Archive for the ‘science news’ Category

Steel Replaces Some Aluminium in Cars

October 16, 2017

After seeing aluminium in more and more cars in greater amounts, automobile manufacturers are swinging back to new lighter and stronger steel to replace the more expensive aluminium.  Fuel economy and lightness of the vehicles is still driving the innovations, but manufacturers have figured out how to use thinner steel while still maintaining its strength.

For the full article from the Wall Street Journal click below.

Steel Is Back in Style With Car Makers – WSJ

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Investment Decisions – Brains Vs. Computers; Which is Better?

June 13, 2017

The two points of view represented below are both well reasoned, conflicting, and cogent, but can they both be right?  The experts currently disagree, but maybe one day the question will be answered definitively.  For now, it makes for an interesting debate, and only time will tell who is right.  Today’s answer may not be tomorrow’s answer.

A key question is how much data does one need in order to make smart investment decisions.  Those who believe best decisions come from analyzing tons of data lean towards computer algorithms, while those who think smart evaluations don’t require looking at every piece of data lean toward human understanding and interpretation.

The term “quants,” refers to those quantitative analysts who crunch the number and are more reliant on computers and algorithms.

Why Brains Are More Reliable Than Machines – WSJ

Quants_ Best Strategy Is From the 17th Century – WSJ

The Nobel Prize in Physics Awarded

October 6, 2016

The following two paragraphs are quotes from a fascinating article about how 3 physicists “playing” with math stumbled upon a remarkable and practical finding.  The link to the whole article follows the quotes.

“A trio of British-born researchers working in the U.S. won the Nobel Prize in physics for what one of them called a curious mathematical “toy” that to his surprise revolutionized the study of exotic matter suitable for quantum computers, new superconductors, and advanced designer materials.”

” “At the time, I thought it was of scientific interest and mathematical interest, but I didn’t think it would ever find a particular realization,” said Princeton University physicist F. Duncan M. Haldane, who shared the award for theoretical experiments he had conducted in the 1980s. “I basically stumbled on this playing with mathematics.” ”

For the whole article go to:

nobel-prize-in-physics-awarded-to-david-n-haldane-and-michael-kosterlitz-wsj

20% error rate found in study of published genetics research papers

September 13, 2016

In a recent study 20% of genetics research papers using Microsoft Excel have been found to have data errors due to improper data entry.  It turns out that gene names such as SEPT2 and MARCH1 (these are actual gene name abbreviations used by scientists) get converted to dates by Excel and then result in rejected data.  The problem is resolvable if the scientists would make sure the data cells were formatted as “Text,” prior to entering the data.

For the full article in the Washington Post click on the link below.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/08/26/an-alarming-number-of-scientific-papers-contain-excel-errors/

Double Rainbow Picture and Explanation

May 2, 2016

Rainbows are frequently created by the sun shining into an atmosphere with rain droplets, when the sun is low in the sky.  Each droplet of water acts like a prism breaking up the sun’s white light into the colors of the rainbow.  Less frequently, an observer can see a double rainbow, in which the second rainbow is higher in the sky, more faint, and with the colors of the primary rainbow reversed.  The prism effect is created by the reflection and refraction of the light by the droplets.

For a more detailed explanation see: http://madeiraislands.net/blog/double-rainbow-explained/

Double Rainbow copy 2

 

100th Anniversary of the General Theory of Relativity

November 6, 2015

Without Albert Einstein, We’d All Be Lost – WSJ

On the 100th anniversary of the General Theory Relativity, it is worth taking a moment to remember Albert Einstein and his great contribution to modern society.  Our GPS travel aids, and our understanding of the cosmos all go back to the original work of this great genius.

Earth-like Planet discovered 1,400 light years away: Kepler-452b

July 24, 2015

Astronomers using NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope announced the discovery of Kepler-452b, an Earth-like planet found about 1,400 light years away in the habitable zone of a distant star.  Reported in the Wall Street Journal July 24, 2015.

For full article:

New Earth-Like Planet Discovered by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope – WSJ