Hey, I wrote a short news article for New Scientist on Why the dark net is more resilient to attack than the internet. "The internet is amazingly robust, but like any complex network is still prone to the occasional failure. A new analysis using network theory explains why the dark net – the hidden underbelly of the regular internet, invisible to search engines – is less vulnerable to attacks. The lessons learned could help inform the design of more robust communications networks in the future."
This week kicked off with the annual Oscars telecast, so here's a nifty post on the value of an Oscar, and the science of sequels. "[O]ther than professional pride and bragging rights, what exactly is an Oscar worth? The answer is $3 million, according to an analysis by Edmund Helmer, a data analyst who maintains the blog BoxOfficeQuant."
Knots and quantum statistics predict a new type of quantum particle: the anyon.
Overhyped 'Miracle' Metal Hydrogen Miraculously ‘Disappears.' Per Gizmodo: "the team’s lead researcher, Isaac F. Silvera, told ScienceAlert that while testing the sample earlier this month, the diamonds holding it cracked. He told them the sample disappeared, because it was either very small, or had turned back to gas. But other scientists don’t believe that Silvera’s team had put forth sufficient evidence that they’d created metallic hydrogen at all."
The Quantum Storm Inside of a Superfluid. "The mini tornadoes that form in superfluids won’t send any cows flying through the air, but the scientists from Newcastle University behind a new study were surprised to see that these mini twisters can create quite a tangled storm."
Machine learning is bringing the cosmos into focus; training neural networks to identify galaxies.
That Crumpled Candy Wrapper Remembers What You Did. “'It’s the least understood phase of matter and probably the most common in a practical way,' Shmuel Rubinstein, one of the paper’s authors and a professor of applied physics at Harvard University, told Gizmodo. 'But disorder has more structure than we think.'”
New Scientist had a fascinating series exploring cosmic uncertainty: First, could quantum weirdness (eg entanglement) be even weirder? Second, Does time go both ways? A closer look at quantum theory reveals a surprising answer. Finally, Is the speed of light really constant? There's good reason to believe it might once have been faster – and may still be changing now.
Your weekend ponder: If there are an infinite number of parallel universes, some of them must be terrible places.
Gravitational waves: Going beyond LIGO. Plans are already afoot for future generations of detectors. Related: Dark energy vs. modified gravity: LIGO could help tell us whether gravitational waves move at the speed of light.
How to Use Dark Matter Detectors to Catch a Uranium Thief.
A Harvard physicist explains the problem with believing we live in a simulation.
The sheer smallness of the newly discovered TRAPPIST-1 system is remarkable. Related: First scans of Trappist1 system shows no sign of alien radio signals (but with weak limits). Also: A Capella Science is back with a spiffy science cover of "A Whole New World," featuring (among others) the divine Gia Mora, a.k.a. Einstein's Girl:
Physicists have made a new phase of matter called a time crystal—but what does that even mean?
Most of the lithium in your cell phone may have come from explosions on white dwarf stars.
Wireless Phone Charging Picks Up Steam. Newer technologies, growing consumer interest and adoption by gadget makers are breathing fresh air into the concept.
This Battery Runs on the Hidden Power of Estuaries: Freshwater-saltwater ecosystems could provide bountiful renewable energy.
Singing posters and talking shirts: Engineers turn objects into FM stations.
Researchers grow electronic rose complete with wires and supercapacitors. Taking advantage of natural plant physiology to grow electronics. Related: "Plants are an untapped resource when it comes to producing advanced materials, electronics, and energy technology."
Lasers illuminate the evolution of flight. "Firing lasers at [dinosaur] fossils continues to be a winning strategy for paleontologists."
Scientists have used lasers to analyse how the sound of Big Ben's "bongs" is created.
The Expanse is cool and all, but physics says you can’t knock an asteroid into the sun. Wired's Rhett Allain is such a buzzkill.
How Many Miles does Mario Run in 'Super Mario Bros'? "It turns out Mario is getting in some really great cardio during his quest to save Princess Peach."
How To Build a Universe: Our universe should be a formless fog of energy. Why isn’t it?
New Number Systems Seek Their Lost Primes: For centuries, mathematicians tried to solve problems by adding new values to the usual numbers. Now they’re investigating the unintended consequences of that tinkering.
The strange tale of John Wheeler's brilliant physics recruit at Princeton who ended up arrested for a poison scare.
Why We Love to Anthropomorphize Physics. "Sometimes the collision between physics and the cultural unconscious drops us into vast landscapes of the mythic. Nowhere is the cross-pollination more potent than the discovery of the Dark Universe."
NASA's MAVEN Discovers How Mars Lost Its Atmosphere.
Moon detectives are hunting precious data from the Apollo missions before it's lost forever.
Fast Radio Bursts Are Astronomy’s Next Big Thing. Although still mysterious, these quirky extragalactic signals are now poised to transform mainstream research.
Staring Down a Star in Search of Giant Rings. Astronomers will soon start looking at Beta Pictoris for 200 days without blinking to find out what's responsible for a mysterious series of dimmings.
Elon Musk Says He Wants To Send Two People Around The Moon By 2018 Related: SpaceX Plans to Send People to the Moon in 2018—Get the Facts. The proposed mission would see two private citizens make a loop around the moon, but the company has a few technical hurdles to clear first.
The Beauty of Uncertainty: How Heisenberg Invented Quantum Mechanics, Told in Jazz.
Claude Shannon, the Father of the Information Age, Turns 1100100.
Aqueous Roses and Liquid Blooms Photographed by Mark Mawson. Per Colossal: "In his latest photographic series, London-based photographer Mark Mawson takes us underwater to the epicenter of swirling vortexes and explosions of colorful dye." [Image: Mark Mawson]
Why Astronauts Burn Their Dirty Underwear: An interview with the guy responsible for dressing astronauts.
Modeling The Universe And The Polar Lights From Aristotle To Iowa.
Quantum Physics: What's The Best Way To Teach Schrödinger's Equation To A Teenager?
Optics basics: reflection. "Many interesting things can happen when light reflects off of a surface."
Notes on a Triangle: A brilliant ‘geometric ballet’ of sound, shape and symmetry on the theme of 180°.
Random Triangles and Pillow Problems for Insomniacs: Lewis Carroll wrote a book of math problems to combat sleepless nights.
It from Bit: Pioneering Physicist John Archibald Wheeler on Information, the Nature of Reality, and Why We Live in a Participatory Universe.
The Department of Defense wants to double down on renewables. As clean energy and environmental protection look set to suffer under Trump’s budget cuts, at least the military will do its bit to reduce emissions.
How the Fallout From Trump's Travel Ban is Reshaping Science: Researchers are cutting travel, ending collaborations, and rethinking US ties.
Do Scientists Lose Credibility When They Become Political? A new study suggests that, contrary to common fears, the answer is no.
Why scientists are standing up to Trump? Because that's what scientists do.
A Mathematical Approach to Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive.” The claim: “I’ve seen a million faces, and I’ve rocked them all.” Let’s examine this statistic.
The First Known Depiction of the Cosmos Adorns a 3,600-Year-Old Disk.
Super Cool Science Toys Replicate the Gravity of the Moon and Mars.
A Cleverly Designed Set of Stackable Planetary Rings That Form a Tiny Sterling Silver Solar System.
Finally, Ariel Waldman has a new YouTube channel and you can enjoy this new video offering: Snowflakes are awesome. It's snowing on Pluto. It's snowing on Mars. It's *ice-volcano* snowing on Io.