EARTH DAY METEOR SHOWER: Earth is passing through a stream of debris
from ancient Comet Thatcher, source of the annual Lyrid meteor shower.
According to radar data, the shower is peaking today with meteor rates
as high as 15 per hour.
Do you feel happy today? How about happily disgusted? Maybe
sadly surprised, or sadly disgusted? Human emotions are complex. But
at least they’re the common language that unites us all – except when
they don’t. A tribe in Namibia might interpret our expression of fear
as one of wonderment. And people with autism don’t feel the emotions
that others do.
So if you’re now delightfully but curiously perplexed, tune in and
discover the evolutionary reason for laughter … how a computer can
diagnose emotional disorders that doctors miss … and why the world’s
most famous autistic animal behaviorist has insight into the emotional
needs of cattle.
INCOMING STORM CLOUDS: Three or four CMEs that left the sun earlier
this week will arrive in quick succession this weekend. Mostly, the
blows they deliver to Earth's magnetic field are expected to be weak,
but the combined impacts could stir up significant geomagnetic activity.
NOAA forecasters put the odds of a high-latitude geomagnetic storm at
55% on Saturday, increasing to 75% on Sunday.
Using NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered the
first Earth-size planet orbiting a star in the "habitable zone" -- the
range of distance from a star where liquid water might pool on the
surface of an orbiting planet.
TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE: On Tuesday morning, April 15th,
the full Moon will pass through the shadow of Earth, producing a
colorful lunar eclipse. Although the mainstream media is calling this a
"blood moon," the color is more likely to be bright orange. At the
moment, Earth's stratosphere is not dusty enough produce a shadow with
the deep red hues of blood. Whatever color it turns out to be, the
eclipse will be visible from North and South America, Australia and New
Zealand. Check http://spaceweather.com for observing tips and more information.
LIVE WEBCAST OF THE ECLIPSE: Got clouds? No problem. The lunar eclipse
will be broadcast live on the web by the Coca-Cola Science Center at
Columbus State University in Georgia: http://www.ccssc.org/webcast.html
ENCORE: We all crave power: to run laptops,
charge cell phones, and play Angry Birds. But if generating energy is
easy, storing it is not. Remember when your computer conked out
during that cross-country flight? Why can’t someone build a better
Discover why battery design is stuck in the 1800s, and why updating
it is key to future green transportation (not to mention more juice for
your smartphone). Also, how to build a new type of solar cell that can
turn sunlight directly into fuel at the pump.
Plus, force fields, fat cells and other storage systems. And: Shock lobster! Energy from crustaceans?
Dan Lankford – Former CEO of three battery technology companies, and a managing director at Wavepoint Ventures
In 2015, with the assistance of the world's only twin astronauts, NASA
will conduct an unprecedented experiment in human biology. While one
twin remains on the ground, the other will circle Earth aboard the
International Space Station for a full year. Will the twins still be
identical when they are re-united? The answer could help NASA make space
travel safer for generations of astronauts to come.
NASA's Cassini spacecraft and Deep Space Network have uncovered evidence
that Saturn's moon Enceladus harbors a large underground ocean,
furthering scientific interest in the moon as a potential home to
A new study shows that the length of the melt season for Arctic sea ice
is growing by several days each decade. This is allowing the Arctic
Ocean to absorb enough additional solar radiation in some places to melt
as much as four feet of the Arctic ice cap's thickness.
It’s hard to imagine the twists and turns of evolution that gave rise to Homo Sapiens.
After all, it required geologic time, and the existence of many
long-gone species that were once close relatives. That may be one
reason why – according to a recent poll – one-third of all Americans
reject the theory of evolution. They prefer to believe that humans and
other living organisms have existed in their current form since the
beginning of time.
But if you’ve ever been sick, you’ve been the victim of evolution on a
very observable time scale. Nasty viruses and bacteria take full
advantage of evolutionary forces to adapt to new hosts. And they can do
Discover how comparing the deadly 1918 flu virus with variants today
may help us prevent the next pandemic. Also, while antibiotic resistance
is threatening to become a major health crisis, better understanding of
how bacteria evolve their defenses against our drugs may help us out.
And the geneticist who sequenced the Neanderthal genome says yes, our hirsute neighbors co-mingled with humans.
It’s Skeptic Check … but don’t take our word for it!
X-FLARE: The magnetic canopy of sunspot AR2017 erupted yesterday, March
29th, producing an impulsive X1-class solar flare. Ionizing radiation
from the flare produced electrical currents in Earth's upper atmosphere
and a ripple in Earth's magnetic field detected by magnetometers across
the dayside of our planet.
Read more about this rare "magnetic crochet"
and the possibility of more X-flares this weekend on today's edition of