BP says that it's stopped the flow of oil into the Gulf, at least temporarily. They're currently pressure-testing a new cap on the Macondo well. The idea is to cut off flow from the well entirely in order to see whether there are leaks below the seafloor. If those leaks exist, pressure won't hold and the oil could start flowing out from other places. There's also a risk that cutting off flow at the cap could actually create those sub-surface leaks by building up pressure too fast. The test will last 48 hours. If everything holds, it could lead to a permanent capping.
Christian Stangl (previously here) turned a common process into a gorgeous abstract short film using macro footage of things as they dry out. Life needs water. But this fluid tends to evaporate over time into a gaseous state. Drying out is a chemical process that takes hours, days or even weeks. Without enough water the… READ THE REST
Researchers closely studied the wings of two moth species from China and Africa, and found that their tiny scales form a "metamaterial" that absorbs bat sonar — thus becoming an acoustic cloaking device. Pretty darn cool. The paper is paywalled here, but Nature has a good lay-persons' writeup … The researchers measured the acoustic reflections… READ THE REST
Cody from Cody's Lab bought 10 kilograms of bananas at the store, then proceeded to extract 9 grams of potassium from them. He could have gotten about twice that, but his condensation device had a design issue that caused the condensate to solidify and clog the tube. Great fun to see him toss it in… READ THE REST
Sometimes, you'd really rather just boost the temperature in your bedroom or home office by a few degrees without firing up your central heating and paying to pump that heat throughout the entire house. In that case, you just need a portable heater that can wrap a cocoon of warmth around a relatively small, contained… READ THE REST
Earlier this month, stargazers were dazzled by a rare celestial event as The Great Conjunction offered a view of Jupiter and Saturn huddled close together in the night sky. The planets themselves aren't actually in closer proximity to each other, but just the idea of seeing this optical convergence that hasn't been viewed from Earth… READ THE REST
None of us are getting any younger. And while the ravages of time work differently on everyone, there seems to be one area where everyone from seniors down to the way-too-young start feeling discomfort first. Oh, that aching back. A lot of that may have to do with how many of us spend huge portions… READ THE REST