10 Mysterious Phenomena That Science Can’t Explain — Aliens, Yawning and Spooky Rocks

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Science can explain a lot of things — why women need more sleep; why waist trainers are bullshit; why you should be sleeping naked; why certain foods can make you better in bed. But it can’t explain everything. There are a number of commonplace phenomena that continue to stump scientists.


10 Mysterious Phenomena That Science Can't Explain — Aliens, Yawning and Spooky Rocks

                                                 Why do we Yawn?                   Image Credit: AP



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Seven Simple Ways We Know Einstein Was Right (For Now)

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For 100 years, Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity has survived just about every test that physicists have thrown at it. Announced in November 1915, the famous scientist’s field equations expanded on Isaac Newton’s long-standing laws by re-imagining gravity as a warping in the fabric of space and time, rather than a simple force between objects.

The results of using general relativity equations actually look similar to what you get using Newton’s math, as long as the masses involved aren’t too large and the velocities are relatively small compared to the speed of light. But the concept was a revolution for physics.

Warped space-time means that light itself is affected by gravity much more strongly than Newton predicted. It also means that planets move around their orbits in a slightly altered but very significant way, and it predicts the existence of exotic objects such as monster black holes and wormholes.



These galaxies are smiling at you thanks to general relativity. (NASA/ESA)


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Neil deGrasse Tyson: I Loved ‘Gravity’ But Here’s What The Movie Got Wrong

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~~~~BusinessInsider1 Science

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When “Gravity” hit theaters last fall, Neil deGrasse Tyson paid special attention to the Oscar-nominated film. The blockbuster, afterall, is set in space.

Upon viewing “Gravity,” though, Neil deGrasse Tyson tweeted up a storm critiquing the movie’s mysteries and inaccuracies. Tyson elaborates more on the inaccuracies of “Gravity” and explains how, despite his Twitter barrage, he actually “enjoyed the movie immensely.”

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Space-Time Curvature Simulated On Microchip For First Time Ever




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It took two major expeditions charting the solar eclipse of 1919 to verify Albert Einstein’s weird prediction about gravity — that it distorts the path of light waves around stars and other astronomical bodies, distorting objects in the background. Now, researchers have created the first precise analogue of that effect on a microchip.

Any large mass distorts the geometry of space around it, for instance making parallel light rays diverge or converge. One consequence, described by Einstein’s general theory of relativity, is that objects behind a body such as the Sun may look magnified or distorted as the optical path of light goes through the region of warped space.

Metamaterials scientist Hui Liu of Nanjing University in China and his colleagues mimicked this ‘gravitational lensing’ — which affects light in the vacuum of space — by making light travel through solid materials instead. Different transparent media have different indexes of refraction, causing light to bend. One example is at the interface between water and air, a familiar effect that makes a pencil look broken when it is half-dipped in water. But if a medium has an index of refraction that varies gradually rather than abruptly, it will make the the paths of light rays curve as they travel through it.

space time

The warping of the empty space around a massive star means that the shortest path of light around a star is a ‘curved’ one — but the bending of light rays in a medium can mimic the same effect. | Nature Photonics
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Gravity Waves, Predicted By Einstein’s General Relativity Theory, May Soon Be Detected




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In the next five years or so, scientists are poised to discover proof that space and time can wrinkle in the form of gravitational waves. These waves were predicted almost 100 years ago by Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity, but have yet to be seen.

That could change soon when the latest, most sensitive experiments hunting gravitational waves come online. “There’s so much activity and excitement in the field right now,” said Mansi M. Kasliwal, an astronomer at the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Pasadena, Calif. “The momentum is really building.”

Kasliwal is the author of a paper published online today (May 2) in the journal Science describing the burgeoning field of gravitational wave studies.


Gravity Waves

3D visualization of gravitational waves produced by two orbiting black holes.


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Star-Shaped Gravity Waves Discovered By Physicists In France

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Star-shaped waves can form in vibrating tanks of liquid oil, researchers say.

Learning more about such bizarre waves could shed light on counterparts that may exist elsewhere in nature, researchers added.

Waves of all kinds often behave in an intuitively linear manner. For instance, a weight on a spring will bob up and down in a manner directly proportional to the force that the weight exerts on the spring.

However, a number of strange waves can also form. They come from what is called nonlinearity, in which a small or simple change results in a disproportionately large or complex effect. For instance, aspects of weather behave chaotically, in a nonlinear manner.


Gravity Waves

Researchers have discovered a new type of gravity wave, one that is shaped like a star. Such bizarre waves result from a property called nonlinearity, in which a small or simple change results in a disproportionately large or complex effect. For instance, aspects of weather behave chaotically, in a nonlinear manner.


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Alt-week 12.29.12: the speed of gravity, disease-smelling dogs and catching asteroids

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2012, we salute you. All in all, you’ve been a pretty good year. There’s been highs, lows, and lots of inbetweens. Above all else, though, you’ve been generous in the alternative arena. Whether it’s the discovery of certain particles, or activities in space, 2012 had it covered. What better way to finish it off, then, with a disease smelling dog, a plan to catch an asteroid and a growable hangover cure. This is alt-week.




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