science

Category archives for science

Earth from Saturn

I know; everyone’s already seen it. But its still beautiful.

Saturn’s hexagon

Isn’t this gorgeous? Its not new; BA blogged it last year, from Emily Lakdawalla, but I didn’t notice. I forget why I noticed now. Its all fluid-dynamicsy of course; and it (or something very similar) can be recreated in the lab. There’s another very nice image here. I think its gorgeous partly because you don’t…

The Economist, celebrating the Higgs: Without the Higgs there would be no mass. And without mass, there would be no stars, no planets and no atoms. But that’s wrong. No stars and no planets, because they are gravitationally bound. But atoms aren’t. Unless they mean in the very indirect sense that most Earthly atoms were…

Comparing radiation doses

This post is more an appeal for info than anything useful in itself. But I’ll probably update it if I get anything. Fukushima refers. My question, in the context of the area around Fukushima that is contaminated by radioactivity, is how much is actually contaminated, in the sense of now having radioactivity levels higher than…

Theory / obs, again

Shamelessly stolen from mt. [Yes, I’ve been on holiday, but I’m back now. Prepare to be bored by my holiday snaps!] Refs * Vilnius mayor crushes car parked in cycle lane

Sez the Economist: For, according to Dr Pyykko’s calculations, relativity explains why tin batteries do not work, but lead ones do. His chain of reasoning goes like this. Lead, being heavier than tin, has more protons in its nucleus (82, against tin’s 50). That means its nucleus has a stronger positive charge and that, in…

Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi

Actually this is a post about statistics, but what the hell I’ve been listening to Carmina Burana a lot recently, even if Miriam thinks it is bombastic. So anyway, several people have commented on this article which (whilst it makes some points about statistics that are vaguely plausible) far far overgeneralises its bounds of validity:…

Three posts in one day. And all of such high quality. You lucky people. Pascal has a go at explaining the std.nutters. Some of it is the usual correct stuff, but some of it is wrong: What you need, over and above all that, is constant social interaction with other practising scientists. Oral tradition and…

I’m reading Anathem because Paul told me to. And because I’m enjoying it. And because its good and thick and will sustain lots of time. Read Paul’s review if you’re interested in an overview; I’m not going to do that, if only because I haven’t finished it (I’m about half way through, if you care).…

David J.C. MacKay has a draft book out online, http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/mackay/ , which is worth a browse. He is due to give a talk here in a bit, which should prove interesting. The book is an attempt to look at renewable energy from a broad-brush numbers point of view (in which I suspect it does a…