By Maddie Stone / GIZMODO: This morning, the Internet erupted with rumors that physicists have finally observed gravitational waves; ripples in the fabric of spacetime predicted by Albert Einstein a century ago. While it isn’t the first time we’ve heard excited whispers about the elusive phenomena, the gossip feels more promising in light of the recently upgraded detector at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) that’s behind all the hubbub.
Discovering gravitational waves would be a huge deal for physics, cosmology, and our understanding of the universe at large. But if you’re not a scientist studying one of the aforementioned fields, it’s possible you’ve never heard of these mysterious ripples. What the heck are gravitational waves, and why have physicists been struggling to find them for a century? Moreover, why should we care?
Simply put, gravitational waves are vibrations in the fabric of the universe—light-speed ripples in spacetime itself, caused by such epically violent events as exploding stars and black hole mergers. Thanks to inconceivably large, violent, and distant celestial happenings, the atoms that make up everything from the stars in the sky to the human beings on Earth are shaking a tiny bit, all the time.
And by tiny I really mean tiny. For all the energy that goes into producing gravitational waves, spacetime ripples themselves are incredibly faint. Physicists estimate that by the time gravitational waves reach Earth, they’re on the order of a billionth the diameter of an atom. You need ridiculously precise instruments operating in completely noise-free environments to measure them, and until very recently, our detectors simply haven’t been up to snuff.
But the gravitational wave detection game’s been changing of late, with a recent spate of improvements to our leading ground-based observatory, LIGO, and with the launch of the very first space-based gravitational wave detector, LISA Pathfinder. Armed with these two science laboratories, physicists are hopeful that we’ll be able to measure our very first spacetime ripples by the end of the decade. Now, it’s looking like that day might come a lot sooner.
For the complete article, please click here.
Image: Numerical simulation of two merging black holes performed by the Albert Einstein Institute in Germany. Image Credit: Werner Benger / Wikimedia
Imagine what an airline ticket would cost if you flew from, say, New York to Los Angeles — and then THREW AWAY THE AIRPLANE? In fact, if we disposed of every airplane after ever flight? We’ll that’s what we’ve been relegated to doing in aerospace since the retirement of the Space Shuttle. We put satellites into orbit. We bring astronauts to the ISS. Then “throw away” the rocket. Elon’s achievement with his SpaceX company — to land the first stage back on the ground — is a historic technological achievement. (Kudos to Jeff Bezos, too. His company, Blue Origin, recently did something similar, but with a much smaller sub-orbital spacecraft.)
Check out the following excellent article from NBC News, with videos of the takeoff and landing, at this link.
Image courtesy of SpaceX
“Let’s start with the facts: Yes, there’s something hurtling through space in our direction. Yes, it’s going to enter the Earth’s atmosphere and possibly land in the Indian Ocean next month. No, scientists don’t know quite what it is. And, no, that doesn’t make it a UFO.
The European Space Agency released information last week about an object spotted streaking through space and heading toward Earth. Headlines are zeroing in on the chance of impact and the unidentified object’s comically apropos nickname. Officially named WT1190F, the object’s catalog number has been popularly shortened to ‘WTF.’
But ESA scientists have a pretty good idea of what it could be — probably a remnant from a past mission, like the hollow shell of part of a spent rocket — and they’re confident that it’s unlikely to be a threat.
‘The expected 13 November reentry of what is likely to be a rocket body poses very little risk to anyone,’ they wrote on the ESA blog Thursday.
‘The object is quite small, at most a couple of meters in diameter, and a significant fraction if not all of it can be expected to completely burn up in the atmosphere,’ said Tim Flohrer, from ESA’s Space Debris Office in Darmstadt, Germany.
Whatever remains of the space junk after the fiery reentry is expected to fall into the Indian Ocean, about 60 miles off the southern coast of Sri Lanka, on Nov. 13.”
For the complete article, please visit, the CBS Interactive Inc. page at this link.
Image courtesy of ESA / D. Duccros
“A team of engineers from the Universities of Sussex and Bristol built a device that uses sound waves to remotely lift and move objects – just like a UFO-abduction tractor beam, but without the aliens and malice. In a paper published Tuesday in the Nature Communications, Dr. Subramanian and his colleagues explain that it works using by surrounding an object with high-pitched, high-intensity sound produced by “64 miniature loudspeakers (driven at 40Khz with 15Vpp, around 9 Watts of power)” that create an acoustic hologram, or force field, in which the object can be immobilized, levitated, moved and rotated by carefully controlling audio output.”
Read the full article, by The Christian Science Monitor, at this link.
Image courtesy of the University of Sussex.
After over five-and-a-half years of R&D and associated efforts, I am proud to say that I have received the patent on my treatment technology for Alzheimer’s Disease: U.S. Patent 9,037,268
As I mentioned in my statement to the press, I made the decision with my company to forgo patent licensing fees for R&D. This is too important of an innovation to keep it bottled up or to inhibit the early stages of medical research. Too many people are suffering. Too many people are dying.
Alzheimer’s Disease is an incurable disease that affects 5.3 million people in the U.S. and nearly 44 million worldwide.
My patented technology is based on years of research by scientists regarding the effects of radio waves on the human brain. Recent studies exposed RF energy to mice that have been genetically modified to exhibit Alzheimer’s disease. Mice and humans share 95% of their genes, providing an appropriate reference for comparative studies.
One study in particular was the research conducted by the University of South Florida. (The research study, as published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, is available at my company’s special Web site www.AlzheimersTreatmentInvention.com.) The following is from the Abstract of the published study: “Although caution should be taken in extrapolating these mouse studies to humans, we conclude that EMF [electromagnetic field / radio frequency energy] exposure may represent a non-invasive, non-pharmacologic therapeutic against Alzheimer’s disease….” The study concludes “… we believe that the current lack of an effective therapeutic against [Alzheimer’s Disease], in concert with this study’s surprising findings, justifies EMF exposure as a non-invasive, non-pharmacologic approach worthy of vigorous investigation.”
For more information, including research references, the patent, the full press announcement, and links to TV, radio, and other media / new reports, please visit www.AlzheimersTreatmentInvention.com.
Entrepreneurs rocked the house last night at Stamford’s historic Palace Theatre. The Shark Tank-style pitch competition featured Connecticut-based entrepreneurs and startups. Kudos to these creative minds that help power our State’s backbone of business innovation.
The event was sponsored and facilitated by CTNext, a core driver and resource provider of Connecticut’s innovation ecosystem. Find out more here: www.CTNext.com
Read his opinions about Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Tumblr, YouTube, Google+, Reddit — and more. I learned a bunch. I bet you might, too.
Click here to check out the article. Enjoy.
Graphic courtesy of Andrew Watts / medium.com
Are you a startup? Few-person company? Or even a solo entrepreneur with the next big idea to change the world? Then take TWO MINUTES to visit and join “Launch EZ” — www.LaunchEZ.com — and get free access to business resources, mentors, funders / investors, and much more.
It was created by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. Persons — like you — who know, first hand, startup hurdles and challenges. They also know the types of resources that increase the chances of business success.
Find out more. Visit www.LaunchEZ.com. Click on the “join” link. Be part of the statewide tide of entrepreneurs who are lifting everyone to success!
Yep: Our entire electrical grid, orbiting satellites, Internet — the mainstays of modern life — were almost wiped out on July 23, 2012.
This is not hyperbole. It almost happened. And scientists believe that the odds of a solar storm with enough intensity to disrupt our lives over the next 10 years is 12%.
With all of the crises going on in the world, this little bit of news slipped through the cracks of the general media. But it got the attention of lots of scientists and astronomers.
If you want to know how close we came, check out http://bit.ly/1jYtzzb
Image courtesy of the Associated Press
Buzz and I are part of a growing team of advisors, astronauts, aerospace companies, universities, and energized students of the Time Capsule To Mars project that is designed to send your “selfies” to Mars for 99 cents each. (Yes, you read that right!)
To be working with Buzz Aldrin — one of my childhood heroes — is a tremendous experience. The student-led Time Capsule To Mars project combines my passion for student enterprise and new frontiers in aerospace. If you’d like more info, check out www.TimeCapsuleToMars.com
The moonless sky and fair weather forecast throughout many parts of the U.S. means a great celestial event. Just grab a lawn chair. Lie down and look generally south / southeast towards the horizon. And enjoy the show! (No telescope or binoculars required.) After your eyes fully adjust to the dark (give it 10 minutes), you should see up to 20 meteors per hour. Best time should be about 1am on Tuesday morning. The following is a great article with particulars: http://bit.ly/1otTi2x Watching a meteor shower is a great family event and educational experience. Have fun!
Image courtesy National Geographic / Starry Night Software
(National Geographic) “Until now, no single simulation was able to reproduce the universe on both large and small scales simultaneously,” Mark Vogelsberger of MIT and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, who led the simulation team, says in a statement. Using a computer program, the team grew the virtual galaxies in simulated time, starting from 12 million years after the big bang (which kicked off about 13.8 billion years ago), they report in a study released this week by the journal Nature.
For the complete article, please visit here.
From EarthSky: The list of major meteor showers hasn’t changed much in recent decades, but it has changed a little. Meteor showers are part of nature, after all, and the list of major showers shifts and changes slightly, as all things in nature do, with one shower or another becoming more or less exciting as the years pass. In 2014, though, an exciting new meteor shower might come on the scene. This possible shower stems from a comet — Comet 209P/LINEAR — discovered in 2004. Comet 209P/LINEAR passed near the sun in 2009 and will pass near it again in early May, 2014. On the night of May 23-24, 2014 — if the predictions hold true — Earth might be sandblasted with debris from this comet, resulting in a fine display of meteors, or shooting stars. Mid-northern North American latitudes are favored. Follow the links below to learn more about the possible 2014 meteor shower of Comet 209P/LINEAR.
As for the predicted time of the shower … skywatchers in southern Canada and the continental U.S. are said by the experts to be especially well positioned to see the meteors on the night of May 23-24, 2014.
For the complete article, with excellent graphics and references, please click here.
Image courtesy of NASA / JPL / Horizon / Sky and Telescope / EarthSky
One of my proudest and rewarding highlights of every year is as a Judge at the Connecticut Invention Convention. Kindergarten to 8th grade kids envelop Gampel Pavilion — the home of our dual UConn Husky basketball champions, of course! Hundreds of students, from across Connecticut, show off their amazing brilliance and creativity. It is so inspiring!
I’ve included two photos (above and below) from the event. Enjoy!
P.S. If you’re interested in learning more about this wonderful event and associated year-long program, here is a link to the home page of the Connecticut Invention Convention: www.ctinventionconvention.org
My company is a proud supporter of the international student team that’s planning to build and fly a small spacecraft to Mars. On board would be a two-inch-diameter titanium “time capsule of humanity” containing perhaps millions of digital photos, videos, audio files, and text messages from people all over the world — including you.
Your digital creations would be stored on new “quartz” media that, by some estimates, will survive on the surface of Mars for up to 300 million years.
This would be the world’s first interplanetary space mission led by a non-government team. Other key mission supporters include MIT and Explore Mars, Inc. Details of the mission can be viewed at this link.
While the students are working on the essential science, they are also looking for creative names for both the spacecraft and the Mars “time capsule” lander. The goal is to unleash the world’s creativity in every aspect of the program. The individuals who submit the chosen names will get special digital allocations in the time capsule’s quartz memory, as well as other unique tributes. To submit your name ideas, visit www.TimeCapuleToMars.com.
Starting November 11th, your reviews of restaurants, hotels, shops, songs, and products — and your image — could show up in ads when searched on Google. It’s called Google’s Shared Endorsements. The image in this post is an example.
If you are uncomfortable with this exposure, there’s an easy way to opt out of Google’s Shared Endorsements:
Log into your Google account (for most people, your Gmail account). Then come back to this post and click on http://plus.google.com/settings/endorsements. In the page that comes up, scroll to the bottom and UNCHECK the box next to the phrase: “Based upon my activity, Google may show my name and profile photo in shared endorsements that appear in ads.” Then press the SAVE button. That’s it!
For more information regarding Google’s Shared Endorsements in ads, click here for some more information from ABC News / The Associated Press.
Download and read the excellent perspective on the Affordable Health Care Act, a.k.a., “Obamacare” — entitled “Health Reform: Seven Things You Need To Know” — by clicking on this link.
(CBS) Covering nearly a million miles a day, NASA’s nuclear-powered Voyager 1 spacecraft, 36 years and 12 billion miles from Earth, has crossed the boundary between the sun’s influence and interstellar space, sailing into the vast gulf between the stars to become humanity’s first true starship, scientists announced Thursday.
“In leaving the (solar system) and setting sail on the cosmic seas between the stars, Voyager has joined the other historic journeys of exploration such as the first circumnavigation of the Earth and the first footprint on the moon,” said Voyager project scientist Ed Stone.
“This historic step is even more exciting because it marks the beginning of a new era of exploration for Voyager, the exploration of the space between the stars.”
To read the full story, click here. Image courtesy of NASA
Most places on the central East Coast, all the way up to northern New England, will be able to see this Friday night’s maiden launch of America’s new five-stage “Minotaur V” rocket. It will transport NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer spacecraft (LADEE) to the moon.
The launch is scheduled for 11:27pm EDT from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Use the associated graphics and your location to determine the number of seconds from launch the rocket will be visible, the direction to look, and how many degrees above the horizon the rocket will appear. For instance, if you’re in New England, it should be visible 80 seconds after launch, towards the south, about 10 – 15 degrees above the horizon.
The weather forecast for Friday night, at the launch site and for viewing, looks great.
For more information about the moon mission, visit http://www.space.com/22635-american-minotaur-5-rocket-launch-debut.html
Images courtesy of NASA Wallops, Orbital Sciences Corp., and SPACE.com
According to the journal Science “…the broad chasm is up to 2,600 feet (800 meters) deep and 6 miles (10 km) wide, similar to America’s Grand Canyon in scale… The distinctive V-shaped walls and flat bottom suggests water carved the buried valley, not ice… The canyon predates the ice sheet that permanently covered Greenland about 1.8 million years ago.” The accompanying graphic is a 3-D image. For the full article, follow this link. Image courtesy of J. Bamber, University Bristol
Nothing beats a steak cooked on an open flame. Nothing. But what if you’re short on time but still want that grilled-flame flavor? Well, I’ve been experimenting. (Yes, I still play with my food!) Just take your steaks, put them on a microwave-safe plate, and cover them with a piece of white paper towel (“Bounty” etc.). Pre-cook them in the microwave on high for about 2.5 minutes per total pound of meat. While the microwave is doing its job, heat up your grill. Get it nice and hot. (I get the temperature to about 400 degrees F.) Then pop the pre-cooked steaks on the grill. Cook the steaks for three to four minutes on one side — and then flip. Cook for another minute or two. Presto! You’ll be really, really surprised at the flavor. I am a grilled-steak aficionado, but I’m not sure if I can tell the difference.
FRINGE BENEFIT: If you are concerned about the potential carcinogens caused by grilling — heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) — then you’ll also be doing yourself and your family a favor with this combination cooking method, as it dramatically shortens the time on the grill. BTW, the photos in this post are rib-eye steaks that me and my wife, Elsie, recently cooked with this super-quick method. And they were delicious!
(PC World) Google’s Chrome Web browser for iOS devices has been updated to include several enhanced features, including data compression designed to speed up page loading. The update also builds in interoperability with other Google apps, giving users the option to open links for YouTube, Maps, Google+ and Google Drive in the app instead of in the browser. In the update, there are also voice search enhancements to provide text-to-speech for all variations of English, Spanish, German and several other languages. Users can also now access their full browser history to view a list of websites the person has visited while using Chrome in standard mode. For the complete article, click here.
[BBC News] Ed Stone cannot say when the Voyager-1 spacecraft will leave the Solar System, but he believes the moment is close. The latest data from this extraordinary probe, reported in this week’s Science journal, suggests it is surfing right on the very edge of our Sun’s domain.
The particles streaming away from our star have reduced to a trickle at its present location, 18.5 billion km from Earth. Particles flying towards it from interstellar space, by contrast, have jumped markedly in the past year. It all points to an imminent departure, which would make Voyager the first man-made object to cross into the space between the stars.
“It’s hard to imagine there’s another layer between the one we’re in and the outside,” Dr Stone told BBC News. “Topologically, it makes sense that this is the outermost layer. The only question is: how thick is it?”
Launched way back in 1977, the probe has now travelled so far from home that its constant chatter of data takes 17 hours to arrive at the US space agency’s receiving network. And chatter, it does.
Voyager’s instruments are busy sampling the far-flung environment. This has allowed Dr Stone and colleagues to map the shape and reach of the heliosphere – the giant bubble of charged particles blown off from our Sun.
For the complete article, click here. Image courtesy of the BBC and SPL.
Here’s something fun (and educational for the kids) on this upcoming Sunday, the 26th: Look to the west in the evening twilight after sunset and you’ll see the triple conjunction of three planets: Jupiter, Venus, and Mercury. You’ll need an unobstructed view of the western sky, as the planets will be just above the horizon. Click here for an excellent article and animation from NASA Science News. Image courtesy of NASA.
You’re essentially looking over my shoulder as I write, think, create, invent, and — in general — ponder the world around us. Feel free to peruse my writings and chime in as you’re so inspired. I encourage spirited debate.
This is a specially crafted multi-pronged conduit. Everything I type feeds parallel simultaneous streams to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and my e-mail broadcast system. It’s a global tightrope without a net. Oh, my.
No topic is off limits. If you’re looking for a site that is “politically correct,” you’ve come to the wrong place. Hit the back button on your browser now.
Lots and lots of new features are coming online. They’re all in various stages of development. You’ll soon see innovative things I’m working on — such as a live, streaming, two-way “TV channel” of sorts where you’ll be able to interact with me (audio, video, text) in real time as I type here in front of my computer.
This is my platform to push the boundaries of technology in every dimension.
Hang on tight. We may achieve orbit. Or we may sail off a cliff. But the ride will be exhilarating.