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Thread: General Science Thread

  1. #626
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    Quote Originally Posted by willandi View Post
    .
    The first one I ever really noticed was usquebaugh, translated from the Scot's Gaelic as 'Whiskey". To me, that has always meant Scotch whiskey. I have referred to each by their name. Bourbon, to me, isn't Whiskey, it is Bourbon and the same with Rye. I know many don't agree, so it's just my uphill battle (and as an aside, I don't care for the lowland peaty Scotches, I much prefer the Highland).
    .

    Enough of my rant.
    Will, Scotch isn't whiskey, it's whisky. A heavily peated Islay Scotch whisky is an acquired taste. Lingers on the palate for 10 minutes or more. Reminds me of a campfire.

  2. #627
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    I've been without internet access for FIVE DAYS!!! Can you imagine? I have a very disgruntled household, dealing with work from home and online school. Dead, since Thursday.

    We've been visited by the four horses of the Apocalypse: Hottest day of the year; Smokezilla; Pandemic; and zero internet for days. Nowhere to go, and nothing to do.

    Screw CenturyStink and Cortland (stink) Communications. Back online, thankfully. I have tons to catch up on, so I won't address anything right now. I see I've been summoned, but now after hours and hours of dealing with automated phone responses, I'm going to sleep. Glad to see you, all my friends! Go Zags!



    =cad=

  3. #628
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    Well, we're about to go dark ourselves. 24 hours from first tropical storm winds and then Wed the thing literally is forcasted to be right on top of my long pointed head. We're far enough inland that it will have calmed down by then, some, but still forecasted to have 60-70 mph winds and torrential rain which will take the country internet sattellite coverage out for ... depends on if it knocks the dish off or not.

    This sux beyond belief but we've already dodged a couple bullets this year and I guess it was our turn. We're on high ground on the property, flooding isn't an issue. There are no trees close enough to the main house to fall on our heads. And we have a generator for some power if we use it correctly. We've never tested just how far it'll go. So we're not in any life-threatening danger, and there are some people that are, so I'm not trying to feel sorry for us. We are in decent position.

    But ... someone might have to put some good stuff up here for a bit.

    SPEAKING OF WHICH:

    Phosphine gas found in Venus’ atmosphere may be ‘a possible sign of life’



    Chemical signs of the gas phosphine have been spotted in observations of the Venusian atmosphere, researchers report September 14 in Nature Astronomy. Examining the atmosphere in millimeter wavelengths of light showed that the planet’s clouds appear to contain up to 20 parts per billion of phosphine — enough that something must be actively producing it, the researchers say.

    If the discovery holds up, and if no other explanations for the gas are found, then the hellish planet next door could be the first to yield signs of extraterrestrial life — though those are very big ifs.

    “We’re not saying it’s life,” says astronomer Jane Greaves of Cardiff University in Wales. “We’re saying it’s a possible sign of life.”
    They are talking about bacteria in the upper atmosphere where pressures are the same as earth. In fact, a number of scientists have said that the first exo-planet human settlement should be a "cloud city" on Venus where temps and pressures would be about the same as earth - bring oxygen and a radiation shield, though. But it could be far easier than Mars, so long as someone can build a cloud city. If they make it light enough, it could float on the heavy atmophere.

    “Fifty kilometers above the surface of Venus, the conditions are what you would find if you walk out of your door right now,” at least in terms of atmospheric pressure and temperature, says planetary scientist Sanjay Limaye of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, who was not involved in the new study. The chemistry is alien, but “that’s a hospitable environment for life.”
    Oh, and COVID never showed up at our place. Another bullet dodged. All things considered, we're rather lucky - he says pre-hurricane - bc some are far worse off. I'll try to check in.

    2020 can fck off, by the way.
    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
    Mark Twain.

  4. #629
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    We dodged yet another bullet and those poor people near the Alabama-Florida border on the coast got "sucker punched" (said the mayor of Pcola) with a hurricane that went to 105 (almost Cat III) just before it hit land.

    It's the difference between now having a blustery day with 25 mph winds and 35 mph gusts, spotty rain, versus 55 mph winds and 75 mph gusts and record rain. Just a 50 mile difference.

    One of these days our luck will run out, meanwhile, that poor area near Florida just keeps getting hammered.

    We are fine.

    Last night, a big hound - male - that was skin and bones, close to death, came on our property. Our dog kind of followed it around and I thought it was gone (I went out to pick our last pears bc I figured they'd blow down. Later I went out to feed our dog and I couldn't find the hound. I looked around. I finally noticed it cowering in the back of our dogs kennel on the porch, curled up. It likely would've died I think.

    I gave it a bowl of food, it ate the food lying down in the back of the travel kennel. A huge amount. I got a bowl of water, it drank the entire bowl. My dog growled - angrily - bc that's his kennel, he didn't know the hound was in there. I tied my dog up to coax the other one out - it was a little stronger. We gave it half an aspirin and some carbs - leftover rice/noodles. And a small piece of meat. No collar. He just kept shaking, so scared. I am sure it was dumped.

    I fed it again before I went to bed and again he ate it all. I put my dog in the garage (expecting a tropical storm) and turned his kennel around so the other dog couldn't get in. We were worried about disease. I knew that dog would stick around and I figured it could lay on the porch, sheltered. I went out this morning and it had sneaked back in the kennel, again cowering in the back. But this morning he was way stronger. He got out and ate more. My dog came out. And an hour ago I went out and the hound was gone. My dog is still here. Now I have to wash out his kennel in case that dog had mange or something. He's infinitely stronger than when he got here and it's not hot today so he can cover a lot of ground. Not sure what he's doing or where he's going. He may show up again.

    It is just so sad. I am willing to pay to put him to sleep rather than have him suffer. I am not taking a 2nd dog that big - he'd be almost as big as my dog when he gets taken care of - but I'd look for a home and shelter for him.

    Sad. He was very sweet, just very very scared.
    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
    Mark Twain.

  5. #630
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    Well, they think they might have found evidence of life on Venus, so this seems to make sense:

    Life on Earth may have begun in hostile hot springs



    Some scientists contend that life on our planet arose in such seemingly inhospitable conditions. Long before creatures roamed the Earth, hot springs like Bumpass Hell may have promoted chemical reactions that linked together simple molecules in a first step toward complexity. Other scientists, however, place the starting point for Earth’s life underwater, at the deep hydrothermal vents where heated, mineral-rich water billows from cracks in the ocean floor.
    As researchers study and debate where and how life on Earth first ignited, their findings offer an important bonus. Understanding the origins of life on this planet could offer hints about where to search for life elsewhere, says Natalie Batalha, an astrophysicist at the University of California, Santa Cruz. “It has very significant implications for the future of space exploration.” Chemist Wenonah Vercoutere agrees. “The rules of physics are the same throughout the whole universe,” says Vercoutere, of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. “So what is there to say that the rules of biology do not also carry through and are in place and active in the whole universe?”
    At its biochemical core, the recipe for life relies on only a few ingredients: chemical elements, water or other media where chemical reactions can occur and an energy source to power those reactions. On Earth, all of those ingredients exist at terrestrial hot springs, home to some hardy creatures. Great Boiling Spring in Nevada, for example, is a scalding 77░ Celsius, yet microbes manage to eke out an existence in water near the spring’s clay banks, researchers reported in 2016 in Nature Communications. Such conditions may reflect what it was like on early Earth, so these life-forms are most likely “related to some of the organisms that were originally on this planet,” says Jennifer Pett-Ridge, a microbial ecologist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.
    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
    Mark Twain.

  6. #631
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    Yet ANOTHER Hurricane barely dodged, just some wind and rain.
    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
    Mark Twain.

  7. #632
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    One of my absolute heroes Sir Roger Penrose finally wins his Nobel.

    Black hole revelations win the 2020 Nobel Prize in physics



    Three scientists who cemented the reality of black holes have been jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in physics. Roger Penrose of the University of Oxford, Reinhard Genzel of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany and Andrea Ghez of UCLA will split the prize, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced October 6.

    Black holes are massive objects with a gravitational field so strong that nothing can escape once it falls within, not even light. At their centers, black holes harbor a puzzling zone called a singularity, where the laws of physics cease to make sense.

    Black holes “really represent the breakdown of our physical understanding of the laws of physics. That’s part of the intrigue,” Ghez said via a phone call during the announcement. Studying the exotic objects “pushes forward on our understanding of the physical world.”

    If one has any interest in the subject "Penrose Diagrams" help make so much sense of general relativity and spacetime. Roger is also an artist and famous for these diagrams:




    *Fancy fact, the only time one could travel faster than the speed of light through space (as opposed to pulling space past), is once one crosses the event horizon of a black hole, you "fall" toward the singularity at a speed faster than light.

    And here's why he's just so good: One can understand him, he makes it relatable

    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
    Mark Twain.

  8. #633
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    Great article from Salon on Penrose - very accessible to us non-scientists - on how/why Penrose won the Nobel Prize. Basically, he told Einstein he was wrong.

    It must be emphasized that Penrose’s Nobel Prize was not awarded because of his theory of a conformal cyclical cosmology. Harvard astrophysicist Avi Loeb clarified in an email to Salon: “In 1939, Albert Einstein wrote a paper in Annals of Mathematics doubting that black holes exist in nature. Roger Penrose demonstrated that black holes are a robust prediction of Einstein’s general theory of relativity and in doing so invented a new mathematical tool to depict spacetimes, called Penrose diagrams.”
    Obviously, Penrose did it a couple of decades later, or he'd be even older than he is today.

    Loeb added, “He also showed that it is possible to extract energy from a spinning black hole as if it was a flywheel, through the so-called Penrose Process.”

    Loeb says that Penrose’s belief that the hot spots prove that the black holes in question came from previous universes is controversial.
    That second one is important bc they may power our rocket engines in the future, the smaller the black hole, the stronger the Hawking radiation, so much so that it's ... amazing. Only right now it takes more energy to make them than to get out of them, which is a bummer. But may not always be, since gravity plays a big role and gravity is free!

    QUESTION: Which is cooler, being a Knight of the Realm, or a Nobel Laureate? (I suppose we could ask Roger)

    QUESTION: Penrose honestly believes there is a "consciousness field" throughout the universe, that even photons have little tiny scintillas of consciousness, it's why bugs think, there is no such thing as "instinct" - he's a bit whacked in that respect, but he isn't afraid to be "out there" - which is why I love him. I love the idea of consciousness pervading the universe, sounds a bit like ...
    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
    Mark Twain.

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