Looking your best may be as much a science as it is an art.
Looking your best may be as much a science as it is an art—especially in the makeup business.
Take a look at the cosmetics and beauty products on display when you shop: hair gel, lipstick, nail polish, shimmer, lip gloss, mascara, eye shadow, face powder, hair spray, eye liner, glitter, face cream, body lotion, and more. Every one of these items is a chemical concoction.
“Formulating cosmetics is a cross between—it sounds nasty—real chemistry and cooking,” says Steve Hasher. He works at Estee Lauder, a major makeup company in New York.
The men and women who create cosmetics have to know science, especially chemistry, Hasher says. But a product’s success also depends a lot on how it looks and feels.
It’s impossible to see with the naked eye, but astronomers say a bridge made of dark matter connects two galaxy clusters. This picture shows hot gas around and between the two clusters, Abell 222 (blob at top) and Abell 223 (bottom blob). The yellow is the hottest part of the gas, where the galaxies reside, and the red is cooler. Credit: ESA/ XMM-Newton/ EPIC/ ESO (J. Dietrich)/ SRON (N. Werner)/ MPE (A. Finoguenov)
Researchers are tracking down why some types of cicadas emerge in vast numbers only once every 17 years.
If it hasn’t happened yet, it could occur any day now.
The first signs are little holes in the ground in yards, orchards, and fields. Then, one warm evening, big, red-eyed bugs start crawling out of the holes.
The next morning, thousands upon thousands of these black, winged insects, known as cicadas, cover sidewalks, mailboxes, tree branches, and roofs across certain areas of the United States. The loud throb of their alien-sounding, high-pitched screeches fills the air.
For the first time in 17 years, such a cicada onslaught is due to hit Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Long Island, Cincinnati, Detroit, and other parts of the Northeast and Midwest.
If you don’t like bugs, watch out. For anyone who lives in the invasion area, the cicadas will be impossible to ignore, says David Marshall. He’s an evolutionary biologist and cicada expert at the University of Connecticut in Storrs.
And, if you’re caught by surprise, the experience can be pretty overwhelming. Some people find it downright creepy.
Scientists have found that when albatrosses forage for food, their flight path looks like a mathematical pattern called a fractal. Credit: Coedekoven/SWFSC/NOAA
People may say that math is for the birds. A new study shows this may be true, at least for a giant seabird called an albatross.
A team of scientists in Europe recently studied the flights of these large birds as they hunted for food. The scientists did not observe the birds adding, subtracting, multiplying or dividing. But when the researchers looked at the shapes traced by the birds’ flights, the formations looked familiar.
The twists and turns of the flight path looked a lot like a fractal, a mathematical design. Fractals are curves or shapes that look almost the same no matter how far you zoom in or how far you zoom out. (Mathematicians call this feature “self-similarity.”) The shape of a country’s coastline, for example, looks like a fractal. Observed from a faraway satellite, the coastline looks like a squiggle. If you fly over the coast closer, in a helicopter, you’ll see that the squiggles have their own, smaller squiggles (like large jutting rocks or cliffs). And if you walk along the coast on your own two feet, you’ll see even smaller squiggles where the tide laps against the land.
The scientists who studied the albatrosses found self-similarity in the birds’ flights. They attached GPS devices to 88 birds. Each GPS device recorded the position of the bird it was attached to either every second or every 10 seconds. Using this method, scientists could trace the path of the bird on a map. The team found that the birds often flew long distances in a straight line and then made lots of turns and shorter flights as they hunted for food over a new section of the ocean.
At around 11:30pm (Netherlands time) on the night of December 17th I had called the young Dutch medium Robbert van den Broeke in Holland, and we talked until about 1:30 2:00 am (Netherlands time) about various things. Toward the end of our conversation Robbert said he felt that some circles might be coming in the snow...and I got the impression, based on my past experiences with Robbert (http://www.bltresearch.com/robbert/php), that this was likely to occur before Christmas.
The next evening (Friday, Dec. 18th) at around midnight Robbert got a very strong feeling that a formation was arriving at a field not too far from his home which we call the "special" field (because so many anomalous events have occurred there over the years). He telephoned a local friend, Ellen Gomis, to ask if she would drive him to the field to see if there was a new circle present, and Ellen agreed. It was very cold and there were several inches of snow on the ground.
When they arrived at around 1:00 am (Saturday, Dec. 19th) Robbert immediately felt what he described to me as a quiet, very still, "holy" feeling and heard what he could best describe as a choir of "angels" singing. I asked Robbert if Ellen heard this, too, but he said "no"-it was only he who heard the "singing." As they walked down from the dike both Ellen and Robbert saw multiple rings which had been scooped out of the snow-covered field.
Because it was dark, and very very cold, Robbert and Ellen did not stay long to inspect the field. The next day (Saturday, December 19th) Robbert and Roy Boschman returned and could then see the entire formation-but Robbert is not certain that all of the rings were present the night before. He thinks that perhaps more rings were added after he and Ellen left late Friday night.
When Roy and Robbert got to the field in daylight on the 19th no footsteps were visible except near the edges of the formation closest to the dike, where Robbert and Ellen had walked the night before. There were no footprints at all out in the rest of the field, or in any of the rings farther out in the field. And there were also no piles of the snow which had apparently been removed anywhere in the field.
A team of researchers at Osaka University, Japan, fused a molybdenum-porphyrin complex and a tungsten polyoxometalate to form a compound they have named the 'porphyrin hamburger'. Two saddle-shaped porphyrin complexes make up the burger buns, while a cluster of tungsten oxide anions surrounding a central silicon cation, known as a polyoxometalate, forms the meat sandwiched between them. The molecules are joined by stable coordination bonds.
This must give plenty of opportunity for derivatives along the lines of Porphyrin Cheeseburger. Or perhaps you could even attach penguinone to make a penguin burger? Or even attach a molecule of cocaine to get a burger and coke?
This molecule not only has a name that sounds like a bicycle, ironically it even looks like one too. In fact, the bicyclohexyl compound with isopropyl and methyl sidechains (2-isopropyl-3'-methylbicyclohexyl, shown in the diagram) looks even more like a bicycle. There is also tricyclene, but unfortunately its structure looks nothing like a tricycle. Replacing the two cyclohexyl rings with two cyclobutadienyl rings would produce square tyres so the bike could ride on a road paved with repeated cycloidal-shaped bricks. Any doubts about this mathematical oddity should be directed to the French mathematician Jacques Tits (Yes, that's his real name! He mainly worked on group theory, and is famous for the so-called Tits buildings, Tits alternative and Tits group). Of course, this bike could only be used when it's very cold because of the instability of the four-membered rings.
Here's a molecule that has been designed to look like a wheelbarrow. It doesn't seem to have a full name yet, so it's just called Wheelbarrow Molecule. What's next, a molecular lawn mower? Pruning shears?
A solar cycle: a montage of ten years' worth of Yohkoh SXT images, demonstrating the variation in solar activity during a sunspot cycle, from after August 30, 1991, at the peak of cycle 22, to September 6, 2001, at the peak of cycle 23. Credit: the Yohkoh mission of Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS, Japan) and NASA (US). Main article: X-ray dark star
X-ray dark stars
During the solar cycle, as shown in the sequence of images at right, at times the Sun is almost X-ray dark, almost an X-ray variable. Betelgeuse, on the other hand, appears to be always X-ray dark. Hardly any X-rays are emitted by red giants. There is a rather abrupt onset of X-ray emission around spectral type A7-F0, with a large range of luminosities developing across spectral class F. Altair is spectral type A7V and Vega is A0V. Altair's total X-ray luminosity is at least an order of magnitude larger than the X-ray luminosity for Vega. The outer convection zone of early F stars is expected to be very shallow and absent in A-type dwarfs, yet the acoustic flux from the interior reaches a maximum for late A and early F stars provoking investigations of magnetic activity in A-type stars along three principal lines. Chemically peculiar stars of spectral type Bp or Ap are appreciable magnetic radio sources, most Bp/Ap stars remain undetected, and of those reported early on as producing X-rays only few of them can be identified as probably single stars. X-ray observations offer the possibility to detect (X-ray dark) planets as they eclipse part of the corona of their parent star while in transit. "Such methods are particularly promising for low-mass stars as a Jupiter-like planet could eclipse a rather significant coronal area."