SCIENCE IN THE NEWS DAILY
Why Is That Undulating Blob Of Flesh Inspecting My Oil Rig?
Every so often, the Internet astonishes. Things I wouldn't, couldn't, shouldn't expect, sometimes happen. On April 25, somewhere in the ocean off Great Britain, a remotely operated video camera near a deep sea oil rig caught a glimpse--at first it was just a glimpse--of an astonishing looking sea creature. It was a green-gray blob of gelatinous muscle, covered with a finely mesh-like textured skin, no eyes, no tentacles, no front, no back. It moved constantly, floating up to the camera, then it backed off and disappeared. The camera operator tried to find it, and then, suddenly, out of the darkness, back it came.
What was this thing? It had no mouth. It seemed to be undulating, or at least moving with intention. It looked like it was coming back to the drill to ... to do what? Or maybe it was dead. Just a floating bit of tissue, a whale placenta, perhaps?
You'd figure a video like this, once it went on the Internet (which it did last month) would produce the usual wild explanations from people who know little but post madly, rumors masquerading as knowledge, a great riot of misinformation and silliness. But not this time.
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PODCASTS: From Balloons to Space Stations: Studying Cosmic Rays
Cosmic rays have mysterious qualities about them that scientists continue to research in order to better understand their origins and composition. Dr. Eun-Suk Seo, a professor of physics at the University of Maryland, and her colleagues, fly enormous balloons as large as a football stadium and a volume of 40-million-cubic feet for extended periods over Antarctica to study particles coming from cosmic rays before they break up in the atmosphere.
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