NASA announced that a space object 4 billion miles away will now be named Arrokoth, a Native American word meaning “sky.” The previous name, Ultima Thule, attracted criticism because the Third Reich used it as a name for what “they believed was the ancient Aryan homeland,” said Eric Kurlander, a professor of history at Stetson University. “This isn’t just some obscure element. They named a tank division after Thule in World War II.”

Physicists unravel Pollock’s technique

Jackson Pollock’s distinctively drippy style earned him a spot in the pantheon of abstract expressionists. In a paper in the journal PLOS One, physicists from Mexico and the U.S. analyzed his technique using fluid dynamics, which explores how liquids and gases move. Pollock didn’t actually drip his paint. Sometimes he poured from the can; he used brushes, sticks and syringes to layer paint. Instead of creating individual droplets, he manipulated paint so that it fell toward the canvas in long, unbroken filaments.

It allowed Pollock to avoid coiling instability, in which a viscous liquid like paint coils like a rope when it falls on a surface. (Think of how honey becomes ropelike when you pour it on toast before settling into a liquid that spreads across the bread.) Researchers suggested a better understanding of Pollock’s painting physics could help authenticate paintings in the future.

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