Jen-Luc Piquant is currently in Banff, Canada, soaking up intense discussions among physicists about the nature of events and observers in quantum mechanics--all part of the 2016 FQXI conference. But she still managed to compile a few links for you all. Rumors of a new exoplanet less than five light years from Earth, more evidence for Hawking radiation, and the physics of cellular traffic jams were among this week's physics highlights.
Me at Gizmodo:
Not gonna lie, it's been a pretty intense week at Gizmodo and all the other blogs under the Gawker Media umbrella. We'll now be operating under new ownership: Univision. But otherwise it's just business as usual, bringing you lots of sciency goodness.
We're One Step Closer To Proving Black Holes Evaporate. "In the 1970s, Stephen Hawking made an audacious prediction that black holes aren’t totally black; they evaporate over time, emitting tiny amounts of radiation in the process. Now Israeli physicists have reported the strongest evidence to date that Hawking was right in a new paper in Nature Physics."
We Are All Intuitive Physicists, Scientists Say. "Most of us are pretty good at acting on the fly: swerving to avoid an obstacle in the road, ducking to keep from being hit, or reflexively catching a fly ball. We can do this because the brain is constantly running simulations of the physics involved as we scan our environment, according to a new series of brain imaging studies."
The Science of How and Why We Swear. "When President Obama signed the legislation for health care reform in 2010, his salty vice president, Joe Biden, was caught on tape telling his commander-in-chief, “This is a big fucking deal.” It made headlines, even though it should shock nobody that hey—sometimes politicians swear, just like the rest of us. Benjamin Bergen, a cognitive scientist at the University of California, San Diego, explores the many facets of how and why we curse in his new book, What the F: What Swearing Reveals About Our Language, Our Brains, and Ourselves."
How Luna Moths Use Sound Waves for Camouflage. "Some butterfly species sport striking patterns on their wings which they use to visually camouflage themselves from predators. But the luna moth is a nocturnal creature. Scientists have suggested that the unique twisty tails of these moths help throw off predators like bats that rely on sound to hunt and navigate—a kind of acoustic camouflage."
What a Scan of Sting's Brain Teaches Us About Music. "The puns, they almost write themselves. A cognitive psychologist at McGill University has scanned the brain of Grammy-winning musician Sting to glean insight into how creative people find connections between seemingly very different thoughts or sounds. The results were just published in Neurocase."
Academics Are Suckers for Clickbait, Too. "Believe it or not, people who write blog posts want you to read their work, and a proven strategy for getting somebody to read something is to give it a snappy title. It seems the same holds true for scholarly papers, at least in the field of psychology."
This Ink For Artists Is Made From Air Pollution. "We’ve been pouring carbon into our atmosphere for over 200 years, with potentially catastrophic consequences for the global climate. Now a start-up venture called Air Ink has found a good use for some of that extra carbon: a line of pens whose ink is made of recycled air pollution."
This Paper Calculator Adds Via a Series of Tubes. "Human beings have always created tools for calculating numbers, from the ancient abacus to today’s electronic calculators. But here’s an ingenious calculator drawn on paper—the creation of comic book artist Jason Shiga. And he and the folks at Numberphile have created an explanatory video of how it works."
Other Cool Links:
Researchers Unpack a Cellular Traffic Jam. The subtle mechanics of densely packed cells may help explain why some cancerous tumors stay put while others break off and spread through the body.
There were tons of science-y Olympics stories this week. Math and Physics Are the Stars of Track and Field. Pacing 101: Sprinters Should Start Fast; Everyone Else Should Finish Fast. Track cycling is a sport where speed is everything, and much of the resistance a rider has to overcome is aerodynamic drag. This Is Why There Are So Many Ties In Swimming. How Usain Bolt Came From Behind Again to Win Gold (Infographic). Long jump, like many track and field events, is affected by fluid dynamics in subtle ways. Unsteady aerodynamics in sailing, and why the "Rule 42" commentators talk about matters. How tech changed scoring in sports—nearly a century ago. The Connected Sum of Four Hopf Links: The mathematics of the Olympic rings.
Sound Science: Researchers Take Acoustic Levitation to a New Level.
How the curves of the massive Large Hadron Collider inspired one artist to create a series of paintings. "Artist Jonathan Feldschuh was so fascinated with the massive instrument’s physical beauty that he created a series of more than 40 paintings detailing the LHC’s various angles, patterns, and vantage points." [Image: Jonathan Feldschuh]
Scientists think they've found a fifth force of nature. What the heck are the other four?
The brightest explanation yet for a dark cosmic mystery is in trouble.
Scientists made see-through wooden windows that are cooler than glass.
Flying R2-D2, you are doing it wrong.
Science Question From a Kid: How much space does a fart take up? Somewhere between a bottle nail polish and a can of soda.
How Did The Universe Get Its First Supermassive Black Holes?
Why China's Quantum Satellite Is Incredible—And Will Surely Be Overhyped.
The Wikiverse Transforms Wikipedia Into a Star System and Lets You Explore.
Riding on a Beam of Light. Sailships: Our best shot at reaching the edge of the solar system and beyond.
Point: Mathematicians Are Overselling the Idea That "Math Is Everywhere." Counterpoint: The surprising beauty of mathematics: a talk by Jonathan Matte.
Rosetta's Path Around Comet 67P Looks Like a Bad Etch A Sketch.
Science: Where Finding Nothing Is The Biggest Victory Of All.
How Do You Test Nuclear Waste Safety? Crash A Rocket Truck Into A Wall.
Fermilab’s house photographer of almost 30 years shares four of his most iconic shots.
A look through the diaries of the first modern chemist, Robert Boyle FRS.
Why does the Star Trek franchise keep returning to its origins?
Taraji P. Henson is a barrier-busting NASA mathematician in trailer for Hidden Figures.
Captured Lightning: Electrons Follow Fractals Through Insulators.
Data-driven methodology to study the historical evolution of mathematical thinking.
An Easy Case of Feynman's Path Integrals.
Some Jokers Filmed a Fake ‘Human Sacrifice’ at CERN. CERN says it "does not condone" this kind of spoof.
UC Berkeley head resigns after criticism over response to sexual harassment. Chancellor Nicholas Dirks is the latest high-profile administrator to step down at the elite college, which has been at the center of several scandals.
Secret Science Nerd: Wu-Tang Clan's GZA is a True Genius.
National Geographic Just Cast the Perfect Actor As Albert Einstein.
Leonardo da Vinci's Life and Legacy, in a Vintage Pop-Up Book.
The museum of the future is strange, open, and innovative.
When Entropy Decreases: Here's What Life Looks Like In Reverse. "The video was made by Mark Hacks and shows things like watermelons unsmashing, towels being invisibly retrieved, patterns magically taking shape, and more."