Science!

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Mongrel
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Re: Science!

Postby Mongrel » Fri Jun 24, 2016 8:23 pm

Plants are capable of having intelligence as we know it.

Pollan describes an experiment done by animal biologist Monica Gagliano. She presented research that suggests the mimosa pudica plant can learn from experience. And, Pollan says, merely suggesting a plant could learn was so controversial that her paper was rejected by 10 scientific journals before it was finally published.

Mimosa is a plant, which looks something like a fern, that collapses its leaves temporarily when it is disturbed. So Gagliano set up a contraption that would drop the mimosa plant, without hurting it. When the plant dropped, as expected, its leaves collapsed. She kept dropping the plants every five to six seconds.

"After five or six drops, the plants would stop responding, as if they'd learned to tune out the stimulus as irrelevent," Pollan says. "This is a very important part of learning — to learn what you can safely ignore in your environment."

Maybe the plant was just getting worn out from all the dropping? To test that, Gagliano took the plants that had stopped responding to the drops and shook them instead.

"They would continue to collapse," Pollan says. "They had made the distinction that [dropping] was a signal they could safely ignore. And what was more incredible is that [Gagliano] would retest them every week for four weeks and, for a month, they continued to remember their lesson."

That's as far out as Gagliano tested. It's possible they remember even longer. Conversely, Pollan points out, bees that are given a similar dishabituation test forget what they've learned in as little as 48 hours.


Holy fuck, I think my mind just broke.
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Re: Science!

Postby Mongrel » Tue Jul 05, 2016 12:07 am

Juno has successfully entered a stable orbit around Jupiter.
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Re: Science!

Postby Mothra » Wed Jul 06, 2016 4:54 pm



After nearly five years traveling through space to its destination, NASA's Juno spacecraft will arrive in orbit around Jupiter on July 4, 2016. This video shows a peek of what the spacecraft saw as it closed in on its destination. Jupiter is visible along with the four Galilean moons: Callisto, Ganymede, Europa and Io. The images were taken prior to June 30, 2016, when the JunoCam camera and science instruments were turned off to prepare the spacecraft for the daring orbit insertion maneuver.

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Re: Science!

Postby Hardly Ideal » Wed Jul 06, 2016 7:08 pm

I heard on the radio that it really was a tricky and tense maneuver to slow Juno down. It had to turn itself around and fire its engine for 35 minutes to decelerate into orbit around Jupiter. This meant its solar panels and high-gain antennae were pointed away from the sun and Earth the whole time. And since it takes signals 48 minutes to go to/from there just one way, nobody would know if it worked until long after.

And that's after a five-year flight. If that doesn't make for a field day for your manicurist, nothing will.
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Re: Science!

Postby zaratustra » Thu Jul 07, 2016 5:59 am

What I learned from Kerbal is that you can always correct a bit later. Until you run out of fuel.

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Re: Science!

Postby Mongrel » Sun Jul 10, 2016 1:42 pm

Extended periods in microgravity will eventually effectively blind most astronauts

I see people commenting on this that "Oh well, so much for space", but all this tells me is that it reaffirms how crucial it will be for us to have artificial gravity to do anything long-term in space.
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Re: Science!

Postby Hardly Ideal » Sun Jul 10, 2016 2:05 pm

Mongrel wrote:I see people commenting on this that "Oh well, so much for space", but all this tells me is that it reaffirms how crucial it will be for us to have artificial gravity to do anything long-term in space.

Petty crap like "not being even remotely prepared by evolution" sure didn't keep us from flying.
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Re: Science!

Postby Mongrel » Sun Jul 10, 2016 2:12 pm

Who says we weren't prepared by evolution to fly? We just took a more roundabout way there is all...
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Re: Science!

Postby Thad » Sun Jul 10, 2016 3:49 pm

And we know how to generate artificial gravity: with rotation. From what I understand that's one of many ideas NASA got from 2001.

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Re: Science!

Postby zaratustra » Sun Jul 10, 2016 5:12 pm

It's more likely that we'll find out ways to ammeliorate low-gravity effects on the body than set every bloody spaceship spinning.

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Re: Science!

Postby TA » Sun Jul 10, 2016 5:19 pm

If spinning even works for this.
のほも is such a good word?? the concept is kind of hard to fully get across in translation, but basically it means a feeling of pure, deep, platonic affection, and i think thats beautiful

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Re: Science!

Postby Mongrel » Sun Jul 10, 2016 5:46 pm

zaratustra wrote:It's more likely that we'll find out ways to ameliorate low-gravity effects on the body than set every bloody spaceship spinning.

Well, the article itself states that the only workable solutions come up with thus far involve wearing bulky and uncomfortable equipment for several hours per day.

TA wrote:If spinning even works for this.

There's no such thing as "fake" gravity; it's not like ersatz coffee made out of chicory or "astronaut ice cream" or something like that. The only issue would be in the strength of the pull and the spacecraft engineering required for it.

Considering that designs which feature rotating modules to provide artificial gravity are already among the proposed designs for NASA's mission to Mars, I would assume that this just lends more weight to the necessity for such designs.
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Re: Science!

Postby Sharkey » Mon Jul 11, 2016 5:32 pm

Mongrel wrote:
zaratustra wrote:this just lends more weight to the necessity for such designs.


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Probably too easy to understate the engineering challenges there, though. I mean, it's one thing to send up a tin can full of monkeys with delusions of grandeur. It's another to tie a tether to it and swing it around by a reinforced point at even a third of a G. That's already a comparatively huge increase in weight and possible ways for the whole thing to go completely to shit. That also makes maneuvering an absolute impossible bitch unless you want to set up another counter-rotating set of cans, and then you probably need some kind of central spine to attach them to, and no matter how you do that you're going to have some wear and tear and energy lost to friction. So the least complicated solution you'd probably want for a long term mission that involves actual travel would be a single habitable area attached to a counter-weight (probably loaded with stuff you won't need until you get where you're going.) Let out the spool and start them spinning once you're done accelerating. Then you just have to waste RCS to stop them spinning and spool them back together when you get where you're going or need to maneuver. Not perfect, but probably has the fewest places it could catastrophically fail.

At that point, hell, maybe it's easier to put some kind of shunt in their heads to maintain a better fluid equilibrium. Or just genetically engineer people who don't go blind and brittle in space. Or just send uploads and robots, because this canned monkey thing is never really going to be the most economical solution. It's just all we've got and makes for better PR.

... I've been playing way too much fucking Kerbal.
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Re: Science!

Postby zaratustra » Mon Jul 11, 2016 5:51 pm

Well the advantage of sending living beings is that once they arrive they can make more.

So, a bunch of frozen embryos guarded by robots?

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Re: Science!

Postby Sharkey » Mon Jul 11, 2016 6:03 pm

That works. Or just send robots that make more robots.

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Re: Science!

Postby Mongrel » Tue Jul 12, 2016 1:08 pm

Popular Mechanics: Swiss firm is teaching robots following and pack-placing behaviours... by equipping and teaching them to hunt other robots as as a pack

We're just gonna be appending this to every post ITT, I see.
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Re: Science!

Postby Büge » Sat Jul 16, 2016 1:34 pm


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Re: Science!

Postby Bal » Sat Jul 16, 2016 2:57 pm

Not surprising, given that Jupiter's enormous magnetosphere is the largest object in the solar system.

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Re: Science!

Postby Büge » Wed Jul 27, 2016 9:33 am

A new species of Wolf/Coyote/Dog is successfully evolving

Some scientists think the hybrid animal is able to adapt to city life — which neither coyotes or wolves have managed to do on their own — because its dog ancestry allows it to tolerate people and noise.

The coywolves have spread into some of the nation’s largest cities — including New York, Boston and Washington — using railway corridors.

The interbreeding allows the animal to diversify its diet and eat discarded food, along with rodents and smaller mammals — including cats, which coywolves eat skull and all — and they have evolved to become nocturnal to avoid humans.

The animals are also smart enough to learn to look both ways before crossing roads.

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Re: Science!

Postby Mongrel » Tue Aug 02, 2016 4:30 pm

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