Sunday, October 25, 2009

Mantis Shrimp are TOTALLY BADASS!

Mantis shrimp see in much more vivid colors than us humans, and are just generally totally bad-ass (most awesome shrimp ever) but recent studies of the mechanism that mantis shrimp use to change linearly polarized light into circularly polarized light may give inspiration to the next generation of DVD drives.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fractally Weird: Or the Awesomeness of Science

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine posted as his facebook profile "with all of the advances in our modern age we've made everything so mundane. How interesting it would be to live in a world where the functioning of the earth was a complex interplay between the gods and men, where spells and divinations hold weight, and where the most simple of objects can hold hidden secrets about the course and function of the universe" And while I disagree heavily, I understand the point he is making. Often it seems like science is just the boring old truth, why cant we have magic and mysticism and all that fun stuff they used to have.

We have things far far weirder and more fascinating than we could come up with on our own. The vastness of the universe is really fractally weird, its weird alone and only gets weirder the closer you look at it. weird at any magnification. That is what's so awesome, we live in this awesome universe that creates these amazing and weird patters and self organizes to create stars, planets, galaxies, nebulas, and life. we know some of the rules that control it but not all of them. The universe is this immensely complex system that creates the most beautiful structures we have ever seen and by processes much more interesting than the decree of gods.

IT may be interesting to live in a universe where the functioning of the earth is a complex interplay between gods and man, but i think it is much more interesting to live in a universe where everything is a complex interplay between everything else. where everything is connected to each-other in the great cosmic dance that is going on every second of every day.  The universe we live in where you and I are connected by a genetic relationship spanning back the eons, and are related in turn with every living thing we see, which was created from the matter of this hunk of rock we live on called earth, which in turn was created out of stardust in the formation of the solar system. which in turn was created going back far enough, at the same time as everything we can see in the universe was, out of the furnace of the big bang.

How could the ego-centered view of an interplay between just gods and men compare with the great cosmic interplay between everything that is going on always without thought or care for man itself except so-far as man is a part of the cosmos, and as far as we know, the only part of the cosmos that has been able to contemplate the nature of the universe. And even better we can get rid of the idea of gods or super-beings watching down and manipulating things because, and this is totally awesome, the universe is self-regulating, we don't need something else to tweak things, the universe does its own tweaking to itself.

This should sum up some of these ideas for you.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Too Big To Fail?

I have a simple question, Why, if a bank is too big to fail, doesn't the government pursue anti-trust actions against it?

Also Huffington post is reporting that the "Tea-Baggers" are out of touch, I knew that the moment they decided to name themselves after the action of dropping your testicles in someones unsuspecting mouth.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Cosmic Friday: Luna Impact Edition.

Hello everyone, it's time again for another edition of Cosmic Friday. This week, in memory of the recently deceased LCROSS satellite (who's impact was both scientifically interesting and visually anticlimactic) I have another image of a man made impact on the moon, This one from the sister spacecraft to LCROSS, The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has a image of the Apollo 14 booster crash site. The booster rocket, like LCROSS, was intentionally dropped on the moon to study the effects of the impact. The Apollo 14 booster caused a 'moonquake' that was analyzed by seismometers put on the lunar surface by the Apollo 12 astronauts.

Universe Today has a great post on it if you are interested in learning more about these awesome lunar impacts.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

LCROSS impact early tomorrow morning.

At 4:31 AM(PST) tomorrow(10/9/09) morning, NASA's LCROSS satellite will smash into the moon to study possible sources of water. Now, there's a lot of important and interesting science to be done on this mission, and the resulting data will be invaluable in understanding our moon and eventually creating moon bases and cities, but when I think about this mission, I can only focus on the WOW COOL aspect of it. because WE ARE GOING TO HIT THE MOON WITH A SPACESHIP JUST TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS. I hate to yell, but that is just amazingly cool. So cool in fact, that me and a few friends are headed to the Chabot Space and Science Center to watch it with our own eyes. If you are in the bay area, Join us, its only 3$. If not, you can get live images and info from NASA

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

New Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE images up.

NASA has just released a whole new set of images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiters HiRISE camera and they are just stunning. There are a bunch of great images of the Gullies but the one that really stood out to me in terms of vivid beauty was  a dune

USGS Dune Database Entry Number 0419-449 (ESP_014348_1345)
Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Monday, October 5, 2009

Trash Can Nuclear Reactors

In yet another win for the belated retrofuture, and yet another reason why its a great idea to fund NASA, researchers have announced that they have made many critical strides into developing a trash can sized nuclear reactor. getting a nuclear reactor down to convenient size may be key into solving many of our energy problems, at the least, it helps in our energy problems with setting up colonies on the Moon and Mars.

Now don't get me wrong, they haven't built one yet, we just have encouraging signs that it is possible and it will work.