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Becoming the Noise: A Visit to One of the Quietest Places on Earth

Scratchy . My ultra-smooth gel pen made a distracting and mildly irritating sound that I can only describe as scratchy with each stroke. I became acutely aware of the process involved in forming each letter. I flipped a page in my memo pad to make room for more notes, but the loud, prolonged crinkling of the page only left me more distracted and further behind.
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Want to Build a Nanobot? This New Shrinking Technique Could Help

Researchers from MIT have come up with a new way to fabricate nanoscale structures using an innovative "shrinking" technique. The new method uses equipment many laboratories already have and is relatively straightforward, so it could make nanoscale fabrication more accessible.

Star Light, Star Bright: Measuring All the Starlight (Ever!)

If you made a wish on every star in the universe, you’d need to make about a trillion trillion wishes—that’s a 1 followed by 24 zeros. Of course, you can’t see all of those stars from your bedroom window. You can’t even see them all from the Hubble Space Telescope , and you won’t be able to with the James Webb Space Telescope either.

A Sweet Thanksgiving for Our Galaxy

Sugar. A variant on the sweetest ingredient in many a sumptuous holiday feast, glycolaldehyde has now been found in a star-forming region of space far from the galactic center called G31.41+0.31, about 26,00 light years away from Earth . Directly linked to the origin of life, glycolaldehyde is an advantageous find for researchers seeking out habitable planets.   A team of international researchers used the powerful IRAM radio telescope in France to observe G31.41+0.31 with high angular resolution and at different wavelengths. This allowed the researchers to view astronomical objects with extreme sharpness and fine detail. Several observations confirmed the presence of glycolaldehyde at the core of the region. The simplest of monosaccharide sugars, glycolaldehyde (the prefix "glyco" indicates the presence of a sugar on a non-carbohydrate substance) can react with the substance propenal to form ribose, the backbone of ribonucleic acid ( RNA ). Although deoxyribonucleic

The Science Behind Turkey Time

Wild Turkey / Image Credit: Andrea Westmoreland via Flickr There are 60-foot high balloons floating above packed city blocks , cranberries on the stove, inside-the-turkey stuffing, mashed potatoes, outside-the-turkey stuffing, football, abominably huge turkeys, and one lucky bird . The best part of Thanksgiving dinner? Leftover Thanksgiving dinner. But those leftovers take hard work-- that hot, perfect, leftover Thanksgiving dinner Friday lunch sandwich -- that takes precision, dedication, and extra cranberries. In this Thanksgiving-special post, we present this great video from the American Chemical Society that sheds light on the science behind pop-up turkey timers, mashed potatoes, and those great thanksgiving naps. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

A More Fun Way to Pass Kidney Stones?

Who hasn’t wished the doctor would prescribe a week of vacation or a trip to Walt Disney World to cure an ailment? For patients with kidney stones, that might be just around the corner.

The Lengthy History of the Meter

By: Hannah Pell Two years ago on November 16th, 2018, representatives from more than 60 member nations of the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (International Bureau of Weights and Measures) convened in Versailles, France to make a very important decision. Representatives in attendance to the 26th General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM) unanimously voted to redefine the International System of Units (SI) according to fundamental constants in nature, including the speed of light in a vacuum, elementary charge value of the electron, and the Planck, Avogadro, and Boltzmann constants. Such a change — appropriately made on World Metrology Day — would have ripple effects around the world with regard to how scientific measurements are determined. The proposition noted that an “essential requirement” for the SI system is that it is “uniform and accessible world-wide,” and that the units themselves “must be stable in the long term, internally self-consistent, and practically