Yes, we know it's technically April Fool's Day, but Jen-Luc Piquant has never been a fan of this tradition, especially in the Internet era. So consider this week's roundup of links an April Fool's Day Free Zone--okay, except for The Time Isaac Asimov Clowned On Chemistry: a "masterful send-up of academic science writing." Because it's Asimov, ya'll. Bonus: in the tradition of Asimov, this marvelous April Fool's paper just got posted to arXiv: "A Neural Networks Approach to Predicting How Things Might Have Turned Out Had I Mustered the Nerve to Ask Barry Cottonfield to the Junior Prom Back in 1997." Author Eve Armstrong (of the University of California, San Diego) is our hero.
Quantum Questions Inspire New Math. In order to fully understand the quantum world, we may have to develop a new realm of mathematics.
Filming mosquitoes reveals new approach to flight. Mosquitos generate lift via 3 mechanisms, two of them new to us.
Atomic Spins Evade Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. New measurements revise the limits of quantum fuzziness.
Gravitational waves slow the spin of shape-shifting neutron star.
Can You Make A Quantum Superposition Of Cause And Effect?
Physicists try to rebuild the laws of heat and energy for processes at a quantum scale.
Spinning black holes could fling off clouds of dark matter particles.
Most of Mars' Air Was Lost to Space. It is clear now that a big fraction of the atmosphere of Mars was stripped away to space early in its history.
Can Physics Explain Wealth Inequality? Probably not, but let's indulge.
Want to understand infinity? Start with puff pastry.
Reshaping the Universe: VR Landscapes Explore Mind-Bending Geometry
Photos Reveal Hidden World of Underwater Caves. Dye experiments help Floridians understand their water supply.
The Algorithm Expanding the Science of Color. There is no natural way to place colors in order, and that makes comparing palettes difficult. One algorithm may change that.
What slime mold and online shoppers have in common: Trying to make good choices in a cold, hard world.
This Invisible Light Shows (Infrared) Us What Our Eyes Can't See.
Birds may ‘see’ the Earth’s magnetic field as it alters the quantum spin in electrons within proteins in their eyes.
Murder at Thermo Fisher Scientific. The 2012 hunt for Michelle Mockbee's killer emphasized detective skill over fingerprints.
Vantablack and VBx1, Blackest Materials Ever, Turn Objects into 2D Black Holes.
Squeezing out honey in space is just as weird as you'd hope.
The physics behind figure skating’s most difficult jump. "To land a quadruple jump, skaters have to take off with a huge amount of momentum, often propelling themselves upward by striking the ice with the toe pick."
The sight of the universe inspires wonder. The smell of it, though, might prompt other reactions.
This building hanging from an asteroid is absurd as a design—but let’s take it seriously for a second. Welcome to the Analemma tower and its half hour elevator rides.
Trump Leaves Science Jobs Vacant, Troubling Critics.
The Seven Sins of Statistical Misinterpretation: learn from the mistakes that people make.
Pouring Phosphorescent Ink into Water is a Sight Right Out of Skyfall.
Scientists use graphene to power 'electronic skin' that can feel.
Echoes of a Black Hole: Do ripples in space-time herald a new theory of gravity?
Explaining the east/west asymmetry of jet lag, using the math of coupled oscillators.
What does it take for NASA to model the extreme forces that spacecraft experience during launch?
Stephen Hawking Auditions New Voices With the Help of Felicity Jones, John Boyega, Lin-Manuel Miranda, More:
Mind-Blowing New Theory Connects Black Holes, Dark Matter, and Gravitational Waves.
Time, Randomness, and Correlations in a Quantum Model.
Millions of atoms entangled in record-breaking quantum tests, pushing spooky effect to larger scales than ever.
In search for unseen dark matter, physicists turn to shadow realm.
From gravity to the Higgs we're still waiting for new physics.
Why Doesn't Antimatter Anti-Gravitate?
AI, Quantum Computing Will Accelerate Materials Discovery. IBM’s Watson is already at work developing novel polymers. Related: Brush up on your quantum physics as the era of quantum computers is fast approaching.
Planet-sized 'waves' spotted in the Sun's atmosphere; may help researchers predict space weather.
Electrified sand could explain Titan’s odd backward-facing dunes.
In Hawaii, distant galaxies confront indigenous lands in quest for world's largest telescope.
This Is Why We Love Stories About Mars: they are "stories about those outsiders who are adjacent or near or new."
How an 18th Century Czech Monk Invented Electronic Music.
This Guy Made a NERF Gun That Breaks The Sound Barrier.
Nuclear giant Westinghouse files for bankruptcy after costs skyrocketed. Capital-intensive reactors in the US are $1 billion to $1.3 billion over budget. (See also my Gizmodo article from December 2015 on why the outlook for nuclear power in the US sucks.) Related: X-Energy Steps Into The Ring With Its Advanced Pebble Bed Modular Nuclear Reactor. Also: MIT has an unconventional plan to accelerate next-generation nuclear reactors. Scientists want to test plans for a transportable molten-salt reactor by piggybacking on their existing nuclear facility.
Remarkable nano art from Jonty Hurwitz: a tiny elephant that roams a fingerprint & tells a huge story.
New study shows how impacts generated Martian tsunamis.
Red Planet versus Dead Planet: Scientists Debate Next Destination for Astronauts in Space. Nearly a half-century after humans voyaged to the moon, NASA and private U.S. companies are once again setting their sights beyond low Earth orbit.
NASA’s new shapeshifting origami robot squeezes where others can’t.
Physicist Wants To Beam Solar Energy Back From Moon's Surface.
NASA artists face a daunting mission: Drawing planets no one can see. How data becomes a place.
Peter Higgs on knowledge, immortality and the future of physics.
"[During] the Cold War,a schoolteacher launched the Zambian Space Program with a dozen aspiring teen-age astronauts."
100 Years of Eclipse-Chasing Revealed in Quirky Pictures. Take a peek at these vintage images of eclipse viewing from around the world (including the event that made Einstein famous).
Cornell Professor Steven Strogatz Shares Beauty of Math with Students Traumatized by Subject.
John Baez derives a formula relating pi and the golden ratio.
A novel-length science fiction story illustrated with graphic-novel artwork that teaches statistics? Yes, please.
When a German retiree proved a famous long-standing mathematical conjecture, the response was underwhelming.
Mathematician Lillian Lieber on Infinity, Art, Science, and What It Takes to Be a Finite But Complete Human Being.
Logic Made Easy: there's inverse, converse, and, um, freeverse. Simple as that.
Found: The World’s Favorite Number. “My theory, which is not scientifically proven, is that we use round numbers to mean approximate things,” says Alex Bellos.
What Is Math Anxiety? “Math anxious people often just turn off... when anything mathematical is mentioned.”
The M.C. Escher Mirror Puzzle: Test Your Imagination & Concentration with an Artistic Brain Teaser.
Physicist David Bohm on creativity: “No really creative transformation can possibly be effected by human beings … unless they are in the creative state of mind that is generally sensitive to the differences that always exist between the observed fact and any preconceived ideas, however noble, beautiful, and magnificent they may seem to be.”
Einstein started a book club, and here's the reading list. What the beloved genius and his buddies discussed in the Olympia Academy is legendary.
Lines in the Sand: Artist Jim Denevan Turns Beaches into Temporary Geometric Artworks.
Defying Gravity. A physicist puts her passion into prose-- "Only the Longest Threads" by Tasneem Zehra Husain.
Cook My Meat, An Online Simulator That Calculates the Heat Transfer Through Various Kinds of Meats.
This evening I'll be on a panel at Wonder-Con in Anaheim, sponsored by Nerdist, chatting about the science of Mass Effect: Andromeda. So here's a nifty video by Science Fictional host Anthony Carboni covering one of the topics I'll likely be addressing. "In Mass Effect: Andromeda, heroes use biotic amps to get superpowers, allowing them to create protective barriers and lift objects with their minds to make everyone on the Hyperion think the ship is haunted. (Okay, we made that last part up.) But will we ever be able to use our brains for useful things like doing dishes -- or playing Mass Effect: Andromeda from the bathroom?"