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Our Favorite Articles This Week

Our favorite articles this week.

1. Make It Rain…On Saturn

Image via NASA/JPL

RIP Cassini-Huygens spacecraft, which spent its last moments plummeting towards Saturn on September 15, 2017. It spent its entire life in the silence of space, asking nothing and giving us everything. Even in its final moments, it taught us something about the mysteries of the universe. Scientists have recently released more of their findings from Cassini-Huygens, including evidence that molecules that serve as the building blocks to life rain down on the planet from its rings. Though there’s no direct evidence of life on the planet or its moons, this finding has renewed interest in searching for life in that tiny corner of space.

 

2. How 2018 Measures Up To 2001: A Space Odyssey

Image via Movie Poster Image Art/Getty Images

Ok, so still no space travel but 50 years after the release of 2001: A Space Odyssey, elements of the of the story, particularly surrounding the challenges of artificial intelligence, are spookily relevant. Kubrick had an uncanny ability to give us a glimpse into the future by touching on surveillance, and the abilities and ethics of A.I. Remember the tension between the characters Dave and Frank, the computer HAL and the ethics of shutting down a self-aware machine – then remember that studies have found that its harder to pull the plug on a robot when it’s pleading for its life.

 

3.  The Physics of An American Pastime

 

Image via Ben Hershey/Unsplash

It’s October, which means it’s almost time for the World Series. A lot of people look at the game of baseball and think it’s simple – someone throws the ball, and someone else hits it but the physics behind the pitch are surprisingly complicated. Players may not be thinking of the exact mechanics of each pitch before releasing the ball, but through instinct or feel for the game, pitchers are engaging in a complex ballet of air flow, spin rate, spin axis, and speed. Eric Groff, professor of physics at the University of Lynchburg, studies the physics behind pitching and gives a rundown of how it works in case you need some more ammunition for the next time you have to argue why your team’s pitcher is so much better than the opposing team’s pitcher (Hint: It’s science.).  

 

4. Goblin Haunts Solar System 

Image via Roberto Molar Candanosa and Scott Sheppard/ Carnegie Institution for Science

Are you Team 9 Planets or Team 8 Planets (sorry Pluto!)? Either way, get ready to argue with a new cohort: Team 10 Planets. Researchers have discovered a dwarf planet, nicknamed “The Goblin” at the edge of our solar system. Scientists discovered The Goblin by chance: It takes about 40,000 years for it to orbit the sun, so they just happened to be looking at the right spot at the right moment when it was discoverer. Scientists hope that by studying its movements, they can discover more about the outer reaches of our solar system.

 

5. Would You Get Tattooed with Someone Else’s DNA?

 

Everence is banking on the fact you will. The start-up uses technology developed to incorporate DNA into tattoo ink, so that you can get a tattoo from your favorite pet’s fur, or the ashes of a deceased loved one. The customer receives a kit that collects hair, ashes, or a cheek swab. Through a patented process they turn the sample into a material that’s also called Everence,“a medical-grade polymer which protects it from being absorbed or destroyed by the body”. The whitish-silvery power can be mixed into any tattoo ink so your next piece can be really personal.

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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