Sunday, May 24, 2015

Big Picture Science for Monday 25 May 2015 - Skeptic Check: After the Hereafter

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Big Picture Science - Skeptic Check: After the Hereafter

There are few enduring truths, but one is that no one gets out of life alive. What’s less certain is what comes next. Does everything stop with death, or are we transported to another plane of existence? First-hand accounts of people who claim to have visited heaven are offered as proof of an afterlife. Now the author of one bestseller admits that his story was fabricated.

We’ll look at the genre of “heaven tourism” to see if it has anything to say about the possible existence of the hereafter, and why the idea of an afterlife seriously influences how we live our lives on Earth.

Also, a neurologist describes what is going on in the brain during near-death and other out-of-body experiences.

It’s Skeptic Check, our monthly look at critical thinking … but don’t take our word for it!

Guests:

Permalink: http://radio.seti.org/episodes/Skeptic_Check_After_the_Hereafter

You can listen to this and other episodes at http://radio.seti.org/, and be sure to check out Blog Picture Science, the companion blog to the radio show.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Roundworms have the Right Stuff


Source - NASA Science News for May 23, 2015

The common roundworm shares a surprising amount of genetic material with humans - enough, in fact, to make them good substitutes for astronauts in low-gravity medical studies.

The complete article can be found here: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2015/23may_roundworms/

A companion video is posted below and can also be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8wVRZwL_Qc&feature=youtu.be



Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed)

Friday, May 22, 2015

Electric-blue Clouds Spotted over the Arctic Circle


Source - Space Weather News for May 22, 2015: http://spaceweather.com

NOCTILUCENT CLOUDS: NASA's AIM spacecraft has spotted a luminous patch of electric-blue drifting across the Arctic Circle. The sighting marks the beginning of the 2015 season for northern-hemisphere noctilucent clouds (NLCs). Long ago, NLCs were a polar phenomenon confined mainly to the Arctic. In recent years, however, they have intensified and spread, with sightings as far south as Utah and Colorado. 

Learn more about these exotic clouds and how you might see them this summer on today's edition of http://spaceweather.com.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Geomagnetic Storm on May 19th


Source - Space Weather News for May 19, 2015: http://spaceweather.com

GEOMAGNETIC STORM: A moderate (G2-class) geomagnetic storm is underway on May 19th as Earth enters an unsettled stream of solar wind.  High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras, especially during the hours around local midnight.  Visit http://spaceweather.com for updates.

SPRITE SEASON BEGINS: As northern summer approaches, photographers in Europe and the USA are starting to see "red sprites," an exotic form of lightning that shoots out of the tops of thunderclouds.  Photos and observing tips are highlighted on today's edition of http://spaceweather.com.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Big Picture Science for Monday 18 May 2015 - They Know Who You Are

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Big Picture Science - They Know Who You Are

You’re a private person. But as long as you’re on-line and have skin and hair, you’re shedding little bits of data and DNA everywhere you go. Find out how that personal information – whether or not it’s used against you – is no longer solely your own. Are your private thoughts next?

A security expert shares stories of ingenious computer hacking … a forensic scientist develops tools to create a mug shot based on a snippet of DNA … and from the frontiers of neuroscience: mind reading may no longer be the stuff of sketchy psychics.

Guests:

Permalink: http://radio.seti.org/episodes/They_Know_Who_You_Are

You can listen to this and other episodes at http://radio.seti.org/, and be sure to check out Blog Picture Science, the companion blog to the radio show.

Friday, May 15, 2015

The First Martian Marathon


Source - NASA Science News for May 15, 2015

On Earth, a fast runner takes a few hours to complete a marathon. On Mars, it takes about 11 years. NASA's Opportunity rover crossed the finish line of the first "Martian Marathon" in 2015.

The complete article can be found here: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2015/15may_marathon/

A companion video is posted below and can also be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gN_cmK9TUc&feature=youtu.be



License: Standard YouTube License

Monday, May 11, 2015

Auroras on Mars


Source - NASA Science News for May 11, 2015

NASA's MAVEN spacecraft has detected widespread auroras on Mars.

The complete article can be found here: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2015/11may_aurorasonmars/

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Big Picture Science for Monday 11 May 2015 - A Fundy Thing Happened













Big Picture Science - A Fundy Thing Happened

Get ready for déjà vu as you listen to some of our favorite interviews from the past year. It’s our annual fundraising podcast. Come for the great interviews, stay for the great interviews. Lend us your support along the way.

What’s for dinner? Maybe Soylent. Made by … people! We do a taste test. Then meet your gut microbes. They control your health and even your mood.

Get tips on how to talk to aliens, why you should keep an eye on government surveillance, and the future of 3D printing human tissue. Also, why extraordinary beliefs persist – including Holocaust denial – despite the persistence of evidence to the contrary.

And, global perspective: why Ebola won’t be the next big pandemic but sea level rise could wipe out coasts along Florida and Thailand.

Plus, we imagine life hundreds of years ago for the renegades on the rough seas, and what the world would be like had the dinosaurs not gone extinct.

All this and more on a special Big Picture Science podcast!

Guests:

Permalink: http://radio.seti.org/episodes/A_Fundy_Thing_Happened

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

X2-class Solar Flare Causes Radio Blackout


Source - Space Weather News for May 6, 2015: http://spaceweather.com

X-FLARE: Emerging sunspot AR2339 unleashed an intense X2-class solar flare on May 5th at approximately 22:11 UT.  Radiation from the flare caused strong radio blackouts on the Pacific side of Earth, interfering with communications at frequencies below ~20 MHz.  The blast also hurled a CME into space, but not toward Earth. This event could herald a sustained period of high solar activity, as AR2339 appears to be large and explosive.

Check http://spaceweather.com for more information and updates.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Big Picture Science for Monday 04 May 2015 - The Evolution of Evolution

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Big Picture Science - The Evolution of Evolution

Darwinian evolution is adaptive and slow … millennia can go by before a species changes very much. But with the tools of genetic engineering we can now make radical changes in just one generation. By removing genes or inserting new ones, we can give an organism radically different traits and behaviors. We are taking evolution into our own hands.

It all began with the domestication of plants and animals, which one science writer says created civilization. Today, as humans tinker with their own genome, is it possible we will produce Homo sapiens 2.0?

Also, what happens to those species who can’t control their destiny? How climate change is forcing the biggest genetic reshuffling in recorded history.

Guests:

Permalink: http://radio.seti.org/episodes/The_Evolution_of_Evolution

You can listen to this and other episodes at http://radio.seti.org/, and be sure to check out Blog Picture Science, the companion blog to the radio show.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Mind-bending Discoveries from NASA's MESSENGER Spacecraft


Source NASA Science News for April 30, 2015

NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft crashed into Mercury on April 30th, ending a years-long mission that made many unexpected discoveries about the innermost planet. Today's story summarizes some of MESSENGER's most surprising finds.

The complete article can be found here: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2015/30apr_messenger/

Deep Quiet on the Sun


Source - Space Weather News for April 30, 2015: http://spaceweather.com

DEEP QUIET: Everyone knows that high solar activity has a profound effect on the space around Earth.  Less well known is that *low* solar activity can be equally transformative. This week, the sun is plunging into a quiet state with almost no sunspots and a vanishing chance of flares. Find out what this means on today's edition of http://spaceweather.com

OTHER STORIES: we are following on http://spaceweather.com today: (1) A 10,000 km-long plume of sulfurous gas from Chile's Calbuco volcano is now crossing the Atlantic Ocean en route to Africa; and (2) On April 28th, microbes sent to the edge of space to test their response to cosmic radiation crash-landed in the California desert--and it did not go well for the microbes.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Desert Dust Feeds Amazon Forests


Source - NASA Science News for April 29, 2015

The Amazon rainforest and the Sahara desert seem utterly different. Yet NASA satellites have discovered a surprising connection that intimately links these two disparate parts of our planet.

The complete article can be found here: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2015/29apr_amazondust/

A companion video is posted below and can also be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7lVGhTPQAY&feature=youtu.be



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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Big Picture Science for Monday 27 April 2015 - Invisible Worlds

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Big Picture Science - Invisible Worlds

ENCORE: You can’t see it, but it’s there, whether an atom, a gravity wave, or the bottom of the ocean … but we have technology that allows us to detect what eludes our sight. When we do, whole worlds open up.

Without telescopes, asteroids become visible only three seconds before they slam into the Earth. Find out how we track them long before that happens. Also, could pulsars help us detect the gravity waves that Einstein’s theory predicts?

Plus, why string theory and parallel universes may remain just interesting ideas … the story of the woman who mapped the ocean floor … and why the disappearance of honeybees may change what you eat.

Guests:

This encore podcast was first released on September 23, 2013

Permalink: http://radio.seti.org/episodes/Invisible_Worlds

You can listen to this and other episodes at http://radio.seti.org/, and be sure to check out Blog Picture Science, the companion blog to the radio show.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Volcanic Lightning in Southern Chile


Source - Space Weather News for April 23, 2015: http://spaceweather.com

The Calbuco volcano in southern Chile erupted yesterday. Two blasts in 24 hours on April 22nd sent plumes of ash and sulfurous gas shooting at least 33,000 feet high. One of the eruptions occured at night and put on a spectacular display of rare and mysterious volcanic lightning. 

Visit http://spaceweather.com for a picture of the lightning and a discussion of its underlying physics.