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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Is gravity putting the brakes on time travel into the past?

Friday, 14 November, 2014

Here’s something to think about. If the laws of physics are not concerned with the direction that time goes in, why is it that time never runs backwards, as a matter of course? Enter gravity, which may have something to do with the seemingly one way nature of time…

Even though time is such a fundamental part of our experience, the basic laws of physics don’t seem to care in which direction it goes. For example, the rules that govern the orbits of planets work the same whether you go forward or backward in time. You can play the motions of the solar system in reverse and they look completely normal; they don’t violate any laws of physics. So what distinguishes the future from the past?

Would this mean then that travelling backwards through time would require making the journey by way of some gravity free method? Heavy, as a certain 1980s time traveller, used to say.

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Which hits the floor first, the ball or the feather?

Tuesday, 11 November, 2014

Another week, another mention of British physicist Brian Cox. Here Cox sets out to find which objects, a heavy ball, or a bunch of feathers, will reach the floor first, when dropped within a large vacuum chamber. It is the final question however he poses that is truly intriguing… are the objects in fact, actually, falling? Curiouser and curiouser…

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The Large Hadron Collider dance mix by Tim Exile

Thursday, 6 November, 2014

British electronic music artist Tim Exile samples sounds he recorded from the Large Hadron Collider’s data centres, and creates mixes on the fly that are, as you can see, quite danceable.

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Well, it looks like we have the galaxy to ourselves…

Tuesday, 4 November, 2014

British physicist Brian Cox is of the opinion that the lifeforms on Earth, those advanced, or complex that is, are alone in the Milky Way galaxy.

“There is only one advanced technological civilisation in this galaxy and there has only ever been one – and that’s us,” Professor Cox said. “We are unique. “It’s a dizzying thought. There are billions of planets out there, surely there must have been a second genesis? “But we must be careful because the story of life on this planet shows that the transition from single-celled life to complex life may not have been inevitable.”

To describe the notion as dizzying seems to me to be an understatement.

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Today’s tips for a long life may be at odds with tomorrow’s

Monday, 3 November, 2014

So what is the key, or for that matter, keys, to a long, healthy, life? To be succinct, your guess is as good as mine. One day we are told, say, coffee consumption is essential, the next day we are told that it is detrimental. So who, or what, to believe. This guide, prepared by The New York Times, may, or may not, be of assistance

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The light of the entire universe is yet to fully shine. Thankfully

Tuesday, 14 October, 2014

Ok, if there are trillions upon trillions of stars in the universe, why is the night sky dark, and for that matter, why is there even a night sky in the first place? It’s all rather simple actually, not all of the light from all of the stars in the cosmos has had a chance to reach us yet, so distant are many of them from us.

The question is also referred to as Olbers’ paradox, as named after Heinrich Wilhelm Matthias Olbers, a German astronomer who died in 1840.

“As we look out, we are seeing back in time, and by the time we see 12 billion years back, the universe is only a couple of billion years old and there isn’t stuff there for us to see,” Dr. Jay M. Pasachoff, professor of astronomy at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, and co-author of The Cosmos: Astronomy in the New Millennium, told The Huffington Post. “The main solution to Olbers’s paradox is, then, that the universe isn’t old enough for stars and galaxies to fill our view as we look outward.”

Here’s hoping all that star light takes its time reaching us, what fun would a night sky, that was no longer dark, be?

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Many animal species have been lost, is this a mass extinction event?

Tuesday, 14 October, 2014

With animal populations in decline, some scientists are concerned the world is in the throes of a mass extinction event, something they say has resulted in the loss of some fifty percent of wildlife species in the last forty years.

Pixable meantime have compiled a list of animal species that have become extinct in the last one hundred years… needless to say it isn’t the shortest of lists either.

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You can miss out when you miss chemistry classes…

Monday, 13 October, 2014

Chemistry wasn’t one of my stronger subjects at high school, it’s actually very mathematical you know, but these video clips of various chemical reactions are quite enjoyable. Here are some precipitation reactions… what do you know, I remember those.

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No, this is not the end of the world. Oh wait…

Friday, 10 October, 2014

Are we perhaps not mature enough as a people to be using certain of the technologies we have developed – many of which were intended to make life easier – that, through misapplication, could bring about our annihilation? It is a question that is troubling a growing number of scientists and eminent thinkers:

“We’re getting these more and more powerful technologies that we can use to have more and more wide-ranging impacts on the world and ourselves, and our level of wisdom seems to be growing more slowly. It’s a bit like a child who’s getting their hands on a loaded pistol – they should be playing with rattles or toy soldiers,” Bostrom tells me when we meet in his sunlit office at the FHI, surrounded by yet more whiteboards. “As a species, we’re giving ourselves access to technologies that should really have a higher maturity level. We don’t have an option – we’re going to get these technologies. So we just have to mature more rapidly.”

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