critical-thinkingHow Earth’s rotation affects vortices in nature
Washington DC (SPX) Oct 18, 2013 – What do smoke rings, tornadoes and the Great Red Spot of Jupiter have in common? They are all examples of vortices, regions within a fluid (liquid, gas or plasma) where the flow spins around an imaginary straight or curved axis. Understanding how geophysical (natural world) vortices behave can be critical for tasks such as weather forecasting and environmental pollution monitoring. In a ne … more

New evidence on lightning strikes
Johannesburg, South Africa (SPX) Oct 18, 2013 – Lightning strikes causing rocks to explode have for the first time been shown to play a huge role in shaping mountain landscapes in southern Africa, debunking previous assumptions that angular rock formations were necessarily caused by cold temperatures, and proving that mountains are a lot less stable than we think. In a world where mountains are crucial to food security and water supply, … more

‘Walking droplets’
Washington DC (SPX) Oct 16, 2013 – A research team led by Yves Couder at the Universite Paris Diderot recently discovered that it’s possible to make a tiny fluid droplet levitate on the surface of a vibrating bath, walking or bouncing across, propelled by its own wave field. Surprisingly, these walking droplets exhibit certain features previously thought to be exclusive to the microscopic quantum realm. This finding of quan … more