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Science ideas

  
Requested in Science & Technology by a contributor
edited by Dreamer


13 Ideas

+3 votes
It helps when you're deciding if some data fits a theory to completely erase your assumptions and instead start brainstorming alternate theories the data could fit. A lot of times one of those other theories is right and your original theory was actually wrong.
Shared by LWBaum (5,620 points)

+2 votes
Name That Bug

An auction for the benefit of science.

There's never enough money for science (unless it relates to weapons research). Auctioning off the names of new species might provide a new source of funding. Right now whenever a new species is found, and we're finding them all the time, it's often given a name referring in some way to the person who found it. These discoverers might be just as satisfied with 10 percent of whatever an auction could bring in, especially if they've already had some bug named after them. The other 90 percent could then go towards funding more explorations. As to whether or not there would be willing buyers, the fact that people pay to have stars named after themselves and friends when those names don't hold any official weight proves there's a market out there. The market would be even bigger for something like this, especially when the names would be official and stuck in every catalog of species from now until the end of man.
Shared by JFR (6,080 points)
+1 vote
Twisted Lights

If gravity slightly bends the path light takes, how can we be sure we're looking at the real point of origin for a light that took 10 billion years to reach us? Depending on how many black holes, neutron stars, etc. that it had to go around the true origin could be several degrees from where we see it. It could also make a closer light source seem farther away - a light beam that had to slalom around hundreds of objects would take longer to get here (because its real path was longer) than one that started further away and took a straight shot to get here.
Shared by a contributor
+1 vote

Fake World

I'm with Stephen Hawking on this one.

By looking at our own culture we can see that there's no correlation between technological advances and civilized behavior. This means that the aliens we're so eager to get in touch with might be just as predatory as we are - only better armed. We can't do much about the signals we've already sent out. The best we can do is try to mask them with a different set of signals.

That's where the fake world comes in. The objective would be to create a stream of data from a satellite positioned somewhere else in the solar system that would look like the communications taking place on a regular world to any alien race that happened to pick it up. My first choice for the theme behind these communications would be to try to put on a convincing display of a world that's rapidly becoming uninhabitable due to the short-sightedness of its people (thereby making our world a less tempting target). My second choice would be to make the fake world seem more advanced than our own. At least that way we'd get a little bit of warning when the aliens came to investigate (since they'd be heading towards the satellite first, which we'd be watching, it would give us time to run for cover).

 

Template for a fake Neutrino Communication Channel

Shared by a contributor
edited by Dreamer
+1 vote

Sailing Supercomputers


This idea combines 3 pieces of information. If any one of them are wrong we can just mark it bad science. A link is provided for each of the pieces so you'll know it wasn't conjured up using some kind of magic spell.


1. The Hafele and Keating Experiment - In 1971, experimenters from the U.S. Naval Observatory undertook an experiment to test time dilation. They made airline flights around the world in both directions, each circuit taking about three days. They carried with them four cesium beam atomic clocks. When they returned and compared their clocks with the clock of the Observatory in Washington, DC, they had gained about 0.15 microseconds compared to the ground-based clock.


Time Dilation


2. Supercomputers operate at nanosecond speeds, where microseconds are considered slow - "IBM. announced yesterday that the Blue Gene/L system had attained a sustained performance of 36.01 trillion calculations per second, or teraflops, eclipsing the top mark of 35.86 teraflops reached in 2002 by the Earth Simulator in Yokohama. The new speed was reached during internal testing at IBM's production center in Rochester, Minn.


3. Gravity isn't distributed evenly across the earth. A new gravity map of the Earth suggests that if you want to lose weight you should go to India, where the pull of gravity is slightly less than it is elsewhere on the planet. You would be slightly less than 1% lighter there.


Gravity Variations


So here's the idea... Stick the supercomputer on a boat and sail it to the Indian Ocean where gravity is lower to take advantage of the time distortion effect. You'll get more nanoseconds for your nanosecond, so to speak.



Speaking of gravity, and its relationship to time, there doesn't seem to be a lot of literature out there describing what might be taking place at the center of gravity in the Earth-Moon system (which due to synchronicity is about 1000 miles beneath the earth's surface). Since that is the greatest point of gravity in the system time should be moving slightly slower. Maybe there's not enough of a discrepancy in the two reference points (earth's surface and this center of gravity) for this area to make any difference as it makes its way under the surface (or more accurately the system makes its way around this point). There might be a bigger discrepancy, and effect, when considering the sun with its much larger gravitational force though.

Shared by a contributor
0 votes
Science is at the heart of many of man's greatest discoveries. In school you often need to brainstorm for interesting science ideas for a class or a project for the Science Fair. These can range from a volcano made of paper mache to a poster profiling famous scientists, from generating electricity out of live wires and batteries to using lemons to power an electric clock. It's also fun to demonstrate how oil and water separate because one is denser than the other. Make sure that you have a well-reasoned hypothesis and that you have conclusively proven (or disproven) it with the necessary proof to back it up.
Shared by a contributor
0 votes

Wandering Birds

Many migratory species rely on the earth's magnetic field to get their bearings during migration. If the field slowly reverses itself would these species have enough time to evolve members capable of following the new logic? If the field completely disappears, like it has done in the past, would the migratory species disappear with it? If a lot of bird species disappeared that might cause an explosion in the population of species they feed on, insects, and a reduction in the population of species they help procreate, plants. This doesn't sound like it would be a good thing for us. Evidence is mounting that the fields might already be in the process of flipping.

Shared by TakeFive (8,280 points)
0 votes
Sidestepping Einstein

According to Einstein's theories time travel is possible but you can only go back in time to the point when the first time machine was built. We could get around this just by finding a time machine built by another species prior to the time we built ours.
Shared by JFR (6,080 points)
0 votes
A Thought Experiment

Imagine we're sitting at a computer that's able to control where the Hubble telescope is aimed at. Picking a position at random, we'd be able to see a point roughly 13.5 billion light years away. The light coming from there originated several hundred million years after the universe was created. Next we move the telescope to a point in the opposite direction. Again we'd see a point roughly 13.5 billion light years away. Move it again and the same thing would happen. Every point we looked at would be about the same distance away. So there you go - confirmation that we are the center of the universe.
Shared by thinkagain (7,340 points)
0 votes
Illegal Separation

If the diameter of the universe is 27 billion light-years across in the above scenario, how did any two of those light sources get as far apart as they are now when they were only less than a billion years old?
Shared by JFR (6,080 points)
0 votes
Faster than the speed of light

Imagine building a pair of scissors in space. The handle would be normal-sized but the blunt blades would be 187,000 miles long. If you put a roller right where the blades intersect when they're open and then closed the handles in one second, the roller would travel faster than the speed of light as the blades closed. With no friction in space there would be nothing to impede the blades from closing. If friction from the blades threatened to burn the roller it could always be magnetically suspended between the two (adding a cowling of some sort on the sides to keep the roller from popping out).

A side note for the practical scientists. If you start closing the scissors faster you could shorten them an equivalent amount. I wonder how short they'd have to be to run an experiment? Shouldn't be hard to calculate. You'd just have to figure out the fastest the scissors handles could be closed and then build the blades to match.
Shared by JFR (6,080 points)
0 votes
Scientists could be paid a fixed salary. They'd pay their research expenses (like staff, equipment and supplies) from it. That would replace these grant applications that take forever to complete and are so rigid. Using the money more efficiently would give a lot better results.
Shared by LWBaum (5,620 points)
0 votes

Mass produce instead of custom make oligos for gene mutation screening or SNP genotyping, to reduce prices.

Shared by LWBaum (5,620 points)

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