Front pages after moon landing, from Poynter.
Arches of stone seem to defy explanation, but a new study may have solved the mystery of how these and other strange natural stone wonders form.
The bewildering shapes apparently owe their origin in large part to how rock can strengthen when squashed from above, scientists explained.
Mysterious rock formations such as arches, bridges, pillars and mushroom-shaped pedestal rocks occur all over the world. Geologists mostly think these form due to erosion from wind and water, as well as from the weathering effects of salt and frost.
However, lead author of the new study Jiří Bruthans, a geologist at Charles University in Prague, and his colleagues did not think erosion and weathering alone could explain how many of these natural sculptures arose. They also noted that prior research did not explain how the upper parts of arches remain stable.
Now, the researchers said they can help explain how these rock formations develop by accounting for the way rock can strengthen when compacted by weight from above.
"The results were shocking for me when I started to realize how simply nature carves all these shapes," Bruthans said.
The Gum 15 star forming region including the star cluster NGC 2671 and some of the filaments forming part of the Vela Supernova Remnant. Larger images in comments.
Such astounding patience and skill must be needed to make these!
A mimic octopus coming out of its camouflage on the ocean floor.
Is our universe a bubble in the multiverse?
Researchers at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics are working to bring the multiverse hypothesis — we are living in one universe of many — into the realm of testable science. Perimeter Associate Faculty member Matthew Johnson and his team are looking for clues for the existence of multiverses (a.ka. parallel universes) in the cosmic microwave background data, assumed to be left over from the Big Bang. To do that, “we simulate the whole universe,” he says. “We start with a multiverse that has two bubbles in it, we collide the bubbles on a computer to figure out what happens, and then we stick a virtual observer in various places and ask what that observer would see from there.” For example, if another universe had collided with ours n the early universe, it would have left evidence in the form of a “a disk on the sky,” creating a “bruise” in the pattern, he says. That the search for such a disk has so far come up empty makes certain collision-filled models less likely.
Meanwhile, the team is at work figuring out what other kinds of evidence a bubble collision might leave behind. It’s the first time, the team writes in their paper, that anyone has produced a direct quantitative set of predictions for the observable signatures of bubble collisions. And though none of those signatures has so far been found, some of them are possible to look for.
The real significance of this work is as a proof of principle: it shows that the multiverse can be testable. In other words, if we are living in a bubble universe, we might actually be able to tell.
Abstract of Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics paper
The theory of eternal inflation in an inflaton potential with multiple vacua predicts that our universe is one of many bubble universes nucleating and growing inside an ever-expanding false vacuum. The collision of our bubble with another could provide an important observational signature to test this scenario. We develop and implement an algorithm for accurately computing the cosmological observables arising from bubble collisions directly from the Lagrangian of a single scalar field. We first simulate the collision spacetime by solving Einstein’s equations, starting from nucleation and ending at reheating. Taking advantage of the collision’s hyperbolic symmetry, the simulations are performed with a 1+1-dimensional fully relativistic code that uses adaptive mesh refinement. We then calculate the comoving curvature perturbation in an open Friedmann-Robertson-Walker universe, which is used to determine the temperature anisotropies of the cosmic microwave background radiation. For a fiducial Lagrangian, the anisotropies are well described by a power law in the cosine of the angular distance from the center of the collision signature. For a given form of the Lagrangian, the resulting observational predictions are inherently statistical due to stochastic elements of the bubble nucleation process. Further uncertainties arise due to our imperfect knowledge about inflationary and pre-recombination physics. We characterize observational predictions by computing the probability distributions over four phenomenological parameters which capture these intrinsic and model uncertainties. This represents the first fully-relativistic set of predictions from an ensemble of scalar field models giving rise to eternal inflation, yielding significant differences from previous non-relativistic approximations. Thus, our results provide a basis for a rigorous confrontation of these theories with cosmological data.
The secret behind the Rainbow Roses
I know, it seems a joke, the Rainbow Rose you see is real, but its coloring is man-made. While it is bizarre and unnatural, at the same time is incredibly beautiful.
Staining roses with dyes is a common practice to obtain flower colors that are not available in nature. However Rainbow Roses are most unusual because the petals of the same flower display various colors.
The technique for producing Rainbow Roses was developed by Peter van de Werken from River Roses®, a flower company located in Holland. It is an elegant application of basic knowledge of plant anatomy.
The different colors between petals are a consequence of phyllotaxy (the form by which leaves -or nodes in general- are arranged on the stem). In the case of roses the leaves are arranged in a five-ranked spiral, which means that when an imaginary line connects the various leaves a spiral is formed so that after two full rotations leaf number 6 is on the same vertical plan as leaf number 1. Petals are modified leaves and follow the same arrangement.
To obtain a flower with petals stained in different colors the stem is vertically cut into four equal parts and each quarter dipped in a different dye. The dye moves upwards through the xylem to the petals, which get a different color depending on their position in the spiral.
The technique is actually quite simple and can easily make at home. The only thing that could influence your results is the variety of rose you employ, since not all cultivar absorb all the different colorants perfectly. Here you can see a short video showing the technique (although the results are not the so fine as in the photo).
Photo credit: ©Houmr13
Tanzanite from Tanzania
by Dan Weinrich
10 Suprising health benefits of drinking beer :)
Get Drunk All Night: Follow Microbrewery on Tumblr!
17 July 2014
Climatic Kidney Stones
This is not a bouquet of flowers or a strange succulent plant. It’s a kidney stone, pictured using a scanning electron microscope. A new study has revealed an unexpected consequence of global warming: an increase in kidney stones. Researchers found a link between hot days and kidney stones in 60,000 patients from all over the United States. Kidney stones are usually formed when waste products in the blood, such as calcium, ammonia and uric acid, form crystals inside the kidneys. These hard stones can cause severe pain, particularly as they pass down the urinary tract. The number of people suffering from kidney stones, especially children, has soared over the past three decades. Part of this rise may be brought on by higher temperatures, which contribute to dehydration, leading to a higher concentration of minerals in urine that promote the growth of kidney stones.
Written by Nick Kennedy