It is really neat when I observe how writing these little science articles about bigger science articles has made me appreciate science even more. The fact that we have science, and that we have it at the level that we do is something that should really never be taken for granted, and yet, it is taken for granted every day. Not everybody should be a scientist. It takes a certain type of person to devote their entire lives to a discipline. However, everyone should be interested in science. It is literally all around you, every single day. That was on my chest, and I had to get it off…you know, so I could breath and whatnot. Now, for this weeks cool science things, that I thought were cool.
CBC (like BBC, but Canadian) has published an article this week, which is kind of cool. As it turns out, the Black Plague is no longer being blamed on rats. Scientists have discovered that it was actually giant gerbils from Asia who were responsible for starting the global epidemic. The discovery was made by researchers at the University of Oslo, working with the Swiss government. The gerbils, which the article claims grew to up to 20 centimeters (8 inches), brought the disease over sporadically from Asia, most likely via the silk road. The plague was then passed to humans by fleas. In other news, rat families around the world are celebrating after many long years of oppression for their alleged crime…
Some astronomers have discovered a massive black hole, that is some 3000 times larger than the one at the center of our own galaxy. Also, there is a black hole at the center of our own galaxy. They found this dark star in a galaxy that is being observed only 825 million years after the big bang. Science Magazine’s Daniel Clery writes, “To have grown to such a size in so short a time, it must have been munching matter at close to the maximum physically possible rate for most of its existence.” Which, if you ask me, is pretty cool.
And now to those mystery dots. They actually might have volcanic origin. The higher resolution photos that were taken as the Dawn spacecraft neared the planet revealed multiple spots in the same basin, which could point to the cryo-volcano theory. However, the photos are still not conclusive enough, and so we’ll have to wait until the spacecraft gets even closer to find out more.
Coming back to Earth…kind of…author John Norman wrote a series of 32 novels that are set on a planet which is on the other side of the sun. Our sun. The planet is called Gor. The basic idea is that this planet is in an orbit that is linearly opposed to the Earth’s, meaning that this planet is always behind the Sun in the Earth’s sky. So, if it’s constantly behind the Sun, then the people on Earth would never see it, know it exists, and more importantly, be completely unaware of any life that may or may not have evolved on it. Sounds…almost believable, doesn’t it. Well, Universe Today’s Fraser Cain decided to publish an article and a video about it. Could this mysterious planet exist? I’ll let you find out for yourself.
Something to piggy back off of the Mars One theme from last week. Mars One has lost it’s television deal. There is hope for humanity. According to Space News, the non-for-profit could not reach an agreement about the contract with the television company Endemol. The CEO of Mars One, of course, said that they still plan to go ahead as scheduled, although their schedule is very ambitious. They will also have to respond to this paper, written by MIT students, who are usually very smart.
Finally, a word on the internet. Because, if it were not for the internet, how ever would you read this blog? The republican opposition to net neutrality .has ended. This means, that today, the FCC approved net neutrality. This, if you don’t understand Washington legislation language — and, let’s be honest, who does? — a good thing. Evidently, John Wheeler, the man who John Oliver called, “link a dingo”, is in fact not a dingo. Just like he he said he was. Or maybe he is a dingo. Who really knows.
Welp, that’s that for science Thursday. Thanks for reading, see you next time.