Saturday, March 31, 2012

Researchers Send Message Through Solid Stone on a Beam of Neutrinos

While modern wireless technologies are obviously vastly superior to the communication methods of old, they still rely on the use of magnetic waves, and therefore, on maintaining an unobstructed line of sight between the transmitter and receiver, in order to work. So even today -as anyone whose ever had a satellite dish knows- it can take little more than heavy cloud cover, or even a little too much sunshine, to result in a lost signal.

One potential answer to the ever present issue of signal obstruction, is the recently very popular sub-atomic particle known as the neutrino. Because all though they may still be limited to the speed of light like everything else, neutrinos are still very strange, and potentially very useful little bits of matter. These neutrally charged, weakly interacting, sub-atomic particles move through the world virtually unaffected by outside forces, and even other matter, thanks to the neutrino's near complete lack of mass. It's this unique ability to pass through other matter unaffected, that makes the concept of using beams of neutrinos to replace the conventional radio wave as a data carrier, so attractive.

A recent experiment conducted at the Fermi labs accelerator in Illinois by a group of scientists lead by researchers from the University of Rochester and North Carolina State University, managed to successfully transmit information using a neutrino beam, for the very first time. The message they sent, which was simply the word "neutrino", was transmitted through 250 yards of solid stone, and is a promising proof of concept, where the use of neutrinos as an effective, alternative transmission medium is concerned. However, even sending this simple, binary message consisting of a single word, took over two hours and the power of massive particle detector pull off. Which clearly demonstrates that the same property which makes the neutrino a suitable medium for unobstructed data transmission, also makes it difficult to detect and collect on the receiving end.

So while it's entirely possible that we might all someday be connecting wireless to the world through virtually unobstructable beams of neutrinos. For now, you'll still have to keep hanging your head dangerously far out your office window, to try and get that elusive third bar you need to load your Twitter feed.


Story and Image VIA: University of Rochester

Things That WILL be Awesome: NERDIST on YouTube

Posted by YouTube user:Nerdist

I suspect most of you already know this, but just in case you don’t. Two days from now, Chris Hardwick’s Nerdist Industries will begin airing original video content via it’s new channel on YouTube. I’m a big fan of Hardwick’s and the Nerdist, and the shows thus far announced for the channel look awesome. So if you haven’t already, then go do as Zombie Hardwick says, and subscribe to the Nerdist channel on YouTube

As for those of you who are somehow unaware of Chris Hardwick or the Nerdist podcast. First of all, I forgive you, only just, but I do. Seriously though, how did you even get here? And are you sure you’re really a geek? Now go to atone for your ignorance.

You can thank me later.


Creepy-Weird-Not Japanese, Thing of The Week: Kiss Transmission Robots From Lovotics

Posted by YouTube user: hmnasmn

Remember THIS story, about a group of Japanese students who invented a remote kissing machine for the Internet? Remember how creepy we all thought it was, and how you could never imagine why anyone would build such a thing? Well, just in case you thought the Japanese were the only ones trying to make robot humping a reality, I give you: AI researcher Hooman Samani.

Hooman, as you may have guessed by now, has actually invented an Internet kissing machine all of his own, through a robotics project called “Lovotics”. Yes, That’s right- creepy Internet kissing machines have been independently invented at least twice now.

Instead of a little white box with a plastic bendy straw attached to it, like the device those Japanese students came up with. Samani’s remote kissing toys are made to look like cartoon pigs with giant silicon lips. Which I'm thinking is a not so subtle comment on the potential users of the device, but that's just speculation on my part.

So if you happen to be a shut in with a desire to make out remotely with strangers over the Internet, or even if you just happen to have a thing for anthropomorphized pigs, then today, is YOUR lucky day. All ya gotta do now is grab yourself one of these sweet Internet kissing pigs, and one of those iPad fleshlight mounts I told you about -which also turned out to be a real thing BTW- and you can finally live your twisted little monkey dreams of virtually humping your favorite cartoon seductress, or iOS device.


You depraved little freaks you.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mammoths Alive as Recently as 3600 Years Ago

There’s something about the mammoth that makes even the sort of people that have about as much interest in science and prehistory as I do, kardashians and Gagas, perk up and pay attention. I’m not sure why exactly. Maybe it’s because they look so similar to modern elephants that it’s easier for people to see them as real creatures than, say, a 30 foot tall predatory lizard covered in feathers, for which, we of course have no modern analog. Or maybe it’s just the fur, people love fur.

For the most part, I actually think it’s the idea that we came so close to seeing the mammoth alive and well, in our own time, the last of them having died out in North America a mere 10,000 years ago, that drives peoples fascination with the animals. And now, it seems, we were even closer to living alongside mammoths in modern times than we previously imagined.

While it’s still true that the bulk of the world’s mammoth population died out around 10,000 years ago, with the ending of the last ice age. According to the results of a four year study conducted by British and Swedish researchers on the remains found on Siberia’s Wrangle island, a small population of about 500-1000 of the creatures managed to survive until as recently as 1650 BCE.

The study also showed that Wrangle’s small, isolated, mammoth population didn’t die out as a result of inbreeding either, as had previously been theorized about the group. In fact, it seems that the Wrangle island mammoth population was not only stable, alive, and well, a thousand years after the completion of the great pyramids, but that the animals likely could have survived in isolation on the island indefinitely, if not for some combination of 2 things: the arrival of human beings(oops) and climate change.



Sunday, March 18, 2012

Eye Candy: Steampunk Portal Gun

The Inner Workings of The LHC

Posted by Youtube user: T56rOx

In case you're unfamiliar with the inner workings of a modern particle accelerator, more specifically the inner workings of the LHC. The above animation explains just how the accelerator manages to drive particles up to 99.99% the speed of light, and then smash them into one another, breaking them down into smaller sub-atomic pieces.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Standard Model and The Search For The Higgs Boson

Posted by Youtube user:Bestofscience

Two recent experiments from Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois, reported a small excess of events between 115 and 135 GeV (gigaelectronvolts), which they believe to be hints of the long sought Higgs boson. The results of Fermi's experiments seem to support those of experiments conducted last year at CERN’s LHC, which also may have spotted the particle at a similar wavelength; around 125 GeV. What does that actually mean?

Searching for sub-atomic particles like the Higgs, is a matter of smashing larger particles together -Larger in this case meaning things like protons- and then searching the debris of the resulting explosion for anomalies. Because Like every other particle described by the standard model the Higgs, if it does exist, would only be detected at a specific energy level or wavelength of radiation, finding it is really just a matter of looking in the right place. So the experimental results obtained by physicists at Fermi, the LHC, and other accelerators around the world, now seem to suggest that physicists are finally doing exactly that. And the general buzz amongst physicists, the ones I follow anyway, seems to be that we are in fact on the verge of discovering the Higgs.

Why does that matter, and why should you care?

Finding the Higgs matters because the standard model of particle physics predicts the existence of at least 17 fundamental particles, including the Higgs. This collection of particles consists of the Higgs boson, believed to be responsible for imparting all matter with mass, four particles corresponding to the fundamental forces, and 12 particles of matter; the matter particles being divided into two categories, quarks and leptons, and appearing as pairs, or "generations". This theoretical model is largely regarded as one of the most successful theories of all time, as it has consistently been used to make accurate scientific predictions since the current formulation was finalized in the mid 1970's.

But the accuracy of the equations derived from the standard model rely on the assumption that the Higgs is a real thing. So confirming the existence of this theoretical particle is vital to the theory's validation, and in turn, a major part of our current understanding of the physical universe. And you should care, particularly if you are of the mind that ours is a reality governed by natural laws and forces, rather than malicious deities and supernatural effects, because the world of quantum theory is the quest for the ultimate explanation of EVERYTHING.

Also because:


Source: Wired Science

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sometime I Paint Things, But Only on my Phone

Didn’t do any blogging this weekend, been busy with other things. But I did take a break to play with the Brushes app on my phone for a while. Here are the results. For the record, I can draw, though I haven't really done it much for the past few years, but I cannot paint IRL, hence the lack of technique. Well, that, and the fact that I did this with my finger on an iphone. Plus, this represents about an hour of effort at 3 am, so cut me some slack. Also, yes, it does look a little like Scully from X-files, this was not intentional.