Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Good, The Bad, and the Algae


Source - NASA Science News for July 2, 2015

With support from NASA, the EPA has developed an app to track algae that can threaten fresh water supplies.

The complete article can be found here: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2015/26jun_algae/

A companion video is posted below and can also be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Wm3G8s8bxk



Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed)

Monday, June 29, 2015

Planets Converge for Sunset Sky Show


Source - Space Weather News for June 29, 2015: http://spaceweather.com

SUNSET SKY SHOW: The two brightest planets in the night sky are converging for a spectacular close encounter.  On June 30th, Jupiter and Venus will be just a fraction of a degree apart, forming a pair so bright that you can see them even before nightfall. Check http://spaceweather.com for observing tips and more.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Big Picture Science for Monday 29 June 2015 - What the Hack

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Big Picture Science - What the Hack

ENCORE: A computer virus that bombards you with pop-up ads is one thing. A computer virus that shuts down a city’s electric grid is another. Welcome to the new generation of cybercrime. Discover what it will take to protect our power, communication and transportation systems as scientists try to stay ahead of hackers in an ever-escalating game of cat and mouse.

The expert who helped decipher the centrifuge-destroying Stuxnet virus tells us what he thinks is next. Also convenience vs. vulnerability as we connect to the Internet of Everything. And, the journalist who wrote that Google was “making us stupid,” says automation is extracting an even higher toll: we’re losing basic skills. Such as how to fly airplanes.

Guests:

This encore podcast was first released on November 11, 2013.

Permalink: http://radio.seti.org/episodes/What_the_Hack

You can listen to this and other episodes at http://radio.seti.org/, and be sure to check out Blog Picture Science, the companion blog to the radio show.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Handprints on Hubble


Source - NASA Science News for June 26, 2015

As the Hubble Space Telescope celebrates its 25th anniversary, scientists are reflecting on the key role astronauts played in allowing the telescope to continue making great discoveries.

The complete article can be found here: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2015/26jun_handprints/

A companion video is posted below and can also be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9fYj1YCGJ0&feature=youtu.be



Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed)

Monday, June 22, 2015

Geomagnetic Storm Warning: June 22-23


Source - Space Weather News for June 22, 2015: http://spaceweather.com

GEOMAGNETIC STORM WARNING: A CME is heading directly for Earth, and it is expected to sweep up one or more lesser CMEs before it reaches our planet on June 22nd.  The combined impact is likely to spark polar geomagnetic storms and high-latitude auroras.   Visit http://spaceweather.com for more information and updates.

AURORA ALERTS:  Don't sleep through the auroras.  Get a phone call when geomagnetic storms are underway.  Space weather alerts are available from http://spaceweathertext.com (text) and http://spaceweatherphone.com (voice).

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Big Picture Science for Monday 22 June 2015 - Skeptic Check: Evolutionary Arms Race

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Big Picture Science - Skeptic Check: Evolutionary Arms Race

ENCORE: It’s hard to imagine the twists and turns of evolution that gave rise to Homo Sapiens. After all, it required geologic time, and the existence of many long-gone species that were once close relatives. That may be one reason why – according to a recent poll – one-third of all Americans reject the theory of evolution. They prefer to believe that humans and other living organisms have existed in their current form since the beginning of time.

But if you’ve ever been sick, you’ve been the victim of evolution on a very observable time scale. Nasty viruses and bacteria take full advantage of evolutionary forces to adapt to new hosts. And they can do it quickly.

Discover how comparing the deadly 1918 flu virus with variants today may help us prevent the next pandemic. Also, while antibiotic resistance is threatening to become a major health crisis, better understanding of how bacteria evolve their defenses against our drugs may help us out.

And the geneticist who sequenced the Neanderthal genome says yes, our hirsute neighbors co-mingled with humans.

It’s Skeptic Check … but don’t take our word for it!

Guests:

This encore podcast was first released on March 31, 2014.

Permalink: http://radio.seti.org/episodes/Skeptic_Check_Evolutionary_Arms_Race

You can listen to this and other episodes at http://radio.seti.org/, and be sure to check out Blog Picture Science, the companion blog to the radio show.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Incoming CME could spark solstice auroras


Source - Space Weather News for June 19, 2015: http://spaceweather.com

SOLSTICE AURORA WATCH: On June 18th, the sun produced its biggest flare in nearly two months.  The M3-class explosion caused a brief low-frequency radio blackout over North America and hurled a CME into space.  A glancing blow from the CME is likely on June 21st , possibly sparking a geomagnetic storm and solstice auroras.  Check http://spaceweather.com for updates.

SUNSET PLANETS:  When sun goes down tonight, step outside and look west.  Venus, Jupiter and the crescent Moon are having a lovely conjunction in the sunset sky.  Photos @ http://spaceweathergallery.com

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Big Picture Science for Monday 15 June 2015 - It's All Relative

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Big Picture Science - It's All Relative

A century ago, Albert Einstein rewrote our understanding of physics with his Theory of General Relativity. Our intuitive ideas about space, time, mass, and gravity turned out to be wrong.

Find out how this masterwork changed our understanding of how the universe works and why you can thank Einstein whenever you turn on your GPS.

Also, high-profile experiments looking for gravitational waves and for black holes will put the theories of the German genius to the test – will they pass?

And why the story of a box, a Geiger counter, and a zombie cat made Einstein and his friend Erwin Schrödinger uneasy about the quantum physics revolution.

Guests:

Permalink: http://radio.seti.org/episodes/It_s_All_Relative

You can listen to this and other episodes at http://radio.seti.org/, and be sure to check out Blog Picture Science, the companion blog to the radio show.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Amazing Sunset Sky Show


Source - NASA Science News for June 11, 2015

Venus and Jupiter are converging for a must-see close encounter at the end of June. It could be the best backyard sky show of 2015.

The complete article can be found here: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2015/11jun_skyshow/

A companion video is posted below and can also be viewed at: http://youtu.be/_ppuCZR8Mkw



Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed)

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Noctilucent Clouds Reach the USA


Source - Space Weather News for June 10, 2015: http://spaceweather.com

NOCTILUCENT CLOUDS REACH THE USA: The northern season for noctilucent clouds began on May 19th when NASA's AIM spacecraft spotted a patch of electric blue over the Arctic Circle. Since then the clouds have been spreading south. This week, for the first time in 2015, they crossed the border into the lower 48 US states.  Seeded by meteoroids and floating near the edge of space, these eerie-looking clouds are increasingly visible to mid-latitude observers, possibly as a result of climate change. 

Check today's edition of http://spaceweather.com for the latest sightings and observing tips.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Big Picture Science for Monday 08 June 2015 - And To Space We Return

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Big Picture Science - And To Space We Return

Earth may be the cradle of life, but our bodies are filled with materials cooked up billions of years ago in the scorching centers of stars. As Carl Sagan said, “We are all stardust.” We came from space, and some say it is to space we will return.

Discover an astronomer’s quest to track down remains of these ancient chemical kitchens. Plus, a scientist who says that it’s in our DNA to explore – and not just the nearby worlds of the solar system, but perhaps far beyond.

But would be still be human when we arrive? Hear what biological and cultural changes we might undergo in a multi-generational interstellar voyage.

Guests:

Permalink: http://radio.seti.org/episodes/And_To_Space_We_Return

You can listen to this and other episodes at http://radio.seti.org/, and be sure to check out Blog Picture Science, the companion blog to the radio show.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Meteor Shower in Broad Daylight


Source - Space Weather News for June 4, 2015: http://spaceweather.com

Earth is entering a stream of debris from an unknown comet, and this is causing one of the most intense meteor showers of the year.  Ironically, most sky watchers won't notice because the shower peaks in broad daylight.  We only know it's happening because a radar in Canada is picking up echoes from meteoroids streaking through the blue sky overhead.  Astronomers call these meteors "Arietids" because they emerge from the constellation Aries not far from the June sun. 

For observing tips on how you might be able to see earthgrazing Arietids just before sunrise in the mornings ahead, visit http://spaceweather.com

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Big Picture Science for Monday 01 June 2015 - Math’s Days are Numbered

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Big Picture Science - Math’s Days are Numbered

ENCORE: Imagine a world without algebra. We can hear the sound of school children applauding. What practical use are parametric equations and polynomials, anyway? Even some scholars argue that algebra is the Latin of today, and should be dropped from the mandatory curriculum.

But why stop there? Maybe we should do away with math classes altogether.

An astronomer says he’d be out of work: we can all forget about understanding the origins of the universe, the cycles of the moon and how to communicate with alien life. Also, no math = no cybersecurity + hackers (who have taken math) will have the upper hand.

Also, without mathematics, you’ll laugh < you do now. The Simpsons creator Matt Groening has peppered his animated show with hidden math jokes.

And why mathematics = love.

Guests:

This encore podcast was first released on December 2, 2013.

Permalink: http://radio.seti.org/episodes/Math_s_Days_Are_Numbered

You can listen to this and other episodes at http://radio.seti.org/, and be sure to check out Blog Picture Science, the companion blog to the radio show.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Unusual Radar Echoes Detected as Noctilucent Clouds Intensify


Source - Space Weather News for May 28, 2015: http://spaceweather.com

Last week, Earth-orbiting satellites detected the first noctilucent clouds of the 2015 season.  Now people on Earth are seeing them, too.  Photographers in Scotland recorded a fairly bright display of the electric-blue clouds on May 28th.  At the same time, radars have detected intense echoes coming from the "noctilucent zone" 80 km to 90 km above Earth's surface--possibly coming from the clouds themselves. 

Check http://spaceweather.com for more information and observing tips to help readers see NLCs for themselves in the weeks ahead.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Big Picture Science for Monday 25 May 2015 - Skeptic Check: After the Hereafter

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Big Picture Science - Skeptic Check: After the Hereafter

There are few enduring truths, but one is that no one gets out of life alive. What’s less certain is what comes next. Does everything stop with death, or are we transported to another plane of existence? First-hand accounts of people who claim to have visited heaven are offered as proof of an afterlife. Now the author of one bestseller admits that his story was fabricated.

We’ll look at the genre of “heaven tourism” to see if it has anything to say about the possible existence of the hereafter, and why the idea of an afterlife seriously influences how we live our lives on Earth.

Also, a neurologist describes what is going on in the brain during near-death and other out-of-body experiences.

It’s Skeptic Check, our monthly look at critical thinking … but don’t take our word for it!

Guests:

Permalink: http://radio.seti.org/episodes/Skeptic_Check_After_the_Hereafter

You can listen to this and other episodes at http://radio.seti.org/, and be sure to check out Blog Picture Science, the companion blog to the radio show.