Physical Science

“A vacuum is a hell of a lot better than some of the stuff that nature replaces it with.” -Tennessee Williams The depiction of dying in space — by exposure to its terrifying vacuum — is incredibly varied, from freezing to swelling and bulging to simply exploding. For this week’s Ask Ethan, we take on…

A paper just published in Science Magazine helps explain variation we see in the long term Carbon-pollution caused upward trend Earth’s surface temperatures. The research also, and rather ominously, suggests that a recent slowdown in that trend is likely to reverse direction in the near future, causing the Earth’s surface temperature to rise dramatically. The…

  If there is anything that the past few decades of research and study of major global challenges tells us, it is that truly effective solutions to sustainability challenges require truly integrated approaches across disciplines, fields of study, data sets, and institutions. We are not going to solve 21st century global problems with 20th century…

Many Worlds Are Never Exhausted

There have been some good comments on last week’s post about the Many-Worlds Interpretation, which I find a little surprising, as it was thrown together very quickly and kind of rant-y on my part, because I was annoyed by the tone of the original Phillip Ball article. (His follow-up hasn’t helped that…) But then maybe…

“The moon was like this awesome, romantic, mysterious thing, hanging up there in the sky where you could never reach it, no matter how much you wanted to. But you’re right. Once you’re actually here, it’s just a big, dull rock.” -Futurama Oh, but the big dull rocks are fascinating in their own right. Especially, mind…

The Poetry of Science IV

With a skull and Keats, there was little choice but to write about the new online items in rhyme. So with apologies to Shakespeare, Keats and the scientists, as well as the people at SpaceIL, here are today’s grab bag of poems. As usual, follow the links.       On a Lone Cranium Alas…

Death is not the end (Synopsis)

“End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it.” -J.R.R. Tolkien No matter how well we care for our bodies, they eventually wear down, give out, and…

Paige Brown Jarreau, who blogs at From the Lab Bench is in the throes of writing her dissertation about science blogging, and plowing through a lot of interview data. She’s sharing some of the process on the blog, and a lot more on Twitter, where it’s prompted a good deal of discussion. One of the…

Numbers Game (Synopsis)

No one science can stand wholly on its own. For inquiry about the Universe to give a correct, complete picture, it requires that we bring in a whole slew of evidence, often from tangentially related fields. The interplay between three fields in particular — astronomy, physics, and math (not a science, but the tool used…

Eureka at BookLab

There’s a new-ish book review podcast covering pop-science books, BookLab, hosted by Dan Falk and Amanda Gefter, and their latest episode includes my Eureka as the third of three books being discussed (a bit more than 40 minutes in, though their discussion of the other books is also interesting…). It’s sort of an odd experience…