Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Original Earth Day

Whew! If you think the future is bad now, be glad it isn't 1970.
Thirteen predictions* from Earth Day, 1970.

(more Earth Day predictionsSimon and Ehrlich's famous bet)
*(Apr'17) Mark Perry says: eighteen.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Spring 2017 Bridge Contest

The whole class was very good at making bridges this year.
(And very bad at choosing the better of two bridges.)

This year's strongest bridge collapsing in slow motion.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Something From Nothing

One of the weirder ideas of Quantum mechanics is that empty space is not empty at all. No matter how empty you make a space, pairs of particles and and anti-particles will spontaneously come into being move around for a while, then touch each other and disappear.

Apparently physics equations predict that this could happen. We just haven't had any evidence for it...and no idea how we could possibly get evidence. A few decades ago someone suggested that if it happened close enough to a black hole one half of that particle pair could be sucked into the black hole while the other half moved away and became permanent new matter in the universe.

This year, a team from the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope found visual evidence via a phenomenon called vacuum birefringence.

Synthetic Blood

Scientists in England have isolated stem cells and persuaded them to produce red blood cells. The first goal is to get them to make complicated and rare blood types.