Thursday Throughput: Zebra Stripes and Supernovae

Michael Siegel

Michael Siegel is an astronomer living in Pennsylvania. He is on Twitter, blogs at his own site, and has written a novel.

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13 Responses

  1. fillyjonk says:

    ThTh3: the explanation that held sway for many years (at least according to ecology books; I am not an expert on prey animals) was that the “flicker” pattern caused when a herd of zebras is running is visually confusing and makes it harder for a predator to focus on one individual animal and pick it off. I think a similar idea was behind the use of dazzle camouflage on warships in the WWI era.

    But hey, if it keeps flies off too, then it’s a two-fer adaptation! (Apparently the researchers painted cattle with stripes to test it and it kept flies off the cattle. Makes me think a bit about investing in some striped t-shirts for fieldwork….)Report

    • DensityDuck in reply to fillyjonk says:

      I saw that picture going around the Twitters, and I thought it was very amusing that they labeled the cow’s legs “LEG”, just in case we were confused by the stripes and couldn’t parse the cow…Report

  2. Michael Cain says:

    ThTh5: From back when I was looking at reproducing fan noise in software… Technically fan noise is pink noise, not white, further modified by a parameter called blade passing rate, with a typical value around 240 Hz (for a window-sized box fan). There’s a very sharp roll-off in the power spectrum below the BPR. There are spikes in the power spectrum at the BPR and the first few harmonics of the BPR.

    My wife likes fan noise for sleeping. She says pure white noise makes her twitchy. I’m one of those people who sleep through most anything.Report

  3. Oscar Gordon says:

    ThTh5: I’ve heard that if you place your hands on the back of your head and thump the soft part on the back of your head with your thumbs, the drumming can quit the ringing for a while (few hours? YMMV).Report

  4. North says:

    [ThTh2] not to be missed is the kneeslappingly earnest and desperate article on The Atlantic saying that “well no we aren’t certain red meat is unhealthy but it’s bad for the environment so that makes it unhealthy.”

    I think that tackling AGW is a big challenge for us as a species but hoo boy environmentalists can be so… not dumb but tone deaf? Public relations deaf? I’m not sure if there is a globally appreciated thing more than meat eating they can go after to alienate everyone. Maybe children? Talk about a subject tailor made to make people ignore environmentalists. I await their “Don’t eat red meat, eat children.” campaign.Report