News, Space

Japan wants to land a rover on the Moon by 2018

Image via DesignTrend.

Good news for space exploration: Japan’s space agency JAXA revealed plans to land a rover on the Moon by 2018, joining a very small club of nations that directly explored our planet’s satellite. “This is an initial step and a lot of procedures are still ahead before the plan is formally approved,” a JAXA spokesperson told reporters. Of course, there are

Animals, Biology

What’s all the Buzz about Pollinators?

Photo credit: USFWS (Adult monarch butterfly by Tina Shaw/USFWS).

It’s been in all the headlines: monarch butterflies are in decline, honey bees are experiencing colony collapse disorder (CCD), and our future food supply appears to be in peril. The importance of preserving pollinators has even reached the White House, as President Obama issued a presidential memo in June 2014 that directed federal agencies to 1) develop a Pollinator Health

Green Living, News

Man cleans up entire river on his way to work

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We all see garbage in our daily routine, be it on the way to work, school, or just on the streets. But most people just choose to ignore it; after all, what difference could one man possibly do? Well, Tommy Kleyn didn’t think like that when he was walking pass a polluted river to work. He took a bag of garbage

Geology, News

Magma chamber beneath Yellowstone National Park might be even vaster than thought

Image via National Geographic.

Beneath one of the most famous touristic attractions in the world, the Yellowstone National Park, there lies one of the largest and most complex volcanic systems in the world. Yellowstone is a supervolcano of perplexing size, but as Utah seismologists found… it may actually be even bigger than previously thought.

Mind & Brain, News

Experiment made people feel like they’re invisible

Image via KJN Genealogy.

We’ve all had days when we’ve felt invisible metaphorically, but Swedish researchers have taken it to the next level – they’ve made a man actually feel like he’s invisible.

Feature Post, Geology

The Mind Bending Types of Geological Folds

Geological folds at Mount Head.

Folds are some of the most common geological phenomena you see in the world – a geological fold occurs when planar (usually sedimentary) layers are curved and/or bent, permanently deformed due to outside pressure. Folds’ sizes can vary from microscopic to mountain sized, as you can see above. Despite being a fairly simple process (in principle), folding can occur under

News, Science

Oldest stone tools found in Africa: these were likely used by pre-Homo ancestors

Typical oldowan stone tool. Image: Wikimedia Commons

While searching for the remains of an ancient human ancestor, archaeologists came across a lot more than their bargained for: the oldest stone tools ever found so far. The archaic stones they found were clearly deliberately manipulated by hominid hands, and not the result of some natural formation. According to paleomagnetic dating techniques, the artifacts are about 3.3 million years old, or 700,000 years older than previous artifacts.

News, Space

NASA can only make three more Plutonium batteries to power spacecraft in space

Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG). Image: NASA

According to the Department of Energy, the plutonium-238 stockpile is enough to make only three more nuclear batteries. These are used to power long-term space missions, like Curiosity rover now studying Mars on site, the Voyager probes which were launched in the 1970s and are now almost out of the solar system or New Horizon which is close to making the first Pluto flyby in history. New Horizon is also the fastest spacecraft ever built, racing at one million miles per day. All these remarkable achievements were made possible thanks to plutonium-238 and the technology developed to harness its heat.

Reviews

Book review: ‘Climate Shock: The Economic Consequences of a Hotter Planet’

climate shock book review

A sobering wake-up call: tax carbon!

Feature Post, Physics

Could you balance a pencil on a one-atom thick tip?

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It’s Saturday, so time for some fun physics. This non-trivial question is often asked in international physics contests and requires a bit of out of the box thinking.