The Messenger

A mysterious cigar-shaped object spotted tumbling through our solar system last year may have been an alien spacecraft sent to investigate Earth, astronomers from Harvard University have suggested. The object, nicknamed 'Oumuamua, meaning "a messenger that reaches out from the distant past" in Hawaiian, was discovered in October 2017 by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii. Since its discovery, scientists have been at odds to explain its unusual features and precise origins, with researchers first calling it a comet and then an asteroid before finally deeming it the first of its kind: a new class of "interstellar objects." A new paper by researchers at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics raises the possibility that the elongated dark-red object, which is 10 times as long as it is wide and traveling at speeds of 196,000 mph, might have an "artificial origin."

"Oumuamua may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization," they wrote in the paper. The theory is based on the object's "excess acceleration," or its unexpected boost in speed as it traveled through and ultimately out of our solar system in January.

If its the same species that we've encountered on the way here then I would say that Earth has about 12-15 years before they arrive. We'll offer our assistance if needed.

Kemo D. 7
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Rethinking Time, Space, Consciousness, and the Illusion of Death

"Why do you insist the universe is not a conscious intelligence, when it gives birth to conscious intelligences?", questioned the Roman philosopher Cicero. Over two-thousand years later scientist Dr. Robert Lanza responds to Cicero's philosophical query with a groundbreaking book Beyond Biocentrism: Rethinking Time, Space, Consciousness, and the Illusion of Death. Biocentrism is a new theory that upends everything we might assume about ourselves and the world around us. The most basic assumption Dr. Lanza's biocentric theory challenges is our fundamental understanding of the "way things are."

"Biologists describe the origin of life as a random occurrence in a dead universe, but have no real understanding of how life began or why the universe appears to have been exquisitely designed for its emergence."

Science tells us that our universe all began with a sudden explosion  -- a big bang -- about 13.8 billion years ago. Dr. Lanza writes:"In this model, the universe was presented as a kind of self-operating machine. It was composed of crazy stuff, meaning atoms of hydrogen and other elements that had no innate intelligence. Nor did any sort of external intelligence rule. Rather, unseen forces such as gravity and electromagnetism, acting according to the random laws of chance, produced everything we observe... As for how consciousness could arise in the first place, no one even has guesses. We cannot fathom how lumps of carbon, drops of water, or atoms of insensate hydrogen ever came together and acquired a sense of smell. The issue is apparently too baffling to raise at all."

In this model the universe is regarded as objective -- existing independent of any observer -- made of matter, ruled by mechanistic laws. Consciousness -- or the observer -- is simply a part of the matter-based universe. But this model not only fails to fully address the conundrum of consciousness. It also fails to answer other puzzling questions: what was there before the Big Bang? Why does the universe seem exquisitely designed for the emergence of life? Why is there something instead of nothing?  This is where Dr. Lanza's biocentric theory of the universe comes in, to show us the inherent flaw in the standard explanation for origins of the universe.

Dr. Lanza says the problem is we have everything upside down. He takes the common assumption that the universe led to the creation of life and argues that it's the other way around: that life is not a byproduct of the universe, but its very source.

Or put another way, consciousness is what gives rise to our sense of there being an "out there" when, in fact, the world we experience around us is actually created in our consciousness.

Kemo D. 7

Game of the Month!

World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth is the seventh expansion pack for the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) World of Warcraft, following Legion. I still play other MMO's like Star Wars: The Old Republic and FF14 but this is by far my favorite one!

Kemo D. 7
  • Current Mood: satisfied satisfied

Civilization One

"A Type I designation is a given to species who have been able to harness all the energy that is available from a neighboring star, gathering and storing it to meet the energy demands of a growing population." --Nikolai Kardashev

Your electric bill could end up being obsolete if one company succeeds at harnessing the energy of superhot plasma with a mega-reactor that could change how everything plugs in and lights up. Tokamak Energy, a UK-based nuclear fusion company, is on a mission to develop a clean energy source that is Earth’s “star in a jar” answer to the nuclear fusion processes that keep orbs like our sun glowing. Their new ST40 reactor just heated a hydrogen plasma to a temperature that out-scorches even the core of the sun—27 million degrees Fahrenheit. Tokamak believes that the success of this test is a major leap toward global plasma energy that could make burning carbon a thing of the past.

“We are taking significant steps towards achieving fusion energy and doing so with the agility of a private venture, driven by the goal of achieving something that will have huge benefits worldwide,” said Tokamak Energy CEO John Carling. “Our aim is to make fusion energy a commercial reality by 2030.” ST40 is a tokamak fusion reactor, which was first developed in Soviet Russia during the ‘60s. Nuclear fusion will not only power all of Earth someday but also blast off rockets and keep them airborne, eliminating the need for massive amounts of fuel that increase payload weight and launch costs while leaving clouds of exhaust in their wake. Thrust engines powered by this technology will likely rely on tokamak reactors (which have had the most success in experiments) to propel them through space.

NASA is funding the development of fusion reactor rockets by Princeton Satellite Systems, which could make missions that are now too expensive and otherwise prohibitive a reality in the future.

Kemo D. 7
  • Current Mood: happy happy

Rip Mr. Bourdain

Like everyone else I'm pretty shocked to hear the sad news. He was a great human being and I really enjoyed his show. My heartfelt condolences to his family.

Kemo D. 7

Earth Day 2018

The scientific evidence is clear and irrefutable — human activity is causing our planet to warm at an alarmingly high rate. Not only is this warming climate trend happening right now, it could have serious outcomes on our food supply, lead to mass migration and conflict, and without being alarmist, it may very well threaten the future survival of the human race. It’s time for the “is it real or not?” debate to end. Action needs to be taken right now, not tomorrow. What you can do:

Get involved
We encourage you to know and add your voice to the issues that are shaping the climate debate as well as emerging, evidence-based data that directly relates to changes in our climate.

Vote climate
Consider climate issues on local, national and global levels, and vote for candidates who will advocate for climate-related legislation and policy improvements. The right climate legislation has the power to move mountains.

Invest Divest
Pledge to separate your investments from exposure to fossil fuel assets and increase your stake in clean energy companies. Join a movement of millions of individuals from dozens of countries representing trillions in assets who are avoiding the investment risks of climate change and lightening their carbon footprints. When it comes to climate change, money talks.

Hold yourself accountable
Take a personal inventory of your own personal impact on the planet. With greater awareness comes significant change.

Reduce. Reduce. Reduce.
Make a concerted effort to reduce greenhouse gases in your daily life — at home, in the office or on the road. Eat less meat. Go solar. Change the lightbulbs in your home. All of these are an act of green. Record them here.

From using water efficiently and driving a more fuel efficient vehicle to getting involved in the Earth Day movement, there are so many ways to stand up and act for your planet. You’d be surprised at how much positive change a single person can effect.

Kemo D. 7

Remembering Stephen Hawking

Figures from the scientific community and beyond came together to mark the passing of famed physicist Stephen Hawking, who died at age 76 on Wednesday, the same day as Albert Einstein's birthday, also known as "Pi day." The academic, author and noted scientist brought his complex theories to a wide audience through his bestselling book, "A Brief History of Time."

"He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years," his three children, Lucy, Robert and Tim, said in a joint statement. "His courage and persistence, with his brilliance and humor, inspired people across the world. He once said, 'It would not be much of a universe if it wasn't home to the people you love.' We will miss him forever."

Kemo D. 7

Congratulations to Mr. Oldman!

I'm really happy that Gary Oldman won the Oscar for best actor for his role in Darkest Hour. He's a very talented actor and appeared in some of my favorite movies; Bram Stoker's Dracula and Léon: The Professional.

Kemo D. 7

What is Man?

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.

Kemo D. 7


Happy Valentines Day Ladies

"A beautiful woman moves through life unchallenged...
Men giving them everything that they want.
First their daddies, then their boyfriends and husbands.
But for some, beauty is their only talent."

Kemo D. 7

A Timeless Classic!

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.

Kemo D. 7

Lasting Images

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.

Beyond the Paradox

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.

Kemo D. 7

The Fourth Dimension

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.

Kemo D. 7
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Ancient Mysteries

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.

Kemo D. 7

The Last Human

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.

Kemo D. 7
Credit/Source: Science Vibe

A New Frontier

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.

Kemo D. 7

Welcome to 2018!

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.

Kemo D. 7

Science Is Key to Earth's Future

"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.”

Kemo D. 7

The Price of Freedom

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.

Kemo D. 7
All credit goes to Mel Robbins