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The Lounge>Science is Cool....
Fish 09:43 PM 05-21-2012
This is a repository for all cool scientific discussion and fascination. Scientific facts, theories, and overall cool scientific stuff that you'd like to share with others. Stuff that makes you smile and wonder at the amazing shit going on around us, that most people don't notice.

Post pictures, vidoes, stories, or links. Ask questions. Share science.

This is in support of the Penny 4 NASA project. If you enjoy anything you learned from this thread, consider making a donation and signing the petition.

Why should I care?:

ReynardMuldrake 07:03 PM 06-06-2012

Fish 08:31 AM 06-07-2012
Originally Posted by ReynardMuldrake:
Fish 08:31 AM 06-07-2012
How the VLT works....

From ESOcast, explore the state-of-the-art technology behind the Very Large telescope, which has provided astronomers with an unequalled view of the Universe. To obtain the sharpest images of the sky, the VLT has to cope with two major effects that distort the images of celestial objects. The first one is mirror deformations due to their large sizes. This problem is corrected using a computer-controlled support system — active optics — that ensures that the mirrors keep their desired shapes under all circumstances. The second effect is produced by Earth's atmosphere, which makes stars appear blurry, even with the largest telescopes. Adaptive optics is a real-time correction of the distortions produced by the atmosphere using computer-controlled mirrors that deform hundreds of times per second to counteract the atmospheric effects.

As one demonstration of its power the VLT's sensitive infrared cameras, helped by adaptive optics, have been able to peer through the massive dust clouds that block our view to Milky Way's core. The images, taken over many years, have allowed astronomers to actually watch stars orbiting around the monstrous black hole that lies in the center of our galaxy. It was even possible to detect energetic flares from gas clouds falling into the black hole.
tooge 08:57 AM 06-07-2012
Originally Posted by KC Fish:
And speaking of painful penis....

Of all the disturbing things about bedbugs, their mating habits may be the worst. Cimex lectularius have evolved a breeding technique called "traumatic insemination," and it's even more horrible than it sounds.

A male bedbug's penis is literally a weapon—a sharp, brown hypodermic hook that forgot about the female reproductive canal long ago. Here's how he uses it: The male pounces on the female, holds her firmly while she struggles, and gouges his hook through her exoskeleton, squirting his sperm directly into her body cavity. The sperm swims through her hemolymph (a bug's version of blood) and, if the mating wound doesn't develop a serious infection and kill her, eventually swims to her ovaries.

Biologists used to believe males and females of a given species evolved together for sexual fitness, the Darwinian version of romance. But bedbugs, scientists have found, have engaged in a millennia-long struggle of "sexually antagonistic coevolution" in which individual males damage individual females for overall reproductive advantage. Female bedbugs have counterevolved "spermalege," a special sperm-receptacle organ in the abdomen that helps absorb the trauma—if the hypodermic penis hits it. Bedbugs aren't exactly careful maters. Male bugs sometimes traumatically inseminate each other, though scientists aren't sure whether this is a function of sexual competition or just carelessness. Regardless, sex is bad for female bedbugs. A 2003 study for the Royal Society of London found that the more sex a female bedbug has, the shorter her life will be.

A bed infested with bedbugs isn't just a party for bloodsuckers that will make you itch—it's also a Verdun of buggy sexual warfare.
Male humans do this to each other too. It's called prison rape
thabear04 09:54 AM 06-07-2012
Fish 10:31 AM 06-07-2012

RedDread 10:33 AM 06-07-2012
Originally Posted by Dave Lane:

Fish 12:58 PM 06-08-2012
The Pains of Science...

The Decelerating Doctor

After World War II, the US Air Force needed to know if pilots could eject from supersonic jets without facing certain death because of the shock of rapidly decelerating from the speed of sound to a near standstill. The transition exposed pilots to forces of over 40 or 50 Gs. (One G equals the force of gravity at the surface of the earth; 40 Gs is like a 7000-pound elephant falling on top of you.) Many doctors believed that 18 Gs was the most a human body could endure, but no one knew for sure. Flight surgeon John Paul Stapp volunteered to serve as the guinea pig in a series of physically brutal experiments to find out.

At Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, Stapp designed a rocket-powered sled that blasted down a 3500-foot track at speeds up to 750 mph before slamming into a pool of water that brought it to an abrupt halt. It went from 750 mph to zero in one second. Strong restraints made sure that the passenger didn’t continue their forward trajectory, though the restraints didn’t always work. One test dummy came free of the harness and was catapulted 700 feet through the air.

For his inaugural rocket sled ride, in 1947, Stapp went at a gentle 90 mph. The next day he advanced to 200 mph. And subsequently he kept signing up for more rides, upping his speed, probing the limits of human endurance. Over a period of seven years he rode the sled twenty-nine times.

Each time he rode the sled, the force of the deceleration hammered his body. He repeatedly endured blackouts, concussions, splitting headaches, cracked ribs, dislocated shoulders, and broken bones. One time, in a show of bravado, he set a broken wrist himself as he waited for medics to arrive. The greatest danger was to his eyes. Rapid deceleration causes the blood to pool with great force in the eyes, bursting capillaries and potentially tearing retinas. Even more disturbingly, when a human body comes to a stop that abruptly, there’s a real possibility the eyeballs will simply keep going — popping out of the skull and flying onwards.

An early version of the rocket sled

On Stapp’s final ride on 10 December 1954, this almost happened. Nine rockets propelled him to 632 mph, faster than a .45 calibre bullet. He outran a jet flying overhead. And when the sled hit the water, Stapp experienced a record-breaking 46.2 Gs of force.

Stapp survived, but he later wrote of the experience, “It felt as though my eyes were being pulled out of my head… I lifted my eyelids with my fingers, but I couldn’t see a thing.” He feared he’d permanently lost his vision, but thankfully his eyesight gradually returned over the next few days. However, on account of that final ride, he suffered vision problems for the rest of his life.

The Sensitive Testes

In 1933, either Herbert Woollard or Edward Carmichael had weights stacked on his testicles for the sake of science. It’s not possible to say exactly which one of these London-based doctors bore the unusual burden, because while both participated in the experiment, only one of them lay on a table and suffered the scrotal compression. The other one did the stacking. They never revealed who served in which capacity — nor how they chose who was to be the unlucky one.

Herbert Henry Woollard (left) and E.A. Carmichael

Their motive for this self-experiment was to better understand referred pain — the mysterious phenomenon in which injury to an internal organ causes pain to be felt elsewhere in the body. For instance, a heart attack may cause the sensation of pain in the arm. The two doctors noted that, of all the internal organs, the testicles were the most “accessible to investigation” and therefore seemed ideal for a study of referred pain.

During the experiment, the subject lay spread-eagled on a table, exposing his genitals. His colleague stooped over him and gripped the other man’s scrotal sac, drawing it forward and gently cradling it in his hand. He then rested a scale pan on a single testis, and carefully piled weights onto the pan, recording the reaction of the subject with each increase of weight.

One of Woollard and Carmichael's charts of testicular pain

Their results, which appeared in the journal Brain, were rather spare on colorful details. They described the agony of the victim only in dry, clinical details. For instance, they reported that 300 grams of weight produced slight discomfort in the right groin, while 650 grams caused severe pain on the right side of the body. However, they did confirm that injury to the testicles does cause pain to be referred throughout the body. For instance, as the weight on the testicle increased to over two pounds, the subject reported pain “of a sickening character” not only in his groin but also spreading across his back.

Woollard and Carmichael conducted a number of variations of the experiment, in which they numbed nerves leading to the testes in order to determine how this would alter the sensation. This produced the interesting finding that, even though they eventually numbed what they believed to be every nerve leading to the testes, they couldn’t entirely abolish the pain of compression. The testes are highly sensitive organs!

Their results remain the definitive word on this subject since no other scientists have ever repeated the experiment.

Rain Man 01:08 PM 06-08-2012
If chiefsplanet wanted to add some good to the world, we could repeat the Woollard/Carmichael experiments and add new data to their fascinating realm of research.
Fish 05:39 PM 06-08-2012
Did you know that you can tell the temperature by counting the chirps of a cricket? It's true! Here's the formula:

To convert cricket chirps to degrees Fahrenheit, count number of chirps in 14 seconds then add 40 to get temperature.

Example: 30 chirps + 40 = 70° F

To convert cricket chirps to degrees Celsius, count number of chirps in 25 seconds, divide by 3, then add 4 to get temperature.

Example: 48 chirps /(divided by) 3 + 4 = 20° C
Fish 09:39 AM 06-09-2012
Alzheimer's vaccine trial a success

6 June

A study led by Karolinska Institutet reports for the first time the positive effects of an active vaccine against Alzheimer's disease. The new vaccine, CAD106, can prove a breakthrough in the search for a cure for this seriously debilitating dementia disease. The study is published in the distinguished scientific journal Lancet Neurology.

Alzheimer's disease is a complex neurological dementia disease that is the cause of much human suffering and a great cost to society. According to the World Health Organisation, dementia is the fastest growing global health epidemic of our age. The prevailing hypothesis about its cause involves APP (amyloid precursor protein), a protein that resides in the outer membrane of nerve cells and that, instead of being broken down, form a harmful substance called beta-amyloid, which accumulates as plaques and kills brain cells.

There is currently no cure for Alzheimer's disease, and the medicines in use can only mitigate the symptoms. In the hunt for a cure, scientists are following several avenues of attack, of which vaccination is currently the most popular. The first human vaccination study, which was done almost a decade ago, revealed too many adverse reactions and was discontinued. The vaccine used in that study activated certain white blood cells (T cells), which started to attack the body's own brain tissue.

The new treatment, which is presented in Lancet Neurology, involves active immunisation, using a type of vaccine designed to trigger the body's immune defence against beta-amyloid. In this second clinical trial on humans, the vaccine was modified to affect only the harmful beta-amyloid. The researchers found that 80 per cent of the patients involved in the trials developed their own protective antibodies against beta-amyloid without suffering any side-effects over the three years of the study. The researchers believe that this suggests that the CAD106 vaccine is a tolerable treatment for patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's. Larger trials must now be conducted to confirm the CAD106 vaccine's efficacy.

The study was carried out by Professor Bengt Winblad at Karolinska Institutet's Alzheimer's Disease Research Centre in Huddinge and leading neurologists in the Swedish Brain Power network: consultant Niels Andreasen from Karolinska University Hospital, Huddinge; Professor Lennart Minthon from the MAS University Hospital, Malmö; and Professor Kaj Blennow from the Sahlgrenska Academy, Gothenburg. The study was financed by Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis.
Fish 09:45 AM 06-09-2012
Moth Blocks Bat Attack by Jamming Sonar

Navy engineers aren’t the only ones who can jam sonar. Scientists have discovered a species of tiger moth that thwarts hungry bats by emitting extra-loud clicks to block the bats’ ability to echolocate.

Researchers have long known that some species of moths send out clicks in response to bat sonar, but until now, no one has been able to prove that the clicks actually interfere with echolocation. “The idea of a jamming mechanism has been thrown around for 50 years, but nobody has really put a moth and a bat together in a flight room to see what happens,” said ecology graduate student Aaron Corcoran of Wake Forest University, co-author of the study published Thursday in Science.

Corcoran and his colleagues pitted a particularly noisy species of tiger moth, the Bertholdia trigona, against big brown bats trained to hunt in a flight room. As long as the moths were able to click, the bats couldn’t catch them, even though the moths were tethered on a string.

But when the scientists pierced a small hole in the moths’ sound-producing structures, called tymbals, the silenced moths quickly became lunch.

“It’s the first good, solid case of this going on,” said insect behavior expert James Fullard of the University of Toronto at Mississauga, who was not involved in the study. “For this bat and this moth, it looks pretty convincing that jamming is what’s going on.”

Not all clicking moths can jam sonar, Fullard said, and that’s part of what makes this discovery so exciting. Previous research revealed that two other varieties of tiger moth make clicks that are too quiet to interfere with bat echolocation. Instead, he said, these moths likely use the clicks as a warning: Because most moths that click back at bats are poisonous, scientists think the noise may communicate, “Don’t eat me, I taste bad.”

But B. trigona isn’t poisonous, and the Wake Forest researchers experimented with young bats that had no prior exposure to clicking moths, so they hadn’t already learned to equate clicking with a bad taste. Nor did it seem like the bats were just startled by the clicking moths. Even after multiple attempts on multiple nights, the bats still couldn’t catch the intact B. trigona.

“Mammals habituate to startle rather quickly,” Corcoran said. “We went through seven days of trials, but the bats never habituated. They were put off by the clicks right away and throughout the whole experiment.”

The researchers haven’t yet proven how the moth’s sonar-jamming mechanism works, but they have two leading hypotheses: The moth’s clicks may act as false echoes, essentially making the bat “see” double, or they may interrupt the bat’s own echoes, making its prey appear closer than it is.

Unlike other moths, B. trigona appears to be particularly suited for jamming sonar because it can make up to 4,500 clicks per second. Near-constant noise is important because it prevents a bat from hearing the echoes of its own sonar clicks.

“If the timing is just right, if a click arrives in the two millisecond window shortly before the arrival of a real echo, it’s going to throw off the ranging software of the bat,” said echolocation expert Bill Conner, who led the project. “That’s why this animal, we think, evolved sounds that cover all of acoustic time. If you listen to the recordings, the moths produce clicks all of the time, and that greatly increases the probability that some clicks will fall into that precise time window.”

The group first spotted the noisy B. trigona in a cloud forest in Ecuador, but they were particularly excited to discover the moth as far north as Arizona. To search for evidence of sonar jamming outside the lab, the researchers have now set up a field station in the Chiricahua National Monument of southeast Arizona, where 18 species of bats interact with more than 30 kinds of tiger moths, including B. trigona.

“There will always be some researchers who will say, ‘Well you’ve proven that you can jam sonar in the laboratory, but does it really happen in the field?’” Conner said. “That’s the reason for the follow-up.”
Braincase 09:46 AM 06-09-2012
Good week... wife just filed for a new provisional patent on a new type of medical device. Could revolutionize spine procedures and have non-medical implications as well. I'm proud!
Rausch 10:31 AM 06-09-2012
Originally Posted by Braincase:
Good week... wife just filed for a new provisional patent on a new type of medical device. Could revolutionize spine procedures and have non-medical implications as well. I'm proud!

Imagination and discovery.


A black physicist arguing for more funding from a black president?

This is why we're a great nation. Nationality, ethnicity, race, none of these matter.



These matter.

This is our heart, our soul, our purpose.

Exploration is what we are...
TrebMaxx 12:22 PM 06-09-2012
Originally Posted by ReynardMuldrake:
Glad this was posted. Just set a reminder on my calendar!
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