Star date now, news headlines at the speed of light

Wednesday, 19 November, 2014

We all know that when we gaze up at the stars in the night sky, we’re looking at passed history.

Of a star, all we see is a point of light that has been radiating outwards, and into our line of sight, at the speed of light, for, in some cases, thousands of years. The star itself may have long since met its demise, but it could be decades, centuries even, before we learn that.

But have you ever wondered what was happening here on Earth, the day, or thereabouts, that the light from a given star started on its epic journey towards us? StarDate attempts to tell some of that story, with representations of the one hundred stars closest to us, that link to a New York Times article published that day.

The stars in question don’t look to be named, at the moment anyway, but I’m sure the astronomers among us will have no trouble identifying them, based on their distance from us.

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The force awakens… I didn’t know it could sleep

Wednesday, 19 November, 2014

Star Wars 7, the J.J. Abrams directed next installment – just over a year from release now – of the much loved sci-fi saga has a title… The Force Awakens.

Certainly intriguing, but I don’t know… somehow I have a bad feeling about this.

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Creative thoughts are child’s play in this giant birds nest

Tuesday, 18 November, 2014

Photo by OGE CreativeGroup

I suspect that the giant birdsnest for creating new ideas, complete with egg shaped cushions, an item of furniture that – as the name would suggest – is intended to trigger creative thoughts, will not just appeal to adults.

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Drift the solar system on the Interplanetary Transport Network

Tuesday, 18 November, 2014

And still on matters Interstellar related… we may not be able to zap around the cosmos as the film’s astronaut explorers did, but gravity pathways of sorts, that weave among the planets, may make for a low energy way of moving around the solar system.

The energy demands may be low, but travelling from one point on the network to another may take a while, like drifting along on ocean currents possibly:

The Interplanetary Transport Network (ITN) is a collection of gravitationally determined pathways through the Solar System that require very little energy for an object to follow. The ITN makes particular use of Lagrange points as locations where trajectories through space are redirected using little or no energy. These points have the peculiar property of allowing objects to orbit around them, despite lacking an object to orbit. While they use little energy, the transport can take a very long time.

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Take a look at the work of Sydney artist Tom Ferson

Tuesday, 18 November, 2014

Artwork by Tom Ferson

While I’ve seen the work of Sydney based artist Tom Ferson at shows a couple of times now, I don’t think I’ve ever linked to him before. So here I am now.

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An “Interstellar” Earth, can it be averted?

Tuesday, 18 November, 2014

The world in which Interstellar, US director Christopher Nolan’s latest feature, is set, is not one many of us would wish to live in, on account of an abundance of pestilence and dust storms. In fact, humanity is looking into finding another planet to move to, so bad are conditions on Earth.

But can we avoid such a bleak future in reality? Quite possibly, yes. Would we, however, want to give up on the search for another planet to migrate to, should, for whatever reason, the need arise? No, quite possibly not (warning, “Interstellar” spoilers):

Even with our efforts to keep Earth pumping out enough food to feed the billions of people who live here, there is some chance that the planet will not forever be a safe home for humanity. In that light, we should be looking for other places to live, a backup plan in case of global failure.

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Flight Facilities’s “Heart Attack”… music to fly to?

Monday, 17 November, 2014

And on the subject of air travel, some grooves to set the mood, Heart Attack by Sydney based electonic act Flight Facilities.

No heart attacks involved though, hopefully. Safe travel if you’re on the move yourself.

Via NinaI have no strategy, just energyLas Vagas.

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The best time to fly? Well it’s the early birds who get home sooner…

Monday, 17 November, 2014

Since I’m buzzing about the place at the moment… when it comes to avoiding delays while flying, especially domestically, taking flights that are scheduled for earlier in the day, rather than later, might be the way to go.

Like buses and trains, aircraft are also prone to hold ups as the day progresses, as they move from place to place, so travelling first thing, where possible, looks to be a plan.

The later you leave, the greater the average delay you will face until around 6PM when things flatten out and 10PM when we see benefits in leaving later. It makes sense that delays increase as the day goes on because, we understand, the primary cause of delays is waiting for the plane to arrive from another city. The first flights out in the morning don’t have this problem.

Based on US research, but I imagine same principle applies elsewhere.

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It’s just another day in the planetary neighbourhood

Monday, 17 November, 2014

Photo by Chinese National Space Administration

The Moon and Earth from a perspective that we don’t see too often, taken by the Chang’e 5-T1, a China National Space Administration (CNSA) space probe, on a recent test flight to the Moon.

Via The Universe™.

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Sleeplessness, great for writers and creatives at least

Monday, 17 November, 2014

It’s no secret, it would seem, that sleeping for a straight eight hours each night, is not what we’re wired to do. Indeed in ages passed, it was the norm to slumber for a few hours, get up, do something, anything, in the middle of the night, and then snooze again another couple of hours.

If nothing else, it’s a routine that might suit the writers, and creatives, among us, says Scottish author Karen Emslie:

And, even though I am a happy person, if I lie in the dark my thoughts veer towards worry. I have found it better to get up than to lie in bed teetering on the edge of nocturnal lunacy. If I write in these small hours, black thoughts become clear and colourful. They form themselves into words and sentences, hook one to the next – like elephants walking trunk to tail. My brain works differently at this time of night; I can only write, I cannot edit. I can only add, I cannot take away. I need my day-brain for finesse. I will work for several hours and then go back to bed.

And what threw out this once innate sleep pattern? The advent of artificial lighting of course. Followed later by the internet and smartphones of course.

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