Posts

Gold Coast and Brisbane Bound!

I have family in town this week. This means I will be taking a break from my 9-5 and (albeit, part time) blogging next week. A road trip to Gold Coast and Brisbane is in the cards. Of course, we are stopping along the way for some zorbing, sandboarding, and scuba diving. Can't wait to bring some adventures back into my life! -PTS

Happy Halloween -- Zombies in the Animal Kingdom

Halloween is tomorrow, though I find it not as celebrated in Australia than in Canada. Let's not stop learning just because it is that trick or treating time of the year. To play the Halloween theme, here is an interesting post on nature's walking dead! From frozen frogs to zombie fire ants that gets their brains devoured by mother fly larvae, Mother Nature never ceases to amaze us! -PTS

40 000 Generations of E. Coli Culturing

Here is an exciting experiment through 21 years and 40 000 generations of E. Coli culturing later. Amazingly, some 653 mutations had occurred by the 40 000th generation. The moral of the article is that successive mutations do generally allow organisms to become more efficient dwellers in their environment. Turns out once again that Darwin was right! -PTS

Ten Key SETI Moments

The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or SETI, was founded fifty ago. Here are 10 notable moments that deserve honourable mention. Interesting enough, the invention of the Drake equation was noted as one of those key moments. Of all listed candidates, my vote goes to the Arecibo Message. With our technology today, it is difficult to conceive that we will discover extraterrestrial life forms in the near future. We may as well let a technologically superior alien civilization track us down from our interstellar broadcasts. What is your favourite moment? -PTS

The Drake Equation

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Ever heard of the Drake equation? Devised by Dr. Francis Drake in 1960, the equation estimates the number of extraterrestrial civilizations in our galaxy with which we might come into contact. The main purpose of the equation is to allow scientists to quantify the factors that determine the number of such extraterrestrial civilizations. The Drake equation states that: where: N is the number of civilizations in our galaxy with which communication might be possible; and R * is the average rate of star formation per year in our galaxy f p is the fraction of those stars that have planets n e is the average number of planets that can potentially support life per star that has planets f ℓ is the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop life at some point f i is the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop intelligent life f c is the fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space L is the

Harnessing Energy from Speed Bumps

Here is an interesting post on the use of special speed bumps to harness, convert and store energy from braking cars only to be released back to the grid. This seems like an interesting innovation that holds promise for the environment. I have always hated speed bumps with a vengeance. Next time I work the brakes on these bad boys however, I can take comfort in helping the world. Hopefully, this will become mainstream some day. -PTS

A Prelude to the Origin of Life on Earth

I was looking to do a deep dive into the origin of life on Earth, a topic that has always intrigued me. Two main schools of thoughts today generally revolve around creationism or abiogenisis. Before engaging in serious research however, I came across this interesting post . Scientists theorize that Earth's oceans may have been 'delivered' by comets during massive collisions. It was comets and not asteroids because of specific amounts of iridium found in Greenland's rocks. In case you are wondering, here are the common differences between comets and asteroids: Comets display comas and tails due to sublimation of water and ejection of dust particles from solar radiation. Comets have more eliptical orbits than asteroids around the sun. Comets may become asteroids when they run out of watery particles. This article is exciting because it opens up a whole new perspective on the origin of life. It is commonly believed that life first formed in bodies of water. Is it po