These six images from SDO show a representative image about every nine months to illustrate the rising level of solar activity since the mission first began to produce consistent images in May, 2010. The period of solar maximum is expected in the first half of 2014. Active regions appear as brighter areas. The images were taken in the 171 Angstrom wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light. Credit: Solar Dynamics Observatory/NASA.
The shape of our backs keeps us balanced when we walk on two legs, but it comes at a cost. Anatomist Bruce Latimer shows how our transition to being exclusively bipedal has led to many common back ailments.
YOUR INNER FISH airs Wednesdays, April 9-23, 2014, 10/9c as part of PBS’ THINK WEDNESDAY.
Not much on James Reinhard’s blog - but he hits the nail squarely on the head here:
The reason intelligent design is not a theory, is because it cannot be tested and it cannot be predicted. Intelligent design relies on the belief that there is an intelligent force or designer, that instead of all species evolving gradually, this designer brought species into existence, in their present state. There is simply no way to test the existence of this designer and if species were brought into existence haphazardly there’s no way to predict where or when there fossils would be found. In most cases, believers in intelligent design devote more time find faults in the evolution theory, and where ever they can find fault they implant the idea that intelligent design is the reason for the fault. They aren’t trying to prove intelligent design, they’re trying to disprove evolution.
Published on Apr 22, 2014
Our energy future depends on nuclear fusion, says Michel Laberge. The plasma physicist runs a small company with a big idea for a new type of nuclear reactor that could produce clean, cheap energy. His secret recipe? High speeds, scorching temperatures and crushing pressure. In this hopeful talk, he explains how nuclear fusion might be just around the corner.
TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and much more.
Find closed captions and translated subtitles in many languages at ted.com
Follow TED news on Twitter: twitter.com
Like TED on Facebook: facebook.com
Subscribe to our channel: youtube.com…
Subscribe to our channel: youtube.com
Another big thank you to MBARI
for their amazing deep sea footage
Feeding Red Octopus :: mbari.org
White Octopus In Jar :: Getty Images
Octopus rubescens and spot prawns :: mbari.org
Why We’re Suckers for the Giant Pacific Octopus :: Monterey Bay Aquarium
Though dinosaur-killing impacts are rare, large asteroids routinely hit the Earth. In the visualization above, you can see the location of 26 space rocks that slammed into our planet between 2000 and 2013, each releasing energy equivalent to that of our most powerful nuclear weapons.
The video comes from the B612 Foundation, an organization that wants to build and launch a telescope that would spot civilization-ending asteroids to give humans a heads up in trying to deflect them. To figure out where asteroids were hitting our planet, B612 used data from a worldwide network of instruments that detect infrasound, low-frequency sound waves traveling through the atmosphere. Such measurements have been used since the 1950s to detect nuclear bomb explosions and can also pick up the tremendous burst of a bolide tearing through our atmosphere.
The Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization, which operates the network, recently released the location of these asteroid strikes, which gives scientists another datapoint in understanding the frequency with which these events happen. In recent years, there has been a growing consensus that the Earth gets hit by enormous space rocks more often than we previously thought. The 26 strikes in the video above were each between 1 kiloton and 1.6 megatons. For comparison, the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima exploded with an energy of 16 kilotons, and the U.S.’s most powerful nuclear weapon, the B83 bomb, has a yield of up to 1.2 megatons. Of course, comparing asteroids to nuclear bombs is a bit misleading; asteroids generate a moving shockwave that can cause far more destruction than the rock itself.
Just to dial back your ever-increasing sense of anxiety here-asteroid impacts are almost always harmless. A Hiroshima-scale asteroid explosion happens in our atmosphere on average once a year and yet we’re all still here. Moreover, asteroids can’t aim themselves at populated centers. Most of the Earth’s surface is water and even a large percentage of land is fairly uninhabited by humans. Though B612′s Ed Lu mentions in the video that only “blind luck” is preventing a catastrophic city-size space rock from killing us, keep in mind that blind luck has actually been serving us fairly well so far.
Jason Shankel talks about the most recent episode of the new Cosmos and makes an important point. Not only are creationists going to hate Cosmos now, but so will climate change deniers, and Ayn Rand style libertarians.
This week’s episode of Cosmos tackles the Rock of Ages, the age of rocks and getting the lead out of our commitment to the environment. The episode takes the form of a fable, a cautionary tale about the dangers of letting any institution, but most especially science, fall into the clutches of the Argument From Authority and the ulterior motives of self-declared experts.
After a brief recap of the formation of the solar system and the accretion of our own world, Tyson describes Bishop Ussher’s famous attempt to provide a precise, begat-based estimation of the age of the world. Ussher’s Biblical arithmetic, which places the date and time of creation at Saturday, Oct 22nd, 4004 BC at 6:00 PM (presumably Eden Standard Time) stood for years as the authoritative age of creation until scientists began examining the geological layers of the Earth.
But as the layers of stone replaced the sequence of begats, we found that calculating the precise age of the Earth is beyond the scope of the geological record. Layers that normally take centuries to form can form in an instant during a catastrophic flood. And the active geology of the Earth means that the lowest accessible layers of the geological record are still far younger than the Earth itself.
Supreme Court denies fishing trip to right wing AGW denialist lobby.
Unpublished research by university scientists is exempt from the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled Thursday, rejecting an attempt by skeptics of global warming to view the work of a prominent climate researcher during his years at the University of Virginia.
The ruling is the latest turn in the FOIA request filed in 2011 by Del. Robert Marshall (R-Prince William) and the American Tradition Institute to obtain research and e-mails of former U-Va. professor Michael Mann.
Mann left the university in 2005 and now works at Penn State University, where he published his book “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars” about his theories on global warming and those who would deny it. Lawyers for U-Va. turned over about 1,000 documents to Marshall and ATI, led by former EPA attorney David Schnare, but withheld another 12,000 papers and e-mails, saying that work “of a propriety nature” was exempt under the state’s FOIA law.
A SpaceX supply ship rocketed toward the International Space Station on Friday, setting the stage for an Easter morning delivery and urgent spacewalking repairs later in the week.
Following its midday launch through cloudy skies, the Dragon cargo carrier was shown drifting away in the blackness of space, against the blue backdrop of Earth.
It’s transporting 21/2 tons of goods, including a new spacesuit, spacesuit replacement parts, much-needed food, legs for NASA’s humanoid, Robonaut, a bevy of mating flies, and germs gathered from sports arenas and historic sites across the U.S.
What is interesting about this is it calls into question just how early children start prejudging based on race:
In addition to asking whether infants consider an individual’s prior history of fair and unfair behavior in making their social selections, we asked whether information about the social category membership of an individual affects infants’ social selections. In the current study, we operationalized social category membership in terms of the race of the individuals, as adults systematically use race as an indicator of social category membership (Fiske and Neuberg, 1990; Hewstone et al., 1991; Stangor et al., 1992). Evidence suggests that same-race social preferences are in place by the school-aged years: elementary-aged children reveal a racial bias in their friendships and in peer nominations, preferring same-race peers (Aboud et al., 2003; Bellmore et al., 2007). Work using experimental paradigms also demonstrates that the impact of race on children’s social preferences can be traced back to at least the early preschool years. Three- to five-year-old children systematically select same-race unfamiliar peers and adults as potential friends over those of another race (Katz and Kofkin, 1997; Kinzler and Spelke, 2011). Moreover, children prefer others who exclusively affiliate with members of their ingroup: Caucasian preschoolers selectively preferred characters in vignettes who were depicted playing with other Caucasian characters as potential friends, rather than those depicted with Black characters (Castelli et al., 2007). In addition to possessing race-based social preferences children as young as three also show adult-like implicit race biases in an age-appropriate version of the Implicit Association Task (Dunham et al., 2013).
It is not entirely cut and dry:
We were motivated to investigate the impact of race on infants’ social selections as current research suggests infants show an early sensitivity to race in their attentional patterns. Evidence from visual preference studies suggests that race influences infants’ looking preferences for different faces: infants as young as 3 months of age prefer to look at same-race over other-race faces (Kelly et al., 2005). Existing research on social selections based on race in infancy, however, has yielded mixed results. On the one hand, preliminary findings using live, interactive paradigms with 12-month-old infants indicate that Caucasian infants prefer to take toys offered by Caucasian versus Asian individuals when given no other information about the individuals (Shin et al., 2011). On the other hand, Kinzler and Spelke (2011) found that 10-month-old infants selected toys associated with a Caucasian adult at equal rates as toys associated with a Black adult, providing no evidence for race-based social selections in infancy. Thus, the extent to which infants consider race in their social selections is an open question.
In conclusion, the results of the current study suggest that infants can use fairness concerns to guide their social selections. However, infants also take into consideration the race of individuals, and the consequences of the behavior of these individuals for their own- versus other-race individuals.
If we want to find a way to overcome racism - understanding how it affects young children, and why, is undoubtedly going to be the catalyst - which makes this report very important to adding to the available knowledge on how and why brains make judgments on race.
Indeed, the results of Experiment 2 suggest that when given the opportunity to select individuals on the basis of fairness, on the basis of race, or based on the consequences of the distributor’s actions for own- versus other-race individuals, infants most strongly consider the consequences for own- versus other-race members. These findings may suggest that when confronted with selecting between individuals on the basis of who abides by a fairness norm versus on the basis of who advantages own-race (versus other-race) individuals, infants may more strongly weight the consequences for individuals of their own race, and, by extension, for the self. Thus, infants may strategically select social partners who previously advantaged members of their own social category, suggesting that they may use group membership to predict the consequences of future interactions for themselves. Thus, our work is consistent with the conclusion that infants and young children may be strategic in their prosocial considerations (Dunfield and Kuhlmeier, 2010; Vaish et al., 2010; Shaw et al., 2012), factoring in not only whether an individual acts fairly, but also the potential consequences of this behavior for their own interactions with others.
This suggests the ideas we have about the causes of racism - ignorance and hatred are too simple to explain why racism appears inherent in very young children.
While education and personal experiences, which dispense with ignorance, do help to create non-prejudicial adults (They simply educate out of it) the study suggests that while education can defeat racial judgments over the long term - these are not necessarily the causes of racism. Something else, inherent in children, is.