Here’s looking at you

Video: Life on an Eyeball Planet? It’s Possible

By: SciShow Space



Eyeball planets are a nickname for planets that are tidally locked to their parent star., meaning the same side always faces the star. This name comes from the way the side facing the star would be a baked desert, the side facing away from the star would be a frozen wasteland, and there could be concentric circles of in between zones.

An example of a tidally locked celestial body is our own Moon.

This concept is pretty inhospitable to life, however it’s possible that a Eyeball planet orbiting a Red Dwarf, with a strong magnetic field, in the habitable zone, and with water and an atmosphere, could support life with temperatures between 50 and -50 celcius.

For these planets, life could exist in the area between the two sides. However, it would need to be able to deal with very little light, and very strong winds. Also, there would be no day/night cycle, something on which almost all life on Earth has some kind of reliance.

Reach out to an old friend.

Video: Loneliness

By: Kurzgesagt




46% of all Americans report feeling lonely

Loneliness can be thought of as analogous to hunger for social interaction. It’s an evolutionary product where humans who were part of social groups were much more likely to survive than those living alone.

The enlightenment and industrial revolution stressed the importance of the individual and deemphasized the importance of social groups.

In the modern world we move away from the social groups of our childhood and have more troubles forming strong bonds as adults.

Chronic loneliness is extremely unhealthy, more so than obesity or smoking.

Lord of the Rings

Video: Has Saturn Had More than One Ring System?

By: SciShow Space



Data from Cassini shows that Saturn may be losing it’s rings at a rate of 5k to 25k kilograms per second. This phenomenon is called ring rain and at that rate the rings will be gone within a 100 million years.

It’s also theorized that perhaps the rings are less than 100 million years old. This is troublesome because many theories about how they formed require them to be much older.

It’s possible that we’re seeing a cyclical behavior where the larger planets destroy and recreate ring systems.

Even after the rings have disappeared, Saturn will still have some rings that are the result of other processes.

Pancakes and Walnuts

Video: MU69 is Flat, and No One Knows Why

By: SciShow Space



MU69 is made of two bodies that are pancake and walnut shaped instead of spheres. This was unexpected as it doesn’t confirm with the current theory that planets were created by matter collecting in the protoplanetary disk and creating larger and larger spheres.

Data from Gaia shows that the Andromeda galaxy is set to collide with the Milky Way in about 4.5 billion years, which is 600 million years longer than the previous estimate.

It’s unlikely the two galaxies will have a direct head on collision as previously thought. They’ll go a bit past each other before circling back to form a single galaxy.

Hungry Hungry Hormones.

Video: The Real Reason It’s So Hard to Lose Weight

By: SciShow



There are mechanisms in the body that push back against weight loss.

When you lose weight, your fat cells produce less leptin. Having less leptin causes your hypothalamus to interpret this as starvation and it increases your desire to eat more and have your body run more efficiently.

Ghrelin levels (signaling hunger) rise and Amylin levels (signaling fullness) go down. The result is the brain increases your appetite.

The brain responds to these changes by making the act of eating feel more pleasurable and rewarding.

Restricting calories causes muscles to rely more on glucose from the food you’re consuming for energy than from the stored fat. They also become more efficient.

Many of these hormones don’t return to normal levels when you stop calorie restricting. They can stay altered for years. Even regaining the weight don’t shift the body out of this mode. Dieting can permanently decrease your resting metabolic rate even if you gain the weight again.

How much energy you use at any point in your life actually varies depending on if you’ve ever been heavier or skinnier.

Thoughts: From an evolutionary standpoint, this is all amazing. The fact that our body can detect a caloric reduction and respond by making everything run more efficiently is an amazing adaptation. And for many people in the modern world this is still a lifesaving mechanism. But for the people in the world with easy access to Coca-Cola and McDonald’s its making it harder to stay at a healthy weight. Technological progress is outpacing evolution.

Balloons would never be the same.

Video: The Impossible Element Hiding in the Sun

By: SciShow Space



The first periodic table didn’t include space for the noble gases – since they don’t react with anything they’re very hard to detect through chemistry.

Helium was discovered in space due to a solar eclipse in the 1860s before it was discovered on Earth in 1895 through radioactive decay of Uranium.

By looking at light through a prism, scientists discovered that you can distinguish different types of light by looking at its spectrum.

Light generated by burning different element has a unique collection of dark lines. This is due to each element absorbing light at specific wavelengths. This is governed by quantum mechanics. Atoms absorb photons at different wavelengths, and this behavior is unique to each element.

The solar eclipse allowed scientists to get a spectrum that included Helium from the Sun’s corona by blocking out the main spectrum.

We use spectroscopy to learn about composition of all kinds of things that emit or reflect light. We can even study the atmospheres of planets orbiting other stars.

Nothing was wrong with that name until that sitcom from the 2000’s came along and made my In-Laws think they finally understood me.

Video: What’s Wrong With the Big Bang Theory?

By: PBS Space Time


Notes: From the CMB we can see that the temperature of the Universe is every direction is very consistent, even among areas of the Universe that are outside each other’s particle horizons. The best current explanation of this is that the Universe must have started out very small so everything had enough time to mix around, before undergoing a rapid phase of massive inflation – going from the size of a subatomic particle to roughly the size of a grain of sand. At that point it switched to expanding at the current rate of expansion we still observe today.

The current limitations of the Big Bang theory do not explain the origin of the Universe. They explain what has happened after that.

Before the Universe was 400,000 years old it was too hot and dense for atoms to exist. Photons would be emitted and instantly absorbed. So it’s impossible for us to see back further in time than this – there’s nothing to see.

At the initial stages of the Big Bang, temperatures were so hot that the Higgs field didn’t exist to give particles mass. (Editorial: Does this help explain why the Universe didn’t just collapse back on itself as a black hole? Without the Higgs field and mass, there wasn’t anything for gravity to operate on). Also, we can actually create these conditions within the Large Hadron Collider.

Interesting Links

Article: Don’t Worry, MLB — Hitters Are Killing The Shift On Their Own

By: 538


Notes: “The Shift” is a defensive practice in baseball to use historical data of the places a batter is likely to hit a ball and move the defenders more towards those areas.

Statistically it seems like this tool is becoming less valuable. Somewhat predictability, it seems like batters are starting to adjust to this strategy and change their hitting styles when encountering the shift.

It feels like another example of evolution within the game where one group finds an advantage and another group adapts to overcome it. Taking this idea to its conclusion, it makes me theorize that every generation the players are overall better than the previous generation as we collectively learn more about the game and how to plan, practice, and play it better.

Article: The 8 Signs That Machine Learning Will Automate Some or All of Your Job

By: Gizmodo


Notes: Machine learning is coming and it’s going to significantly change many current jobs. It will replace some jobs completely. Not as talked about though is how many jobs are going to have some or part of their tasks augmented or supplemented by machine learning. If you spending your time doing repetitive tasks or tasks that have very concrete input and output, it’s very possible those tasks will be offloaded to automation, either making you more efficient and profitable or allowing a single person to do the work of several.

It’s coming for all of us eventually though 😉

Article: Cassini Saw Rain Falling at Titan’s North Pole

By: Universe Today


Notes: It’s summer on the north pole of Titan. And it’s raining methane.

Video: How we Make the Coldest Places in the Universe

By: Scishow


Notes: Absolute Zero is the lowest possible temperature, at which point the motion (kinetic energy) of subatomic particles completely stops. Currently we can create situations in labs that are closer to absolute zero than anywhere else we know in the Universe.

The Doppler cooling method involves firing photons at an atom to slow its kinetic motion. But there’s a limit as to how far this can cool an atom.

Sisyphus cooling goes beyond this by having the atom enter a higher energy state emit a photon, sending it into an overall lower energy state.

Buy local food that’s in season

Video: Is Organic Really Better? Healthy Food or Trendy Scam?

By: Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell


Notes: There isn’t a global consensus on the definition or rules of organic.

Organic foods tend to have more antioxidants. (See

There are mixed results on whether organic foods contain more nutrition value.

It’s more important to eat fruits and vegetables than how they were produced.

There does seem to be less pesticide residue on organic produce but that doesn’t mean none. Organic pesticides are not necessarily safer than artificial ones. Toxic is toxic.

Pesticide residue on produce isn’t necessarily harmful under current guidelines and restrictions.

Organic production systems aren’t clearly better for the environment. Conventional farming is better for using less land, and organic better for less environmental toxicity.

Recent increased demand for organic products has caused incidents of fraud or undesired business practices.

It would be better to stop thinking of organic as good, conventional as bad, or their differences being irreconcilable. The best idea would be to take the strengths of both to get out food.

The best method is to buy local food that’s in season.

Are we just settling with where we settled?

I’ve never thought about this before, but this video talks about the potential for planets that are better at harboring life than Earth. Even though Earth is the only planet we know with life on it, just in our own galaxy with potentially hundreds of billions of planets there’s stylistically better ones.

Some of the keys are having a smaller star they orbit, meaning they’ll have a lot longer period in the habitable zone (50 billion years vs the Earth’s measly 10) or having a larger mass (better magnetic field, more geological activity to keep recycling elements)