Science sites for science buffs - Part 2


Updated: April 16, 2010

Well, time for some more science. In the first article, I've shown you a collection of useful science websites, where you find a wealth of science-related news and facts, all laced with adventure and humor. Since, I've come across several more online sources that I would like to share with you.

If you're in a mood for some more scientific fun, the perhaps you would like to take a look at today's collection. We have several big, serious websites, as well as a scattering of smaller ones, along with a sprinkling of unique works of somewhat scientific nature.

Teaser

So, let us begin!

Our collection for today ...

Extreme Science

homepage

Extreme Science is all about extreme. The website features some of the biggest, baddest, and the best in the world of extremes, while providing the delightful insight into what makes each of these the most extreme example of its kind.

The site dabbles in natural science, earth science, animal kingdom, and other lovely things that make our planet tick.

Extreme science

LiveScience

homepage

LiveScience is a colorful website featuring lots of catchy, provocative articles on science, health and technology. The site aims to explore the latest discoveries, trends and myths and offer deep and broad analysis of important topics that affect our lives, without getting too technical. You'll learn a lot without ever dabbling in boring.

LiveScience has a rich variety of subjects and is quite easy to navigate. There's a bit of everything for everyone.

LiveScience

J-Track 3-D

homepage

J-Track 3-D is a NASA-sponsored satellite browser. Any registered little satellite out there is listed here and can be found using J-Track. It will show you the trajectory, position and the altitude of every one of them.

You can navigate in and out and rotate the Earth view, exploring the near space.

J-Track 3D

My Solar System

homepage

This page is a cunning Flash applet that will teach you the powers of gravity in a fun, visual way. By playing with the location, mass, proximity, and velocity of several stellar bodies, you will be able to simulate the motion of planets in our solar system.

Very simple, very fun. A great way of teaching children the basics of astronomy.

Stellar 1

Stellar 2

Stellar 3

Sodaconstructor

homepage

Quoting the website itself, Sodaconstructor is a construction kit for interactive creations using masses and springs. By altering physical properties like gravity, friction, and speed, curiously anthropomorphic models can be made to walk, climb, wriggle, jiggle, or collapse into a writhing heap.

It's terribly simple - and yet terrible difficult. And very addictive.

Soda

The Constructor is a Java applet, so if you have Java installed on your machine, you can start playing with the Constructor instantly. There are also thousands of existing models available, plus you can chat or ask for assistance in the forum.

You can begin humbly with a few lines.

Mine

And work your way up into great monstrosities and works of art:

Constructor 1

Constructor 2

You may also be interested in Phun, a 2D physics sandbox, which I've mentioned in my fifth Linux gaming mega-compilations.

Special & unique

These websites are near-candidates for the Greatest sites section. Still, they offer a one-of-a-kind perspective on some basic life facts, which you would never really think about. While, although highly unlikely, you may disagree with the tone or the topics chosen, you will undoubtedly find them mind-boggling.

Information throughput in human semen

source

Holy me, what, what? Well, someone decided to see how much binary data could be encoded in the human spermatozoa, using the adenine-thymine and guanine-cytosine pairs.

Well, you need to read the whole thing, but the numbers are astonishing. Many thousands of TB of data, with some rather phenomenal bandwidth. But even if you account for some basic genetic discrepancies, you still get better results than home LAN.

Kudos for the effort. I wonder where the idea cometh from?

Bandwidth

Physics of Santa Claus

source

If you want some presents for your Christmas, Santa Claus is the man. And to reach the entire Christian world across so many time zones, Santa has to work fast, very fast. The article calculates exactly how fast, agile and, above all, survivable Santa has to be.

Santa

Can Physics teachers bore to death?

source

Also known as the Friday Fermi problem, the article tries to answer a seemingly innocent question: Assuming you're not in a big lecture hall and the professor shuts the door at the start of class, how long does it take for you and your classmates to deplete the oxygen enough to feel it?

Or rather, how long before the Physics class becomes insufferable - or perhaps fatal?

Boredom

Is Hell Exothermic or Endothermic?

source

A very geeky question to a simple theological question. Well, if you try to solve this using entropy, Boyle's Law or Maxwell-Boltzmann statistics, you are doomed [sic] to fail. But some ingenuity can get you far.

Pinetree.net, the website hosting this lovely physical joke has many more humor items. While not updated for over a decade, it's still a good place to visit for some light, pseudo-scientific entertainment.

Hell

More goodies

Once again, let us not forget Larry Niven's Men of Steel, Women of Kleenex, where the author eloquently explains the lethal consequences of Superman trying to become a father, and Ben Tippett's Unified Theory of Superman, both of which I've honorably mentioned in my Superman article.

Superman

Conclusion

I hope you've enjoyed this article. It has a bit of everything - science, engineering, spatial challenges for those inclined, a mix of good humor, adventure and online gaming, all bundled into what I like to define as scientific sites.

For many more articles on physical and pseudo-physical phenomena, you may want to read my Hillbilly physics section, where complex physics themes are molested unto simplicity.

Likewise, please consider reading my older and new scientific software articles and the rather lovely review of Scientific Linux, a distribution developed by CERN geeks and academics. As promised, here they are. Stay tuned for more goodies.

Cheers.

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