|—||One of six major takeaways from the new report by the US Global Change Research Program. (via motherjones)|
Simulating Matter Distribution Across The Cosmos Joe Insley and the HACC team, Argonne National Laboratory.
Sometime next month, the world’s third-fastest supercomputer —known as Mira—will complete tests of its new upgraded software and begin running the largest cosmological simulations ever performed at Argonne National Laboratory. These simulations are massive, taking in huge amounts of data from the latest generation of high-fidelity sky surveys and crunching it into models of the universe that are larger, higher-resolution, and more statistically accurate than any that have come before. When it’s done, scientists should have some amazing high-quality visualizations of the so-called “cosmic web” that connects the universe as we understand it. And they’ll have the best statistical models of the cosmos that cosmologists have ever seen.
Exoplanet Catalog Reveals 7 Possibly Habitable Worlds
A new catalog aims to list all the known planets in the galaxy that could potentially be habitable to life. The count is at seven so far, with many more to come, researchers said.
The online listing, called the Habitable Exoplanets Catalog, celebrated its first anniversary today (Dec. 5). When it was first released last year, it had two potential habitable planets to its name. According to lead researcher Abel Mendez, the team expected to add maybe one or two more in the catalog’s first year. The addition of five suspected new planets was wholly beyond anyone’s expectations.
“The main purpose is for research, but then I realized that also for the public, it was very important,” said Mendez, director of the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo’s Planetary Habitability Laboratory.
[Read more here]
|—||NPR has posted an exclusive excerpt from Oliver Sacks’s Hallucinations. It’s a great read, and the experiment described above is only the beginning. (via aaknopf)|
Today’s eyewitness photo: Bat embryos – Molossus rufus (black mastiff bat) – photographed by Dorit Hockman of Cambridge University, one of the finalists in the Nikon Small World 2012 photomicrography competition. See more amazing pictures from the competition here.
This year’s major drought in the U.S. will change the way we eat for months—if not years—to come.
By the end of the summer of 2012, the United States was experiencing its worst drought in 50 years. Crops were drastically damaged and on government agriculture maps, a searing, disaster-level red burned through Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, and other states in the country’s corn belt and breadbasket—states that usually, if you fly over them on a clear day, bear the distinctive green patchwork of productive farming. But if you flew over or drove through the stricken regions this summer, what you likely saw instead was a landscape blighted by the browns, tans, and yellows of struggling crops. Many corn stalks in Tennessee grew only a fraction of their usual height; others in Illinois produced ears with sparse, shrunken kernels. Soy and wheat fields around the country struggled to last through the summer, whose unusually high temperatures added insult to agricultural injury.
photo: Scott Olson/Getty
New dinosaur discovery a cross between ‘a bird, a vampire and a porcupine’
A new dinosaur the size of a house cat and described as a cross between “a bird, a vampire and a porcupine” has been identified in a piece of rock from South Africa.
University of Chicago paleontologist Paul Sereno, who published the findings on Wednesday in the online scientific journal ZooKeys, said in an interview with Reuters he actually made the discovery of the small-bodied herbivore in 1983. (Handout/Reuters)
Finding the ‘Beautiful Evidence’ of Science
New York-based artist Thomas Allen’s upcoming exhibition, Beautiful Evidence, is the product of many hours spent digging through the stacks of old bookstores and leaning over cheap purchases with his scissors. On display at Foley Gallery, the show displays old science books in new ways.
Photo: Thomas Allen/Courtesy Foley Gallery.