Ponytails!

Have you ever struggled with drawing the perfect ponytail? Ever wonder why there’s an equation for so many random “shapes” (read: all those weird graphs you learn in math), but not for something as common as a ponytail? Ever wonder when a Sim’s hair will finally look like hair? Scientists have been trying to figure out the equation for the ponytail curve since Leonardo da Vinci pondered the question! (That’s 500 years of curiosity over the shape of a ponytail!)

Scientists have finally come up with a formula! And what’s more, it takes into account things like gravity, average waviness of hair, length, swelling of a bundle of hair due to pressure, and so forth. With the help of the Rapunzel number, they have found a solution to this intriguing question!

This will help with our understanding of fibrous materials (wool, fur, etc.), but will also help graphic designers that work for computers. At last, all those computer games that struggle to make hair look like hair, may finally be able to do it!

 

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Science Games

Did you like playing with magnets? Revisit your childhood! Check out this site and find loads of science games! Learn some science as you play!

 

Wait… what?

How many bugs does the average person accidentally eat in their lifetime? What’s the risk of being struck by a meteorite? What animal is nearly undetectable by infrared cameras?

Don’t know? Check out this site!

Science and Music

Like music? Science? Here’s the site for you! Check out http://symphonyofscience.com/ to see some catchy sciency music videos!

~A

PHOTOS!!!

Hey everyone, it’s A here again!

Check out http://www.sciencephoto.com/ to see amazing science images!

Ocean Acidity: Trouble for Corals

Hi everyone, this is A reporting in. The rise in carbon dioxide emissions and its levels in the atmosphere don’t come as much of a surprise. But what’s happening to the Earth’s oceans?

As more carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere, the carbon levels in oceans go up too. As Carbon levels rise, the pH of the waters falls. (The pH is a measure of the acidity. The lower the pH the more acidic the substance.) In other words, our oceans are acidifying.

Corals which inhabit the oceans need calcium-carbonate to form skeletons much like other marine life which needs calcium-carbonate to form shells. As the levels of carbon change, corals and other marine life cannot use calcium-carbonate to make their shells/skeletons.

Thus, in the long run, this shift in acidity could very well result in the loss of many species of marine life and corals. In fact, many of the scientists at NSF believe coral reefs may disappear by the turn of the century!

Luckily, there is hope. It seems that coral reefs (particularly Porites and maybe others like them) may be finding a way to get around this rise in acidity. Scientists are discovering that increasing the amount of available food for the corals, allows themĀ  to increase their tissue mass and calcify, forming their skeletons.

Nonetheless, these changes in acidity may have adverse effects on our corals, waters, and the sustainability of our planet.

Based on the article “Trouble in Paradise: Ocean Acidification This Way Comes” by Cheryl Dybas. For more information on this and other discoveries visit: http://www.nsf.gov/discoveries.