Return of Son of the Link Roundup

Saturn’s moon Enceladus in silhouette, showing a cryovolcanic plume near the south pole.

I haven’t done a link roundup in ages, but I think I’m going to resume doing one about once per week, mainly to keep myself honest about what articles I should be reading!

  • Caleb Scharf explores a new technique in the hunt for exoplanets: gravitational mesolensing. As the name hints, this is gravitational lensing with an effect somewhere between strong lensing (which I wrote about here), and microlensing, which is a standard method in exoplanet searches.
  • It’s a lot easier to go into space than it is to go to the bottom of the ocean, so a lot more people have landed on the Moon than explored the Mariana Trench. However, conditions at the deepest point in the ocean may have something to tell us about life on other worlds, as this post from Deep Sea News explains. (I am skeptical about the Drake Equation, which is used heavily in this article, but I think the larger points are valid.)
  • On a lighter note (rimshot), how about the physics of that groovy gadget, the lava lamp?
  • Synchrotrons are a type of particle accelerators shaped like donuts, so why not explain their form and function using donuts?

Yesterday was a particularly busy day for me, so if you can forgive me a moment for tooting my own horn, here are a few links to my own stuff:

  • I was interviewed by Tyler Dukes of the Charlotte Observer/News & Observer about my writing and general science outreach philosophy. An abbreviated version of the session ran yesterday. (I’m kinda long-winded, if you haven’t noticed. The conversation was probably 15 minutes long, most of which was me talking, so Tyler had his work cut out for him editing my speeches down to a manageable length!)
  • Every Martian kid has asked, “Why is the sky pink?” I answered this question (and that other more boring question about why Earth’s sky is blue) in a post for Double X Science.
  • Flocks of starlings can contain thousands of birds, moving in eerie concert with each other. Simulating flocking behavior has been around since the “Boids” program in 1986, but most haven’t been very realistic. (In Boids, for example, the individual “boid” must keep track of where the center of the flock is at all times, which doesn’t seem to be how real birds behave.) A new method based on the physics of magnets shows flocking emerging from interactions between individual birds, as I described in my latest Ars Technica article.
  • Finally, yesterday’s Moonday post covered the moons of Mars: Phobos and Deimos.
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