Saturday, August 31, 2013
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Sunday, August 11, 2013
The Most Astounding Fact from Max Schlickenmeyer on Vimeo.
Astrophysicist Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson was asked in an interview with TIME magazine, "What is the most astounding fact you can share with us about the Universe?" This is his answer.
Saturday, August 10, 2013
Adult crime victims drew less sympathy than kids and puppies in studyPeople may feel more empathy for dogs than for some of their fellow humans, a new study finds.
When it comes to victims of violence, people may be less disturbed by the suffering of human adults, who are considered capable of taking care of themselves, the study suggests. Meanwhile, children, puppies and full-grown dogs are perceived as dependent and vulnerable.
The study involved 240 men and women. Most of the participants were white college students between 18 and 25 years old.
In conducting the research, Jack Levin, a distinguished professor of sociology and criminology at Northeastern University, and study co-author Arnold Arluke, a sociology professor at the school, randomly gave one of four fictional news stories to each participant.
The scenarios involved the beating of a 1-year-old baby, an adult in his 30s, a puppy or a 6-year-old dog. After reading the story, the participants rated how much empathy they had for the victim of the attack.
More empathy was shown for the child, the puppy and the adult dog than the adult human, the study revealed. Surprisingly, the participants had about the same amount of empathy for the child as they did for the puppy.
The study is scheduled for presentation Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in New York City.
"We were surprised by the interaction of age and species," Levin said in an association news release. "Age seems to trump species when it comes to eliciting empathy."
The authors noted the findings would likely be similar if the study had involved cats instead of dogs. As family pets, they said, dogs and cats often are assigned human characteristics.
Because this study was presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal. HealthDay
Saturday, August 3, 2013
|CC BY 2.0 Frontierofficial|
But now, in a remarkable push to restore natural order for all its animal inhabitants, the Costa Rican government has announced plans to close its zoos, freeing creatures from their long captivity.
“We are getting rid of the cages and reinforcing the idea of interacting with biodiversity in botanical parks in a natural way,” said Environment Minister René Castro. “We don't want animals in captivity or enclosed in any way unless it is to rescue or save them.”
The closures will take effect in March 2014, when the government's contract with the organization that operates its two zoos is set to expire -- a move that Castro says reflects "a change of environmental conscience among Costa Ricans." The facilities which now house captive animals, Simon Bolivar Zoo and the Santa Ana Conservation Center, will be then transformed into urban parks or gardens where wildlife can visit and live freely if they so choose.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Monday, July 22, 2013
|In this rare image taken on July 19, 2013, the wide-angle camera on
NASA's Cassini spacecraft has captured Saturn's rings and our planet
Earth and its moon in the same frame. It is only one footprint in a
mosaic of 33 footprints covering the entire Saturn ring system
(including Saturn itself). At each footprint, images were taken in
different spectral filters for a total of 323 images: some were taken
for scientific purposes and some to produce a natural color mosaic.
This is the only wide-angle footprint that has the Earth-moon system in
The dark side of Saturn, its bright limb, the main rings, the F ring, and the G and E rings are clearly seen; the limb of Saturn and the F ring are overexposed. The "breaks" in the brightness of Saturn's limb are due to the shadows of the rings on the globe of Saturn, preventing sunlight from shining through the atmosphere in those regions. The E and G rings have been brightened for better visibility.
Earth, which is 898 million miles (1.44 billion kilometers) away in this image, appears as a blue dot at center right; the moon can be seen as a fainter protrusion off its right side. An arrow indicates their location in the annotated version. (The two are clearly seen as separate objects in the accompanying narrow angle frame: PIA14949.) The other bright dots nearby are stars.
This is only the third time ever that Earth has been imaged from the outer solar system. The acquisition of this image, along with the accompanying composite narrow- and wide-angle image of Earth and the moon and the full mosaic from which both are taken, marked the first time that inhabitants of Earth knew in advance that their planet was being imaged. That opportunity allowed people around the world to join together in social events to celebrate the occasion.
This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 20 degrees below the ring plane.
Images taken using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this natural color view. The images were obtained with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on July 19, 2013 at a distance of approximately 753,000 miles (1.212 million kilometers) from Saturn, and approximately 898.414 million miles (1.445858 billion kilometers) from Earth. Image scale on Saturn is 43 miles (69 kilometers) per pixel; image scale on the Earth is 53,820 miles (86,620 kilometers) per pixel. The illuminated areas of neither Earth nor the Moon are resolved here. Consequently, the size of each "dot" is the same size that a point of light of comparable brightness would have in the wide-angle camera.
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.
For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://www.nasa.gov/cassini and http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov.
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Pluto is the bright spot in the center of the image. Charon is the faint smudge up and to the left. New Horizons snapped the picture at about 900 million kilometers from Pluto—six times the distance between Earth and the sun. At that distance, the light from Charon and Pluto takes about 48 minutes to reach New Horizons’s cameras. Charon is roughly the size of Texas, but to the approaching craft it appears no wider than a U.S. quarter seen from 17 kilometers away
Until 2005 Charon was Pluto’s only known moon. Since then astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have discovered four more: Nix, Hydra, Kerberos and Styx. Kerberos and Styx are the smallest, each only about a dozen kilometers across; they received their official names just last week.
Launched in early 2006 New Horizons is scheduled to pass within 13,000 kilometers of Pluto in July 2015. The flyby will give astronomers their first close-up look at the tiny world and its moons. Mission scientists will study Pluto’s terrain, composition and atmosphere as well as the space environment in an unexplored, distant corner of the solar system. In the meantime, as New Horizons races toward Pluto, it will frequently snap photos of the dwarf planet’s surroundings to better understand the orbits of the known moons and to look out for potential hazards, such as smaller moonlets or a system of dusty rings.
Pluto belongs to a belt of icy debris beyond Neptune called the Kuiper Belt. Out there, much of the debris left over from the solar system’s formation sits in frozen storage. By studying Pluto and its moons, astronomers learn about more than a single world—they gain access to a record of our solar system’s birth and subsequent growth. In the end, Pluto may be able to tell us more about ourselves and how we got here. Scientific American