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Month: January, 2013

prettyawfulthings

original

Researchers working at MIT have successfully manipulated the content of a rat’s dream by replaying an audio cue that was associated with the previous day’s events, namely running through a maze.

[W]hen the researchers played the audio cues from the experiment, they noticed a very interesting thing: the rats would dream about the section of the maze previously associated with the audio cue.

The experiment demonstrated that the content of a rat’s dream can be biased by re-activating certain memories while they’re asleep.

I am torn between making a snappy comment about potential supervillain origin stories or sly A Nightmare on Elm Street allusions.

Decisions, decisions.

Image via Fer Gregory at Shutterstock.

nature.com via io9.

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prettyawfulthings

PHOTOSPEED10NG / Animal Rodent Rat

Genetic mutations have produced a new breed of “super rat” with DNA that protects the vermin from standard toxins.

Ratcatchers in Berkshire and Hampshire were the first to report that their poisons were no longer effective, which experts put down to increased immunity among the pests.

But as the poison-resistant rats continue to spread, tests have revealed that they boast an entirely new strand of DNA that wards off attacks from pesticides.

Oops. And people claim you can’t see evolution in action…

Via The Telegraph.

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Galaxy’s Center Tastes of Raspberries and Smells of Rum

Galaxy’s Center Tastes of Raspberries and Smells of Rum.

Everything Wrong with Political Discourse in One Graph

Everything Wrong with Political Discourse in One Graph.

What I’ve learned after Week 1

This is not my first blog, so I spent most of the class familiarizing myself with the specific layout of WordPress. I think the most useful bit of information I learned was that Google allows users to make surveys using Google drive. This is incredibly useful and I’m looking forward to incorporating it in some of the classes I’m teaching this semester and over the summer.

I’ve spent a little more time looking at the Easy Java Simulations (EJS) Builder, and I’m looking forward to tinkering around with it as the semester progresses. I’m taking Observations Radio Astronomy currently, where the telescope controls are all based on Java code, so I’m really looking forward to the convenient overlap of the two. Hopefully my experimenting leads to something useful.

prettyawfulthings

warp-drive-starship

A concept for a real-life warp drive was suggested in 1994 by Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre; however, subsequent calculations found that such a device would require prohibitive amounts of energy.

Now physicists say that adjustments can be made to the proposed warp drive that would enable it to run on significantly less energy, potentially bringing the idea back from the realm of science fiction into science.

An Alcubierre warp drive would involve a football-shape spacecraft attached to a large ring encircling it. This ring, potentially made of exotic matter, would cause space-time to warp around the starship, creating a region of contracted space in front of it and expanded space behind.

Meanwhile, the starship itself would stay inside a bubble of flat space-time that wasn’t being warped at all.

“Everything within space is restricted by the speed of light,” explained Richard Obousy, president of Icarus Interstellar.

Via Space.com for the…

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bluesyemre

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The Survey

The Survey

Surveys are a great way to get background information on your students, though I would prefer to have responses to this survey before the first class as opposed to assigning it for homework on the first day. I tried to ask 6 meaningful questions that would allow me to better tailor my course to the students needs and desires.