That's Mr. Trekker to you, bud!
In other studies you go as far as others have gone before you, and there is nothing more to know; but in a scientific pursuit there is continual food for discovery and wonder.
Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
Science, my lad, has been built upon many errors; but they are errors which it was good to fall into, for they led to the truth.
Journey to the Center of the Earth - Jules Verne
pyrrhiccomedy:


Astronomers have discovered the largest known structure in the universe, a clump of active galactic cores that stretch 4 billion light-years from end to end. The structure is a light quasar group (LQG), a collection of extremely luminous Galactic Nulcei powered by supermassive central black holes.

So that’s cool and everything, but maybe some of you would be interested to know why this is a significant find? Beyond just its record-setting bigness.
Since Einstein, physicists have accepted something called the Cosmological Principle, which states that the universe looks the same everywhere if you view it on a large enough scale. You might find some weird shit over here, and some other freaky shit over there, but if you pull back the camera far enough, you’ll find that same weird and/or freaky shit cropping up over and over again in a fairly regular distribution. This is because the universe is (probably) infinite in size and (we are pretty darn sure) has, and has always had, the same forces acting on it everywhere.
So why is this new LQG so radical? (It stands for ‘Large Quasar Group,’ btw, not ‘Light Quasar Group.’)
Well, let’s try to comprehend the scale we’re dealing with. A ‘megaparsec,’ written Mpc, is about 3.2 million light years long. The Milky Way is about 0.03 Mpc across (or 100,000 light years). The distance between our galaxy and Andromeda, our closest galactic neighbor, is 0.75 Mpc, or 2.5 million light years. LQGs are usually about 200 Mpc across. Assuming a logarithmic distribution of weird shit outliers (if you don’t know how logarithmic distribution curves work, don’t worry about it), cosmologists predicted that nothing in the universe should be more than 370 Mpc across.
This new LQG is 1200 Mpc long. That’s four billion light years. Four BILLION LIGHT YEARS. Just to travel from one side to the other of this one thing. I mean for fuck’s sake, the universe is only about 14 billion years old! How many of these things could there be? 
Right now it looks like the Cosmological Principle might be out the window, unless physicists can find some way to make the existence of this new LQG work with the math (and boy, are they trying). And that’s totally baffling. It would mean—well, we don’t have any idea what it would mean. That the universe isn’t essentially uniform? That some ‘special’ physics apply/applied in some places but not in others? That Something Happened that is totally outside our current ability to understand or quantify stuff happening?
By the way, no one lives there. The radiation from so many quasars would sterilize rock.
Sources: 1 2 3

pyrrhiccomedy:

Astronomers have discovered the largest known structure in the universe, a clump of active galactic cores that stretch 4 billion light-years from end to end. The structure is a light quasar group (LQG), a collection of extremely luminous Galactic Nulcei powered by supermassive central black holes.

So that’s cool and everything, but maybe some of you would be interested to know why this is a significant find? Beyond just its record-setting bigness.

Since Einstein, physicists have accepted something called the Cosmological Principle, which states that the universe looks the same everywhere if you view it on a large enough scale. You might find some weird shit over here, and some other freaky shit over there, but if you pull back the camera far enough, you’ll find that same weird and/or freaky shit cropping up over and over again in a fairly regular distribution. This is because the universe is (probably) infinite in size and (we are pretty darn sure) has, and has always had, the same forces acting on it everywhere.

So why is this new LQG so radical? (It stands for ‘Large Quasar Group,’ btw, not ‘Light Quasar Group.’)

Well, let’s try to comprehend the scale we’re dealing with. A ‘megaparsec,’ written Mpc, is about 3.2 million light years long. The Milky Way is about 0.03 Mpc across (or 100,000 light years). The distance between our galaxy and Andromeda, our closest galactic neighbor, is 0.75 Mpc, or 2.5 million light years. LQGs are usually about 200 Mpc across. Assuming a logarithmic distribution of weird shit outliers (if you don’t know how logarithmic distribution curves work, don’t worry about it), cosmologists predicted that nothing in the universe should be more than 370 Mpc across.

This new LQG is 1200 Mpc long. That’s four billion light years. Four BILLION LIGHT YEARS. Just to travel from one side to the other of this one thing. I mean for fuck’s sake, the universe is only about 14 billion years old! How many of these things could there be? 

Right now it looks like the Cosmological Principle might be out the window, unless physicists can find some way to make the existence of this new LQG work with the math (and boy, are they trying). And that’s totally baffling. It would mean—well, we don’t have any idea what it would mean. That the universe isn’t essentially uniform? That some ‘special’ physics apply/applied in some places but not in others? That Something Happened that is totally outside our current ability to understand or quantify stuff happening?

By the way, no one lives there. The radiation from so many quasars would sterilize rock.

Sources: 1 2 3

jkottke:

In an interview accompanying a Frontline episode on drug-resistant bacteria, an associate director for the CDC, Dr. Arjun Srinivasan, says that “we’re in the post-antibiotic era”.

The more you use an antibiotic, the more you expose a bacteria to an antibiotic, the greater the…

My doctor and I have spoken about this. We’re going back to the point where a scratch can kill you.

inothernews:

DRINKS BOSON   Belgian physicist François Englert hefted a mug of beer after a news conference in Oviedo, Spain, Thursday. Mr. Englert, U.S. professor Peter Higgs and the European Organization for Nuclear Research will receive the 2013 Principe de Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research on Friday; earlier this month, Englert and Higgs had won the Nobel Prize for Physics. (Photo: Eloy Alonso / Reuters via The Wall Street Journal)

inothernews:

DRINKS BOSON   Belgian physicist François Englert hefted a mug of beer after a news conference in Oviedo, Spain, Thursday. Mr. Englert, U.S. professor Peter Higgs and the European Organization for Nuclear Research will receive the 2013 Principe de Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research on Friday; earlier this month, Englert and Higgs had won the Nobel Prize for Physics. (Photo: Eloy Alonso / Reuters via The Wall Street Journal)


Astronomers have discovered the largest known structure in the universe, a clump of active galactic cores that stretch 4 billion light-years from end to end. The structure is a light quasar group (LQG), a collection of extremely luminous Galactic Nulcei powered by supermassive central black holes.

This art makes it like the wormhole from DS9.

Astronomers have discovered the largest known structure in the universe, a clump of active galactic cores that stretch 4 billion light-years from end to end. The structure is a light quasar group (LQG), a collection of extremely luminous Galactic Nulcei powered by supermassive central black holes.

This art makes it like the wormhole from DS9.

kenobi-wan-obi:

Incredible Technology: How to Build a Space Station Colony

Life in a space colony would be different from life on Earth.

Gravity might be a thing of the past, everyone could drink distilled urine, and a whole generation of Earthlings may grow up without ever having set foot on the surface of the planet. At the moment, those ideas are still firmly set in the realm of science fiction, but in the next 1,000 years, new technologies could be developed that would enable humanity to colonize space.

While a self-sustaining space station colony might be a long way off, scientists are still working to design and perhaps even build a space station that goes beyond low-Earth orbit.

"It extends the capability of humans to be out in space away from Earth," Paul Bookout, project manager of the concept demonstrator for Deep Space Habitat at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., said of building a space station in deep space. "For example if you could go to a near-Earth asteroid and you had a habitat out there, you could stay extended periods of time … and do research on the asteroid, bring samples back in, continuing work out there instead of trying to bring small samples back to Earth."

"Elysium" — a new science fiction film about a world in which only the rich and powerful can live in a seemingly utopic space station orbiting Earth — is the newest in a long line of movies dealing with the science of space living.

"The premise is totally believable to me," Mark Uhran, a former assistant associate administrator for the International Space Station at NASA Headquarters, said of the movie. "When I took a look at the Elysium station, I thought to myself, that’s certainly achievable within this millennium."

Continue: How To Build a Station

Homemade Dialysis Machine Keeps Man Alive for 13 Years

ziyadmd:

image

A man from Nanjing, China, has recently made headlines after it was discovered he built his own dialysis machine, and managed to keep himself alive for 13 years, after he couldn’t afford to receive proper hospital care.

A research from 2008, shows only one in ten Chinese people can afford regular dialysis treatment, but one man refused to give in to his illness simply because he couldn’t pay the high hospital costs.

Read More

Amazing.

I think it’d be poetic if one of our voyager probes ends up crashing into some important alien building and they end up blaming whoever’s convenient so that millions of years from now, America’s still starting shit in places it has no business being.

sagansense:

Mystery Solved: Meteorite Caused Tunguska Devastation
Nothing but tiny fragments left, but clearly from a meteorite.

On the morning of June 30 in 1908, a gigantic fireball devastated hundreds of square kilometres of uninhabited Siberian forest around the Tunguska river. The first scientists to investigate the impact site expected to find a meteorite, but they found nothing. Because no traces of a meteorite were found, many scientists concluded that the culprit was a comet. Comets, which are essentially muddy ice balls, could cause such a devastation and leave no trace.

But now, 105 years later, scientists have revealed that the Tunguska devastation was indeed caused by a meteorite. A group of Ukrainian, German, and American scientists have identified its microscopic remains. Why it took them so many years makes for a fascinating tale about the limits of science and how we are pushing them.

Big ball of fire
Eyewitness reports of the Tunguska event help paint a partial picture. As the fireball streaked across the sky, a blast of heat scorched everything in its wake, to be followed by a shock wave that threw people off their feet and stripped leaves and branches from trees, laying a large forest flat. Photos reveal the extent and force of the impact, showing trees that look like bare telegraph poles, all pointing away from the impact site.

The inability to find any meteorite, however, led to a century of speculation on the origins of the blast. The Tunguska event has spawned a wealth of science fiction that has fed outrageous theories. But the main question has remained: what was it?

An icy comet would evaporate on impact, which could explain the lack of any observable evidence. But a study in the journal Planetary and Space Science provides, for the first time, evidence that the impact was not caused by a comet. Researchers collected microscopic fragments recovered from a layer of partially decayed vegetation (peat) that dates from that extraordinary summer.

Victor Kvasnytsya from the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and his colleagues used the latest imaging and spectroscopy techniques to identify aggregates of carbon minerals—diamond, lonsdaleite, and graphite. Lonsdaleite in particular is known to form when carbon-rich material is suddenly exposed to a shock wave created by an explosion, such as that of meteorite hitting Earth. The lonsdaleite fragments contain even smaller inclusions of iron sulphides and iron-nickel alloys, troilite and taenite, which are characteristic minerals found in space-based objects such as meteorites. The precise combination of minerals in these fragments point to a meteorite source. It is near-identical to similar minerals found in an Arizona impact.

The samples point to one thing: the Tunguska impact is the largest meteorite impact in recorded history. US researchers have estimated that the Tunguska blast could have been as much as the equivalent of a five megaton TNT explosion—hundreds of times more powerful than the Hiroshima blast. The meteorite tore apart as it entered the atmosphere at an angle, so that little of it reached the ground intact. That is why all remains are such small specks that have been fossilised in the Siberian peat.

2013 meteorite impact
We can compare the Tunguska event with the fireball seen during the impact of the Chelyabinsk meteor earlier this year. Although much less powerful than Tunguska, the Chelyabinsk event was similar. A low-angle approach broke up the body, leaving fragments that were found over the vast expanse of Eurasia. More than 1,000 people were injured, some drawn to windows by the flash of the fireball and then hit by the shock wave that followed.

The Tunguska devastation that was not investigated for 19 years, partly because of lack of resources. In contrast, the Chelyabinsk meteorite attracted immediate attention. Dashboard cameras captured the trajectory and brightness of the fireball, while CCTV networks provided fixed reference points. The US space agency NASA has now been able to identify the origins of the meteorite.

The low-frequency rumble of the Chelyabinsk event travelled twice around the globe. The data demonstrates that the energy of the impact was equivalent to a 460 kiloton (TNT) bomb, which is about 40 times the Hiroshima blast.

Planetary and Space Science, June 2013. DOI: 10.1016/j.pss.2013.05.003 (About DOIs)

This article was first published at The Conversation.

via arstechnica


Oh, I know Hamlet. And what he might say with irony, I say with conviction: “What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! How infinite in faculty! In form, in moving, how express and admirable! In action, how like an angel! In apprehension, how like a god!”
- Captain Jean-Luc Picard

Oh, I know Hamlet. And what he might say with irony, I say with conviction: “What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! How infinite in faculty! In form, in moving, how express and admirable! In action, how like an angel! In apprehension, how like a god!”

- Captain Jean-Luc Picard