Yesterday was my last as science editor at Gizmodo. It's been a wild ride the last year, with trials and judgements, bankruptcy, and sale to a new owner. Somehow we all managed to pull together and keep putting out great science stories in the midst of the chaos, and I'm confident those who remain will keep right on doing so. Jen-Luc Piquant will be taking a well-deserved vacation to Scotland later this month--binging on Outlander as preparation--and returning to freelancing after that. The cocktail party, as always, will remain. And here's a fresh batch of cool physics links to prove it.
Me at Gizmodo:
Another Psychological Study Fails the Reproducibility Test. "The field of psychology is currently in the midst of a kind of civil war, with one side claiming a widespread reproducibility crisis, and the other just as loudly proclaiming that concerns are greatly exaggerated. There’s certainly evidence for the former. Last year, a University of Virginia initiative called the Reproducibility Project repeated 100 experiments and failed to replicate fully one-third of them. Add yet another one to that list: a classic 30-year-old study concluding that people who smiled while holding a pen between their teeth thought cartoons were funnier."
Those Used Coffee Grounds Could Get the Lead Out of Your Water. "Those used coffee grounds you dump into the trash every morning might just help remove lead and mercury from drinking water one day, according to a new study by a team of Italian scientists."
X-Ray Images of Bird Feathers Hold the Secret to Dinosaur Colors. "Textbook illustrations and museum dioramas could soon be even more accurate in their depiction of the rich colors of long-extinct animals like dinosaurs. An international team of scientists used advanced X-ray imaging techniques to map out elements related to pigmentation in modern birds of prey, which they will use to reconstruct the likely color patterns of fossil specimens." [Image: N. Edwards et al./Scientific Reports]
How Venomous Creatures Can Kill You--Or One Day Save Your Life. "If you’ve ever been stung by a jellyfish while swimming in the ocean, you know firsthand the pain that a venomous creature can inflict, even if it doesn’t outright kill you. But scientists studying the chemical properties of venom might one day be able to develop therapeutic drugs that could save lives. That’s just one of many reasons that Hawaii-based marine biologist Christie Wilcox loves all these venomous little devils—so much so that she’s written an entire book about them, called Venomous: How Earth’s Deadliest Creatures Mastered Biochemistry."
It Would Cost a Whole Lot To Live on the Moon for One Year. "This week Elon Musk announced plans to plans to build a “self-sustaining city” on Mars. It’s a thrilling notion, although folks were quick to point out not just the technical challenges of accomplishing such a feat, but also the tremendous cost. Even living on the Moon for a year would be pretty pricey, as a new video makes clear."
This Amazonian Caterpillar Sports Donald Trump's Hair. "Did Donald Trump happen to lose one of his signature hairpieces in the Amazonian wilds of Peru? Wildlife photographer Jeff Cremer snapped this image of a caterpillar sporting the Republican candidate’s signature bright orange-yellow tufts of hair while on a scouting expedition in Peru."
Other Cool Links:
New Findings Muddy Understanding Of Dark Matter. Observations of rotating galaxies could be explained without including dark matter, which may require changes to prevailing theories. Related: Dark Matter Faces Its Biggest Challenge Of All. Also: An off-the-shelf lens is helping astrophysicists learn about dark matter.
Strange Dark Galaxy Puzzles Astrophysicists. The surprising discovery of a massive, Milky Way-size galaxy that is made of 99.99 percent dark matter has astronomers dreaming up new ideas about how galaxies form.
Using Mathematics to Repair a Masterpiece: new techniques can be used to revitalize a 650-year-old work of art.
Researchers have restored the first computer-generated music—made by Alan Turing in 1951.
This technology is about to revolutionize beer-making. The formation and collapse of tiny bubbles dramatically changes the chemistry, engineering, and cost of beer-making.
New Take on an Ancient Method Improves Way to Find Prime Numbers. The modified version of the sieve of Eratosthenes could accelerate computer calculations.
The Hunt for the Truest North: Many theories predict the existence of magnetic monopoles, but experiments have yet to see them.
Is the Universe the same in all directions? tl;dr: Yes. New study of the Planck data tests the Universe's isotropy.
Elon Musk unveils Mars colonization plan, but don't pack your bags just yet. Mars is not a Plan B. How Crazy Is Elon Musk’s Mission to Mars? Here's How To Fix The Big Problems With Elon Musk's Mars Spaceship. Elon Musk’s First Step to Mars Is Convincing Earth it's Worth Paying For. Is Elon Musk's Crazy Mars Plan Even Legal? Going to Mars is (relatively) easy; coming back is where it gets tricky. The top 7 ways a trip to Mars could kill you, illustrated.
This Is the Last Thing the Rosetta Spacecraft Saw Before It Died. Bonus: Once upon a time... mission complete. Farewell, Rosetta!
How to explain the "alien megastructure" star? A Hard analysis.
NASA Is Sinking Into the Ocean.
What the Frack is Going On? Is there any truth to the claim that fracking causes earthquakes?
Hubble Discovers New Evidence of Water Geysers on Europa. Related: Could Europa be Spewing Signs of Life? Also: Finding water on Europa is boring; we must look for life. The latest find on Jupiter’s moon Europa offers the potential to really look for life. It’s not time to shy away – and NASA needs to rise to the challenge.
How NASA Prevents Alien Life from Contaminating Earth—and Vice Versa.
Mercury Is More Earth-Like Than We Thought.
Tracking the eruptions of a star that’s shed 15 times the mass of the Sun.
How do you test whether a would-be astronaut is well-suited for space travel? Mary Roach on the origami test.
Mathematical Divination: Finding Pi With Nothing But Matchsticks and Graph paper.
New modular nuclear plants could be smaller, safer, easier to install—so when will they be built? U.K. government urged to swiftly get behind a safer form of carbon-free power.
Statements by CN Yang, Yifang Wang, David Gross and Ed Witten on whether China should build the next supercollider.
The Real Science Behind Mass Effect's Awesome Weaponry.
Is the time travel on TV series Timeless believable?
What 'Impossible Physics' Would Be Possible With Warp Drive?
The Large Hadron Collider is now producing about a billion proton-proton collisions per second.
Reykjavik turned off their street lamps so people could watch the Northern Lights.
How Do Photons Experience Time?
The Doctor Who Designed a Cipher Wheel to Decode Shakespeare.
The sexist response to a science book prize. After Andrea Wulf won the Royal Society’s highest honor for her book The Invention of Nature, a writer at The Guardian attributed it to a new fondness for “female-friendly” biographies among prize juries.
An “Infinitely Rich” Mathematician Turns 100.
Civil War Forensics: The death Stonewall Jackson and the fate of his left arm.
Operation Avalanche, A Movie About a Team of Filmmakers Trying to Fake the Moon Landing.
This 3D-Printed Jewelry Is Created From NASA’s Elevation Mapping Data.
How a Roller Coaster Can Help You Pass a Kidney Stone.
A Stunning Timelapse Revealing the Gorgeous Colors of Coral As Seen Through a Macro Lens.
Fish, Feathers, Phlegm, and Fluid: five new stories from the field of fluid dynamics that involve floating, preening, swimming, spitting and sneezing: