Category Archives: Science

Here’s why sleeping in on the weekend can be bad for your health

Shifts in your sleeping routine, such as getting up early during the week to make it to work on time, could affect your chance of heart disease and diabetes, researchers have found. Even minor changes in your sleeping schedule can be problematic, so you might want to change your alarm routine this weekend to match the one you’ve set up for the week.

Previous studies of shift workers have already shown that moving our sleeping hours around isn’t at all good for us, but these new findings indicate that even slight adjustments can be detrimental to our health.

 

For the purposes of the study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh, 447 men and women were asked to wear sleep monitoring devices and fill out questionnaires on their exercise and dietary habits. The results showed that

Scientists just saw a black hole eat a star and spit some of it back out for the first time ever

For the first time, researchers have spotted a star being swallowed up by a black hole, and then watched as some of the star’s matter was ejected back out as a flare of plasma moving at nearly the speed of light – a process that’s been compared to a cosmic ‘burp’.

Scientists have seen black holes swallowing stars before and they’ve also seperately detected these mysterious jets of matter blasting out, but until now no one had been fast enough with their telescopes to link the two events, and were never able to witness them occurring in sequence.

 

“These events are extremely rare,” said lead researcher Sjoert van Velzen from Johns Hopkins University. “It’s the first time we see everything from the stellar destruction followed by the launch of a conical outflow, also called a jet, and we watched it unfold over several months.”

So why is the observation so exciting? It confirms what astrophysicists had predicted could happen when a black hole is force-fed a large amount of gas (in this case, a whole star) – a fast-moving jet of plasma can escape from near the event horizon.

Until recently, it was assumed that

If Earth is spinning to the east, why isn’t it faster to fly west?

Okay, time to stop everything and nut out a brain teaser: if Earth is spinning to the east at 1,180 km/h (733 mph), and we’re in a plane flying west, shouldn’t we get to our destination quicker, seeing as it’s literally spinning towards us? The short answer is no, because our plane is also affected by Earth’s spin, which means we’re spinning away from our destination while our destination is spinning towards us. Confused yet? Don’t worry, the latest episode of MinutePhysics has the slightly-less-short answer (it’s still MinutePhysics, after all) to this dizzying conundrum.

While Earth itself is spinning about 1,180 km/h to the east, the ground and everything on it are travelling even faster – at about 1,670 km/h (1,037 mph). Even the air above the ground is travelling at around this speed in an easterly direction. So for an aeroplane to get anywhere at all, it has to be moving relative to the ground.

 

Say it’s travelling at 160 km/h (100 mph) – because it’s already moving at 1,670 km/h with the planet, plus that