Saturday, August 20

Tag: science

Who Really Gets to Be a Scientist? An Interview with Angela Saini
Science & Technology

Who Really Gets to Be a Scientist? An Interview with Angela Saini

Does it now take three or four minutes to race up to the moon? Is that really important? Or should science be used for what we actually need in order to pursue human development, such as finding new ways to produce crops, combat climate change, and so on? Because how realistic is it really for someone, who had to work themselves up from the very bottom, to get funding for a flying race car? Unless your name is Elon Musk, the odds are terrible and incredibly unfair. And this shouldn’t be the case. Regardless of socio-economic background, or gender, or race. Everyone can be a scientist. So what is stopping us? Last Monday, I was sitting in my maths seminar when this guy suddenly told me that women are biologically less capable of logical thinking than men. I couldn’t believe what I was h...
Sex on the Brain
Science & Technology

Sex on the Brain

Sex is one of those topics that has a presence in so many aspects of our society – talked about on chat shows and in magazines; joked about at comedy nights and, if you’ve had the pleasure of the British education system, briefly and uncomfortably taught to you. But beyond the physical act, how many people actually understand what’s happening to their body - and their mind - during sex? Our biological desire to have sex is driven by chemical changes; in men the primary influence comes from the somewhat synonymous testosterone, while in women things are a little more complicated. Before Sex Before sex the limbic system in the brain activates. This is the region responsible for physical drives and some aspects of emotional processing, such as innate emotions like fear and aggressio...
Beef VS Bug: how we can all limit the 1.5°C rise
News, Science & Technology

Beef VS Bug: how we can all limit the 1.5°C rise

I’m not vegan. I flew home last month. I threw away a plastic bottle. Am I a bad person? As of right now, our planet is NOT on track to limit global warming to 1.5°C. And yes, we’ve all played a part in this. That trip to Greece last summer? Not a good choice mate. But that doesn’t mean it’s too late to change. In light of the COP26 that took place in Glasgow this year, let’s have a look at how feasible the 1.5°C temperature rise limit really is, and how we as students are the best people to make that change and save the earth through our eating habits. According to UNEP’s six-sector solution, we can reduce up to 29-32 gigatonnes (GT) of CO2e by 2030, enough to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C. How? By eating bugs. No seriously; reducing food loss and waste, and switching to more sus...
Climate Change and the Role of Carbon Demystified
Science & Technology

Climate Change and the Role of Carbon Demystified

Two years ago, we were warned by the UN’s Climate Council (IPCC) that we had 12 years left to limit global warming or face irreplaceable damage to the planet. Now, COP26 sees nations convening once again to try and reach an international consensus on how to battle climate change. With targets being set by the IPPC, it’s more important than ever to understand the science of climate change and how the planet came to be in this position. A Little History Although the term ‘greenhouse gas’ wasn’t introduced until 1901, the concept was first proposed in 1824 by Joseph Fourier. From there, our understanding of the greenhouse gas effect continued to evolve until the end of the century, with Irish physicist John Tyndall showing that different gases absorbed and emitted thermal radiation to ...
Mark Zuckerberg and the Metaverse: science fiction or (virtual) reality?
News, Science & Technology

Mark Zuckerberg and the Metaverse: science fiction or (virtual) reality?

Mark Zuckerberg, no stranger to controversy, has announced a change in the branding of the parent organization of his media technologies empire. Facebook, originally designed as a social networking website where Harvard students would rate each other’s attractiveness, is now universally recognisable and impossible to escape. Its namesake company Facebook, Inc. is a social media giant owning Facebook (surprise, surprise), Instagram, Messenger and Whatsapp. And now they will be attempting to digitally extend the physical world, through social media involving virtual and augmented reality - with a name change to Meta Platforms. Inc. to boot.  This rebrand accompanies a series of recent public relations crises including the revelations brought by whistleblower Frances Haugen about Fac...
Much Ado About Sleeping
Science & Technology

Much Ado About Sleeping

The end of summer feels like the end of a dream. Lie-ins morph into morning lectures; you never seem to win the daily battle with your alarm clock; and all you really want is to finish that dream about the llama and the-- never mind... Sometimes, it seems that getting a good nights’ sleep (and then waking up again) is harder than getting your actual degree.  You’re likely aware that there are different stages of sleep which affect how you’ll feel when you wake up. However, it’s difficult to get the timing just right. To paraphrase Shakespeare, ‘the course of true rest never did run smooth’. If we break it down, though, you might just figure out how to wake up feeling fresh as a daisy and ready for all of those 9AMs... The first step to a solid sleep is the non-REM (REM = Rapid ...
Hycean Worlds: A Possible New Frontier in the Search for Life Beyond Earth
Science & Technology

Hycean Worlds: A Possible New Frontier in the Search for Life Beyond Earth

The search for extraterrestrial life has conventionally been focused on Earth-like exoplanets --  terrestrial planets orbiting within the habitable zone of their host stars. This method is based on the premise that as life has risen in Earth’s conditions, somewhere with similar conditions could also give rise to life. As such, various exoplanet surveys over the years, including the Kepler and TESS satellites, have catalogued a few thousand Earth-like candidates for further investigation, finding that 1 in 5 Sun-like stars have an Earth-like planet in the habitable zone. However, the candidate pool may have just expanded. In August this year, researchers at Cambridge’s Institute of Astronomy proposed a new hypothetical class of habitable exoplanets and dubbed them Hycean worlds, a ...
Drones
Science & Technology

Drones

London Gatwick Airport’s flight schedule grinded to a halt on the evening of 12th December 2018 after a single drone was reportedly spotted over the airfield. You have probably seen the chaos on national news: 760 flights grounded the following day due to disruption; passengers interviewed on the news claiming to have lost anywhere between £70 and £4,000 on missed-out flights and holidays; the detention of two suspects who turned out not to be guilty after all, and who were called “the morons who ruined Christmas” by The Sun; rumours that there wasn’t even a drone after all. It was all a big embarrassment that a small commercial drone could seemingly fool the public, the Police, the Army, and the entire British Government. The mystery of the Gatwick drone has exposed how integrated drones...
Deepfakes
Science & Technology

Deepfakes

Deepfake is an image editing technique that uses artificial intelligence (specifically deep learning) to superimpose one (video) image onto another - akin to Photoshop for photos. What might sound boring in theory in practice has led to public outrage, debates about the nature of privacy, paranoia and some very funny compilations of Nicholas Cage starring in hollywood classics. Deepfake technology first garnered mainstream media attention in 2017 when a Reddit-User using the pseudonym ‘Deepfakes’ uploaded multiple adult videos featuring celebrities’ faces being superimposed upon adult-film actresses’ bodies (for example the adult actresses’ body with Gal Godot’s face and voice.) Despite having been created using a computer program, the results (so called deepfakes) looked surprisingly r...
Are clouds effected by the extra terrestrial?
Science & Technology

Are clouds effected by the extra terrestrial?

Cosmic rays are charged particles that come from outer space and bombard the Earth’s atmosphere. These particles usually decay in the early stages of the Earth’s atmosphere, raining down a shower of product particles onto the Earth’s surface. If you have never heard about cosmic rays, this may seem very alarming. But the fact is that these particles have been showering over you for your entire life, and can cause little harm. However, a collaboration of scientists from across the globe have been wondering whether this continuous barrage of extra terrestrial particles has an effect on the Earth’s atmosphere, and more particularly its cloud formation. To investigate this question, the Cosmics Leaving Outdoor Droplets (CLOUD) experiment, was formed. Since 1750 the Earth’s surface temperature...