Me at Gizmodo:
Now We Know How Many Different Ways We Can Arrange 128 Tennis Balls. "Here’s a question worthy of the ball boy at Wimbledon: if you have 128 tennis balls packed into a container, how many different ways can you arrange them? Answer: 10250 — more than the entire number of subatomic particles in the universe. That’s the conclusion of a team of researchers at the University of Cambridge in England, as described in a recent paper in the journal Physical Review E."
'Chopsticks of Light' Reveal What Makes Spider Silk So Stretchy. "Spider silk is nature’s Kevlar. It’s stronger than steel, it’s waterproof, and you can stretch it as much as 30 to 40 percent before it snaps. Now biophysicists at Johns Hopkins University think they know the secret to spider silk’s remarkable elasticity: protein threads that serve as stretchy 'superstrings.' The researchers describe their work in a recent paper in the journal Nano Letters."
Rosetta's Comet Inspired These Paintings—And the Materials Used to Create Them. "Millions of people around the globe were enthralled when the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft successfully landed on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in November 2014. Artist Ekaterina Smirnova was one of them—so much so that she has created an entire series of giant watercolor paintings inspired by the comet." [Photo credit: Ekaterina Smirnova]
Swallow This 'Audiopill' At Your Own Risk To Get Your Rave On. "Here’s something for all you hardcore party animals: when you can’t get to the rave, you now have the option of the “Audiopill.” It’s a miniaturized sound system housed inside a plastic microcapsule that you can swallow to groove internally to those sweet beats. And yes, it’s as crazy dangerous as it sounds."
Watch What Happens When You Add Lithium to 7-Up. "What happens if you add metallic lithium to a glass of 7-Up? First it bubbles like Alka-Seltzer. Then it starts to heat up and boil. As it does so, the color changes: to green, yellowish-brown, and reddish brown, until it is pretty much black sludge. 'By the time I went to the lab, it looked like beer,' observes Sir Martyn Poliakoff, our host in this latest episode of The Periodic Table of Videos."
Celebrate Gravitational Waves With This Spiral-Patterned Soup Bowl. "Last week physicists finally succeeded in directly detecting gravitational waves, 100 years after Albert Einstein predicted them. Even before then, the phenomenon inspired modernist chef Nathan Myhrvold to design a unique soup bowl mimicking the pretty spiral patterns of these elusive ripples in the fabric of spacetime."
A Spinning Top Floating Inside a Smoke-Filled Bubble Looks Like Magic. "Bubbles, magnetic levitation, and gyroscopes — there’s tons of super-cool DIY physics at work in the Levitron. Created by Dustin Skye, it’s a spinning top floating in mid-air inside a smoke-filled bubble, all for your viewing pleasure."
Other Cool Links:
From Einstein’s Theory to Gravity’s Chirp: The path from a revolutionary set of equations to the detection of gravitational waves was strewn with obstacles and controversy, explains the physicist Daniel Kennefick — and the struggle continues. Related: The scientist who spotted the fateful signal—and let the cat out of the bag. Also related: LIGO’s black holes may have lived and died inside a huge star. Bonus: Can LIGO test Quantum Gravity? Tl;dr: Unlikely, but not impossible. At Forbes, Chad Orzel explained How Gravitational Waves Connect To Quantum Optics. And from FiveThirtyEight: What Happens Now That We Know Gravitational Waves Are Real?
It didn't take long for the conspiracy theorists to emerge: Truthers Think Gravity Waves Are a Hoax to Convince Us the World Is Round. Not related, but interesting: Young scientists poised to ride the gravitational wave. At Scientific American, Caleb Schaarf ponders Spacetime Ripples and the Human Condition: "we still starve and fight each other." SXS - the Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes - has a great writeup on gravitational waves with stunning visualizations. Finally, Gravitational Waves Set to Music Sounds So Stellar.
No, We're Not All Being Bathed In Deadly Radiation From Smartphones And Wi-Fi.
Inside the Artificial Universe That Creates Itself. A team of programmers has built a self-generating cosmos.
Scientists Propose "Death Star" Laser Defense Against Asteroids.
Casting a net for neutrinos: The KM3NeT experiment will catch the elusive particles using the Mediterranean Sea.
Space Is Cold, Vast, and Deadly. Humans Will Explore It Anyway.
NASA moving forward with WFIRST satellite, to study galaxies, dark energy, exoplanets, and more.
Is D-Wave’s quantum processor really 10⁸ times faster than a normal computer? Yes, but it's complicated.
Artist Pairs Wildlife With Geometry to Create Stunning, Lively Drawings. "Kerby Rosanes, a Phillipines-based illustrator, can see the geometry in almost anything. His latest series, 'Geometric Beasts,' combines abstract shapes with realistic animal bodies to create geometric hybrid fauna." [Image credit: Kerby Rosanes]
The Curious Case Of The Supernova Imposter.
The Director Of That Amazing Zero-G OK Go Video Tells Us How She Did It.
Astronomers Discover the Universe's Longest Known Stellar Eclipse (on July 16, 2186).
Physicist uses grant submissions to discover a universal law of procrastination.
A prize-winning “space archaeologist” needs your help finding looted archaeological sites.
Secrets in the Ice: Love notes and warning messages are buried in Earth’s frozen archive.
Physicists Test Classic Paradox 'Maxwell's Demon' with Beams of Light.
The Rules of Quantum Chess: "You don’t need to know quantum mechanics to play the game."
Could Aliens See Heat-Based Signs Of Life On Earth?
The Science of Star Wars: The Orbital Mechanics of Starkiller Base.
Science Explains Why Iceman's Power Would Burn Everything in Sight.
All The Surprisingly True Stuff In The 'Lost-In-Space Nigerian' Scam.
Why do Daytona 500 drivers tailgate at 200 mph? Physics.
The garrulous rise and quiet retreat of X-ray depilation.
Astronaut ice cream is a lie. "I think it’s very likely it never flew," says curator at Nat'l Air and Space Museum.
Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: The Story Behind Newton's Famous Metaphor for How Knowledge Progresses.
Einstein haughtily dismissed critical comments from a referee, only to eventually find out he was wrong.
The Remarkable Physics of Ants: Watch Them Turn into Fluids and Solids at Will.
Yes, there is a scientific device that measures lactation output.
Great Q&A with Mary K. Gaillard. The trailblazing female physicist recounts scientific accomplishments and painful memories of discrimination in telling her story, which she says has a happy ending.
A tale of two telescopes: Contrasting approaches in Hawaii and China.
If physicist Lisa Randall ruled the world: "I'd hold off colonising Mars—but ensure women get heard."
Erica Walker explores the diversity of Black mathematical experience in her book Beyond Banneker.
These Digital Artworks Depict the Impossible-to-Visualize Hypercube.
Can You Solve Alcuin's Puzzles? "Here begin the problems to sharpen the young."
The Technology That Helps Make Your Car More Aerodynamic? It’s Been Around Since The 1800s.
NASA just smashed its record for astronaut applications—18,000+.
Self-portrait (“view from the left eye”) by Ernst Mach (1886).
A tribute to Alexandre Grothendieck, with reminiscences from many mathematical luminaries. [PDF]
White House science chief, agency heads sound alarm on funding.
The latest Explanimator video from New Scientist explores the cryptic connection between space and time.
X-Ray Audio, A Documentary on Banned Rock & Roll Records Copied Onto Medical X-Rays in 1950s Russia.
We Can't Live Without Cosmos, An Oscar-Nominated Animated Short About Two Best Friends Training to Be Astronauts: