ENCORE: There are many kinds of islands.
There’s your iconic sandy speck of land topped with a palm tree, but
there’s also our home planet – an island in the vast seas of space. You
might think of yourself as a biological island … until you tally the
number of microbes living outside – and inside – your body.
We go island hopping, and consider the Scottish definition of an
island – one man, one sheep – as well as the swelling threat of high
water to island nations. Also, how species populate islands … and
tricks for communicating with extraterrestrial islanders hanging out
elsewhere in the cosmos.
I haven't tried Distro Astro Linux yet, and it will be some time before I get a chance. If you happen to be using it or eventually start using it, then feel free to share you experiences in the comments section.
Back for a second trip across the face of the Sun, old sunspot AR2192 is growing again and crackling with M-class solar flares. The active region has an unstable magnetic field that harbors energy for even stronger X-flares. Future eruptions could affect Earth as the sunspot turns toward our planet in the days ahead.
In the century and a half since Charles Darwin wrote his seminal On the Origin of the Species, our understanding of evolution has changed quite a bit. For one, we have not only identified the inheritance molecule DNA, but have determined its sequence in many animals and planets.
Evolution has evolved, and we take a look at some of the recent developments.
A biologist describes the escalating horn-to-horn and tusk-to-tusk
arms race between animals, and a paleoanthropologist explains why the
lineage from chimp to human is no longer thought to be a straight line
but, instead, a bush. Also, New York Times science writer Carl
Zimmer on the diversity of bacteria living on you, and which
evolutionary concepts he finds the trickiest to explain to the public.
Nuclear fission powers the Sun. Or is it fusion? At any rate,
helium is burned in the process, of that you are certain. After all,
you read that article on astronomy last week*.
You know what you know. But you probably don’t know what you don’t
know. Few of us do. Scientists say we’re spectacularly incompetent at
recognizing our own incompetency, and that sometimes leads to trouble.
Find out why wrongness is the by-product of big brains and why even
scientists – gasp! – are not immune. Plus, a peek into the trash bin
of history: the biggest scientific blunders and the brighter-than-bright
brains that made them. Including Einstein.
*Oh, and the Sun burns hydrogen to produce helium. But then, you knew that.
MARTIAN METEOR SHOWER: NASA and European spacecraft have detected evidence of a "spectacular" meteor shower on Mars caused by the close approach of Comet Siding Spring last month. If a human had been standing on the Red Planet at the time, they might have seen thousands of meteors per hour followed by a widespread yellow afterglow that lasted for days. Visit http://spaceweather.com for more information.
X-FLARE! Active sunspot AR2205 produced a potent X1-class solar flare on Nov. 7th, causing a strong HF radio blackout on the dayside of our planet. More X-flares are in the offing as the sunspot turns toward Earth this weekend. Visit http://spaceweather.com for updates.
Findings from a NASA
rocket are redefining what scientists think of as galaxies. Galaxies may
not have a set boundary of stars, but instead stretch out to great
distances, forming a vast, interconnected sea of stars.
with M-class solar flares, an active sunspot is emerging over the sun's
northeastern limb. The new region, numbered AR2205, has produced
multiple CMEs in the past 48 hours. So far Earth is outside the line of
fire, and the solar storm clouds are sailing wide of our planet. This
could change, however, as the sunspot turns toward Earth in the days
ENCORE: The world is a noisy place. But
now we have a better idea what the fuss is about. Not only can we
record sound, but our computers allow us to analyze it.
Bird sonograms reveal that our feathery friends give each other
nicknames and share details about their emotional state. Meanwhile,
hydrophones capture the sounds of dying icebergs, and let scientists
separate natural sound from man-made in the briny deep.
Plus, native Ohio speakers help decipher what Neil Armstrong really
said on that famous day. And, think your collection of 45 rpm records
is impressive? Try feasting your ears on sound recorded before the
Bob Dziak – Oceanographer, Hatfield Marine Science Center, Oregon State University, Program Manager, Acoustics Program, NOAA
Michael Porter – Senior scientist of H.L.S. Research, La Jolla, California
The Antarctic ozone hole reached its annual peak size on Sept. 11, according to scientists from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The size of this year’s hole was 24.1 million square kilometers (9.3 million square miles) — an area roughly the size of North America.
ENCORE: We love our family and friends, but
sometimes their ideas about how the world works seem a little wacky. We
asked BiPiSci listeners to share examples of what they can’t believe
their loved-ones believe, no matter how much they hear rational
explanations to the contrary. Then we asked some scientists about those
beliefs, to get their take.
Discover whether newspaper ink causes cancer … if King Tut really
did add a curse to his sarcophagus … the efficacy of examining your
irises – iridology – to diagnose disease … and more!
Oh, and what about string theory? Is it falsifiable?
Solar activity continues to be at high levels this weekend as giant
sunspot AR2192 crackles with strong flares, including two X-class
explosions in less than 24 hours. The flares are causing intermittent HF
radio blackouts around the dayside of Earth. However, no major CMEs
are yet heading in our direction. Visit http://spaceweather.com for more information and updates.