LUNAR TRANSIT: The Moon is about to pass in front of the sun, producing
an eclipse that can be seen only from space. NASA's Solar Dynamics
Observatory will record the 2.5-hour "lunar transit" beginning at 1331
UTC or 8:31 EST on Thursday, Jan. 30th. Tune into http://spaceweather.com for pictures during the event.
SOLAR FLARES: A large and moderately active sunspot is slowly turning
toward Earth, increasing the chances of geoeffective solar activity this
Picture a cockroach skittering across your kitchen. Eeww! Now
imagine it served as an entrée at your local restaurant. There’s good
reason these diminutive arthropods give us the willies – but they may
also be the key to protein-rich meals of the future.
Get ready for
cricket casserole, as our relationship to bugs is about to change.
Also, share in one man’s panic attack when he is swarmed by
grasshoppers. And the evolutionary reason insects revolt us, but also
why the cicada’s buzz and the beetle’s click may have inspired humans to
Plus, the history of urban pests: why roaches love to hide out between your floorboards. And Molly adopts a boxful of mealworms.
NASA scientists say 2013 tied with 2009 and 2006 for the seventh warmest
year since 1880, continuing a long-term trend of rising global
temperatures. With the exception of 1998, the 10 warmest years in the
134-year record all have occurred since 2000, with 2010 and 2005 ranking
as the warmest years on record.
You must not remember this. Indeed, it may be key to having a healthy
brain. Our gray matter evolved to forget things; otherwise we’d have
the images of every face we saw on the subway rattling around our head
all day long. Yet we’re building computers with the capacity to
remember everything. Everything! And we might one day hook these
devices to our brains.
Find out what’s it’s like – and whether it’s desirable – to live in a
world of total recall. Plus, the quest for cognitive computers, and
how to shake that catchy – but annoying – jingle that plays in your head
over and over and over and …
Ramamoorthy Ramesh – Materials physicist, deputy director of science and technology, Oakridge National Lab
Michael Anderson – Neuroscientist, Memory Control Lab, MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit at the University of Cambridge in the U.K.
Ira Hyman – Psychologist at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington
ENCORE: Zombies are making a killing in popular culture. But where did the
idea behind these mythical, cerebrum-supping nasties come from?
Discover why they may be a hard-wired inheritance from our Pleistocene
Also, how a whimsical mathematical model of a Zombie apocalypse can
help us withstand earthquakes and disease outbreaks, and how the rabies
virus contributed to zombie mythology.
Plus, new ideas for how doctors should respond when humans are in a
limbo state between life and death: no pulse, but their brains continue
Meet the songwriter who has zombies on the brain …. and we chase
spaced-out animated corpses in the annual Run-For-Your-Lives foot race.
VENUS AT INFERIOR CONJUNCTION: Today, Jan. 11th, Venus is at inferior
conjunction. That means it is located almost directly between Earth and
the sun. Around the world amateur astronomers are taking special
precautions to avert eye damage as they photograph Venus passing by the
sun in broad daylight.
Astronauts on the ISS are experimenting with a form of water that has a
strange property: it can help start fire. This fundamental physics
investigation could have down-to-Earth benefits such as clean-burning
municipal waste disposal and improved saltwater purification.
Below is some of the text from an article posted on the NASA Hubble Space Telescope site on the use of 3-D printing to produce tactile 3-D astronomical images for the blind and visually impaired:
"Three-dimensional printers are transforming the business, medical, and
consumer landscape by creating a vast variety of objects, including
airplane parts, football cleats, lamps, jewelry, and even artificial
"Now astronomers Carol Christian and Antonella Nota
of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md., are
experimenting with the innovative technology to transform astronomy
education by turning images from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope into
tactile 3-D pictures for people who cannot explore celestial wonders by
sight. The 3-D print design is also useful and intriguing for sighted
people who have different learning styles, said the researchers.
Christian and Nota admit their task is a challenge because astronomers
really can't see space objects in three dimensions."
STRONG SOLAR ACTIVITY: One of the largest sunspots in years, AR1944,
has turned toward Earth and it is crackling with strong flares. So far
on Jan. 7th, the active region has produced M7- and X1-class eruptions,
and more appear to be in the offing. As this alert is being issued,
analysts are waiting for more data from solar observatories to clarify
the possibility of CME impacts and geomagnetic storms in the days ahead.
ENCORE: You can get your point across in
many ways: email, texts, or even face-to-face conversation (does anyone
do that anymore?). But ants use chemical messages when organizing their
ant buddies for an attack on your kitchen. Meanwhile, your human brain
sends messages to other brains without you uttering a word.
Hear these communication stories … how language evolved in the first
place… why our brains love a good tale …and how Facebook is keeping
native languages from going extinct.
SOLAR ACTIVITY: The New Year began with a burst of solar activity.
Active sunspot AR1936 is crackling with strong M-class solar flares,
including an M9.9 event on Jan. 1st that stopped just short of becoming a
powerful X-flare. Also on New Year's Day, another large sunspot emerged
over the sun's eastern limb: AR1944 appears set to add its own
contribution to the fusillade of explosions.