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.”
Read the rest of this entry »
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 »
Posted by pwl on April 23, 2011
Christopher Hitchens writes:
Nothing would have kept me from joining you except the loss of my voice (at least my speaking voice) which in turn is due to a long argument I am currently having with the specter of death. Nobody ever wins this argument, though there are some solid points to be made while the discussion goes on. I have found, as the enemy becomes more familiar, that all the special pleading for salvation, redemption and supernatural deliverance appears even more hollow and artificial to me than it did before. I hope to help defend and pass on the lessons of this for many years to come, but for now I have found my trust better placed in two things: the skill and principle of advanced medical science, and the comradeship of innumerable friends and family, all of them immune to the false consolations of religion. It is these forces among others which will speed the day when humanity emancipates itself from the mind-forged manacles of servility and superstitition. It is our innate solidarity, and not some despotism of the sky, which is the source of our morality and our sense of decency.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Christopher Hitchens, Damn it!, Get some perspective people, Humbled by Nature, Ignorance to Knowledge, Philosophy, Quotations, Rational Thinking, Science over Propaganada, Something to think about, The End is Nigh, Wait for it!, Yikes!, Yikes! The sky really is falling! | 3 Comments »
Posted by pwl on December 17, 2010
The Pioneer Spacecraft: Pioneer 10 now soars toward the constellation Taurus, and 11 aims for Aquila
Thirty years ago, NASA scientists noticed that two of their spacecraft, Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11, were veering off course slightly, as if subject to a mysterious, unknown force. In 1998, the wider scientific community got wind of that veering—termed the Pioneer anomaly—and took aim at it with incessant, mind-blowingly detailed scrutiny that has since raised it to the physics equivalent of cult status. Now, though, after spawning close to 1000 academic papers, numerous international conferences, and many entire scientific careers, this beloved cosmic mystery may be on its way out.
Slava Turyshev, a scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., and Viktor Toth, a Canada-based software developer, plan to publish the results of their strikingly comprehensive new analysis of the Pioneer anomaly in the next few months. Their work is likely to bring a conclusion to one of the longest and most tumultuous detective stories of modern astrophysics.
NASA launched Pioneer 10 in the spring of 1972 and Pioneer 11 one year later. The spacecraft’s joint mission was to gather information about the asteroid belt, Jupiter, Saturn (in the case of Pioneer 11), and their moons. As they hurtled past those various celestial objects, the probes measured previously unknown properties of their atmospheres and surfaces; they also photographed Jupiter’s Red Spot and Saturn’s rings up close for the first time. Then, after completing their “flyby” missions in the mid-1970s, the Pioneers kept going. Carrying identical plaques depicting a man and a woman, the atomic transition of hydrogen, and the location of our planet within the galaxy—a message to aliens—the probes became the first manmade objects ever to plunge beyond the solar system into the inconceivable cold and dark of interstellar space. 
This is a fascinating story for many reasons: (1) it has parallels to the entire climate debate, (2) complex computer models of various forces of Nature such as gravity and heat, (3) 1,000s of scientific papers peer reviewed none-the-less attempting to find the cause of the anomaly, (4) destruction of the data (almost), (5) refutation upon refutation leading nowhere, (6) a mystery of great complexity, (7) models that are just to inefficient or full of errors, (8) mistaken idea after mistaken idea, (9) complexity, (10) tenacious independent non-official scientific oriented people dedicated to solving the problem on their own time, (11) …, (N) the list of valuable comparisons goes on and on.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Adult Supervision Required, Awesome beyond awesome, Climate Science, Complex Systems, Ethics in Science, Exercise For the Reader, Get some perspective people, Good science attitude, Gravity, Hard Science, Hard Science Required, Humbled by Nature, Ideas Crazy Enough to Have a Chance, Ignorance to Knowledge, Majestic Universe, Philosophy, Rational Thinking, Science Education, Science Missions, Science over Propaganada, Science Smackdown, Something to think about, Space Travel, They got the math wrong!, Vehicles, Wait for it! | Tagged: Philosophy Of Science, Scientific Method | 6 Comments »
Posted by pwl on February 4, 2010
The Spirit of Mars
(Click to enlarge).
Thx1138 to XKCD.
Posted in Adventure, Awesome, Ethics in Science, Fun, Humbled by Nature, Ignorance to Knowledge, Reality Based Environmentalism, Science Education, Science Missions, The End is Nigh, Wait for it!, Yikes! | 1 Comment »
Posted by pwl on January 18, 2010
As is evident in the first few frames of this security camera you can see the building (reportedly a shopping mall type structure) collapse. That’s extremely fast considering that it basically went down on the first few earthquake wave crests in the first few seconds of this 7.0 quake. It really shows the potent power of The BIG ONE! Imagine what that would do in your city.
At seven seconds into the video the building is standing. The camera starts moving at second 8. Smoke from the collapsing building is visible during second 10 and clearly the building falls by second 11. That’s about three seconds from first wave to catastrophic destruction of the structure. That’s not even enough time to comprehend what is happening if you’re standing in the structure before the roof comes down on your head. Yikes.
Cars driving down the road clearly divert from their lanes. At second 25 a truck appears on the left side of the video and attempts to turn left onto the main road and arcs left losing control – having just missed a car by a second or two – and comes to a stop before hitting the collapsing building. Double yikes.
As you can see from this Google Earth Satellite image below annotated with earthquake symbols, most of which have happened between Jan 10th, 2010 and today, Jan 18th, there is a massive cluster of aftershocks to the west of the hard hit area of Port-Au-Prince. What is of note though is the numerous numbers of low magnitude quakes just to the north of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Some of these are actually under Puerto Rico. Too close for comfort.
(Click image to enlarge).
This is quite the number of aftershocks and also reveals the underlying fault lines.
Do these sets of aftershocks under and to the north of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands provide a warning of dangers lurking or has the pressures on the underlying plates been relieved somewhat so that danger has been reduced? I wonder.
Update 20100119: Additional earthquakes: “It’s one week after the Haiti Earthquake and the World has seen earthquakes in Argentina, Venezuela and most recently Guatemala.” – San Francisco Gate (1). How likely are these additional quakes related to the Haiti quake and aftershocks? Could these be adjustments resulting from the Haiti quake? Hmm….
Update 20100120: The quakes continue in the region with another large one hitting Haiti (5.9 with some reports saying 6.1) today.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Complex Systems, Double Yikes!!, Eeek!, Exercise for the Reader (that's you), Get some perspective people, Good science attitude, Hard Science, Hard Science Required, Humbled by Nature, Ignorance to Knowledge, Rational Thinking, Reality Based Environmentalism, Respect Nature or Else, Science Education, Science over Propaganada, Spooky Action at a Distance, Terraforming Earth, TerrorForming Earth, The End is Nigh, The Ground is Falling Up!, Vaporizing Earth!, Violent, Wait for it!, Yikes! | 2 Comments »
Posted by pwl on December 30, 2009
Seasons Greetings. Happy New Year – Drink and Drive Responsibly OR NOT AT ALL.
Posted in Climate Science, Complex Systems, Debunking Bad Environmentalism, Philosophy, Politics, Proofs Needed, Rational Thinking, Reality Based Economics, Reality Based Environmentalism, Science over Propaganada, Video, Wait for it! | 2 Comments »