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Mankind’s greatest invention. [video]
Most people know that the Pacific Ring of Fire is related to boundaries between tectonic plates, but there’s a common misconception about where the magma comes from to fuel those volcanoes. At those boundaries, called subduction zones, a plate made of denser oceanic crust dives beneath a continent (or another oceanic plate). It’s not that the diving plate heats up and melts as it sinks downward, though.
Actually, the minerals in the diving plate contain lots of water, and that water migrates upward as the plate slowly warms up. The addition of water to hot mantle rocks lowers the melting point of the rock, and this effect is enough to convert some mantle rock into magma. Since magma is less dense than solid rock, it works its way upward toward the surface, resulting in the arcs of volcanoes we see along subduction zones.
Within this simplified picture, however, there are complexities and open questions. Does the water simply rise directly into the mantle rocks above, or does it take a more tortuous path? Is that water the cause of all the magma production in an area, or does some magma form because the flow of mantle rock brings some up to lower pressures where it can melt?
Okay I’m pretty sure McDonalds Coke is way different from normally bottled Coke. Next time you have it, close your eyes and think of apple pie, and taste the interesting resemblance. Or am I crazy. Comments here.
Times were tough before the GoPro. [x]
After a two year hiatus from creating their visually brilliant music videos, alternative rock band OK Go are finally back with their latest mind-blowing clip for ‘The Writing’s on the Wall,’ a single from their forthcoming album Hungry Ghosts. The video is 4-minute barrage of optical illusion techniques performed live in-camera (primarily anamorphic projection) that borrow ideas from artists like Bernard Pras, Felice Varini, Bela Borsodi and maybe even a nod to Jay-Z’s Blueprint 3 album cover. All of the scenes are performed one after another in a single take, but probably took untold months of preparation. Love the last shot that reveals the crew.
Update: A bit more about how they did it over on Rolling Stone.
As plastic is made from oil and oil is made from dead dinosaurs, how much actual real dinosaur is there in a plastic dinosaur?
I don't know.
Coal and oil are called "fossil fuels" because they formed over millions of years from the remains of dead organisms buried underground. The standard answer to "what kind of dead stuff does the oil in the ground come from?" is "marine plankton and algae." In other words, there are no dinosaur fossils in those fossil fuels.
Except that's not quite right.
Most of us only see oil in its refined forms—kerosene, plastics, and the stuff that comes out of gas pumps—so it's easy to imagine the source as some uniform black bubbly material.
But fossil fuels bear fingerprints of their creation. The various characteristics of these fuels—coal, oil, and natural gas—depend on the organisms that went into it and what happened to them. It depends on where they lived, how they died, where their bodies ended up, and what kinds of temperature and pressure they experienced.
The dead matter carries its story—altered and jumbled in various ways—for millions of years. After we dig it up, we spend a lot of effort stripping the evidence of this story away, refining the complex hydrocarbons into uniform fuels. When we burn the fuels, their story is finally erased, and the Jurassic sunlight that was bound up in them is released to power our cars.Through photosynthesis, organisms used sunlight to bind carbon dioxide and water into complex molecules. When we burn their oil, we finally return that CO2 and water to the atmosphere—liberating millions of years worth of stored carbon dioxide all at once. This has some consequences.
The story carried by rocks is a complicated one. Sometimes pieces are missing, discarded, or transformed in a way that misleads us. Geologists—both in academia and the oil industry—work patiently to reconstruct different aspects of these stories and understand what the evidence is telling us.My favorite book about Earth science, Walter Alvarez's T. rex and the Crater of Doom, is a firsthand account of the research that determined what killed the dinosaurs. The story is told not as a contest between rival academic theories, but as the unraveling of a mystery through detective work.
Most oil comes from ocean life buried on the seabed. But the poetic idea that our fuels contain dinosaur ghosts is in some ways true as well. There are a few things required for oil to form, including quick burial of large amounts of hydrogen-rich organic matter in a low-oxygen environment.Because, in a sense, oxygen will cause the fuel to burn.
These conditions are most often met in shallow seas near continental shelves, where periodic nutrient-rich upwellings from the deep sea cause blooms of plankton and algae. These temporary blooms soon burn themselves out, dying and falling to the oxygen-poor seabed as marine snow. If they're quickly buried, they may eventually form oil or gas. Land life, on the other hand, is more likely to form peat and eventually coal.
This paints a picture like this:
But hydrocarbon formation is a multi-step processYou can read more about it here. and lots of things can affect it. A huge amount of organic material washes into the ocean, and while most of it doesn't end up in oil-producing sediments, some of it does.If you want to spend a day reading a bunch of articles on hydrocarbons and ocean sedimentation, you can check out a few here, here, here (paywall), here, and here. If you get tired halfway through, like I did, and want a change of pace, you can instead read an insane conspiracy theory website claiming that oil is not dead organic matter and that there's actually an infinite supply of it. This fact is apparently concealed from us by the New World Order and/or the Illuminati. Some oil fields—like Australia's—seem to have a lot of terrestrial sources. Most of this is plants, but some is certainly animals.And it's worth noting that there were some aquatic dinosaurs—like Spinosaurus.
No matter where it came from, only a small fraction of the oil in your plastic dinosaur could be directly from real dinosaur corpses. If it came from a Mesozoic-era oil field fed heavily by land matter, it might contain a slightly larger share of dinosaurs; if it came from a pre-Mesozoic field sealed beneath caprock, it might contain no dinosaur at all. There's no way to know without painstakingly tracing every step of the manufacturing process of your particular toy.
In a broader sense, all water in the ocean has at some point been part of a dinosaur. When this water is used in photosynthesis, bits of it are used to build the fats and carbohydrates in the food chain—but a lot more of that water is in your body right now.
In other words, your plastic toys contain a lot less dinosaur than you do.
Yet most of our measurements of G come from an updated version of a device designed by Henry Cavendish back in the 1700s. And rather annoyingly, these measurements don't agree with each other—they're all close to a single value, but their error bars don't consistently overlap. Now, researchers have made a new measurement of G using a method that certainly wasn't available in the 1700s: interference between clouds of ultracold atoms. And the value that they have come up with doesn't agree with many of the other measurements, either.
The gravitational attraction being studied here is that between a cloud of cold rubidium atoms and a 500 kg tungsten weight. The tungsten was arranged in a cylinder that surrounded the device that contained the rubidium atoms. It could be shifted up to pull the atoms back against the downward force of the Earth's gravity or shifted down to accelerate the atoms further.
Get you best paper, cut a circle and fold it so that the circumference falls on a fixed point inside. Repeat, using random folds. Now see the creases. This is how you paper-fold an ellipse.
In 1934, two physicists came up with a theory that describes how to create matter from pure light. But they dismissed the idea of ever observing this effect in the laboratory because of the difficulties involved in setting up such an experiment.
Now, Oliver Pike of Imperial College London and his colleagues have found a way to achieve this dream 80 years after US physicists Gregory Breit and John Wheeler explained their theory. This group hopes to use high-energy lasers aimed at a specially designed gold vessel to convert photons into matter/antimatter particle pairs, recreating what happens in some exceptional stellar explosions.
Pike, who led the research published in the journal Nature Photonics, said, "The idea is that light goes in and matter comes out." To be sure, the matter created won't be everyday objects; instead the process will produce sub-atomic particles. "To start with, the matter will consist of electrons and its antimatter equivalent positrons," Pike said. "But with higher energy input in the lasers, we should be able to create heavier particles."
No, urine is not sterile, according to a study presented this week by researchers from the Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University. Instead, the bodily excretion does contain a diverse array of bacteria that can vary depending on bladder condition. Up until now, the types of bacteria present have been hard to detect because they don't grow in urine cultures.
That urine is not sterile is not actually news; the same medical school reported findings in 2012 suggesting that urine can contain bacteria when drawn directly from the bladder. But the study may surprise many due to the deeply entrenched belief, even in the medical community, that urine is bacteria-free and thus safe to use in a number of activities, from drinking to rinsing wounds in a pinch. A commonly traded rule of thumb is that, while the initial part of a stream of urine contains bacteria washed from the urethra, the "mid-stream" is safely sterile. This is not so, or at least it's not entirely reliable information.
The two studies, from 2013 and 2012, looked only at samples from women. The 2013 study compared samples from women with and without overactive bladder disorder (OAB) and found different types of bacteria in both types of samples, including Streptococcus and Staphylococcus. The authors of the study suggested that the presence of certain types of bacteria in women with OAB could be causing their symptoms, and treating their presence could help with their condition.