Water flows on Mars

September 29, 2015

Beginning in 2011, scientists using the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)—the best camera looking down on Mars—found hundreds of streaks, about 5 meters wide, that appear seasonally on steep slopes. They show up during the warm season, grow hundreds of meters long, and then fade as winter approaches. For many years, the team made the obvious interpretation: the streaks meant that water was flowing. Salts were expected to be present in the water, because they lower the freezing point of water by tens of degrees, and they also make the water less likely to evaporate in Mars’s barely-there atmosphere. But until the researchers directly detected a signature for water in the streaks, or found evidence for salts precipitating out of the water, they were unwilling to declare the case solved.

Now, they have found evidence for those salts, using a different instrument on the MRO. And this suggests that water is flowing on Mars!

Salty water on Mars

Learn more, here, here, here, here, here, here or here.

Don’t sleep and you’ll catch a cold

September 2, 2015

Mums and sleep researchers alike have stressed the importance of solid shuteye for years, especially when it comes to fighting off the common cold. Their stance is a sensible one—skimping on sleep weakens the body’s natural defense system, leaving it more vulnerable to viruses. But the connection relied largely on self-reported, subjective surveys—until now. For the first time, a team of scientists reports that they have locked down the link experimentally, showing that sleep-deprived individuals are more than four times more likely to catch a cold than those who are well-rested.

Sleep boosts immunity

Learn more here.

Gamify your classroom

August 22, 2015

‘Blended’ and ‘flipped’ pedagogies are becoming more common features of classrooms as the technological revolution continues. While the appropriate use of technology in the learning environment can serve to motivate some students, significant problems surrounding student motivation and engagement can remain. As such the gamification of the learning process is increasing.

If you would like to gamify your classroom the following book give a basic overview for all teachers.

Gamifying the Classroom Cover

If you are a Science teacher you could start right away with a unit on Cells in year 8, or jump in the deep end and gamify the entire year 9 Science course using the following resources:

Yr8 Cells Gamified Cover

Yr9 SciGame Cover

Game on !!!

The physics behind this crazy basketball trick

July 18, 2015

Let’s play a little game called “What happens when you drop a basketball off the top of a 126.5-metre dam?” The answer’s pretty obvious: it’s going to fall, right? But what happens if you give it a little backspin before you let go? Well, that’s a whole different story, as you can see …

Learn more here.

Four perfect circles – really!

July 12, 2015

I really like optical illusions.

And this picture of four perfectly round circles is no exception. Our mind does like to play tricks on us!

Four circles

This is NOT a snake

June 23, 2015

Imagine that you’re a hungry predator foraging through the forest, hot on the trail of a juicy insect for your next meal. Deep in the forest, you pull back a leaf, and this creature starts wagging violently at you, sending you running for the hills:

Dynastor-darius pupa

The joke’s on you, because this frightening creature is most definitely NOT a snake. It’s actually a pupa (not a caterpillar, not yet a butterfly), ensconced in its chrysalis as it undergoes its remarkable transformation.

Dynastor darius is obviously a master of disguise, but it has more tricks up its sleeve besides its scary exterior … the pupa is still aware of the world outside of its chrysalis, and can shake from side to side (like a moving snake) to fend off the predator that wasn’t sufficiently spooked by its exterior. Learn more here.

Rabbit vs Snake

June 23, 2015

In the tradition of ‘Killer Whale vs Seal‘, ‘Lion vs Buffalo vs Crocodile‘, ‘Shark vs Octopus‘, ’Leopard vs Porcupine‘, ‘Hornets vs Honey bees‘, ’Salmon vs Grizzly Bear‘, ‘Hippopotamus vs Crocodile’, ‘Polar Bear vs Walrus Colony’, ‘Giraffe vs Giraffe‘, ‘Caterpillar vs Frog‘, ‘Frog vs Poison Newt’, ‘Rubber bands vs Water Melon’,  ‘Sarcastic fringehead vs Sarcastic fringehead’, ‘Jaguar vs Crocodile‘, ‘Snake vs Crocodile‘, ‘Centipede vs Snake‘, and ‘Moray Eel vs White Tip Reef Shark‘ here is ‘Rabbit vs Snake:

This mother bunny sees a snake trying to make a meal of her baby bunny, see what happens …

Best Illusion of the Year for 2015 Announced

June 18, 2015

I really like optical illusions.

The illusion above is called Splitting Colors. You can read an explanation of it here. It was crowned the winner of the annual Best Illusion of the Year Contest for 2015. Coming in second was Ambiguous Garage Roof.

Do we see reality as it is?

June 14, 2015

Cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman is trying to answer a big question: Do we experience the world as it really is … or as we need it to be?

Bacteria on a Handprint

June 9, 2015

Bacteria can be found virtually everywhere. They are in the air, the soil, and water, and in and on plants and animals, including us. In fact they cover your skin and you have literally trillions and trillions of bacteria in your gut.

To illustrate how much bacteria can be found on your hands after playing outside check out this hand print of bacteria which grew into this lovely formation a vibrant array of colors and shapes.

Bacteria on a Handprint


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 586 other followers