Why do we sleep?

Virtually all living organisms sleep, or its equivalent.  But it has been a puzzle why.  Surely spending a big part of every day unconscious can’t have much survival value.  But scientists have now discovered that sleep is when our bodies repair themselves and when our brain is rejuvenated and, literally, cleansed.

Time has a fascinating article on the subject, linked and excerpted after the jump.  Type-A personalities who brag about how little they sleep so they can work more, party animals who stay up all night, commuters who stay up late and get up early, and college students in general would do well to read it. [Read more...]

The sound an atom makes

The ancients believed that the planets and stars were on crystalline spheres, whose turning created harmonics equivalent to our musical notes.  Hence, “the music of the spheres,” signifying the aesthetic order of the cosmos.   We don’t have that cosmology anymore, but we do have quantum physics.  Scientists have isolated the vibration and thus sound of a single atom.  It is the musical note, D. [Read more...]

What a comet looks like, up close

The European Space Agency spacecraft Rosetta has rendezvoused with Comet 67P, with plans to send a smaller craft to land on it November 11.  The project was launched back in 2004.  The comet is about 3×5 kilometers across (1.86×3 miles).  Go here for more information.  After the jump, photographs from the probe, showing what a comet looks like up close. [Read more...]

Cat places vs. dog places

Some people, it is said, are cat people and others are dog people.  The same can be said of states and countries.  Some have more cats and some have more dogs.  After the jump, a discussion of the phenomenon and a link to some maps that show the cat places and the dog places.  What does this preference in pets tell us about these different cultures and subcultures? [Read more...]

Dodging a solar bullet

Two years ago, the sun blasted out two clouds of plasma.  If this had happened one week earlier, they would have hit the earth, knocking out our power grid and doing so much damage that we would still be trying to repair it. [Read more...]

The missing light crisis

We blogged about how new evidence is casting doubt on the existence of the universe.  Scientists have also discovered a massive discrepancy between the amount of light that we can detect and the amount of light produced by galaxies and quasars.  The two are off by a factor of some 400%.   Put another way, 80% of the light in the universe is missing.  This is being called the “missing light crisis.” [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X