Posts tagged with ‘science

Coldest white dwarf ever discovered is basically an Earth sized diamond


Astronomers have detected an ancient stellar remnant that’s 10 times fainter than the dimmest white dwarf ever discovered. Fortuitously orbited by a pulsar, this cold and collapsed star consists of crystallized carbon — essentially making it an Earth-sized diamond in space. Indeed, this white dwarf would have never been discovered if it hadn’t been for the pulsar that spins around it.

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Caution: Watching this video will probably make you temporarily hallucinate 

This video may cause temporary hallucinogenic effects. But please do not be afraid, these effects usually last a few seconds. Read aloud every letter in the screen center. Do not make any mistake. In the end “LOOK AWAY NOW” when it says so in red letters. If you feel dizzy don’t worry it will soon go away or just stop watching the video.

If the Moon were only 1 pixel…a humbling map of the Solar System

Be prepared for a whole hell of a lot of scrolling. This map is pretty awesome in the sense that it really puts perspective on just how much distance there is between us and basically everything in just our small corner of the Milky Way.

Here’s the map

Tibetans got their amazing high altitude genes from long extinct Denisovans

Genetic research has already discovered that early humans in Europe mingled genes (bumped uglies) with Neanderthals, now it looks like Tibetans’ unique tolerance for extremely high altitudes can directly be traced to genes from another long extinct hominid race, the Denisovans. Denisovans were one of many ancient human species that lived at the same time as early Homo sapiens. The genes that Tibetans inherited allow for a better use of blood oxygen at higher altitudes that would make lesser mortals’ blood thicken above 15,000 feet to deadly levels.

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Scientists have located the brain’s on/off switch for consciousness

The search for the source or trigger or whatever for consciousness in the human brain has been a long one, and recently neurologists accidentally stumbled upon a part of the brain that turns consciousness on and off like a switch, and it’s just a thin layer of tissue separating one part of the brain from the other. The discovery was made by researchers at George Washington University were using deep brain electrodes to monitor brain signals and try to pinpoint the area of a patient’s brain that was causing her seizures. One of the electrodes was placed on the claustrum, a thin sheet of neurons running between major structures of the brain—and a region that’s never been studied with deep brain electrodes before. Once a high frequency signal was sent to the claustrum, the woman lost consciousness while still appearing to be alert, though her speech slowed dramatically and she became unresponsive to anyone speaking to her. This doesn’t appear to the “the spot” in which human consciousness itself resides, but it does seem to play a big role in its expression.

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Why You Are Still Alive - The Immune System Explained

Every second of your life you are under attack. Bacteria, viruses, spores and more living stuff wants to enter your body and use its resources for itself. The immune system is a powerful army of cells that fights like a T-Rex on speed and sacrifices itself for your survival. Without it you would die in no time. This sounds simple but the reality is complex, beautiful and just awesome.

The simple principle that illustrates how we may have been misinterpreting quantum mechanics this whole time

At the quantum level, things have been described as “super weird” and “doesn’t make any damn sense based on what we know”, what with quantum particles appearing and disappearing, moving across time and space instantaneously, spontaneously come into being and annihilate, seeming to exist in multiple places at once, etc etc. But one interesting experiment has shown that perhaps the quantum world does operate with some kind of mechanics we already understand, even by certain principles of classical physics.

The experiments involve an oil droplet that bounces along the surface of a liquid. The droplet gently sloshes the liquid with every bounce. At the same time, ripples from past bounces affect its course. The droplet’s interaction with its own ripples, which form what’s known as a pilot wave, causes it to exhibit behaviors previously thought to be peculiar to elementary particles — including behaviors seen as evidence that these particles are spread through space like waves, without any specific location, until they are measured.

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Scientists develop a bionic pancreas for type 1 diabetes

Diabetes is a disease that affects more and more people every year, especially in the US, because fat unhealthy Americans or whatever you’re about to say. While diabetes isn’t the death sentence that it used to be, it still can drastically reduce one’s life span as well as just being an enormous pain in the ass. As a more permanent solution to insulin or injections, scientists have now developed a bionic pancreas— basically it’s an insulin pump embedded in your body that uses sensors to check blood glucose levels every five minutes and doles out the amount of insulin needed.

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The amazing thing that happens to your body when you’re underwater

While most mammals have long become comfortable to land, a neat thing happens when your body or that of any mammal is submerged in water— instantly, your heart rate slows, blood begins to flow away from the limbs into the torso to combat the external pressure and oxygen is used more efficiently. Even just dipping your face in water for a few seconds will trigger this lowered heart rate. This entire combination of reactions can not only help to lower stress, but it makes it possible to dive to depths that otherwise might crush your lungs like tinfoil.

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This is what it looks like when a ping pong ball hits a paddle at supersonic speeds

Or rather, when a ping pong ball burns through a wooden ping pong paddle like it’s not even there. Velocity counts for a lot, kids.

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