By Stephanie WarrenPosted 05.24.2012 at 10:08 am 4 Comments
The problem: Although scientists have been studying deep-sea animals since the 1860s, they still don't know much about them. That's in large part because the fish, octopuses and other creatures that thrive at the bottom of the ocean die quickly at the surface. In some cases, the lower pressure and higher temperature melt the lipids in their cell membranes. Even hardier animals, such as crabs, can survive at sea level for no more than a few weeks.
The Titanic may have struck an iceberg and sank helplessly because of a strange atmosphere-caused optical illusion, a new book argues. British historian Tim Maltin says super refraction, an extraordinary bending of light that causes mirages, prevented the Titanic’s crew from seeing the fateful iceberg.
By Nicholas Money, as told to Flora LichtmanPosted 06.06.2011 at 10:53 am 3 Comments
We know of at least 70,000 species of fungi, but we don’t know how most of them get their spores airborne. That’s what we’re trying to find out. Fungi are spectacularly mobile, especially when they’re launching spores, and that is a tremendous biomechanical feat. For microscopic things, air represents a significant obstacle.
While many MIT students busily build break-dancing robots or websites that let your pets network better at doggie daycare, PhD candidate Danielle Zurovcik has designed a $3 pump to drastically speed up the healing of countless patients in the aftermath of Haiti's recent earthquake.
You've almost certainly seen a pressure gauge somewhere: on an air compressor, a steam boiler or perhaps an automotive vacuum gauge. Have you thought much about how that gauge works? Magic? Elves? We'll rip one open to find out.
The last time I tried making beer, we were up until 3AM standing in a kitchen that looked like tornado had struck. My last wine-making attempts ended in grape-flavored vinegar. Even PopSci staff photographer John Carnett (or rather, his wife) endured a wort explosion the first time he tested his prototype DIY all-in-one brewing machine. Clearly, adult-beverage-making benefits from precise control and automation. Check out a few of my favorite electronic brewing projects after the jump.
Not only is this a beautiful demonstration of how much thrust can be generated by a fire hose, it also gives us a glimpse into what firemen might be doing while waiting around at the station when no one's looking. It's also a beautiful demonstration of the principles of rocket propulsion, Newton's third law, and the law of conservation of momentum.
First, let's calculate the approximate thrust generated by each fire hose. Because the hoses are able to accelerate the compact car off of the ground, the combined maximum thrust of the ten hoses must be somewhat greater than the weight of the car. Assuming that the car is on the lighter side -- say 2,000 pounds or so -- then each hose produces a thrust of at least 200 pounds. No wonder firemen have to brace themselves solidly in place when operating one of these babies.
We are proud to introduce today the first installment of our newest regular feature,Kitchen Alchemy. In it, H. Alexander Talbot and Aki Kamozawa, a husband-and-wife cooking duo and authors of the constantly fascinating Ideas in Food blog, will take us through the myriad intersections of food and science; and as an added bonus, each column will also feature an innovative and, needless to say, delicious recipe for putting said science into action. Enjoy. —Eds.
Pressure cookers are among our favorite culinary gadgets. We like them for things as simple as perfectly steamed beets and as playful as caramelized yogurt. And the days of screeching, squealing pressure cookers, shuddering on your range top and conjuring fears of explosions, are on the wane. Today we have quiet, efficient appliances that are used in both professional and home kitchens. Now you can buy electric pressure cookers, which shorten cooking times, are easy to clean and make a minimal amount of noise.