Category Archives: Science

FDT

Aside from their political analysis, I really enjoy FiveThirtyEight’s other coverage.  Their roots are in statistical analysis of sports and they tend to cover a lot of obscure topics from a statistical perspective.  This article by Allison McCann is a great example of a side project, looking at the relationship between hip-hop and politics from a data perspective.

She includes some cool interactive graphics as well as a searchable database for political references in rap and hip-hop lyrics.  Plus the article showcases a pretty cool video which is easily my favourite political song of the 2016 campaign thus far.

The End of the Arctic

It’s a somewhat breathless title, but I understand why the producers chose it since we are all unwitting witnesses to the end of a lot of cultural practices and the quite sudden destruction of an ecosystem that humans have been living on for thousands of years.

I’m not going to opine on the particulars since this is a set of issues that I’m just learning more about myself.  I think it would be a good thing if a lot more Canadians in the South watched this video.  It’s put together by the guys who run the AsapSCIENCE channel, though they’ve chosen to keep this video separate from their primary content which is a general science education channel and doesn’t usually delve into political issues.

It’s essentially about climate change and how it’s already beginning to seriously impact Inuit people, which most Canadians should already be aware are one of the most marginalized and most poorly served communities in the entire country.  It has been produced in collaboration with Greenpeace, but don’t let that scare you off, if they did have a say in the production it was a very light touch and regardless of the conclusions or the call to action, the video itself helps to build more knowledge on the topic.

The short documentary is a deep background to a video featuring Bill Nye on as part of their normal science topics discussing Arctic ice melting as it relates to climate change and changes in the Arctic Ocean basin.  It’s also a good watch.

If you’re interested in signing the petition mentioned in the documentary it can be found on the Greenpeace website here.

Uranium

Check it out, I’m a huge fan of Derek Muller (the host) and anything on PBS doesn’t tend to go too far astray. I’ve read several books on Uranium and the weapons development over the past several years and as much as I’m pretty strongly opposed to the development and stockpiling of nuclear weapons there really is no escaping that it’s one of the most thrilling scientific, engineering, and espionage stories of the 20th century.

http://video.pbs.org/program/uranium-twisting-dragons-tail/

Good Night Moon

I was up late tonight and managed to get this interesting pic of the moon.  What’s fascinating is that with very minimal processing it turned out there were hundreds of stars in the background and they came out as perfect pinpoints of light.  My new-used 80-200mm f/2.8 is turning out to be a pretty amazing lens, especially for the price.

Zoom in to see the whole image, it's worth it.

This is without much effort since it’s late on a worknight, but I now know I’m going to have try to get some much better shots, perhaps outside the city later on this year.  I might even think about renting an even longer lens to see what I can do.

Writeup on the Dangers of a Nuclear Meltdown in Japan

I just came across a long writeup regarding the probability of a serious nuclear catastrophe in Japan that might be worth a read.  In my opinion we’re spending a lot of “news” cycles speculating about a situation which poses a small risk instead of focusing on the actual tragedy that has already happened.

If you want to make a donation via the Canadian Red Cross follow this link.

A Shadow of Phobos

I saw this very cool animation of the shadow of Mars‘ moon Phobos passing over a dust storm. Apparently an enterprising enthusiast combed through online archives of photos taken by the Viking 1 probe back in ’76 and found this sequence. It’s kind of cool to see that people are still finding new information this much later. If you’re an astronomy nerd like I am you’ll probably find it worth checking out!

Hubble Photo of Carbon Star

I just came across this cool photo of the binary star AFGL 3068 on Bad Astronomy.  The star is dying and is wrapped in a cloud of carbon and because it’s a binary star the cloud has formed a spiral around the star itself.  You’ve probably never seen anything quite like it and the accompanying article is also worth a read if you have any interest in astronomy.