Archive for 'News about research'

Belgian sporting earthquake measurements project

Monday, June 27th, 2016

Scientists in Belgium are methodically measuring the effects of soccer games on the oscillation of the earth. Lieven Scheire alerted us, saying “our seismic institute is measuring small earthquakes every time our national soccer team scores at the european championships.

The image you (probably) see below documents seismic activity from a recent match between Hungary and Belgium. (Belgium won the match, 4-0). The institute explains:

“4-0 ! This picture shows the seismic record of the Uccle Surface station. The first goal is not clearly visible, but the three next triggered a big energy release! Goal-quakes! Belgian Red Devils.”


Crud on a Surface: Temperature

Sunday, June 26th, 2016

Where to begin learning about  the effect of “crud” deposits on surface temperature, dry-out and pressure drop, with forced convection boiling of water at 69 bar in an annular test section? A good place to begin is the study:

An investigation into the effect of ‘crud’ deposits on surface temperature, dry-out and pressure drop, with forced convection boiling of water at 69 bar in an annular test section,” R. V. Macbeth, R. Trenberth, R. W. Wood, volume 42 of Atomic Energy Research Establishment, 1972.

Insiders’ Tell-All About the Dicty World Races

Saturday, June 25th, 2016

Scientists are not above, nor are they below, indulging in the sport of racing. This new study tells how a bunch of scientists arranged for a bunch of cells to race.

A Worldwide Competition to Compare the Speed and Chemotactic Accuracy of Neutrophil-Like Cells,” Monica Skoge, Elisabeth Wong, Bashar Hamza, Albert Bae, Joseph Martel, Rama Kataria, Ineke Keizer-Gunnink, Arjan Kortholt, Peter J. M. Van Haastert, Guillaume Charras, Christopher Janetopoulos, Daniel Irimia, PLoS ONE 11(6), 2016: e0154491.  The authors report:


“Chemotaxis is the ability to migrate towards the source of chemical gradients…. Because of the complexity of human genetics, Dictyostelium [whose ability to solve puzzles has led to two Ig Nobel Prizes, so far]] and HL60 cells have long served as models system for studying chemotaxis. Since many of our current insights into chemotaxis have been gained from these two model systems, we decided to compare them side by side in a set of winner-take-all races, the Dicty World Races. These worldwide competitions challenge researchers to genetically engineer and pharmacologically enhance the model systems to compete in microfluidic racecourses. These races bring together technological innovations in genetic engineering and precision measurement of cell motility. Fourteen teams participated in the inaugural Dicty World Race 2014 and contributed cell lines, which they tuned for enhanced speed and chemotactic accuracy. The race enabled large-scale analyses of chemotaxis in complex environments and revealed an intriguing balance of speed and accuracy of the model cell lines.”

David Schulzs, writing in Science magazine, profiles the competition. Here’s a promotional video, released two years ago, touting the race:

And here’s video of one of the winners:

(Thanks to Tony Tweedale for bringing this to our attention.)

Evidence from Mozart’s fly swatter, maybe

Saturday, June 25th, 2016

The Bibliolore blog presents discusses the meaning and import of what may be the remains of a small animal murdered by a famous musical composer:

Franz Niemetschek’s legendary report that La clemenza di Tito was composed in 18 days was not seriously challenged until 1960, when Tomislav Volek published important archival materials relating to the chronology of the opera’s composition. Physical evidence from the autograph manuscript, including the remains of a fly squashed on the paper (probably by the composer in the heat of August), contributes to discrediting the hypothesis that Mozart’s work had begun before he signed his July 1791 contract for the opera.

This according to “The chronology of Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito reconsidered”by Sergio Durante (Music & letters, 80, no. 4 (Nov 1999): 560–594)…

Hey Maths! (Beatles studies)

Friday, June 24th, 2016

Improbable recently drew attention to ‘Why the Beatles Succeeded but Broke Up: the Math(s)’, now we turn instead to mathematical considerations of the band’s music (rather than of the band itself). In particular, a paper in a Special Beatles Studies issue of the journal Volume !, 2016/1 (12:2) entitled ‘Hey Maths! Modèles formels et computationnels au service des Beatles‪’

“[…] proposes some thoughts on formal and computational models in and for popular music by focusing on Beatles songs.”

The article can be read in full (for 5€) by clicking the link above. Alternatively, another publication also entitled ‘Hey Maths ! Modèles formels et computationnels au service des Beatles’ (by the lead author Dr. Moreno Andreatta ) may be read free of charge:

Beatles-MathsNote: The diagram above shows part of a spacial calculus representation depicting ‘Transformations stylistiques sur les Beatles’.

Question [optional]: Explain the significance of the topographically re-mapped fish.
Also don’t miss: ‘Les chansons des Beatles dans l’horloge moléculaire’