Steve Mould, a host of science television shows in the UK, stumbled on the chain fountain while he was looking for a way to demonstrate something else. Mould, who has a master’s degree in physics from Oxford, discovered a rising curve in a moving chain of beads as the beads flow out of a container. Once he starts it, the bead chain keeps going, like water or gasoline being siphoned from a tank. Why?
Scientists at the University of Hawaii and University of Tokyo are gaining new insights into the movements and behaviors of sharks using video cameras and sensors attached to the animals. They’ve also started a project that examines eating habits of sharks and other top ocean predators like tuna using small instruments, electronic pills, that can be ingested by the creatures.
For the second time in two days, an asteroid is flying safely between the moon’s orbit and Earth. This one is smaller than yesterday’s (about 10 meters in contrast to yesterday’s 30-meter-asteroid flyby). So it’s about half the size of the asteroid that exploded in the air over Chelyabinsk, Russia, injuring over 1,000 people, in February 2013. Today’s asteroid is labeled 2014 EC. It’s coming even closer than yesterday’s asteroid, 0.2 lunar distances in contrast to 0.9 lunar distances yesterday. That’s 48,000 miles (77,000 km) away. There is no threat to Earth from this asteroid.
Lightningophobes, take note. Here’s a new map, arranged by county, showing – over a 15-year period – injuries, fatalities, and instances of property and crop destruction, caused by lightning. Darker-red areas show where the lightning events have tended to happen more regularly.
Today we wish a very happy 116th birthday to Misao Okawa who was born in Japan on March 5, 1898, making her the world’s oldest person. The media obsesses over the inevitable “secret” that centenarians (and super-centenarians, like Okawa) reveal as the reason for their exceptionally long life. But they are not the key to unlocking the mysteries of health and longevity, says aging researcher Avi Roy. On the contrary, they epitomize our fears of growing old.
Wild, endangered pandas can face stiff competition from livestock that also graze on bamboo in forests. A case in point occurred at the Wolong Nature Reserve, at Sichuan Province, China, where horses belonging to farmers had been set loose in the reserve and were found feeding on bamboo. The impact of the horses on bamboo stands was documented by Vanessa Hull and her colleagues. Their findings resulted in horses being banned from the reserve.
A quadcopter drone was used to capture this amazing video. If you watch it all, you’ll see thousands of common dolphins stampeding off Dana Point, California, three gray whales migrating together down the coast off San Clemente, California, plus, toward the end, close-ups from Maui of a newborn Humpback whale calf snuggling and playing with its mom, as an escort whale stands guard nearby. Definitely worth five minutes!
Scientists have uncovered new evidence in support of a theory that some Native Americans may be descendants of a population from northeast Asia that lived during the last Ice Age – in isolation, for several thousand years – on the Bering Land Bridge. The scientists’ analysis of core samples from the now-partly-submerged land bridge shows traces of vegetation and insects, suggesting that the area was once a tundra region with mild summers.
The Dark Sky Meter is an app for smartphones that lets users measure the brightness of the night sky. The creators of the app are working to compile a global, high resolution map of both dark places and areas where light pollution has become problematic.
Justin Ng wrote to say he had compiled a number of shots of the Milky Way over Singapore – a major city known for its heavily light-polluted skies – into this beautiful video. He wrote:
This movie aims to … inspire more astrophotographers residing in heavily light polluted cities to unveil the beauty of the elusive Milky Way galaxy.