space

As when you drove with her to Findrinny Fair

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Earlier this week, Elon Musk said there’s a “good chance” settlers in the first Mars missions will die. […] the trip itself will take a year based on current estimates, and applicants to settlement programs are told to expect this trip to be one way.

{ Popular Mechanics | Continue reading }

How P.E. and Guerilla Funk is keepin it movin

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For the second time ever, astronomers have detected a pattern in a mysterious fast radio burst coming from space. […] earlier this year when astronomers found that FRB 180916.J0158+65 had a pattern in bursts occurring every 16.35 days. Over the course of four days, the signal would release a burst or two each hour. Then, it would go silent for another 12 days.

Now, they have detected a pattern in a second repeating fast radio burst, known as FRB 121102. During this cyclical pattern, radio bursts are emitted during a 90-day window, followed by a silent period of 67 days. This pattern repeats every 157 days.

{ CNN | Continue reading }

‘Anything can happen, but it usually doesn’t.’ —Robert Benchley

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The Navy records, known as “hazard reports,” describe both visual and radar sightings, including close calls with the aerial vehicles, or “unmanned aircraft systems.”

One incident, on March 26, 2014, over the Atlantic Ocean off Virginia Beach, involved a silver object “approximately the size of a suitcase” that was tracked on radar passing within 1,000 feet of one of the jets, according to the report. […]

Defense Department officials do not describe the objects as extraterrestrial, and experts emphasize that earthly explanations can generally be found for such incidents. Even lacking a plausible terrestrial explanation does not make an extraterrestrial one likely, astrophysicists say.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

I contacted Alexander Wendt, a professor of international relations at Ohio State University. Wendt is a giant in his field of IR theory, but in the past 15 years or so, he’s become an amateur ufologist. […] “It’s possible they’ve been here all along. And that’s something that I’ve been thinking about lately, which is a bit unsettling. Because it means it’s their planet and not ours. They could just be intergalactic tourists. Maybe they’re looking for certain minerals. It could just be scientific curiosity. It could be that they’re extracting our DNA. I mean, who knows? I have no idea. All I know is that if they are here, they seem to be peaceful. […] I think if they are here, they’ve probably been here a very long time — that’s my guess. ”

{ Vox | Continue reading }

Regarding UFOs, I see three key explanation categories:

Measurement Error – What look like artificial objects with crazy extreme abilities are actually natural stuff looked at wrong. This is widely and probably correctly judged to be the most likely scenario. Nevertheless, we can’t be very confident of that without considering its alternatives in more detail.

Secret Societies – There really are artificial objects with amazing abilities, though abilities may be somewhat overestimated via partially misleading observations. These are created and managed by hidden groups in our world, substantially tied to us. Secret local military research groups, distant secret militaries, non-state Bond-villain-like groups, time-travelers from our near future, dinosaur civilizations hidden deep in the Earth’s crust, etc.

Aliens – Again these objects really do have amazing abilities, and are created by hidden groups. But in this case the relevant groups are much less integrated with and correlated with our societies and history. Little green men, their super-robot descendants, simulation admins, gods, etc. If these groups had a common origin with, competed with, or were much influenced by the groups that we know of, those things mostly happened long ago, and probably far away.

{ Overcoming Bias | Continue reading }

photo {Ansel Adams, The Golden Gate, San Francisco, c. 1950 }

my wife said I never listen to her, or something like that

[W]hile time moves forward in our universe, it may run backwards in another, mirror universe that was created on the “other side” of the Big Bang.

{ PBS (2014) | Continue reading }

The avocado is overcado

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Brooklyn-based blockchain software technology startup and Ethereum development studio ConsenSys has acquired asteroid mining company Planetary Resources, Inc. through an asset-purchase agreement. […]

ConsenSys is a production studio that creates enterprises in a wide range of business areas based on the Etherium platform for cryptocurrency and other blockchain applications. It has spawned 50 ventures, or “spokes,” including an online poker site, a legal services site and a “transmedia universe integrated with blockchain technology” called Cellarius. […]

Planetary Resources was founded in its present form in 2012, with initial backing from billionaires including Larry Page, Eric Schmidt, Ross Perot Jr. and Charles Simonyi. Its original mission was to identify and mine near-Earth asteroids for valuable resources, ranging from water that could be converted into rocket fuel to platinum-group metals that could conceivably be sent back to Earth.

Over the course of six years, the venture raised tens of millions of dollars and explored other potential revenue streams, including space telescope manufacturing, space selfies and an Earth-observation constellation called Ceres. […] But an anticipated funding round failed to come together, leading to a wave of staff cutbacks.

{ GeekWire | Continue reading }

related { Cryptocurrency Pump-and-Dump Schemes }

photo { Model of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, 1936 }

No sunshine, no moonlight, no stardust, no sign of romance

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We suggest that advanced civilizations could cloak their presence, or deliberately broadcast it, through controlled laser emission.

Such emission could distort the apparent shape of their transit light curves with relatively little energy, due to the collimated beam and relatively infrequent nature of transits.

We estimate that humanity could cloak the Earth from Kepler-like broad-band surveys using an optical monochromatic laser array emitting a peak power of ∼30 MW for ∼10 hours per year.

{ Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society | Continue reading }

‘Maybe don’t expect us to ‘just know’ what all your color-coded espresso pods mean.’ –Tim Geoghegan

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A distant galaxy that appears completely devoid of dark matter has baffled astronomers and deepened the mystery of the universe’s most elusive substance.

The absence of dark matter from a small patch of sky might appear to be a non-problem, given that astronomers have never directly observed dark matter anywhere. However, most current theories of the universe suggest that everywhere that ordinary matter is found, dark matter ought to be lurking too, making the newly observed galaxy an odd exception. […]

Paradoxically, the authors said the discovery of a galaxy without dark matter counts as evidence that it probably does exist.

{ Guardian | Continue reading }

photo { Luc Kordas }

Life offers second chances, it’s called tomorrow

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Simulation suggests 68 percent of the universe may not actually exist

According to the Lambda Cold Dark Matter (Lambda-CDM) model, which is the current accepted standard for how the universe began and evolved, the ordinary matter we encounter every day only makes up around five percent of the universe’s density, with dark matter comprising 27 percent, and the remaining 68 percent made up of dark energy, a so-far theoretical force driving the expansion of the universe. But a new study has questioned whether dark energy exists at all, citing computer simulations that found that by accounting for the changing structure of the cosmos, the gap in the theory, which dark energy was proposed to fill, vanishes.

{ New Atlas | Continue reading }

art { Portia Munson, Her Coffin, 2016 }

cloaked in the pall of the ace of spaces

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With tens or even hundreds of billions of potentially habitable planets within our galaxy, the question becomes: are we alone?

Many scientists and commentators equate “more planets” with “more E.T.s”. However, the violence and instability of the early formation and evolution of rocky planets suggests that most aliens will be extinct fossil microbes.

Just as dead dinosaurs don’t walk, talk or breathe, microbes that have been fossilised for billions of years are not easy to detect by the remote sampling of exoplanetary atmospheres.

In research published [PDF] in the journal Astrobiology, we argue that early extinction could be the cosmic default for life in the universe. This is because the earliest habitable conditions may be unstable. […] Inhabited planets may be rare in the universe, not because emergent life is rare, but because habitable environments are difficult to maintain during the first billion years.

Our suggestion that the universe is filled with dead aliens might disappoint some, but the universe is under no obligation to prevent disappointment.

{ The Conversation | Continue reading }

previously { Where is the Great Filter? Behind us, or not behind us? If the filter is in our past, there must be some extremely improbable step in the sequence of events whereby an Earth-like planet gives rise to an intelligent species comparable in its technological sophistication to our contemporary human civilization. }

still { The Day the Earth Stood Still, 1951 }

‘War is like love, it always finds a way.’ –Bertolt Brecht

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On 26 September 1983, the nuclear early warning system of the Soviet Union twice reported the launch of American Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles from bases in the United States.

These missile attack warnings were correctly identified as a false alarm by Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov, an officer of the Soviet Air Defence Forces. This decision is seen as having prevented a retaliatory nuclear attack based on erroneous data on the United States and its NATO allies, which would have likely resulted in nuclear war and the deaths of hundreds of millions of people.

Investigation of the satellite warning system later confirmed that the system had malfunctioned.

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading }

related { Human Extinction Isn’t That Unlikely and Scientists discover potentially habitable planets }

See the sun turn green

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Sally Ride’s tampons might be the most-discussed tampons in the world. Before Ride became the first American woman in space, scientists pondered her tampons, weighed them, and NASA’s professional sniffer smelled them—better to take deodorized or non-deodorized?—to make sure they wouldn’t smell too strongly in a confined space capsule. Engineers considered exactly how many she might need for a week in space. (Is 100 the right number?, they famously asked her. No, Ride said. That is not the right number.)

The engineers were trying to be thoughtful, though; reportedly they packed the tampons with their strings connected so that they wouldn’t float away. […]

Before women went into space, there were not only the sadly typical concerns that women would become weepy or unable to function during their periods, but also that the menstrual cycle might somehow break in space. Would the blood come out without gravity to pull it from the womb? Maybe it would all pool up in there, or even flow backward through the fallopian tubes into the abdomen—a frightening condition called retrograde menstruation.

In the end, someone just had to try it and see what happened. And what happened was … nothing much. The uterus is pretty good at expelling its lining sans gravity, it turns out.

{ Phenomena | Continue reading | More: The Conversation }

related { Early Menarche is Associated With Preference for Masculine Male Faces and Younger Preferred Age to Have a First Child }

photo { Eri Morita }

Five-by, Eagle. We’re standing by for your burn report. Over.

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The Lunar Flag Assembly (LFA) was a kit containing a flag of the United States designed to be planted by astronauts on the Moon during the Apollo program. Seven such flag assemblies were sent to the Moon, six of which were planted.

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading }

Do the Apollo flags remain where they were planted or have they fallen or have they disintegrated after four decades of exposure the lunar environment? […] The (Apollo 11’s) flag is probably gone. Buzz Aldrin saw it knocked over by the rocket blast as he and Neil Armstrong left the moon 39 summers ago. […]

Intuitively, experts mostly think it highly unlikely the Apollo flags (See Platoff’s article  Where No Flag Has Gone Before: Political and Technical Aspects of Placing a Flag on the Moon for details), could have endured the 42 years of exposure to vacuum, about 500 temperature swings from 242 F during the day to -280 F during the night, micrometeorites, radiation and ultraviolet light, some thinking the flags have all but disintegrated under such an assault of the environment. […]

The high-resolution images from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter camera of the Apollo sites enable us to see if any of the flags still cast shadows. […] Combined with knowledge of the Apollo site maps which show where the flag was erected relative to the Lander, long shadows cast by the flags at three sites  - Apollo 12, Apollo 16, and Apollo 17 - show that the these flags are still “flying”, held aloft by the poles.

{ NASA | Continue reading }

NASA has finally answered a long-standing question: all but one of the six American flags on the Moon are still standing up. The only problem is that they aren’t American flags anymore. They are all white.

{ Gizmodo | Continue reading }