Why NASA Is Experimenting On Twins In Space

“To understand the the long-term effects of space on the human body, NASA is conducting an experiment involving twins! Join Tara as she explains what they hope to learn by sending one twin to space, but not the other.” — DNews

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Epic Circles

“Pappus chains, circle inversion and a whole lot more in this EPIC video with Simon Pampena.”

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Vinyl Is Not Better Than CDs

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“There are plenty of business-related grievances to be filed against the annual vinyl celebration, but it’s hard to argue with the spirit of a day encouraging people to explore and buy new music. Moreover, vinyl’s just more fun as a format than MP3s or CDs; there’s something viscerally satisfying about dropping the needle, and physically spinning the record back to rewind. And in a world where people feel all too welcome to hijack the playlist at parties they attend, it’s nice to have a harder-to-commandeer format on offer. Let’s not fool ourselves, though. Vinyl is great, but the idea that its sound quality is superior to that of uncompressed digital recordings is preposterous. They sound different, and that’s exactly the point.” w/ photos + videos

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Is Code The Most Important Language In The World?

“As technology becomes ever more pervasive, the people who actually create it have an increasingly influential impact on our lives. Their ability to code allows them to mold our interactions with computers, and define what services computers bring to us. In essence, coders have become the gatekeepers of how our culture uses technology. Because of this, many people now preach that everyone should learn how to code, saying that knowledge of programming languages is akin to reading & writing. But is it reasonable to assume that everyone will learn how to code? And what are the repercussions if we continue to have coding and non-coding classes?”

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Solar Power Can Now Work At Night?

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The amount of energy generated by the sun in just an hour is more than enough to satisfy power needs of the Earth for an entire year. Harnessing that energy, however, can be a challenge, especially when it’s dark out. But this might change with the discovery of certain kind of photoswitches that not only can store solar energy but also release the heat on demand, day or night. Designed by researchers from MIT and Harvard, these new photoswitches are described in a paper titled ‘Templated assembly of photoswitches significantly increases the energy-storage capacity of solar thermal fuels’ published in the journal Nature Chemistry.” w/ photos

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The Rise & Fall Of AIM

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“When we think about the spectacular collapses of once untouchable Internet properties, companies like MySpace and Pets.com come to mind. The rise and fall of AOL Instant Messenger rivals them all. Once the dominant force in digital messaging and a source of innovations other companies spun off into billions of dollars of businesses, AIM is now mostly dormant. Mashable sat down with three of the early engineers of the program to learn about its origins, why AOL never quite embraced the concept of a free messaging service, getting hacked by Microsoft and the features that never quite made it to users.” w/ photos

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How Dyson Made Its Bladeless Fan 75% Quieter

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“This idea — making sure a device’s sound is not only quiet but pleasant — is often overlooked. It’s easy to assume that as long as a fan is quiet, that’s all that matters. Not so, says Baptiste. During testing he found that the new generation was emitting a sound with a frequency of 1000 hertz. This particular frequency, often described as a high-pitched mosquito buzz, is inarguably annoying. Since Dyson wasn’t able to change the frequency coming from the motor, they decided to trap it inside the Hemholtz cavity. Dyson claims the new Air Multiplier is 75 per cent quieter than the previous generation, which really is a substantial decrease in noise.” w/ photos + video

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Why Twitter Now Looks A Bit More Like Facebook

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“On one level, the redesign was just about giving the profile a fresh coat of paint. ‘When you look at the old profile, it’s basically a glorified stream with a header on top,’ says Dave Bellona, the Twitter designer who led the project. Functionally, that’s not especially inviting to newcomers. A strictly chronological profile has a decent chance of being topped with a bunch of at-replies — fragments of conversations, essentially — that probably won’t mean much to someone unfamiliar with the service. The question with the redesign, Bellona says, was, ‘How do we slowly shift the boat to be able to make Twitter a little bit more understandable to the rest of us?”… Time to find out.” w/ photos

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Flowing Salt Water Over Graphene Generates Electricity

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“Hydroelectricity is one of the oldest techniques for generating electrical power, with over 150 countries using it as a source for renewable energy. Hydroelectric generators only work efficiently at large scales, though—scales large enough to interrupt river flow and possibly harm local ecosystems. And getting this sort of generation down to where it can power small devices isn’t realistic. In recent years, scientists have investigated generating electrical power using nano-structures. In particular, they have looked at generating electricity when ionic fluids—a liquid with charged ions in it—are pushed through a system with a pressure gradient. However, the ability to harvest the generated electricity has been limited because it requires a pressure gradient to drive ionic fluid through a small tube. But scientists have now found that dragging small droplets of salt water on strips of graphene generates electricity without the need for pressure gradients.” w/ photos

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How Coughs & Sneezes Float Much Farther Than You Think

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“When you cough or sneeze, you see the droplets, or feel them if someone sneezes on you,’ says John Bush, a professor of applied mathematics at MIT, and co-author of a new paper on the subject. “But you don’t see the cloud, the invisible gas phase. The influence of this gas cloud is to extend the range of the individual droplets, particularly the small ones.’ Indeed, the study finds, the smaller droplets that emerge in a cough or sneeze may travel five to 200 times further than they would if those droplets simply moved as groups of unconnected particles — which is what previous estimates had assumed.” w/ photos

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