What is man? This is the ultimate question, solve it and all of the needs of man will fall into place. Is he a divine creature, as the religious believe, created and protected by an ultimate being? Or is he an intelligent creature, as the LSM believes, capable of understanding all through the power of his mind? Or neither, as the 'moderate' believes. Or is he an instinctive animal with intelligence, as the study of his origin and development would indicate? Only the latter theory has factual basis.
Man is an arrogant creature, with exalted opinions of his own worth and value. He is thus blinded by his subjectivity and becomes angry at anyone who he perceives to be trying to tilt his pedestal. Those who live by dogma, be they religious or liberal/socialist/Marxist, are unwilling to listen due to the security they feel in their beliefs. The religious call the student of genetics and evolution a horrible corrupter of society, leading mankind into cultural chaos. The academic elite, though not a believer in souls, nevertheless attributes to the "whole" man some sort of ethereal or spiritual quality far far above the probing of an insensitive and mechanical minded scientist, one who is more robot than man and therefore lacking in the understanding of the higher qualities of the "civilized" man.
By his nature, man is curious. Curiosity is an instinct and is present in all of the higher animals. It is a valuable instinct for survival. Knowledge of the environment, gathered before it is needed, adds accuracy to decision making when an emergency arises. Place any one of the higher animals in a new environment and it will immediately begin exploring. It will be cautious at first, but as knowledge expands so does confidence. A primary part of man's survival and ascendancy was the result of his curiosity. As he learned about his environment down through the ages, he turned the knowledge to his own benefit. As long as he is a man, man will remain curious. Although it may stop him from speaking out, no dogma will ever stop man from questioning the universe and every particle in it.
There are many who seek the easy answer and will continue to do so. Others don't wish to know. Still others are afraid of the truth. For all of these, dogma, whether religious or socialist, provides their answer. To be sure, one or the other may be right, but dogma does not provide conclusive answers.
Many men are doubters of both and suspect an entirely different set of answers, answers for questions some of which are still unknown.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to see one of my favorite movies (Casablanca) for the first time on the big screen and it was truly mesmerizing! Someone said that Casablanca is Hollywood's finest moment and I totally agree with that. Not only a beautiful love story with perfect chemistry but the movie was made during the height of world war 2 (1942). Some of the things that were portrayed in the movie were actually happening at the same in Europe which makes the movie extra eerie and hauntingly beautiful.
Elon Musk, the master salesman of our times, has found the perfect implement for making science sexy and evocative to everyone: a Tesla Roadster. Without a human element, even the fiery eruptions of a rocket launch can start to feel repetitive, especially in our present age of instant access to the spectacular and otherworldly. So Musk is saying, how about a glossy red electric supercar to reignite imaginations? The Falcon Heavy’s successful launch propels the dream into a new orbit. Plans include building a new space station above the moon, carrying new telecom or spy satellites, and shuttling people to deep space destinations. Last February SpaceX said it intended to send two private citizens on a trip around the moon, possibly as soon as this year. In the meantime, the Roadster will be ploughing its lonely course through space.
For as long as there has been science fiction, the concept of time travel has captured the imagination. Though it has long been dismissed as fantasy, physicists have not yet been able to prove or disprove that humans may one day be able to manipulate the fourth dimension. Apart from physical problems, several paradoxes stand in the way of time travel. These include the "grandparent paradox", which has long flumoxed physicists and philosophers. As Science Alert explains, a time traveller could in theory prevent his or her grandparents from meeting, "thus preventing the time traveller's birth". This would make it impossible for the time traveller to have set out in the first place and kept the grandparents apart.
However, cosmologists believe they have figured a way around this by suggesting that there is more than one universe in existence – the 'multiverse' model. This allows for every possible version of an event to take place. The Independent's science editor Steve Connor gives this example: "a woman who goes back in time to murder her own granny can get away with it, because in the universe next door the granny lives to have the daughter who becomes the murderer's mother." This, and other paradoxes, are situations that "give cosmologists nightmares," writes Stephen Hawking.
Physicists studying the behaviour of single particles of light say they can now discount one of the main theoretical objections to time travel. During research published in Nature Communications, scientists at the University of Queensland designed an experiment that simulated the effect of a photon – a particle of light – travelling back in time and interacting with its older self. "Time travel was simulated by using a second photon to play the part of the past incarnation of the time-travelling photon," said University of Queensland physics professor Tim Ralph.
The results revealed that time travel on a quantum level seems to be possible.
Two independent groups of scientists have been able to reproduce four-dimensional properties of a quantum mechanical effect using a two-dimensional analog. The two studies were published in Nature and focus on the quantum Hall effect. This effect describes how the conductance (how well something transmits electricity) of a two-dimensional electron system acts at a low temperature and in a strong magnetic field. It has been known for a long time that this effect could also exist in a four-dimensional system, but this has not been possible to prove until now...
"When it was theorized that the quantum Hall effect could be observed in four-dimensional space, it was considered to be of purely theoretical interest because the real world consists of only three spatial dimensions; it was more or less a curiosity, " Mikael Rechtsman, assistant professor of physics and author of one of the papers, said in a statement. "But, we have now shown that four-dimensional quantum Hall physics can be emulated using photons – particles of light – flowing through an intricately structured piece of glass – a waveguide array." Thanks to a new technique, glass waveguides can be etched in a way that makes them sport synthetic dimensions, allowing photons going through the waveguides to act like they are in a true four-dimensional system. This breakthrough allowed researchers to finally test if the quantum Hall effect truly exists in four dimensions. And it does.
While there are no direct applications of four-dimensional physics, the scientists think that a better understanding of the four-dimensional quantum Hall effect could be used to develop new optical systems, and maybe the use of higher dimensional waveguides could help explain bizarre solids like quasicrystals.
It’s also the sight ancient Greeks sailing to the Dhaskalio promontory, located on the island of Keros, would have seen 4,500 years ago. The pyramid-shaped promontory has been an archaeolgical site for the last decade. In the 3rd millenium BC, builders developing the promontory carved the land into stepped terraces and covered it in white stone imported from Naxos, located 10 kilometers (6 miles) away. Now, researchers are digging deeper. They say the civilization back then may have been far more technically sophisticated than we imagined.
Archaeologists from three different countries involved in the ongoing excavation uncovered feats of engineering craftsmanship below the promontory. A range of impressive features – including a complex series of drainage tunnels and metalwork – means the architecture was likely multi-purpose and carefully planned in advance. The research team calculates that more than 1,000 tons of stone were imported and that almost every possible area on the island was constructed on. At the time, it would have been one of the most densely populated areas on the islands and the largest complex known in the Cyclades.
“What we are seeing here with the metalworking and in other ways is the beginnings of urbanization: centralization, meaning the drawing of far-flung communities into networks centered on site,” said co-director of the excavation Michael Boyd, from the University of Cambridge, in a statement. Imported metal ore would have been smelted to the north, where excavators found two metalworking workshops full of debris and related objects, including a lead axe, a mold for copper daggers, dozens of ceramic fragments from metalworking equipment, and an intact clay oven.
Researchers intend to return this summer for further excavations.
A surprising new study says that human may outlive the Earth, Sun and even the Universe! The way things have been going, it’s easy to imagine a bleak future for humankind, but according to scientists who study the future of human existence, the future could be looking remarkably bright. That glimmer of hope is due, in large part, to technological advances and the continuing evolution of our species. Oh yeah—and there’s one condition—we’re going to have to start planet-hoping. Scientists like environmental scientists Andrew J. Rushby believe that the first major cosmic crisis will strike our planet in about 1.5 billion years when the sun sets off “super-global” warming.
But we might not be around to car that point if we fulfill our goals of establishing bases on the moon and Mars within this century. A billion and a half years from now, we might have colonized the entire solar system. Other planets in our solar system have a longer lifespan than ours. Cornell University astronomer Lisa Kaltenegger has conducted models that predict the Red Planet could stay pleasant for another 5 billion years. About 7.5 billion years from now, both Mars and Earth will be fried, but Jupiter and Saturn could become habitable. At 8 billion years, life in our solar system will be inhabitable. That may seem daunting, but there are 200 billion other stars in the Milky Way—most of which have planets of their own.
At this point, understanding what that journey will look like is incomprehensible, but it is possible. And it won’t be until 50 billion to 100 billion years from now that the last generation of sunlike stars will burn out, so we have plenty of time to worry.
Theoretical physics often lifts the sanctions we set on our own imaginations. Whether it’s exploring the possibility of warp drives or understanding the rate of the universe’s expansion, we are quick to explore the unknown on our chalkboards until our tech is ready for our ideas. In a similar deep-dive into the theoretical, a Norwegian professor argues in the journal Acta Astronautica for the of possibility of photon rockets that can reach 99.999 percent of the speed of light. Haug’s paper outlines the mathematics involved in developing a rocket that could take us to speeds just shy of light speed by taking cues from projects that utilize photons as driving mechanisms. Such a photon rocket could make the idea of deep space travel far more attainable, and could open up the universe to the human race.
While this idea may seem improbable, the proposal stays within the limitations of the laws of natural physics. Haug asserts to Forbes that, as long as none of the fundamental particles travel faster than the speed of light, then his proposal on spacecraft speed “must also be the absolute maximum speed limit for a rocket.” However, Haug makes it clear that we have a long way to go before we can develop photon rockets that can send materials or people into outer space. While the promise of using any fuel as long as it can be converted entirely into light Energy is exciting, we would need a particle accelerator magnitudes stronger than Europe’s Large Hadron Collider.
This means that our dreams of traveling to Mars in less than 5 minutes might need to be put on hold until we have a few major breakthroughs in particle physics.
After a long winter break I've decided to start blogging again. I'm mainly gonna focus on science, history and astronomy. I won't be able to update my journal every day but I'll try to post at least two or three times a week.
"Democracy cannot survive if citizens are incapable of making decisions based on reality, on evidence, on what is at least to some extent provable or likely, as opposed to that which is simply an appeal to prejudice, fear, resentment, tribalism, political correctness, or authority. Such a degradation of our citizens and the founding principles of America is fatal. And the best, perhaps the only, antidote is a re-engagement with science and evidence and more scientific ways of thinking."
To quote Thomas Jefferson, “Freedom is the first-born daughter of science.”
One month ago, the worst mass shooting in US history took place at a country music concert in Las Vegas. Fifty-eight people were killed and more than 500 people injured. Bill O'Reilly boiled the massacre down to six words: "This is the price of freedom." I hate to say it, but he is right. Sunday, just 34 days after Vegas, 26 people were gunned down and about 20 others were wounded during a church service in Texas. And here's what is really sick -- we won't be surprised when there's another mass shooting next month. Maybe it'll be your church, your mall, your concert or your movie theater. That's the price of freedom.
In America, we are free to stockpile weapons. We are free to order ammo online. We are free to outfit our guns with bump stocks, like the Vegas shooter did. This is the price we pay for freedom, alright. The freedom to not give a damn. Tweeting "prayers for the victims" does not equal giving a damn. Feeling bad for a day or two does not equal giving a damn. Changing your Facebook profile photo to support the victims does not equal giving a damn. Giving a damn requires us to commit to solving the problem. And the fact is, we have a serious problem in America with gun violence.
The statistics speak for themselves. A mass shooting is defined as an event where at least four people are shot. We now have one every day in America, if you adopt the broad definition used by the Gun Violence Archive. In fact, Vegas wasn't the only mass shooting on October 1, it was just the biggest. There was one outside the University of Kansas on the same day.
When we care, we solve problems.
The military cares, that's why the Air Force court-martialed the Texas shooter for assaulting his wife and child. But we give no damns about gun violence, which is why a "very deranged individual" as President Donald Trump put it, was able to buy an AR-556 rifle. The Texas governor said the gunman applied for a license to carry a gun but was denied by the state. Gov. Greg Abbott asks a key question: "So how was it that he was able to get a gun? By all the facts that we seem to know, he was not supposed to have access to a gun. So how did this happen?"
Congress doesn't care either. It's up to us to stop this public health crisis and unfortunately, we haven't reached the tipping point like we have with cancer and opioids.
In 1953, Hefner scraped together $8,000 from family and friends, including $1,000 from his mother, and in December of that year, he published the first issue of Playboy, producing the magazine at the kitchen table of his apartment. That first issue featured a nude pinup shot of Marilyn Monroe, and the rest was history. When the magazine launched during the Eisenhower administration, Hefner's image of the "Playboy lifestyle" championed a more libertine view of sexuality that went against the puritanical elements of the times. But he also turned Playboy, as a publication and an ideal, into a forum for sexual freedom and progressive politics, advocating for civil rights and free speech.
It was that first issue of Playboy with Marilyn Monroe that launched Hugh Hefner as a social and sexual revolutionary. And after all the bunnies, all the playmates, all the girlfriends, one named Brandy, and the twins named Sandy and Mandy, Hefner wanted to be near Monroe for eternity. He bought the crypt next to Monroe's at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in California, which he planned to be his final resting place. Reflecting on his own life, Hefner once said in a CNN interview that he would "like to be remembered as somebody who has changed the world in some positive way, in a social, sexual sense, and I'd be very happy with that."
With or without nudity, that's a pretty clear image of Hefner's legacy.
The Revenant star announced his foundation will be donating a $20 million grant to help combat climate change last week during a speech at Yale University. He also reserved some harsh words for President Donald Trump and his administration’s position on global warming.
“We are proud to support the work of over 100 organizations at home and abroad,” the actor said. “These grantees are active on the ground, protecting our oceans, forests and endangered species for future generations – and tackling the urgent, existential challenges of climate change.”
“There exist today many proven technologies in renewable energy, clean transportation, and sustainable agriculture, that we can begin to build a brighter future for all of us,” DiCaprio added. “Our challenge is to find new ways to power our lives, employ millions of people and turn every individual into an advocate for clean air and drinkable water. We must demand that politicians accept climate science and make bold commitments before it is too late.”
I had the opportunity to meet one of my childhood icons yesterday, the legendary Iron Mike Tyson! At the height of his fame and career in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, Tyson was one of the most recognized sports personalities in the world and it was an honor to meet him in person.
Stephen Hawking has had a few daunting predictions in the past, but his assertion that a cosmic death bubble could wipe out the known universe may have topped the list. In the preface to his new book, he writes that it could happen at any time, with little to no warning. Essentially, Hawking and other experts believe that a change in the universe’s energy state could cause the universe to “undergo catastrophic vacuum decay.” In this process, a rapidly-expanding vacuum bubble will plow through space, destroying everything in its path. The good news? It’s not expected to take place for billions of years.
In 1964, Peter Higgs and a group of fellow physicists introduced the idea of the Higgs boson, which accompanies an invisible energy field, responsible for mass, called Higgs field. The discovery filled the gap in the Standard Model of particle physics which explains three of the four fundamental forces of the university: electromagnetic, strong, and weak forces. The fourth particle, gravity, is not part of the Standard Model. Using data collected at the CERN Large Hadron Collider, physicists were able to measure the value of the Higgs boson mass—which came out to approximately 125 gigaelectronvolts (GeV).
They suspect this mass is required to maintain the universe at a metastable state—but if this state collapses, a catastrophic event will be triggered. Hence, the "Higgs doomsday." Physicists suspect that the energy state of the Higgs field may be slowly changing over time. At the moment, it exists in a minimum potential energy state. A remarkable amount of energy would be needed to transform it into another state, but a change in energy could spark quantum tunneling—providing a shortcut to a lower energy state.
If this happened, the new vacuum state would expand through space at the speed of light.
The pontiff said the recent storms meant the effects of climate change could be seen "with your own eyes". There have been four major Atlantic hurricanes in less than three weeks. Hurricanes are complex, naturally occurring beasts - extremely difficult to predict, with or without the backdrop of rising global temperatures. The scientific reality of attributing a role to climate change in worsening the impact of hurricanes is also hard to tease out, simply because these are fairly rare events and there is not a huge amount of historical data. But there are some things that we can say with a good deal of certainty.
There's a well-established physical law, the Clausius-Clapeyron equation, that says that a hotter atmosphere holds more moisture. For every extra degree Celsius in warming, the atmosphere can hold 7% more water. This tends to make rainfall events even more extreme when they occur. Another element that we can mention with some confidence is the temperature of the seas. "The waters of the Gulf of Mexico are about 1.5 degrees warmer above what they were from 1980-2010," Sir Brian Hoskins from the Grantham Institute for Climate Change told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
"That is very significant because it means the potential for a stronger storm is there, and with the contribution of global warming to the warmer waters in the Gulf, it's almost inevitable that there was a contribution to that."
Addressing climate change has fallen down the agenda since Donald Trump took power in January and it's unclear where Mr Trump stands on climate change today. Pope Francis, who is returning from a five day trip to Colombia, has no such doubts. He fears the impact of climate change will be hardest on the world's poorest residents, and has been openly critical of those who do not play their part in reducing its effects - including Mr Trump. His most recent comments could also be seen as a thinly veiled dig at the president. "If we don't go back we will go down," he warned reporters on Monday. "That is true. You can see the effects of climate change with your own eyes and scientists tell us clearly the way forward. "All of us have a responsibility. All of us. Some small, some big. A moral responsibility, to accept opinions, or make decisions. I think it is not something to joke about."
Francis is also not afraid to call out the powerful and hold them to account. While he does not directly address specific countries and their role in pollution or destruction of resources, his generalities are pointed. Developed countries ought to help “by significantly limiting their consumption of non-renewable energy and by assisting poorer countries to support policies and programmes of sustainable development.” He even hints that the United States has more moral responsibility because of its global wealth and power. “We must continue to be aware that, regarding climate change, there are differentiated responsibilities,” he says. “As the United States bishops have said, greater attention must be given to ‘the needs of the poor, the weak and the vulnerable, in a debate often dominated by more powerful interests.’”
He then quoted a phrase from the Old Testament: "Man is stupid, a stubborn, blind man..."
"Those who deny climate change should go to the scientists and ask them," the Pope said. "They are very clear, very precise."