Designer babies, the end of diseases, genetically modified humans that never age. Outrageous things that used to be science fiction are suddenly becoming reality. The only thing we know for sure is that things will change irreversibly.
Scientists have discovered a new kind of ‘blue whirl’ flame that could lead to cleaner ways of burning fuel, as well as helping in the clean-up of oil spills.
The refined flame is based on fire whirls, which naturally occur when rising heat and turbulent winds combine to create a thin tornado of flames. When creating fire whirls in the lab, researchers happened upon their blue whirl flame, which has never before been observed.
As we near the limits of human strength and speed, technology and culture keep moving the finish line.
In 1896 Charilaos Vasilakos won the first modern marathon, a qualifying race for Greece’s Olympic team, with a time of three hours and eighteen minutes. Today that would not even qualify him for the Boston Marathon. Since the beginning of the modern Olympic Games world records in every sport have advanced sharply, driven by factors as disparate as global conflicts, social change, technological improvements and changing rules.
Physicists can’t agree on whether the flow of future to past is real or a mental construct.
DOES ANYBODY REALLY KNOW WHAT TIME IS?
According to our best theories of physics, the universe is a fixed block where time only appears to pass. Yet a number of physicists hope to replace this “block universe” with a physical theory of time.
Einstein once described his friend Michele Besso as “the best sounding board in Europe” for scientific ideas. They attended university together in Zurich; later they were colleagues at the patent office in Bern. When Besso died in the spring of 1955, Einstein — knowing that his own time was also running out — wrote a now-famous letter to Besso’s family. “Now he has departed this strange world a little ahead of me,” Einstein wrote of his friend’s passing. “That signifies nothing. For us believing physicists, the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.” Continue reading “Physicists Can’t Agree On Whether Or Not Time Is Real”
How are humans progressing? Be it resolved humankind’s best days lie ahead…
Progress. It is one of the animating concepts of the modern era. From the Enlightenment onwards, the West has had an enduring belief that through the evolution of institutions, innovations and ideas, the human condition is improving. This process is supposedly accelerating as new technologies, individual freedoms and the spread of global norms empowers individuals and societies around the world. But is progress inevitable? Its critics argue that human civilization has become different, not better, over the last two and a half centuries. What is seen as breakthrough or innovation in one period becomes a setback or limitation in another. In short, progress is an ideology not a fact; a way of thinking about the world as opposed to a description of reality. Continue reading “Progress! Do mankind’s best days lie ahead?”
While measuring brain activity with magnetic resonance imaging during blood pressure trials, researchers found that men and women had opposite responses in the right front of the insular cortex, a part of the brain integral to the experience of emotions, blood pressure control and self-awareness.
While measuring brain activity with magnetic resonance imaging during blood pressure trials, UCLA researchers found that men and women had opposite responses in the right front of the insular cortex, a part of the brain integral to the experience of emotions, blood pressure control and self-awareness.
SpaceX has finally landed its Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship at sea:
(I recommend that you watch the whole video of this mission) SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launched a cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station, but most important part is the fact that after several failed attempts, SpaceX successfully landed the first stage of the rocket on an ocean barge. All previous SpaceX’s attempts to land the rocket on a floating drone ship crashed.
[Few days ago, Blue Origin successfully launched and landed their rocket. Watch it here]
DNA data storage could help us file away the vast amounts of information we continue to generate
To do it, researchers from the University of Washington first have to convert ones and zeroes that make up a digital file using the four basic building blocks of DNA— adenine, guanine, cytosine and thymine. Once the team’s determined how to represent a file, they then synthesize artificial DNA based on their calculations.
Reading the data is made easier by distinctive markers that the team place within the strands of DNA. The team can sequences the sample, then use these markers to finds the starting point of a file. Then they simply read back the combination of adenine, guanine, cytosine and thymine, use the Huffman coding to convert it back into digital data and—voila!—the files is restored.
Marconi’s invention posed a threat to the wired-telegraph industry. In response, the Eastern Telegraph Co. hired John Nevil Maskelyne, a British magician and inventor who had experimented with wireless technologies, to monitor Marconi’s work. According to an article in New Scientist, Maskelyne was able to build broadband receivers capable of intercepting Marconi’s so-called secure transmissions without knowing their frequencies.
In June 1903 Marconi held a public demonstration in London to show how his device could receive a message from a station nearly 500 kilometers away. But before he could receive the message, an intruder delivered this to Marconi’s receiver:
Rats rats rats rats.
There was a young fellow of Italy,
who diddled the public quite prettily.
The message went on to further mock and insult Marconi.
Climate scientists, including ex-NASA scientist James Hansen, warns that our climate could dramatically change within decades, not centuries.
Virtually all climate scientists agree with Dr. Hansen and his co-authors that society is not moving fast enough to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, posing grave risks. The basic claim of the paper is that by burning fossil fuels at a prodigious pace and pouring heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere, humanity is about to provoke an abrupt climate shift.