Absolute Zero = The lower limit of the thermodynamic scale, this is defined as 0 degrees Kelvin, -273.15 C, or -459.67 F for us Americans. This is a temperature so cold that atoms do not move because they have no energy. Currently it’s impossible to reach a temperature colder than this.
The image above is a bullet ant. This bug will cause the most damage, of any, in terms of pain if it bites you. It was given its name because the pain level it supposedly causes is on par with being shot. You read that right, being shot with a gun, although the pain probably far surpasses being shot as it lasts for nearly 24 hrs. It’s also known as the paraponera clavata or the conga ant.
The image above shows one of its most unorthodox uses, turning a boy into a man. As a right of passage the Satere-Mawe people in Brazil (got their asses destroyed by Germany) use several intentional bullet ant stings to send a boy into manhood. They must stick their hands into a glove woven with several hundred incapacitated bullets whom upon waking aren’t very happy. They supposedly have to keep their hand inside for ten entire minutes and this must be done 20 separate times over the course of months or years. One thing is for certain, this is the closest thing you will ever find to a 300 warrior initiation in the current state of the world. There’s no way I’d even get close to one of these things, let alone stick my hand into a glove woven with hundreds of them.
So why is this evolution at its finest? Well in my opinion it’s the fact that this tiny ant could thwart the attempts of a predator hundreds of times its size with a single sting. It’s evolved such a painful venomous sting that nothing would dare disturb this incredibly tiny ant. Truly remarkable. It’s rated number one on the Schmidt sting pain index and a complete bad ass in my book.
Interstellar travel, not to be confused with intergalactic travel, has been a dream of humanity since the times of Star Trek. The idea that you could use a ship to explore all the unknown places within our own galaxy, or maybe one day our entire know universe, is seemingly one of the most plausible next steps for man kind. Recently a NASA physicist by the name of Harold White collaborated with artist Mark Rademaker to design the incredible CGI concept you see below.
The scale and beauty are simply astonishing, yet still incredibly unrealistic by current standards, economy and interest in science. Think about it, this would likely be the most expensive single object that humanity has ever created, would the world in its current state all be able to agree to build such an object? Highly unlikely. There is no way a largely unscientific planet would agree on something that could have little to no returns, regardless of how amazing this may be. Realistically I’d say we’re still 50-100 years off of having the means and desire to perform such an operation. Let’s not forget that the physics knowledge is still largely unknown at the moment. Yes the laws of general relativity allow for such a spaceship but we are as far off as Alexander Graham Bell was to having cellular devices in his time. Perhaps he dreamed of the possibility of a device, maybe he even knew it was possible but he was still generations off from something of the sort being built.
According to Alcubierre for a warp drive ship to be possible it would have to be able to “warp” space-time around it. Specifically by contracting in front of the ship and expanding behind it. Think of it like riding a wave. In this model a ship could get somewhere much faster than light while still not exceeding the speed of light. Incredible to think about, and with the recent discovery of gravitational waves this seems more plausible than ever. This is one of the two known methods for getting across mass distances without going faster than light. The other such method would be a wormhole. A wormhole is a shortcut in space-time that connects to distant places allowing almost instant travel to the places being connected. Much more research will have to be done to figure out if wormhole are realistically feasible or simply science fiction. One of the biggest caveats is the fact the you don’t know where and more specifically “when” you would emerge in a wormhole. If you could connect to different times with a wormhole you open the possibility of the grandfather paradox. For example, if you could create a wormhole in the year 2014 and come out in the year 1960 you’d be able to kill your own father, grandfather, mother, or any host of options making it impossible for you to exist. If you were able to ensure that you weren’t born then how could you have ever grown up, and gone back in time to ensure you wouldn’t have been born? That my friends is called a paradox and it has been kicking the asses of physicists for some time now. One leading theory states that if wormholes do exist you might emerge in another parallel universe(multiverse) in which you could interact as you please without actually affecting the universe in which you came. Mind boggling I know.
So in conclusion I hope that I’ve created an appetite for you to seek further knowledge and maybe even contribute in some way to help solve these great problems of the future. To succeed as a species we need more science minds. Currently the most popular college major in the country is business administration, an incredibly saturated field. Not to discourage anyone who is currently or plans to major in this field, but to succeed as a species and become interplanetary, interstellar, an maybe one day intergalactic we will need much more “astro” science related majors to break into the top ten most popular. How many people do you know personally who currently major in an astro-scince related major? If you’re an average american the answer is probably zero. We need more great minds, more incentives for those great minds in order to do some incredible things.
when you get to school and realize you forgot to put on deodorant
When you think you’re a beast and you eat a habenero thinking it’s not that hot.
Above you see the beautiful moon Titan which orbits Saturn. This is one of the places in our Solar System where we think there could be a possible life form. The last mission that involved Titan was Cassini, there was another mission proposed called the Titan Mare Explorer but it was scrapped in favor of a Mars mission and due to lack of funding.
One thing I’ve noticed is the lack of imagery in articles about celestial bodies. So for size comparison Titan is much smaller than earth but still bigger than our own moon. There’s also a convenient picture below featuring various planets and moons in our own solar system. The moons of our solar system deserve much more exploration. Specifically Titan, Europa, Enceladus, and Triton.
All space, science enthusiasts please educate yourselves and share your passions with friends and loved ones. Together we can drastically increase the science literacy and awareness in this country. We are the future and we must make it a good one.
The space suit is one of the most amazing inventions of our species. A suit that can sustain life in conditions which would normally kill us, simply astonishing. Some suits were pretty aesthetically pleasing(Mercury Suit above), while some……….left a little for our sci-fi imaginations to lust. From the age of the Mercury suit to the futuristic new concept which NASA revealed recently, I’ll take you on a journey of some of the most popular suits.
As you can see from the image above, the number one function of a space suit is to keep the astronaut alive while in conditions which normally wouldn’t support human life. This means that the suits have to be pressurized so that the fluids in your body stay in a liquid state. Without this pressurization your bodily fluids would boil, which would really suck. The next vital function involves oxygen, space suits can’t use normal air which we breathe on earth( 71% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, 1% other) because of the dangers of low pressure. For this reason the suits use pure oxygen to keep the oxygen levels in your lungs high regardless of the low pressure. The suits also must filter out the potentially lethal carbon dioxide which the astronaut would exhale, collecting it either in a lithium hydroxide canister or via the umbilical cord which would be attached to the shuttle. If those dangers weren’t enough, the suits must also regulate the temperature of the astronaut inside. Let’s say you were to sweat, the visor would fog up hindering the ability to see and also causing you to dehydrate. Most current suits use water cooled garments to keep the temperature regulated.
The suit you see above is the Apollo style suit which was used during the moon landing. Another feature of the space suit is the ability to with stand “micrometeoroids” which can be thought of as little tiny bullets which can puncture a suit causing depressurization which would result in almost instant death. Most suits use incredibly tough fabrics such as Dacron or Kevlar which can absorb the impacts with little to no discomfort to the astronaut. Radiation is the one danger which we haven’t currently been able to eliminate or drastically reduce. A solar flare would pose a huge danger to even a modern space suit. As advanced as the tech to get us into space is, it isn’t advanced enough to protect us from all of the dangers of space so plans must be made according to solar flare predictions to prevent blasts of radiation from mutating the cells of astronauts. Prior to going out in a suit, the inside of the reflective visor has to be sprayed with an anti-fog compound to increase visibility. Most modern suits have lights mounted on the helmet so that dark places and shadows can be illuminated.
The suit above, called the advanced crew escape suit(pumpkin suit), offered superior mobility when compared to the Apollo era suits which was essentially a large pressurized balloon. As you can see in the moon landing videos, bending and walking were chores. An astronaut could be immobilized like an arm flailing turtle if they fell over into a non favorable position. This suits sleekness is due to its partial pressure design, it relies on a rubber diaphragm around the wearers face. This suit design has metal locking gloves and other appendages making it a complete chore to put on despite its sleek design. The orange color is so that astronauts could easily be located by rescue crews in case of an orbiter bailout over the ocean. This is my favorite suit of the designs so far and the one tragically associated with the Columbia disaster.
More futuristic suits are currently in development, such as the one above designed by Dava Newman(MIT),offer supreme mobility and give our sci-fi imaginations something to gawk at. The pressure in these suits are applied by incredibly tight fabrics and interwoven elastic patterns. Contrary to popular beliefs, the human body can withstand a brief time in a vacuum(about 15 seconds). The body would swell up more like Goku turning into Super Saiyan Broly as opposed to the sci-fi notion of bursting like a piece of popcorn. This can be counter-acted with mechanical pressure as opposed to the more traditional air pressure, which increases mobility exponentially. This design does however require the helmet to include all the gasses necessary for breathing and a way to protect the ears and eyes. This is the style of suit we can hope to see far into the future as it is a little impractical at the moment.
NASA recently ended voting for it’s newest spacesuit design dubbed the Z-2 which is slated for completion in November of this year. The suit will be torture tested in various NASA facilities and exposed to its vacuum chamber which mimics conditions in space. The suit in its current form will more than likely NOT make it to space for a host of reasons including the fact that it is a prototype and doesn’t have the ability to protect astronauts from the host of dangers which we touched on earlier. Personally I’m not a huge fan of the design but it is a dramatic leap forward in the space suit program.
Ultra futuristic concepts like the one shown above are unfortunately a long way off. Perhaps in time we will be able to increase the size of NASA dramatically or have a host of other space agency options which would more than likely speed up the pace of innovation in this field. This is why it is incredibly important for us space, and science enthusiasts to spread of passions and share them with anyone who will listen. We must inspire new generations in the same way Nova and Zoom inspired me when I was a kid. A little thirst for knowledge can go a long way to drive innovation and lead to breakthroughs in the scientific field. We are smarter now as a species than we ever were but we still have an incredibly long way to go. Space exploration and colonization seem like the inevitable next steps in our evolution and progress as a species.
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To put it simply, this is one of the greatest sci-fi shows of our time. It combines simply SUPERB acting( Tatiana Maslany), with an incredibly plausible story and awesome writing/producing to produce entertainment that almost feels like it could actually be happening in the world today. Orphan Black is the story of Sarah (Tatiana Maslany) and her family/friends discovering something incredible about her, she’s a clone (kind of a spoiler?, sorry/not sorry). Anyone who calls themselves a science enthusiast owes it to themselves to watch this series, this is one of the only top notch sci-fi shows out at the moment. Moreover people who aren’t interested in science will still find themselves engaged in and loving this story just as much as anyone else.
What is it about?
Well Orphan Black is about a troubled mother by the name of Sarah Manning who experiences a very weird homecoming when returning to her 7 year old daughter Kira after an elongated absence. She runs into some incredibly life altering problems, none of which were caused by her, which cause a prodigious realization about who she actually is. The first episode needs but a few minutes to get you permanently hooked and intrigued in the story. This is a sci-fi, mystery, drama, action, thriller rolled all in to one. And this isn’t the Pretty Little Liars style mystery which takes seasons to finally reveal a person or detail only to renig on that very detail or person and leave you guessing again. This show progresses at an appropriate speed which provides answers and still leaves a sense of continuing mystery.
What are the science aspects?
It’s a show about clones! An extremely wealthy biotech corporation called the Dyad Institute conducts experiments and creates several identical twins and assigns them all monitors. They live their lives with no knowledge that they are clones but eventually some of them find each other. The show does reveal just about how many there are but I’ll leave that information for you watch on your own. As the show progresses so does the science. How would you react if you discovered that you weren’t a natural human but in fact a genetic clone? Create a number of clones and set the free in different regions of the world with no knowledge of self, what an awesome experiment right? Right!
Who stars in the show?
The main character is Tatiana Maslany who plays a myriad of characters beautifully. Each character feels like an entirely different person despite being played by one actress. There are different facial expressions, voices, vibes, attitudes, and mindsets creating a depth of acting that even the best would struggle mightily with. Co-stars include Dylan Bruce (he really looks like Ryan Gosling to me), Jordan Garvis who plays Sarah’s foster brother, Kevin Hanchard who’s been in a ton of movies and shows, Michael Mando who is also the antagonist in Far Cry 3, Evelyne Brochu (just gorgeous) and also Maria Doyle Kennedy who plays Sarah’s foster mom. Of course there are more actors involved but I’ll let you discover them on your own.
How often can I see it?
Everything good usually has downsides and Orphan Black is no different. Unfortunately it comes on, in a disappointing Game of Thrones style, for a handful of episodes (10) per year. It sucks supremely to be very drawn into something and have to wait an entire year for the story to pick up. Obviously production, and quality probably add great costs making a 25-30 episode season out of reach. Still this realization does little to quell your sorrows while you wait about a year for it to return.
Still this is an awesome show which you owe it yourself to see. It comes on on BBC America in the US and other networks in other countries. It’s a Canadian made show like a lot of well made shows recently. I give it a 9.5 out of 10. It’s just below Game of Thrones as my favorite show and I’m pretty sure you guys will love it as well.
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when you get to school and realize you forgot to put on deodorant
Getting to the register and realizing you forgot your wallet, and you have a shitload of stuff.