Yesterday (8th) I took this photograph of Venus and Mercury from the grounds of Reading University.
In the photograph, Mercury is about two moon-breadths down and to the right of Venus.  Over the next two days Mercury will follow the arrow relative to the much brighter Venus, moving up and closer to Venus, and then move off to the right.
For folks in the USA, you should get a slightly better view as the angles will be tilted a few degrees clockwise, and near the Equator the two planets will appear to sit directly over the brightest part of the sky where the sun is directly below the horizon.

Good viewing!
Ocean Currents in the South Asian Archipelago

The losses of AirAsia QX8501 and Malaysia Airlines MH370 are tragic.  I hope that the relatives may find some comfort in the knowledge that their loved ones will have a lasting monument in improvements in air safety and in improved knowledge of our planet's oceans and climate.

As a direct result of the loss of MH370 a large scale ocean-floor survey was commenced, leading to almost daily discoveries of scientific importance. 

MH370 Operational Search Update—07 January 2015

There is no more important universal problem in the Standard Model of elementary particles than the problem of mass and mixing flavor hierarchies.

The mainstream theoretical approach for treating it is to probe different group-symmetry flavor models. For decades, this math approach has not led to established flavor theory.

Is seems reasonable at this time to view flavor concept as related to new physics fundamental paradigm that should be firstly approached by simple means of semi-empirical phenomenology as exampled by physics history of e.g. quantum mechanics (Plank, Einstein, De-Broglie, Rutherford, Bohr, ...).

Air Asia 8501 - Tail To Be Raised

The recently located tail of Air Asia flight 8501 is to be raised according to reports by Detik News.

Cartoon Credit: Dave Brown (Source)


The face of addiction treatment is changing, and not for the better.

Betty Ford and Hazelden have long been beacons of hope in the addiction treatment community, two well-known and respected centers that used 12-step treatment and abstinence based recovery to help thousands of people recover from addiction for decades.

Air Asia 8501 - Some Factual Information

"Based on the available data regarding the location of the lost aircraft, weather is a factor in the triggering of the incident. The most likely weather phenomenon is cooling air which can cause engine damage due to icing. This is just one of the possibilities that arise based on the analysis of available meteorological data, and is not a final decision about the cause of the incident."
From the BMKG weather report, in full below.

Facts and Fiction
I think it's time for a little snow - C.P.Snow, that is.  

Charles Percy Snow was an English physical chemist, novelist and civil servant. He was Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Technology from 1964 to 1966.  He presented the 1959 Rede Lecture in which he made a statement about science which was picked up by the contemporary media. 
The media establishment has degraded into a pointless entertainment half-hour based on completely misleading statements.  I occasionally watch NBC Nightly News because I, for some reason, think it will inform me about something.  Most of the time, it just seems to give the wrong information and exclude all of the right information.

Case in point, this segment about the "mysterious" molecule CBD, or cannabidiol that is in Charlotte's Web, a strain of marijuana with a high concentration of cannabidiol.

In December 2014, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) released its highest-resolution geologic map of Mars.