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Submission + - Flying Jellyfish Robot (physicscentral.com)

BuzzSkyline writes: Building flying robots that mimic insects is hard, so researchers from New York University have decided to copy the propulsion of jellyfish instead. It turns out that their flying jellyfish robot is inherently stable. The prototype only weighs 2.1 grams, and lacks the lift to carry a power source, so it relies on wires to provide electricity instead. The researchers hope to increase lift in future iterations, with an eye to creating tiny, autonomous flyers that don't need additional sensors or circuitry to hover and fly stably.

Submission + - Urinal Physics Might Save Your Relationship (aps.org)

BuzzSkyline writes: A talk titled Urinal Dynamics at the upcoming American Physical Society Division of Fluid Dynamics meeting begins, "In response to harsh and repeated criticisms from our mothers and several failed relationships with women, we present the splash dynamics of a simulated human male urine stream impacting rigid and free surfaces." The researchers offer some solace for tormented males by concluding with this stream of golden sunshine, "Guided by our results, techniques for splash reduction are proposed." There are a couple more talks along the same lines in the session.

Submission + - Stand-Up Comedy at the LHC Today (physicscentral.com)

BuzzSkyline writes: Some physicists at the Large Hadron Collider are about to embark on a completely different sort of experiment. What they will discover today may rival the detection of the Higgs particle in, well, in no way whatsoever. Unlike most high energy physics experiments, you won't need countless hours on a massive computer farm to tell if the experiment is a success. You should know pretty quickly by tuning into CERN's After Dark Stand-Up Comedy Evening taking place today at 20:00 in Europe/Zurich time, (2:00 PM Eastern time).

Submission + - Atomic Age Artifacts (physicscentral.com)

BuzzSkyline writes: "For years in the 1950s and 1960s, the U.S. federal government spent millions stocking fallout shelters for the Soviet atomic attack that never came. But what exactly was the government putting in there? Physics Buzz blogger Quantum takes a look at some of the retro Geiger counters, dosimeters and radiation detectors the U.S. Office of Civil Defense sent to thousands of fallout shelters across the country."

Submission + - Higgs, Schmiggs - the LHC may have Found Physics Beyond the Standard Model (physicscentral.com) 3

BuzzSkyline writes: "Fermilab physicists claim to have discovered evidence of new physics in the same LHC data that revealed the existence of a Higgs-like boson. While the Higgs potentially fills in the final piece of the Standard Model puzzle that describes the known fundamental particles, PhysicsBuzz is reporting that papers soon to be posted to the arXiv preprint server argue that the LHC data also show that the Top Quark has a partner predicted by the powerful, but previously unproven, theory of Supersymmetry. If true, the theory may solve the mystery of dark matter, explain why gravity is so weak, and presage the discovery of a whole host of supersymmetric particles."

Submission + - Astronaut Didgeridoo (or maybe Didgeridon't) (physicscentral.com)

BuzzSkyline writes: "Astronauts Don Pettit and Dan Burbank aboard the International Space Station took some time out to cobble together a didgeridoo from the ISS vacuum cleaner hoses. Skip to 1:30 to see Pettit mangle an official ISS crew shirt to look more like an authentic didgeridoo player (or at least what he thinks one should look like)."

Submission + - Microgravity Coffee Cup (physicscentral.com)

BuzzSkyline writes: "Despite the fact that astronauts have been eating and drinking out of tubes for decades, it's actually possible to drink from an open-top cup in space. Astronaut Don Pettit recently downlinked a video that shows him slurping coffee from a cup he kludged out of plastic sheet. It appears to work pretty much like a cup on Earth, even in freefall aboard the International Space Station, thanks to capillary action."

Submission + - Water droplets in orbit on the International Space Station (physicscentral.com)

BuzzSkyline writes: "Astronaut Don Pettit, who is aboard the International Space Station (ISS) right now, put charged water droplets into wild orbits around a knitting needle in the microgravity environment of the ISS. A video he made of the droplets is the first in a serious of freefall physics experiments that he will be posting in coming months."

Submission + - Fine structure constant may not be so constant (physicscentral.com)

BuzzSkyline writes: "Physics Buzz is reporting, "Just weeks after speeding neutrinos seem to have broken the speed of light, another universal law, the fine structure constant might be about to crumble." Astronomical observations seem to indicate that the constant, which controls the strength of electromagnetic interactions, is different in distant parts of the universe. Among other things, the paper may explain why the laws of physics in our corner of the universe seem to be finely tuned to support life. The research is so controversial that it took over a year to go from submission to publication in Physical Review Letters, rather than the weeks typical of most other papers appearing in the peer-reviewed journal."

Submission + - Powerful magnets could prevent heart attacks (physicscentral.com)

BuzzSkyline writes: "A few minutes in a high magnetic field (1.3 Tesla) is enough to thin blood by 30%, potentially leading to a new drug-free therapy to prevent heart attacks. The powerful field causes blood cells to line up in chains that flow much more easily than randomly-scattered individual cells, according to research scheduled to appear this month in the journal Physical Review E."

Submission + - Breaking into the Supercollider (physicscentral.com)

BuzzSkyline writes: "A group of physicists went AWOL from the American Physical Society conference in Dallas this week to explore the ruins of the nearby Superconducting Super Collider. The SSC was to be the world's largest and most ambitious physics experiment. It would have been bigger than the LHC and run at triple the energy. But the budget ran out of control and the project was scrapped in 1993."

Submission + - Walking Bacteria (physicscentral.com)

BuzzSkyline writes: Students at UCLA have made the startling discovery that some bacteria can walk on surfaces using structures called Type IV pili as legs. Previously, it was generally believed that bacteria needed to be embedded in fluids to move around significantly. The revelation helps explain the spread of biofilms, and shows why some some bacteria can be particularly dangerous. The professor overseeing the research believes that disabling or lopping off the bacteria legs may offer a novel route to fight infections caused by walking bacteria. The article describing the research has some pretty freaky video of bacteria standing up on one end and walking away.

Submission + - Scientists Find a Better Way to Pour Champagne (physicscentral.com)

BuzzSkyline writes: It's better to pour Champagne the way a good bartender draws a beer, by running it down the inside surface of the glass. The revelation, which appears in July 2010 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, flies in the face of age-old French traditions, which require the bubbly to be poured in a stream that free-falls straight down the center of a champagne flute. By using infrared thermography to image the carbon dioxide that escapes over the rim of a Champagne glass for various style pours, the researchers proved that the gentler, beer-like technique allows the wine to retain more of the dissolved gas that is critical to the whole Champagne experience.

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