Mixing Aluminum and Mercury is crazy

August 31, 2017

Check it out, it’s really cool …

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Amazing Examples of Animal Camouflage

June 21, 2017

Camouflage is really cool!

Check out these great examples of animal camouflage

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More here.

Year 8 Chemistry is available

June 20, 2017

My latest book, Year 8 Chemistry, is now available for free download for Mac, iPad or iPhone.

Yr8 Chemistry Cover sml

Check it out here.

See more books here.

Kepler finds 219 new exoplanets and 10 are rocky and Earth-like

June 20, 2017

The galaxy is full of worlds like ours. That’s the lesson from Kepler, NASA’s prodigious exoplanet-hunting mission, which has found another 219 potential new exoplanets, bringing its total to 4034, according to a final analysis of its main 4-year search and published in a final catalog released today. Of the new candidates, 10 are near in size to Earth and sit in the habitable zone of their stars—the range of orbits in which liquid water could exist on their surfaces. Those new additions bring the total number of potentially habitable planets detected by Kepler to 49.

And that’s just in the corner of the sky that Kepler stared at.

Kepler telescope catalog.jpg

Learn more here or here.

Seeing the Invisible

June 18, 2017

This is what the world would look like if you could see invisible air currents, temperature gradients, and differences in pressure or composition of the air.

Could a caterpillar help solve the world’s plastic bag problem?

April 26, 2017

The global plastic bag crisis could be solved by a waxworm (Galleria mellonella) capable of eating through the material at “uniquely high speeds”.

Researchers have described the tiny caterpillar’s ability to break down even the toughest plastics as “extremely exciting” and said the discovery could offer an environmentally friendly solution on an industrial scale.

Around a trillion plastic bags are used worldwide each year, of which a huge number find their way into the oceans or are discarded into landfill.

Galleria mellonella eats plastic bag.jpg

The waxworm, commonly found living in bee hives or harvested as fishing bait, proved it could eat its way through polyethylene, which is notoriously hard to break down, more than 1400 times faster than other organisms.

Scientists believe the worm has enzymes in its saliva or gut that attack plastic’s chemical bonds, in the same way they digest the wax found in hives.

Learn more here, here or here.

Amazing Cell Division Time Lapse

March 25, 2017

If you’ve ever wondered what cell division actually looks like, this incredible time-lapse gives you the best view I’ve ever seen, showing a real-life tadpole egg dividing from four cells into several million in the space of just 20 seconds.

Of course, that’s lightening speed compared to how long it actually takes, the time-lapse has sped up 33 hours of painstaking division into mere seconds for our viewing pleasure.

The species you see developing here is Rana temporariathe common frog, which lays 1,000 to 2,000 eggs at a time in shallow, fresh water ponds.

Did you know, in 2028…

March 15, 2017

What will the world of 2028 look like?

Size Comparison of everything we know

March 13, 2017

I like videos showing how big things can get.

This one is pretty interesting too …

Seven Alien ‘Earths’ Found Orbiting Nearby Star

February 23, 2017

Astronomers announced today the discovery of an extraordinary planetary system: seven Earth-sized planets that could all have liquid water on their rocky surfaces. The planets circle a tiny, dim, nearby star in tight orbits all less than 2 weeks long.

TRAPPIST-1 system.jpg

Although it isn’t possible today to say whether the planets harbor life, astronomers are excited because each planet’s orbit passes in front of—or “transits”—its parent star. What’s more, the system’s proximity to Earth means that answers to questions about whether the system is habitable may come in just a few years’ time with the launch of a powerful new space telescope.

The planets, which circle a star called TRAPPIST-1 just 39 light-years away, are tucked together so tightly that they routinely spangle each others’ skies, sometimes appearing as shimmering crescents and at other times as orbs nearly twice as large as the full moon.

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