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Scientists Create Flubber-Like Effect Using Nanotubes

Now I'm no scientician, but I can tell you that the following video shows some seriously weird science. Basically, researchers set up a "superhydrophobic carbon nanotube array" (where "array" I think effectively means "board"), then dropped water droplets on the surface, filming the results at very high speed (several thousand frames per second). Weird stuff happens. The droplets bounce, they hop, and they even merge into mega-droplets. It's strangely mesmerizing and nerdy.

The authors describe their video as follows:

Video from the paper "Bouncing Water Droplet on a Superhydrophobic Carbon Nanotube Array," authored by Adrianus I. Aria, Morteza Gharib, published online on ArXiv, Submitted on 7 Oct 2010: http://arxiv.org/abs/1010.1351

The first two parts of the video show the impact dynamic of 30 microliters water droplet at different impact velocity. At low impact velocity of 1.03 m/s, the water droplet deforms upon impact and eventually bounces off completely of the surface of the array. At higher impact velocity of 2.21 m/s, the droplet breaks up into many smaller droplets and eventually bounces off completely of the surface of the array.

The coefficient of restitution of water droplet at very low impact velocity can be seen clearly by dropping a water droplet on a slightly tilted carbon nanotube array. At tilt angle of 2.5 degrees the droplet skips off of the surface of the array multiple times without showing any sign of pinning on the surface of the array, as demonstrated in the third part of the video. The fourth part of the video shows the sliding/rolling behavior of the droplet along the surface of a U-shaped carbon nanotube array. The fifth part of the video shows the impact of two identical 14 microliters water droplets to one another on a U-shaped carbon nanotube arrays. Upon impact, these two water droplets, which come from the opposite direction, merge to form one larger droplet.

Note: the action doesn't start until about 20 seconds in, and there is no sound.

For similar stuff, check out this post from June: Crazy Video: Super-Hydrophobic Substances.

(Via Daring Fireball.)

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Land Cover CCI, ESA
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Afternoon Map
European Space Agency Releases First High-Res Land Cover Map of Africa
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Land Cover CCI, ESA

This isn’t just any image of Africa. It represents the first of its kind: a high-resolution map of the different types of land cover that are found on the continent, released by The European Space Agency, as Travel + Leisure reports.

Land cover maps depict the different physical materials that cover the Earth, whether that material is vegetation, wetlands, concrete, or sand. They can be used to track the growth of cities, assess flooding, keep tabs on environmental issues like deforestation or desertification, and more.

The newly released land cover map of Africa shows the continent at an extremely detailed resolution. Each pixel represents just 65.6 feet (20 meters) on the ground. It’s designed to help researchers model the extent of climate change across Africa, study biodiversity and natural resources, and see how land use is changing, among other applications.

Developed as part of the Climate Change Initiative (CCI) Land Cover project, the space agency gathered a full year’s worth of data from its Sentinel-2A satellite to create the map. In total, the image is made from 90 terabytes of data—180,000 images—taken between December 2015 and December 2016.

The map is so large and detailed that the space agency created its own online viewer for it. You can dive further into the image here.

And keep watch: A better map might be close at hand. In March, the ESA launched the Sentinal-2B satellite, which it says will make a global map at a 32.8 feet-per-pixel (10 meters) resolution possible.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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iStock
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Scientists May Have Found the Real Cause of Dyslexia—And a Way to Treat It
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iStock

Dyslexia is often described as trying to read letters as they jump around the page. Because of its connections to reading difficulties and trouble in school, the condition is often blamed on the brain. But according to a new study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the so-called learning disability may actually start in the eyes.

As The Guardian reports, a team of French scientists say they've discovered a key physiological difference between the eyes of those with dyslexia and those without it. Our eyes have tiny light-receptor cells called rods and cones. The center of a region called the fovea is dominated by cones, which are also responsible for color perception.

Just as most of us have a dominant hand, most have a dominant eye too, which has more neural connections to the brain. The study of 60 people, divided evenly between those with dyslexia and those without, found that in the eyes of non-dyslexic people, the arrangement of the cones is asymmetrical: The dominant eye has a round, cone-free hole, while the other eye has an unevenly shaped hole. However, in people with dyslexia, both eyes have the same round hole. So when they're looking at something in front of them, such as a page in a book, their eyes perceive exact mirror images, which end up fighting for visual domination in the brain. This could explain why it's sometimes impossible for a dyslexic person to distinguish a "b" from a "d" or an "E" from a "3".

These results challenge previous research that connects dyslexia to cognitive abilities. In a study published earlier this year, people with the condition were found to have a harder time remembering musical notes, faces, and spoken words. In light of the new findings, it's unclear whether this is at the root of dyslexia or if growing up with vision-related reading difficulties affects brain plasticity.

If dyslexia does come down to some misarranged light-receptors in the eye, diagnosing the disorder could be as simple as giving an eye exam. The explanation could also make it easy to treat without invasive surgery. In the study, the authors describe using an LED lamp that blinks faster than the human eye can perceive to "cancel out" one of the mirror images perceived by dyslexic readers, leaving only one true image. The volunteers who read with it called it a "magic lamp." The researchers hope to further experiment with it to see see if it's a viable treatment option for the millions of people living with dyslexia.

[h/t The Guardian]

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