Saturday, July 25, 2015

Mass Movement of Troops?

Perhaps this is all just propaganda? Whatever Operation Jade Helm really is remains a mystery, as of this time.
-Daniel aka Obsidian

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Koch-a-mamie Facts...

Sometimes it's good to present reports from the Koch Brother's funded pseudo-scientist's think tank's "findings" for debate.
-Daniel aka Obsidian

Earth heading for 'mini ice age' in just 15 years, scientists say

By Doug G. Ware   |   July 11, 2015 at 5:34 PM
Ice piles up along the a breakwater in Chicago on January 7, 2014. Solar scientists predict that the Earth will enter a "mini ice age" around 2030 due to decreased activity by the sun, which will bring with it frigid cold winters. The last time the Earth experienced a similar situation occurred between 1645 and 1715. File photo by Brian Kersey/UPI
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LLANDUDNO, Wales, July 11 (UPI) -- Solar scientists, armed with the best data yet regarding the activities of the sun, say the Earth is headed for a "mini ice age" in just 15 years -- something that hasn't happened for three centuries.

Professor Valentina Zharkova, of the University of Northumbria, presented the findings at the National Astronomy Meeting in Wales this week, Britain's Independent reported Saturday.
Researchers, saying they understand solar cycles better than ever, predict that the sun's normal activity will decrease by 60 percent around 2030 -- triggering the "mini ice age" that could last for a decade. The last time the Earth was hit by such a lull in solar activity happened 300 years ago, during the Maunder Minimum, which lasted from 1645 to 1715.

Scientists say there are magnetic waves in the sun's interior that fluctuate between the body's northern and southern hemispheres, resulting in various solar conditions over a period of 10 to 12 years. Based on that data, researchers say they are now better able to anticipate the sun's activity -- which has led to the Zharkova team's prediction. "Combining both [magnetic] waves together and comparing to real data for the current solar cycle, we found that our predictions showed an accuracy of 97 percent," Zharkova said.

If the "mini ice age" does indeed arrive, scientists say it will be accompanied by bitter cold winters -- frigid enough to cause rivers, like the Thames in London, to freeze over.

A Differnet Type of Blackhole...

& i thought they were referring to Gov. Chris Cristie's presidential announcement.
-Daniel aka Obsidian

A nearby black hole just erupted for the first time in 26 years and scientists are ecstatic

Business Insider

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black hole
Lurking 8,000 light years from Earth is a black hole 12 times more massive than our sun. It's been peacefully sleeping for 26 years. But on June 15, astronomers detected something signaling that it had woken up. Now, scientists around the world are using highly sophisticated instruments to learn as much as they can about this mysterious beast of nature before the black hole returns to its slumber, which will be soon.

Black holes are very dense, massive objects in space that have an immensely powerful gravitational field that traps anything and everything that comes too close, including light. But on occasion they'll spit out material as well as suck it in. On June 15, one of NASA's satellites picked up a torrent of x-rays all coming from a single source: the black hole.

"Relative to the lifetime of space observatories, these black hole eruptions are quite rare," said Neil Gehrels, the principal investigator for Swift, the NASA satellite that first identified the eruption in a NASA press release. "So when we see one of them flare up, we try to throw everything we have at it, monitoring across the spectrum, from radio waves to gamma rays."

A deadly companion

This black hole is just one half of a two-body system called V404 Cygni. Its partner is a star slightly smaller than our sun, and it's been nourishing the black hole for at least 77 years. The x-rays that astronomers observed on June 15 were the heated guts from the companion star that had spiraled into the mouth of the black hole.

When black holes in binary systems, like V404 Cygni, feed, they do so by gravitationally attracting a single thread of gas from the star. The black hole is 12 times more massive than its companion and therefore has a much stronger gravitational grip which slowly pulls gas from the star as the star orbits around it, like in the animation below:

As the gas gets pulled in, it orbits around the black hole, forming a disc. The closer the gas gets to the black hole, the stronger gravitational force it feels and so the faster it moves, heating up to searing-hot temperatures. When the gas reaches temperatures of more than 1.7 million degrees Fahrenheit, it emits a jet of high-energy particles, which satellites like NASA's Swift instrument then detect — albeit 8,000 years later because of the time it takes light to travel from the V404 Cygni to Earth.

But there isn't always a steady stream of gas falling into the black hole, which is why it takes such long naps in between feedings. That disc has two regions: and inner, hot region, and an outer cool region. You need a lot of gas to provide enough pressure and push to cross this barrier, which takes time to generate. Once the black hole has consumed all of the gas in the inner region, which it does in a few days, it has to wait for more. But scientists don't understand the details of how much gas is necessary or exactly how long it takes to build up. 

That's why this event is so exciting because it gives astronomers a chance to better understand the mechanism that's driving these eruptions.

A once-in-a-professional-lifetime opportunity

black hole
(European Southern Observatory on Flickr) V404 Cygni's black hole has erupted before.
However, when astronomers first saw the outbursts more than 77 years ago, in 1938, they didn't have half of the instruments that are around today. The black hole erupted again in 1956, and then again in 1989.

While the eruption of 1989 was studied with a handful of instruments, the outburst wasn't studied in half the detail compared to this year's event. Outbursts like this usually only last for a few weeks to months, so astronomers have culminated a total of nine instruments in space and on the ground to study the black hole in all wavelengths, from very low energy like radio waves to the most energetic like gamma rays, before time runs out.

Some of the instruments they're using include the Chandra X-ray Observatory, the European Space Agency's INTEGRAL satellite, Japan's MAXI, and the 10.4-meter Gran Telescope Canarias operated by Spain in the Canary Islands.

"It is definitely a 'once in a professional lifetime' opportunity," said Erik Kuulkers, the INTEGRAL project scientist in the NASA press release.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Butterfly Dreaming it was a Man?

To tell you the truth, i always suspected it. (just kidding)
-Daniel aka Obsidian

Some physicists believe we're living in a giant hologram — and it's not that far-fetched


Some physicists actually believe that the universe we live in might be a hologram.

The idea isn't that the universe is some sort of fake simulation out of The Matrix, but rather that even though we appear to live in a three-dimensional universe, it might only have two dimensions. It's called the holographic principle.
The thinking goes like this: Some distant two-dimensional surface contains all the data needed to fully describe our world — and much like in a hologram, this data is projected to appear in three dimensions. Like the characters on a TV screen, we live on a flat surface that happens to look like it has depth.The laws of physics seem to make more sense when written in two dimensions than in three

It might sound absurd. But if when physicists assume it's true in their calculations, all sorts of big physics problems — such as the nature of black holes and the reconciling of gravity and quantum mechanics — become much simpler to solve. In short, the laws of physics seem to make more sense when written in two dimensions than in three.

"It's not considered some wild speculation among most theoretical physicists," says Leonard Susskind, the Stanford physicist who first formally defined the idea decades ago. "It's become a working, everyday tool to solve problems in physics."

But there's an important distinction to be made here. There's no direct evidence that our universe actually is a two-dimensional hologram. These calculations aren't the same as a mathematical proof. Rather, they're intriguing suggestions that our universe could be a hologram. And as of yet, not all physicists believe we have a good way of testing the idea experimentally.

Where did the idea that the universe might be a hologram come from?

The idea originally came out of a pair of paradoxes concerning black holes.

1) The black hole information loss problem
In 1974, Stephen Hawking famously discovered that black holes, contrary to what had long been thought, actually emit slight amounts of radiation over time. Eventually, as this energy bleeds away from the event horizon — the black hole's outer edge — the black hole should completely disappear.
black hole
An illustration of radiation escaping from a black hole. (Communicate Science)

However, this idea prompted what's known as the black hole information loss problem. It's long been thought that physical information can't be destroyed: All particles either retain their original form or, if they change, that change impacts other particles, so the first set of particles' original state could be inferred at the end.

As an analogy, think of a stack of documents that are fed through a shredder. Even though they're cut into tiny pieces, the information present on the pieces of paper still exists. It's been cut into tiny pieces, but it hasn't disappeared, and given enough time, the documents could be reassembled so that you'd know what was written on them originally. In essence, the same thing was thought to be true with particles.

But there was a problem: If a black hole disappears, then the information present in any object that may have been sucked into it seemingly disappears, too.

One solution, proposed by Susskind and Dutch physicist Gerard 't Hooft in the mid-'90s, was that when an object gets pulled into a black hole, it leaves behind some sort of 2D imprint encoded on the event horizon. Later, when radiation leaves the black hole, it picks up the imprint of this data. In this way, the information isn't really destroyed.

And their calculations showed that on just the 2D surface of a black hole, you could store enough information to completely describe any seemingly 3D objects inside it.

"The analogy that both of us independently were thinking about was that of a hologram — a two-dimensional piece of film which can encode all the information in a three-dimensional region of space," Susskind says.

The entropy problem: There was also the related problem of calculating the amount of entropy in a black hole — that is, the amount of disorder and randomness among its particles. In the '70s, Jacob Bekenstein had calculated that their entropy is capped, and that the cap is proportional to the 2D area of a black hole's event horizon.

"For ordinary matter systems, the entropy is proportional to the volume, not the area," says Juan Maldacena, an Argentinian physicist involved in studying the holographic principle. Eventually, he and others saw that this, too, pointed to the idea that what looked like a 3D object — a black hole — might be best understood using only two dimensions.

How did this idea go from black holes to the entire universe?

None of this was proof that black holes were holograms. But early on, Susskind says, physicists recognized that looking at the entire universe as a two-dimensional object that only looks three-dimensional might help solve some deeper problems in theoretical physics. And the math works just as well whether you're talking about a black hole, a planet, or an entire universe.

In 1998, Maldacena demonstrated that a hypothetical universe could be a hologram. His particular hypothetical universe was in what's called anti-de Sitter space (which, to simplify things, has a curved shape over huge distances, as opposed to our universe, which is believed to be flat):
anti de sitter space
Anti-de Sitter space (left) curves in on itself. Our universe (right) is believed to be flat. (The Physics Mill) What's more, by viewing this universe in two dimensions, he found a way to make the increasingly popular idea of string theory — a broad framework in which the basic building blocks of the universe are one-dimensional strings, rather than particles — jibe neatly with the well-established laws of particle physics.

And even more importantly, by doing so, he united two hugely important, disparate concepts in physics under one theoretical framework. "The holographic principle connected the theory of gravity to theories of particle physics," Maldacena says.

Combining these two fundamental ideas into a single coherent theory (often called quantum gravity) remains one of the holy grails of physics. So the holographic principle making it possible in this hypothetical universe was a big deal. Of course, all of this is still quite different from saying that our actual universe — not this weird hypothetical one — is a hologram.

But could our universe actually be a hologram — or does the idea only apply to hypothetical ones?

That's still a matter of active debate. But there's been some recent theoretical work that suggests the holographic principle might work for our universe too — including a high-profile paper by Austrian and Indian physicists that came out this past May.

Like Maldacena, they also sought to use the principle to find a similarity between the disparate fields of quantum physics and gravitational theory. In our universe, these two theories typically don't align: They predict different results regarding the behavior of any given particle. But in the new paper, the physicists calculated how these theories would predict the degree of entanglement — the bizarre quantum phenomenon in which the states of two tiny particles can become correlated so that a change to one particle can affect the other, even if they're far away. They found that by viewing one particular model of a flat universe as a hologram, they could indeed get the results of both theories to match up.

Still, even though this was a bit closer to our universe than the one Maldacena had worked with, it was just one particular type of flat space, and their calculations didn't take time into account — just the other three spatial dimensions. What's more, even if this did apply directly to our universe, it'd only show that it's possible it could be a hologram. It wouldn't be hard evidence.

How could we prove that the universe is a hologram?

Fermilab's Holometer, used in tests that some say could find evidence for the holographic principle. (Fermilab)

The best type of proof would start with some testable prediction made by holographic theory. Experimental physicists could then gather evidence to see if it matches the prediction. For instance, the theory of the Big Bang predicted that we might find some form of remnant energy emanating throughout the universe as a result of the violent expansion 13.8 billion years ago — and in the 1960s, astronomers found exactly that, in the form of the cosmic microwave background.

At the moment, there's no universally agreed-upon test that would provide firm evidence for the idea. Still, some physicists believe that the holographic principle predicts there's a limit to how much information spacetime can contain, because our seemingly 3D spacetime is encoded by limited amounts of 2D information. As Fermilab's Craig Hogan recently put it to Motherboard, "The basic effect is that reality has a limited amount of information, like a Netflix movie when Comcast is not giving you enough bandwidth. So things are a little blurry and jittery."

Hogan and others are using an instrument called a Holomoter to look for this sort of blurriness. It relies on powerful lasers to see whether — at super-small, submicroscopic levels — there's a fundamental limit in the amount of information present in spacetime itself. If there is, they say, it could be evidence that we're living in a hologram.

Still, other physicists, including Susskind, reject the premise of this experiment and say it can't provide any evidence for the holographic principle.

Let's say we prove the universe is a hologram. What would that mean for my everyday life?

Everyday life in a holographic universe. (
Everyday life in a holographic universe. (

In one strict sense, it'd mean little. The same laws of physics you've been living with for your entire life would seem to remain exactly the same. Your house, dog, car, and body would keep appearing as three-dimensional objects, just like they always have.

But in a deeper sense, this discovery would revolutionize our existence on a profound level.
It doesn't matter much for your day-to-day life that the universe was formed 13.8 billion years in a sudden, violent expansion from a single point of matter. But the discovery of the Big Bang is instrumental for our current understanding of the history of the universe and our place within the cosmos.
Likewise, the bizarre principles of quantum mechanics — like entanglement, in which two distant particles somehow affect each other — don't really change your daily life either. You can't see atoms and don't notice them doing this. But these principles are another basic truth that tells us something utterly unexpected about the fundamental nature of the universe.

Proving the holographic principle would be much the same. Living our normal lives, we probably won't think much about the peculiar, counterintuitive fact that we live in a hologram. But the discovery would serve as an important step toward fully understanding the laws of physics — which dictate every action you've ever taken.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Worthy Art...

When @ least 2% of the population of a species evolves, the zeitgeists of the other 98% automatically follows. Is this what we are experiencing? Your comments please.
-Daniel aka Obsidian

Vandals target Confederate monuments in half-dozen states

FILE - This June 25, 2015, file photo shows the words “Black Lives Matter” spray painted on a monument to former Confederate President Jefferson Davis in Richmond, Va. Confederate monuments in a half-dozen places this week have been defaced _ a telling sign of the racial tension that permeates post-Ferguson America. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Vandals have targeted monuments dedicated to the leaders and soldiers of the Confederacy, painting the slogan "Black lives matter" on memorials in a half-dozen states where the landmarks stand tall in parks and outside government buildings.

The graffiti reflects the racial tension that permeates post-Ferguson America, more than a week after a white man was accused of shooting and killing nine black congregants at a Charleston, South Carolina, church.

Michael Allen, a lecturer in American culture studies at Washington University in St. Louis, compared the vandalism to the toppling of statues in Russia at the end of the Soviet empire.
"If the monuments are strong statements of past values, defacing them is the easiest and loudest way to rebuke those statements," Allen said.

Confederate symbols including the rebel battle flag have been the subject of resentment for years. The anger boiled over after last week's massacre at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. The suspect, Dylann Roof, posed in photos with the Confederate flag.

Politicians throughout the South are taking steps to remove the flag from public places. Black activists say the monuments should meet the same fate.

One of the defaced monuments was the Confederate Memorial in St. Louis' Forest Park, 10 miles from Ferguson. The same graffiti was reported on memorials in Charleston; Baltimore; Austin, Texas; Asheville, North Carolina; and Richmond, Virginia. No arrests have been made.

Racial wounds in the U.S. were torn open last August, when a white police officer in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri, fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was black and unarmed. Officer Darren Wilson was cleared of any wrongdoing, but the shooting raised new awareness about the treatment of blacks.

"Black lives matter" became a rallying call in protests that followed police shootings of black men in other cities, too. With the Charleston shooting refocusing attention on Confederate symbolism, experts said, it isn't surprising that some people would take out their anger on monuments to those who fought on the side of slavery.

Elizabeth Brondolo, a psychology professor at St. John's University in New York who studies the effects of race on mental and physical health, said the defacing of memorials reflects a "consensus that there's been a very serious failure of empathy, a failure to understand what these symbols might mean to people who suffered from slavery and ongoing aggression."

Defaced monuments at the University of Texas in Austin and in Richmond honor Confederate President Jefferson Davis. The Asheville monument pays homage to Zebulon Vance, a Confederate officer and later a governor and senator. Others, like the St. Louis memorial, are more generic tributes to those who fought for the South.

The future of the 32-foot-tall, 101-year-old statue in St. Louis was already in doubt. In April, Mayor Francis Slay ordered a study of what to do with it and asked for the review to be complete by the end of the summer. Options include altering the wording of the plaque, moving the monument out of Forest Park or removing it entirely.

The University of Texas in Austin is weighing options for its statues of Davis and other Confederate war heroes, with a decision expected by Aug. 1. Three of those statutes were damaged this week.
In Kentucky, both candidates for governor, along with other prominent political leaders, are calling for the Jefferson Davis statue to be removed from its prominent place in the statehouse rotunda and placed in a museum.

Efforts have also begun to seek removal of Confederate monuments in Nashville, Tennessee; Shreveport, Louisiana; Orlando, Florida; Portsmouth, Virginia; and Birmingham, Alabama.
Darrell Maples, commander of the Missouri chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, said the "citizen-soldiers who fought for the Confederacy personified the best qualities of America."
He said altering or removing monuments is "divisive and unnecessary."

Brandi Collins of the civil rights group Color Of said the effort isn't about revising history.

"It's about saying that if we are truly about equity, about moving forward, we have to respect everybody who lives in and built this country," she said.