This newly retrieved medium resolution image, frame 3142_M, was taken by Lunar Orbiter 3 on 20 February 1967 at 15:11 GMT. I came across this at MoonViews.com:
There’s really no breath of fresh air fresher than when someone answers a question you never even thought to ask. That’s what Robert T. Gonzalez from io9 did when he asked
Why do mirrors reverse left and right, but not top and bottom?
check it below or see the original here:
Position yourself in front of a mirror and you’ll notice it immediately. The text on your sweatshirt is reversed. The part in your hair has switched to the other side of your reflection’s head. The mole on your left ear stares back at you from your mirror image’s right earlobe. Before you stands a bauplan reversed; what was once left is now right, and vice versa. And yet, up remains up and down is still down — as though the mirror knows to switch left and right, but not top and bottom.
This, of course, is not the case. The mirror doesn’t “know” anything about your position; it simply reflects the light that hits it, doing so as objectively as any inanimate object knows how. Why, then, when that reflected light reaches the photoreceptors in your eyes, has your mirror image been reversed from left-to-right?
The short answer is that it hasn’t. In fact, the question of what makes the horizontal axis so special in the context of mirrors is itself flawed. That’s because a mirror does not reverse images left-to-right or top-to-bottom, but from front-to-back. In other words, your mirror image hasn’t been swapped, but inverted along a third dimension, like a glove being turned inside out.
Here’s a thought experiment to help illustrate the concept of front-to-back reversal. Assume, for a second, that you are capable of squeezing your body perfectly flat. Imagine, also, that your body is able to pass through itself, without damaging any of its various tissues. When you stand with the tip of your nose pressed gently against a mirror, it’s easy to assume that the image you see looking back at you is the result of non-mirror you turning in-place 180 degrees and stepping backwards, through the mirror, into mirror-land. This is not the case.
In actuality, the back half of non-mirror you has been pressed flat in the direction of the mirror. As your form began to pancake, the front half of your body (that is, all parts of your body situated behind the tip of your nose, but still in front of the back half of your body), the back half of your body and the tip of your nose all came to reside within the same plane (i.e., the plane occupied by the mirror). But then your back half kept pushing, continuing on its journey through the plane of the mirror and passing right through your body’s front half before re-acquiring its “normal” shape on the other side of the mirror (probably with a satisfying *POP* sound). This new, inverted you is symmetrical to you, but your two bodies cannot be superimposed. In chemistry, such entities are said to be “chiral.”
Here’s another way to think of it, widely popularized by physicist Richard Feynman (see the interview response featured here). Stand in front of a mirror, and note which direction you’re facing. For the sake of this thought experiment, let’s assume you’re facing North. Point due East with your right hand, and your reflection points East as well. Point due west with your left hand, and your reflection gestures in the same direction. That’s because these directions both lie along a plane parallel with the mirror. Similarly, point up or down and your reflection will follow suit, motioning in the same direction.
But deviate from that parallel plane even a little and thinks go wonky. Remember: your image has been reversed along the axis perpendicular to the mirror. Try pointing directly at the mirror, such that your fingertip is now directed due North. Your reflection is now pointing directly at you — not North, like your finger, but South.
On this day in 1916 the Mad Monk himself, the ultimate Russian lady killer Grigory Efimovich Rasputin was murdered. Typically, right around here, would dive in to a dry and vaguely engaging history of Rasputin, but instead let’s keep things a little more relaxed… This is especially hard for me because I love Rasputin.
Nevertheless, let us indulge on this the awkward weekend between Christmas and New Years, and on this the anniversary of the death of a very hairy and presumably stinky faith healing hobo called G.E. Rasputin, with the soothing sounds of Boney M:
SIDE NOTE: This is apparently also an early example of green-screening… Clearly still a work in progress:
Wanna feel smart? Jeanna Bryner , Stephanie Pappas and LiveScience have gone ahead and summed up the 12 most obvious discoveries of 2012 via Scientific American. Most you probably already knew… It’s just good to have a confirmation.
1. Good partners make good parents
Perhaps not the most shocking news in the world: Marry a good, secure partner, and you can expect them to become a good, secure parent.
The same skills that make people good in romantic relationships make them good at building relationships with their kids, researchers reported Dec. 6 in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Among the key traits are cooperation and communication. [10 Scientific Tips for Raising Happy Kids]
While this may seem self-evident, researchers say that empirically linking the same skills to the two types of relationships may translate to better self-help and therapy. Fix one relationship, and you may fix them both.
2. We all want to date a hottie
Sure, you may say you look for a good sense of humor and a sweet disposition, but deep down, you have to admit a pretty face wouldn’t go amiss.
Both men and women unconsciously desire a sexually attractive partner, a study released in January found.
Using a high-speed word association test, the researchers found that people responded faster to words linked to sexiness, no matter how low they claimed to prioritize the physical. The mismatch between what we say we want and what we want may be why online dating meet-ups sometimes go astray, the researchers said.
3. Pre-gamers drink more
Do the math: If you drink before you go out and then drink while you go out, you end up drinking more than if you hadn’t had anything to drink before you went out. In other words, those who “pre-game” get drunker than those who just belly up to the bar, according to research published online in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
“Pre-drinking is a pernicious drinking pattern that is likely to lead people to cumulate two normal drinking occasions — one off-premise followed by one on-premise — and generally results in excessive alcohol consumption,” study researcher Florian Labhart of Addiction Switzerland, where the study was conducted, said in a statement. “Excessive consumption and adverse consequences are not simply related to the type of people who pre-drink, but rather to the practice of pre-drinking itself.”
4. People with more experience make better decisions
Okay, so pre-drinking is a bad decision — and thus, a choice the more experienced would automatically avoid, according to a study released in December in the journal Organizational Decision Making and Human Decision Processes. People with more experience in a field (in this case, basketball or designer goods), were better at making intuitive judgments about that field than newbies, the study found. But the experienced were no better at making decisions than amateurs when told to reason out their choices analytically. In other words, it’s okay to go with your gut — but only if you know what you’re talking about.
5. Keeping guns out of the hands of troubled individuals saves lives
In a report that would tragically prove very timely this year, the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health found that keeping guns away from high-risk individuals prevents gun violence. These individuals include criminals, those with a history of domestic violence, the mentally ill, people under age 21 and substance abusers.
The report also found that the availability of high-capacity magazines increased deaths in mass shootings. [The 10 Most Destructive Human Behaviors]
“Mass shootings bring public attention to the exceptionally high rate of gun violence in the U.S., but policy discussions rarely focus on preventing the daily gun violence that results in an average of 30 lives lost every day,” said study author Daniel Webster, the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research. “Addressing weaknesses in existing gun laws by expanding prohibitions for criminals, perpetrators of domestic violence, youth, and drug abusers, and closing the loopholes that allow prohibited persons to obtain guns can be effective strategies to reduce gun violence. It is important to note that making these changes to our gun laws would not disarm law-abiding adults.”
6. Exercise is good for you
If you haven’t heard by now that getting moving is good for you, you might want to get with the times. Perhaps also not new news to those who enjoy a good endorphin buzz: Exercise improves mental health as well as physical.
A study published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science in September found that both the improved body image that came with exercise and the social interaction inherent in organized sports made teens less likely to suffer from mental problems such as depression, anxiety or substance abuse. The study controlled for factors such as socioeconomic background, age and gender.
7. Calling an ambulance improves heart attack survival
Think you’re having a heart attack? Dial 911. Believe it or not, paramedics really do save lives.
Research presented at the Acute Care Cardiac Congress in October found that only 29 percent of Turkish patients having heart attacks went to the hospital by ambulance, despite the fact that this service is free in Turkey. Taking a cab or driving one’s own car was slower than an ambulance ride and delayed crucial treatment, the study found.
8. Guys are more into their girl friends than vice versa
Apparently some stereotypes about guys and sex are true. It turns out that college-age guys report more sexual interest in their platonic female friends than vice versa, though these crushes are usually described as more of a burden than a boon. [Busted! 6 Gender Myths in the Bedroom & Beyond]
In post-college-age adults, about half of the participants in the study, which was released in May, spontaneously mentioned attraction as a burden to their cross-sex friendships. Nevertheless, study researchers said, male-female friendships can be successful.
9. Smoking a lot of pot can make your mind fuzzy
Yes, science has done it again: Heavy marijuana use can mess with a teen’s brain. The study, detailed in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that of the 1,000 New Zealanders followed, those who started using pot as teenagers and used it for years afterward lost some of their smarts; more specifically, they had an average decline in IQ of 8 points, between age 13 and age 38.
“The simple message is that substance use is not healthy for kids,” study researcher Avshalom Caspi, a psychologist at Duke University and the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, said in a statement. “That’s true for tobacco, alcohol, and apparently for cannabis.”
10. Driving when drunk is unsafe
Drinking and driving really is dangerous. A study out this year showed that as a person’s blood-alcohol level increased so did their risk of being killed or involved in a fatal crash, regardless of their age. For instance, compared with sober drivers of the same age, individuals who were ages 16 to 20 with a blood alcohol between 0.02 and 0.05 were nearly three times as likely to be involved in a fatal crash. The study, detailed in May in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, also found that more underage females who have been drinking alcohol are at risk for being in a fatal car crash compared with 2007. The researchers aren’t sure what’s behind the increase, but speculate girls are taking more risks nowadays.
11. High heels are bad for your feet
Cramming your feet into tight-fitting shoes with inches-long heels on the bottom can hurt your feet. The new finding out this year? High heel-wearing is linked to ingrown toenails. So who would’ve guessed that wearing tight-fitting shoes with a steep slope down is one of the most common causes a foot problem in which the toes get compressed so much that the big toenail grows into the skin? But seriously, while often an ingrown nail is just an annoyance, it can get infected and even require surgical removal of the entire nail.
To avoid the pesky podiatry problem, Rodney Stuck, a professor of podiatry at the Loyola University Health System, recommended buying less-tight-fitting heels (yes), and ditching the fashion statements on days when you plan to do a lot of walking and standing.
12. Screaming at your child is harmful to your child
Psychological child abuse, such as belittling, terrorizing, exploiting and neglecting emotionally, can damage a kid’s health.
“We are talking about extremes and the likelihood of harm, or risk of harm, resulting from the kinds of behavior that make a child feel worthless, unloved or unwanted,” Dr. Harriet MacMillan of McMaster University said in a statement. MacMillan added that examples would include a mother leaving her infant alone in a crib all day or a father pulling his teen into his own drug habit. Such abuse can be as harmful to children as physical harm, the researchers reported in August in the journal Pediatrics.
I love stumbling across across obscure history lessons; the more random the better!.. Especially over a holiday weekend. A good, topical history lesson creates a wonderful opportunity to be that know-it-all relative at the dinner table that everyone wishes would shut up and eat.
Allow me to get you started, you irritating holiday nerdest you. Here’s Wrappers’ Delight: A Brief History of Wrapping Paper by Megan Garber, staff writer at The Atlantic.
Wrappers’ Delight: A Brief History of Wrapping Paper
Disguising presents with decorative sheets of paper is, like so many other things, an accident of history.
There will likely come a day, sometime in the not-too-distant future, when we look back on wrapping paper with the kind of retrospective condescension we reserve for the most naive elements of our history. Wasting precious paper — killing trees — for decoration! Spending money on a total frivolity! How ridiculous people were back then!
And it is true: The money we spend on it notwithstanding — $2.6 billion annually, per one estimate — there is something quite trivial about wrapping paper. As much as half of the 85 million tons of paper products Americans consume each year, apparently, goes toward packaging, wrapping, and decorating objects — and wrapping paper and shopping bags on their own account for about 4 million tons of the trash we create annually in the U.S. In Britain, per one estimate, people throw away 226,800 miles of wrapping paper over the holidays alone — enough to stretch nine times around the world.
So wrapping paper is expensive. Wrapping paper is wasteful. Wrapping paper is, technically, impractical. That said, however, wrapping paper is also pretty awesome: It’s pretty, it’s arty, and it’s one way, among others, to make even the most impersonal offerings — gift cards, electronics, even (eeeek) cash — seem meaningful. For better or for worse, there’s just something about a big, red bow.
But where did the wrapping tradition come from? Why do we, each time we give a gift, ritually wrap that offering in decorative tree pulp? The short answer is that wrapping, as a practice, has been around for ages — literally, ages. The Japanese furoshiki, the reusable wrapping cloth still in use today, is a pretty faithful rendition of the version that’s been around since the Edo period. The Korean bojagi dates from the Three Kingdoms Period, possibly as early as the first century A.D. In the west, using paper as a covering for gifts has been a longstanding, if largely luxury-oriented, practice: Upper-class Victorians regularly used elaborately decorated paper — along with ribbons and lace — to conceal gifts. In the early 20th century, thick, unwieldy paper gave way to tissue (often colored in red, green, and white) that would similarly work to conceal offerings until they were opened. The practice was echoed in a slightly more practical form by stores, which would wrap customers’ purchases in sturdy manila papers. (A note, printed in Hardware Dealers’ Magazine in 1911, hints at the core pragmatism of this practice: “Whatever your business,” it advises, “leave the freak wrapping papers to the other fellow and you will make friends for your store by this means.”)
In 1917, however, in the United States, all that — the tissue paper, the luxury paper, the “freak” paper — changed. Decorative paper became democratized. According to Mental Floss, which knows of such things, that happened for the same reason so many innovations come about: by accident. A pair of brothers running a stationery store in Kansas City, Mo., were having an exceptionally good holiday season — so good, in fact, that they ran out of their standard inventory of tissue paper. Not wanting to be hampered by their success, but needing a replacement for the sold-out paper, they found among their supplies a stack of “fancy French paper” — paper meant not for display, but for lining envelopes. Figuring, “hey, why not,” they put that paper in a showcase, setting its price at $0.10 a sheet.
And the paper sold out — “instantly,” Mental Floss notes. So, during the holiday season of 1918, the brothers tried the same trick, offering lining paper as gift wrap. And, again, the sheets were a sell-out hit. By 1919, having confirmed that the lining sheets’ sales weren’t a fluke, the pair began producing and selling their own printed paper — decorative, and designed for the sole purpose of wrapping gifts. And an industry was born.
The brothers? Joyce and Rollie Hall. Their store? Hallmark.
NASA sure is flush with Christmas spirit this year. First we get the awkwardly awesome nerd spoof of Gangnan Style, and now we get a couple of free, super sexy e-books!
Both are iOS offerings, so you’ll need to use your favourite Apple device. The Retina display is put to good use in these gems. Check ’em out!
Hubble Space Telescope Discoveries
… takes the reader on a tour of Hubble’s most significant science successes, combined with some of the telescope’s technology and history. For more than two decades, Hubble has had a front-row seat for cosmic events: comets bombarding Jupiter, the explosive death of stars, the birth of new solar systems and more. It helped reveal the age of the universe and stunned scientists with the discovery of the still-mysterious dark energy. The book details Hubble’s work in cosmology, planetary science and galactic science. Interactive elements include a gallery of images taken by Hubble’s different instruments, an interactive showing how astronomers measure distance in space, and a short movie on the discovery of planet Fomalhaut b.
James Webb Space Telescope: Science Guide</strong
…readers will learn how the Webb telescope will reveal in much more detail mysteries of the universe that the Hubble is not able to see. With a mirror almost seven times the area of the Hubble Space Telescope's, and an orbit far beyond Earth's moon, Hubble's successor will utilize infrared light to see the first galaxies being born in the very distant universe, penetrate clouds of dust to reveal newly forming stars and solar systems, and analyze planets around other stars for traces of potentially life-giving water. The Webb book explains the innovative technology and design making the Webb a reality. Among the interactive elements are images that transform as they're seen in different wavelengths of light, a simulation of the formation of the "cosmic web" in the early universe, a 3-D fly-by interactive, and an animation of the Webb telescope unfolding in space as it nears its orbit.
Sometimes I can’t help but cringe when I hear about uber accomplished adolescents. It’s not that I’m an ass (not entirely anyway), its that when I was twelve I spent a lot of time trying to beat Donkey Kong Country. It’s just ambition-envy: some kids are decorated Navy vets by the age of thirteen, and other kids completely devote themselves to a seemingly unobtainable goal but never beat Donkey Kong… This is even more depressing as I put into words, because by no means is beating Donkey Kong Country an unobtainable goal.
Anyway, back to actual amazing kids.
This week the Smithsonian blog posted a piece on thirteen year old Calvin Graham, as part of their Past Imperfect segment. Graham’s story is truly adventuresome and somewhat unfathomable. Here’s a brief look, but I strongly recommend checking out the original post at the Smithsonian site: his adventure and the controversy surrounding it, carry on for the remainder of the sailor’s life and with too many milestones for me to summarize here:
Graham was just 11 and in the sixth grade in Crockett, Texas, when he hatched his plan to lie about his age and join the Navy. One of seven children living at home with an abusive stepfather, he and an older brother moved into a cheap rooming house, and Calvin supported himself by selling newspapers and delivering telegrams on weekends and after school. Even though he moved out, his mother would occasionally visit—sometimes to simply sign his report cards at the end of a semester. The country was at war, however, and being around newspapers afforded the boy the opportunity to keep up on events overseas.
It wasn’t uncommon for boys to lie about their age in order to serve. Ray Jackson, who joined the Marines at 16 during World War II, founded the group Veterans of Underage Military Service in 1991, and it listed more than 1,200 active members, including 26 women. “Some of these guys came from large families and there wasn’t enough food to go around, and this was a way out,” Jackson told a reporter. “Others just had family problems and wanted to get away.”
Calvin Graham told his mother he was going to visit relatives. Instead, he dropped out of the seventh grade and shipped off to San Diego for basic training. There, he said, the drill instructors were aware of the underage recruits and often made them run extra miles and lug heavier packs.
By the time the USS South Dakota made it to the Pacific, it had become part of a task force alongside the legendary carrier USS Enterprise (the “Big E”). By early October 1942, the two ships, along with their escorting cruisers and destroyers, raced to the South Pacific to engage in the fierce fighting in the battle for Guadalcanal. After they reached the Santa Cruz Islands on October 26, the Japanese quickly set their sights on the carrier and launched an air attack that easily penetrated the Enterprise’s own air patrol. The carrier USS Hornet was repeatedly torpedoed and sank off Santa Cruz, but the South Dakota managed to protect Enterprise, destroying 26 enemy planes with a barrage from its antiaircraft guns.
Read the rest of Graham’s story here…
Aside from geologists, nobody really has anything good to say about volcanos… I know I certainly didn’t: They’re slow and kind of lame, fat and blobby… Or so i thought. As it turns out I just knew very little about the magma-makers. Volcanos can actually be pretty exciting… At least according to NOVA Beta. Here’s the anatomical breakdown by NOVA’s Lexi Krock:
There are many different kinds of volcanoes, ranging from the Hawaiian type, which produces gentle, effusive eruptions that tourists can observe from mere steps away, to the andesitic variety, which can produce violent, life-threatening eruptions with little warning. Though volcanologists study all types of volcanoes, the latter kind is of greatest concern since it is capable of killing thousands of people, destroying entire cities and forests, and severely disrupting local economies.
Many volcanoes famous for their destructive power, including Mt. St. Helens, Galeras, Nevado del Ruiz, and Mt. Vesuvius, are andesitic volcanoes. Below, get to know the major features and products of an andesitic volcano, which forms when two tectonic plates rub against each other and generate enough friction and heat to create magma from melted rock. This magma surges through the surface of the earth, then solidifies, resulting over time in a classic volcano cone.
Volcanic ash consists of rock, mineral, and volcanic glass fragments smaller than a tenth of an inch in diameter—or slightly larger than a pinhead. Volcanic ash is quite different from the soft, fluffy ash that results from burning wood, leaves, or paper. It is hard, does not dissolve in water, and can be extremely small—ash particles less than 1/1,000th of an inch in diameter are common. It is also extremely abrasive (similar to finely crushed window glass), mildly corrosive, and electrically conductive, especially when wet.
Volcanic ash is created during explosive eruptions by the shattering of solid rocks and the violent separation of magma into tiny pieces. Explosive eruptions result when groundwater heated by magma abruptly converts to steam and also when magma reaches the surface so that volcanic gases dissolved in the molten rock expand and escape into the air extremely rapidly. Hot ash and gas rise quickly to form a towering eruption column directly above the volcano.
2. LAVA FLOW
Lava flows are masses of magma that pour onto the Earth’s surface during an effusive eruption; they include both moving lava and the resulting solidified deposits. Lava flows come in a great variety of shapes and sizes. This is due to the wide range in lava discharge during eruptions, characteristics of the erupting vent and topography over which lava travels, and viscosity of the different lava types.
3. LAVA DOME
Lava domes are rounded, steep-sided mounds built by magma that is highly resistant to flow, usually either dacite or rhyolite. Such magmas are typically too viscous to move far from the vent before cooling and crystallizing. Domes may consist of one or more individual lava flows.
Lava is the word for magma when it erupts onto the Earth’s surface. Geologists also use the term to describe the solidified deposits of lava flows and fragments hurled into the air by explosive eruptions (for example, lava bombs or blocks). Lava is from the Italian word for stream, which is derived from the verb lavare—to wash.
Vents are openings in the Earth’s crust from which magma and volcanic gases escape onto the ground or into the atmosphere. Vents may consist of a single, circular-shaped structure, a large elongated fissure and fracture, or a tiny ground crack. The release of volcanic gases and the eruption of molten rock result in a wide assortment of edifices, ranging from enormous shield volcanoes and calderas to fumaroles and small hornitos.
Tephra is a general term for fragments of volcanic rock and lava that are blasted into the air by explosions or carried upward by hot gases in eruption columns or lava fountains. Tephra includes large, dense blocks and bombs, and small, light rock debris such as scoria, pumice, reticulite, and ash.
A caldera is a large, usually circular depression at the summit of a volcano formed when magma is withdrawn or erupted from a shallow underground magma reservoir. The removal of large volumes of magma may result in loss of structural support for the overlying rock, thereby leading to collapse of the ground and formation of a large depression. Calderas are different from craters, which are smaller, circular depressions created primarily by explosive excavation of rock during eruptions.
Lahar is an Indonesian word for a rapidly flowing mixture of rock debris and water that originates on the slopes of a volcano. Lahars are also referred to as volcanic mudflows or debris flows. They form in a variety of ways, chiefly from the rapid melting of snow and ice by pyroclastic flows, intense rainfall on loose volcanic rock deposits, the breakout of a lake dammed by volcanic deposits, and as a consequence of debris avalanches.
On volcanoes, a fissure is an elongated fracture or crack at the surface from which lava erupts. Fissure eruptions typically dwindle to a central vent after a period of hours or days. Occasionally, lava will flow back into the ground by pouring into a crack or an open eruptive fissure, a process called drainback; sometimes lava will flow back into the same fissure from which it erupted.
Dikes are tabular or sheet-like bodies of magma that cut through and across the layering of adjacent rocks and then solidify. They form when magma rises into a fracture or creates a new crack by forcing its way through rock. Hundreds of dikes can invade the cone and inner core of a volcano, often along zones of structural weakness.
Magma is molten or partially molten rock beneath the Earth’s surface. When magma erupts onto the surface, it is called lava. Magma typically consists of a liquid portion (often referred to as the melt); a solid portion made of minerals that crystallized directly from the melt; solid rocks incorporated into the magma from along the conduit or reservoir, called xenoliths or inclusions; and dissolved gases. Magma collects inside a volcano’s magma chamber before it erupts (see diagram).
Ugh, I know… Cold Fusion has been such a polarized discussion for so many people for a long, that I don’t even like to think about it… Which is sad because it’s an interesting thing to think about. To me, Cold Fusion has been the poster child for the often discombobulated relationship between science and popular media and it has also been a textbook example for young scientists of professionals that skew their credibility by getting more aught up in a theory than in the data that proves otherwise.
… But am I really any better for cringing and avoiding Cold Fusion because of the irritating fanboy-ism it brings to mind? Am I just avoiding the science because I’m avoiding the scientists that avoided the science two decades ago? Probably…
Anyway, It may be time for us to cautiously open our minds to Cold Fusion again… Just a smidgen. If you read last month’s issue of Discover, you probably saw the article Big Idea: Bring Back the Cold Fusion Dream which touched on how the clean energy source has progressed in the last 20 years. There’s nothing completely groundbreaking, but it puts a warmer, more scientifically palpable spotlight on the controversial hypothesis. There is still real research going on in the field and scientists have come a long way. In anticipation of a clearer, data driven explanation of Cold Fusion, we should probably revisit & review the basics care of Wikipedia:
Cold fusion is a hypothetical type of nuclear reaction that would occur at, or near, room temperature, compared with temperatures in the millions of degrees that is required for “hot” fusion. It was proposed to explain reports of anomalously high energy generation under certain specific laboratory conditions. It has been rejected by the mainstream scientific community because the original experimental results could not be replicated consistently and reliably, and because there is no accepted theoretical model of cold fusion.
Cold fusion gained attention after reports in 1989 by Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann, then one of the world’s leading electrochemists, that their apparatus had produced anomalous heat (“excess heat”), of a magnitude they asserted would defy explanation except in terms of nuclear processes. They further reported measuring small amounts of nuclear reaction byproducts, including neutrons and tritium. The small tabletop experiment involved electrolysis of heavy water on the surface of a palladium (Pd) electrode.
The reported results received wide media attention, and raised hopes of a cheap and abundant source of energy. Many scientists tried to replicate the experiment with the few details available. Hopes fell with the large number of negative replications, the withdrawal of many positive replications, the discovery of flaws and sources of experimental error in the original experiment, and finally the discovery that Fleischmann and Pons had not actually detected nuclear reaction byproducts.
By late 1989, most scientists considered cold fusion claims dead, and cold fusion subsequently gained a reputation as pathological science. In 1989, a review panel organized by the US Department of Energy (DOE) found that the evidence for the discovery of a new nuclear process was not persuasive enough to start a special program, but was “sympathetic toward modest support” for experiments “within the present funding system.” A second DOE review, convened in 2004 to look at new research, reached conclusions similar to the first.
The last free NASA App were looking at this week is the gorgeous Visualization Explorer. The NASA Visualization Explorer, the coolest way to get stories about advanced space-based research delivered right to your iPad. A direct connection to NASA’s extraordinary fleet of research spacecraft, this app presents cutting edge research stories in an engaging and exciting format. See the Earth as you’ve never seen it before; travel to places otherwise unavailable to even the most intrepid explorers!
Grab it here!