Thursday, December 27, 2012

Time to Confront Climate Change -

Time to Confront Climate Change -

 "Four years ago, in sharp contrast to the torpor and denial of the George W. Bush years, President Obama described climate change as one of humanity’s most pressing challenges and pledged an all-out effort to pass a cap-and-trade bill limiting greenhouse gas emissions."

'via Blog this'

Essay - The Collider, the Particle and a Theory About Fate -

Essay - The Collider, the Particle and a Theory About Fate -

 "More than a year after an explosion of sparks, soot and frigid helium shut it down, the world’s biggest and most expensive physics experiment, known as the Large Hadron Collider, is poised to start up again. In December, if all goes well, protons will start smashing together in an underground racetrack outside Geneva in a search for forces and particles that reigned during the first trillionth of a second of the Big Bang."

'via Blog this'

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Drought Threatens Shipping on Mississippi River -

Drought Threatens Shipping on Mississippi River -

"The Mississippi River is still open for business — for now. January is another story."

'via Blog this'

West Antarctic Warming Faster Than Thought, Study Finds -

West Antarctic Warming Faster Than Thought, Study Finds -

"New research suggests that West Antarctica has warmed much more than scientists have thought over the last half century, an ominous finding given that the huge ice sheet there may be vulnerable to long-term collapse, with potentially drastic effects on sea level."

'via Blog this'

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Brooklyn's Mayans Pretty Sure World Won't End Friday -

Brooklyn's Mayans Pretty Sure World Won't End Friday -

"If the world is ending Friday, as many earthlings say the ancient Mayans predicted, there were no signs of panic, prophesying or much else out of the ordinary on Thursday on the streets of New York’s most densely Mayan neighborhood, Bath Beach in Brooklyn."

'via Blog this'

Chemistry and Biology: Kuhnian or Galisonian? | The Curious Wavefunction, Scientific American Blog Network

Chemistry and Biology: Kuhnian or Galisonian? | The Curious Wavefunction, Scientific American Blog Network:

"Freeman Dyson has a perspective in this week’s Science magazine in which he provides a summary of a theme he has explored in his book “The Sun, the Genome and the Internet”. Dyson’s central thesis is that scientific revolutions are driven as much or even more by tools than by ideas. This view runs somewhat contrary to the generally accepted belief regarding the dominance of Kuhnian revolutions – described famously by Thomas Kuhn in his seminal book “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” – which are engineered by ideas and shifting paradigms. In contrast, in reference to Harvard university historian of science Peter Galison, Dyson emphasizes the importance of Galisonian revolutions which are driven mainly by experimental tools."

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Monday, December 17, 2012

Probes Crash Into the Moon’s Dark (Not Far) Side -

Probes Crash Into the Moon’s Dark (Not Far) Side -

 "Ebb and Flow are no more. The two spacecraft of NASA’s Grail mission crashed on the Moon at about 5:28 p.m. Eastern time, about 30 seconds apart, one of the few times that cheers and claps have been heard in the control room to celebrate the loss of a spacecraft."

'via Blog this'

Take Aways

My worldview changed a bit after teaching the Astronomy course.

Students were engaged. I was surprised by their interest in fundamental science, of course they chose the course, but in any case, it was a pleasant surprise. Thirteen students did well, and a few dropped the class. I am told pure science classes are not all that popular at the College. I hope this enthusiasm remains in the future.

The main change in my worldview is similar to one presented in "The New Universe and the Human Future", by Abrams & Primack. I believe a new religion is coming. I am promoting it, before going to details, here is a broad description.

Prophets have illuminated us since the beginning of culture. We believe.

Hope comes after fear. Fear helps us face dangers, sometimes even with violence, these are self defense mechanisms coming from the beginning of the senses. If the cell does not defend itself it is not viable, it is not permanent, and time stops for that particular life experiment. We all have fears. Nevertheless after the danger is gone, we need hope. We are going to make it again this time. Whoever, or whatever makes it, gets the good feeling of the fulfilled hope. If not, hope didn't hurt anyway.

Reading the review by Paola Caserelli and Cecilia Ceccarelli on the arXive, gave me hope, and a new religious feeling.

We are the children of the Universe, we are not alien material attacked by it. We were born here, and we are welcome.

We need a Cosmic View, like Abrams and Primack are inviting us to do.

Come join us!

End of Term

Readers to this site should be aware of my current interests. I taught an Introduction to Astronomy at Waubonsee Community College this Fall Semester. I have been posting Relevant Science with an emphasis on Astronomy, and some Mathematics with astronomical connections. Now that the Fall Semester is over, I put here Science for my next assignment. I expect another semester like this, but at this time I have not been informed about it.

Thanks for coming.

[1212.3553] A Photometric Study of the Hot Exoplanet WASP-19b

[1212.3553] A Photometric Study of the Hot Exoplanet WASP-19b:

"Context: When the planet transits its host star, it is possible to measure the planetary radius and (with radial velocity data) the planet mass. For the study of planetary atmospheres, it is essential to obtain transit and occultation measurements at multiple wavelengths.
Aims: We aim to characterize the transiting hot Jupiter WASP-19b by deriving accurate and precise planetary parameters from a dedicated observing campaign of transits and occultations.
Methods: We have obtained a total of 14 transit lightcurves in the r'-Gunn, IC, z'-Gunn and I+z' filters and 10 occultation lightcurves in z'-Gunn using EulerCam on the Euler-Swiss telescope and TRAPPIST. We have also obtained one lightcurve through the narrow-band NB1190 filter of HAWK-I on the VLT measuring an occultation at 1.19 micron. We have performed a global MCMC analysis of all new data together with some archive data in order to refine the planetary parameters and measure the occultation depths in z'-band and at 1.19 micron. "

'via Blog this'

[1212.3387] Effects of H2 coating of grains on depletion of molecular species

[1212.3387] Effects of H2 coating of grains on depletion of molecular species:

 "Physical conditions in dense and cold regions of interstellar clouds favour the formation of ice mantles on the surfaces of interstellar grains. It is predicted that most of the gaseous species heavier than H2 or He will adsorb onto the grains and will disappear from the gas-phase, changing its chemistry, within 10^9/n_H years. Nonetheless, many molecules in molecular clouds are not completely depleted in timescales of 10^5 yr. Several speculative mechanisms have been proposed to explain why molecules stay in the gas phase, but up to now none are fully convincing. At the same time, these mechanisms are not mutually exclusive and we can still explore the effects of other possible processes. We speculate on the consequences of H2 coating of grains on the evaporation rates of adsorbed species. More experiments and simulations are needed to calculate the evaporation rate Eevap(X-H2)."

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Come Join Us.

"Everything is written out there, every single rock going around the Sun, has clues of our origins. We are slowly learning how to decipher the message left by “The Constructor”, for us to understand. The Universe is not hostile to life, the Universe made us. As I write this, more sugar is being created, more alcohol, more water. This Universe is made for you and me. This is the biggest puzzle ever made. Come join us!"

Our astrochemical heritage

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Federal Plans for Colorado River Include Pipeline -

Federal Plans for Colorado River Include Pipeline -

 "The federal government has come up with dozens of ways to enhance the diminishing flow of the Colorado River, which has long struggled to keep seven states and roughly 25 million people hydrated."

'via Blog this'

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Solar System Information, Quiz - National Geographic

Solar System Information, Quiz - National Geographic:

'via Blog this'

New Observatories Will Warn Public about "Atmospheric River" Floods: Scientific American

New Observatories Will Warn Public about "Atmospheric River" Floods: Scientific American:

"An $11-million weather sensor network being installed in California will give officials more time to prepare for onslaughts of Pacific storms"

'via Blog this'

North Star Closer to Earth Than Thought

North Star Closer to Earth Than Thought:

 "The North Star has been a guiding light for countless generations of navigators. But a new study reveals that its distance to Earth may have been grossly overestimated."

'via Blog this'

NASA to Launch New Mars Rover in 2020: Scientific American

NASA to Launch New Mars Rover in 2020: Scientific American:

"The new rover may collect Martian soil samples to bring back to Earth for further analysis"

'via Blog this'

Graphene towers promise 'flexi-electronics' : Nature News & Comment

Graphene towers promise 'flexi-electronics' : Nature News & Comment:

 "The 3D ‘monoliths’ — grown between forming ice crystals — add elasticity to the super-strength and conductivity of graphene sheets."

'via Blog this'

Saturday, December 01, 2012

How Much?! Calculating the Cost of Online Education


Is an online education a better bargain financially than a traditional program? There are conflicting reports and old assumptions may not be accurate anymore. For-profit and not-for-profit, four-year and two-year, changes in the economy are affecting all sectors. It's important for you to do the math on your own, comparing the schools and programs you are interested in, and ultimately choose a program that meets your career and education needs, and is within your budget.

New initiatives and federal requirements aim to make the process of comparing costs a little easier. More transparency will hopefully lead to open availability of information that allows you to accurately estimate costs related to a specific school and program before applying. 

New Information on College Costs

The U.S. Department of Education (USDOE), as part of a requirement set forth in the 2008 renewal of the Higher Education Opportunity Act, has published more detailed resources about the cost of higher education. The USDOE's new Information on College Costs site presents three pages to help you identify and compare costs at different schools before you make decisions about your higher education plans.

  • College Affordability and Transparency Center (CATC): This page allows you to search by type of institution (public, private, for-profit, and not-for-profit) and choose reports for highest and lowest tuition and net prices. A separate search feature is provided for career and vocational programs, as well as a link to the College Navigator site for additional resources and search options.
  • State Spending Charts: Select your state from the dropdown menu and then download the spreadsheet that is generated with information about state and local grants and appropriations, and how this funding has changed annually since 2004.
  • 90/10 Information: This page provides a list of for-profit schools that receive more than 90 percent of their income from federal student aid. Ninety percent is the maximum amount allowed; institutions must receive at least 10 percent of their revenue from other sources. This issue has had a lot of attention in recent months as the USDOE and legislators reviewed for-profit practices. Schools that are not able to comply with this rule after a provisional time period could lose eligibility to receive federal student aid. For more information about the 90/10 rule, read this U.S. Government Accountability Office report summary from 2010.

Net Price Calculators

The Higher Education Opportunity Act also requires all institutions that receive federal financial aid - and enroll full-time, first-time degree or certificate seeking undergraduate students – post a net price calculator on their websites. This requirement begins on October 29, 2011, but many schools are already in compliance. These calculators allow you to estimate the total costs associated with a specific school. Take a look at the examples already posted by the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and Southeastern Bible College

Net price estimates include tuition and fees, as well as other costs such as textbooks, supplies, and related expenses. If you are interested in a traditional school, you can also add in the costs related to room and board and transportation. The calculators allow you to subtract amounts related to any financial aid you are anticipating in the form of scholarships, loans or grants. Look for these net price calculators on institution web pages related to admissions, financial aid, and information for prospective students.

Questions and Concerns

There are already several concerns about how the new USDOE databases and required net price calculators will work. There are also general caveats about comparing costs across programs and among schools.

  • Accuracy of information: Each school is responsible for entering cost information into its calculator's database. Read the fine print to make sure the estimate you receive is based on current tuition and fee amounts. 
  • Complex forms: To be more accurate, the calculator tools may include a lot of questions, which can be time consuming to complete and a turn-off to students. Take the time required to complete this step in your research.
  • Room and board: Some of the costs stated on school and government sites include room and board expenses, while others in the same list may not. Make sure you are comparing equivalent costs when looking at potential schools side-by-side. 
  • Program delivery: Institutions that offer programs in on-campus and online formats may not charge the same tuition or fees for both versions. In some cases online will be more expensive, while in others online will be less expensive. Check the details of program costs carefully when making your comparisons. 

Do your homework and stay up-to-date on these issues. These tools will likely be continuously reviewed and tweaked as more of them come online.

More Financial Calculators

You'll find a wide range of personal finance and college planning calculators online. I've listed a few of these below, but look for others that might be helpful to you in your search for affordable higher education opportunities.

  • Student Loan Calculator: Use this site to figure out how much your loan repayments will be after you graduate. You'll need to know your loan amounts, any related interest rates, and have an estimate of your starting salary after graduation.
  • College Savings Calculator: Use a tool like this one to help you plan ahead. Enter the annual cost of the institution you would like to attend, the number of years before you plan to enroll, and information about your income and savings potential. This calculator provides advice on how much you should be saving, and how you might adjust your plans, so you will be prepared when you are ready to enter a program.
  • Student Budget Calculator: Students, both online and traditional, can benefit from understanding their own finances and planning a budget. This calculator encourages you to identify costs associated with school (tuition, fees, books, etc.) and living expenses (rent, utilities, child care, etc.). 

More calculators, ranging from simple to complex, can be found at The College Board and

Gather the information you need!

Underestimating the cost of higher education is a common mistake encountered by online students. Use these new tools to thoroughly research the costs related to any of the programs you may be considering – online and traditional. Cost is just one of many considerations you'll want to explore before making your final decisions about applications enrollment. 

Taken From Online College

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