Posts tagged: a still more glorious dawn
I warned you we were coming back to this.
So, hi. For those several of you who are new here, I’m Damien, and I spend a lot of my time thinking and writing about things like Ethics and…
tl;dr, be nice to robots and maybe there doesn’t need to be a malevolent apocalyptic singularity
i’ve blahged before about how embarassing it is that everyone continues to misunderstand the transhuman concepts at play in star trek the next generation. if you hold up the borg as an allegory for millenials with their smartphones and twitters then you are super old and need to go read the copyright date on the great gatsby. hollow narcissism is a perennial.
the borg are zombies - smartphones are geordi’s v.i.s.o.r.
geordi is a blind man who became an astronaut, and his best friend is a robot.
Technically accurate, pedantic, pretty much unusable. So pretty much the best kind of popular science demonstration. You can autoscroll to the planets, but then you’d miss all the text comments in between.
"We will sing to you, Doctor. The universe will sing you to your sleep. This song is ending. But the story never ends."
ooooooooh i actually like this a LOT
WHY DID I NEVER THINK OF JANELLE AS THE DOCTOR BEFORE
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAA WHY IS THIS NOT MY UNIVERSE GODDAMIT!!!!
I would kill for this to be Doctor Who. KILL FOR IT
“In the 1970′s the Princeton physicist Gerard O’Neill with the help of NASA Ames Research Center and Stanford University held a series of space colony summer studies which explored the possibilities of humans living in giant orbiting spaceships. Colonies housing about 10,000 people were designed and a number of artistic renderings of the concepts were made.”
More precisely, inflation predicted that these ripples would leave a very specific signature of light polarization on the cosmic background radiation. We found that signature. With inflation more firmly established, we can now look beyond the 380,000 year horizon of the CMB, back to 10-36 seconds after the Big Bang. On that signal in the sky, we can trace our origins: we were light once. Then we were ripples in temperature that became stars, galaxies, matter, and life.
This null result — the fact that there was no luminiferous aether — was actually a huge advance for modern science, as it meant that light must have been inherently different from all other waves that we knew of. The resolution came 18 years later, when Einstein’s theory of special relativity came along. And with it, we gained the recognition that the speed of light was a universal constant in all reference frames, that there was no absolute space or absolute time, and — finally — that light needed nothing more than space and time to travel through.
The experiment — and Michelson’s body of work — was so revolutionary that he became the only person I know of in history to have won a Nobel Prize for a very precise non-discovery of anything!
Spectacular cosmic discovery hailed http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-26605974
" Scientists say they have extraordinary new evidence to support a Big Bang Theory for the origin of the Universe. Researchers believe they have found the signal left in the sky by the super-rapid expansion of space that must have occurred just fractions of a second after everything came into being. It takes the form of a distinctive twist in the oldest light detectable with telescopes. The work will be scrutinised carefully, but already there is talk of a Nobel. "This is spectacular," commented Prof Marc Kamionkowski, from Johns Hopkins University. "I’ve seen the research; the arguments are persuasive, and the scientists involved are among the most careful and conservative people I know," he told BBC News. The breakthrough was announced by an American team working on a project known as BICEP2. This has been using a telescope at the South Pole to make detailed observations of a small patch of sky. The aim has been to try to find a residual marker for "inflation" - the idea that the cosmos experienced an exponential growth spurt in its first trillionth, of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second.
Theory holds that this would have taken the infant Universe from something unimaginably small to something about the size of a marble. Space has continued to expand for the nearly 14 billion years since. Inflation was first proposed in the early 1980s to explain some aspects of Big Bang Theory that appeared to not quite add up, such as why deep space looks broadly the same on all sides of the sky. The contention was that a very rapid expansion early on could have smoothed out any unevenness. But inflation came with a very specific prediction - that it would be associated with waves of gravitational energy, and that these ripples in the fabric of space would leave an indelible mark on the oldest light in the sky - the famous Cosmic Microwave Background. The BICEP2 team says it has now identified that signal. Scientists call it B-mode polarisation. It is a characteristic twist in the directional properties of the CMB. Only the gravitational waves moving through the Universe in its inflationary phase could have produced such a marker. It is a true “smoking gun”. Speaking at the press conference to announce the results, Prof John Kovac of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and a leader of the BICEP2 collaboration, said: “This is opening a window on what we believe to be a new regime of physics - the physics of what happened in the first unbelievably tiny fraction of a second in the Universe.” ‘Completely astounded’ The signal is reported to be quite a bit stronger than many scientists had dared hope. This simplifies matters, say experts. It means the more exotic models for how inflation worked are no longer tenable. The results also constrain the energies involved - at 10,000 trillion gigaelectronvolts. This is consistent with ideas for what is termed “
'Waves' detected on Titan’s lakes http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-26622586
" Scientists believe they have detected the first liquid waves on the surface of another world. The signature of isolated ripples was observed in a sea called Punga Mare on the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan. However, these seas are filled not with water, but with hydrocarbons like methane and ethane. These exist in their liquid state on Titan, where the surface temperature averages about -180C. Planetary scientist Jason Barnes discussed details of his findings at the 45th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) in Texas this week. Titan is a strange, looking-glass version of Earth with a substantial atmosphere and a seasonal cycle. Wind and rain shape the surface to form river channels, seas, dunes and shorelines. But much of what’s familiar is also turned sideways: the moon’s mountains and dune fields are made of ice, rather than rock or sand, and liquid hydrocarbons take up many of the roles played by water on Earth. The vast majority of Titan’s lakes and seas are concentrated around the north polar region. Just one of these bodies of liquid - Ligeia Mare - is estimated to contain about 9,000 cubic km of mostly liquid methane, equating to about 40 times the proven reserves of oil and gas on Earth. An image of Titan’s north pole taken by the Cassini probe during a flyby in July 2012 shows sunlight being reflected from surface liquid in much the same way as a mirror re-directs light. This phenomenon is known as a specular reflection. Dr Barnes, from the University of Idaho in Moscow, US, used a mathematical model to investigate whether the features in the image were compatible with waves. "We think we’ve found the first waves outside the Earth," he told the meeting. "What we’re seeing seems to be consistent with waves at just a few locations in Punga Mare [with a slope] of six degrees." He said other possibilities, such as a wet mudflat, could not be ruled out. But assuming these were indeed waves, Dr Barnes calculates that a wind speed of around 0.75 m/s is required to produce ripples with the requisite slope of six degrees. That points to the waves being just 2cm high. "Don’t make your surfing vacation reservations for Titan just yet," Dr Barnes quipped. "