” Pale green and vaguely ruffled, like calcified doilies, lichens grow all over the tombstones and the old stone walls that fringe properties in this part of the world. Most people barely notice them. But Dr. Pringle, a mycologist at Harvard, believes they may help answer one of science’s greatest questions: Is immortality biologically possible?”
You may have noticed that I’ve dusted off the Future of Science tumblr and started posting again. I think 2013 will be an exciting year for science - I’m looking forward to sharing the weird, creepy, awesome, amazing things I come across on here with you all!
Outside of Tumblr, more about me is at http://arielwaldman.com and you can also follow me on http://twitter.com/arielwaldman …and I’ve got some weird sea creatures & DIY space exploration boards to watch on http://pinterest.com/arielwaldman/.
“Helen Fricker, a member of the WISSARD team and a glaciologist at University of California, San Diego, said that scientists didn’t begin to understand the vastness of Antarctica’s subglacial water world until after the turn of the century. That hidden, subterranean realm has “incredibly interesting and probably never classified biology,” Fricker said.”
Source: National Geographic
“Really, though, the most exciting thing about quantum spin liquids is that they’re completely new, and thus we ultimately have no idea how they might eventually affect our world. “We have to get a more comprehensive understanding of the big picture,” Lee says. “There is no theory that describes everything that we’re seeing.””
“In other words, the goal isn’t to put a bioprinter in every home. Rather, the new software could open the technology up to a broader range of specialists, who could work together with Organovo to print the results. Which doesn’t sound very different from Staples’ new plan to allow customers to submit models for in-store 3-D printing.”
Science in the U.S. is slated for a devastating blow on January 2, 2013 when the debt deal Congress passed last year kicks in, implementing a 9% cut in science funding lasting until 2021. While university infrastructures will be hit hard, the cuts will put a chokehold on research funding, reducing grants and increasing competition for them. Yet, there’s hope. An alternative to federal funding recently launched named Petridish.org, a Kickstarter-esque startup that democratizes science funding by crowdsourcing it, providing a platform for researchers to pitch their science proposals directly to the public and allowing users to make scientific history by backing them. But is the public ready to engage science research so directly? I had a chance to chat with Matt Salzberg, Founder and CEO of Petridish, to find out.
“Petridish is building an audience of people who like science,” says Matt. “And it’s a really big draw to say, ‘I helped make this discovery happen.’ It seems so logical for something like this to exist.”
I’m totally over the moon about this: I’m featured in a TV spot airing on SyFy as part of their Let’s Imagine Greater campaign! You can catch it “live” on the SyFy channel this weekend: Saturday @ 6:13pm EST & Sunday @ 5:33pm EST. Or just check it out above!
SyFy’s tagline is “Let’s Imagine Greater” and this is part of a campaign to get everyone to imagine amazing things – and hopefully create them! This is very much in line with my work: Spacehack.org is about anyone being able to explore space and make scientific discoveries, and Science Hack Day is all about getting excited and making things with science. You can hear more about my story and some of my miscellaneous thoughts at my page on the Let’s Imagine Greater site.
The shoot was so much fun – I was acting out a lot of things on green screen, so it’s great to see how it all comes together in the end. I really loved filming on a set – I hope it’ll be the first of many.
More photos from the shoot are at http://flic.kr/s/aHsjz5pTM4.
Want to chat with me about imagining amazing-awesome-weird science-y things or how you can get involved as a spacehacker? Save the date: March 28, 4-5pm EST. I’ll be hosting a live TweetChat – follow @letsimaginegrtr and join the discussion at http://tweetchat.com/room/letsimaginegreater or by watching #letsimaginegreater.
Elusive molecules in the Earth’s atmosphere may be helping to cool the planet more efficiently than scientists previously thought, a new study suggests.
They are called Criegee intermediates, or Criegee biradicals (named after the German chemist Rudolf Criegee), and are short-lived molecules that form in the Earth’s atmosphere when ozone reacts with alkenes (a family of organic compounds). While scientists have known about the intermediates for decades, they haven’t been able to directly measure how the molecules react with other atmospheric compounds, such as the pollutants nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide, until now.
Researchers used a new method to create Criegee intermediates in the lab, and then reacted them with several atmospheric compounds. They found that the reactions with the pollutants could produce aerosols, tiny particles that reflect solar radiation back into space, much more quickly than previously assumed.
Your brain is home to around 100 billion neurons, all of which are perpetually establishing and breaking connections, known as synapses, with other neurons. There are trillions of these connections throughout your brain helping orchestrate everything from movement, to learning, to establishing and recalling memories.
But we still don’t understand how all the connections between those neurons work. Now researchers at MIT and Harvard have created a new computer chip model that could change that in a big way.
“We may see, in the next decade, an end to the search for the laws of physics,” the eminent physicist said. The Large Hadron Collider may well be the last of its kind—governments will probably balk at anything bigger. The James Webb Space Telescope has sucked the oxygen out of other projects and, even so, may be going the way of the Superconducting Supercollider. Elsewhere at the meeting, NASA indicated that major astrophysics missions may now occur only one every several decades. Little Science is in even bigger trouble. A National Science Foundation official told astronomers that there was only enough money this year to fund one in six grant proposals. Conversations over coffee (preferably, beer) routinely turn to the job vacuum that postdocs, in particular, face.”