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Tag Archives: Science

Name That Space Rock

Name-That-Space-Rock

With the news that a meteor caused around 1,000 injuries in Russia last Friday and in an extremely rare occurrence, the planet dodged a near-miss from a much larger rock on the very same day, everyone’s lips are on the topic of space rocks. So, is it an asteroid? A meteor? A meteorite? It turns out that words have precise meanings, and the above diagram should help you get your facts straight so you can pedantically correct your friends.

VIA [ LikeCool ]

Own A Tiny Speck Of Mars

f39a_rock_from_mars

There are a few ways you could get your hands on Martian soil. Wait until we develop space travel enough to bring back samples, then steal those, for one. Or wait until we develop it even further and become the first Martian tourist. But let’s face it, that’s not happening anytime soon. Until then, it turns out there’s already some Martian rock right here one Earth, and you can buy some. How? Like this: when a meteorite hits the red planet, a lot of rock is ejected into the atmosphere. A small amount escapes the planet’s gravitational pull and an even smaller amount still ends up as a meteorite right here on Earth. Martian soil, right here on our blue pebble. The specimen you see above is Martian shergottite, NWA 4930, recovered in the Sahara desert. It’s been examined and certified to come from the same place where the Curiosity rover is currently digging some holes. $25 will buy you… a 2mg speck. But hey, how much do you actually need?

It’s packaged in a protective shell with a card describing its history, and is being sold by ThinkGeek, so we don’t doubt its authenticity.

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House Of The Rising Sun Played On A Pair Of Tesla Coils

I’m home, bored on a Saturday evening, so here’s an oldie but goodie for those of you doing the same and stumbling upon a rare weekend OhGizmo! post in your Interweb meanderings. It’s The Animals’ House Of The Rising Sun played on a pair of Tesla coils. Yes, there’s sparks galore and yes it’s as awesome as it sounds.

As the YouTube comment says: “Dude. Science and sh#t.”

Enjoy.

What Sound Does A Red Hot Ball Of Nickel Being Dropped Into Water Make?

Haven’t you always wondered that? No? Neither have we, but now that we know, we can assure you it’s nothing like what we would have imagined.

Watch.

VIA [ Geekologie ]

Ate Too Much? No Worries, Just Use This Machine to Pump 30% of the Food Out

Stomach Pump

The AspireAssist Aspiration Therapy System, shown above, is basically a ‘feeding tube in reverse.’ Instead of pumping food in, it pumps food out. It was created with a pretty good purpose, although I can’t help but feel that this might end up being misused by people who put too much weight on their, well, weight.

Anyway, the food-reversal pump was developed by Segway inventor Dean Kamen and a team of doctors who wanted to help people struggling with over-eating. What it does is pump out 30% of the person’s stomach contents twenty minutes after they eat so that all those extra calories won’t be digested. Sounds cool and all, but the big catch? The ‘installation’ and usage of the system involves creating a hole in your belly where the food is supposed to pass out. Doesn’t sound very appealing now, does it?

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Larry the Robot Vomits So Researchers Can Study What Happens When Sick Humans Do

Everyone, meet Larry, the robot that vomits so researchers can study what happens when real humans do. It sounds like a funny and improbably story, but it’s true, and it has everything to do with noroviruses. In a nutshell, noroviruses are responsible for inducing fits of nausea, abdominal pain, and forceful (and sometimes projectile) vomiting.

Scientists from a British lab needed to come up with a way to study how other people got infected with the virus after standing in proximity to a vomiting norovirus sufferer. Their solution was Larry, which can spew projectile vomit up to ten feet. It sounds pretty gross, but hey, it’s all in the name of science!

VIA [ Dvice ]

Mind Blown: New Species Of Spider Builds A Decoy Of Itself

If you were a spider, with a tiny brain, would you know what you look like? In “damn this is scary” news, a scientist has discovered a potential new species of spider in Peru that creates a decoy of itself, places it on its web, and even wiggles its legs around to make it look alive. Best of all: it’s got eight legs, as spiders should. It’s an anatomically reproduction of itself, one which is made from dead insects, debris and leaves. Discovered by biologist and science educator Phil Torres in the Peruvian amazon, it is thought that the spider could belong to the genus of spiders called Cyclosa. These have been observed in the past building similar decoys, but none that are anatomically correct and certainly none that shake the web to mimic movement. It’s believed they make them to confuse and perhaps scare away their prey. Certainly in this new case, the decoy was much larger than the spider that built it, perhaps with the goal of making prey think that the spider that lives there is larger than it really is.

Torres, fascinated by the find, contacted “arachnologist Linda Rayor of Cornell University who confirmed the find was unusual.” Final confirmation of whether this is a completely new species, or just new previously-unreported behavior from Cyclosa, will require close anatomical observation. Since Torres didn’t have the required permits to take a sample, this will have to wait until January, when he plans to return.

[ Wired ] VIA [ Geekosystem ]

Educational Video: Guy Makes Translucent Rocket So You Can See What Goes On Inside

Being geeks doesn’t mean we only care about gadgets. Yeah, we’re called OhGizmo!, but if you haven’t noticed, we’re adjusting our editorial focus to encompass more than consumer electronics; geek culture and esoteric products are also fair game. So is science! And so are awesome videos like the one above. It’s a really interesting video made by one Ben Krasnow featuring a home-made acrylic hybrid “rocket” that lets you see what goes on inside as the gases burn. In the 5 minutes the video takes, you’ll discover that the device doesn’t actually contain any fuel: the structure of the rocket is itself the propellant.

It’s cool to watch. At least we thought so.

VIA [ Geekosystem ]

Pharmaceutical Researchers Use Levitation To Develop Better Drugs

Watch the video.

OMGWTF!! Amirite?

But maybe you’re wondering what’s going on. Well, it seems researchers at the Argonne National Laboratory outside Chicago are looking into ways of developing more efficient drugs. Specifically, they want to make more precisely calibrated drugs that would still deliver their therapeutic benefits while requiring less of the drug being taken. As part of this process, they have to evaporate the solvent that contains the active molecules while avoiding these taking up a crystalline form, as this yields a less efficient product. But if they mix the ingredients in a regular vessel (like a beaker), crystals are much more likely to form during the evaporation process (think of snowflake crystals forming only around dust particles). So they turned to “to an acoustic levitator, a piece of equipment originally developed for NASA to simulate microgravity conditions.”

Two small speakers to generate sound waves at frequencies slightly above the audible range – roughly 22 kilohertz. When the top and bottom speakers are precisely aligned, they create two sets of sound waves that perfectly interfere with each other, setting up a phenomenon known as a standing wave.

At certain points along a standing wave, known as nodes, there is no net transfer of energy at all. Because the acoustic pressure from the sound waves is sufficient to cancel the effect of gravity, light objects are able to levitate when placed at the nodes.

Crystals form when touching a surface? No problem: let’s get rid of the surface! Clearly you can only do this to small amounts at a time, so it’s more of an analytical tool than one intended to be used in mass production.

[ Full Article With Details ] VIA [ GeeksAreSexy ]