Skip to main content

TR Memescape

  • TalkRational: Now with extra smileys :parrot: :popcorn:

Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Topics - Autonemesis

Science / Steve is a Thing
How does something so noticeable, which has been visible above many populated areas for as long as they have been populated, go unnoticed by science for so long? Amazing.

Mystery of Purple Lights in Sky Solved With Help From Citizen Scientists
Scientists' understanding of Steve changed that night Bourassa snapped his pictures. Bourassa wasn't the only one observing Steve. Ground-based cameras called all-sky cameras, run by the University of Calgary and University of California, Berkeley, took pictures of large areas of the sky and captured Steve and the auroral display far to the north. From space, ESA's (the European Space Agency) Swarm satellite just happened to be passing over the exact area at the same time and documented Steve.

For the first time, scientists had ground and satellite views of Steve.

The study highlights one key quality of Steve: Steve is not a normal aurora. Auroras occur globally in an oval shape, last hours and appear primarily in greens, blues and reds. Citizen science reports showed Steve is purple with a green picket fence structure that waves. It is a line with a beginning and end. People have observed Steve for 20 minutes to 1 hour before it disappears.

The uniqueness of Steve is in the details. While Steve goes through the same large-scale creation process as an aurora, it travels along different magnetic field lines than the aurora. All-sky cameras showed that Steve appears at much lower latitudes. That means the charged particles that create Steve connect to magnetic field lines that are closer to Earth's equator, hence why Steve is often seen in southern Canada.

Perhaps the biggest surprise about Steve appeared in the satellite data. The data showed that Steve comprises a fast moving stream of extremely hot particles called a sub auroral ion drift, or SAID. Scientists have studied SAIDs since the 1970s but never knew there was an accompanying visual effect.

As for the name "Steve" given by the citizen scientists? The team is keeping it as an homage to its initial name and discoverers. But now it is STEVE, short for Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement.
Science / New Jersey Killer Tick Invasion
N.J. scientists hope they stopped a tick invasion. But Spring will tell.
Last August, a woman walked into the Hunterdon County health office with thousands of ticks clinging to her clothing.

The tick attack occurred as the farmer tried to shear a sheep, unaware the animal was infested. But it was not just the sheer volume of ticks that concerned health officials, but the fact that they could not identify the species of the tick.

For health officials, that uncertainty is alarming.

To help identify the mysterious species, Tadhgh Rainey, the division manager of the county's Division of Health Services, turned to Andrea Egizi, a tick specialist at the Monmouth County Tick-borne Disease Lab.

Egizi identified the tick as an invasive species from East Asia that although has been spotted on animals and products coming into the country, had never been seen elsewhere in the U.S.

As the identification process was underway, the scientists worked to contain the ticks and stop a potential outbreak. The sheep was treated with a chemical wash that killed the ticks, and the property was scoured to remove the tall grass that the pests lived in.
Computers and Technology / Stratolaunch taxi test
I had not heard of Stratolaunch until today. Paul Allen is backing this aerial launch system and Scaled Composites has built it. When it finally takes off, it will be the largest wingspan in service. But they don't seem to actually have a rocket to launch from it just yet. SpaceX was initially contracted to design the rocket, but backed out in 2012. Then Orbital ATK was to develop a "Pegasus II" rocket, but that went nowhere. Now they are saying it will use "multiple Pegasus XL" rockets, which at least is a vehicle that exists and has been in service for some time. But this aircraft has to get into the air before that, and Pegasus XL rockets are already being launched from aircraft, since that's what they were designed for. So... umm...
Science / Asteroid making close pass at 39,000 miles
Asteroid Skimming Past Earth May Loom Larger Than Exploding Russian Meteor
A newly discovered asteroid that will fly safely past Earth today (Feb. 9) may be larger than a celestial object that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, five years ago. The newly found interloper, called 2018 CB, is estimated to be from 50 to 130 feet (15 to 40 meters) in diameter, and will fly by Earth at about 2:30 p.m. PST (5:30 p.m. EST).

The NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey spotted 2018 CB and another asteroid, 2018 CC, on Feb. 4. While 2018 CB isn't entering Earth's atmosphere, the object will whiz by safely at less than 20 percent of the distance from the Earth to the moon.

Coincidentally, 2018 CB's arrival comes just days after two other asteroids safely passed by Earth. On Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 4), asteroid 2002 AJ129 came by the planet at a distance of only 2.6 million miles (4.2 million km) -- 10 times the distance to the moon. (The average distance between the Earth and moon is about 238,855 miles, or 384,400 km.)

Then, on Tuesday (Feb. 6), asteroid 2018 CC made its closest approach, at 114,000 miles (184,000 km), roughly the halfway point between Earth and the moon.
General Discussion / Superbluebloodmoon extravaganza
It was actually pretty nice. Comfortable temperature, clear sky, easy access. I drove to the 1st Street bridge, as did a dozen or more other people. There were at least 100 people on 4th Street bridge. But the Moon was more nearly aligned straight down 1st Street so I went there. I was not disappointed.

Science / Storm Waves Really Can Move Giant Boulders
New California declares 'independence' from California in bid to become 51st state
"The current state of California has become governed by a tyranny," the group, led in part by vice chairman Robert Paul Preston, declared in a document published online.

"After years of over taxation, regulation, and mono-party politics the State of California and many of it's 58 Counties have become ungovernable," the group said in a statement, citing a "decline in essential basic services" including education, law enforcement, infrastructure and health care.
General Discussion / Reasons To Be Cheerful
Reasons To Be Cheerful--an antidote and a cross platform project
What is Reasons To Be Cheerful?                     

I imagine, like a lot of you who look back over the past year, it seems like the world is going to Hell. I wake up in the morning, look at the paper, and go, "Oh no!"

I can't help but to read this opening as if it were part of a Talking Heads song.

Often I'm depressed for half the day. It doesn't matter how you voted on Brexit, the French elections or the U.S. election--many of us of all persuasions and party affiliations feel remarkably similar.

As a kind of remedy and possibly as a kind of therapy, I started collecting good news that reminded me, "Hey, there's actually some positive stuff going on!" Almost all of these initiatives are local, they come from cities or small regions who have taken it upon themselves to try something that might offer a better alternative than what exits. Hope is often local. Change begins in communities.

I will post thoughts, images and audio relating to this initiative on whichever platform seems suitable and I'll welcome contributions from others, if they follow the guidelines I've set for myself.
Computers and Technology / I thought it was just a joke
But it's not. SpaceX's 1st Falcon Heavy Rocket Readies for Launch

The car will be launched in January 2018 with the first Falcon Heavy on elliptical orbit around the Sun. There were conflicting reports that the payload was "made up", but Musk and many SpaceX employees later clarified that the payload is legitimate. According to Elon Musk, it could stay drifting in space for one billion years. The sound system onboard the car will play the song Space Oddity by David Bowie and there will be a copy of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in the glovebox, along with a towel and a sign saying Don't Panic.
I hope they welded the wheels on, and any other parts that might shake loose and damage the rocket during ascent. I want to see the landing sequence of the three reusable boosters, but that won't happen if it comes apart at launch. On the other hand, I think it's safe to assume the payload will be seen in the live video stream, as with most non-classified missions. I wonder if there will be any unexpected effects of exposing the car to space. Are the seats padded with closed-cell foam, perhaps? That could be amusing.


The electricity required for a single bitcoin trade could power a house for a whole month

Gold production used as "cryptocurrency" wasted about as much energy as Bitcoin. All the transactions that make up the global economy consume about a third as much as Bitcoin.

A barbarous relic
Coming to the numbers, Wikipedia suggests that gold mining uses about 25 kW·h of electricity per gram of gold produced. If I get the order of magnitude right, that corresponds to 25 GWh per tonne. Current annual production is about 3000 tonnes, so that gold mining uses about 75 TWh per year, compared to a widely cited estimate of 30Twh/year for Bitcoin. But the majority of gold is used for jewellery and industrial purposes, with only around 40 per cent being used for private investment (governments hold gold in reserves, but they have been net sellers for many years). Entirely coincidentally, 40 per cent of 75 is 30.

So, the barbarous relic and its high-tech replacement use about the same amount of electricity every year. Gold is probably more widely used as a pseudo-currency than Bitcoin. On the other hand, gold mining has a lot of destructive effects in addition to the electricity used.

So, at least arguably, gold and Bitcoin, considered as alternatives to the standard financial system, are about equally destructive in environmental terms.

Has Bitcoin been factored into the Drake Equation? It could explain why we humans seem to be alone in the galaxy.
Sierras Lost Water Weight, Grew Taller During Drought
Loss of water from the rocks of California's Sierra Nevada caused the mountain range to rise nearly an inch (24 millimeters) in height during the drought years from October 2011 to October 2015, a new NASA study finds. In the two following years of more abundant snow and rainfall, the mountains have regained about half as much water in the rock as they had lost in the preceding drought and have fallen about half an inch (12 millimeters) in height.

"This suggests that the solid Earth has a greater capacity to store water than previously thought," said research scientist Donald Argus of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, who led the study. Significantly more water was lost from cracks and soil within fractured mountain rock during drought and gained during heavy precipitation than hydrology models show.
And they worked perfectly!
This week, the scientists and engineers on the Voyager team did something very special. They commanded the spacecraft to fire a set of four trajectory thrusters for the first time in 37 years to determine their ability to orient the spacecraft using 10-millisecond pulses.

After sending the commands on Tuesday, it took 19 hours and 35 minutes for the signal to reach Voyager. Then, the Earth-bound spacecraft team had to wait another 19 hours and 35 minutes to see if the spacecraft responded. It did. After nearly four decades of dormancy, the Aerojet Rocketdyne manufactured thrusters fired perfectly.
... because it lures the needy.

But of course they did.

Also, I have no idea what the video is about. Seems unrelated.
Computers and Technology / Net Neutrality, Again
Oh, brother.  ::)

I want to know how they think Comcast can pull this off. Google, Amazon, eBay, etc. are all just going to passively permit their revenues to plummet because Comcast charges a premium to permit their customers to use their Amazon Prime subscription, to manage their eBay storefront, or watch videos on their YouTube Red subscription?
Facebook rolls out AI to detect suicidal posts before they're reported
This is software to save lives. Facebook's new "proactive detection" artificial intelligence technology will scan all posts for patterns of suicidal thoughts, and when necessary send mental health resources to the user at risk or their friends, or contact local first-responders.

But if you're still on Facebook, shouldn't you just kill yourself anyway?  :stareicide:
Bitcoin Mining Now Consuming More Electricity Than 159 Countries Including Ireland & Most Countries In Africa
According to Digiconomist's Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index, as of Monday November 20th, 2017 Bitcoin's current estimated annual electricity consumption stands at 29.05TWh.
As mentioned, above the data for Bitcoin mining energy consumption comes from the Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index. You can read about their assumptions here.

Electricity consumption data mostly comes from the CIA via Wikipedia and is mostly for 2014, since that's the most recent year available. Unlike some other sources it includes, residential, commercial and industrial use, so may be higher than other figures quoted elsewhere.
At some point I thought admins might want to consolidate the several threads about specific individuals. So instead of starting a thread with Louis CK in the title, I used a much more general title.

So, Louis CK is the first one to own the accusations against him without any spin, apologizing directly, by name, to the women who had accused him and to the people affected by the delay or cancellation of projects he was involved with. He seemed to understand the scope of the damage he caused. Then he ended with a promise to shut up and step back for a "long time." There's not any "good" choices when confronted publicly with accusations one knows are true, but he probably made the "best" choice he could have, today. Of course, he could have issued an apology some time ago, before it was about to be made public. But maybe not. The kind of person who could come clean about a misdeed without any external pressure doesn't seem to be the kind who would ask women who worked for him to look at his dick.
Arts and Entertainment / Kevin Spacey Is A Creep Too
'House of Cards' employees allege sexual harassment, assault by Kevin Spacey

The production company MRC seems to be in butt-covering mode.
"We are deeply troubled to learn about these new allegations that are being made to the press concerning Kevin Spacey's interaction with members of the crew of House of Cards," the MRC statement said. "As the producer of the show, creating and maintaining a safe working environment for our cast and crew has always been our top priority. We have consistently reinforced the importance of employees reporting any incident without fear of retaliation and we have investigated and taken appropriate actions following any complaints. For example, during our first year of production in 2012, someone on the crew shared a complaint about a specific remark and gesture made by Kevin Spacey. Immediate action was taken following our review of the situation and we are confident the issue was resolved promptly to the satisfaction of all involved. Mr. Spacey willingly participated in a training process and since that time MRC has not been made aware of any other complaints involving Mr. Spacey."
And yet CNN interviewed crew and staff who were harassed or assaulted by Spacey who did not report or complain for fear of losing their jobs.
Computers and Technology / Cockroach Not Included
Backyard Brains RoboRoach
Create and control a cyborg!

Are you a teacher or parent that wants to teach a student about advanced neurotechnologies? You are in luck! The RoboRoach is the world's first commercially available cyborg. With our RoboRoach you can wirelessly control the left/right movement of a cockroach by microstimulation of the nerves in their antennae.

Stimulating educational possibilities

The RoboRoach is a great way to learn about neural microstimulation, sensory and neural adaptation, and electronics. The RoboRoach backpack weighs very little even with the battery, and each battery will last over a month. Following a brief surgery you perform on the cockroach attaching the silver electrodes to the antenna, you can put the backpack on the roach and control its movement for a few minutes before the cockroach adapts temporarily. When you return the cockroach to its cage for ~20 minutes, it "forgets", and the stimulation works again.

Just add roaches

Once you receive your RoboRoach in the mail, follow our online surgery instructions and videos and you will soon be on your way to joining the ranks of experts in neural interfaces. Afterwards, you can clip the wires and retire the cockroach to your breeder colony to spend the rest of its days making more cockroaches for you and eating your lettuce.
Science / Tarantino Does "Happy Feet"
The thread title is not my invention. It's a quote from a sober scientist.

Penguin disaster as only two chicks survive from colony of 40,000
A colony of about 40,000 Adélie penguins in Antarctica has suffered a "catastrophic breeding event" - all but two chicks have died of starvation this year. It is the second time in just four years that such devastation - not previously seen in more than 50 years of observation - has been wrought on the population.

The head of polar programs at WWF, Rod Downie, said: "Adélie penguins are one of the hardiest and most amazing animals on our planet. This devastating event contrasts with the image that many people might have of penguins. It's more like 'Tarantino does Happy Feet', with dead penguin chicks strewn across a beach in Adélie Land.

"The risk of opening up this area to exploratory krill fisheries, which would compete with the Adélie penguins for food as they recover from two catastrophic breeding failures in four years, is unthinkable. So CCAMLR needs to act now by adopting a new Marine Protected Area for the waters off East Antarctica, to protect the home of the penguins."
Arts and Entertainment / Megyn Kelly: Drag Queen
Megyn Kelly is destroying NBC's morning ratings

The numbers are in, and "Megyn Kelly Today" is dragging down the "Today" show franchise, an insider explained to Page Six.

"Not only are ratings plummeting since Megyn Kelly joined the 'Today' franchise, but the numbers show Kelly's lead-in has also affected Kathie Lee [Gifford] and Hoda Kotb's show, which follows straight afterwards," a source said.

"They've taken a huge hit with Megyn as their lead-in," the insider added.
But an NBC insider told us things aren't all bad for Kelly. "Megyn posted her highest ratings yet in the 'key demographic' on Monday, and she had her biggest total viewer number since the premiere . . . Everyone knows that ratings fluctuate at the start of a new show, and there has been nothing but support for Megyn from all of the 'Today' show hosts. They have each taken her out to lunch -- Kathie Lee just took her to lunch today."