Brainy Quote of the Day

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Nouveau Terra Firma...

Topics: Climate Change, Existentialism, Global Warming, Politics

Note: I participated in the Facebook boycott yesterday, and included Twitter and Google. I'll speak to that on my last post for the year Friday.

"Then I saw 'a new heaven and a new earth,' for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea." Revelation 21:1

The Arctic is continuing to warm twice as fast as the rest of the planet; air temperatures every year from 2014 to today have been warmer than all previous records since 1900.

The reasons for this trend include less snow and ice to reflect sunlight, warmer oceans releasing heat into the atmosphere later into the fall, and increasing winter cloudiness, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

NOAA released its 13th annual Arctic Report Card, synthesizing the peer-reviewed work of 81 scientists from 12 countries, on 11 December 2018 at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting in Washington, DC. The report sounded warnings about the current effects of Arctic warming in such diverse fields as caribou populations and poisoning of shellfish.

Emily Osborne, who heads NOAA’s Arctic research programme, told reporters at AGU that the higher air and water temperatures are pushing the Arctic into uncharted territory. The average temperature this past year was 1.7 °C above the long-term average, she said, and an unusually sluggish and wavy high-altitude jet stream coincided with a heat wave at the North Pole and a swarm of severe winter storms in the eastern US.

Arctic heads for ‘uncharted territory’, Harvey Leifert, Physics World

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Speaking of Superheros...

Pauline Jennings, UC Berkeley
Courtesy of PolyPEDAL Lab, UC Berkeley

Topics: Biology, Biophysics, Nanotechnology

1. Gecko Nanotechnology, Berger, Michael, Royal Society of Chemistry, Nano Werk dot com
2. Gecko adhesion: evolutionary nanotechnology, Autumn, Kellar; Gravish, Nick, The Royal Society Publishing

Animals famous for walking up walls can also use a combination of techniques to race across water.

The flat-tailed house gecko can not only stick to walls and glide through the air, but also run on water, a new study finds. This discovery of the combination of techniques the reptile uses to race across water could one day lead to robots capable of the same feats, researchers said.

The flat-tailed house gecko (Hemidactylus platyurus) is a common pet reptile native to southern and Southeast Asia. Not only can bristles on its toes help it climb walls and hang from ceilings, but it can glide with the aid of its webbed feet and skin flaps. "They're kind of like superheroes -- every time you look at them, they can do more things," said study senior author Robert Full, an integrative biologist at the University of California, Berkeley.

The newfound talent of this species was discovered by study co-author Ardian Jusufi, a biophysicist now at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart, Germany, when he was in a rain forest in Singapore and saw the geckos skidding across puddles to escape predators. Lab experiments with these reptiles found they could run up to nearly a meter per second over 8 centimeters of water, faster than the swimming speeds of many aquatic creatures, including ducks, muskrats, juvenile alligators and marine iguanas. They could also easily switch to dashing across solid ground or scampering up a wall.

How Geckos Run on Water, Charles Q. Choi, Inside Science

Monday, December 17, 2018

Conjuring Ray Palmer...

MIT engineers have devised a way to create 3D nanoscale objects by patterning a larger structure with a laser and then shrinking it. This image shows a complex structure prior to shrinking. Courtesy: Daniel Oran

Topics: 3D Printing, Materials Science, Metamaterials, Nanotechnology, Science Fiction

A new 3D nanofabrication technique called Implosion Fabrication could be used to create a wide variety of nano- and microstructures not previously possible. The technique, which can print 3D objects of nearly any shape by patterning a polymer scaffold with a laser and then shrinking the structure to a thousandth of its original volume, might be used to make novel optical metamaterials and electronics devices.

Shrinking hydrogel scaffold
Most existing nanofabrication techniques are limited in what they can produce. Direct laser writing methods, for example, can produce 2D patterns but not 3D ones, which need to be built up a layer at a time – a process that is difficult and slow. Lithography, one of the oldest nanofabrication techniques, can again only print 2D layers on patterned surfaces.

The apropos cultural reference that absolutely dates me!

Image Source: Wikipedia link below

Raymond "Ray" Palmer, is a physicist and professor at Ivy University in the fictional city of Ivy Town, somewhere in New England, specializing in matter compression as a means to fight overpopulation, famine and other world problems. Using a mass of white dwarf star matter he finds after it lands on Earth, Palmer fashions a lens that enables him to shrink any object to any degree he wishes. Compression destabilizes an object's molecular structure, however, causing it to explode. Source: Wikipedia

It's also the epitome of escapist fiction, since a white dwarf in real life is kind of dense.

Imploding hydrogel shrinks objects to the nanoscale, Belle Dumé, Physics World

Friday, December 14, 2018

Damnatio memoriae...

Topics: Civics, Existentialism, Humor, Politics

Damnatio memoriae is a modern Latin phrase meaning "condemnation of memory", i.e., that a person is to be excluded from official accounts. There are and have been many routes to damnatio, including the destruction of depictions, the removal of names from inscriptions and documents, and even large-scale rewritings of history.

In Latin, the term damnatio memoriae was not used by the ancient Romans. The first appearance of the phrase is in a dissertation written in Germany in 1689. The term is used in modern scholarship to cover a wide array of official and unofficial sanctions whereby the physical remnants of a deceased individual were destroyed to differing degrees.

Damnatio memoriae, or oblivion, as a punishment was originally created by the peoples of Ephesus after Herostratus set fire to the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of antiquity.[citation needed] The Romans, who viewed it as a punishment worse than death, adopted this practice.[citation needed] Felons would literally be erased from history for the crimes they had committed.[citation needed] Wikipedia

Apparently I have a few fans on the site Black In America dot com, a forum started by Soledad O’Brien when she was an anchor at CNN:

Another idiot is Mr. Reginald Goodwin! He’s always criticizing Pres. Trump, but I logically know this!
I am positive that Mr. Goodwin voted for Hillary Clinton and this is my argument.
If Mr. Goodwin was as smart as he think he is he would have reasoned like I did that Mr. Trump would be White America’s 45th president. Instead, the idiot Mr. Goodwin comes on Black in America and trash Pres. Trump for winning proving that Mr. Goodwin isn't smart at all since he voted for the wrong candidate, Ms. Hillary Clinton!

The policies that Mr. Trump campaigned on I reasoned Mr. Trump would win and that did happen, Mr. Trump won!

Mr. Goodwin is an idiot and I can say he is because I've proven he is since he voted for the wrong person and is now trashing the candidate that won, that is not intelligence!

Despite calling me out with an insult, I'm judiciously protecting this person's privacy. I'm obviously being facetious about his fandom. From his own words, we know who he's a fan of.

A few points before my retort:

2. The Mueller indictments so far: Lies, trolls and hacks, Jesus Rodriguez and Beatrice Jin, Politico
3. Mueller Indictments: Who’s Who, Wall Street Journal
4. Quoting myself in the post Belief in Oneness:
65,853,625 voted for the sane (though, maybe not desired) candidate.
62,985,105 voted for the orange fascist tweeting on the loo and defecating from his pie hole in a breathtaking achievement of daily, all-time Olympic-level lying.

Note: I was Who's Who For Colleges and Universities in my undergraduate days; International “Who’s Who” of Professionals 1998, volume 3 - page 2-47. I've never aspired however, to be on Director Robert Mueller's "Who's Who."

In response, I'm positive I voted for Secretary Clinton too. I'm pretty certain I did (my candidate is saner, and makes complete sentences on and off Twitter). I also don't think she's so much of a narcissist to call for a civil war if removed from office. He's Vladimir Putin's orange wet dream.

My retort (curt and to-the-point):

Who the hell are you, and why should I care? Take your meds and go back to bed, idiot. A prophet you're not, and a profit you've yet to net from your asinine comments. Enjoy oblivion as you will now be blocked and your insane commentary you can keep to yourself. Monday, December 10th 2018 at 1:52 PM

My troll posits himself a "prophet," a title I suspect he's assigned himself and is probably as accurate as Ms. Cleo, may she rest in peace, not speaking ill of the dead.

So, my response was to use the site's tools to block him. Because I've blocked him, he can only fume, post, spit at me from cyberspace and I won't respond or care. I do sincerely hope he takes his meds.

Lastly, I think damnatio memoriae is apropos once we are all post this era of Tweets, insults, incitements, indictments, arrests and Russian collusion. Oblivion should be his purgatory and zero access to the Internet. Like the Witch in the "Wizard of Oz" and my disturbed troll that is his fan: Entropy will allow him to shrivel and die alone and ignored, a Twitter account archived; no presidential library commissioned, bald; bereft of ferret toupees and tanning beds in something beyond hell and pee-pee tapes he would loathe above all else - obscurity.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Measuring Cosmic Distances...

Image Source: Link below

Topics: Astrophysics, Black Holes, Cosmology, Gravitational Waves, LIGO

Decades of experimental effort paid off spectacularly on 14 September 2015, when the two detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) spotted the gravitational waves generated by a pair of coalescing black holes.1 To get a sense of the effort leading to that breakthrough, consider that the gravitational waves caused the mirrors at the ends of each interferometer’s 4 km arms to oscillate with an amplitude of about 10−18 m, roughly a factor of a thousand smaller than the classical proton radius. The detection was also a triumph for theory. The frequency and amplitude evolution of the measured waves precisely matched general relativity’s predictions for the signal produced by a binary black hole merger, even though the system’s gravity was orders of magnitude stronger than that of any system that had been precisely probed before that detection.

Labeled GW150914, that first reported event was soon joined by other detections of binary black hole mergers. Each of those events appeared to be totally dark to traditional astronomical instruments—the matter and electromagnetic fields near the merging black holes were not sufficient to generate any signal other than gravitational. As had long been promised, gravitational waves have opened a window onto an otherwise invisible sector of the universe.

Measuring cosmic distances with standard sirens, Physics Today
Daniel Holz is a professor of physics and of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of Chicago.
Scott Hughes is a professor of physics at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Bernard Schutz is a professor of physics and astronomy at Cardiff University in the UK.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018


Illustrations of frequency-dependent toughening in a polymer-metal-nanoglue-ceramic composite. Credit: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Topics: Materials Science, Metamaterials, Nanotechnology

In a discovery that could pave the way for new materials and applications, materials scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have found that oscillating loads at certain frequencies can lead to several-fold increases in the strength of composites with an interface that is modified by a molecular layer of "nanoglue."

A newly published article in Nature Communications reports the unexpected discovery of the effects of loading frequency on the fracture energy of a multilayer composite involving a "nanoglue," the use of which was also pioneered at Rensselaer.

"Unearthing, understanding, and manipulating nanoscale phenomena at interfaces during dynamic stimuli is a key to designing new materials with novel responses for applications," said Ganpati Ramanath, the John Tod Horton Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Rensselaer and the lead author on the study. "Our work demonstrates that introducing a nanoglue layer at an interface of a layered composite can lead to large mechanical toughening at certain loading frequencies."

Nanoglue can make composites several times tougher during dynamic loading,
Matthew Kwan et al. Nature Communications,

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The Perfect Fluid...

If collisions between small projectiles -- protons (p), deuterons (d), and helium-3 nuclei (3He) -- and gold nuclei (Au) create tiny hot spots of quark-gluon plasma, the pattern of particles picked up by the detector should retain some 'memory' of each projectile's initial shape. Measurements from the PHENIX experiment match these predictions with very strong correlations between the initial geometry and the final flow patterns. Credit: Javier Orjuela Koop, University of Colorado, Boulder

Topics: Astrophysics, Fluid Mechanics, Nuclear Physics, Relativity, Theoretical Physics

Nuclear physicists analyzing data from the PHENIX detector at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC)—a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science user facility for nuclear physics research at Brookhaven National Laboratory—have published in the journal Nature Physics additional evidence that collisions of miniscule projectiles with gold nuclei create tiny specks of the perfect fluid that filled the early universe.

Scientists are studying this hot soup made up of quarks and gluons—the building blocks of protons and neutrons—to learn about the fundamental force that holds these particles together in the visible matter that makes up our world today. The ability to create such tiny specks of the primordial soup (known as quark-gluon plasma) was initially unexpected and could offer insight into the essential properties of this remarkable form of matter.

"This work is the culmination of a series of experiments designed to engineer the shape of the quark-gluon plasma droplets," said PHENIX collaborator Jamie Nagle of the University of Colorado, Boulder, who helped devise the experimental plan as well as the theoretical simulations the team would use to test their results.

Compelling evidence for small drops of perfect fluid, Brookhaven National Laboratory,