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photos of sakurajima, the most active volcano in japan, by (click pic) takehito miyatake (previously featured) and martin rietze. volcanic storms can rival the intensity of massive supercell thunderstorms, but the source of the charge responsible for this phenomenon remains hotly debated.

in the kind of storm clouds that generate conventional lightning, ice particles and soft hail collide, building up positive and negative charges, respectively. they separate into layers, and the charge builds up until the electric field is high enough to trigger lightning.

but the specific mechanism by which particles of differing charges are separated in the ash cloud is still unknown. lightning has been observed between the eruption plume and the volcano right at the start of an eruption, suggesting that there are processes that occur inside the volcano to lead to charge separation.  

volcanic lightning could yield clues about the earth’s geological past, and could answer questions about the beginning of life on our planet. volcanic lightning could have been the essential spark that converted water, hydrogen, ammonia, and methane molecules present on a primeval earth into amino acids, the building blocks of life.

(see also: previous volcanology posts)

Since her death in 1979, the woman who discovered what the universe is made of has not so much as received a memorial plaque. Her newspaper obituaries do not mention her greatest discovery. […] Every high school student knows that Isaac Newton discovered gravity, that Charles Darwin discovered evolution, and that Albert Einstein discovered the relativity of time. But when it comes to the composition of our universe, the textbooks simply say that the most abundant atom in the universe is hydrogen. And no one ever wonders how we know.

Jeremy Knowles, discussing the complete lack of recognition Cecilia Payne gets, even today, for her revolutionary discovery. (via alliterate)

OH WAIT LEMME TELL YOU ABOUT CECILIA PAYNE.

Cecilia Payne’s mother refused to spend money on her college education, so she won a scholarship to Cambridge.

Cecilia Payne completed her studies, but Cambridge wouldn’t give her a degree because she was a woman, so she said fuck that and moved to the United States to work at Harvard.

Cecilia Payne was the first person ever to earn a Ph.D. in astronomy from Radcliffe College, with what Otto Strauve called “the most brilliant Ph.D. thesis ever written in astronomy.”

Not only did Cecilia Payne discover what the universe is made of, she also discovered what the sun is made of (Henry Norris Russell, a fellow astronomer, is usually given credit for discovering that the sun’s composition is different from the Earth’s, but he came to his conclusions four years later than Payne—after telling her not to publish).

Cecilia Payne is the reason we know basically anything about variable stars (stars whose brightness as seen from earth fluctuates). Literally every other study on variable stars is based on her work.

Cecilia Payne was the first woman to be promoted to full professor from within Harvard, and is often credited with breaking the glass ceiling for women in the Harvard science department and in astronomy, as well as inspiring entire generations of women to take up science.

Cecilia Payne is awesome and everyone should know her.

(via bansheewhale)

always reblog because you know women

(via alternageek)

Because we don’t speak about sex, there is no socially acceptable language surrounding it. So the language of porn has jumped in to fill that space, and that’s an issue, because in a male-dominated industry the language of porn is all too often male-generated. The person who coined the term “finger blasting” didn’t have a vagina. The person who coined the term, “getting your ass railed” never got their ass railed. Pounding, hammering, banging… And language matters, because when the only language you have available is abusive and one-directional, in terms of having things done to you, it creates a very weird view of how sex works.
Porn Is Dead, Long Live Sex | VICE United States (via sinshine)
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