It’s good to know the realities.
What If You Stopped Sleeping?
Is your lack of sleep slowly killing you? And if you were to stop sleeping right now, how long could you survive?
Sulfur Mining at Indonesia’s Ijen Crater Lake
To view more photos and videos from the Ijen sulfur lake, visit the Kawah Ijen location page.
High up in the East Java region of Indonesia, the Ijen volcano is a site of both magnificent beauty and treacherous working conditions.
Stretching across a width of 1km (3,280ft), a bright turquoise lake draws traveling Instagrammers from across the world to capture its splendor in the rising sun. Though beautiful, the lake contains some of the most acidic water on the globe as a result of sulfur present in the volcanic gas.
Local organizations have taken advantage of the sulfur and developed a laborious mining operation to fuel other industries on the island. After channeling through a series of pipes, the condensed gasses pour out into pools of bright yellow molten sulfur.
Mine workers break apart the cooled sulfur by hand and then carry the 70-90kg (165-200lb) baskets up the steep crater rim before embarking on a 3km (1.86mi) hike to their destination in the Pultuding valley. The approximately 200 laborers often make this trip multiple times per day for very slight earnings.
by Emily Lakdawalla of the Planetary Society
The Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) has just announced a new asteroid naming competition, open to anyone, so if you’ve ever wanted to name an asteroid, now’s your chance. The contest closes on November 30.
There are two main-belt asteroids being named, both of them discovered by astronomer Vishnu Reddy, who’s shared the naming rights with SGAC so that they can run this contest. (Which is super cool on Vishnu’s part!) All you have to do to enter is to fill out an online form listing the name and including an up-to-50-word justification. Entries will be divided into an over-18 and under-18 category. SGAC will perform an internal review to select a name (and two runners-up) to forward to the International Astronomical Union to name each of the two asteroids.
One of the two asteroids to be named is (151834) 2003 FB122; the other hasn’t been selected yet. Here’s an orbit diagram showing where (151834) 2003 FB122 is located, on a nearly circular orbit, in the main asteroid belt.
The International Astronomical Union does have some hard rules for what names they will and won’t approve for asteroids. Here are those rules:
- It must be 16 characters or less in length, preferably one word.
- It must be pronounceable (in some language). That means names like “Quaoar” and “Suttungr” are okay, but “HGKTT” isn’t.
- It must be non-offensive.
- It must not be too similar to an existing name of a Minor Planet or natural Planetary satellite(which means you can’t name something “Series” because there’s already an asteroid named “Ceres”)
- Names of pet animals are discouraged (of course if your dog was named “Fido” you could just say you’re naming the asteroid for the cool robot they built at JPL as a predecessor to Spirit and Opportunity and then you wouldn’t technically be naming it for your pet).
- Names of a purely or principally commercial nature are not allowed (sorry, no asteroid “Pepsi” and anyway there is already a PEPSSI in space).
- The names of individuals or events principally known for political or military activities are unsuitable until 100 years after the death of the individual or the occurrence of the event (sorry, Obama has to wait for at least a century).
So that’s what you can’t do. What can you do? There are lots of great names out there, but the winning name will have to include a good reason. What kinds of themes make for good asteroid names? People or characters who are lonely wanderers? Things that are mysterious goals for exploration or discovery? Strange legendary creatures? What other ideas can you think of?
Once you’ve thought of your idea, write down the reason you think your idea is good. Make sure to tell the judges who or what the source of the name is, and explain why it’s a good name, in 50 words or less. This paragraph contains 50 words. Good luck!
Image credit: [x]
Why sometimes we feel that we are falling in the sleep?
It depends if we feel this sensation during the transition from wakefulness to sleep or during REM sleep.
In the first case, the mechanism is physiological. When our body ceases to exercise ”active” control (handled by the cortical areas of the brain) on movement our body is crossed by a series of muscular jerks —sleep starts or hypnic jerks.
If the transition occurs too early (i.e. when our conscious part has still not gone to sleep) these jerks may be perceived as a feeling of emptiness, and our “baffled” mind associates it with our perception of emptiness: falling.
Why this happens is not clear (according to some, it’s an evolutionary heritage from when we were sleeping on trees and muscles relaxation could mean a fall). Anyway, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, if the feeling happens too often and disturbs our rest, we must reduce: caffeine, stress, anxiety or hard physical activity in the evening.
The sensation of falling that we feel during REM sleep is not caused by a physiological mechanism and, in this case, for an explanation we should disturb dreams and psychology.