Cakes, Cats, and Stars — Astro April Fools

Every year for April Fools’ Day, astronomers spend their copious spare time making use of their craft to the true issues of the universe. Then they put up the astonishing outcomes to the arXiv’s preprint server.

The custom goes again an extended way. In “Science Spoofs, Physics Pranks and Astronomical Antics,” Douglas Scott (University of British Columbia) notes one of many earliest vernal spoofs. Michael Scot, courtroom astronomer to Frederick II of Sicily (1175–1232) wrote a dialogue between a clever man and a simpleton, the latter known as “Sir Lupus Fiat” — an anagram of “Aprilis Fatuus” (Latin for “April Fool”).

The custom continues apace and we’ve collected a few of the greatest entries to your enjoyment:

One examine is certain to mild up dialogue within the UK, the place people wish to argue in regards to the distinction between desserts, cookies, scones, and biscuits. “Using Artificial Intelligence to Shed Light on the Star of Biscuits: The Jaffa Cake” by Heloise Stevance (University of Auckland) heedlessly joins the fray.

Setting synthetic intelligence algorithms free on an information set of 51 biscuit recipes and 41 desserts, Stevance then asks this system to type two Jaffa Cake recipes — are they cake or biscuit? The determination: cake, identical to the title says. According to Stevance, this seminal work is “beyond questioning and we will not be taking constructive criticism on the small sample size.”

Jaffa Cakes are cakes
Artificial intelligence that discovered the distinction between biscuits (orange) and desserts (brown) has determined Jaffa Cakes actually are desserts primarily based on their Wet To dry Fraction (WTF).
H. F. Stevance

Humor in all probability wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for cats, so it’s acceptable that this epic examine on “Detection of Rotational Variability in Floofy Objects at Optical Wavelengths” led by Laura Mayorga (JHU / APL) was launched right this moment. Mayorga by some means manages to speak about cats for ten pages as in the event that they have been planetary our bodies, with out ever explicitly saying the phrase “cat.” This meticulously cited paper features a magnificent set of charts, tables and graphs supporting the invention of six distinct clusters of those so-called “floofy objects.”

CATegories of Floofs
Floofy objects are categorized primarily based on their albedo and rotational variability. The authors observe, nevertheless, that this classification is not idiot proof: “For non-spatially resolved floofy objects, there is a potential for false pawsitive confusion with WOOF Objects (Wagging tails On Objectively Friendly Objects).”
Mayorga et al. 2021

Another examine analyzes the rejuvenation of a sure class of stars referred to as blue stragglers. “The Secret of the Elixir of Youth of Blue Straggler Stars” by Henri Boffin (ESO) suggests that if we “manage to find out the secret of why some stars appear younger than they are, this could have many practical applications”. His evaluation of “FARCE” telescope information yielded joyful outcomes:

Happy Little Stars
The blue straggler star reveals the key elixir of youth!
Boffin, W.H.Y. Can’t, I. Sleep / The Astronomical Enquirer

Taylor Swift has had a solar system–measurement affect on popular culture, a lot in order that even astronomers learn about her. The examine “I Knew You Were Trouble: Emotional Trends in the Repertoire of Taylor Swift” by Megan Mansfield and Darryl Seligman (University of Chicago) uses statistical analysis to show how her music has changed over time.

As a public service, Mansfield even wrote some code which “takes user input on their current relationship status and emotional state and provides suggestions of suitable Taylor Swift songs to match their mood.” You’ll need python installed on your machine to run it. This author did a test run and discovered that her song is apparently “Love Story.”

Even astronomers like Taylor Swift
Relationship and happiness scores for Taylor Swift songs during which the “male in query” is a bad boy.
Mansfield & Seligman

Last is a dire warning from Michael Lund (Caltech), reported in “The Existential Threat of Future Exoplanet Discoveries.” Most people know that the number of exoplanet discoveries has been rising exponentially since the first sighting in the 1990s. But until now, no one had considered what this could signify if the rate continues unabated. Lund remarks that “this rapid increase in planetary masses may have disastrous consequences for the future of humanity.” Namely, a black hole will form as a result of all these exoplanets-gone-wild, destroying Earth in 230 years, give or take a few.

Planet discoveries
As the variety of planets found continues to extend, are at risk of a planet–black hole apocalypse?
M. Lund

This spherical of April Fools’ choices proves that astronomy can inform and enrich each facet of your life. So to distract your self from the approaching black hole apocalypse, activate some Taylor Swift, sit down and have a Jaffa cake or three, and pet your favourite floofy object.    

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