The failure of reality to match up with computer models

The ice caps are supposed to be melting.  But the ice in Antarctica is at record levels.  And the ice at the North Pole, after declining for awhile, is back to normal levels.  So reports a British newspaper, the Register.  I’m struck, though, by a comment in the article that cites,  “This failure of reality to match up with climate modelling.”

That “reality” has somehow failed is rather humorous.  Isn’t computer modelling dependent on what data is programmed into the model?  And isn’t reality always going to be more complex than a model, with far more variables, many of which are unknown to the researcher?  [Read more...]

Both matter and anti-matter

Paradox of nature:  a sub-atomic particle has been discovered that acts like both matter and anti-matter. [Read more...]

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...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X