measurement

A relationship should not be measured in months or years. It’s the calibre of the memories that matter. Their impact, their permanence, and the degree to which they change you. I’ve had relationships lasting years I can now scarcely recollect, and hours with others that feel like infinities.
—  Beau Taplin || T h e  M e a s u r e m e n t

A stellar discovery on the Milky Way’s far side
02 June 2014  ||  Nature News & Comment

IMAGE: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt, SSC-Caltech (base image); Ariel Weiss (Cepheid positions).  Five Cepheid-class stars (yellow dots at the top) were found beyond the most distant spiral arms of the Milky Way, on the opposite side of the Solar System. Cepheids can be used as measurement beacons, or ‘standard candles’, of cosmic distances.

A single Hubble Space Telescope image can capture scores of distant galaxies, but the one galaxy we’ll never see from the outside is our own. As a result, no one knows the Milky Way’s exact size and shape. It took more than a century after the discovery of the first spiral in space before astronomers established that our galaxy is a spiral, too, and more years elapsed before they deduced that we inhabit a barred spiral — a type whose bright central region is elongated.

Now, for the first time, observers have detected five stars on the far side of the galaxy that serve as outstanding yardsticks, a feat which will divulge secrets about the Milky Way’s terra incognita.

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Checking in on the 2013 Golden Globes on Twitter and Tumblr: What did fans think?

Awards season is upon us, and this year it kicked off with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler taking over hosting duties at the 70th Golden Globe Awards. We love the Golden Globes; this is the third year we’ve monitored tweets about the event (see our 2012 and 2011 coverage). This year, we’ve been tracking all the social media buzz before, during and after the awards show that aired on Sunday, January 13, 2013, again in conjunction with mhCarter Consulting and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. And we didn’t just stick to Twitter either; for the first time, we also took a look at the night’s Tumblr data!

What were people talking about on Tumblr? 

Tumblr saw 47.6k posts about the Golden Globes the night of the show. Flouting convention, the majority of the posts were text posts rather than photos: 31K text posts and 18K photo posts. However, the photo posts saw much higher engagement rates. For the total 1.8 million notes, nearly 1.5 million of those notes were on photo posts (814.7K reblogs and 668.2K likes) compared to the smaller 231K notes for text posts.

The most popular post was a GIF of Anne Hathaway accepting her award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture, for Les Miserables: 

This post from Beaver Paralyzer earned 66.6K notes in just a few hours, which includes 153 direct reblogs, 36.9K amplified reblogs, and 29.5K likes. The reblog tree for this post was impressively extensive, showing the majority of reblogs occurred out past the 9th degree, suggesting a very diverse pool of curators:

Indeed, the entire tree doesn’t easily fit on a screen; that’s a little more than half of it there.

The second and third most popular Tumblr posts were also GIFs, in this case two GIF-sets of the hosts making jokes between awards. They’ve already garnered 41.8k and 37.2k notes, respectively.

Read on for the night’s big Twitter numbers, and what we think this all means for the future of social platforms and television. 

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Good bone, bad bone

For people taking glucocorticoids such as prednisone, the increased risk of bone fracture is a well-documented side effect. Used to treat a variety of medical conditions, including autoimmune diseases and allergies, glucocorticoids are known to cause rapid deterioration in bone strength.

Until now, doctors have been able to measure bone loss – a process that happens slowly, over time – but haven’t had the means for gauging actual bone strength. That has changed thanks to a new hand-held instrument developed in the Hansma Lab at UC Santa Barbara. Called the OsteoProbe, the device uses reference point indentation (RPI) to measure mechanical properties of bone at the tissue level.

A new clinical trial, conducted at the Hospital del Mar in Barcelona, Spain, shows that RPI is sensitive enough to reflect changes in cortical bone indentation following treatment with osteoporosis therapies in patients newly exposed to glucocorticoids. Standard measurement techniques were unable to detect bone changes in this patient population. The trial results are reported in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

“This new paper is a real breakthrough because it’s the first time it’s been possible to do a longitudinal study of bone material properties in patients,” said co-author Paul Hansma, professor emeritus in UCSB’s Department of Physics. “Up until now, medical professionals have been limited to doing bone mineral density studies, which can take a year or more to show bone changes.”

Caption: The bottom image shows that the OsteoProbe indentation is comparable to naturally occurring irregularities on the bone surface. Credit:UCSB

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This Week in Social Analytics on Tumblr | From ComScore’s 2013 U.S. Digital Future in Focus:

“Three social networks in particular – Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram – each gained more than 10 million visitors over the course of the year in part by catering to a desire for more visually appealing content. comScore has called this phenomenon “the rise of the visual web.” Of the three, Tumblr had the largest audience at 30.8 million visitors (up 64 percent from the prior year), while Pinterest (up 284 percent to 28.9 million visitors) and Instagram (up 284 percent to 27.4 million visitors) both shared the same outsized growth rate." 

The first graph above shows the shares for time spent on each site, with Tumblr coming in second behind Facebook, while the second shows the total unique visitor trend with Tumblr trending above both Pinterest and Instagram. 

You can download the full report at the link at the top of this post. 

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London Zoo annual weigh in

The height and mass of every animal in the zoo, of which there are over 16,000, is recorded and submitted to the Zoological Information Management System. This is combined with animal measurement data collected from over 800 zoos and aquariums in almost 80 countries, from which zoologists can compare information on thousands of endangered species. (Getty)

Find more news related pictures on our photo galleries page.