When the Virus Kept Humans Home #sciku #haiku #whales #nature

Covid anthropause
Whales respond to quiet seas
But what do they say?

Michelle Fournet of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, USA, realized that the Covid lock down presented her with a once-in-a-lifetime chance. She could listen to the whales of Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park when they were free of cruise ship traffic. And she discovered a difference. The humpbacks sounded like a 45-year-old recording, before cruise ships proliferated, from nearby Frederick Sound. Thanks to Hakai for the article. There are bound to more more studies coming out about wildlife reactions to human’s withdrawal during the pandemic: to the anthropause.

It’s Not Kinetic #sciku #haiku #physics

Patterns repeating
Crystals exist in space-time
Through four dimensions

Thanks to popularscience.com for their article on time crystals. What a great term, but when you consider… what else could you call them? Crystals repeating patterns of atoms in the XYZ planes should be called space crystals. Add the fourth dimension we all live with every day (even if we can only ride time’s arrow forward) and what would you expect?

Makes me think of a song: You know Dancer and Prancer and Comet and Blitzen… you know Gases and Liquids and Solids and Plasma…

A standard crystal with atoms arranged in 3D space. Suppose one type of atom flips repeatedly between quantum states? Without absorbing any energy! Perpetually in motion without kinetic energy.

Mourn With Ghosts #archeology #haiku #sciku

Millennia past,
Was carefully buried child,
Lovingly buried?

It’s hard for me to imagine what the family’s life was like, but perhaps I could understand their grief.

A purposefully excavated pit followed by intentional covering of the corpse. The child appears to have been prepared for a tightly shrouded burial, placed on one side with knees drawn toward the chest. Even more notable is that the position of the child’s head suggests it rested on some sort of support, like a pillow. CNET

Life in the Dark #sciku #haiku #ocean #deepsea

Infrared photons
Driving photosynthesis
In deep ocean vents

A black smoker, photographed with artificial light

Thanks to Brian Dunning for pointing out this study of bacteria that live in deep sea black smokers – cracks in the ocean floor where heat and chemicals boil up through the darkness. The pressure and temperature down there would seem to make life impossible, but surprise! Certain bacteria do what I think of as something only plants in sunlight can do: photosynthesis. But heat and light are both on the electromagnetism spectrum, so I should have guessed. I love the term for such bacteria: extremophiles.

Brian Dunning’s podcast Skeptoid (with transcripts available too) is one of my favorite sites.