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July 2010 Archives

RovingSM.jpg

Opportunity - one of two Mars rovers currently operating on Mars - is doing a great job in trekking towards the 22km (13.7 miles) in diameter Endeavour crater.

This cool image is from Sol 2312 (July 26) from the navigation camera, click on it to embiggen.

Weird Science Friday Links

By Daniel Smith on Jul 30, 10 03:45 PM

Bored at work? Counting down the hours to the weekend?

Then Weird Science can help (as long as the boss doesn't spot ya!).

Weird Science Friday Links give you a nudge towards stuff you'll hopefully find more diverting than the stack of papers in front of you!

Snow crystal and flakes.

Space farms could mine Moon minerals.

Earthquakes via Twitter.

Dust storms over the Red Sea.

MIT scientists split the Smithereen.

Reptiles won the land race

By Daniel Smith on Jul 30, 10 12:01 AM

Researchers today announced proof that reptiles were the first vertebrates to conquer dry land with the discovery of 318-million-year-old footprints.

The fossilised reptile footprints were found in sea-cliffs on the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick, Canada by Dr Howard Falcon-Lang of Royal Holloway, University of London.

The discovery proves the theory that reptiles were the first to make the continental interiors their home.

Pigs have feelings too

By Daniel Smith on Jul 29, 10 12:07 PM

Thumbnail image for pig.jpg

Pigs can feel optimistic and pessimistic according to how they are being treated, scientists have revealed.

Experts from Newcastle University's School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development found they were just as likely as humans to feel the glass was half empty or half full, depending on their living conditions, as hogs kept in piggy luxury were more likely to respond positively to a new experience than those in less stimulating pens.

The scientists hoped the research, which shows pigs are capable of feeling complex emotions, will have an impact on animal welfare.

Samurai umbrella

By Daniel Smith on Jul 29, 10 10:25 AM

This skirts product placement and it's been a while since we touched on design here at Weird Science, but boy do I want one of these!

Click here for the seller.

Make rocket go now...

By Daniel Smith on Jul 28, 10 03:00 PM

Spacecraft attempting to land on an unfamiliar surface need to perform a maneuver called "deep throttling" - a step that allows the vehicle to precisely throttle down to perform a smooth, controlled landing.

NASA's Common Extensible Cryogenic Engine recently completed the fourth and final series of hot-fire tests on a 15,000-pound thrust class cryogenic technology demonstrator rocket engine, increasing the throttling capability by 35 percent over previous tests

This test series demonstrated this engine could go from a thrust range of 104 percent power down to 5.9 percent. This equates to an unprecedented 17.6:1 deep-throttling capability, which means this cryogenic engine can quickly throttle up and down.

This all sounds very impressive, put it's also a very cool picture! Click to embiggen.

Old or young, beautiful or sinister - the choices are endless when designing an avatar or a virtual alter ego.

In the end, do people choose one that is really different from themselves? Usually not, according to new Concordia University research that shows in most cases, avatars reflect the personality of their creators.

The study has implications for real-life companies who would like to reach both the virtual and real-world markets.

Parents would rather their children asked them where babies come from than why the sky is blue, a poll suggests today.

The survey reveals many parents dread being asked science-based questions, with nearly one in five (18 per cent) hardly ever talking to their offspring about the subject.

Just a third (32 per cent) regularly talk to their children about how science works, explaining ideas such as why steam comes out of a boiling kettle.

Battling intolerance

By Daniel Smith on Jul 27, 10 04:05 PM

Another one from the Mitchell and Webb archives. This time it's the turn of nutritionists...

Moon hoax comic

By Daniel Smith on Jul 27, 10 10:22 AM

Check out Darryl Cunningham's take down of the moon hoax in comic form here - it really is rather good.

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Authors

Daniel Smith

Daniel Smith - a long time ago, in a galaxy far away just north of Watford, Daniel fancied himself as a scientist but turned out to be the worst scientist since that bloke who mapped out all those canals on Mars that turned out to be scratches on his telescope's lens. Luckily, he is now not working on the Large Hadron Collider inadvertently creating a black hole that would swallow the world but is safely behind a desk writing this blog, bringing you the fantastical underbelly of nature... weird science.

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