Monthly Archives: November 2013

Lady Orediggers Open their Season at the 30th Annual Al Kaly Shriners’ Classic

On Friday night, the Colorado School of Mines women’s basketball team opened their season on the road against Oklahoma Christian, and despite a seven point halftime lead, the Lady Orediggers lost a close one, 58-62.
After 10 minutes of game time, both teams were tied at 10 until No. 10 Laura Tyree made two straight buckets to give the Orediggers a five point cushion. The Lady Orediggers led by as many as nine points in the first half and held a seven point advantage (30-23) at halftime, but OCU scored the first four points of the second half to gain some momentum. For much of the second half, both teams traded points and with 11:35 to go, OCU took the lead at 37-36. The Orediggers tied the game up at 42, with 7:49 to play, but were never able to retake the lead down the stretch. The final score was Mines 58 and OCU 62.


The complicated history of modeling droughts

It is one thing to find some sense and order to the chaotic processes that dominate long term environmental catastrophes; it is another thing entirely to take these observations and throw them together into a model that can be used to better represent hazards at hand. While this monumental task takes teams of scientists working together, the presenter for this past week’s Van Tuyl lecture series, Dr. Christa Peters-Lidard of NASA Goddard, was at her best presenting on how everyone, herself included, helped to build models that will revolutionize drought modeling. Peters-Lidard, who got her Ph.D. at Princeton, acts as the chief physical scientist at NASA Goddard in the hydrological sciences laboratory. Recently the lab has been working to pull from the somewhat abbreviated physical data on droughts to build reliable models. Beyond simple drought modeling, her team has done their best to add in other variables, such as soil moisture, stream flow, and snow pack, to the mix. There were no punches held as Peters-Lidard announced that “drought is a high-impact hydrological event.” Within the past decade many areas of the United States have been affected by varying levels of drought, most notably the entire state of Texas and most of Southwestern United States.

Scientific discoveries this week: 11/18/13

Massive leaps in the world of quantum computation have been made, beating an unofficial world record. Researchers at Simon Fraser University maintained a quantum memory state at room temperature for 39 minutes, approximately 100 times longer than the last attempt made.
In a standard computational system, bits of information are sent through 1s and 0s. A quantum memory processes “qubits” of information which are able to exist as a one and zero at the same time. This allows for multiple calculations to be made simultaneously, exponentially increasing the power of information technology. Although 39 minutes seems like a short time, it is considered a huge step in the direction of a more permanent quantum computation system.

Headlines from around the world: 11/18/13

A suicidal gunman murdered an Iranian rock band. Gunman Ali Rafie charged through a Brooklyn apartment complex, murdering the three members of the indie rock band Yellow Dogs. Reports say that Rafie went through five magazines in his rifle before killing himself on the apartment roof. Friends of Rafie stated that he was kicked out of a different band, the Free Keys, which had close ties to the Yellow Dogs.

AMS Colloquium 11-15-13

One of the largest issues facing the ever-growing field of large-scale computational research is how to deal with the nearly infinite number of parameters needed to exactly model a physical reality. With no efficient or cost-effective way to handle the enormous numbers of tests needed to even begin to satisfy requirements needed to model reality, it is inevitable that models will need to be parameterized. However, this causes a problem known as the “Curse of Dimensionality,” in which for every unavoidable parameter used in a model, there is an unavoidable uncertainty associated with the assumption(s) used to define said parameter. As part of his current research, Dr. Tan Bui-Thanh of the University of Texas presented on how he is working on how to deal with computational problems involving these discretization errors.


Why it is okay that Thor 2 has bad science

As science and engineering majors, the release of new comic book based films are widely anticipated, yet at the same time will be dissected as Newton’s Laws are broken. The release of “Thor 2: The Dark World” was no different. One would think that in recent years, science consultants would be hired to verify that the science portrayed in film is both accurate and interesting. Film is a great way to communicate science to the public, so why not do it right? Yet Marvel apparently could not afford to consult a geophysicist in the making of Thor 2.

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