Excitement mounts over a possible new particle, 72 hours of science yields insight into how good things spread, and the unveiling of a new mission to build an interstellar probe from billionaire Yuri Milner and Stephen Hawking were among this week's physics highlights.
Me at Gizmodo:
The Best Little Brain Reader Your Money Can't Buy (Yet). "Let’s be honest: it would be really cool to have a wearable personal brain-computer interface (BCI) that would monitor your brain waves while you do all your favorite activities. Not to mention being able to operate smart phone apps using your thoughts alone. That day is closer than you think. Meet the BrainStation—your brain interface for everyday life. The creation of a company called Neuroverse, it’s basically a FitBit for your brain."
Related: My first Facebook Live for Gizmodo: chatting with Neuroverse CEO Ricardo Gil-da-Costa about the BrainStation wireless BCI. Side note: I first met Ricardo years ago during my stint as director of the Science & Entertainment Exchange. I've been following the developments of this research ever since, so it's personally deeply satisfying to finally be able to report on the progress.
When Things Go Viral and Everybody Wins (On Beneficial Epidemics and Why We Can Totes Make "Fetch" Happen). "An intrepid team of postdocs at the Santa Fe Institute pulled off a hell of a feat last week. They gleaned some useful insights into how fads, technology, and new words spread rapidly throughout the population—even faster than a deadly virus. And they did it all in just 72 hours."
Humans Can Still Do One Thing Better Than AI. "Google’s AlphaGo computer may have bested a human in four out of five matches last month, but human beings still excel when it comes to intuitive leaps in problem solving. That’s the conclusion of a new paper in Nature by Danish scientists. Blending the two approaches yields the best of both worlds—a marriage of man and machine. Even better: the researchers made this surprising discovery by getting people to play online games."
These Embroidered Antennas and Circuits Are Perfect for Wearable Electronics. "Some day soon your favorite shirt could serve as an antenna for your smartphone. Armed with a sewing machine, fine silver wires, and a new patented fabrication technique, scientists at the Ohio State University have created embroidered antennas and circuits that seem destined to be a hot trend in so-called “e-textiles.” [Image: Jo McCulty/The Ohio State University]
Why Discovering a New Particle Would Be Such a Huge Deal. "When physicists at the Large Hadron Collider announced the detection of a possible, unexpected new particle last December, we advised caution, since most such hints go away when more data comes in. We won’t know for sure until this summer whether it’s real, or just random noise in the data masquerading as a signal. While we’re waiting, physicist David Kaplan lays out all the science for you in a new video for Quanta."
Neuropsychologist Has a Secret Life as a Bullwhip-Cracking Stuntwoman (plus, The Physics of Whip-Cracking). "Indiana Jones proved just how useful a good bullwhip can be, both as a tool and as a weapon, but people are still surprised when neuropsychologist Jessica Cail tells them that one of her favorite hobbies is practicing whip-cracking. She talks about this peculiar sideline in the latest installment of the NOVA video series, Secret Life of Scientists."
The Brazil Nut Effect Is More Complicated Than You Think. "We’ve all experienced that moment of dismay when we open a fresh can of mixed nuts, only to find loathed Brazil nuts at the top of the heap, with the tasty cashews and trusty peanuts all the way down at the bottom. It’s called the Brazil Nut Effect. There’s well-known physics behind why this happens, but it’s a lot more complicated than you might think."
Now There's Video of BB-8's Surprise Visit to NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab. "Remember when we shared those fantastic photographs of BB-8 visiting NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab? (That’s the adorable rolling droid from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, for anyone who’s been living under a rock the last few months.) Now the folks at Disney have released the video footage from BB-8's visit, whereby the plucky little droid meets Maggie, the twin sister of the Mars Curiosity rover, and 'chats' with a JPL scientist."
Other Cool Links:
Canadian prime minister schools journalist in how quantum computing works during announcement of a new $50 million grant to the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Ontario. Seriously, could Justin Trudeau get any cooler? Related: Trudeau lauds Perimeter’s ‘cutting-edge research.’
Russian billionaire Yuri Milner and Stephen Hawking want to build an interstellar starcraft. Here's a look inside this new interstellar mission. Hawking said that An Interstellar Space Mission Will Bring Benefits to People's Lives on Earth. Hawking's Interstellar Starship Would Revolutionize the Search for Alien Life. But Is Hawking's interstellar 'starshot' possible? Not yet, but experts say it's an exciting start. Launching Yuri Milner's Interstellar Nanocraft Won't Be Easy. Also, Why Is Stephen Hawking Suddenly So Cool With Aliens Now?
The Far-Out Summit Where Geniuses Learn to Build Starships.
Kepler Is Saved! How NASA Used Its Deep Space Network to Avert Catastrophe.
Debate Intensifies Over Dark Disk Theory.
Does Quantum Weirdness Arise When Parallel Classical Worlds Repel?
How We'll Finally Wind Up Testing Quantum Gravity.
All it takes is one (very carefully located) atom to make a magnet. Individual atoms of holmium retain magnetic memories for 24 minutes near 0 degrees Kelvin.
Ultrasound Data Transmission Through Meat Is Fast Enough To Watch HD Movies.
Ever Wonder What An Emerg Depressurization Alarm On The ISS Sounds Like?
Astronomers Found Evidence for Exoplanets 100 Years Ago and Didn’t Know It.
Art draws out the beauty of physics as labs around the world open their doors to aesthetic creation. Per Symmetry: "When it comes to quantum mechanics, it’s easier to show than tell. That’s why artist residencies at particle physics labs play an important part in conveying their stories." [Image: Symmetry Magazine]
Watch SpaceX Land Their Rocket In Glorious 4K Resolution. Here's Why the sea landing is such a big deal: the first stage accounts for 70% of $60m cost of Falcon 9. Related: SpaceX, That Vision Thing, and Mars: Safely landing a first-stage rocket on a ship opens up "cheap" orbital space, but also shows a path to Mars. Also: The Next 6 Milestones in the Commercial Space Race. And remember, Without NASA there would be no SpaceX and its brilliant boat landing.
Nanotubes Self-Assemble Into Wires With a Blast From a Tesla Coil.
This chip is hardwired to make mistakes but could help computers understand the world.
You might still be a simple bacterium, if not for magnetism.
The Physics of That Crazy Ricochet Hole in One at the Masters.
The secret ingredient to a super speedy fastball isn't the pitcher's arm.
The Math Wizard Behind the Golden State Warriors' Record 73 Wins.
Truly Interesting Animation Breaks Down the Story Behind Zero and Why It's So Important. Is zero really a number? How did it come about? Hannah Fry tells the story of how zero went from nothing to something.
Golden State and the Mathematical Magic of Seventy-Three.
Scientists Finally Made Carbyne—a Material Stronger Than Graphene—That Lasts.
Graphene-coated solar panels could create electricity from raindrops.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to Quantum Field Theory.
The Biggest Problem With The Expanding Universe Might Be Trouble For Dark Energy.
An international team of physicists has directly observed some unique characteristics of a superconductor for the first time.
What will scientists name the newest elements? Here’s what we know.
Watch an artificial-intelligence algorithm clean up pixelated video to make it look the way it thinks it should.
Can Science Shorten (or Eliminate) NASCAR Rain Delays?
How Quickly Did the Crew of Apollo 13 Know They Had Lost the Moon?
Obama to Shine Light on Unsung Hero of Astronomy: Henrietta Swan Leavitt.
Hear What It Sounds Like When Philosopher Daniel Dennett’s Brain Activity Gets Turned into Music.
Story Of Your Life Could Be One of the Year's Most Magical Films. A linguist and a theoretical physicist are the stars of the latest movie from the director of Sicario and the upcoming Blade Runner 2.
Stunning photos by an Iranian physicist capture the Iran outsiders never get to see. Per Quartz: "Mohammad Reza Domiri Ganji is a 25-year-old Iranian physics student. But he spends his free time obsessing over how to make photos that will reveal Iran’s architectural heritage and natural beauty to the rest of the world." [Image: Tomb of Cyrus the Great, Pasargadae. Credit: Mohammad Reza Domiri Ganji.]
Mysterious Alignment Of Black Holes Puzzles Astronomers.
Packing Heat: The World Of Sphere Packing Mathematics Is On Fire.
The Man Who Discovered the Sun’s Puzzling Heat Is Being Forgotten.
The Story of the Davy Lamp and Tsar's Cup.
How a Hypothesis Can Be Neither True Nor False.
Have we become too reliant on GPS? This satellite expert thinks so.
The Beautiful Complexity of the Cosmic Web: A 3D interactive visualization lets users explore the vast, hidden structure of the universe.
The Bad Astronomer weighed in with this week with A Tale of Three Jupiters. Part 1: The rogue one: A hot young solitary exoplanet has been found in the Sun's neighborhood. Part 2: Jupiter's Doppelgänger? Part 3: Tatooine has two suns, but a new exoplanet does it one better: It's in a trinary system. Part 4: The Ghost of Jupiter may have been shaped by the ghost of a Jupiter.
Can we sense invisible magnetic fields?
Fukushima Is Now Home To Radioactive Wild Boars.
High-end fashion and mathematics collide in Fashematics.
Can You Solve the Bridge Riddle? Use the power of logic to escape zombies.
Math as Poetry: The solution of the cubic equation, in terza rima.
This Website Is Using Math to Create Every Possible Patent.
Moore's Law and the Future of Solid-State Electronics: Don't give up on faster-better-cheaper computing quite yet.
It’s Time These Ancient Women Scientists Get Their Due.
The Liver of Piacenza: The entire known universe of the ancient Etruscans is held inside this bronze model of a sheep’s liver.
Baking better bread…with ultrasound.
Learn more about "Atomic Artist" Alyce Rothlein Simon.
Introducing the SPOT effect: “Spontaneous Preference for their Own Theories.”
Now your American Girl can also be “Astronomer Girl” thanks to this awesome science fair set.
Vsauce Explains How to Count Past Infinity and Why 40 Is the Biggest Number.