There was so much cool physics in the news this week, it's hard to pick just three stories to highlight. But Jen-Luc Piquant is going with these: LUX fails to detect dark matter particles; stretching quantum superposition from Minnesota to Chicago; and a record-setting hard-drive that can store information one atom at a time. Be sure to check out all the linky goodness below to find out what you may have missed.
Me at Gizmodo:
WIMP-y Dark Matter Remains Maddeningly Elusive. "The hunt for the elusive dark matter received yet another blow earlier today at an international conference in Sheffield, England. Scientists with the Large Underground Xenon (LUX) dark matter experiment announced that they found no hints of dark matter particles in their latest analysis, despite increasing the sensitivity of the experiment fourfold for its final run."
French Physicists Unravel the Secrets of the Knuckleball. "Knuckleballs are mostly associated with baseball in the United States, but this devilishly unpredictable ball motion also shows up in soccer, cricket, and volleyball. Yet it’s never seen in other sports like squash, basketball, and table tennis. A team of French scientists think they’ve finally figured out why and describe their conclusions in the New Journal of Physics."
Rembrandt Probably Traced His Self-Portraits With Mirrors and Lenses. "Rembrandt was renowned for his masterful use of light and dark contrasts, and the precise proportions in his paintings and etchings. Now a British artist claims the 17th century painter likely used combinations of mirrors and lenses to project images onto a drawing surface to create them—especially his famous self-portraits. It’s the latest volley in a longstanding debate about the possible use of optical aids by Renaissance artists." [Image: Francis O'Neill]
Apple’s Health Experiment Is Riddled With Privacy Problems. "Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has partnered with Apple on a new clinical study on rheumatoid arthritis. The study relies on an iPhone app to collect data about arthritic symptoms from users as they go about their daily lives. That sounds great at first glance, but how well will it protect your privacy?"
African Honey-Hunters Communicate With These Wild Birds To Find Hives. "A little brown bird in sub-Saharan Africa known as the greater honeyguide is known to cooperate with humans to locate honey-rich bees’ nests. The bird calls out to honey hunters and then leads them to the nests. Now there is evidence that the communication goes both ways. In a new paper published today in Science, South African researchers report that the birds seem to recognize and respond to human calls in turn."
LEGO-Like Blocks Let Scientists Custom Build Their Own Tools. "There’s a whole new way to build custom scientific instruments affordably in bioengineering: a system of 3D-printed building blocks that can link together in various combinations. The system combines design elements of both biological cells and electronic components, and it can evolve over time to adapt to the changing needs of the research community."
Pokémon Go Is All the Rage, But Where's the Science? "Yes, there is a science of Pokémon—specifically, a 2012 satirical study that appeared in the humorous journal, Annals of Improbable Research entitled, 'A Phylogeny and Evolutionary History of the Pokémon.' The authors traced the evolutionary history of the 646 fictional species of 'pocket monsters,' even creating an impressive 16-generation phylogenetic or evolutionary tree." Related from Nerdist: The Science and Math Behind Pokémon GO.
These Amazing Trompe L'oeil Illusions Bring Drab City Buildings To Life. "Trompe l’oeil (literally “to deceive the eye”) is an ancient technique whereby a painter creates a visual illusion via a trick of perspective. French street artist Patrick Commecy is a modern master of this art form, working with his team of artists at A-Fresco to create huge, hyper-realistic murals on otherwise drab building facades."
Why This Drop of Liquor Looks Like a Galaxy: PHYSICS! "Anyone who’s imbibed a glass of ouzo—the licorice-flavored spirit that is practically the national drink of Greece—may be familiar with how it turns cloudy when the liquor is mixed with water. But there are still some mysteries about how such mixed liquids behave. Now physicists at the University of Twente in the Netherlands have captured the various life phases of an evaporating drop of ouzo on camera. They describe their work in a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."
Other Cool Links:
Mining Black Hole Collisions for New Physics. The physicist Asimina Arvanitaki is thinking up ways to search gravitational wave data for evidence of dark matter particles orbiting black holes.
Physicists Stretch Quantum Superposition from Chicago to Minnesota.
A Debate Over the Physics of Time: physicists hope to replace “block universe” with a physical theory of time.
Space Emerging From Quantum Mechanics: "rather than quantizing gravity, maybe we should try to gravitize quantum mechanics."
Searching the cosmos from under the ice of Antarctic: IceCube could find origins of cosmic rays, dark matter.
Record-Setting Hard Drive Writes Information One Atom At a Time.
"Elections and magnetic phase transitions are very much alike": The physics of Election renormalization.
A bird's-eye view of nature's hidden order: Scientists are exploring a mysterious pattern, found in birds’ eyes, boxes of marbles and other surprising places, that is neither regular nor random.
Hummingbird Flight Is More Amazing Than We Realized: "biologists have discovered a new mechanism these feathered helicopters use to avoid collisions—and it could help us build better drones."
The Hidden Science of the Missing Gravitational Waves.
What the world's oldest calculator tells us about the ancient Greeks' view of the universe.
The Boundless Beauty of Pi: A mathematical value with infinite digits provides limitless inspiration for data artists.
Why the Metric System Is So Important.
Engineer Discovers Something Amazing in Da Vinci's 'Irrelevant Scribbles': "[A] new study out of the University of Cambridge... shows that a page of Leonardo’s scribbled notes from 1493—previously dismissed as “irrelevant” by art historians—is actually the first written demonstration of the laws of friction. [Image: University of Cambridge]
The Man Who Designed Ghost Armies and Opera Houses: The storied career of centenarian and acoustician, Leo Beranek.
Lose Yourself in Tomoyuki Tanaka’s hand-drawn ballpoint renderings of the innards of Tokyo Train Stations.
Pokemon Go shakes up lab routine. At Fermilab and CERN, lab employees, students, and visitors alike hunt for virtual creatures.
Scientists Are One Step Closer to an Invisibility Cloak, But Don't Get Out Your Wands Just Yet.
Watch This New Rocket Material Crack Under Almost A Million Pounds Of Pressure.
What Are the Odds You'll Meet Your Evil Twin? “Before you could always be questioned in a court of law, saying ‘well what if someone else just looks like him?’ Now we can say it’s extremely unlikely.”
World’s Most Powerful Radio Telescope Discovers 1300 New Galaxies in Trial Run.
SpaceX sends cargo to the International Space Station, nails the landing.
How Do We Beam Pictures Back From Jupiter? It Takes A Village.
The Mysterious Condition Impairing Astronauts' Eyesight.
New Rosetta images show its shadow on the comet.
It's Time for Scientists to Stop Explaining So Much. "Research shows that more facts don't necessarily lead to changed minds, but my colleagues have a hard time accepting it."
What Happens When a Harassment Whistleblower Goes on the Science Job Market.
When CGI Meets Ferrofluid, Things Get Weird: "a design studio in Barcelona created a short video using this strange material along with CGI to create something that resembles a Pixar film you’d watch in hell."
The science of serving draft beer at 35,000 feet: Heineken's ingenious “air keg.”
The Peacock-Tail Theory of AP Calculus.
The Man Who Knew Infinity: what the film will teach you (and what it won't).
Marie Curie Attended Secret, Underground “Flying University” When Poland Blocked Women from Advancing Their Education.
Stanley Kubrick’s Daughter Vivian Debunks the Age-Old Moon Landing Conspiracy.
Here's How You Could Have A Tron Light-Cycle Battle In Real Life.
"The plural of anecdote is not data": Watch this Scientist Give a Step-by-Step Takedown of Anecdotal Evidence.
Starfleet Academy: The Intrepid Museum's new interactive exhibit will school you in Star Trek.
Futurama and the Science of Comedy: "a look at the show that brought humor and emotion into the sterile world of science and arithmetic."
Everyone Knows the Best Hot Tub Time Machines are Built From DeLorean.: "for the latest episode of Super-Fan Builds, two of the most unusual time machines were merged to create an even better way to relax and let the hours fly by."
xkcd Answers How Many Fireflies It Would Take to Match the Brightness of the Sun.
Shanks FX Recreates the Teleporter Effect From Star Trek: The Original Series Using Household Items.
Watch Trashonauts, a Cute Animated Short About Space Junk. Per Nerdist, the film "features a grumpy old space garbage man collecting the many items we’ve left floating out in orbit."