Saturday, November 10, 2007

Science: Still Awesome

Just in case you were wondering, science is still awesome.

First up, synesthesia—the mixing of senses so that, for example, one associates or experiences certain colors with individual numbers and letters—is always cool. I have this to enough of an extent that I would totally love to have it even more. For example, in my mind Thursdays are a deep mustard color, but Tuesdays are a rich green and Wednesdays are a pale blue; I wouldn't be surprised if this association is one reason why I don't have to keep a calendar or datebook. The recent incredibly wonderful thing I've found out about synesthesia is that apparently colorblind synesthetes can experience colors via associations that their eyes are not actually capable of seeing. Brains are so fantastic.

I've been taking art classes at the local cultural arts center since June. Over the summer I took a clay sculpture class, and when I went back on my second week to look at what I had started, I was rather freaked to discover that the piece was partially covered in mold. Turns out, the more microorganisms there are living in clay, the more aerated the clay is, and thus the higher quality it has the potential to be for sculpting. Also in the art department, last week I was working with two pieces of sheet metal (I'm taking a jewelry class now) that I wanted to have have identical borders, so I superglued the two pieces together so they wouldn't move relative to one another as I filed the edges. But then I wanted to, you know, unsuperglue them. The most efficient way to do this, apparently, is to simply anneal the metal—that is, put it under a big torch until the superglue burns away and the pieces come apart. I was working with copper, which normally when annealed turns a nice deep red color, but with the superglue on it, turned a dark grody grey.

It's been all over the news, and I obviously didn't get around to writing this post yesterday, but the Auger collaboration has finally come out with their first big result: cosmic rays appear to not be isotropically distributed on the sky. They come just short of saying that comsic rays are produced by supermassive black holes (specifically, supermassive black holes actively accreting matter), but due to a liberal use of the subjunctive in the paper, this is essentially the take-home message. Chad has already done a detailed analysis of the paper and all that jazz, but he fails to mention the fact that the effective size of the Auger detector, located in Argentina, is roughly the same area as Rhode Island—and they're looking to expand. I'm not sure if this is just a statement of how large their detector is, or how small Rhode Island is, though.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Science: 0 comments.

Art: 0 comments.

Kitten: 7 comments.

The conclusions are obvious.