Archives for April, 2009

The Left-Hand Rule?

Everyone who’s taken physics at some point knows about the Right Hand Rule. There are two versions. If you have a wire carrying an electric current, you point your thumb in the direction of the current and your fingers “curl” in the direction of the magnetic field. The other version is that if you have…

Who Speaks for those with No Voice?

Last night, I had the pleasure of going to the Portland-area showing of the International Documentary Challenge. From March 5th-9th, 142 documentary filmmaking teams from 16 countries made short documentary films on the topics of Hope & Fear. I found out about it because I got solicited to be a co-star in one of them…

Putting the Yellow in your Urine

Let me give you a little back story. As many of you know, I’m new to scienceblogs, and one of the first things we get to do is join a message board full of all the bloggers (sciblings) here. Well, suffice it to say, a contentious discussion took place between me and another scibling, which…

Colliding Dark Matter

I want to thank everyone for their great interest in my last post on dark matter! I got an awful lot of questions about what I mean by dark matter being “collisionless,” and in particular, about this picture: This is two galaxy clusters that have collided recently. The pink shows the X-ray emissions, which comes…

Dark Matter: Calm down, people!

Over the last few decades, we’ve learned a lot of interesting things about the Universe. One of the most groundbreaking is that most of the matter in the Universe is not made up of all the stuff we know as normal matter: protons, neutrons, and electrons. This means that atoms, the basic building block of…

Weekend Diversion: Do Tinfoil Hats Work?

As a new tradition since we’re on a new site, in addition to giving you a post about fun stuff on the weekend, I’m going to try exposing you to some new music, either by an uncommon artist or a song that really caught my fancy. This week’s artist is Chicago-based bluegrass musician Colby Maddox,…

Is Uranium the Heaviest Natural Element?

Last night, I was watching the Daily Show, and they had Tom Zoellner on, talking about his new book: Uranium: War, Energy, and the Rock that shaped the world. There are certainly a lot of interesting things about Uranium in culture, particularly in terms of energy (hey, we can use this thing to power the…

Inspiration from a Typographer

Most of you know that different fonts and typefaces can give your documents a certain feel, a certain flair, or a certain artistic element that you wouldn’t get using the same old font for everything. So, I was reading an article about a relatively famous typographer, Eric Gill, the developer of a number of typefaces.…

Take Another Look at that Data

One of the great things about the Hubble Space Telescope is that it’s been in orbit for nearly 20 years now, meaning that it’s amassed a huge archive of data. Now, one of the things that the Hubble Space Telescope is notoriously bad at is finding planets. Why? Because if you want to do it,…