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Submission + - Email stokes rumor that gravitational waves have been spotted (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: t's just a rumor, but if specificity is any measure of credibility, it might just be right. For weeks, gossip has spread around the Internet that researchers with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) have spotted gravitational waves—ripples in space itself set off by violent astrophysical events. In particular, rumor has it that LIGO physicists have seen two black holes spiraling into each other and merging. But now, an email message that ended up on Twitter adds some specific numbers to those rumors. The author says he got the details from people who have seen the manuscript of the LIGO paper that will describe the discovery.

Comment Re:Background (Score 1, Informative) 313

I'm desperately fucking sick of hearing how the minimum wage is supposed to be for kids, etc.

“No business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country.” -FDR 1933 statement on the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA)

“Do not let any calamity-howling executive with an income of $1,000.00 a day, who has been turning his employees over to the Government relief rolls in order to preserve his company’s undistributed reserves, tell you — using his stockholders’ money to pay the postage for his personal opinions — tell you that a wage of $11.00 a week is going to have a disastrous effect on all American industry.” -FDR 1938 Fireside Chat explaining support for minimum wage and Fair Labor Standards Act.

The '33 statement on NIRA is actually pretty good. http://docs.fdrlibrary.marist....

Comment Re:More likely to be used by drones than post offi (Score 1) 393

But OMG, it is so much easier for everyone to learn the new three words system in all the different languages than for me to learn a handful of numbers.

Yes, you understand. It isn't about you remembering your own address. Certainly easier to remember 3 words someone tells you than it is to remember lat/lon.

Submission + - The Weak Force does more than just cause radioactive decays

StartsWithABang writes: There are four known fundamental forces: gravitation, electromagnetism, the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force. But while we often speak of gravitation as an attractive force between masses (or anything with energy), of the electric force as charged particles attracting or repelling, of quarks and gluons attracting one another and keeping nuclei bound together, we describe the weak force as “responsible for radioactive decay.” Is this right? Shouldn’t the weak force, you know, be a force? Shouldn’t there be a weak charge and attraction or repulsion based on that charge? As it turns out, there ought to be one, but due to the fact that it’s less than one-millionth the strength of the electromagnetic interaction, we were unable to measure it. Until 2013, that is, when we did for the first time!

Submission + - Antarctica Has Lost Enough Ice to Cause Measurable Shift in Gravity 1

An anonymous reader writes: Contrary to what we all learned in high school physics, gravity is not constant. It actually shows slight variations on different parts of the Earth's surface, and the variations correlate with the density of the material on that surface. The European Space Agency (ESA) has been measuring gravity for four years, mapping these variations and recording the changes those variations have undergone. Its data indicates "a significant decrease [in gravity] in the region of Antarctica where land ice is melting fastest". Further analysis is, of course, planned so that the whole of Antarctica can be taken into account and "the clearest picture yet of the pace of global warming" can be determined on that continent.

Submission + - Something keeps coming and going in a sea on Titan

schwit1 writes: Cassini images taken in 2007, 2013, and 2014 of one of Titan’s largest hydrocarbon seas find that a mysterious feature there keeps appearing and disappearing.

The mysterious feature, which appears bright in radar images against the dark background of the liquid sea, was first spotted during Cassini’s July 2013 Titan flyby. Previous observations showed no sign of bright features in that part of Ligeia Mare. Scientists were perplexed to find the feature had vanished when they looked again, over several months, with low-resolution radar and Cassini’s infrared imager. This led some team members to suggest it might have been a transient feature. But during Cassini’s flyby on August 21, 2014, the feature was again visible, and its appearance had changed during the 11 months since it was last seen.

Scientists on the radar team are confident that the feature is not an artifact, or flaw, in their data, which would have been one of the simplest explanations. They also do not see evidence that its appearance results from evaporation in the sea, as the overall shoreline of Ligeia Mare has not changed noticeably. The team has suggested the feature could be surface waves, rising bubbles, floating solids, solids suspended just below the surface, or perhaps something more exotic.

That the seasons are slowly changing on Titan is probably contributing to the transient nature of this feature.

Submission + - David Cameron says Brits should be taught Imperial measures (wordpress.com)

00_NOP writes: Children in the UK have been taught in metric measures in school since (at least) 1972, but yesterday British Prime Minister David Cameron suggested that they should actually be taught in Imperial measures (which are still in use officially to measure road distances and speeds but not really anywhere else). Is this because he has not got a clue about science or because he is trying to buy off his right wing fringe (who object to "metrication") or because he might be a bit stupid, Oxford degree not withstanding?

Comment Re:I WAS a regular on Coursera (Score 1) 182

I have this problem as well with not just online courses but several video "tutorials". It's been numerous times recently that I've googled for for "how do I ...." and the top results have been videos. I typically have some idea on how to do what I'm looking for, and I just need to verify some details. So now, Instead of quickly skimming a text (or even a slideset) to find the exact bits I'm looking for, I have to try to fast-forward a video to a point where it gets interesting.

google "how do i ... -video" next time.

Submission + - Lawrence Krauss: Congress is trying to defund scientists at Energy Department (thebulletin.org)

Lasrick writes: Physicist Lawrence Krauss blasts Congress for their passage of the 2015 Energy and Water Appropriations bill that cut funding for renewable energy, sustainable transportation, and energy efficiency, and even worse, had amendments that targeted scientists at the Department of Energy: He writes that this action from the US Congress is worse even than the Australian government's move to cancel their carbon tax, because the action of Congress is far more insidious: 'Each (amendment) would, in its own way, specifically prohibit scientists at the Energy Department from doing precisely what Congress should mandate them to do—namely perform the best possible scientific research to illuminate, for policymakers, the likelihood and possible consequences of climate change' Although the bill isn't likely to become law, Krauss is fed up with Congress burying its head in the sand: The fact that those amendments '...could pass a house of Congress, should concern everyone interested in the appropriate support of scientific research as a basis for sound public policy.' Amen

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