The word alcohol has a long and surprising history. Yesterday the words antimony and stibnite were derived-going back 5,000 years to the Ancient Egyptian eye make up known as kohl. Alcohol first entered English in the 1540s meaning a fine powder produced by sublimation, which derived from the Medeival Latin word alcohol which was borrowed from the Arabic al-kuhul meaning the powdered ore of antimony. The word kohl (kuhul) had been used for thousands of years to denote various types of powdered ores used for eye makeup, including both antimony and lead sulfide, both of which were poisonous to humans. When the word alcohol arrived in wide use in English, its use was confined to eye cosmetic for over a hundred years-it wasn’t until the 1670s that its use was widened to include any sublimated substance, though it still mostly referred to powders. It wasn’t used for the drink until the 1750s when it was used as an adjective-as alcohol of wine-to indicate the intoxicating agent in wine. Another hundred years would pass before organic chemists would classify alcohols as a group of compounds with a hydroxyl functional group (-OH) is bound to a carbon atom.
The kohl container pictured above is marked with the name of the Egyptian Pharaoh Queen Tiye (c. 1398 BC – 1338 BC, also spelled Taia, Tiy and Tiyi), wife of the great pharaoh Amenhotep III, whose cartouche also appears.
Image appears courtesy Keith Schengili-Roberts, who photographed it at the Brooklyn Museum, used with permission under a Creative Commons 3.0 license. Image of ethanol, commonly referred to as pure alcohol, grain alcohol, etc, the primary intoxicant in alcoholic beverages.
The 4th dimension in our case is where the 3D structures including this very Universe combine and exist within changing time frames. 4D structures can’t exist within 3D ones but 3D structures can exist in a 4D just like your drawings exist within that flat paper as lines and points but couldn’t exist in our 3D world by itself. Extra dimensions work the same, like a Matryoshka doll that loses and or gains properties the further you go.
Image: 3D projection of a tesseract undergoing a simple rotation in four dimensional space.
In mathematical physics, Minkowski space or Minkowski spacetime (named after the mathematician Hermann Minkowski) is the mathematical space setting in which Einstein’s theory of special relativity is most conveniently formulated. In this setting the three ordinary dimensions of space are combined with a single dimension of time to form a four-dimensional manifold for representing a spacetime. [**]
In physics, spacetime (also space–time, space time or space–time continuum) is any mathematical model that combines space and time into a single continuum. Spacetime is usually interpreted with space as existing in three dimensions and time playing the role of a fourth dimension that is of a different sort from the spatial dimensions. From a Euclidean space perspective, the universe has three dimensions of space and one of time. By combining space and time into a single manifold, physicists have significantly simplified a large number of physical theories, as well as described in a more uniform way the workings of the universe at both the supergalactic and subatomic levels. [**]
But my favorite explanation of extra dimensions in general is Carl Sagan’s version. His version was based on Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions which is an 1884 satirical short story by Edwin Abbott Abbott:
The story is about a two-dimensional world referred to as Flatland which is occupied by geometric figures. Women are simple line-segments, while men are polygons with various numbers of sides. The narrator is a humble square, a member of the social caste of gentlemen and professionals in a society of geometric figures, who guides us through some of the implications of life in two dimensions. The Square has a dream about a visit to a one-dimensional world (Lineland) which is inhabited by “lustrous points”.
He attempts to convince the realm’s ignorant monarch of a second dimension but finds that it is essentially impossible to make him see outside of his eternally straight line.
He is then visited by a three-dimensional sphere, which he cannot comprehend until he sees Spaceland for himself. This Sphere (who remains nameless, like all characters in the novella) visits Flatland at the turn of each millennium to introduce a new apostle to the idea of a third dimension in the hopes of eventually educating the population of Flatland of the existence of Spaceland. From the safety of Spaceland, they are able to observe the leaders of Flatland secretly acknowledging the existence of the sphere and prescribing the silencing of anyone found preaching the truth of Spaceland and the third dimension. After this proclamation is made, many witnesses are massacred or imprisoned (according to caste).
After the Square’s mind is opened to new dimensions, he tries to convince the Sphere of the theoretical possibility of the existence of a fourth (and fifth, and sixth …) spatial dimension.
The depiction above is a 4 dimensional figure as represented by 3 dimensional cubes within cubes to visualize how 4th dimensions may work.
Related: Carl Sagan explains extra dimensions
I just realized speakers manage to retransmit phonons from any source through a single drum. We simulate the whole orchestra with that one really enthusiastic guy from the percussion section. Damn.
Polymer Grabs Energy from Water
MIT engineers have created a new polymer film that can generate electricity by drawing on a ubiquitous source: water vapor. The new material changes its shape after absorbing tiny amounts of evaporated water, allowing it to repeatedly curl up and down. Harnessing this continuous motion could drive robotic limbs or generate enough electricity to power micro- and nanoelectronic devices, such as environmental sensors.
“With a sensor powered by a battery, you have to replace it periodically. If you have this device, you can harvest energy from the environment so you don’t have to replace it very often,” says Mingming Ma, a postdoc at MIT’s David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and lead author of a paper describing the new material in Science.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/videos/2013/01/polymer-grabs-energy-water
This photographer was attacked by a polar bear while shooting a documentary for the BBC in Norway!
Fortunately, he was in a pod that let him see out.
You can now add polar bear selfie to your photo bucket list.
Incredible Inventions Inspired by Science FictionSubmarine
Known as the father of the modern submarine, American inventor Simon Lake had been captivated by the idea of undersea travel and exploration ever since he read Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea in 1870. Lake’s innovations included ballast tanks, divers’ compartments and the periscope. His company built the Argonaut—the first submarine to operate successfully in the open ocean, in 1898—earning him a congratulatory note from Verne.
While Jules Verne is perhaps most famous for his fictional submarine, the Nautilus, the French author also envisioned the future of flight. Igor Sikorsky, inventor of the modern helicopter, was inspired by a Verne book, Clipper of the Clouds, which he had read as a young boy. Sikorsky often quoted Jules Verne, saying “Anything that one man can imagine, another man can make real.”
Robert H. Goddard, the American scientist who built the first liquid-fueled rocket—which he successfully launched on March 16, 1926—became fascinated with spaceflight after reading an 1898 newspaper serialization of H.G. Wells’ classic novel about a Martian invasion, War of the Worlds. As Goddard would recall later, the concept of interplanetary flight “gripped my imagination tremendously.”Cellphone
Martin Cooper, the director of research and development at Motorola, credited the “Star Trek” communicator as his inspiration for the design of the first mobile phone in the early 1970s. “That was not fantasy to us,” Cooper said, “that was an objective.”
One of the most famous literary characters of the early 20th century was Tom Swift, a genius inventor who was the protagonist in a series of juvenile science fiction books. NASA physicist Jack Cover, who invented the Taser, was a fan—“Taser” is an acronym for one of Swift’s fictional inventions, the “Thomas A. Swift’s Electric Rifle.”
Cadbury Patent Prevents Chocolate From Melting Before 104 Degrees
There are few small pains worse than a half-remembered chocolate bar melting in your pocket. A new patent from Cadbury may make this cocoa conundrum a thing of the past. The producer’s method involves processing sugar grains much smaller. These smaller grains have a much lower tendency of being coated in fat, which often interrupts the sweet crystalline matrix. My only concern is how well this will work with my personal favorite: high cacao dark chocolate.
Oil Spill Dispersant is Made from Food
With concerns about the possible health and environmental effects of oil dispersants in the Deepwater Horizon disaster still fresh in mind, scientists have created a new dispersant made from edible ingredients that both breaks up oil slicks and keeps oil from sticking to the feathers of birds.
“Each of the ingredients in our dispersant is used in common food products like peanut butter, chocolate and whipped cream,” says Lisa Kemp, from the Univ. of Southern Mississippi. She reported on the dispersant at the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2012/08/oil-spill-dispersant-made-food
This is fantastic!
Now, researchers at the Hamburg University of Technology have created a material that beats out both of these ultralight substances handily. They call it Aerographite, and it has a density of less than 0.2 mg/cm3. The researchers grow the material through a novel twist on a synthesis technique known as chemical vapor deposition, a process which gives rise to a network of ethereal-looking, yet surprisingly resilient, hollow carbon microtubes.
Top image by Tuhh, Karl Schulte/DPA/Press Association Images
Salar de Uyuni
It’s the world’s largest salt flat at 10,582 square kilometers, it is located in Bolivia.
The Salar contains large amounts of sodium, potassium, lithium and magnesium (all in the chloride forms of NaCl, KCl, LiCl and MgCl2, respectively), as well as borax.
With estimated 9,000,000 tonnes (8,900,000 long tons; 9,900,000 short tons), Bolivia holds about 43% of the world’s lithium reserves.
Stelarc is a legendary Australian performance artist who has, for over four decades, used his body as his art medium, using everything from robotic third arms to full body hook suspensions. His Ear on Arm project began in 2006 by using a skin expander to create excess skin on his left forearm. A biocompatible scaffold was then surgically inserted into his left forearm and the skin suctioned around it to create the shape of the ear. After all of these years he’s still perfecting the shape using stem cells and surgery to make the ear more prominent. Eventually Stelarc wants to insert a Wi-Fi enabled microphone in the ear of which he says, “if you’re in San Francisco and I’m in London, you’ll be able to listen in to what my ear is hearing, wherever you are and wherever I am.”
(via Vanessa Ruiz at Street Anatomy)
Life on an Icy Moon
Jupiter’s moon Europa is the size of the Earth’s moon, and yet it holds more than twice as much water as all of Earth’s oceans combined. Europa’s salty ocean covers the entire surface, and the crust is completely frozen over because the moon is 780,000,000 km from the sun and has an average temperature of -160 degrees Celsius. The icy moon’s orbit is eccentric, orbiting in an oval instead of a circle, and so Jupiter’s enormous gravitational pull constantly squeezes and stretches the moon, creating constant motion and likely the surface cracks too. This tidal heating generates warmth, which creates a significant chance that this distant ocean is harboring life. Radiation from Jupiter’s magnetosphere could destroy life at shallow depths, but new research suggests that there’s oxygen available in the subsurface ocean that could support oxygen-based metabolic processes. Scientists must now determine how deep such organisms must hide in order to avoid radiation, and therefore how deep we need to go to find them. The icy crust might be hundreds of metres or even kilometres thick, and so sending a probe through the surface would be difficult, but we have to try, because Europa is one of the best potential sources for extraterrestrial life in the solar system.
Their answer, in short: Yes, a hot drink can cool you down, but only in specific circumstances. “If you drink a hot drink, it does result in a lower amount of heat stored inside your body, provided the additional sweat that’s produced when you drink the hot drink can evaporate,” Jay says.
How does this work? “What we found is that when you ingest a hot drink, you actually have a disproportionate increase in the amount that you sweat,” Jay says. “Yes, the hot drink is hotter than your body temperature, so you are adding heat to the body, but the amount that you increase your sweating by—if that can all evaporate—more than compensates for the the added heat to the body from the fluid.”
The increased rate of perspiration is the key. Although sweat may seem like a nuisance, the body perspires for a very good reason. When sweat evaporates from the skin, energy is absorbed into the air as part of the reaction, thereby cooling the body. A larger amount of sweat means more cooling, which more than counteracts the small amount of heat contained in a hot beverage relative to the entire body.”