Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tuesday Morning Post: Area Rainfall Stats & Synopses of Two Scientific American Articles: Love in a Dog's Eye & All Those Missing Aliens

I had intended to post a full update last night instead of just this brief (albeit useful) entry. Instead, I'll try again tonight.

This includes a weather update to note the regional two-day rainfall totals that were capped by a two thunderstorms last night -- one around 9PM and another, somewhat unexpectedly as the actual cold front came through, around 130AM. Preliminarily, the two-day totals were 1.29" at KDCA, 1.59" at KBWI, 1.03" at KIAD, and 1.87" at KDMH.

Today is a cool, sunny, gusty-breezy day with rain-washed blue sky and temps right now around 62F.

I am planning on going to the gym again tonight as I did last night (jog, weightlift, and swim). (I'll take tomorrow night off.) Of course, given that I get home between 1015 and 1030PM, it makes posting a complete entry problematic.

In the meantime, read this article in Scientific American (link embedded) "Is the Gaze from Those Big Puppy Eyes the Look of Your Doggie's Love?"

The article discusses the findings of Japanese researchers on the hormonal changes that result in people AND their dogs after they gaze at each other or otherwise have good interactions (e.g., petting a dog). The hormone in question -- oxytocin -- is detected in urine. (Yes, that makes this study kind of weird.)

Bottom line: Humans and their dogs really and truly are biochemically connected in a profound way. But you didn't need an article to tell you that.

I came across that article (as a "most popular" on the site) because I had intended to repost in full another article but simply didn't have enough time, esp. to break up the text with pictures. Instead, I'll just post the title of that other article with embedded link and a brief synopsis:

The sub-title: The most far-seeing search ever performed for "Dyson spheres" and other artifacts of "astroengineering" comes up empty. Where is everybody?

(I actually came across this on Salon.com where it was reposted in full, except it has a different title.)

The article discusses a survey of 100,000 nearby galaxies to search for the "waste heat" signature from many Dyson spheres, namely, an optically dim but mid-IR bright galaxy.

False-color mid-infrared image of Andromeda Galaxy.

The totally unsuccessful efforts to find this waste-heat suggests that energy-intensive galaxy-spanning civilizations of the sort that devour the energy output from entire stars are quite rare, if they exist at all, at least in this "traditional" model.

Instead, if there are any such galaxy-spanning species, they are totally different, utilizing energy in a way indistinguishable from their background.

The visually spectacular M51a "Whirlpool" Galaxy and its companion M51b in Canes Venatici (the Hunting Dogs).



"Simply put, profligate galaxy-spanning empires are unsustainable and therefore we do not see them. 'SETI is essentially a search for technological waste products,' [science fiction author Karl] Schroeder has written. 'Waste heat, waste light, waste electromagnetic signals -- we merely have to posit that successful civilizations don't produce such waste, and the failure of SETI is explained.'"


OK, and with that, I really will get my day started on this planet.


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