Do you often find yourself daydreaming and bored to tears while on the clock? Researchers at the University of Central Lancashire in England have found that boredom helps with creativity and it gives us the time to daydream. Earl Nightingale once said, "You'll find boredom where there is the absence of a good idea."
In analyzing their results, the researchers found that sitting on a toilet, as most men well know, results in the least amount of splash-back (the contact point is much closer). They also discovered something likely few men have considered—that urine follows what is known as the Plateau-Rayleigh instability—where a pee stream breaks up into drops before striking something else. That's the worst thing that can happen, the team reports, because each drop creates splash-back. To avoid that, men should stand as close to the urinal as possible they advise. Also helpful is directing the stream to hit the back of the urinal at a downward angle. That creates less splash-back and the drops that do bounce, head downwards into the urinal drain. Conversely, to prevent messing one's trousers (or angering neighbors) they suggest men not spray directly into the urinal or into the pool that forms at the bottom of the urinal, both cause a lot of splash-back.
Biosphere 2's Discovery Nights offers five family-friendly nights where the public can learn about science from researchers. The weekly event, which ends on Oct. 26, 2013, gives the public a chance to do in science, roam the Biosphere 2 and stargaze on the lawn. Previous events have featured a science fiction theme with a movie screening of Silent Running, and a night dedicated to teachers.
Listen to Robert Alcaraz's report from this weekend's Scifi Night.
Popular Science, the long-running magazine and gateway to hard-science discussion, recently made a drastic change to their website: The editors are cutting out the discussion.
This week, PopSci.com decided to close the comments for their publication, save for selected stories "that lend themselves to vigorous and intelligent discussion," say the site's powers that be.
Now, why on Earth would they choose to do that? Well, partially because of this March op-ed from the New York Times, containing information from a survey noting that the content of comments on a story can change how a reader perceives the story they just read:
In the civil group, those who initially did or did not support the technology — whom we identified with preliminary survey questions — continued to feel the same way after reading the comments. Those exposed to rude comments, however, ended up with a much more polarized understanding of the risks connected with the technology.
Simply including an ad hominem attack in a reader comment was enough to make study participants think the downside of the reported technology was greater than they’d previously thought.
PopSci found the study to be fairly accurate, noting the discussions found beneath articles on climate change and abortion studies to be cesspools of spam, climate change deniers and slut-shamers. Keep in mind, this is a website focusing on things that can actually be tested and proven. Using science.
From Suzanne LaBarre, the online content director for PopSci.com:
A politically motivated, decades-long war on expertise has eroded the popular consensus on a wide variety of scientifically validated topics. Everything, from evolution to the origins of climate change, is mistakenly up for grabs again. Scientific certainty is just another thing for two people to "debate" on television. And because comments sections tend to be a grotesque reflection of the media culture surrounding them, the cynical work of undermining bedrock scientific doctrine is now being done beneath our own stories, within a website devoted to championing science.
The Retro Report, a journalism site that reexamines science reporting in hindsight, takes a look back at Biosphere 2.
You'll have to move relatively quickly, but Red Bull is hosting a free show at O'Malley's (ok, sure) for the 21+ crowd on the 24th featuring Electric Guest, Hands and Strange Names. You have to sign up for something via Facebook and probably swear off drinking beverages by any of their competitors, but a no-cost concert by three remarkably enjoyable bands is a solid deal.
Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy blog flags a photo from the UA's HiRISE camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to note that it may have rained on Mars a long time ago:
This fan is on the inside of the rim of Mojave Crater, a 60-kilometer-wide (40-mile-wide) impact crater near the equator of Mars. The structure matches an Earthly alluvial fan almost perfectly. Larger boulders are heavier and can’t be carried as easily by floodwaters, so they tend to stop soon after the terrain levels out. Smaller rocks can travel farther, which appears to be the case here. The branches, the shape, the direction: Everything indicates a flash flood on Mars.
What could have caused it? This part surprised me: It may have been due to rain, water rain, that could occur after an asteroid or comet impact. For example, ice under the surface could be melted by the impact, which would then rain down over a large area. This would be a temporary and local event, but could spark flash floods something like rainstorms do here on Earth.
But after that, gravity and terrain did the rest, on Mars as it is on Earth. That’s actually rather astonishing: Given some basic and fundamental principles, you can actually figure out how weather and erosion processes work on another planet. And when you look at it, it actually kinda reminds you of home.
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