thebrainscoop:

Egg of an elephant bird (left - family Aepyornithidae) next to that of an ostrich (Struthio sp.). The elephant birds populated Madagascar and went extinct sometime in the 17th- or 18th century, most likely due to human impact. The egg in the Field’s collection is one of very few intact specimens in the world. One could make an omelette out of an egg this size that would feed about 120 people, which may have also contributed to that extinction.

I wonder how much that egg weighs?

thebrainscoop:

Egg of an elephant bird (left - family Aepyornithidae) next to that of an ostrich (Struthio sp.). The elephant birds populated Madagascar and went extinct sometime in the 17th- or 18th century, most likely due to human impact. The egg in the Field’s collection is one of very few intact specimens in the world. One could make an omelette out of an egg this size that would feed about 120 people, which may have also contributed to that extinction.

I wonder how much that egg weighs?

teded:

Scientists believe dark energy makes up about 68% of the universe and dark matter about 27%. That leaves just 5% for us and everything we can actually see. 
But what’s the dark stuff made of?
From the TED-Ed Lesson Dark matter: The matter we can’t see - James Gillies
Animation by TED-Ed

teded:

Scientists believe dark energy makes up about 68% of the universe and dark matter about 27%. That leaves just 5% for us and everything we can actually see.

But what’s the dark stuff made of?

From the TED-Ed Lesson Dark matter: The matter we can’t see - James Gillies

Animation by TED-Ed

“Ira Glass … has said that “the power of anecdote is so great that it has a momentum in and of itself.” He contends, “no matter how boring the facts are,” with a well-told story, “you feel inherently as if you are on a train that has a destination.””

hq76o261984:

collingsruth:

Toronto Public Library’s Return on Investment Study

Key Findings:

  • The total economic impact of the Toronto Public Library on the city of Toronto is $1 billion.
  • For every dollar invested in Toronto Public Library, Torontonians receive $5.63 of value.
  • For those who use the library, the average value of services accessed is as much as $500.
  • On average, one open hour at any one of the library’s 98 branches generates $2,515 in benefits for the city of Toronto. The average cost of one open hour is $653, so the average benefit is almost 4 times the average cost.
  • Beyond tangible benefits outlined in the report, the library delivers value to Toronto’s communities and residents in ways that are not easily quantifiable but nonetheless support Toronto’s economy, increase its competitiveness and prosperity and contribute to the city’s livability and quality of life.

An infographic on today’s exciting announcement of the value of the Toronto Public Library to the city’s economy. This research was conducted by the Martin Prosperity Institute, and their full report titled "So Much More: The Economic Impact of the Toronto Public Library on the City of Toronto" can be read here.

1ucasvb:

The ballistic ellipse
This is something I found when I was playing around with ballistic trajectories. I wondered what shape you would get if you connected all the apex points of all trajectories, if you only changed the angle and kept the same initial speed.
Surprisingly, you get an ellipse!
EDIT: Also, here it is in 3D! Naturally, you get an ellipsoid.
The equation for the ellipse is:
x2 / a2 + (y - b)2 / b2 = 1
Where a = v02 / (2g) and b = v02 / (4g). Naturally, v0 is the initial speed and g is the acceleration due to gravity.
In another curiosity, the eccentricity of this ellipse is constant for all values of v0 and g, and this value is e = √3 / 2.
Obviously, I wasn’t the first to find this. A quick search revealed a paper on arXiv from 2004 describing this. Still, it’s a nice little-known curiosity of a classical physics problem.
Bonus points: for which angles does the trajectory contain the foci of the ellipse?

1ucasvb:

The ballistic ellipse

This is something I found when I was playing around with ballistic trajectories. I wondered what shape you would get if you connected all the apex points of all trajectories, if you only changed the angle and kept the same initial speed.

Surprisingly, you get an ellipse!

EDIT: Also, here it is in 3D! Naturally, you get an ellipsoid.

The equation for the ellipse is:

x2 / a2 + (y - b)2 / b2 = 1

Where a = v02 / (2g) and b = v02 / (4g). Naturally, v0 is the initial speed and g is the acceleration due to gravity.

In another curiosity, the eccentricity of this ellipse is constant for all values of v0 and g, and this value is e = √3 / 2.

Obviously, I wasn’t the first to find this. A quick search revealed a paper on arXiv from 2004 describing this. Still, it’s a nice little-known curiosity of a classical physics problem.

Bonus points: for which angles does the trajectory contain the foci of the ellipse?

crookedindifference:

Happy Birthday Carl Sagan

Carl Edward Sagan (November 9, 1934 – December 20, 1996) was an American astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, science popularizer and science communicator in astronomy and natural sciences. He spent most of his career as a professor of astronomy at Cornell University where he directed the Laboratory for Planetary Studies. He published more than 600 scientific papers and articles and was author, co-author or editor of more than 20 books. He advocated scientific skeptical inquiry and the scientific method, pioneered exobiology and promoted the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI).

We embarked on our journey to the stars with a question first framed in the childhood of our species and in each generation asked anew with undiminished wonder: What are the stars? Exploration is in our nature. We began as wanderers, and we are wanderers still. We have lingered long enough on the shores of the cosmic ocean. We are ready at last to set sail for the stars. -Cosmos

Those worlds in space are as countless as all the grains of sand on all the beaches of the earth. Each of those worlds is as real as ours and every one of them is a succession of incidents, events, occurrences which influence its future. Countless worlds, numberless moments, an immensity of space and time. And our small planet at this moment, here we face a critical branch point in history, what we do with our world, right now, will propagate down through the centuries and powerfully affect the destiny of our descendants, it is well within our power to destroy our civilization and perhaps our species as well. If we capitulate to superstition or greed or stupidity we could plunge our world into a time of darkness deeper than the time between the collapse of classical civilization and the Italian Renaissance. But we are also capable of using our compassion and our intelligence, our technology and our wealth to make an abundant and meaningful life for every inhabitant of this planet. -Journeys in Space and Time, Cosmos

We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology. -“Why We Need To Understand Science” in The Skeptical Inquirer Vol. 14, Issue 3, (Spring 1990)

Every kid starts out as a natural-born scientist, and then we beat it out of them. A few trickle through the system with their wonder and enthusiasm for science intact. -Psychology Today, (01 January 1996)

What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic. -The Persistence of Memory, Cosmos

ucresearch:

Happy Birthday Carl!


He would have been 79 today.

Carl Sagan was one of the first Miller Fellows at UC Berkeley back in 1960.  The program is designed to help young visionaries launch their careers in research. 

The GIFS above are from an animated version of Carl Sagan’s famed ‘Pale Blue Dot’ monologue.