This may be as close as you can come to going on a spacewalk 240-ish miles above Earth

The vertiginous video also offers an opportunity to consider theories posited by two of the giants of science https://youtu.be/Wfoy_OvNDvw While on a spacewalk outside the International Space Station over Mexico, NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik captured this spectacular, vertiginous video with a GoPro camera. I spotted it in a NASA Tweet yesterday, and when I watched it, I really did have the sensation that this would be as close as I'll ever come to experiencing free-falling around the Eart

Your Weekly Attenborough: Euptychia attenboroughi

Small, spotted and dun flash of wings in the Amazon sun. Cloaked in mystery until 2015 Euptychia attenboroughi does not mean to be seen. Plucked from tangles of jungle undergrowth to a pin-speckled board, the lepidopterist's oath. Attenborough's black-eyed satyr, a forest god, a butterfly, it doesn't really matter. Black spots spark fear when danger's near or just sow confusion, it's not quite clear. Its range is limited, the numbers may be low so keep an eye

Dramatic satellite images reveal thick palls of dust choking Beijing and blowing across 2,000 miles of Asia

About a week ago, dust sweeping north from the Sahara blanketed parts of Eastern Europe, turning snow-covered ski slopes a strange shade of orange. Now, another far-ranging pall of dust — exacerbated by nasty air pollution — is in the news, this time in northeast Asia. Starting on March 26th, China's northern regions were hit with their fourth round of sandstorms this year, according to the Xinhua news agency. By the 28th, Beijing was choking on heavy dust mixed with air pollutants tha

What Happens When a Blind Person Takes LSD?

How do blind people experience psychedelic drugs? This is the topic of an interesting, but unusual, paper just out in Consciousness and Cognition. The paper's authors are University of Bath researchers Sara Dell'Erba, David J.Brown, and Michael J.Proulx. However, the real star contributor is a man referred to only as "Mr Blue Pentagon". Blue Pentagon ("BP") is the pseudonym for a 70 year old blind man who reports taking large quantities of LSD and other drugs during his career as a roc

This cyclone almost became the East Coast’s fifth nor’easter. What accounts for its beautiful comma shape?

I first spotted a still image of this striking comma-shaped storm on Twitter. Captured by the GOES-16 weather satellite, the storm had already blown across part of the United States, dropping rain and snow along the way, and out into the Atlantic. Had it hugged the coast instead of pushing farther eastward, it would have been the fifth nor'easter in a row for the battered East Coast. Luckily, it did not. So now we can simply marvel at this meteorological wonder. Here’s that still image

Cheetah Hitches a Ride During African Safari

People go on safaris in Africa to see wildlife and experience the wonders of nature. One safari group, however, got uncomfortably close with nature. Curious about the vehicle, a cheetah jumped on the hood of the group's vehicle. While everyone focused on that one,  another cheetah decided to jump into the SUV.. "The sheer tension of sitting in a vehicle thinking, 'I'm going to die,' and then living. We just, everyone in the car just looked at each other, we paused for 10 seconds as the

Wall Street Could Benefit from Classic Physics

Some things may just be unknowable. How does the mind really work? Is there life elsewhere in the universe? What’s really going on with the stock market? While we may never truly learn all the answers, we’ve at least got a little more to go on with that last question, thanks to a paper out this week in Physical Review Letters that finds a surprising “real life” model for financial markets. And, happily, it’s one that scientists have used and understood for over a century: Brownian motion.

Why Do Knuckles Crack? Engineers Calculate the Answer

Love it or hate it, knuckles crack. For some the noise signals a welcome release, while others cringe at the thought of joints shifting about in their sockets. The sound itself, though, is still a bit of a mystery. Snap, Crackle, Why? Researchers have debated the source of the sharp pops for over a century now, and actually thought they had it cracked in the 1970s. The event was simply the sound of bubbles in the sinovial fluid between our joints collapsing, researchers concluded, the r

Hagfish Take Weeks to Recover from Sliming Someone

If you see this animal, don't anger it. A hagfish under attack releases thick, clear slime in astonishing quantities. Now scientists have learned that this mucus is a precious resource for a hagfish. After sliming a predator, the fish can take nearly a month to refill its slime glands. Hagfish live on the ocean bottom, where they're opportunistic scavengers and hunters. The fish's potential predators back off quickly after getting a faceful of slime, which clogs their gills. Hagfish,

When It Comes to Robots, Science Is More Creative Than Hollywood

The movies Pacific Rim and Pacific Rim Uprising are chock full of robot-versus-monster fights. Inside those massive bots are humans controlling every step, punch and kick — these are incredibly outdated assumptions about the future of ass-kicking robots. It is assumed that as a robot gets bigger it gets harder to control, so more operators are needed.But science shows that’s not really how it works, argues Robin R. Murphy, the Raytheon Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Texa

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