and scientists interested in cosmology have started a new project, funded by the Templeton Foundation, imaginatively titled the Rutgers Templeton Project on Philosophy of Cosmology. It’s a great group of people, led by David Albert and Barry Loewer, and I’m looking forward to interesting things from them.

How to Survive the End of the Universe

Next year will be a doozy for doomsayers. depending on the prophecy, the world is predestined to expire by means of a solar storm, asteroid strike, rogue-planet collision, plague, falling stars, earthquake, debt crisis, or some combination thereof. Of course, nobody seems to be preparing for any of these impending 2012 apocalypses, with the exception of a porn studio reportedly building a clothing-optional underground bunker.

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:

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