Category Archives: Fun Stuff

Musk Wants to Build a Rocket That Will Get You Anywhere on Earth in an Hour

Entrepreneur Elon Musk, who has long dreamed of creating a human colony on Mars, is planning to build a new rocket ship code named “BFR” capable of traveling anywhere on Earth in under an hour. If the concept becomes reality, Musk said a journey from New York to Shanghai can be done in about 30 minutes. The surprise announcement means that his Space Exploration Technologies Corp., which has already disrupted the aerospace industry with reusable launches, plans to ferry humans not just to distant planets but across this one as well, setting up a potentially competitive challenge to the commercial airline industry. Read more>>

How Stress Influences Decision-making

Wharton marketing professor Gideon Nave  studies the relationship between biology and decision-making. His latest research focuses on how hormones and stress alter the way people think.

The way we make decisions is influenced by our biological state. Things like hunger, sleep deprivation and stress influence the process of decision-making. All of these things are measurable nowadays, and we can learn a lot about individual differences between people from these measures. Read More>>

Weather Channels Its Inner Nerd: Uses Science To Attract Viewers, Brands Too

The Weather Channel continues to draw big crowds with big storms and other extreme weather events. Hurricane Matthew, for example, drew 58 million viewers over five days of TWC’s coverage. New research of the network’s viewers saw a need for a deeper understanding of weather and the opportunity to utilize increasingly complex computer models and higher levels of Big Data to help explain it. Read More>>

NASA Launches Mission To Retrieve Ancient Asteroid Dust

As a part of a mission by NASA and the University of Arizona to send a robot to an asteroid to bring back ancient dust, a rocket took off Thursday evening from Cape Canaveral, FL. If everything goes as planned, a minivan-sized robot, moving oh-so-slowly, will lightly graze the asteroid in mid-2018. It’ll inhale somewhere between a few tablespoons and a few pounds of dust and gravel. Read More>>

How To Catch The Biggest Wave In The Universe

When it comes to waves, it doesn’t get much bigger than the gravitational variety. Einstein predicted that huge events — like black holes merging — create gravitational waves. Unlike most waves we experience, these are distortions in space and time. They roll across the entire universe virtually unimpeded. Einstein first predicted the existence of gravitational waves in 1916, but none were spotted until recently. Given their incredible power, why did it take a century to locate them? To find out, the author went to see where the detection finally occurred. It is the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory. That’s kind of a mouthful, so scientists just call it LIGO. Read More>>

What Is A Paradigm Shift, Anyway?

Thomas Kuhn, the well-known physicist, philosopher and historian of science, was born 94 years ago today. Kuhn’s 1962 book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, transformed the philosophy of science and changed the way many scientists think about their work. One measure of his influence is the widespread use of the term “paradigm shift,” which he introduced in articulating his views about how science changes over time. Talk of paradigms and paradigm shifts has since become commonplace — not only in science, but also in business, social movements and beyond. But what, exactly, is a paradigm shift? Or, for that matter, a paradigm? Read More>>

How Do You Lift A Million Pounds Of Stainless Steel? Very Carefully

Inside a lab near Washington, D.C., there is a stack of stainless steel that weighs a million pounds. It’s part of a unique machine that was built in 1965 and just refurbished for the first time. It’s a device that measures force, and it needs to be calibrated. The machine does precise measurements of huge forces for clients like aerospace companies or the military — or others who need. Read More>>

The Tiny Startup Racing Google to Build a Quantum Computing Chip

Rigetti Computing, a two-year-old startup is trying to build the hardware needed to power a quantum computer, which could trounce any conventional machine by tapping into quantum mechanics. It aims to produce a prototype chip by the end of 2017. The plan requires Rigetti to make leaps of science and engineering that have so far eluded government, academic, and corporate labs.
Rigetti has so far raised $5 million in funding and employs about 15 people. It provides best environment for solving the big challenge of scaling up qubit technology, and the company hopes to raise more money and add employees as needed.Read More>>

New NASA Spacecraft Will Be Propelled By Light

NASA’s new $16 million probe, called the Near-Earth Asteroid Scout will use solar sail to reach its destination. Solar sails are made of ultrathin, highly reflective material. When a photon from the sun hits the mirror-like surface, it bounces off the sail and transfers its momentum to the spacecraft. The continuous thrust provided by sunlight will accelerate the probe to a speed of 28.6 km/s relative to the sun. Read More>>