Meet The Man Whose Tablet Invention Could Save Millions Of Lives In Rural Africa

While HIV/AIDS is generally known to be the biggest killer in Africa, you might be surprised to learn cardiovascular disease (CVD) is second on that list, and for adults over 30 years old, it is the most common cause of death in the continent. The lack of cardiologists in impoverished rural areas means CVD’s impact is greater than it needs to be.

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Commissioning at LHC and Conferences

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You might have heard that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is back online. In the past few weeks, it started circulating beams and then they were able to ramp up the energy per beam to 6.5 trillion electron volts which is a new record, up from the previous 4 trillion electron volts. In our CMS detector, we were able to record beam splash events which light up the detector and tell you what is working and what isn’t.

We are busy commissioning our detector to make sure that everything is working well. These beam splash events show things are going pretty well with our detector. Now we have to time the detector to coordinate it with the beam as well as align all of the detectors so we know where they are located with respect to each detector. For the LHC, it will be a few months now commissioning until we expect collision data in our detectors. They have to figure out how to keep the protons circulating for longer and longer periods. This involves getting the approximately 10,000 magnets working together optimally. They then have to figure out how to put more and more protons in the machine so that there can be a higher probability for creating collisions when the beams are brought together.

Meanwhile, there was the American Physical Society’s April Meeting in Baltimore. Here, particle physicists, astrophysicists, and other physicists present their latest results. Some of the headline results include the first maps of dark matter. A good description and picture of the results can be found here. This meeting is always interesting as several hundred graduate students are giving talks and presenting posters. As a graduate student, way back, this was the first international science —> Read More

Celebrating Earth Day the Carnivore Way

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On April 22, 1970, at the urging of Wisconsin U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, 20 million Americans participated in the first Earth Day — a nation-wide demonstration to advocate for a healthier planet. This marked the formal start of the modern environmental movement and heralded the beginning of a coordinated American effort to live more sustainably and ethically with nature. Indeed, the first Earth Day led to the passage of a slew of environmental laws, including the
Earth Day 1970
Photo by Bill Ingraham

In my previous blog post (“The ESA: Taking Noah’s Ark into a Brave New World“), I discussed our naiveté in assuming that saving species threatened by extinction would be as simple as creating laws like the ESA designed to function like Noah’s Ark. There were many things we didn’t know back then that we know now. For example, during Earth Day 1970, as our nation protested environmental degradation, we’d become aware of the mere tip of the environmental damage iceberg. We didn’t know then that we’d already set in motion human-caused environmental effects, such as climate change, that were causing a hemorrhage of extinction. And we didn’t know that large carnivores could create ecosystems far more resilient to climate change than those that do not contain these keystone species.


Larsen B Ice Shelf Collapsing, Antarctica
Photo courtesy NASA

Balanced at the apex of a Roman arch, the keystone locks all the other stones in place. Remove it and the arch collapses. Keystone predators, such as wolves, are similarly poised to hold ecosystems together from the top down in food web relationships called trophic cascades.

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Elk Running from Wolves
NPS photo.

Here’s how these relationships work: Keystone predators, such as wolves, control prey numbers and behavior. On the lookout for wolves, wary elk eat more —> Read More

Dozens Of Dinosaur Eggs Discovered In China

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Construction workers in southern China’s Guangdong Province made quite a discovery earlier this month.

The crew was working on a road in the city of Heyuan when they discovered 43 fossilized dinosaur eggs, including 19 that were fully intact. The largest was more than 7 inches in diameter.

Thousands of dinosaur egg fragments have been found around Heyuan since the 1990s, earning the city the nickname “Hometown of the Dinosaur in China.” The Heyuan Museum received a Guinness World Record in 2004 for having 10,008 dinosaur eggs — the largest collection anywhere.

Du Yanli, the museum’s curator, said the red sandstone formations common to the area make the fossilized egg finds so common, CCTV News reported.

This month’s discovery is the first in the city center, according to the South China Morning Post.

The eggs will now be analyzed to determine their species.

dinosaur eggs
Chinese workers carry fossilized dinosaur eggs discovered during road construction in Heyuan, China, on April 19, 2015.

dinosaur eggs

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Super-Rare Quadruple Rainbow Captured In Stunning Photo In New York

quad rainbow

Oh my god, it’s a quadruple rainbow all the way.

The man who cried his eyes out at the sight of a double rainbow at Yosemite National Park might need to get a new box of tissues — a woman in Long Island, New York, got a beautiful shot of an incredibly rare quadruple rainbow this week.

Amanda Curtis, CEO and co-founder of the fashion startup Nineteenth Amendment, tweeted the photo — which appears to show four separate rainbow arcs — early Tuesday morning, following some stormy weather:

Quadruple #Rainbow at #glencove ny @LIRR station Today will be 4 pots of #gold #lucky #chasetherainbow #aprilshowers pic.twitter.com/4YUUveJuy6

— Amanda Curtis (@amanda_curtis) April 21, 2015

The phenomenon Curtis captured is extraordinarily rare. In 2011, LiveScience reported that only five third- and fourth-level rainbows had ever been recorded in 250 years.

Rainbows are formed by light reflected from rain droplets. According to New Scientist, double rainbows are produced when light reflects inside a droplet twice, triple rainbows happen when it reflects three times, and quadruple rainbows appear when it reflects four times.

Usually, the third and fourth levels are extremely hard to see, because each reflection of the initial rainbow is fainter than the last.

Here’s the quadruple rainbow in all its glory:

Curtis must feel lucky. But not as lucky as this guy:

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