Your Science Fix | The Wanderer Science

RIGHT AROUND THE BEND

If you ever wanted to know what’s  around the corner, you might just be able to find out. Well, literally, not idiomatically. A newly derived type of light scattering allows scientists to see around corners, and turn regular walls into mirrors.  Professor Yaron Silberberg and a team of researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science located in Rehovot, Israel, have developed a new technique of light scattering with the help of spatial light modulators (SLMs). While this technique will have the largest impact in the research and practice of medical imaging, I have a sneaking suspicion it may be used to deal with those confusing mirages out in the Israeli deserts. The science behind it all, among some of Silberberg’s and the Weizmann Institutes’ other publications can be located here.

CREAMY EARTH FILLING

Looking up at the night sky, it seems insane to think that the earth is enveloped by two colossal plasma donuts. Especially when you use the word donut descriptively. These large rings of plasma lying just inside the Van Allen Radition Belts are NASA’s immediate topic of interest, their discovery and mysterious nature dating back to 1958, the year Explorer-1 was launched. The National Aeronatautics and Space Administration will be sending out probes in August to “improve [their] understanding of what makes plasma move in and out of [the] electricfied belts wrapped around our planet,” and perhaps find out if these donuts are triple chocolate or honey glazed. The mission has been appropriately named the Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP), and will be headed by space and mission scientist David Sibeck. I’ll have just one question for Dr. Sibeck upon mission completion: if the earth is inside these plasma donuts, are they considered earth-filled?

NEWS FLASH: TV-WATCHING DOES NOT IMPROVE OLYMPICS CHANCES

If people haven’t quite grasped the concept that sitting down and watching television for hours on end will not lead to a spot on the Olympic team, a new study may help show them reality. An observational study done by researchers at the University of Montreal and Saint-Justine Mother and Child University Hospital suggests a specific correlation between the hours of TV watched by children and their waist sizes as they age. If you’re too lazy to skim the research, senior author of the study Dr. Linda Pagani’s conclusion that “watching too much television – beyond the recommended amount – is not good,” is a decent summarization. Well, I didn’t even know “they” recommended watching television. We learn something every day, hey?

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