Aug 17,2007 00:00
Science is what you know. Philosophy is what you don't know.
- English philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)
Like "a Toyota" or "Civic," I'm just as good in reverse. What am I?
BRAIN SWEAT ANSWER
SATURN TURNS 60
Not years, but moons. A powerful wide-angle camera aboard the orbiting Cassini spacecraft snapped a picture revealing a 60th moon around the ringed planet in May.
The spacecraft wasn't actually looking for new moons, but rather making sure its path was clear. "Knowing where the moons are at all times is important," said Carl Murray, a Cassini imaging scientist at the University of London. First, keeping track of the moons allows the spacecraft to avoid running into one. Second, each discovery helps provide a better understanding of how Saturn's ring system and its billions upon billions of parts work together. Third, the new moon offers another possible venue for future experiments.
The new moon is about 1.2 miles wide and consists mostly of ice and rock. Its current working name is "Frank." It is the fifth moon discovered by Cassini and its imaging team.
Why is it so hard to remember how to spell mnemonic?
OUR IG NOBEL HISTORY
If you've ever showered behind a curtain, you have probably noticed that it tends to billow inward - an odd and annoying phenomenon. In 2001, David Schmidt, a professor of engineering at the University of Massachusetts, provided what remains the most comprehensive analysis ever done on the subject.
Actually, it might be the only analysis ever done on the subject.
Without going into too much detail about multiphase flows and the Bernoulli Principle, Schmidt determined that the water spray from a shower head creates a vortex of air, much like the center of a cyclone. The vortex is a low-pressure region that pulls surrounding air - and shower curtains - into it.
For his work, Schmidt received the 2001 Ig Nobel Prize for physics.
Home, home on the range, where the deer but not the antelope play.
Contrary to the song, there are no antelope in North America. The so-called "pronghorn antelope" is not a true antelope, but rather the last surviving member of the family Antilocapridae, which evolved exclusively in North America.
True antelope, which are indigenous to Africa and Asia, belong to the family Bovidae. Males have unbranched horns. Pronghorn males have branched horns.
SURELY YOU'RE JOKING
Two students were talking after their physics class. Said one to the other, "Photons have mass? I didn't even know they were Catholic."
WHAT IS IT? ANSWERA scanning electron microscope image of normal circulating human blood, which includes a diverse assemblage of cells: red blood cells (dimpled), several kinds of white blood cells (lymphocytes, a monocyte and a neutrophil) and many small disc-shaped platelets.