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FOR SCIENCE!

Discussion in 'General Chatter' started by Wiwaxia, Feb 23, 2015.

  1. Wiwaxia

    Wiwaxia problematic taxon

    Science thread? Science thread.

    Drop your science news, your science fun facts you just learned and your no-holds-barred science sperging here.

    I'll start us off! Apparently turtles have been classified as archosaurs (that's the group of the vertebrate family tree with your dinosaurs (including birds), your crocodiles, your pterosaurs (Pteranodon and those guys) and a few weird other groups) based on a recent genetic analysis. This is kinda a big deal because turtles have been in "where do they go" taxonomic limbo for a while now, and also because turtles rock and archosaurs rock.

    I'm also researching turbidity currents (underwater landslides, basically) in Monterey Submarine Canyon for a paper in my Sedimentology and Stratigraphy class, so I may have some cool things to say about that soonish (if I can actually digest these papers @_@).
    I'm studying geology, as you may have guessed, and I'm pretty much always up to talk about rocks and fossils and weird animals, so feel free to hit me up for that!

    Alright, have at it!
     
    • Like x 1
  2. Starcrossedsky

    Starcrossedsky Burn and Refine

    ROCKS. fossils and rocks.

    I'm an ex-biology major by trade though so I tend more towards "oh look it's alive and squishy" but rocks are so cool. I love rocks.

    Obligatory fact: octopus tentacles are chemotactile. They taste with those things.
     
    • Like x 1
    • Informative x 1
  3. Wiwaxia

    Wiwaxia problematic taxon

    Gosh, we sure seem to like a lot of the same things. :V

    I'm also a big fan of the alive and squishy, although my heart of hearts belongs to the dead and once-squishy, as you can doubtless tell.

    Incidentally, I just learned today that my vertebrates professor named a frog after Bill Watterson, which makes me happy on several levels.
     
    • Like x 2
  4. emythos

    emythos Lipstick Hoarding Dragon

    :D
    I'm a current bio major, and it's fascinating!
    Today I confused my friends by making happy squeaking noises about giant isopods. It was wonderful/
     
  5. Morven

    Morven In darkness be the sound and light

    Giant isopods are SO CUTE in a sort of very alien sort of way.
     
    • Like x 2
  6. emythos

    emythos Lipstick Hoarding Dragon

    They are precious babies and I want like eleven-ty. Of course, I also want a coelacanth, so yep. And a squid. Really, alien looking sea creatures in general.
     
  7. wes scripserat

    wes scripserat Hephaestus

    in general:
    look at crash course biology/chemistry.
    also sci show
     
  8. Wiwaxia

    Wiwaxia problematic taxon

    Oh boy, have I got some gems for you

    spoipler for long and potentially unnerving to the invertebrate-averse

    [​IMG]
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    Those two are Vampyroteuthus infrenalis, which is a strong contender for most metal scientific name.

    [​IMG]
    And this is Oneirophanta mutabilis, mutable dream-phantom, another strong contender in the awesome scientific name sweepstakes.

    [​IMG]
    this thing eats Portugese Man-o-War jellies. and is a literal fucking dragon.

    [​IMG]
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    [​IMG]

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    Oh, it's gorgeous. Like an angel...
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    nope psych Cthulu time

    [​IMG]
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    [​IMG]
    ... you're quite certain this isn't some sort of sci-fi show?
     
    • Like x 2
  9. wes scripserat

    wes scripserat Hephaestus

    so pretty...
    *sings*
    i'd like to be, under the sea, in an octopus' garden neath the waves
     
  10. emythos

    emythos Lipstick Hoarding Dragon

    ....
    ....
    ....
    I love you.
    Vampire squid and sea angel cthulu and man 'o war eating dragons. I am a happy Em.
     
  11. sirsparklepants

    sirsparklepants *cries in sports*

    Oh maaaaaaaaaan alien sea critters are some of my favorite things. And all the jellies! I can spend hours watching jellies eat.
     
  12. sicknastyspades

    sicknastyspades Most Rad.

    Science thread? Science thread. Don't mind me, I'll just bunk down in the middle here. I will never say anything, but when you go to get something out of the fridge in the middle of the night you will step on something squishy and look down to see me in my sleeping bag. Lying there and watching. Always watching.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2015
  13. Karma

    Karma an innocuous lizard

    Science thread!
    not to detract from the lovely deep sea life above, I adore each and every one, but in the interest of branching out here are one or two of my favorite robots, real quick. I have homework to get back to but this is so tempting
    gifs of this one and related Boston Dynamics projects get passed around on tumblr a lot because they're hilarious and sometimes slightly creepy to watch. BigDog is a robot designed to be able to carry loads over all kinds of rough terrain, like a mechanical pack mule, funded by the US military; it monitors its own position and angling pretty intimately and adjusts its walking as it moves. walking in a coordinated fashion is something most organics take for granted but telling a computer in excruciating detail exactly how to not only do that, but adjust in real time to what's underfoot, is definitely a massive accomplishment.
    (for non-programmers: computers don't understand ANYTHING except basic math and can't fill in gaps spontaneously from their own knowledge. instructions have gotta be perfectly exact.)


    this is from 2010 and the audio is a loud buzzing, presumably from its motor, so you might mute it if that sort of thing bothers you. check out how it catches itself when it starts slipping on the ice!


    more recently it's been equipped with a throwing arm; this is a clip of it chucking a 35-pound cinderblock across the room. again the audio is a bit loud and clicky, because it's stomping its feet against the ground for balance.

    the OpenWorm project took a very simple flatworm, c. elegans, and simulated the connections between its 302 neurons. that software was then loaded in a Lego robot. now, without any further programming, the robot moves around, responds to its environment, and pretty much acts like a worm would. of course, because it is a very simple worm: mostly, the actual evidence we have of this is that it turns around when it hits a wall, but again - computers can't improvise, and we didn't explicitly tell it how, just provided the neural connections and hooked them up to the equivalent sensors/motors.


    actual footage of the robot bumping into walls starts at about 0:29


    a very short clip, comparing the actual worm's behavior to a different robot's, also running off OpenWorm software. i admit, i do like watching the dorky little robots run their faces into the wall. even if it didn't set off my weird-ugly-cute-animals response I think i'd still find this fascinating though.
     
    • Like x 3
  14. emythos

    emythos Lipstick Hoarding Dragon

    I have heard of that before! It's wicked cool.
     
  15. jacktrash

    jacktrash absentee sperglord

    fossils and isopods and turbidity currents, oh my! *camps*
     
  16. stellatedHexahedron

    stellatedHexahedron New Member

    Hello, I am here to represent the astrophysics contingent.
    • Coronal heating problem: The Sun's atmosphere is thousands of times hotter than it's surface and no one knows why
    • Saturn's Hexagon: There is a perfect hexagon at Saturn's north pole and no one knows why
      [​IMG]
      like, seriously, wtf, saturn.
    • Ceres is a dwarf planet in the asteroid belt that constitutes a third of its mass. It is suspected to be half water; this means that a good portion of the asteroid belt is water, and not rock. IDK, that just seems kind of crazy to me.
    • Achernar A: This star spins so fast that its equatorial diameter is more than 1.5 times its polar diameter. Other fast-spinning stars are likely to be even more oblate, but they are unconfirmed.
    • Fomalhaut b: anyone familiar with the search for exoplanets knows that one of the difficulties involved is that, since planets are so much dimmer than the stars they orbit, it is practically impossible to image them directly—especially in the visible range. Well, guess what, motherhuggers
      [​IMG]
      OK, admittedly it's an image of the huge dust cloud that surrounds Fomalhaut b and not a direct image of the object itself, and there is a small amount of doubt as to whether Fomalhaut b is really a planet, but still.
    • Alcubierre Drive: One of two current plausible theory of FTL travel (the other being wormholes). Though it is impossible for subluminal matter to travel through space faster than light, there is no limit on how fast space itself can move. The Alcubierre drive squashes space into a warp bubble that moves faster than the speed of light, but inside the warp bubble, the craft is not moving at all. True, it requires hundreds of kilograms of completely theoretical exotic matter, and we might have to preconstruct a something ahead of the bubble in order to stop it, and when it does stop it might release a catastrophic burst of captured radiation that would makes the Death Star look like an overglorified turbolaser, BUT STILL. Oh, and did I mention the gravitational lensing? Because gravitational lensing.
      [​IMG]
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      The site I linked also has videos, but they're MP4s directly hosted on the site and the forum software doesn't allow us to embed those.
     
    • Like x 4
  17. Wiwaxia

    Wiwaxia problematic taxon

    That's some pretty sweet astrophysics there, sH! Do you have a source for the Fomalhaut b thing handy, because that is right up my sister's alley.

    Just got back from a field trip for my Vertebrates class. We saw some swans (trumpeter or tundra) heading North, a buncha woodpeckers, a possible merlin, deer, rabbit, deermouse and muskrat tracks, an otter slide in the snow on the banks of a creek, and the first turkey vulture of spring (ish).

    There was also this really cool raptor strike trace where you could see both where the raptor hit with its talons and this set of parallel marks where its primary feathers scraped the snow on takeoff. Didn't get any pictures, unfortunately, but it was majorly cool.

    And a bald eagle, which is apparently a big deal around here.

    e. oh also @jacktrash: i saw your helicopter sperging, so you will probably appreciate that we also saw a wild helicopter, doubtless collecting nesting material to attract a mate

    #seen a bunch of bald eagles privilege #theres like two nesting pairs within a few miles of my moms house #and i went on a river trip a few years back where we saw so many i literally lost count in a few hours #i also got a new scientific american, so expect me to babble about stuff from that soonish
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2015
    • Like x 2
  18. Minitiate

    Minitiate Delicious

    Would this be the proper place to post photos of a weird looking frog?

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    (source)
    It's called the purple frog and it lives mostly underground in southern India. We learned about it in conservation class because it's in a recently discovered family (though the internet is throwing doubt on this); I like it because it looks weird and noot noot (the internet has only managed to increase my appreciation).

    I need to get off the internet right now, but will definitely read the rest of what's here when time permits. c:
     
    • Like x 3
  19. emythos

    emythos Lipstick Hoarding Dragon

    • Like x 3
  20. sicknastyspades

    sicknastyspades Most Rad.

    Aren't all spiders cute? This is a very serious question. Show me pictures of uncute spiders.
     
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