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11 Jun 20:12

As Pluto Flyby Nears, Spare a Thought for the Dwarf Planet’s Moons

by Nadia Drake

With its strangely colored surface and remarkably puffy atmosphere, Pluto promises to be among the weirder worlds we’ve ever explored. But out there, at the edge of the classical solar system, icy Pluto is not alone: It’s surrounded by at least five moons.

Recently, we learned that some of those moons tumble in orbit like drunken space potatoes instead of spinning neatly like tops. We also found out that one of them, a tiny world called Kerberos, could be curiously dark – a misfit among its brighter siblings and a wrench in the cogs of Pluto’s presumed history. Then there’s the unexpected gravitational link between three of the moons, an intricacy that hints at a more complex system than scientists could have guessed at just a few years ago.

All of this, and NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft hasn’t even gotten to Pluto yet. That’ll happen next month, when the spacecraft finally flies through this crazy system after 9.5 years on the road.

As Pluto grows larger in New Horizons’ windshield, predictions about the dwarf planet are flying fast and furious. But what about its retinue of moons? We know precious little about these moony characters, thought to have emerged from the ancient collision that produced Pluto’s mega-moon, Charon. From new worlds to bizarre shapes, here’s some of what scientists think the moons might have in store.

How Many Moons?


Click to open infographic in a new window.

So far, the cast includes Hydra, Kerberos, Nix, Styx, and Charon – a moon so big it forms a binary planet with Pluto. Though Charon was discovered in 1978, scientists only spotted the four smaller moons in the last decade. Two of them, Kerberos and Styx, hadn’t even been discovered when New Horizons launched in 2006.

More moons could be lurking around Pluto. “Most people suspect we’ll find between one and three moons,” says the Southwest Research Institute’s Amanda Zangari, a post-doc on the New Horizons team.

A few months ago, Zangari put together an informal poll and studded it with specific questions about the Plutonian system – things like how many new moons the spacecraft will find, if there’s icy volcanic activity on Pluto or Charon, and the value of Pluto’s precise diameter. About 60 New Horizons team members and associated Plutophiles entered their guesses, which are likely to be their last shot at predictions “before we go and get our viewpoints completely shattered,” Zangari says.

Any additional moons are likely to be tiny — small enough to evade detection by the Hubble Space Telescope, which spotted the four smallest. So, it’ll be up to New Horizons to find them while it’s in Pluto’s neighborhood.

Recent studies suggest there aren’t many places where additional moons could survive in the already tightly packed system. But one obvious spot is outside the orbit of Hydra, currently the farthest known moon from the whirling Pluto-Charon binary. Another is just inside the orbit of Styx, the innermost of the four small moons. Ditto with the region just inside Kerberos, currently the third rock from Pluto-Charon. “Where a moon would actually work is a very specific thing,” Zangari says.

What about inside Charon’s orbit? No one thinks that’s exceptionally likely, which is great news for the spacecraft’s safety because it’s scheduled to fly through that region.

“I really, really don’t think we’re going to find anything inside of Charon,” says New Horizons team member Marc Buie, who’s also at the Southwest Research Institute. “If you wanted anything to put your hat on as being the most surprising thing New Horizons could find, that’s going to be it.”


Among the more unusual-sounding possibilities is that new moons could be sharing orbits with the ones we already know about. Put simply, orbital paths around Pluto-Charon might be crowded with multiple moons, which are called coorbitals.

“I’ve been rooting for coorbitals,” says Buie, who’s been studying the Pluto system for more than 30 years. “That would be just outstanding.”

While it might seem strange, it’s not unheard of for things in the solar system to share orbits. Perhaps the best known examples are Trojan asteroids, which trundle around the sun along the same paths as Earth, Mars, and Jupiter, among other planets. Plus, some of Saturn’s moons (Tethys and Dione) have coorbiting friends, and other Saturnian satellites even occasionally swap orbits.

“Coorbitals are common in the solar system,” Buie says. “For them to be at Pluto — that would just be fun.”

The Ferryman

New moons aside, there’s plenty to learn about the ones we’re already familiar with. Or are at least vaguely familiar with.

Charon discovery image. (U.S. Naval Observatory)

Charon’s discovery image from 1978. (U.S. Naval Observatory)

See that grainy bump in the image above? That’s Charon, Pluto’s binary partner in crime. Named after the mythological ferryman who carried the souls of the dead across the river Styx, Charon is about half the size of Pluto and already known to be a completely different world. It’s grayer and dimmer and doesn’t have such wild variations in surface brightness, though there is a slightly darker smudge on the side facing away from Pluto.

Truthfully, we really don’t know Charon very well at all.

“Our knowledge is so poor that who knows — maybe Charon will turn out to be more geologically interesting than Pluto,” says New Horizons team member Jeff Moore, of NASA’s Ames Research Center. “I suspect it will be the other way around, though.”

In addition to taking a close look at Charon’s surface features (and undoubtedly spotting lots of craters), New Horizons should be able to figure out what kinds of molecules are on that surface — and if some of Pluto’s escaping atmosphere ends up stuck there for a while, causing interesting chemical reactions to occur. There’s also a chance the mega-moon could have more dramatic surface topography than Pluto. In other words, ridges could be taller, canyons could be deeper, crater edges more jagged. That’s because Charon is primarily covered in water ice, which is structurally stronger than the exotic ices on Pluto’s surface. Its gravity is also weaker.

“Charon is going to be a big revelation,” Buie says. He argues that, because we know so little about Charon to start with, it’ll be the object we’ll learn the most about. “We’re going to maybe increase what we know about Pluto by a factor of four – people would argue about that, but let me just say a factor of four – and Charon, we’re going to increase our knowledge of by a factor of 40.”

If You Could Only Choose One…

But Buie says if he had to make a choice, he would try and decipher a different moon.

“If you could only get good imaging data of one satellite, which one would it be?” he asks. It’s a tough question. Some scientists might select Kerberos, because its enigmatic darkness could hold the key to understanding Pluto’s past.

Not Buie. “My answer is the weirdest one of the bunch: Nix.”

(Nix rotates chaotically as it orbits Pluto-Charon. STScI/Mark Showalter/YouTube)

Years of observations suggest Nix is oddly shaped, kind of like a stretched out egg instead of a sphere. It’s more than twice as long as it is wide, which is a peculiar shape indeed.

“I would really like to know what we can learn about where that shape came from,” Buie says. “What happens if this thing turns out to be a contact binary – where you have two circles kind of stuck together? That would really turn everybody’s thoughts on their heads.”

For years, Buie had been puzzling over the available data about Nix – which not only suggested it had a weird shape, but that it occasionally became slightly brighter than Hydra, the moon that’s next-most like it. A recent study partially solved that problem by determining that Nix and Hydra are tumbling rather than spinning. “I’ve been scratching my head trying to figure out what the heck is going on with these two guys,” Buie says. “I’m a little disappointed I didn’t come up with all those results that were in there.”

Long Shots

So. The mystery of Nix, the curiosities of Charon’s surface, and the presence of coorbiting moons are among the myriad observations that could emerge when New Horizons finally gets a good look at this rollicking place. Among the least likely observations?

Riverbeds or cities,” Moore says. “Riverbeds are more likely than cities, but riverbeds would be pretty surprising.”

Darn. I’ve been secretly hoping for alien outposts. Maybe there’s still a chance.

“Nope,” Zangari says. “Most people don’t think there are going to be aliens.”


14 May 20:59

Você o estudou mas ele NÃO EXISTE: o mesossomo

by Rafael Soares

miniatura mesossomo

É incrível, descobriram que o mesossomo não existe desde o final dos anos  70 e ele ainda é ensinado e está em todos os livros didáticos!

Watch this video on YouTube.

29 Apr 16:02

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Pre-Emptive War


Hovertext: As far as I know, the real Dr. Munger has not publicly made this argument.

New comic!
Today's News:

I'm just saying. 

28 Apr 14:06

when there are already enough people on a warpath

by Greg Fish

lego atheist evolution

Once upon a time, yours truly was walking down the crowded streets of Las Vegas when a man way too enthusiastic about life in general started shouting at those passing by, training his eyes on me as he proceeded with his rehearsed speech. “I used to be like you!” he proclaimed as he tried to channel a televangelist’s spirit, “boozing, gambling my life away, whoring around!” to an otherwise perfect stranger, who by that point was yet to have a drop of alcohol, won a couple of bucks after putting the princely sum of $10 in a video poker machine, and was holding his wife’s hand, wedding bands visible to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention. Far from urging the wounded soul of a broken man addicted to life’s vices to examine itself then pledge its future to the forgiving embrace of Jesus, he was trying to “save” a man on his honeymoon with the less than appropriate assumption that him being in Vegas was a sign of a moral failing and ignoring the woman next to him, implying that her presence was either billable by the hour, or the result of some other wayward soul looking for a way to forget her worries and fears in intoxication.

Now, were I posting this in r/atheism, this is the part where you’d get some grand debate on the streets of America’s party town for grownups where I publicly berated this zealot to the cheer of an appreciative crowd. Of course this isn’t what happened; you don’t reason with people on the street yelling things at you and you most certainly don’t start yelling things back because you’re still sane and familiar with the basic rules of public decorum. My significant other and I made a few jokes for each others’ entertainment and went on our merry way without a word to him. But from a standpoint of pure curiosity, why would someone yell at random strangers to fix their sin infested, immoral lives? Certainly all sorts of weird stuff happens behind closed doors in Vegas, as it certainly does everywhere else, but was there a poll or a study after which this man made some rational decision to go our and proselytize to people passing by? Probably not. Then why was he there? Maybe he really was an out of control addict who found religion?

How many times have we seen or heard of someone substituting one addiction for another, go from waking up every morning with a bump of coke and a vodka tonic, to, oh, I don’t know, say, becoming the maniacally smiling right hand of a mindless street preacher, dedicating his life to spreading his now unshakable, absolute, unyielding blind faith exemplified by the intricate and surely, God-ordained magnificence of a banana? Many atheists laugh at this turn of events, but at the same time, in their general state of being human, they do the same exact thing when the decision to publicly call themselves atheists is made. When we make a big change in our lives, it’s only natural to want to share this with a supportive community, especially when you’re living among those who either don’t understand you, or turn malicious and stereotype you as worse than any modern boogeyman. And I would imagine it feels great to finally have your atheism all out in the open instead of pretending to be something you’re not just to avoid drama.

But just like the man who accosted me on the street, no longer able to comprehend that I’m not him and not everyone is either given themselves to Jesus or will be partying Wolf of Wall Street style later in the night, too many eager young atheists who get into skeptical groups also seem unable to tell the difference between a believer wearing faith on a sleeve and curious about all that skeptic stuff and a full-blown theocrat who wants premarital sex punishable by law. This is why some local skeptical groups have pushed back against atheists new to the fold, unsure of how to mediate their meetings being hijacked in a way that terrify believers interested in being more scientific and skeptical about the world. And as their energies are being harvested by the identity politics contingent that has annexed a number of formerly skeptical blogs, they’re being encouraged to see every believer as a raging oppressor, not just the really loud zealots whose antics repulse many of those who they claim to represent.

This is not to say that believers don’t have responsibilities here because that accommodationist attitude gives those foaming at the mouth a free pass to rant and rave, and absolves those less faithful of not standing up to them. One does not have to personally dish out an injustice to find his or her hands sullied by it. To see an asinine abuse to power and idly stand by because the abusers call themselves by the same moniker you do while feeling “really bad about it because that’s not representative of my beliefs” is just cowardice. But yet, it’s not the same as agreeing with the injustice or abuse in question and young, newly minted atheists on the warpath have to recognize that. Giving a believers a stereotypical “angry, bitter atheist” stereotype to hold up in debates does you no favors and helps them sway public opinion. If we have the facts, we have to argue them and expose raving lunatics as such, not become their clones on the other side of the rhetorical isle. Think of being an atheist as becoming a kung-fu student. Yes, you can use a new set of skills to start fights, but that’s not why you should’ve learned them. You learned them to defend yourself and those who can’t when they’re in dire need.

26 Apr 19:12

Photographer Captures Jaguar Attacking a Caiman


Photographer Justin Black captured this incredible photo of a jaguar attacking a caiman in the wetlands of Brazil.

Black was leading a group of photographs on a photo expedition through the region when he happened to witness the hunt. It was an eight-foot-long Yacare caiman being attacked by a 290-pound male jaguar that’s known to local biologists as “Mick Jaguar.”

Here’s a sequence of photos Black shot that shows how the whole thing went down:














“The caiman weighed around 150lbs., but Mick appeared to handle it as easily as a big dog with a chew toy,” Black writes. “He’s an amazing animal, and we all felt privileged to have be fortunate enough to witness that spectacular display of power, grace, and hunting prowess.”

“After this experience of a lifetime, we had a new appreciation for each jaguar we were fortunate enough to see.”

The whole thing was also captured in a video that was shared by National Geographic:

If you’d like to shoot photos of Brazil’s jaguars yourself, Black will be leading a “Jaguars of the Pantanal” expedition in August 2016. You can find out more about that opportunity over at Visionary Wild photo workshops and expeditions.

Image credits: Photographs by Justin Black and used with permission

11 Mar 18:33

How Ricoh Returned 90,000 Photos to Victims of the 2011 Tsunami in Japan


When Japan was devastated by the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in 2011, countless families lost precious photos in their homes that washed away. In response, many organizations sprung up to recover, restore, and reunite photos with their owners.

One company that launched a huge initiative was Ricoh. In the four years following the disaster, the company’s “Save the Memory” project found and cleaned 418,721 photos, returning 90,128 pictures to the people who lost them.

Ricoh is now offering a glimpse of how this monumental effort was conducted for future reference. The company would be delighted “if this record is useful for improving awareness towards disaster prevention or reconstruction support activities after the event of a disaster,” it says.

The first step of the process was finding lost photos. Pictures were picked up from mud and debris by volunteers and organizations, who sent the prints in to Ricoh. Warehouses were used as photo collection sites.


Many of the photos and albums were heavily damaged by water, mud, and bacteria.


The photos were first displayed in the locations where they were found.



They were then packed up and sent to the projects factories.




Assembly lines of workers helped clean the prints by brushing off dirt and washing the photos with water.





Washed images were then hung up to try on nets using laundry pins.




Once dry, the photos were digitized by individual scanning. The images files were saved as JPEGs with a special control number that was assigned to each picture.



The digital scans were then rotated to a correct orientation and trimmed to remove irrelevant parts of each image. Final shots were organized by region found and by category — things like “black and white”, “children”, and “wedding photos”.



The original prints were inserted into protective plastic bags with their control numbers printed on them and shipped back to the regions where they were found.



A number of photo centers were set up in each region to allow locals to access the database of digital files.



People were asked to browse through the digital database in search of photos they had lost.




When the searchers stumble upon a photo that they lost, the print is easily retrieved using the control number associated with the file.



And that’s how Ricoh managed to save nearly 100,000 memories so far in four years of recovery work.

Save the Memory Project [Ricoh via Photoxels]

Image credits: Photographs by Ricoh/The Save the Memory Project

10 Mar 15:26

Privacidade e interesse comum – o caso do (quase) bloqueio ao WhatsApp

by Filipe Saraiva

given how much cypherpunks love math & games, it’s remarkable how poor their game-theoretic analysis of the crypto situation is

— David Golumbia (@dgolumbia) 19 fevereiro 2015

O recente caso do pedido de bloqueio ao WhatsApp no Brasil – que não chegou a cabo pois foi declarado desproporcional por instância jurídica superior – é uma ótima oportunidade para fazermos o debate sobre o quão estamos dispostos a permitir, enquanto sociedade, que a criptografia e a privacidade do indivíduo estejam acima dos limites que estabelecemos para investigação de crimes e justiça, ou interesse comum da sociedade.

O bloqueio ao WhatsApp foi requisitado após a empresa se recusar a cooperar em uma investigação que corre em sigilo desde 2013. Há fortes indícios de que esse processo tem relação com casos de pedofilia. Apesar do bloqueio ter tentado forçar a empresa a auxiliar na investigação, imagino que realmente o WhatsApp não teria muito o que fazer se o pedido referia-se à disponibilização dos logs das conversas de algum usuário.

Isso porque o aplicativo funciona com uma arquitetura peer-2-peer: não deve haver outro armazenamento das mensagens que não o do próprio celular dos usuários. Não há uma nuvem com o histórico das conversas, como ocorre em aplicativos tais como o Telegram, Skype, Facebook Messenger, ou os servidores de e-mail convencionais. Inclusive esse é o motivo para o WhatsApp desktop ter como requisito que o celular do usuário esteja conectado à internet – ele acessa as conversas no celular para poder funcionar, pois elas não estão em outro lugar.

Nesse caso, como proceder a investigação? O próprio juiz empenhado no caso comentou o quão difícil é prosseguir nessa tarefa diante da popularização da tecnologia de aplicativos de mensagens:

Até pouco tempo atrás nós fazíamos interceptações telefônicas, mas hoje ninguém usa telefone [para falar], usa o WhatsApp.

O que mais me preocupa nesse tópico é encontrar manifestações de especialistas comentando que o bloqueio ao WhatsApp fere o direito de liberdade de expressão. Em que pese, de fato, ter sido desproporcional, qual seria a alternativa adequada na investigação de crime tão perverso? E se pensarmos em ferramentas ainda mais direcionadas para prover ampla e forte criptografia, como o aplicativo de mensagem TextSecure, as chaves PGP, e os codificadores de HD, como o utilizado pelo Daniel Dantas que nem o FBI descriptografou, quanto estamos propensos a permitir o direito sem limites à privacidade?

Outra análise recorrente que também me chama atenção é a que diz que a lei avança mais devagar que a tecnologia e por isso está sempre defasada. Por acaso isso seria então motivo para não regulamentá-la, e deixar que usos nocivos à sociedade, como os investigados, proliferem e nos reste apenas lamentar pelo inevitável?

Acredito que todos nós já passamos pela experiência de sentar no sofá da sala para assistir o jornal e, durante reportagem sobre investigação do escândalo de corrupção da semana, sermos testemunhas de uma conversa privada que revela o esquema. Por que os meios digitais de comunicação deveriam ser uma exceção a esse tipo de monitoramento, fundamentado e autorizado, que busca identificar criminosos de verdade?

Minha proposta aqui é apenas chamar atenção para essa questão, e que consigamos fazer um debate sério e elaborado sobre o tema. Talvez seja interessante darmos uma olhada sobre como era o debate da privacidade quando as primeiras linhas telefônicas começaram a se estender sobre as cidades. É uma ideia.

Infelizmente, os governos e as grandes empresas de tecnologia tornaram esse tipo de debate bastante complicado quando passaram a monitorar todos os cidadãos indiscriminadamente, tendo os passos de nossas vidas, contatos e interações armazenados em grandes data centers, mastigados, processados e correlacionados por avançados algoritmos. De repente o cenário tornou-se um jogo extremo, de tudo ou nada. Temos que nos ocultar ao máximo pois o governo e as empresas estão monitorando tudo, sejamos inocentes ou não.

Mas, será que para fugir dessa vigilância massiva, estamos propensos até mesmo a impedir que investigações de crimes que afetam a sociedade consigam avançar?

24 Feb 17:18

BITCOIN: A flawed currency blueprint with a potentially useful application for the Eurozone

The responses of many to my post on Bitcoin reveal a powerful tendency to underestimate the ill-effects of deflation on a social economy. This tendency to underestimate deflation’s deleterious impact matters beyond debates on Bitcoin per se. For example, in Europe the incapacity of the European Central Bank (ECB) to act in the face of deflationary forces has revealed the same type of misunderstanding, as many commentators fail to recognise that deflation is a very serious threat and that the ECB’s lack of weapons against it constitutes a major weakness. In this post I return to the problem of deflation in a Gold Standard-like monetary system (e.g. Bitcoin or, indeed, the Eurozone itself) but conclude that, almost paradoxically, the technology of Bitcoin, if suitably adapted, can be employed profitably in the Eurozone as a weapon against deflation and a means of providing much needed leeway to fiscally stressed Eurozone member-states.

Is deflation really a problem?

In a recent debate, I was confronted with the argument that deflation is a godsend. “Poorer people crave lower prices”, I was told, “and they cannot understand why ‘elitists’, like yourself, oppose them”. Of course people, especially those who struggle to make ends meet, prefer lower to higher prices other things being equal. But under the heavy shadow of deflation other things are not equal . Deflation is indiscriminatory. Once it sets it, all prices subside, including the price for labour. In fact, wages tend to fall faster than prices of other goods during deflationary times, leaving the weak poorer. Worse still, deflation reduces investment which, in turn, raises unemployment.

Some readers find it hard to see why wages must fall faster than prices and why jobs are jeopardised as prices fall. To see why this is invariably so, compare the degree of power over price that a corporation has (e.g. Walmart or Mercedes Benz) to the degree of power over the wage of a blue collar worker. As customers are no longer prepared to pay the same prices as before, the corporation can limit the decline in the price of its wares by restricting output. Its price will still fall, but not by as much as it would have done had the corporation not had a capacity to influence price through restricting supply. In sharp contrast, the blue collar worker has no comparable power to restrict her labour supply in order to arrest the fall in her wages. The result is twofold: As corporations restrict output (to reduce the rate at which prices fall) their demand for labour falls,  the result being even greater wage reductions accompanied by layoffs which, in a never-ending recessionary circle, reduce further the demand for goods.

Moreover, as prices fall, manufacturers face a timing problem. Assuming there is a time lag between ordering raw materials and shipping the final product to market, deflation means that firms buy their inputs when average prices were higher compared to their level at the time of shipping the final product. Thus the greater the rate of deflation the lower the profit rate and the larger the number of companies that are forced either to lay off workers or to close down completely.

Lastly, as prices fall consumers with some savings have every reason to delay the purchase of durables (e.g. white goods or cars) since they know that their saved dollars or euros will buy them a lot more (or a better model) of these goods the longer they wait. But this is terrible for the manufacturers as well as for their workers and suppliers.

On this last point, a reader challenged me that falling prices are a fact of life and they do not seem to be a problem: “I can think of many goods and situations”, he wrote “in any economy right now where if you delay a purchase, you’ll get ‘more’ for your dollar.”  Of course. But these falling prices are not a problem when it is not all prices that are falling at once. The benefit from patience in the US today comes from actively searching for a better deal in a market where information is imperfect. Deflation, on the other hand, rewards the patient just for being patient, rather than being a reward to costly searching activity. Under deflation everyone benefits from waiting and aggregate demand thus collapses (penalising us all).

If, under such deflationary circumstances, monetary policy cannot be loosened up to stop the decline of average prices, wholesale disaster is guaranteed. This was the terrible flaw of the Gold Standard, in the mid-war period. It is the Achilles Heel of Bitcoin today and, indeed, remains a design fault of the Eurozone too.

Bitcoin and the euro

Bitcoin is a hard-core version of the Gold Standard, in that the money supply is algorithmically fixed to grow at a pre-determined rate and, eventually, to reach a maximum quantity of Bitcoins that remains fixed forever. The Eurozone, on the other hand, is much closer to the original Gold Standard. The major difference with Bitcoin is that there is no fixed upper limit to the quantity of euros because private banks in the Eurozone are subsidised by member-states (through the availability of deposit insurance and the promise of bailouts, if need be) to provide credit lines (on the basis of fractional reserve banking principles). In other words, depending on the banks’ and their customers’ animal spirits (i.e. on how optimistic they are) the banking systems of the Eurozone effectively mint euros. Indeed, the private banks are responsible for more than 90% of the euro money supply.

While this is a crucial difference between Bitcoin and the euro, the two are similar in one respect: whereas in Bitcoin there exist no monetary authorities that could expand the money supply in times of deflation, in the Eurozone the existing monetary authorities are constrained by the ECB’s charter in a manner that stops them from expanding the money supply in deflationary times. At this very moment in Europe’s history, with interest rates practically on the lower zero bound, and with inflation turning negative, the ECB is not allowed (for institutional and political reasons) to effect expansionary monetary policies through quantitative easing. What use are monetary authorities in a currency union if they cannot expand money supply in response to falling prices? In this regard, the Eurozone is no different to Bitcoin, without even featuring the zero transaction costs of Bitcoin or its New Age appeal.

A potential application of Bitcoin’s technology in the Eurozone’s Periphery

Governments in Europe’s Periphery are asphyxiating in a Gold Standard-like monetary union that is buffeted by the winds of recession and outright deflation. Their economies are in desperate need of greater liquidity and of a respite from austerity. The problem is that Europe’s leadership is refusing even to enter into a rational debate of the institutional reforms that can render the Eurozone viable again. The question is: Is there something that the peripheral countries can do to give themselves a chance to breathe better and to act as a bargaining chip that will make Berlin, Frankfurt and Brussels take notice?

The answer is yes: They can create their own payment system backed by future taxes and denominated in euros. Moreover, they could use a Bitcoin-like algorithm in order to make the system transparent, efficient and transactions-cost-free. Let’s call this system FT-coin; with FT standing for… Future Taxes.

FT-coin could work as follows:

  • You pay, say, €1000 to buy 1 FT-coin from a national Treasury’s website (Spain, Italy, Ireland etc. would run their separate FT-coin markets) under a contract that binds the national Treasury: (a) to redeem your FT-coin for €1000 at any time or (b) to accept your FT-coin two years after it was issued as payment that extinguishes, say, €1500 worth of taxes.
  • Each FT-coin is time stamped i.e. in its code the date of issue is contained and can be used to check that it is not used to extinguish taxes before two years have passed.
  • Every year (after the system has been operating for at least two years) the Treasury issues a new batch of FT-coins to replace the ones that have been extinguished (as taxpayers use them, two years after the system’s inauguration, to pay their taxes) on the understanding that the nominal value of the total number of FT-coins in circulation does not exceed a certain percentage of GDP (e.g. 10% of nominal GDP so that there is no danger that, if all FT-coins are redeemed simultaneously, the government will end up, during that year, with no taxes).

Once in possession of an FT-coin, you can either keep it in your FT-coin e’wallet or you can trade it. To make sure that the system is fully transparent and that transactions are completely free, FT-coin could be run by a Bitcoin-like algorithm designed and supervised by an independent non-governmental national authority. Just as in the case of Bitcoin, the total amount of FT-coins can be fixed in advance, at least in relation to a variable not in the government’s control (i.e. nominalGDP), while every single transaction (including the tax extinction using FT-coins) is monitored fully by the community of FT-coin users on the basis of the blockchain pioneered by the infamous Mr Nakamoto.

As an FT-coin is about to ‘mature’ (i.e. to reach two years of ‘age’), the demand for it will obviously rise from those that do not possess FT-coins of that vintage (as it allows for a major reduction in their current taxes). FT-coin owners with equivalent tax liabilities will have no reason to sell (as they will want to use it themselves  to extinguish their own taxes) but those who have ‘stocked up’ on FT-coins (to a tune beyond what they need to pay their taxes), as an alternative to putting their money in the bank or in the stock exchange, will be selling; possibly with a view to buying freshly minted FT-coins.

The great advantages of such a scheme is that it creates:

  • a source of liquidity for the governments that is outside the bond markets, which does not involve the banks and which lies outside any of the restrictions imposed by Brussels or the various troikas
  • a national supply of euros that is perfectly legal in the context of the European Union’s Treaties, and which can be used to increase benefits to society’s weakest members or, indeed, as seed funding for some desperately needed public works
  • a mechanism that allows taxpayers to reduce their inter-temporal tax bill
  • a free and fully transparent payment system outside the banking system, that is monitored jointly by every citizen (and non-citizen) who participates in it.

While the Eurozone’s most stressed governments get much needed degrees of fiscal freedom, taxpayers are offered an opportunity to reduce significantly their long-term tax burden and to make electronic payments in euros that bypass banks altogether. At a time of ultra low interest rates, large tax bills and high bank fees, these are benefits not to be scoffed at. Moreover, a liquid new market for FT-coins is created, with zero transaction costs, and good prospects for gains for those who participate in it, on the back of the underlying tax savings and the state guarantee of convertibility at par.


In summary, while Bitcoin is too deflationary by nature to act as a widespread currency alternative to the dollar or the euro, its design can be used profitably in order to help the Eurozone’s member-states create euro-denominated electronic payment systems that help them, at least in the medium term, overcome the asphyxiating deflationary pressures imposed upon them by the Eurozone’s Gold Standard-like (and, indeed, Bitcoin-like) austerian design.

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21 Feb 19:41

tastefullyoffensive: Cats Using Dogs as Pillows (images via...


Cats Using Dogs as Pillows (images via bored panda)

Previously: Puppies That Look Like Teddy Bears

11 Feb 17:54

A “memeficação” da Ciência

by Camila Machado

Você aí, que acompanha blogs de divulgação, já se perguntou por que fazemos isso? Notoriamente pós-graduando e pós-doutorandos não são pessoas com muito tempo livre. Frequentemente falamos sobre temas que não são nossa especialidade, de modo que por detrás de cada post existem alguns dias matutando sobre o assunto, horas estudando para entender e muitas vezes falando com professores e trocando emails com alguém que faça pesquisa na área. Depois mais um tempo para pensar em como falar sobre o tópico evitando os detalhes técnicos sem deixar de ser honesto, e ainda o tempo para escrever de fato aqui. O que explica o intervalo, as vezes grande, de tempo entre um post e outro. Mas se dá tanto trabalho qual a motivação de tudo isso?

Antes uma pequena digressão. Olhe atentamente para o seu computador. Para a mesa que apoia ele. Para a caneca e o café dentro. Olhe para sua própria mão. Todas essas coisas são feitas de átomos. Carbono, oxigênio, nitrogênio, etc. Tudo com o que você interage diariamente é feita de objetos minúsculos idênticos, apenas arranjados de modo distinto e com enormes vazios entre eles.Você consegue olhar para sua mão e imaginar além do tecido, do sangue, das células e mitocôndrias, além do DNA e até os átomos, os pŕotons, nêutrons e elétrons, os quarks, o Higgs e (talvez) além. Um cético poderia duvidar de que isso fosse verdade quando posto assim.

Lagrangiana do Modelo Padrão. Um dos termos está errado, alguém sabe porque?

Lagrangiana do Modelo Padrão. Um dos termos está errado, alguém sabe porquê?

Olhe para o céu azul do lado de fora da janela e o sol amarelo que ilumina tudo. Se você fosse para o espaço descobriria que o sol na verdade brilha branco (e portanto o superhomem deveria perder todos os seus poderes fora da atmosfera). No século XVIII o Lorde Rayleigh estudou como a luz, uma onda eletromagnética, se comporta ao interagir com objetos. Ele descobriu que quando o objeto é muito menor que o tamanho da onda a luz é muito sensível na interação. As menores ondas, como o azul, são muito espalhadas e as maiores ondas, como o vermelho, espalham muito pouco. Por outro lado quando o objeto é das mesmas dimensões da onda então o espalhamento ocorre igualmente, o branco continua mais ou menos branco. Da mesma forma se existem vários objetos de tamanhos variados a interferências entre os diferentes espalhamentos mantém a luz branca. Assim se o céu é azul é porque o ar é feito de pequenas partículas muito menores que o tamanho da onda da luz visível, ao passo que as gotículas de água das nuvens refletem uma cor branca. Então o azul do céu é (uma prova) um indício de que o mundo é feito de átomos.


Algumas pessoas leram o parágrafo anterior e acharam essa informação completamente irrelevante. Por outro lado, escrevi isso pensando que é realmente incrível que algo tão banal na nossa vida (como o céu ser azul) nos leve a uma conclusão tão profunda (a existência de átomos). Parece aquela sensação que temos quando descobrimos uma música ou uma banda nova e nos apaixonamos por ela. Na hora ficamos muito empolgados, escutamos várias vezes seguidas e queremos compartilhar com todo mundo esse sentimento.

Entendeu a resposta da primeira pergunta lá em cima? Acho que ficou claro que divulgação científica não é um hobby para nós, e sim algo que fazemos passionalmente. Não estamos aqui querendo ensinar nada para ninguém, mas sim dividir uma experiência que nós temos, algo que achamos profundo e que entristece ver quantas pessoas descartam como algo de caráter apenas prático e técnico.

No meio de divulgação somos frequentemente associados a outros tipos de páginas. Um tipo bem popular são os “memes de ciência”, como a página I ‘fuckin love science’. Não que haja algo de errado com isso, meramente que não se comunica ciência com uma imagem e um pouco de sarcasmo. Um dos valores de entender ciência é que o processo de entender é uma experiência transformadora, ele muda permanentemente o seu modo de se relacionar com o mundo a sua volta. Se existe alguma ironia real nesses memes é que não raramente as pessoas que ‘fuckin love science’ não se dão ao trabalho de procurar entender nada além das analogias mais simplórias, e muitas vezes errôneas. Elas nunca passam pelo processo de mudar a sua forma de ver o mundo.

Outro caso típico são páginas dedicadas ao ceticismo, aquelas que atacam astrologia, numerologia, etc. Em português a mais famosa é provavelmente o Universo Racionalista. Entenda bem, não temos nenhuma simpatia pelos diversos “gurus” e congêneres, mas existe uma diferença muito grande entre ceticismo e ciência. Nós não temos a pretensão de separar o mundo em verdades e mentiras, estamos apenas tentando compartilhar certas coisas que aprendemos. Essa é a diferença entre ceticismo e ciência, o primeiro vê o segundo apenas como um instrumento. Para eles o que importa é um resultado ou outro e não o que aquilo significa. Não surpreendentemente as páginas de ceticismo costumam interpretar equivocadamente experimentos e teorias.

O que está por trás de páginas como essas é o despreparo e o descompromisso com o que nós acreditamos ser divulgação científica. Escrever sobre ciência vai muito além de reproduzir uma notícia. O processo que descrevemos no início, de aprendizado e reflexão na hora de escrever um texto, nos transforma e é uma experiência enriquecedora. No fim, é isso que tentamos transmitir para nossos leitores. Não importa quantas pessoas leram ou deixaram de ler, mas se pelo menos um leitor agregou algo com a leitura que não será esquecido 30 segundos depois.

Podemos observar que a ciência (em particular, a física) ganhou um certo hype nos últimos tempos devido à notícias sensacionalistas – que se espalham rapidamente devido as redes sociais – e ao seriado “The Big Bang Theory” – que mostra uma vida acadêmica infinitamente mais tranquila que a realidade. Apesar do efeito positivo de aumentar em massa o interesse e o contato com a física de fronteira, observa-se o nascimento de uma geração de pseudocientistas por conta de uma certa banalização do ‘fazer ciência’. Hoje em dia, a informação é abundante e de fácil acesso, com um clique você pode ler um livro técnico sobre ‘Teoria Quântica de Campos em Espaços Curvos’, um artigo curto dizendo o que o Hawking falou ou deixou de falar na semana passada ou um texto científico voltado para leigos. A contrapartida é que algumas pessoas aprendem o jargão, as palavras-chave de alguma área, e automaticamente começam a se portar como especialistas. Como se isso não bastasse, esses focos de desinformação atraem uma multidão que também só buscam o hype de compartilhar uma equação bem complicada em uma imagem do Facebook e que se esquece que o aprendizado é consequência de muito esforço e dedicação.


E qual é a moral dessa história? Existe uma diferença entre saber o que é verdade e por que algo é verdade. Divulgação deveria ser sobre a segunda e não sobre a primeira. Outros podem fazer diferente, mas, para desencargo de consciência, nós não apoiamos esse tipo de postura nem concordamos com a “memeficação” da divulgação científica e outros congêneres que usam de sarcasmos para atacar o que discordam ao invés de falar sobre o que concordam.

16 Aug 16:47


Eduardo MPS

via osiasjota


31 May 08:11

The Geek&Poke Pattern Weekend

by Oliver Widder

UPDATE: Changed pic 4. See old version here.

14 May 22:22

4gifs: Cat: Nobody mauls my humans but me! [video]


Cat: Nobody mauls my humans but me! [video]

06 May 20:43

US Military Drones Migrating To Linux

by Soulskill
DeviceGuru (1136715) writes "Raytheon is switching its UAV control system from Solaris to Linux for U.S. military drones, starting with a Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Scout helicopter. Earlier this month Raytheon entered into a $15.8 million contract with the U.S. Navy to upgrade Raytheon's control systems for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), according to a recent Avionics Intelligence report. The overhaul is designed to implement more modern controls to help ground-based personnel control UAVs. Raytheon's tuxified version of its Vertical Takeoff and Landing Unmanned Air Vehicle Tactical Control System (TCS) will also implement universal UAV control qualities. As a result the TCS can be used in in all U.S. Navy, Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps UAVs that weigh at least 20 pounds. By providing an open standard, the common Linux-based platform is expected to reduce costs by limiting the types of UAV control systems that need to be built and maintained for each craft."

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09 May 19:40

05/07/14 PHD comic: 'Frozen'

Piled Higher & Deeper by Jorge Cham
Click on the title below to read the comic
title: "Frozen" - originally published 5/7/2014

For the latest news in PHD Comics, CLICK HERE!

02 May 15:10

Lúpulos da Patagônia na Bodega Cervecera

by lupulinas

Há poucos meses, a BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) homologou um novo sub-estilo de cerveja que significa uma vitória para os cervejeiros artesanais latinoamericanos: a IPA Argenta. Mas no que essa nova IPA difere das demais? Basicamente, a IPA Argenta se caracteriza por usar em sua composição maltes pilsen e de trigo (cereal muito cultivado pelos hermanos) e lúpulos da Patagônia Argentina.

Nós, Lupulinas, fãs confessas do estilo India Pale Ale, resolvemos aproveitar o feriado para visitar a bela Buenos Aires e, de quebra, provar a novidade. Amigos, a IPA Argenta não nos decepcionou.

Ainda difícil de encontrar nos bares especializados, demos sorte de encontrar três garrafas de IPA Argenta produzidas pela cervejaria Dust. Muito bem equilibrada, esta IPA leva lúpulos Nugget, Cascade, Mapuche e Victoria (todos plantados no sul da Argentina), é razoavelmente maltada e tem um teor alcoolico de 5,6% e 45IBU, fazendo dela uma cerveja leve e com bastante “bebabilidade”.

Ela é mais seca que as IPAs americanas e tem corpo mais leve que as inglesas, tendo em comum com elas os aromas cítricos, herbáceos e florais, dependendo da proporção e do modo como são adicionados os lúpulos.

Bebemos esta IPA Argenta, produzida pela Dust, num boteco sensacional aberto há um ano no bairro de Palermo, em Buenos Aires. É o Bodega Cervecera que mantém com destaque a boa fama dos bares portenhos. O ambiente é pequeno, com mesas na calçada e um segundo andar bem confortável. O estilo é rústico e meio improvisado como os bons botecos são. Sente-se que ele está sendo criado pelo tempo, por seus donos e frequentadores.

No dia que fomos a TV estava ligada na semifinal da Copa dos Campeões e vimos o Chelsea ser eliminado pela Atlético de Madrid e os outros clientes do bar festejarem a final madrileña. Terminado o jogo, o preponderante classic rock invade o ambiente como em todos bares de artesanais que fomos aqui em Buenos Aires. O clima fica ótimo.

Apos experimentarmos a IPA Argenta resolvemos continuar na viagem e comparar as outras IPAs poduzidas por nossos vizinhos. Aconselhadas por Alícia (a melhor garçonete do mundo) partimos para a American IPA da Triskell Brewing Co. com 7% de graduação alcóolica e 70 IBU. Uma garrafa linda de 750ml, com elefantes raivosos no rótulo e produzida com double dry hopping. Ela é bem maltada mas com lupulo muito presente. Uma pedrada. Das boas.

A Bodega Cervecera não tem muitas torneiras, mas tivemos o prazer de experimentar a Black IPA da Cork que não nos decepcionou. Redonda, bem feita, ela fica magnífica com azeitonas pretas que Alícia providenciou. Alias, seguindo a tradição de bares europeus, a Bodega não tem cardápio de petiscos ou pratos. Improvisa-se queijos e azeitonas só pra você não sair de lá dando PT (Perda Total ;)

Completamos o trabalho com uma Frausen IPA que achamos bem normalzinha, bem feita mas sem nada que nos chamasse mais a atenção. Uma IPA mais floral que herbácea ou cítrica.

E assim saimos do Bodega Cervecera felizes da vida por termos experimentado a IPA Argenta e por termos conhecido um boteco dos bons. Aquele que os locais passam na sua hora e são muito bem recebidos por Alícia que sabe o que eles gostam.

Bodega Cervecera
Rua Thames, 1759 (entre a El Salvador e a Costa Rica)
Palermo Soho, Buenos Aires
tel.: 5411-48333770
aberto todos os dias a partir das 18hs

20140502-141053.jpg 20140502-141018.jpg 20140502-141002.jpg 20140502-140923.jpg 20140502-140915.jpg 20140502-140935.jpg 20140502-140946.jpg 20140502-140842.jpg 20140502-140858.jpg

todas as fotos de Cilmara Bedaque

02 May 20:50

o dia do encontro com um cara do tinder e meus amigos

by odiaquejogueimilporcospracima
Eduardo MPS


então, ontem eu combinei de sair com um piá do tinder no meu bar preferido. A questão é que o meu bar preferido também virou o bar preferido dos meus amigos que estão visitando a cidade. Os dois, um amigo e uma amiga, estavam no largo da ordem bebendo desde as duas da tarde, quando me chamaram pra beber com eles, falei que tava indo com um gatinho no hop (melhor bar), e a resposta foi “yay, encontramos vocês lá!”. “HEY, eu não vou ficar com vocês, vou ficar com o menino, ok?” “ai Helo, para de ser chata e fica com a gente lá”. Pensei que ok, eles estariam no mesmo bar, ia ficar de boa. Acho que consigo contar nos dedos as vezes que fiquei mais enganada na vida.
Encontrei com o carinha, bonitinho, gente boa, fui explicar pra ele que cerveja não é skol-brahma-serra malte, e estava indo ok. Daí chegaram meus amigos. Conversa vai, conversa vem, cerveja vai, cerveja vem e os papos começaram a ficar estranhos.
Primeiro, o meu amigo começou a falar da ex dele, de que na Finlândia a galera se abraça, que não tem dessa de espaço pessoal, que ele tava sentado num bar, um desconhecido chegou abraçando e eu:
-mas nossa.
Daí ele começou o papo de “que saudades do finlandês”, da importância da dedada pra um relacionamento. Pediu pra outra menina mostrar o dedo dela, e falou que o marido dela era feliz, porque o dedo dela era grosso.Que tinha saudades da finlandesa, porque o dedo dela era tão longo quanto do ET do filme. Eu já tava pedindo pra morrer.
Daí esse amigo começou a encher o saco da da amiga em questão, falando que os filhos dela (com 4 e 6 anos) logo vão começar a ver putaria na internet, ela vai achar que eles tão vendo joguinhos quando eles estiverem em site de porn. Eu já estava falando “caralho, amigo, cala a boca”, e pensando que o menino do tinder, a uma hora daquelas, me achava a pessoa mais bizarra do universo. Daí a minha amiga estava falando que o marido dela ensinou os meninos a fazer a higiene pessoal, puxando pele pra trás, com o nome de “fazer o dom dia”. Nessa hora, todo mundo concordou que passou do limite, e a conversa recomeçou. Meu deus, por quê?
Ela virou pro menino e perguntou se ele achava que eu era gata, se me pegaria, se tava pegando, o amigo falando que tem que reparar no dedo, eu escondendo o rosto a essa altura… Daí o meu amigo falou que se o meu dedo não fosse bom, ele podia usar um plug anal. Daí ele falando que foi no sex shop do lado do hostel que ele está e tinha um monte de gel pra mulher, pra piscar, pra ficar apertada. E eu roxa de vergonha. Daí o ele manda “vocês dois, quando estiverem com 60 anos de casados, vão fazer o que? vai precisar de um negócio pra pulsar”. Nesse momento eu pensei do que me valia o budismo, essa religião sem Deus acima da gente pra abrir uma cratera no chão e me engolir. E terminou perguntando “será que não tinha coisa de formiga da amazônia ali no meio? porque eu comi um negócio no Amazonas que fazia a língua tremer e eu fiquei pensando: mas e no pau?”.
Um pouco tempo depois, a gente resolveu ir pagar, Na fila, tava eu abraçada com o carinha (não peguei), e o meu amigo falando que tava com o lábio rachado porque tinha chupado uma prostituta na noite anterior. Eu tive que falar:
-Cacete, brother, você chupa puta?
-Não, é que depois que a nívea inventou esse protetor labial, o problema diminuiu… Cacete, Helo, você que puxa esses papos e depois acha ruim!
Não peguei o cara, porque meus pais já chagaram pra me buscar em seguida (crianças, não bebam e dirijam). Mas ele me mandou mensagem depois se lamentando por não ter me beijado e que eu sou linda. Então, acho que vou casar com esse cara. Para achar que eu sou massa depois de todos esses papos, só o meu futuro marido. Já vou separar os nomes dos géis para daqui 60 anos.

26 Apr 00:01


26 Apr 02:15

Monty Python To Bid Farewell In a Simulcast Show

by Soulskill
dacarr writes "The five remaining members of Monty Python will be performing in the O2 Arena, and their last show as a comedy troupe will be simulcast across hundreds of theaters in the UK, and roughly 1,500 more across the world, according to the Guardian. Michael Palin says this is really going to be the last time before the Pythons cease to be. Well, at least, before Monty Python, as a comedy troupe, runs down the curtain and joins the bleedin' choir invisible."

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23 Apr 20:22

The Hackers Who Recovered NASA's Lost Lunar Photos

by Soulskill
An anonymous reader sends this story from Wired: "The Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project has since 2007 brought some 2,000 pictures back from 1,500 analog data tapes. They contain the first high-resolution photographs ever taken from behind the lunar horizon, including the first photo of an earthrise. Thanks to the technical savvy and DIY engineering of the team at LOIRP, it's being seen at a higher resolution than was ever previously possible. ... The photos were stored with remarkably high fidelity on the tapes, but at the time had to be copied from projection screens onto paper, sometimes at sizes so large that warehouses and even old churches were rented out to hang them up. The results were pretty grainy, but clear enough to identify landing sites and potential hazards. After the low-fi printing, the tapes were shoved into boxes and forgotten. ... The drives had to be rebuilt and in some cases completely re-engineered using instruction manuals or the advice of people who used to service them. The data they recovered then had to be demodulated and digitized, which added more layers of technical difficulties."

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22 Apr 23:00

Sailfish Use Inescapable Face- Swords to Wound, Then Kill

by Ed Yong

Meet the sailfish—a predator that combines teamwork, ninja-like stealth, record-breaking speed, chameleonic colour changes, and a weapon that looks like a sword, works like a sword, and is mounted on its face.

It is surely one of the most spectacular hunters in the ocean. Thanks to a new study by Jens Krause, we now have a much better idea of its technique, and how it uses that distinctive pointed snout.

Sailfish typically grow to around 3 metres in length and are among the fastest of fish, reaching speeds of up to 68 miles per hour (110 kilometres per hour). Like their relatives, the swordfishes and marlins, their upper jaws end in a sharp, protruding bill. Many people assumed that the bills are used to attack prey, but others have claimed that they are too fragile; instead, they might help the fish to swim faster by cutting down on drag.

Krause became captivated by sailfish after watching a sequence in the classic 2001 documentary Blue Planet, in which a hundred-strong team take out a school of smaller fish. He wanted to see these hunts for himself and in 2011, he got his wish. “I took a trip organised by Shark Diver magazine,” he says. “They claimed it was possible to observe these animals. It was, and next year, I gathered a group of scientists to film them seriously.”

By using frigate birds and pelicans as spotters, the team found several groups of hunting sailfish. They jumped in the water, and captured several hours of high-speed and high-definition video. “It’s quite scary,” says Krause. “They do come very close to you, but they’re very accurate and careful, so they never made any contact with the divers.”

The bill isn’t a piercing weapon; it’s a slashing one. Krause’s team saw that a sailfish would swim up, insert its bill within the sardines, and flick it sideways to hit one or more targets. The sardines are none the wiser. The high-speed videos revealed that fish close to the bill don’t react any differently than the ones far away. The bill, which is so obvious to us, is actually a stealth weapon! It’s so thin that it’s hard to see and barely disturbs the surrounding water, allowing the sailfish to thrust it into the sardine school without being detected.

Now, the sardines are in serious trouble. When a sailfish flicks its bill, it either gives a gentle tap that stuns an individual fish, or a violent slash that hits several at once. During a slash, the tip of the bill can cover 6 metres and turn through 575 degrees in a single second. That’s much faster than a sardine can swim, and the bill’s acceleration (among the highest of any aquatic back-boned animal) outmatches the sardine’s reflexes. It’s hard to detect and impossible to avoid.

Krause thinks that the sailfish combine these tactics in a brutal way. They start by chasing schools of fish using their legendary speed, and they erect their eponymous sails to corral their prey. Gradually, they split large schools into smaller ones.

Then, they start slashing to inflict heavy wounds. “They don’t just attack a school and remove individuals, like dolphins or sharks would,” says Krause. “They rough these fish up for many hours. They keep them pinned, go in, and hit multiple individuals over and over again. In smaller schools, virtually every fish has been injured many times. They’re slow and exhausted. That’s when the sailfish start with the tapping. The tapping is targeted harvesting of individuals that have already been roughed up,” he adds.

The sailfish also work in teams. “We’ve seen up to 40 sailfish surrounding just 50 to 100 sardines, although maybe they started with 1,000,” says Krause. They always took turns to attack, presumably to avoid injuring each other with their sharp bills. No one knows how they coordinate their movements, but it might have something to do with their ability to change their colours. When they attack, they switch from silvery to almost black, and their flanks blaze with orange spots and electric blue bars. Perhaps these are signals to other fish, which say, “I’m up now; stand back.”

Krause’s study clearly shows that the sailfish uses its bill for hunting. “There has always been anecdotal information about bill use in feeding, but as far as I know this is the first systematic investigation. Recreational fishermen that fish for marlins and sailfish often use artificial lures or natural baits towed on the surface behind the boat,” says Richard Brill from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. “I personally have seen blue and white marlin strike lures with their bills immediately before they grab it in their mouths.”

Brill adds that fishermen often catch billfishes whose bills are broken or missing, but that still seem healthy. There is no way of knowing whether most fish with such injuries starve and die, but these catches tell us that at least some individuals can survive without their bills.

Krause thinks that their phenomenal speed might help. He’d sometimes see a lone sardine breaking off from the school and trying to flee. When that happened, the sailfish simply chased it down through sheer speed, and swallowed it. This might explain why fishermen have sometimes found whole, uninjured fish in the bellies of billfish.

Reference: Domenici, Wilson, Kurvers, Marras, Herbert-Read, Steffensen, Krause, Viblanc, Couillaud & Krause. 2014. How sailfish use their bills to capture schooling prey. Proc Roy Soc B.


19 Apr 21:24

shinyjiggly: bluekraken: iraffiruse: Machine Porn coolest...




Machine Porn

coolest gif set ever

99% perfectly looping photo Gifs :D

14 Apr 06:02

First Glow-In-the-Dark Road Debuts In Netherlands

by samzenpus
An anonymous reader writes "A 500 meter (0.3 mile) stretch of road in the Netherlands has opened without the standard crop of streetlights lining its perimeter. The streetlights are believed to be unnecessary since the road markings were painted on with a mix of photo-luminescent powder, which absorbs sunlight during the day and radiates a portion of that energy back at night. Whether the modified road paint can withstand harsh weather or even provide sufficient lighting given insufficient exposure to sunlight during the day remains to be seen. The project was orchestrated by Studio Roosegaarde, which in the future plans to implement weather-sensitive road markings that would inform drivers when outside temperatures drop or rise above certain levels."

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14 Apr 07:01

Apple vs Banana

by Doug
11 Apr 07:01


by Doug


Today I’m breaking from this week’s bird theme to make a double-dedication to two Happy Tree fans… Happy birthday to Giuseppe today! And a very belated happy birthday to Sam!

07 Apr 14:19

Malditos Designers

by Rômolo

Por Rômolo, às segundas aqui na IdeaFixa. Para ver todas as tiras publicadas, clique aqui.

07 Apr 05:15

Monika Horcicova, Bachelor thesis, Wheel of Life, 3D print,...

Monika Horcicova, Bachelor thesis, Wheel of Life, 3D print, polyurethane resin, 2012

07 Apr 15:34

montt en dosis diarias - -127

by (montt)

05 Apr 14:49

2013 NSA Surveillance Scandal | 5b3.gif

05 Apr 12:40

via Brief Candle Cartoons