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Fascinating scientific stuff

beer good

Well-Known Member
I don't think we have a general thread for various findings, discoveries, ideas and theories that are just... fascinating. Not necessarily new, just stuff you look at and go "Wow, we share the planet/galaxy/universe with that? Awesome!"

For starters, did you know there's a giant waterfall of blood in Antarctica? Well, sort of. HP Lovecraft would have grinned from ear to ear if he knew about this. And the explanation for how it happens just makes it better.

Spock might be interested to know that water bears are the only known terrestrial species that can survive unprotected in outer space.

If the polar bears ever find out how to do it we're screwed.
How about the Door to Hell in Derweze, Turkmenistan:

The Derweze area is rich in natural gas. While drilling in 1971, geologists tapped into a cavern filled with natural gas. The ground beneath the drilling rig collapsed, leaving a large hole with a diameter of about 70 metres (230 ft) at 40°15′10″N 58°26′22″E. To avoid poisonous gas discharge, it was decided to burn it off. Geologists had hoped the fire would use all the fuel in a matter of days, but the gas still burns 40 years later. Locals have dubbed the cavern "The Door to Hell."




Oh, those wacky Soviets.

Fingers crossed I can go there next year.
I guess that's not really fascinating science, just a really big environmental disaster that looks cool at night.
You all probably know about this one (I'm always behind the times) but if you like podcasts you should subscribe to The Skeptics Guide to the Universe http://www.theskepticsguide.org/ (free through iTunes). Very cool science podcasting and wicked humor weekly. I'm an addict.
Moonmilk river--- Lait de lune---- Mondmilch
Moonmilk is the term given to the white pasty material often seen coating walls and stalactites in caves. It is a precipitate from limestone comprising aggregates of fine crystals of varying composition usually made of carbonate materials, e.g., calcite, hydromagnesite, and monohydrocalcite.

Gravity Probe B Satellite Proves Einstein Right

Gravity Probe B circled Earth from pole to pole for 17 months starting 20 April 2004 and used gyroscopes to measure two aspects of general relativity. One, the "geodetic effect," arises because Earth's mass creates a kind of dimple in spacetime that messes up the usual rules of geometry. As a result, the circumference of a circle around Earth should be slightly shorter than Euclid's value of 2π times the circle's radius. Gravity Probe B measured the predicted 2.8-centimeter decrement in its 40,000-kilometer orbit to 0.25% precision.

The satellite also confirmed the frame-dragging effect, in which the rotating Earth twists the surrounding spacetime. It's as if the spinning Earth were immersed in honey, Everitt explained. "When it spins, the Earth will drag the honey with it," he said. "In the same way, the Earth drags spacetime with it." Gravity Probe B confirmed the frame dragging effect, which is less than 1/10 times as pronounced as the geodetic effect, to 19% precision...
Some Black Holes May Pre-Date The Big Bang, Say Cosmologists

In recent years, however, cosmologists have begun to think seriously about processes that occurred before the Big Bang. One idea, is that the Universe may eventually collapse leading to an endless cycle of Big Bangs and Crunches.

Today, Bernard Carr at Queen Mary University of London, UK, and Alan Coley at Dalhousie University in Canada, ask what might happen in such a universe in the moments before a crunch.

By some accounts, a Big Crunch generates a singularity that ought to cause everything in the Universe to merge. But Carr and Coley say that in some circumstances, black holes of a certain mass could avoid this fate and survive the crunch as separate entities. The masses for which this is possible range from a few hundred million kilograms to about the mass of our Sun.

Very cool.
Interesting. I wonder how that squares with the whole dark energy/universal expansion acceleration theory? Maybe it eventually slows, stops, begins to contract and accelerates in reverse.
That's pretty cool. I may have missed where they said it but there will be no bioluminescent bacteria going as well?