Science/Fantasy Monday: Some Science Developments That Make Me Squeal Like A Girl
I realized on Thursday that I haven’t kept up with science news the last couple months. Between school, and then the holidays, blog tours and book reviews, I just haven’t had the time or the energy. And, quite frankly, I just sort of forgot to keep up.
So over the past couple days I’ve been wandering through the interwebs in search of interesting science news, and I’ve come up with some really cool things that have been developing lately. In fact, some of these were so awesome they literally made me squeal like an excited little girl. And at least one new development from Darpa makes me cringe as well. Since I haven’t done any sort of linky mash-up in a while, I thought I’d share some of my findings with you, and see if you squeal too.
On the ocean front (as reported by National Geographic), there have been so interesting developments throughout 2011 and into the new year. For instance, four new species of shark were discovered over the course of 2011 (among 140 new species found overall in 2011 by the California Academy of Sciences).
There was also a whole new “Lost World” of strange deep-sea species found near hydrothermal vents near Antarctica, including an as-yet unnamed new species of Yeti crabs that have HAIR on their abdomens (is that not the weirdest thing you’ve heard in a while?).
And these photographs display some of the wonders of the Coral Sea to support a new proposal for the Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve, which would encompass 385,000 square miles of water in the Coral Sea, including reefs, undersea volcanoes, and deep-sea canyons, making it the largest marine reserve ever (these photos are AMAZING, folks).
On the military front (as reported by Wired): in an effort to prove they are truly mad scientists, Darpa (the science agency owned by the Pentagon) has proposed a new program called “Living Foundries.” They’re recruiting all sorts of scientists, engineers, and intellectuals to help design some kind of standardized “modular genetic parts” that would allow them to pretty build any sort of biological system they damn-well please (see what I mean? Creepy and cringe-worthy).
AND, a team of Cornell scientists, with support (of at least the financial kind) from Darpa, have created a “time hole” or “time cloak” which slows the speed of light in order to literally hide an event for 40 picoseconds. This one was big enough to be covered by both Wired and National Geographic. You’ll notice the Wired article focuses on the possible eventual military applications (it is Darpa, after all), while the National Geographic article focuses on how it could help computers.
The American Astronomical Society’s annual conference was held in Austin, Texas last week, and several fascinating and promising studies were released. First, A UC Davis graduate student discusses a study of galaxy collisions which would shed some light on the issue of dark matter (from sciencedaily.com).
And second, three separate studies (summarized on Yahoo) give people like me (and other science fiction fans) more hope for alien life and the distant possibility of colonization as 1) a planet is found orbiting twin suns ala Tatooine (once thought probably impossible), and 2) a study concludes that its likely all or most stars in the Milky Way have at least 1 planet in orbit around them (yep, I’m squealing again!).
Lastly, in the world of quantum physics (one of my favorite kinds), some news from physorg.com: A group of Cambridge scientists make the quantum mechanics of electrons visible to the naked eye (how cool is that?!).
Scientists at Hoyt Laboratory make electrons dance, offering new possibilities for the development of quantum computers.
And a group of physicists working together in France and U.S. publish a proposal for a possible way to test the theory of loop quantum gravity, which has the potential to solve one of the biggest problems in physics: how to reconcile the theory of general relativity with quantum mechanics (can you imagine the possibilities?!!).
So, what do you think? Any of that make you squeal too? Even a little? On the inside?