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Ryan F. Mandelbaum Ryan F. Mandelbaum yesterday at 21:00.

This Locked Cabinet Holds the Answer to One of the Biggest Questions in Particle Physics

This Locked Cabinet Holds the Answer to One of the Biggest Questions in Particle Physics

A 50-foot ring topped with white insulation sits attached to wires, pipes, and other electrical components in a warehouse on Fermilab’s northern Illinois campus. Scientists taking data with this device have the potential to rock the field of particle physics to its core, but they’re missing a crucial number to make their final calculation: the ticking speed of a clock that’s kept in a back...

Ryan F. Mandelbaum Ryan F. Mandelbaum Jan 24, 2020 at 03:45.

Why I Went Birdwatching at a Particle Physics Lab

Why I Went Birdwatching at a Particle Physics Lab

We drove past the perfect-circle frozen pond delineating the Booster—the second in a sequence of Fermilab’s particle accelerators—and then onto the 2-mile ring road that traces the tunnel that houses the Main Injector accelerator. Along the road are unfrozen ponds filled with water used for cooling research equipment, where Canada geese have taken up residence by the hundreds. We stopped to...

Ryan F. Mandelbaum Ryan F. Mandelbaum Jan 18, 2020 at 21:00. 8 comments

Using a DNA-Based 'Computer,' Scientists Get the Square Root of 900

Using a DNA-Based 'Computer,' Scientists Get the Square Root of 900

Using a computer-like system made from engineered DNA, scientists have computed the square root of 900.

Biologists have proposed using genetic material for performing computations since as early as 1994. Since then, they’ve found ways to store bits of information in DNA and manipulate those bits via the same rules of logic that computers use. But, according to a recent paper in the journal...

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Ryan F. Mandelbaum Ryan F. Mandelbaum Jan 18, 2020 at 01:30. 14 comments

'Remarkable' Mathematical Proof Describes How to Solve Seemingly Impossible Computing Problem

'Remarkable' Mathematical Proof Describes How to Solve Seemingly Impossible Computing Problem

You enter a cave. At the end of a dark corridor, you encounter a pair of sealed chambers. Inside each chamber is an all-knowing wizard. The prophecy says that with these oracles’ help, you can learn the answers to unanswerable problems. But there’s a catch: The oracles don’t always tell the truth. And though they cannot communicate with each other, their seemingly random responses to your...

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Ryan F. Mandelbaum Ryan F. Mandelbaum Jan 17, 2020. 15 comments

Scientists Built a Robot From 40 Pigeon Feathers and It Flies Beautifully

Scientists Built a Robot From 40 Pigeon Feathers and It Flies Beautifully

Scientists seeking to understand the mechanics of bird flight have constructed PigeonBot, a robot made from 40 pigeon feathers (and a few other components).

While airplanes maneuver by altering their wing elements, birds can morph the shape of their entire wings to dive, bank, and coast through the air, increasing both their efficiency and agility. This new study on pigeon wings has not only...

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Ryan F. Mandelbaum Ryan F. Mandelbaum Jan 14, 2020. 5 comments

Has Hubble Detected Rogue Clumps of Dark Matter?

Has Hubble Detected Rogue Clumps of Dark Matter?

Scientists using the Hubble Space Telescope have discovered evidence of small clumps of dark matter warping the light from distant quasars.

Regular matter seems to form only a small part of the universe—much more of the matter seems to be “dark” stuff that influences regular matter via gravity but can’t be detected directly. The most widely accepted theory to explain dark matter suggests that...

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Ryan F. Mandelbaum Ryan F. Mandelbaum Jan 11, 2020. 5 comments

A New Study Claims to Disprove Dark Energy—but Cosmologists Aren't Convinced

A New Study Claims to Disprove Dark Energy—but Cosmologists Aren't Convinced

It would be really, really exciting if a single observation could completely overturn astrophysicists’ current understanding of the universe. But that hasn’t happened yet, at least with regards to dark energy.

This week, a press release proclaimed that “new evidence shows that the key assumption made in the discovery of dark energy is in error,” garnering some attention from astronomers and...

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Ryan F. Mandelbaum Ryan F. Mandelbaum Jan 11, 2020. 5 comments

A Major New Particle Collider Is Coming to New York

A Major New Particle Collider Is Coming to New York

The U.S. Department of Energy has decided on the final location of a major upcoming American particle collider: Brookhaven National Lab on Long Island in New York.

The Electron Ion Collider (EIC) is a proposed particle accelerator that will slam electrons into the nuclei of heavy atoms, with the goal of better understanding nuclear structure and the force that holds atoms together. Two...

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Ryan F. Mandelbaum Ryan F. Mandelbaum Jan 10, 2020. 3 comments

Scientists Describe Trove of New Bird Species on Indonesian Islands

Scientists Describe Trove of New Bird Species on Indonesian Islands

Scientists encountered five previously undescribed bird species during a six-week trip to three Indonesian islands, according to a new study.

People like birds for more than just their appearances: Birds are a diverse group of relatively easy-to-study animals, with a dedicated group of citizen scientists providing data on them that can inform biologists’ understanding of biodiversity more...

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Ryan F. Mandelbaum Ryan F. Mandelbaum Jan 09, 2020. 8 comments

Watch Parrots Help Each Other Without Expecting Anything in Return

Watch Parrots Help Each Other Without Expecting Anything in Return

African grey parrots will help out their friends, even if they won’t personally benefit, an adorable new lab experiment shows.

Selflessly helping peers isn’t a common trait in the animal world—scientists have seen only a few mammal species behaving this way. After all, altruism doesn’t benefit an individual in a species unless it’s part of a social-enough group that it can expect some sort of...

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Ryan F. Mandelbaum Ryan F. Mandelbaum Jan 09, 2020. 13 comments

If You Make It to 2083, You Could Witness Two Stars Collide

If You Make It to 2083, You Could Witness Two Stars Collide

Scientists have predicted that a pair of stars in our galaxy will collide, producing an explosion that will temporarily become one of the brightest objects in the night sky. They don’t know exactly when it will happen, but they estimate it will be later this century.

V Sagittae is an unassuming and faint pair of stars 7,800 light-years away in the constellation Sagitta. The system has...

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Ryan F. Mandelbaum Ryan F. Mandelbaum Jan 08, 2020. 3 comments

Nearby Gas Clouds Actually Form Behemoth Structure That Might Be the Milky Way's Arm, Study Finds

Nearby Gas Clouds Actually Form Behemoth Structure That Might Be the Milky Way's Arm, Study Finds

Astronomers have discovered that many of the star-forming regions we see in the sky actually seem to form an undulating, 8,800-light-year-long wave containing 3 million solar masses’ worth of gas that could make up our local arm of the Milky Way galaxy.

Astronomers have long thought that a large, expanding ring of young stars, gas, and dust surrounded our solar system, forming a region called...

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Ryan F. Mandelbaum Ryan F. Mandelbaum Jan 08, 2020. 6 comments

Congress Renames New Telescope Facility After Vera Rubin, a Dark Matter Pioneer Snubbed by the Nobels

Congress Renames New Telescope Facility After Vera Rubin, a Dark Matter Pioneer Snubbed by the Nobels

Congress voted last month to rename the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope as the NSF Vera C. Rubin Observatory, commemorating an astronomer credited with advancing humanity’s understanding of dark matter.

The Rubin Observatory will be the most advanced survey of the night sky, recording the stars each night with a car-sized, 3.2-gigapixel digital camera. The survey will hopefully contribute to...

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Ryan F. Mandelbaum Ryan F. Mandelbaum Jan 07, 2020. 7 comments

Venus Could Have Active Volcanoes

Venus Could Have Active Volcanoes

Laboratory experiments have uncovered evidence that Venus might still be volcanically active.

Earth is the only planet with known active volcanoes (though Jupiter’s moon Io is quite volcanically active ). As for Venus, a spacecraft called the Venus Express orbited the planet from 2006 to 2014 and took data, but directly observing volcanic activity on the surface is difficult because of its...

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Ryan F. Mandelbaum Ryan F. Mandelbaum Jan 03, 2020. 6 comments

Puffins Seen Using Tools for the First Time

Puffins Seen Using Tools for the First Time

Researchers watched puffins use sticks to scratch their backs and chests—a behavior previously unknown to scientists.

There’s already mounting evidence that certain birds possess advanced intelligence. New Caledonian crows fashion advanced tools , cockatoos dance to music , and chickadees can remember where they hid of thousands of cached food items. But there are still a lot of open...

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Ryan F. Mandelbaum Ryan F. Mandelbaum Jan 03, 2020. 6 comments

Neuroscientists Discover New Kind of Signal in the Human Brain

Neuroscientists Discover New Kind of Signal in the Human Brain

Scientists have uncovered a new kind of electrical process in the human brain that could play a key role in the unique way our brains compute.

Our brains are computers that work using a system of connected brain cells, called neurons, that exchange information using chemical and electric signals called action potentials. Researchers have discovered that certain cells in the human cortex, the...

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Ryan F. Mandelbaum Ryan F. Mandelbaum Dec 28, 2019. 16 comments

Publishing Companies Are Mad That The President Might Want to Make Federally-Funded Research Open Access

Publishing Companies Are Mad That The President Might Want to Make Federally-Funded Research Open Access
GreedGreedThis week, we explore greed—animal, human, and corporate.Prev NextView All

Scientific societies and publishers are angry about a rumor that a White House executive order might make all federally-funded research open access.

If the rumors turn out to be true, the Trump administration would expand a program introduced by the Obama administration in 2013 that made federally-funded...

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Ryan F. Mandelbaum Ryan F. Mandelbaum Dec 28, 2019. 6 comments

Starlink Satellites Produce Wave of UFO Sightings in the US

Starlink Satellites Produce Wave of UFO Sightings in the US

Residents in northern Montana reported a string of strange lights dotting the sky. What looked like UFOs from an alien invasion has turned out to be another consequence of SpaceX’s Starlink satellite constellation.

SpaceX launched 60 satellites into orbit back in May and another 60 in November 11 as part of the Starlink satellite constellation, meant to increase satellite internet access. But...

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Ryan F. Mandelbaum Ryan F. Mandelbaum Dec 27, 2019. 5 comments

Scientists Link Silicon Qubits Over (Relatively) Huge Distances

Scientists Link Silicon Qubits Over (Relatively) Huge Distances

Scientists have linked two silicon quantum bits with photons over a relatively large distance. The new advance could end up being a watershed moment for a lesser-known quantum computing processor architecture, bringing silicon quantum computer a step closer to reality.

Quantum computers represent a nascent computing technology that could one day perform certain calculations like modeling the...

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Ryan F. Mandelbaum Ryan F. Mandelbaum Dec 27, 2019. 21 comments

What's Going on With Betelgeuse?

What's Going on With Betelgeuse?

Social media and news headlines are ablaze with talk of the red giant star Betelgeuse since astronomers noted that it’s growing fainter than ever before. Yes, the star is nearing the end of its life, and that end will likely be explosive.

But is Betelgeuse about to go supernova? The answer is complicated, and in short, probably not. The dimming could well be the result of the star’s typically...

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