Tag Archives: science


These new maps show the shocking amount of plastic in our oceans

We’ve all heard the horror stories from seafaring folks in recent years: days and days out at see without seeing any life – aquatic or otherwise. Instead coming across huge piles of sea junk in the middle of the ocean. Or closer to home, gobs if it washed ashore. Humans are going about polluting the planet as though our lives depended on it, though realistically the exact opposite is much closer to the truth. That said, the debris of humanity floating in the oceans can be pretty easy to ignore, especially if you’re not out on a boat in the middle of the ocean, or otherwise able to see the stuff.
National Geographic recently put out these awesome maps that offer visual representations of the location of so much of the plastic that we’ve dumped in the oceans, and it offers insight into just how much is out there based on the measured number of thousands of plastic items per square kilometer.
Frighteningly, the circles that represent more plastic are quite more numerous than you’d think if you’re just standing on the coast gazing out into the vast ocean.
But despite the staggering amount of plastic in our oceans, scientists say that there isn’t actually as much plastic as they would expect, given the exponential rise in plastic production since the 80’s, and they’re trying to figure out where it may have gone. And don’t go ahead and be all optimistic, it isn’t just vanishing into thin air (or water, as it were). They strongly suspect that small fish are consuming some of the tiniest pieces of plastic.
Before you tell me that you don’t really give two hoots about these little swimmers, I’ll remind you that many of the fish that humans consume – like tuna- nosh on these little guys for breakfast, so those tiny bits of plastic are making their way back up the food chain, and straight to you.

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Watch The Very Hungry Caterpillar tranform in 15,000 time-lapse photos

This is better than The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
The Oregon Zoo took 15,000 time-lapse photographs of the transformation of the Silverspot butterfly from caterpillar to chrysalis as part of its conservation programme for the creature.
The project follows the lifespan of the caterpillar from later summer, when the eggs are hatched in special jars to maintain humidity, to the winter ‘hibernation’  (‘diapause’ to be accurate) of the caterpillars in winter, through to their emergence in spring to feed on violet leaves and their growth and molting phases, right up to when they turn into pupae. Finally, the chrysalis is taken to the sort of idyllic meadow that we’d all like to start our lives in for emergence into the wild, as butterflies.
It’s a timelapse circle of life.

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There's no way you know these 5 facts about your brain

Well now here’s an infographic-y video that you just need to watch to believe. That is, of course, if your brain can handle it. That’s because – according to the video – our brains have shrunk by 10% and are likely being infected by a disease found in cats. called Toxoplasma Gondii.
Seriously. Cats are apparently a major problem with your brain.
I now know who to blame my lack of attention span, ADD, and oh hey look something shiny! A ball of yarn!

Curious questions answered by this video:

  • Why do we get headaches?
  • Are cats to blame for car accidents and / or depression?
  • Are our brains shrinking?
  • How do blackouts occur?
  • Do we all technically live in the past? (spoiler: yes.)


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6 terrifying things you probably don't know about space junk

Do you know the ‘most dangerous garment in history’ perhaps? Would you have guessed it to be an errant glove floating through space at 28,000 kph? That’s one quick glove.
But there’s a whole lot more than a glove out there in space. In fact, there are dozens of nuclear reactors, satellites, fuel rods, and lots of other scary stuff.
The film Gravity recently raised awareness of all this junk – we thought you deserved some really terrifying science to accompany it. This graphic is from I @#$ing Love Science – a page that will definitely make you smarter (just like Daily Genius!).

Terrifying Space Junk Facts

  • In 2005, at least 13 nuclear reactor fuel cores, 8 thermoelectric generators, and 32 nuclear reactors were known to be in Earth orbits below 1,700km.
  • The oldest debris still in orbit is Vanguard I, America’s second satellite, launched in 1958.
  • In 1965, during the first American space walk, Gemini 4 astronaut Edward White lost a glove. For a month, the glove stayed in orbit with a speed of 28,000 kph – making it the most dangerous garment out there.
  • A crash between a defunct Russian satellite and an Iridium Communications satellite in 2009 left around 1,500 pieces of junk whizzing around Earth at  7.8km per SECOND. Seriously.
  • At any particular time, there are an estimated ten million pieces of space junk. Gross.
  • More than 200 objects, most of which were bags of rubbish, were released by the Mir space station during its first 10 years of operation.

space junk

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Why NASA's gorgeous new warp drive ship will never work

There’s a new rendering making the rounds today. It’s of something that looks to be straight out of Star Trek. It’s gorgeous, looks realistic, and could be the future of space travel.
Except that it’s not. In fact, this method of travel may very well destroy parts of the galaxy.
That makes it a bit hard to explore – if you’re blowing things up as soon as you arrive. Anyway, let’s dive down into the issue(s).

The Warp Bubble

The new design comes after countless calculations and number-crunching by people light-years smarter than me. They’ve done an amazing job dreaming up a new way to get from one place in outer space to another. By harnessing a ‘warp bubble,’ we could all eventually travel at light speed to other places in the galaxy. We could boldly go where no one has gone before.
Here’s the rendering of the ‘IXS Enterprise’ – view more artwork in this Flickr gallery:
warp drive ship
The problem lies in the warp bubble.
The ship itself is incredible and I’d love to see it built. I’d love to see it fly. I’d love to fly in it, even. But the actual mode of transportation – the warp bubble – is fundamentally flawed. That’s because it relies upon a ‘x factor’ (not the TV show, but close) that we haven’t yet found or even know how it works.
In other words, it’s like saying I’m going to invent time travel and just need one last piece: a time machine.

I Want It To Work

So while this is obviously the early stages of development for warp drive, don’t get too excited about the rendering you see above. That being said, I really hope I’m wrong. I want this to be a reality just like you but am not getting my hopes up just yet.
For a deeper dive into why the warp drive ship won’t work, I’ve embedded a few key comments from this io9 article about the ship. Just FYI, ‘FTL’ means Faster-Than-Light.

Why It’s A Complete Load

ixs enterprise debate

Time To Blast An Entire Solar System

ixs enterprise debate

Can I Borrow Some ‘Material X?’

ixs enterprise debate

Time Travel FTW!

ixs enterprise debate

And Finally…

ixs enterprise debate

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Why do rainbows happen?

“Whoa. It’s like a double rainbow all the way.” That’s the famous meme-tastic quote from the video at the bottom of this post. But where do rainbows actually come from? Who makes them? Is there seriously some gold at the end of it?
Well, the answer is relatively simple. Spoiler alert: there’s no gold at the end of it. But there is some interesting science. It takes some water, sunlight, and your eyeballs to make a rainbow appear. That’s according to this terrific video done by SciShow on YouTube. They detail what it takes to create a rainbow anywhere in the world.
Now, enough with the learning. Watch this absurd video below of  a guy remarking on how awesome a double rainbow is.

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Everything You'll Ever Need To Know About Pluto's Five Moons

Poor Pluto. It may not be a ‘planet’ in the scientific definition anymore but it’s still a thing. Like, it exists. So, why not dazzle your friends at tonight’s cocktail party with some killer facts about Pluto and Pluto’s five moons.
That’s right. Five moons. Earth has just the one. And that one is filled with space bridges brought over by the Decepticons and Michael Bay.
This video is well done and doesn’t last too long. So get your thinkin’ cap on and start learning!

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Neil deGrasse Tyson: Bill Gates Wouldn't Bother Picking Up $45,000 Off The Ground

Ever wonder how rich the uber rich are? When it comes to the uber uber uber rich, Bill Gates is typically the first name that comes to mind. In a 2011 video, the always charismatic Neil deGrasse Tyson used Gates’ wealth as an example during a talk.
Tyson explained how rich Gates with a simple example:
If Tyson was walking down the street and saw a penny, he wouldn’t bother picking it up. If he saw a quarter, however, he would pick it up. He views that as a useful amount of money. Same probably goes for you as well, right?
If Gates was walking down the street and saw a quarter, he (in theory) would definitely not pick it up. In order to have the relatively same amount of money on the street that it would be worthwhile to him, Bill Gates would have to stumble across $45,000 on the ground. That’s the equivalent of a quarter ($0.25) to you and me.
Now how’s that for depressing? You’re welcome.

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