Posts are most likely to be funny or about science, but I promise nothing.
Eckhard Höffner, an economic historian, suggests that Germany’s lack of copyright laws in 1700’s and early 1800’s allowed the country to develop industry much faster than Britain and France in the same period. This may be due, in part, to the large profit the London publishers made from the price they set on their books. They exploited their monopoly and in turn produced much fewer books than their German counterparts, who knew that their books could and would be legally reproduced shortly after. In London, books were luxury items and belonged only to the nobility and the wealthy. In Germany, successful publishers produced two versions of their wares: the fancy hard covers for wealthy patrons and cheaper paperbacks for everyone else.
Höffner says that the prospect of a wide readership motivated scientists to publish their work and allowed individuals to learn through the books and pamphlets instead of verbally from a master or scholar. When copyright law was established in the 1840s, German publishers increased their prices and stopped producing for a low price market.
This submission is a summary of No Copyright Law: The Real Reason for Germany’s Industrial Expansion? by Frank Thadeusz
The picture belongs to Ghetty Images and is one of three posted with the article.
A solar flare – a powerful burst of radiation from the sun – took place today (April 11, 2013), peaking at 3:16 a.m. EDT (716 UTC). This morning’s event was considered a mid-level event, with a classification of M6.5. It was 10 times less powerful than the strongest flares, which are labeled X-flares. Still, NASA says:
This is the strongest flare seen so far in 2013.
Today’s flare was associated with an Earth-directed coronal mass ejection (CME). Experimental NASA research models show that the CME began at 3:36 a.m. EDT on April 11 and that the charged particles left the sun at over 600 miles per second (1,000 miles per second). Most CMEs reach Earth in one to three days, which means this might be a great weekend to watch for auroras, or northern lights. GPS and communications signals might also undergo some disruption.
NASA says that M-class flares are the weakest flares that can still cause some space weather effects near Earth. This flare did produce a radio blackout, which has since subsided. The blackout was categorized as an R2 on a scale between R1 and R5 on NOAA’s space weather scales.
A CME can send billions of tons of solar particles into space, which, if they encounter Earth, can also affect electronic systems in satellites and on the ground. Harmful radiation from this event can’t pass through Earth’s atmosphere, however; there is no danger to humans on the ground. On the other hand, these events can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel. This disrupts the radio signals for as long as the flare is ongoing, anywhere from minutes to hours.
Image#2 | The Solar Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) captured this series of images of a coronal mass ejection (CME) on the morning of April 11, 2013. The planet Mars, which is nearly behind the sun now as seen from Earth – thus located along our line of sight to the sun – can be seen on the left. View larger. Image via ESA/NASA/SOHO/GSFC
Image#3 | SOHO also captured this coronagraphic (a telescopic attachment designed to block out the direct light from a star so that nearby objects can be seen) image of the CME as it moves further out into the heliosphere. Notice Mars (nearly behind the sun) and Venus (to one side of the sun as seen from Earth now). View larger. Image via ESA/NASA/SOHO/GSFC
The photo above is the closest humanity has ever come to creating Medusa.
If you were to look at this, you would die instantly.
The image is of a reactor core lava formation in the basement of the Chernobyl nuclear plant. It’s called the Elephant’s Foot and weighs hundreds of tons, but is only a couple meters across.
This picture was taken through a mirror around the corner of the hallway. Because the wheeled camera they sent up to take pictures of it was destroyed by the radiation.
I posted last week asking people if they knew of some good resources for male victims of sexual assault. Here is the list people came up with:
reblog for signal boost
The solar system’s small bodies have been often in the news lately. There are currently two bright comets in the southern sky, one of which, Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) will soon be moving into the northern sky. An asteroid named 2012 DA14 recently passed close to the Earth. There have been two bright meteors in the past month, one in Russia and one in California.
But these types of bodies aren’t the smallest relics of the solar system visible from here on Earth. A rare and hard to spot phenomenon called the Zodiacal Light, made from tiny solar system dust particles, can only be sighted under the best conditions. And a good time to view it is coming up soon.
Comets and asteroids are fairly similar, mainly differing in their composition and orbits. Comets are made of ice and dust; asteroids of rock. Comets have tails because their ice is melted by the sun and is swept away by the solar wind. Asteroid orbits are mostly circular; some comet orbits are circular, but many are highly elliptical or parabolic.
Although asteroids and comets are much smaller than planets, they are larger than meteoroids, the objects that cause meteors when they encounter the Earth’s atmosphere.
Most meteoroids are quite small, smaller than a pea. But there are smaller objects still, so small that they cannot be seen as individual objects. This material is called interplanetary dust, and is spread throughout the solar system, but more concentrated close to the plane of the planets, which astronomers call the ecliptic because eclipses occur in this plane.
Most stargazers are unaware that they can actually see this interplanetary dust, when conditions are right.
In some ways this disk of interplanetary dust is similar in appearance to the Milky Way. The glow of the Milky Way is the result of the combined light of millions of stars too faint to be resolved by the unaided eye.
The interplanetary dust disk, called the Zodiacal Light, is the result of millions of dust particles too faint to be resolved. Unlike the Milky Way, which can be resolved with a telescope, the particles that make up the Zodiacal Light are too small to be resolved by any optical instrument.
So you can forget about using a telescope to see the Zodiacal Light. It can only be seen with the unaided eye, and can only be photographed with a sensitive wide-angle lens.
There are only a few windows of opportunity during the year to see the Zodiacal Light, and one of these is coming up over the next couple of weeks.
One factor is that the moon will move out of the evening sky, leaving it darker and making fainter objects more easy to spot. A second factor is that the ecliptic, where the Zodiacal Light is brightest, will be perpendicular to the horizon in the early evening in the northern hemisphere.
Wait until the sky is completely free of scattered light from the sun, at least an hour and a half after sunset.
First of all, choose an observing location with a very dark sky. It must be dark enough that the Milky Way is easily visible, because the Zodiacal Light is fainter than the Milky Way.
At this time of year in the northern hemisphere, the Milky Way is setting in the northwest in the early evening, marked by Cassiopeia and Cygnus. The ecliptic, marked with a green line in the chart, is due west, passing through the faint constellation of Pisces.
In a dark sky, you will see the Zodiacal Light and the Milky Way as two distinct but very faint objects. The Milky Way gets wider and brighter higher in the sky, while the Zodiacal Light gets narrower and fainter. The first is a band, the second a cone.
If you succeed in spotting the Zodiacal Light over the next few weeks, you will have observed one of the rarest phenomena in the night sky.
Hockey for the legally blind (to the fully blind) has developed in several provinces in Canada. There are some variations in rules and pucks due to the separation, but one thing is the same: the puck makes noise. Players with more functional vision tend to play the forward positions, while those with less vision play defense. Those that are blind tend to play goal because they do not need to orient themselves and navigate in the arena.
There have been a couple tournaments where teams from different areas have met up to play, and they have worked on standardizing the rules. The teams are still deciding on a standard puck. They are looking for a puck that moves predictably, slowly (relative to pucks for sighted players), and makes a noise that is both loud and distinct from skates. NC State University students have been trying to design a puck that will fit their requirements.
For more information click on the pictures (each links to a different place) or check out Courage Canada http://www.couragecanada.ca/programs/canadian-blind-hockey/
In recent years, biologists have recognized that birds engage in play. Juvenile Common Ravens are among the most playful of bird species. They have been observed to slide down snowbanks, apparently purely for fun. They even engage in games with other species, such as playing catch-me-if-you-can with wolves, otters and dogs. Common Ravens are known for spectacular aerobatic displays, such as flying in loops or interlocking talons with each other in flight.
They are also one of only a few wild animals who make their own toys. They have been observed breaking off twigs to play with socially.