Moss excitement / Astro on Burglary / ABBAisms / Safe Tandoori

This week’s Feedback column (that I write) in New Scientist magazine has four segments. Here are bits of each of them: Moss excitement — “It’s not every day you can watch moss grow!” says a press release from the University of Wollongong (UOW), Australia. Too true. The details in the press release lead to an invitation…. Astronomers and […]

Marcus Byrne tells of the dung beetles and the Milky Way

Marcus Byrne tells about the dung-beetles-and-the-Milky-Way research that led to an Ig Nobel Prize for him and his colleagues, in this University of the Witwatersrand video: That Ig Nobel Prize was awarded, in 2013, jointly in the fields of biology and astronomy, to Marie Dacke [SWEDEN, AUSTRALIA], Emily Baird [SWEDEN, AUSTRALIA, GERMANY], Marcus Byrne [SOUTH AFRICA, UK], […]

Testing the Green-Cheese Theory of the Moon

Edward Schreiber and Orson Anderson once tested whether the Moon really could be made of green cheese. Caltech planetary scientist David Stephenson discussed that achievement, in Box 1 of his article in Physics Today in November 2014. In their 1970 article in the journal Science, Schreiber and Anderson compared the speeds of sound waves in rocks that were […]

How many universes are necessary for an ice cream to melt?

How many universes are necessary for an ice cream to melt? Asks Professor Milan M. Ćirković [pictured] of the Astronomical Observatory Belgrade, Serbia, in the Serbian Astronomical Journal, Vol. 166, page 55-59. His paper considers the possibilities of other universes where a soft ice cream, left to its own devices, might be generally more likely […]

Stochastic flights of propellers (near Saturnian moonlets)

Stochastic flights of propellers, seldom discussed until now, are openly described in this new study: “Stochastic flights of propellers,” Margaret Pan [pictured here] (UC Berkeley), Hanno Rein (IAS), Eugene Chiang (UC Berkeley), Steven N. Evans (UC Berkeley), arXiv:1206.3583v1, June 15, 2012. The authors report: “Kilometer-sized moonlets in Saturn’s A ring create S-shaped wakes called ‘propellers’ in […]

Astronomical objects & human children

University of Tel Aviv astronomer Alon Retter alerts us to his provocative paper positing a mathematical similarity between astronomical objects and human children. Retter’s monography is another example of the spectacular nature of many research papers in the small, new viXra depository (profiled here recently; see “Alternate everything: the joy of viXra“) as compared to […]