This [space] serves as an ongoing dedication to the late Professor Carl Sagan, comprised of all things cosmos-related, in promotion of science literacy, the STEAM fields, and personal enlightenment amongst the ever-increasing hominid population on our organic spaceship, Earth.
Curiosity continues to be the fuel by which I educate and share the wonders of science with others. Carl provided the spark by which to ignite this passion, propelling me further toward continual exploration. May this page aid in your understanding of the universe, effectively bridging the gap between ignorance and knowledge, aiding in the way you interact with all living things for which we all share the same biological, chemical & atomic makeup.
Keep looking up and remember: we are all star stuff, contemplating the stars, as our origins were generated and continue to proliferate amidst the cosmos.
"When you're in love, you want to tell the world."
I’m Anne-Marie Imafidon and I’m the youngest girl ever to pass an A-level in Computing (done aged 11 instead of 18) and am one of the youngest to gain a Masters degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from Oxford University (aged 20). I was UK IT Young Professional of the Year in 2013 and currently work in technology at a bank.
I set up the Stemettes project in 2013 to inspire girls to consider careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (collectively known as STEM) by showing them the lovely women already working in STEM. Since February 2013 we’ve held panel events, hackathons and exhibitions around the UK, where hundreds of girls have been able to create their own mobile apps, games & data visualisations, as well as meet all kinds of women from across STEM.
I started the project because I love my job and can’t believe that the number of women going into STEM in the UK is so low and has been falling. Girls are missing out on a whole word of creativity, fun and being able to impact lives - so I’m doing what I can to show girls that they can have a full, fulfilling, happy and normal life if they join this industry.
In the future, I’d love for Stemettes to be something that all girls can access and try out some of STEM for themselves - being it creating their own mobile app, mixing up their own cocktails or attempting to create and prove their own theorems. Maybe then, we’ll have more girls trying to and succeeding in the increasingly important (and exciting) STEM industry.
There are under 50,000 Galapagos Sea Lions alive today and they only live in two places, the famous Galapagos Islands on a smaller island called Isla de la Plata, both off the coast of Ecuador. So, grab your passport and put your sea legs on because that is the only way to see these amazing marine mammals.
Story time!!! Basically everyone who knows me will attest to the fact that I’m a HUGE science nerd. I NEVER pass up the opportunity for interesting science things. So, when I found out my Math, Science, Technology Center needed a “nerdy” themed dessert, I fucking went ALL OUT!
HERE, I PRESENT TO YOU A PERIODIC TABLE OF CUPCAKES! MARVEL IN ITS MOTHER FUCKING BEAUTY.
Now, I don’t think people will be able to appreciate how much thought and effort went into this thing, so here is the “Cheat Key” for all the interesting, meticulous stuff:
s block - strawberry
p block - white
d block - confetti
f block - dark chocolate
Color of First Layer of Frosting:
Alakali Metal - red/dark pink
Alakaline Earth Metal - orange
Transition Metals - blue
Lanthanides - light purple
Actinides - light pink
Post-transition Metal - brown (chocolate)
Metalloids - purple
Other Nonmetals - green
Halogens - yellow
Noble Gases - silver
Color of Atomic Symbol: (based on room temperature)
Solid/unknown - white
Gas - red
Liquid - purple
Yes, I actually put that much time and effort and thought into this. And it was SOOO worth it! I love it so much;D Who else can say they’ve constructed an entire periodic table just from cupcakes? PRACTICALLY NO ONE!
But anyway, I hope this brightens your day a little. IN THE NAME OF SCIENCE… peace out :)
Super special thanks to Ally, Jessi, and Kara for the decorating help. THANKS SO MUCH OMG!!
Massive Offshore Turbine Arrays Would Help Us Harness Hurricanes:
What would happen if a hurricane were to plough through a wind farm consisting of tens of thousands of individual turbines? A Stanford engineer recently ran a computer simulation to find out — and the results were astonishing.
Given the often devastating impacts of climate change, the need for effective weather control systems has never been more urgent. It may be a while — if ever — before we partake in geoengineering projects that mitigate the effects of rising carbon dioxide levels, so it may be incumbent upon us to develop such schemes. We’ve already engaged in cloud-seeding to facilitate rain and snow (a technique that would really help drought-stricken regions like California). And looking ahead the future, we could eventually build a weather machine to create a programmable atmosphere.
But as a recent study by Stanford engineer Mark Z. Jacobson shows, we may already have the means to mitigate one of the most powerful forces of nature known to humanity.
How to Tame a Hurricane
With the help of Cristina Archer and Willett Kempton of the University of Delaware, Jacobson set about the task of figuring out what would happen to wind farms when faced by the onslaught of a hurricane. The team was curious to know if the turbines would get wrecked, or if they might be capable of literally sucking the energy out of the storm.
To find out, they developed a computer model that simulated the effects of several hurricanes as they encountered massive arrays of offshore wind farms. And by massive, we’re talking about wind farms that stretch for many miles along susceptible coasts and consisting of as many as 78,000 individual turbines. The virtual wind farms were confronted with three simulated hurricanes: Sandy and Isaac, which struck New York and New Orleans, respectively, in 2012, and Katrina, which devastated New Orleans in 2005.
Incredibly, the simulations showed that wind turbines could disrupt a hurricane enough to reduce peak wind speeds by up to 92 mph (148 km/h) and decrease storm surges by up to 79%.
"We found that when wind turbines are present, they slow down the outer rotation winds of a hurricane," noted Jacobson in a statement. "This feeds back to decrease wave height, which reduces movement of air toward the center of the hurricane, increasing the central pressure, which in turn slows the winds of the entire hurricane and dissipates it faster."
According to the simulations, a wind farm placed off the coast of New Orleans could have reduced Hurricane Katrina’s wind speed by 36-44 meters per second (between 80-98 mph) while decreasing the storm surge by up to 79%. In the case of Hurricane Sandy, the wind farms would have reduced wind speed by 35-39 meters per second (between 78-87 mph) and the storm surge by as much as 34%.
Image: The London Array as seen from space. NASA Earth Observatory.
Quite obviously, these arrays wouldn’t stop the hurricane altogether, but they could significantly diminish their destructive power once they make landfall.
As for the integrity of the wind farms themselves, current turbines can withstand wind speeds up to 112 mph (180 km/h) — the range of category 2 to 3 hurricanes. But Jacobson says that the presence of massive turbine arrays would likely prevent hurricane winds from reaching those speeds.
A Solution That Pays For Itself
Regrettably, there’s political resistance in the United States to installing a few hundred offshore wind turbines, let alone tens of thousands. But as Jacobson argues, wind turbines would pay for themselves in the long term by generating normal electricity, while reducing air pollution and global warming.
Moreover, because the turbines would prevent more wide scale damage, they would also reduce the hard costs of cleaning up after a hurricane. For example, Hurricane Sandy cost roughly $82 billion in damage across three states.
Wristbands are the accessory of choice for people promoting a cause. And the next wave of wrist wear might act as a fashionable archive of your chemical exposure.
Researchers at Oregon State University outfitted volunteers with slightly modified silicone bracelets and then tested them for 1,200 substances. They detected several dozen compounds – everything from caffeine and cigarette smoke to flame retardants and pesticides.
“We were surprised at the breadth of chemicals,” said Kim Anderson, a professor and chemist who was senior author of the study published in Environmental Science & Technology.
Beginning with Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong, the cheap, colorful, rubbery wristbands have been a popular fad over the past decade in promoting charities and other affiliations.
Anderson initially tried to use silicone pendants attached to necklaces to test for contaminants. But then, at a football game she saw “all kinds of people, even burly men” sporting wristbands. That’s when the idea hit her.
Silicone is porous and acts similar to human cells, so once chemicals are absorbed by the wristband, “they don’t want to go back to the water or the air,” Anderson said.
“This study offers some real possibilities to address the weak link in epidemiological studies – which is the exposure science,” said Ted Schettler, science director at the Science and Environmental Health Network, a nonprofit environmental health advocacy organization.
The bracelets “can identify both chemicals and mixtures, and this could easily be applied to larger groups to see which compounds are showing up most commonly,” he said.
Thirty volunteers wore the orange and white Oregon State wristbands for 30 days. Forty-nine compounds were found in them, including flame retardants, indoor pesticides such as pet flea medications, caffeine, nicotine and various chemicals used in cosmetics and fragrances.
Continue reading the article ‘New bracelets can detect people’s chemical exposures' at MotherNatureNetwork
One of the greatest Sci-Fi movies you’ll ever watch: GATTACA
GATTACA (1997) takes place in the not too distant future, where technology has advanced greatly in many aspects: space travel, forensics… and genetic engineering. Genetic modification, originally used for scientific research, has been developed into a commercial technology which enables parents to select and change genes for their children before their birth. As this option becomes more accessible, reliable, and commonly used, a new division is created in human society: the valids (the genetically modified individuals) and the invalids (the natural born individuals); people are no longer discriminated against their race, culture, or gender, they are now discriminated against their genes.
GATTACA illustrates a story of Vincent Freeman (Ethan Hawke), who as a natural born, has been discriminated against all his life, though changes his chances for fulfilling his dreams once he takes the identity of an elite. This movie raises the questions, "Where should we stop at in genetic engineering?" as well as, "How might this technology benefit our society, and how might it harm it?" Scientific research is moving rapidly, and this setting may just be our reality in the future. What we must do as citizens of the Earth is understand the science behind it, and make proper decisions when it comes to creating laws and regulations. In addition to bringing attention to this branch of science, and bringing thoughts to the mind, it reignites the love for space travel and the possibilities for the future, in everyone.
As Carl Sagan once said, “Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.”
To be an astronomer is to be a member of a very select group. Only 50 new astronomers graduate from Russian universities every year. But as many as 100 people who share this rare profession live in the tiny village of Nizhniy Arkhyz, situated in a picturesque valley and surrounded by the Caucasus mountains and ancient temples. The oldest scientist in the group, Yury Glagolevsky, is 82.
The village has such a high concentration of scientists because it is located just over 10 miles from the Large Azimuth Telescope (LAT), one of the biggest in the world. Only 30 people have ever actually gazed through that telescope at the stars.
The telescope’s 6 metre diameter main mirror is visible in the lower right part of the image
Yury Balega, the head of the telescope facility, said that the work of an astronomer is not just stargazing.
“The times of Galileo are long gone,” Balega said, “These days, all the information collected by the telescope is fed to a computer. The job of the astronomers is to process and interpret that data. That work can take months, even years. Huge amounts of data are constantly being exchanged, so astronomers work as parts of a team - usually an international team. A single academic paper can have up to 10 authors.”
Is there life in a telescope?
Despite the slow pace of work, life at the LAT facility is fairly comfortable. In addition to recreation facilities and a nice cafeteria, breathtaking views of snowy mountain peaks open from every window.
There is, however, one major drawback. Every morning, at 8 a.m. sharp, the astronomers are woken up by tourists. The facility hosts up to 500 visitors each day – no small feat for a location more than 9,000 feet above sea level.
The telescope’s building, with a special crane on the right used for maintenance
In the 1970 and 1980s, when the LAT was still the largest telescope in the world, Nizhniy Arkhyz hosted numerous science conferences. Leading astronomers from all over the world would gather at the telescope facility. Despite the prestige, Balega says that the life of a Soviet astronomer was not easy.
“Observations would start at 5 p.m., and continue until 7 a.m.,” Balega said. “The scientist would sit in a tiny cabin at the very top of the telescope. The visor of the telescope would slowly slide sideways, opening up a breathtaking view of the sky. That view was absolutely stunning! But it was extremely cold, sitting there at the top. We had to wear a special heated costume we called ‘the penguin.’ We would spend 14 hours at a time in that cabin; we couldn’t leave until the whole telescope assembly was lowered. We couldn’t move in that cabin, either, because our movements would send tremors across the entire telescope assembly, blurring the image of the stars on the photo plate. And leaving the cabin early was simply out of the question.”
Today, astronomers rarely have a minute to themselves during the workday.
“My day at work starts by reading new papers by colleagues from all over the world,” said Sergei Fabrika, who works at the LAT. “On average, 50 new papers are published in our field every day. I can sometimes spend the whole day analyzing a particularly interesting article. I then process fresh data from the telescope. After that, I meet students and post-graduates. The reason I have any time to myself during the day is that the journey from work to home is a three-minute walk, so usually I have an hour to play badminton.”
At the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab, scientists are understanding how to generate fusion energy to transform into a long term energy source. The scientists are working with ionized plasma gas that is 10 times hotter than the core of the Sun; basically they’re trying to create a star on Earth.
Researchers have built an electricity generator that can harvest energy from the most gentle movements. They say their device can produce a steady current to power consumer electronics using a gentle breeze, flowing water from a tap or normal body movement.
The Georgia Tech and Chinese Academy of Sciences team, led by materials science and engineering professor Zhong Lin Wang, report the generator creates electricity by harvesting static from a rotating disc that rubs against another stationary one. This static electricity generation, a phenomenon called the triboelectric effect, is the same that causes people who have shuffled their shoes across a carpet to get a shock when they touch something else.
Their work is reported in the journal Nature Communications today. In it, Wang’s team demonstrates the hand-sized triboelectric generator (TEG) recharging a smartphone and powering LEDs, a digital alarm clock and a wireless transmitter. They say the four-inch-diameter device is already sufficiently low-cost and energy-dense to operate electronics and could be ratcheted up to large-scale power generation.
Continue reading about Zhong Lin Wang’s incredible R&D via Txchnologist. More of Zhong Lin Wang’s work regarding “footstep” generation of energy HERE!