Hey there, buddy! Welcome to another edition of Lab Letters, FF’s weekly science micro-post!
How was your weekend? I hope you found your perfect match at the
mating dating game during last Saturday’s Darwin Date! If not, you can still Facebook stalk the one that got away here.
Keeping one another company, 7.3 billion kilometers away from the sun
(source: AFP/Getty Images)
Let’s talk about Pluto. You haven’t forgotten about the little guy, have you? While we’ve known for a while that Pluto has a troop of five satellites in orbit, the two newest (as of 2012) moons have yet to be named. For now they are codenamed P4 and P5 – the P’s presumably stand for ‘plain’ and ‘placeholder’. Thankfully concerned citizens have come up with a couple of potential names and submitted them to the International Astronomical Union (IAU). If you’re not particularly feeling the Greek names (suggestions include: Hypnos, Orpheus, and Persephone) that celestial objects are normally named after, you can go here and submit your own. Voting ends 25th February. Here’s hoping this naming contest doesn’t get hijacked by internet pranksters.
And play bingo all day long
The head of the newly-established Danish branch of the Max Planck research center is in favor of redistributing the amount of work that people do throughout their lives. Professor James W. Vaupel is an expert in the field of biodemography, the fusion science of biology and demography that usually studies improved longevity and its effects on populations. Vaupel says that people shouldn’t have to spend a majority of their younger years working and then completely stop upon retirement. The better model would be for people to work less hours, but keep working until they’re 80 (or as long as they still can). It would benefit both age groups, as younger people will get to spend more time with their families and pursue their interests, and there is evidence that working part-time can have physical and psychological benefits for the elderly. Everyone wins! Except the robots that would eventually have to do all the work while we lounge around getting into internet arguments.
It’s made in the core of a dying star, not of a core of a dying star. Astrophysicists just don’t understand Norse mythology, man.
Celebrity astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson speculated about Mjolnir’s weight on Twitter, but was quickly proven wrong when Thor fans pointed out that the hammer actually weighs a mere 42.3 pounds. Still, the discussion doesn’t stop there, as something that light and strong is of great interest to materials scientists. Could it be a form of metallic hydrogen? It is possible that such a substance could be formed? Under extreme physical conditions, perhaps? Like… a dying star?
In Soviet Russia… Space Explores YOU
If you still haven’t seen it, here’s video footage of the meteorite that crash landed in Chelyabinsk, Russia a couple of days ago.
And here’s a compilation of meteor videos, all in one place!
And if you’re wondering why so many drivers in Russia have cameras mounted on their dashboards, this might help explain it. Basically, corrupt law enforcement + insurance fraud. Lucky strike for the meteor, I guess?
That does it for this week’s FF LL! Join me again next week!
‘Till then, ♥