Welcome to the Thursday, 27 December 2018, edition of “Hawaii Science Digest”–a Hawaii-based blog focusing on science, technology, medicine, health, cyber security, the environment, and artificial intelligence (AI). Views expressed in this post are those of the reporters and correspondents.
Today’s top science and technology news stories come from “Discover Magazine”. Here are the details:
Accessed on 27 December 2018, 1726 UTC.
Please click link or scroll down to read your selections.
LATEST BLOG POSTS
Figuring Out How Plants Grow in Space is Vital for Future Missions
Will future astronauts be able to snack on fresh space-grown produce? New research is advancing the study of plant growth in space, which may one day support humans living and growing their own food in space or on the surface of Mars.
Researchers at the University of Florida Space Plants Lab are analyzing tissue taken from plants that have spent their entire lives growing in the microgravity environment aboard the International Space Station. It’s revealing that plants can in …
Faint Starlight in New Hubble Images Lets Astronomers ‘See’ Dark Matter
Two astronomers have devised a method that lets them “see” dark matter with the light from rogue stars. The pair has shown how images of faint starlight taken with the Hubble Space Telescope can be used to map dark matter’s distribution in galaxy clusters. The novel technique could ultimately help explore the nature of dark matter.
Dark matter remains one of the great mysteries of modern science. A theoretical form of matter, dark matter is thought to make up about 85 percent of a …
Seen from space: the volcanic eruption that likely triggered Indonesia’s devastating tsunami
In Indonesia, they call it “Anak Krakatoa, meaning “child of Krakatoa.”
It’s a volcano that rose from the sea in the 1920s decades after one of the most deadly volcanic cataclysms in recorded history killed tens of thousands of people and all but obliterated the island of Krakatoa, east of Java.
Now, Anak Krakatau has itself brought great misery to Indonesia, with an eruption that apparently triggered an underwater landslide, which in turn sent a tsunami racing toward the wester …
50 Years Later, Still Processing Apollo 8’s Message of Hope and Desolation
Some two billion years ago, the first photosynthetic algae evolved the ability to respond to light—the brilliant Sun by day, the spectral Moon by night. Around 700 million years ago, primitive eye-pits appeared; then, during the Cambrian era, arthropod-like creatures gazed at the sky through true eyes, sensing the lunar rising and setting with their arthropod-like comprehension. So it continued, into the succeeding chapters of life featuring mammals, primates, hominins, and Homo sapiens, t …
Beyond Earthrise: Other Views from Apollo 8
“Earthrise” was taken 50 years ago this Christmas, and it’s one of the most — if not the most — iconic images of the 20th century. It’s the image that gave us the idea that we went to the Moon and discovered the Earth. But there are so many other firsts that Apollo 8 brought us, so I thought we ought to take a minute to look at some of the less celebrated but still absolutely incredible images from Apollo 8.
But First, Who Took That Iconic Apollo 8 Earth …
New Vent Erupts Lava and Ash on Italy’s Etna
A new vent opened today on Etna in Sicily with lava flows and an ash plume from the new vent near the Southeast Crater. The eruption started after over 100 earthquakes up to M4 rattled the volcano on December 24. People (mostly skiers) on the volcano were evacuated as the eruption began. The ash plume from the eruption prompted the airspace around Catania to close as well. From the look of the ash plume, some is being produced by the eruption but part of the plume may be coming from the inte …
Surprise Tsunami Hits Indonesia, Killing Hundreds
For the second time this year, an unexpected tsunami hit the coast of Indonesia resulting in hundreds of deaths. This tsunami may have been generated by an eruption of Anak Krakatau in the Sunda Strait, with Indonesian officials speculating that an eruption that occurred late last night may have triggered undersea landslides. So far, at least 220 people are known to have died , over 800 were injured and multitudes are missing. Many of the deaths were in Pandelang, located at the end of bays …
Do You Believe in Eye-Beams?
Do you believe that people’s eyes emit an invisible beam of force?
According to a rather fun paper in PNAS, you probably do, on some level, believe that. The paper is called Implicit model of other people’s visual attention as an invisible, force-carrying beam projecting from the eyes.
To show that people unconsciously believe in eye-beams, psychologists Arvid Guterstam et al. had 157 MTurk volunteers perform a computer task in which they had to judge the angle at which paper tubes w …
Shrinking Planets May Explain Why Hot Super-earths Exist
Astronomers have discovered a bizarre, Neptune-sized exoplanet located less than 100 light-years from Earth that’s shedding its atmosphere so quickly it may help researchers finally answer the long-standing question: Where did all the hot Neptunes go?
According to the new research, published December 13 in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics, the shrinking world, named GJ 3470b, is rapidly losing its atmosphere as it’s bombarded by a steady stream of energetic charged particles from …
CITIZEN SCIENCE SALON
LingoBoingo: Play Games, Make the World Smarter
Who doesn’t like playing games? What if you could play fun games online and in the process make the world a smarter place? That’s the idea behind LingoBoingo.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Linguistic Data Consortium and department of Computer and Information Science, the University of Essex, Queen Mary University of London, the Université de Montpellier, and the Sorbonne have teamed up to bring together a group of online games that contribute to research in langu …