I wanted to see if this was an actual real thing that had happened, because, you know, we’ve had all-glass skyscrapers for ages, and I’ve never heard of this happening before.
It is. Of course the problem isn’t the building’s glass exterior. It’s that it’s curved:
Which is incredible because anyone with a rudimentary grasp of physics could have told them that this would happen:
So in addition to being heavy-handed satire about first world excess, it’s also a pretty on-point reminder of another way we’re going wrong: resurgent anti-intellectualism means that fewer and fewer people are consulting with or listening to scientists.
Anonymous asked: whom are your favourite authors ?
This might sound strange, but I honestly can’t say I have any? As in like, authors who I’ll just read anything they write, and who I trust to reliably entertain me. I just don’t read a lot of fiction. When I do, it tends to be ONE book that has been very highly recommended to me. And enjoying that one book doesn’t make me feel particularly compelled to search out anything else by that author.
I suppose I have a couple of nonfiction writers whose work I’ll actively seek out. Anne Applebaum, the author of Iron Curtain and Gulag, is currently at the top of that list. And there are game writers, like Chris Avellone, whose work I always look forward to.
Meet Mary Sherman Morgan, rocket scientist, munitions and chemical engineer and one of the most instrumental players in the launch of America’s first satellite, Explorer I (shown above). According to her colleagues she “single-handedly saved America’s space programme”.
Mary started out life as a poor farm girl in North Dakota, her parents chose not to educate her by choice so that she could work on the farm. Eventually, she managed to graduate high school and then ran away from home to go to college and study chemical engineering.
During her studies, WWII broke out and there was a shortage of chemists in the country. Mary was offered a “Top Secret” job at a factory and had to accept without being told what the factory made or what her job would be. It turned out it was a munitions factory – Mary was put in charge of the manufacture of 3 different types of explosive. In her tenure the factory produced over 1 billion pounds of ordnance for WWII.
With the war behind her and after graduating her degree she started working for Rocketdyne under Dr Silverman. In the 1950’s the US was in a race to launch its first satellite into space. American rockets were just not successful, they either couldn’t accelerate to the necessary speed or would blow up on the launch pad. Out of dozens of other engineers Dr Silverman put Mary in charge of solving this problem. She invented Hydyne, a brand new and powerful liquid fuel. In 1958 Explorer I was successfully launched into space using Jupiter-C rockets powered by Hydyne fuel.
Shortly after this success, Mary left the world of work to become a stay at home mum. Much of her work was top secret and she was a very private person - she actively avoided the press. Barely anyone knew about what she did for the space programme. It was only at her funeral did her colleagues begin to share her story. “Mary single-handedly saved America’s space programme” he said “and nobody knows but a handful of old men”
Adrianne Haslet-Davis dances again for the first time since the Boston terrorist attack last year.
When the bombs went off at the Boston Marathon finish line, Adrianne Haslet-Davis lost the lower half of her left leg in the explosion. She’s a ballroom dance teacher, and she assumed she would never dance again. With most prosthetics, she wouldn’t.
But Hugh Herr, of the MIT Media Lab, wanted to find a way to help her. He created a bionic limb specifically for dancers, studying the way they move and adapting the limb to fit their motion. (He explains how he did it here.)
Hugh says, “It was 3.5 seconds between the bomb blasts in the Boston terrorist attack. In 3.5 seconds, the criminals and cowards took Adrianne off the dance floor. In 200 days, we put her back. We will not be intimidated, brought down, diminished, conquered or stopped by acts of violence.”
Nobody lives here: The nearly 5 million Census Blocks with zero population
A Block is the smallest area unit used by the U.S. Census Bureau for tabulating statistics. As of the 2010 census, the United States consists of 11,078,300 Census Blocks. Of them, 4,871,270 blocks totaling 4.61 million square kilometers were reported to have no population living inside them. Despite having a population of more than 310 million people, 47 percent of the USA remains unoccupied.
Green shading indicates unoccupied Census Blocks. A single inhabitant is enough to omit a block from shading.
I wrote this episode of SciShow! It is about birds. It is not about how fluffy and cute they are, but I wish it was. Unfortunately the secrets of their fluffy cuteness are still unpenetrated by science. This one is about how bird eyes are different from ours.
As they were recognized as potential traffic hazards during the Blackouts of World War Two, some farmers took to painting their cows with white stripes so they could be seen by motorists, 1939 (via Forces War Records)
@nilmereth said: Explain “research that’s still on news embargo”?
A news embargo is when a source (for example, a university, or a research lab) shares its information with the press in advance of its public announcement, in return for a gentleman’s agreement from the press not to publish before the date of the announcement. This gives the press time to prepare and fact-check its reports, theoretically leading to less inaccurate reporting. Breaking a news embargo by publishing early is seen as a serious breach of trust, and can lead to that company being denied early access to information in the future.
Not everyone provides news on an embargo - NASA, for example, simply publishes its information as soon as it’s prepared - and to be honest, the whole idea seems to me to be a bit quaint and old-fashioned. But there you go, that’s what it is.
Newton’s third law says that forces come in equal and opposite pairs. This means that when air exerts lift on an airplane, the airplane also exerts a downward force on the air. This is clear in the image above, which shows a an A380 prototype launched through a wall of smoke. When the model passes, air is pushed downward. The finite size of the wings also generates dramatic wingtip vortices. The high pressure air on the underside of the wings tries to slip around the wingtip to the upper surface, where the local pressure is low. This generates the spiraling vortices, which can be a significant hazard to other nearby aircraft. They are also detrimental to the airplane’s lift because they reduce the downwash of air. Most commercial aircraft today mitigate these effects using winglets which weaken the vortices’ effects. (Image credit: Nat. Geo./BBC2)