Monday, October 08, 2012

Science and SF Tidbits: October 8, 2012

Interesting science and science fiction from around the web:
Newfound Acorn Worm Named After Yoda
“Discovered a new type of acorn worm, scientists have. Named it after Yoda, they did.”
Researchers with the University of Aberdeen's ECOMAR project have found a new deep sea invertebrate, much more colorful than Yoda the Jedi. But apparently the force is strong with it...

Nichelle Nichols: Loving Science »
Star Trek actress Nichelle Nichols reminisces about her love of learning when she was growing up: "Science was fun!" Awesome!

• Truth about Lemmings » Ultraphyte
Migrating lemmings swim streams and rivers to find more resources and the strong swimmers survive. But sometimes they mistake the ocean for a stream and even the strong swimmers are lost. Are we lemmings? Joan Slonczewski writes:
"In Vonnegut’s Gal├ípagos, we humans are all lemmings. We all descend from infinite apocalyptic rises and falls. In real life, the ghosts of ocean-drowned humans never return to haunt us, like the Vonnegut’s ghostly narrator. We go on merrily assuming that energy demands, economic growth and atmospheric CO2 rise can go on forever (that is, until the next crash). But what if Earth falls into catastrophe–like the lemmings, we cannot tell the difference between stream and ocean."
• Return of the Science of Aquaman: Welcome to the Trench « Southern Fried Science »
The Aquaman comic gets some things right about deep sea life, but misses the opportunity to include some cool and weird critters.

• NASA plans to use biobricks and urine to build homes on Mars (Wired UK) »
Biology used for building on Mars: Genetically engineered bacteria fed by settler's urine could help produce cement craft bricks as strong as concrete or limestone.
"Every gram delivered to Mars or other planets translates into huge additional costs and energy demands. Biology rather than physical engineering is the only realistic way to do things on a planetary scale," [scientist] Dear sai
•  The Science & Entertainment Exchange »
Television writer (and long-ago pre-med student) Kath Lingenfelter talked to the Science and Entertainment Exchange about her favorite TV shows, the creative process and science. I love her response to a question about why using real science in film or television is an advantage:
"Whatever you think your imagination is capable of, science can make it go further. And, beautifully, the reverse is also true (see: tricorders/smartphones).
Image: Newly discovered deep sea acorn worm Yoda purpurata. Photo courtesy David Shale, from the official press release.

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