Science Friday: Babylonians developed trigonometry ‘superior’ to modern day version 3,700 years ago | How Orange Peels Revived A Costa Rican Forest August 23, 2017


They also beat the Ancient Greeks to it, according to Australian academics

The Ancient Babylonians knew about a form of trigonometry more advanced than the modern-day version – about 1,000 years before its supposed invention by the Ancient Greeks, academics in Australia say.

The astonishing claim is based on a 3,700-year-old clay tablet inscribed with a table of numbers.

Known as Plimpton 322, it is already known to contain evidence that the Babylonians knew Pythagoras’ famous equation for right-angled triangles, long before the Greek philosopher gave his name to it.



How Orange Peels Revived A Costa Rican Forest

In the mid-1990s, 1,000 truckloads of orange peels and orange pulp were purposefully unloaded onto a barren pasture in a Costa Rican national park. Today, that area is covered in lush, vine-laden forest.

A team led by Princeton University researchers surveyed the land 16 years after the orange peels were deposited. They found a 176 percent increase in aboveground biomass — or the wood in the trees — within the 3-hectare area (7 acres) studied. Their results are published in the journal Restoration Ecology.



Science Friday: Can you solve the TED Talks “Fish Riddle”? | Chimpanzees learn rock-paper-scissors

Here’s another TED-Ed brain bender that can ruin your evening. I actually tried for a little while to solve the puzzle on my own, but I got bogged down and went for the answer. Yeah, there’s math involved, as well as logic, which is why I got bogged down.

Chimpanzees learn rock-paper-scissors

New study shows that chimps’ ability to learn simple circular relationships is on a par with that of 4-year-old children

Chimpanzees of all ages and all sexes can learn the simple circular relationship between the three different hand signals used in the well-known game rock-paper-scissors. Even though it might take them longer, they are indeed able to learn the game as well as a young child. Jie Gao of Kyoto University in Japan and Peking University in China is lead author of a study in the journal Primates, which is the official journal of the Japan Monkey Centre, and is published by Springer. The research compares the ability of chimpanzees and children to learn the rock-paper-scissors game.

Science Friday: Which Container Will Fill First? | Here’s every total solar eclipse happening in your lifetime.

Alfakennyone presented this puzzle a couple of days ago.  … Then check out the answer and explanation.


Then you’ll want to see the animated version …  Spoiler: eventually, your basement will be completely flooded.  -via Boing Boing

Here’s every total solar eclipse happening in your lifetime.

On Aug. 21, a total solar eclipse will be visible from the contiguous United States. It’ll be the first to traverse coast to coast in nearly a century. There will be 69 total solar eclipses visible from somewhere on the planet in the next 100 years, but only a few will be visible from North America. See how many total solar eclipses are left in your lifetime:


Science Friday: Our 11 Dimensional Brain |The manipulative tricks tech companies use to capture your attention

The brain continues to surprise us with its magnificent complexity. Groundbreaking research that combines neuroscience with math tells us that our brain creates neural structures with up to 11 dimensions when it processes information. By “dimensions,” they mean abstract mathematical spaces, not other physical realms. Still, the researchers “found a world that we had never imagined,” said Henry Markram, director of the Blue Brain Project, which made the discovery.


and from TeD

The manipulative tricks tech companies use to capture your attention

Science Friday: The Mouse that Roared | Meal frequency and timing linked to BMI

Grasshopper mice (genus Onychomys), rodents known for their remarkably loud call, produce audible vocalizations in the same way that humans speak and wolves howl, according to new research published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Grasshopper mice employ both a traditional whistle-like mechanism used by other mice and rats and a unique airflow-induced tissue vibration like that of humans.

Researchers from Northern Arizona University, Midwestern University at Glendale and Ritsumeikan University in Japan used heliox experiments, laryngeal and vocal tract morphological investigations and biomechanical modelling to investigate how grasshopper mice produce spectacular long-distance calls.


Meal frequency and timing linked to BMI

New information on how the timing of meals impacts weight gain or loss


A study by researchers from Loma Linda University School of Public Health and the Czech Republic has found that timing and frequency of meals play a role in predicting weight loss or gain.

Using information gleaned from more than 50,000 participants in the Adventist Health Study-2 (AHS-2), the researchers discovered four factors associated with a decrease in body mass index: eating only one or two meals per day; maintaining an overnight fast of up to 18 hours; eating breakfast instead of skipping it; and making breakfast or lunch the largest meal of the day. Making breakfast the largest meal yielded a more significant decrease in BMI than did lunch.


Science Friday: Giant Model Mimics Damaged Oroville Dam Spillway | A Study About Nothing (Quantum vacuums)


A Study About Nothing

A vacuum is a space absolutely devoid of matter, at least according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. But if you talk to a physicist you may get a different answer. According to quantum physics, even vacuums are not completely empty. Constant fluctuations in energy can spontaneously create mass not just out of thin air, but out of absolutely nothing at all.

“It’s like a boiling sea of appearing and disappearing particle pairs,” said James Koga, a theoretical physicist from the National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology in Kyoto, Japan. The pairs, made up of one particle and one antiparticle, exist for only moments. Koga is investigating the subtle effects caused by these fluctuations.This peculiar nature of vacuum, sometimes referred to as “quantum vacuum,” is not just theoretical speculation. It has real, measurable effects on our physical reality. Although these effects are usually far too small to impact even the most sensitive instruments of today, scientists think the picture will change for the miniaturized technologies of tomorrow.”In the macroscopic world, we don’t care about these forces at all. You wouldn’t care about it when you are driving a car for instance. It’s totally negligible,” said Alejandro Manjavacas, a physicist specializing in photonics at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. “But in the context of nanotechnology or nanophotonics—at a super small scale, these effects will start playing a role.”


Science Friday: Lucy in the (Jupiter’s) Sky with Diamonds | Why is Roman Concrete better than anything today?

Diamonds are forever, unless you’re on Saturn or Jupiter. Loads of the super-hard precious stones may be floating among the gas giants’ fluid layers and melted into liquid further into their depths, say a pair of planetary scientists.

The research, being presented at the Division for Planetary Sciences conference this week [Oct, 2013] in Denver, sprang from very humble beginnings — soot in Saturn’s atmosphere, said Kevin Baines, a planetary scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and one of the work’s coauthors.


New studies of ancient concrete could teach us to do as the Romans did

July 3, 2017

Around A.D. 79, Roman author Pliny the Elder wrote in his Naturalis Historia that concrete structures in harbors, exposed to the constant assault of the saltwater waves, become “a single stone mass, impregnable to the waves and every day stronger.”

He wasn’t exaggerating. While modern marine concrete structures crumble within decades, 2,000-year-old Roman piers and breakwaters endure to this day, and are stronger now than when they were first constructed. University of Utah geologist Marie Jackson studies the minerals and microscale structures of Roman concrete as she would a . She and her colleagues have found that seawater filtering through the concrete leads to the growth of interlocking minerals that lend the concrete added cohesion. The results are published today in American Mineralogist.

Romans made concrete by mixing with lime and seawater to make a mortar, and then incorporating into that mortar chunks of volcanic rock, the “aggregate” in the concrete. The combination of ash, water, and quicklime produces what is called a pozzolanic reaction, named after the city of Pozzuoli in the Bay of Naples. The Romans may have gotten the idea for this mixture from naturally cemented volcanic ash deposits called tuff that are common in the area, as Pliny described.



This country is doomed (small sample size, but, wow)

From tywkiwdbi from a story in The Atlantic about anthropology professor, Bill Schindler

The skills prehistoric peoples depended on seem exotic to today’s college students, who Schindler says arrive on campus each year with less and less of the sort of practical experience that he emphasizes in his class. He tells of the time he asked some students to crack eggs and separate the yolks from the whites. He returned to the kitchen 10 minutes later to find that not a single egg had been cracked. “I asked them if the problem was that nobody had ever told them how to separate the yolk from the whites, and received blank stares in return,” he recalled. “After a minute of silence, one of them said, ‘I’ve never cracked an egg.’ I was floored—how do you even make it to 19 without cracking an egg?