Welcome to another issue of Fast Friday Farrago (read: mashup) where we bring you the exciting happenings in the world of science in the past week!
We begin by bringing up a subject that everyone has always thought about, but no-one has really investigated… until now! Finally, we know with confidence that old people really do smell differently to other people! But it’s not how you’d think. Old people actually smell less (and better) than young people, but are only one such age group that people can discern purely through scent.
In exciting space news, we in Australia (and our southern brothers in South Africa) will soon (construction will be completed in 2024) be playing shared host to the world’s largest radio telescope – the Square Kilometre Array. This is an incredibly exciting project, as when it is in operation we will be able to look farther back in time than we ever have before, to near the beginnings of the universe! From ABC Science:
With thousands of antennae collecting information from the sky, the telescope will produce an unimaginable torrent of data – estimated at 10 to 100 times greater than the current global internet data traffic… [that] will need the processing power of 1 billion desktop computers.
In a proof-of-concept that science is actually creative, a DNA canvas has been used to draw the letters of the roman alphabet, make emoticons and draw other symbols. Each strand is unique and only 42 letters long, but folds up into little blocks which can be manipulated into different structures. Practical applications? We can’t think of any but hey, neither can the creator: “any technological applications are highly speculative”. Science is about fun then, right?
Finally, we have to remind you all about the coming Transit of Venus across the Sun. Seriously, you should take a look as this thing isn’t happening for another 105 years! What you could actually do is get involved in the science, and replay history at the same time. This app will use data collected from smartphones around the world to calculate the distance to the sun in the same way that astronomers intended to do in the 1700s. This, in fact, was the mission of Captain Cook when he ‘discovered’ Australia!
We’ll leave you with a pretty amazing rap about science from Baba Brinkman. Enjoy!
So we’ll see you next week for some more scintillating science! Adios, amigos!