The Big Think

September 30, 2010

You Spin Me Right Round, Baby, Right Round

Filed under: Science — jasony @ 10:08 pm

Scientists get the Extreme Dreidel award:

Graphene is a derivation of graphite, which in turn comes from carbon. Basically, graphite comes from stacked sheets of carbon, and graphene is made of one-atom-thick separated graphite sheets, which form a honeycomb crystal structure. Graphene has some pretty incredible properties: It conducts electricity better than any other known material at room temperature and exhibits a startling amount of strength, given its 2D structure. A bit of graphene the same thickness as plastic wrap would require 2.5 tons of force to puncture it.

Kane then set them spinning using a light beam that is circularly polarised, meaning it passes its momentum to objects in its path. As a result, the flakes started spinning at 60 million rotations per minute, faster than any other macroscopic object.

It’s not really clear that there are any particular uses for this discovery, but graphene has shown nothing but promise so far, so further research on its spin speed could well lead to scientists stumbling onto something great.

Not really clear?!? I have one good particular use for it: because it’s frickin’ awesome. 60 million RPM? That’s nothing, they say. Apparently this may only be 1/1000th it’s possible top speed. Insane.


Filed under: Music — jasony @ 7:46 pm

On somewhat of a bluegrass kick lately. Don’t know why. This is fun:

Just a Little Project with the Kids

Filed under: Mad Science — jasony @ 9:12 am

Homemade Spacecraft from Luke Geissbuhler on Vimeo.

September 28, 2010

Sixty Symbols

Filed under: Movies,Science — jasony @ 7:00 pm

I’ve been mainlining the great science videos over at Sixty Symbols. Really brilliant stuff. Check out the one on the LHC.

September 27, 2010

Gassy Red Planet

Filed under: Space — jasony @ 9:03 pm

Something is adding methane to Mars’s atmosphere:

Scientists and the public get excited about extraterrestrial methane because it’s usually produced one or two ways — through volcanic eruptions and biological processes. It is prevalent in the atmospheres of Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus, and more recently, scientists figured out it also exists (with some interesting variation) on Saturn’s moon Titan.

Chemical processes could also produce methane, such as carbon dioxide combining with melted water beneath the surface.

Though detection of methane is not a smoking gun for life, changes in the presence of methane are intriguing. Methane breaks down in ultraviolet radiation from the sun, which means something on Mars is replenishing it.

Wow, pretty cool. I wonder what’s going on?

Walk Like and Egyptian, Y’all

Filed under: Music — jasony @ 7:51 pm

September 26, 2010


Filed under: Maker — jasony @ 1:06 pm

MakerBot industries introduces their new revision 3d printer, the Thing-O-Matic. Larger build platform, improved Z-axis, heated build platform. Higher price ($1300). Sounds like something Wallace and Gromit would build. Want!

September 25, 2010

Boldly Going

Filed under: Space — jasony @ 7:58 pm

The next Mars rover is named Curiosity. That makes my heart smile.


Filed under: Games — jasony @ 11:34 am

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman throws the fastest pitch in MLB history. 105mph. Amazingly, this was during a 25 pitch streak where every pitch was above the century mark.

This is just astounding. I tried my hand at a radar-measured pitch a few years ago. I thought “well, I’m a fairly big and coordinated guy. I’ll bet I can get to 60mph”. Yeah, right. I was barely able, with all my might, to break 40. 100+mph for 25 consecutive pitches is just incredible.

September 23, 2010

114 Years Young

Filed under: Education — jasony @ 7:13 pm


This guy was 73 when I was born.


Filed under: Quoth,Uncategorized — jasony @ 10:12 am

“Enthusiasm is the most powerful force on Earth. The second most is cynicism. You get to choose.”


September 22, 2010

Speak Up

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 2:46 pm

Selective Defense

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 2:46 pm

Instead of telling the rest of us that we’re all bigots, shouldn’t Kristof and the rest of the journalism profession be outraged by what has happened to Molly Norris? And shouldn’t they be angered that her government believes it cannot protect her? Imagine what they would be saying if white-hooded members of the Ku Klux Klan were threatening to kill Norris in Selma, Ala., instead of radical Muslims in Seattle. Would the FBI tell Norris she had to stop being a journalist and go into hiding? And would ASNE and SPJ look the other way as the First Amendment and freedom of the press were symbolically turned to ashes by flaming white crosses?


September 21, 2010

All Aboard

Filed under: Science — jasony @ 6:20 pm

The Tube Map of modern science. Nifty. I spent quite a while staring at this and trying to figure out where one person made connections between several different disciplines.

September 20, 2010

Good Dog

Filed under: Music — jasony @ 4:48 pm

Seriously these guys just keep getting better.

Tiny Toons

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 4:39 pm


Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 7:34 am

A growing chorus of voices: Virginians calling for a Constitutional Convention to propose an Amendment that would empower the states to check the actions of the federal government, thus restoring some of the lost power of the states and checking the rampant growth of federalism.

the Virginia Times Dispatch has the call.

When unfunded mandates, insurmountable debt, and unconscionable spending have mortgaged our children’s and grandchildren’s futures, it is not only the right, but the duty of the states to use every tool at their disposal to restore the republic…

There are risks associated with action, but history has shown there are times when the cost of inaction is far greater. Our founders risked their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor because they understood the alternative was far worse — no longer being free men.

Today we face the same risk: We are no longer free and sovereign states.

,,,We need an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that will allow the repeal of any act of Congress or regulation when two-thirds of the states agree to the repeal.

September 19, 2010

Deep Dark Secrets

Filed under: Current Reading — jasony @ 10:18 am

“I’m overwhelmed with the urge to share a dark, dirty literary secret: that I not only read science fiction, I love it, I learn from it — and I think you should too.”

Science Fiction is a Genre that Everyone Should Read.

September 17, 2010

Hi Wire

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 9:54 pm

The scariest video you’ll watch today.

best comment from the comment section: “I could totally make a diamond while watching this video”. Yup.


Filed under: Quoth — jasony @ 9:51 am

“The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly, is to fill the world with fools”

Herbert Spencer

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