an exercise in miscellany

Archive for the ‘science & nature’ Category


In science & nature, words & phrases on August 17, 2013 at 2:22 pm

perihelionAll planets, comets and asteroids in our solar system have approximately elliptical (a kind of non-circular) orbits (any single revolution of a body around the sun is only approximately elliptical, because the phenomenon known as precession of the perihelion prevents the orbit from being a simple closed curve such as an ellipse). Thus, they all have a closest and a farthest point from the sun: a perihelion and an aphelion.

via Perihelion


In science & nature, wild card, words & phrases on August 17, 2013 at 2:08 pm

ZOTzot v.

1.  to strike or destroy, especially with lightning or other beam or jolt of energy.

2.  slang usage on the Internet, to remove, censor, or ban material or participants.

3.  the cartoon strip “B.C.” has used “zot” for years as the noise the aardvark makes when “zotting” an insect or similar critter.

via zot definition

Fine-structure constant

In science & nature on June 30, 2013 at 7:14 pm

FineSTructureConstantIn physics, the fine-structure constant (usually denoted α, the Greek letter alpha) is a fundamental physical constant, namely the coupling constant characterizing the strength of the electromagnetic interaction. Being a dimensionless quantity, it has constant numerical value in all systems of units. Arnold Sommerfeld introduced the fine-structure constant in 1916.

The current recommended value of α is 7.2973525698(24)×10−3 = 1/137.035999074(44)

via Fine-structure constant

Planet Vulcan

In science & nature, wild card on March 2, 2013 at 7:46 am

solar_system vulcan


Vulcan was a small planet proposed to exist in an orbit between Mercury and the Sun. Attempting to explain peculiarities of Mercury’s orbit, the 19th-century French mathematician Urbain Jean Joseph Le Verrier hypothesized that they were the result of another planet, which he named “Vulcan”. No such planet was ever found, and Mercury’s orbit has now been explained by Albert Einstein‘s theory of general relativity.  Searches of NASA’s two STEREO spacecraft data have failed to detect any Vulcanoid asteroids.

via Vulcan


In people, science & nature, wild card, words & phrases on February 15, 2013 at 9:57 am

lamEgregore (also egregor) is an occult concept representing a “thoughtform” or “collective group mind”, an autonomous psychic entity made up of, and influencing, the thoughts of a group of people. The symbiotic relationship between an egregore and its group has been compared to the more recent, non-occult concepts of the corporation (as a legal entity) and the meme.

via Egregore


In science & nature, wild card, words & phrases on January 31, 2013 at 10:03 am

Harvey  (1950)

A thoughtform is a manifestation of mental energy, also known as a tulpa in Tibetan mysticism. Its concept is related to the Western philosophy and practice of magic.  Mantras, the Sanskrit syllables inscribed on yantras, are essentially “thought forms” representing divinities or cosmic powers, which exert their influence by means of sound-vibrations.

via Thoughtform


In science & nature, wild card on August 8, 2012 at 8:01 pm

In cryptozoology and sometimes in cryptobotany, a cryptid (from the Greek “κρύπτω” krypto meaning “hide”) is a creature or plant whose existence has been suggested but is unrecognized by scientific consensus and often regarded as highly unlikely.

via Cryptid

List of Artificial Radiation Belts

In history, science & nature on May 1, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Artificial radiation belts are radiation belts that have been created by high altitude nuclear explosions.

List of Artificial Radiation Belts
Explosion Location Date Yield (approximate) Altitude (km) Nation of Origin
Hardtack Teak Johnston Island (Pacific) 1958-08-01 3.8 megatons 76.8 United States
Hardtack Orange Johnston Island (Pacific) 1958-08-12 3.8 megatons 43 United States
Argus I South Atlantic 1958-08-27 1-2 kilotons 200 United States
Argus II South Atlantic 1958-08-30 1-2 kilotons 256 United States
Argus III South Atlantic 1958-09-06 1-2 kilotons 539 United States
Starfish Prime Johnston Island (Pacific) 1962-07-09 1.4 megatons 400 United States
K-3 Kazakhstan 1962-10-22 300 kilotons 290 USSR
K-4 Kazakhstan 1962-10-28 300 kilotons 150 USSR
K-5 Kazakhstan 1962-11-01 300 kilotons 59 USSR

The table above only lists those high-altitude nuclear explosions for which a reference exists in the open (unclassified) English-language scientific literature to persistent artificial radiation belts resulting from the explosion.

The Starfish Prime radiation belt had, by far, the greatest intensity and duration of any of the artificial radiation belts.

The Starfish Prime radiation belt damaged the United States satellites Ariel 1, Traac, Transit 4B, Injun I and Telstar I.  It also damaged the Soviet satellite Cosmos V.  All of these satellites failed completely within several months of the Starfish detonation

via Artificial Radiation Belts

Out-of-Place Artifact

In science & nature, wild card on April 18, 2012 at 9:54 am

Out-of-place artifact (OOPArt) is a term coined by American naturalist and cryptozoologist Ivan T. Sanderson for an object of historical, archaeological, or paleontological interest found in a very unusual or seemingly impossible context that could challenge conventional historical chronology.

The term “out-of-place artifact” is rarely used by mainstream historians or scientists. Its use is largely confined to cryptozoologists, proponents of ancient astronaut theories, Young Earth creationists, and paranormal enthusiasts. The term is used to describe a wide variety of objects, from anomalies studied by mainstream science to pseudoarchaeology far outside the mainstream, to objects that have been shown to be hoaxes or to have mundane explanations.

via Out-of-place artifact


In science & nature, words & phrases on March 15, 2012 at 6:34 am

A fullerene is any molecule composed entirely of carbon, in the form of a hollow sphere, ellipsoid or tube. Spherical fullerenes are also called buckyballs, and they resemble the balls used in association football. Cylindrical ones are called carbon nanotubes or buckytubes. Fullerenes are similar in structure to graphite, which is composed of stacked graphene sheets of linked hexagonal rings; but they may also contain pentagonal (or sometimes heptagonal) rings.

via Fullerene