Dolphins, Threatening White Dwarf, and Pi

WE can’t find any news of The Controversy between evolution and creationism this morning, so here are a few science items of general interest. This should keep you busy until the creationists do something to amuse us:

Dolphin News

The London Times reports Scientists say dolphins should be treated as ‘non-human persons’:

Dolphins have been declared the world’s second most intelligent creatures after humans, with scientists suggesting they are so bright that they should be treated as “non-human persons”.

Studies into dolphin behaviour have highlighted how similar their communications are to those of humans and that they are brighter than chimpanzees. These have been backed up by anatomical research showing that dolphin brains have many key features associated with high intelligence.

We’re All Gonna Die

Scientific American reports Supernova star too close for comfort:

Astronomers have identified a ticking time-bomb in space that lies perilously close to the Earth, they revealed today. The star, called T Pyxidis, looks set to explode as a supernova with the force of 20 billion billion billion megatons of TNT.

But it lies less than 3,260 light-years away in our own galaxy – close enough in cosmic terms for a blast to have a possibly devastating impact on our planet.

The white dwarf is steadily becoming more massive as gas flows onto it from its companion. The scene looks set for it to reach a critical stage – called the Chandrasekhar Limit – where it suddenly collapses under its own weight triggering an unimaginably powerful thermonuclear explosion that destroys it completely. The star will then become as bright as all other stars in the galaxy put together and shine like a beacon halfway across the universe.

Current projections say this will happen in ten million years. It’s not too soon to begin making preparations.

Pi in the News

The BBC informs us Pi calculated to ‘record number’ of digits:

A computer scientist claims to have computed the mathematical constant pi to nearly 2.7 trillion digits, some 123 billion more than the previous record.

Fabrice Bellard used a desktop computer to perform the calculation, taking a total of 131 days to complete and check the result.

We’ve been waiting for a long time to be able to do this without embarrassment, but now your Curmudgeon has found someone of whom we can say: That man has way too much time on his hands.

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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3 responses to “Dolphins, Threatening White Dwarf, and Pi

  1. retiredsciguy

    Curmy says, “We’ve been waiting for a long time to be able to do this without embarrassment, but now your Curmudgeon has found someone of whom we can say: That man has way too much time on his hands.”

    Almost as much as a man who would scan the internet for any creationist news, eh? But we DO appreciate your work, Curmy. It’s a dirty job, but someone needs to do it.

  2. Mike McCants

    The “Bad Astronomer” says that the calculation was off by a factor of 10,000 or so. So, even in a million years, not to worry.

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/01/07/no-a-nearby-supernova-wont-wipe-us-out/

  3. Mike McCants says: “So, even in a million years, not to worry.”

    I stocking up on ammo. You never know …