Paths To Knowledge (dot Science)

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Archive for September, 2011

Occupy The Solar System

Posted by pwl on September 30, 2011

Going beyond the small dream of Occupy Wall Street; embrace a real dream: we are already occupying the Earth, soon the Moon and then onto the goal of occupying the entire Solar System! A worthy goal for the various space programs of Earth.

The NASA director gives 54 minute talk on occupying the solar system.

Dr S.Pete Worden, Director of NASA Ames Research Park, NASA’s cutting edge research base in Silicon Valley, discusses humanity’s goal of settling the solar system.

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Posted in Awesome, Colonization, Complex Systems, Hard Science, Rational Thinking, Science Missions, Space Travel | Leave a Comment »

Christopher Hitchens debates Dr. Barry Brummett

Posted by pwl on September 24, 2011

Debate between renowned journalist and author Christopher Hitchens and Dr. Barry Brummett (Chair, Department of Communication Studies, University of Texas at Austin) on the resolution “Religion has been a positive force in culture,” June 4, 2011. Organized by the Department of English Language and Literature, University of Waterloo (, as part of the Literature, Rhetoric, and Values Conference, 3-5 June 2011.

Moderated by Jian Ghomeshi, an award-winning broadcaster, writer, musician and producer. He is the host and co-creator of the national daily talk program, Q, on CBC Radio One and CBC TV ( Since its inception in 2007, Q has garnered the largest audience of any cultural affairs program in Canada and has become the highest-rated show in its morning time slot in CBC history.

In Part 1, Jian Ghomeshi introduces the two debaters.

Preliminary video-editing by Ken Cooper. Final edits by MetaMedia Productions, Waterloo, Ontario.

The Department gratefully acknowledges the support of a Social Sciences and Humanities Council Aid to Conferences Grant for the Conference on Literature, Rhetoric, and Values.

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Posted in Christopher Hitchens, Humbled by Nature, Invisible Friend Crowd, Philosophy, Religion, Scams, Video | 2 Comments »

Canada Hit By NASA Satellite? NASA To Be Hit By Littering Bill From Canada?

Posted by pwl on September 24, 2011

Update 4: It seems that none of the following can be substantiated. Initial data are often wrong.

Canada again. What are we a friendly target or what? Looks like Alberta near Calgary. Let’s see 26+ counts of littering.

“The 6-ton UARS satellite — the biggest piece of space debris to fall from the sky since Sky Lab in 1979 — fell back to Earth early Saturday morning. Debris is reported to have been found near Calgary, Canada.”
Canada Hit by Nasa Junk Satellite at Okotoks, Alberta, Canada, near Calgary

This video seems to be showing the satellite broken up and reentering and burning up above Alberta. It doesn’t show any coming down crashing into Alberta.

Update 1: It looks like the satellite passed over Alberta on it’s way to the Pacific Ocean splash down.

Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics said the spacecraft entered the atmosphere around 12:15 a.m. EDT over the coast of Washington. He said much of the debris likely fell over the Pacific Ocean, though its trajectory suggests some of it could have fallen over more heavily populated areas in the U.S. and Canada, including Portland, Ore.; Seattle; Calgary, Alberta; and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

“Pieces are falling off of this flaming fire ball, and some of it has enough momentum to go hundreds of miles,” he said.

Cole said that was possible because the last track for the satellite included Canada, starting north of Seattle and then in a large arc north then south. From there, the track continued through the Atlantic south toward Africa, but it was unlikely the satellite got that far if it started falling over the Pacific.

Cole said NASA was hoping for more details from the Air Force, which was responsible for tracking debris.

But given where the satellite may have fallen, officials may never quite know precisely.

“Most space debris is in the ocean. It’ll be hard to confirm,” Cole said.

Some 26 pieces of the satellite representing 1,200 pounds of heavy metal had been expected to rain down somewhere. The biggest surviving chunk should be no more than 300 pounds.
NASA Says Satellite Fell to Earth Over Pacific Ocean

Update 2 Could it be that the video is a hoax. It looks impressive however… possibly the video is real but the reports of the debris landing in Alberta are the hoax.

Last night there was a report of long streaks on the Environment Canada Radar in the Calgary area. Here is a image I captured from their site. Unfortunately only one frame of the radar had the streak on it. I don’t know if the direction is wrong. I don’t know if the radar would see the satellite pieces either. They’d have to be within the radar’s range which I don’t know the parameters of, especially the full extent of the vertical range.

The time seems wrong though showing 11:30pm MDT in the Weather Radar image and the satellite “fell back to Earth between 11:23 p.m. EDT Friday, Sept. 23, and 1:09 a.m. EDT Sept. 24.” Since “Mountain Time (Canada) (Daylight Savings) is 2 hours behind Eastern Time (Canada) (Daylight Savings)” that means that 9:23 pm MDT to 11:09pm MDT is the time period of the reentry. Maybe it could have been delayed and come in just after Nasa’s estimated window? Hmmmm… don’t know at this point.

Well the Google Map of Okotoks, Alberta puts it in the weather radar zone between High River and Calgary right under the path in the radar image, so maybe this was the satellite captured on the radar? It’s in the same area anyway.

Slashdot reports.

Update 3:

“1820 GMT (2:20 p.m. EDT)
Nick Johnson, chief scientist with NASA’s Orbital Debris Program at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, says the space agency has received “no credible” reports of observers seeing the UARS re-entry. Officials think the satellite most likely fell into atmosphere over the open Pacific Ocean around 12 a.m. EDT (0400 GMT) and the surviving debris would have landed in the sea before reaching North America.” –

Posted in Science Education, Science Missions, Science Smackdown, Splish Splash Taking a Bath, The Sky Is Falling, Video | 6 Comments »

It Ain’t Over Till The Fat Lady Neutrina Sings Again

Posted by pwl on September 23, 2011

It ain’t over till the fat lady Neutrina sings again in a number of encore performances around the world, aka “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” (to borrow a principle from Carl Sagan).

A quick summary of the alleged discovery of slightly faster than light neutrinos:

CERN’s Antonio Ereditato does a brief BBC Inteview.

“[The following] is the live Webcast from CERN on Friday September 23, 2011. Given the potential far-reaching consequences of the OPERA experiment — which observes a neutrino beam from CERN 730 km away at Italy’s INFN Gran Sasso Laboratory, indicating that the neutrinos travel at a velocity 20 parts per million above the speed of light — independent measurements are needed before the effect can either be refuted or firmly established, according to a CERN statement just issued. The OPERA collaboration has therefore decided to open the result to broader scrutiny.”
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Posted in Adventure, Awesome, Complex Systems, Energy, Good science attitude, Hard Science, Hard Science Required, Humbled by Nature, Majestic Universe, Proofs, Proofs Needed, Rational Thinking, Science Education, Science Missions, Video, Wait for it!, WOW!!! | 1 Comment »

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