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Goldene...

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Researchers have synthesized sheets of gold that are one atom thick. Credit: imaginima/Getty

Topics: Graphene, Materials Science, Nanoengineering, Nanomaterials, Solid-State Physics

It is the world’s thinnest gold leaf: a gossamer sheet of gold just one atom thick. Researchers have synthesized1 the long-sought material, known as goldene, which is expected to capture light in ways that could be useful in applications such as sensing and catalysis.

Goldene is a gilded cousin of graphene, the iconic atom-thin material made of carbon that was discovered in 2004. Since then, scientists have identified hundreds more of these 2D materials. But it has been particularly difficult to produce 2D sheets of metals, because their atoms have always tended to cluster together to make nanoparticles instead.

Researchers have previously reported single-atom-thick layers of tin2 and lead3 stuck to various substances, and they have produced gold sheets sandwiched between other materials. But “we submit that goldene is the first free-standing 2D metal, to the best of our knowledge”, says materials scientist Lars Hultman at Linköping University in Sweden, who is part of the team behind the new research. Crucially, the simple chemical method used to make goldene should be amenable to larger-scale production, the researchers reported in Nature Synthesis on 16 April1.

I’m very excited about it,” says Stephanie Reich, a solid-state physicist and materials scientist at the Free University of Berlin, who was not involved in the work. “People have been thinking for quite some time how to take traditional metals and make them into really well-ordered 2D monolayers.”

In 2022, researchers at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) said that they had produced goldene, but the Linköping team contends that the prior material probably contained multiple atomic layers, on the basis of the electron microscopy images and other data that were published in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces4. Reich agrees that the 2022 study failed to prove that the material was singler-layer goldene. The principal authors of the NYUAD study did not respond to Nature’s questions about their work.

Meet ‘goldene’: this gilded cousin of graphene is also one atom thick, Mark Peplow, Nature

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Swift Particles and Dark Matter...

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Source: Same source for the Dark Matter definition below.

 

Topics: Astronomy, Astrophysics, Cosmology, Dark Matter, Einstein, General Relativity

 

Note: Your "secret decoder ring" for reading the Abstract.

 

Dark matter: It makes up about 85% of the universe, is invisible, and doesn't interact with matter except for gravitational effects. See: Center for Astrophysics, Harvard

 

"Tachyonic": Of, or referring to tachyons, (Greek for swift) theoretical particles that already travel faster-than-light and backward in time. Their rest mass, m0i, is assumed to be imaginary. As it loses energy, it's assumed to become infinitely fast, so you can see why it's a favorite science fiction trope, along with dark matter, literally tableau rasas.

 

ΛCDM assumes that the universe is composed of photons, neutrinos, ordinary matter (baryons, electrons), and cold (non-relativistic) dark matter, which only interacts gravitationally, plus "dark energy," which is responsible for the observed acceleration in the Hubble expansion. Source: Goddard Spaceflight Center: Lambda

 

H0 defines the Hubble constant, or, the rate at which the universe is expanding, determined by Hubble in the way back year of 1929 to be 500 km/s/Mpc. I'm going to defer to Wikipedia for this one.

 

km/s/Mpc = kilometers/second/megaparsec. Megaparsec is 1 million parsecs = 3,260,000 light years, or 3.26 x 106 light years.

 

t0 = the present age of the universe, t0 = 2tH/3, where "tH" is the Hubble time. t0 is roughly 13.7 × 109 years, or 4.32 × 1017 seconds.

 

Gyr = giga years, or 1 billion years = 1 x 109 years (a lot).

 

Abstract

 

An open or hyperbolic Friedmann-Robertson-Walker spacetime dominated by tachyonic dark matter can exhibit an “inflected” expansion—initially decelerating, later accelerating—similar but not identical to that of now-standard ΛCDM models dominated by dark energy. The features of the tachyonic model can be extracted by fitting the redshift-distance relation of the model to data obtained by treating Type Ia supernovae as standard candles. Here such a model is fitted to samples of 186 and 1048 Type Ia supernovae from the literature. The fits yield values of H0 = (66.6±1.5) km/s/Mpc and H0 = (69.6±0.4) km/s/Mpc, respectively, for the current-time Hubble parameter, and t0 = (8.35 ± 0.68) Gyr and t0 = (8.15 ± 0.36) Gyr, respectively, for the comoving-time age of the Universe. Tests of the model against other observations will be undertaken in subsequent works.

 

Subject headings: cosmology, dark matter, tachyons, distance-redshift relation, supernovae

 

Testing Tachyon-Dominated Cosmology with Type Ia Supernovae, Samuel H. Kramer, Ian H. Redmount, Physics arXiv

 

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Esse Quam Videri...

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Credit: Menno Schaefer/Adobe

Starlings flock in a so-called murmuration, a collective behavior of interest in biological physics — one of many subfields that did not always “belong” in physics.

Topics: Applied Physics, Cosmology, Einstein, History, Physics, Research, Science

"To be rather than to seem." Translated from the Latin Esse Quam Videri, which also happens to be the state motto of North Carolina. It is from the treatise on Friendship by the Roman statesman Cicero, a reminder of the beauty and power of being true to oneself. Source: National Library of Medicine: Neurosurgery

If you’ve been in physics long enough, you’ve probably left a colloquium or seminar and thought to yourself, “That talk was interesting, but it wasn’t physics.”

If so, you’re one of many physicists who muse about the boundaries of their field, perhaps with colleagues over lunch. Usually, it’s all in good fun.

But what if the issue comes up when a physics faculty makes decisions about hiring or promoting individuals to build, expand, or even dismantle a research effort? The boundaries of a discipline bear directly on the opportunities departments can offer students. They also influence those students’ evolving identities as physicists, and on how they think about their own professional futures and the future of physics.

So, these debates — over physics and “not physics” — are important. But they are also not new. For more than a century, physicists have been drawing and redrawing the borders around the field, embracing and rejecting subfields along the way.

A key moment for “not physics” occurred in 1899 at the second-ever meeting of the American Physical Society. In his keynote address, the APS president Henry Rowland exhorted his colleagues to “cultivate the idea of the dignity” of physics.

“Much of the intellect of the country is still wasted in the pursuit of so-called practical science which ministers to our physical needs,” he scolded, “[and] not to investigations in the pure ethereal physics which our Society is formed to cultivate.”

Rowland’s elitism was not unique — a fact that first-rate physicists working at industrial laboratories discovered at APS meetings, when no one showed interest in the results of their research on optics, acoustics, and polymer science. It should come as no surprise that, between 1915 and 1930, physicists were among the leading organizers of the Optical Society of America (now Optica), the Acoustical Society of America, and the Society of Rheology.

That acousticians were given a cold shoulder at early APS meetings is particularly odd. At the time, acoustics research was not uncommon in American physics departments. Harvard University, for example, employed five professors who worked extensively in acoustics between 1919 and 1950. World War II motivated the U.S. Navy to sponsor a great deal of acoustics research, and many physics departments responded quickly. In 1948, the University of Texas hired three acousticians as assistant professors of physics. Brown University hired six physicists between 1942 and 1952, creating an acoustics powerhouse that ultimately trained 62 physics doctoral students.

The acoustics landscape at Harvard changed abruptly in 1946, when all teaching and research in the subject moved from the physics department to the newly created department of engineering sciences and applied physics. In the years after, almost all Ph.D. acoustics programs in the country migrated from physics departments to “not physics” departments.

The reason for this was explained by Cornell University professor Robert Fehr at a 1964 conference on acoustics education. Fehr pointed out that engineers like himself exploited the fundamental knowledge of acoustics learned from physicists to alter the environment for specific applications. Consequently, it made sense that research and teaching in acoustics passed from physics to engineering.

It took less than two decades for acoustics to go from being physics to “not physics.” But other fields have gone the opposite direction — a prime example being cosmology.

Albert Einstein applied his theory of general relativity to the cosmos in 1917. However, his work generated little interest because there was no empirical data to which it applied. Edwin Hubble’s work on extragalactic nebulae appeared in 1929, but for decades, there was little else to constrain mathematical speculations about the physical nature of the universe. The theoretical physicists Freeman Dyson and Steven Weinberg have both used the phrase “not respectable” to describe how cosmology was seen by physicists around 1960. The subject was simply “not physics.”

This began to change in 1965 with the discovery of thermal microwave radiation throughout the cosmos — empirical evidence of the nearly 20-year-old Big Bang model. Physicists began to engage with cosmology, and the percentage of U.S. physics departments with at least one professor who published in the field rose from 4% in 1964 to 15% in 1980. In the 1980s, physicists led the satellite mission to study the cosmic microwave radiation, and particle physicists — realizing that the hot early universe was an ideal laboratory to test their theories — became part-time cosmologists. Today, it’s hard to find a medium-to-large sized physics department that does not list cosmology as a research specialty.

Opinion: That's Not Physics, Andrew Zangwill, APS

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When Falsification Has Lease...

Topics: Applied Physics, Civics, Materials Science, Solid-State Physics, Superconductors

I'm a person who will get Nature on my home email, my previous graduate school email (that's active because it's also on my phone), and my work email. Because it said "physics," I was primed to read it.

What I read made me clasp my hands over my mouth, and periodically stared at the ceiling tiles. My forehead bumped the desk softly, symbolically in disbelief.

Ranga Dias, the physicist at the center of the room-temperature superconductivity scandal, committed data fabrication, falsification and plagiarism, according to a investigation commissioned by his university. Nature’s news team discovered the bombshell investigation report in court documents.

The 10-month investigation, which concluded on 8 February, was carried out by an independent group of scientists recruited by the University of Rochester in New York. They examined 16 allegations against Dias and concluded that it was more likely than not that in each case, the physicist had committed scientific misconduct. The university is now attempting to fire Dias, who is a tenure-track faculty member at Rochester, before his contract expires at the end of the 2024–25 academic year.

Exclusive: official investigation reveals how superconductivity physicist faked blockbuster results

The confidential 124-page report from the University of Rochester, disclosed in a lawsuit, details the extent of Ranga Dias’s scientific misconduct. By Dan Garisto, Nature.

In a nutshell, this is the Scientific Method and how it relates to this investigation:

1. Ask a Question. It can be as simple as "Why is that the way it is?" The question suggests observation, as in, the researcher has read, or seen something in the lab that piqued their curiosity. It is also known as the problem the researcher hopes to solve. The problem must be clear, concise, and testable, i.e., a designed experiment is possible, a survey to gather data can be crafted.

2. Research (n): "the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions" (Oxford languages). Here, you are "looking for the gaps" in knowledge. People are human, and due to the times and the technology available, something else about a subject may reveal itself through careful examination. The topic area is researched through credible sources, bibliographies, similar published research, textbooks from subject matter experts. Google Scholar counts; grainy YouTube videos don't.

3. The Hypothesis. This encapsulates your research in the form of an idea that can be tested by observation, or experiment. The null hypothesis is a statement or claim that the researcher makes they are trying to disprove, and the alternate hypothesis is a statement or claim the researcher makes they are trying to prove, and with sufficient evidence, disproves the null hypothesis.

4. Design an Experiment. Design of experiments (DOE) follows a set pattern, usually from statistics, or now, using software packages to evaluate input variables, and judging their relationship to output variables. If it sounds like y = f(x), it is.

5. Data Analysis. "The process of systematically applying statistical and/or logical techniques to describe and illustrate, condense and recap, and evaluate data." Source: Responsible Conduct of Research, Northern Illinois University. This succinct definition is the source of my faceplanting regarding this Nature article.

6. Conclusion. R-squared relates to the data gathered, also called the coefficient of determination. Back to the y = f(x) analogy, r-squared is the fit of the data between the independent variables (x) and the output variables (y). An r-squared of 0.90, or 90% and higher, is considered a "good fit" of the data, and the experimenter can make predictions from their results. Did the experimenter disprove the null hypothesis or prove the alternate hypothesis? Were both disproved? (That's called "starting over.")

7. Communication. You craft your results in a journal publication, hopefully one with a high impact factor. If your research helps others in their research ("looking for gaps"), you start seeing yourself appearing in "related research" and "citation" emails from Google Scholar. Your mailbox will fill up, as I hope your self-esteem.

Back to the faceplant:

The 124-page investigation report is a stunning account of Dias’s deceit across the two Nature papers, as well as two other now-retracted papers — one in Chemical Communications3 and one in Physical Review Letters (PRL)4. In the two Nature papers, Dias claimed to have discovered room-temperature superconductivity — zero electrical resistance at ambient temperatures — first in a compound made of carbon, sulfur and hydrogen (CSH)1 and then in a compound eventually found to be made of lutetium and hydrogen (LuH)2.

Capping years of allegations and analyses, the report methodically documents how Dias deliberately misled his co-authors, journal editors and the scientific community. A university spokesperson described the investigation as “a fair and thorough process,” which reached the correct conclusion.

When asked to surrender raw data, Dias gave "massaged" data.

"In several instances, the investigation found, Dias intentionally misled his team members and collaborators about the origins of data. Through interviews, the investigators worked out that Dias had told his partners at UNLV that measurements were taken at Rochester, but had told researchers at Rochester that they were taken at UNLV."

Dias also lied to journals. In the case of the retracted PRL paper4 — which was about the electrical properties of manganese disulfide (MnS2) — the journal conducted its own investigation and concluded that there was apparent fabrication and “a deliberate attempt to obstruct the investigation” by providing reviewers with manipulated data rather than raw data. The investigators commissioned by Rochester confirmed the journal’s findings that Dias had taken electrical resistance data on germanium tetraselenide from his own PhD thesis and passed these data off as coming from MnS2 — a completely different material with different properties (see ‘Odd similarity’). When questioned about this by the investigators, Dias sent them the same manipulated data that was sent to PRL.

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Winners and losers

Winners - Scientific Integrity.

The investigators of Nature were trying to preserve the reputation of physics and the rigor of peer review. Any results from any experiment has to be replicable in similar conditions in other laboratories. Usually, when retractions are ordered, it is because that didn't happen. If I drop tablets of Alka Seltzer in water in Brazil, and do it in Canada, I should still get "plop-plop-fizz-fizz." But the "odd similarity" graphs isn't that. The only differences between the two are 0.5 Gigapascals (109 Pascals, 1 Pascal = 1 Newton/meter squared = 1 N/m2), the materials under test, and the color of the graphs. Face. Plant.

Losers - The Public Trust.

"The establishment of our new government seemed to be the last **great experiment** for promoting human happiness." George Washington, January 9, 1790

As you can probably tell, I admire Carl Sagan and how he tried to popularize science communication. But Dr. Sagan, Bill Nye the Science Guy, the canceled reality series Myth Busters (that I actually LIKED) has not bridged the gap between society's obsession with spectacle, and though the previously mentioned gentlemen and television show were promoting "science as cool," it is still a discipline, it takes work and rigor to master subjects that are not part of casual conversations, nor can you "Google." There are late nights solving problems, early mornings running experiments while everyone else outside of your library or lab window seems to be enjoying college life and what it can offer.

Dr. Dias is as susceptible to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (physical, safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization) as anyone of us. Some humans express this need posting "selfies" or social media posts "going viral," no matter how outrageous, or the collateral damage to the non-cyber real world. Or, they like to see their names in print in journals, filling their inboxes with "related research" or "citation" emails with their names attached. There is even currency now in your research being MENTIONED in social media.

*****

Mr. Halsey was the librarian at Fairview Elementary School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Everyone in my fifth grade class had to do a book report, but before we could do that, we had to pass Mr. Halsey's exam - with an 85% or better - on the Dewey Decimal System, and SHOW him in a practicum, that we could find a book that he would give you using Dewey. If you didn't pass, you didn't do the book report, and you failed English. I thankfully made an 92%, and satisfied Mr. Halsey that I wouldn't get lost in the periodicals.

We now have search engines that we can utilize via supercomputers in our hip pockets. A lot of effort to know math, physics, chemistry applied to the manufacture of semiconductors for those supercomputers instead of facilitating access to knowledge might have inadvertently manufactured a generation suffering from Dunning-Kruger. Networking those supercomputers over a worldwide web, coupled with artificial intelligence gives malevolent actors inordinate power over a captive audience of 8 billion souls.

Couple this with the falsification of data having a lease in the realm of science; it only contributes to the mistrust of institutions like the academy, like our democracy, which has been referred to since Washington as "the great experiment." If the null, and the alternate hypotheses are discarded, what pray tell, is on the other side of what we've always known?

 

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Nanos Gigantum Humeris Insidentes...

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Colleagues remember Peter Higgs as an inspirational scientist who remained humble despite his fame. Credit: Graham Clark/Alamy

Topics: CERN, Higgs Boson, High Energy Physics, Nobel Prize, Particle Physics, Quantum Mechanics, Theoretical Physics

Few scientists have enjoyed as much fame in recent years as British theoretical physicist Peter Higgs, the namesake of the boson that was discovered in 2012, who died on 8 April, aged 94.

It was 60 years ago when Higgs first suggested how an elementary particle of unusual properties could pervade the universe in the form of an invisible field, giving other elementary particles their masses. Several other physicists independently thought of this mechanism around the same time, including François Englert, now at the Free University of Brussels. The particle was a crucial element of the theoretical edifice that physicists were building in those years, which later became known as the standard model of particles and fields.

Two separate experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva, Switzerland — ATLAS and the CMS — confirmed Higgs’ predictions when they announced the discovery of the Higgs boson half a century later. It was the last missing component of the standard model, and Higgs and Englert shared a Nobel Prize in 2013 for predicting its existence. Physicists at the LHC continue to learn about the properties of the Higgs boson, but some researchers say that only a dedicated collider that can produce the particle in copious amounts — dubbed a ‘Higgs factory’ — will enable them to gain a profound understanding of its role.

“Besides his outstanding contributions to particle physics, Peter was a very special person, an immensely inspiring figure for physicists around the world, a man of rare modesty, a great teacher and someone who explained physics in a very simple yet profound way,” said Fabiola Gianotti, director-general of CERN in an obituary posted on the organization’s website; Gianotti who announced the Higgs boson’s discovery to the world at CERN. “I am very saddened, and I will miss him sorely.”

Many physicists took to X, formerly Twitter, to pay tribute to Higgs and share their favorite memories of him. “RIP to Peter Higgs. The search for the Higgs boson was my primary focus for the first part of my career. He was a very humble man that contributed something immensely deep to our understanding of the universe,” posted Kyle Cranmer, physicist at the University of Wisconsin Madison and previously a senior member of the Higgs search team at the CMS.

Nanos gigantum humeris insidentes is a Latin phrase that translates to "dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants." It's a Western metaphor that expresses the idea of "discovering truth by building on previous discoveries." The phrase is derived from Greek mythology, where the blind giant Orion carried his servant Cedalion on his shoulders.

English scientist Sir Isaac Newton also coined the phrase "to stand on (someone's) shoulders" in his letter, "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants." This means that we are who we are because of the hard work of the people who came before us. Newton was talking about collective learning, or our species' ability to share, preserve, and build upon knowledge over time. Source: AI overview

Peter Higgs: science mourns giant of particle physics, Davide Castelvecchi, Nature

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Communal...

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Topics: Astronomy, Astrophysics, Carl Sagan, Civilization, Existentialism, Star Wars, Star Trek, STEM

Apollo 11 (July 16–24, 1969) was the American spaceflight that first landed humans on the Moon. Commander Neil Armstrong and Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin landed the Apollo Lunar Module Eagle on July 20, 1969, at 20:17 UTC, and Armstrong became the first person to step onto the Moon's surface six hours and 39 minutes later, on July 21 at 02:56 UTC. Aldrin joined him 19 minutes later, and they spent about two and a quarter hours together exploring the site they had named Tranquility Base upon landing. Armstrong and Aldrin collected 47.5 pounds (21.5 kg) of lunar material to bring back to Earth as pilot Michael Collins flew the Command Module Columbia in lunar orbit, and were on the Moon's surface for 21 hours, 36 minutes before lifting off to rejoin Columbia.

Apollo 11 was launched by a Saturn V rocket from Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Florida, on July 16 at 13:32 UTC, and it was the fifth crewed mission of NASA's Apollo program. The Apollo spacecraft had three parts: a command module (CM) with a cabin for the three astronauts, the only part that returned to Earth; a service module (SM), which supported the command module with propulsion, electrical power, oxygen, and water; and a lunar module (LM) that had two stages—a descent stage for landing on the Moon and an ascent stage to place the astronauts back into lunar orbit. Source: Wikipedia/Apollo_11

The first communal experience I recall is one now doubted by people swearing they "have the proof" in grainy YouTube videos and that I should "do my research!" Yeah.

June 3, 1969, the third and final season of Star Trek: The Original Series aired "Turnabout Intruder," its 24th and last episode. There was no "final curtain" or neatly wrapped-up script tying plot points. Many of us fans were left adrift. Syndication made the franchise a legend.

In July of 1969, I was six, one month from turning seven years old. In my maturity, then, there were a few priorities: eating, sleeping, playing, and cartoons.

My cartoons were interrupted on July 19, 1969, a Saturday ritual that any kids born after 2014 are bereft of the experience. It was my "chill time" to not think of the pending school year starting a few days after my birthday in August, which is probably why I've never made a big deal about my birthday. My cartoons were interrupted. I was missing "Tom and Jerry," "Woody Woodpecker," "Bugs Bunny," "The Herculoids," and I was pissed!

I calmed down, seeing that my parents were transfixed to the black and white TV.

A year and a few months before, we were transfixed after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the cities burning with the rage I would later see in Los Angeles with Rodney King. We were transfixed in our communal mourning.

This transfixion has been repeated over and over again, as if society has us as sadistic voyeurs in a play, we are constantly made to see in a culturally communal act of PTSD.

I started recognizing that Apollo 11 didn't have Nacelles that combined matter-antimatter for faster-than-light space travel. Before Star Wars, George Lucas, and Industrial Light and Magic, warp speed was indicated by a theatrical "swooshing" sound as the Enterprise's saucer section sped by intro and exit credits. The silvery capsule and landing module were attached to each other, and it detached with mechanical efficiency and elegance. No sound travels in space, and none was needed to communicate to me that before Zephram Cochrane, or someone like him, is to be born, this is the first small step.

I tried to communicate this feeling to my youngest son. He sent a video of how dark it momentarily got in Dallas, Texas. He and his girlfriend spoke briefly about how dark it became. My oldest was geeked and profoundly moved as our daughter-in-law made sure they had similar safety shades in Texas that we used to view it. In Greensboro, we got about 84% of the eclipse: it was dim but not dark, but my Texas box turtle, Speedy, went to sleep instinctively. My wife is now determined to follow the next eclipse on the planet so long as we can afford it. Our granddaughter is days from turning five, and the daycare opted to keep the children inside for safety concerns. She is sure to ask "Mimi and Paw-Paw" about it.

I lament that this is the last season of Star Trek: Discovery, just as I will lament the last season of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. As a "Trekkie," I watched the franchise's iterations on free network TV. It made Trek accessible, at least to people who were channel-surfing that they might stop and peek into the future, exposure to STEM through fictional drama. I think this exposure to the possible created the communal experience that a boy in East Winston could share with his parents and people in Rural Hall, North Carolina, during a time before forced busing when I would meet others who didn't look like me.

I begrudgingly bought subscriptions to view it and the other iterations on Paramount Plus.

But streaming services, newsfeeds on social media, AM Talk Radio, and Podcasts do not create "communal experiences": they create silos, isolation, and tribalism.

Posting on Facebook, I said: "A communal experience. The universe experienced and witnessed itself." I said it without context regarding the eclipse. Here is the context:

"The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of 'star-stuff.'"

"The cosmos is within us. We are made of star stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself."

Carl Sagan, "Cosmos"

“Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.

Our posturing's, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.”
― Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

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Eclipse...

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Topics: Astronomy, Astrophysics, Philosophy, Planetary Science, Space Exploration

There will be a partial eclipse here in Greensboro. I purchased these glasses (six pairs) in 2017 for ANOTHER partial eclipse that I missed due to working in the lab during my first year in grad school. Nano took precedence over Astro. According to Time and Date dot com, the current show starts around 1:56 p.m. and ends around 4:28 p.m.

I will look particularly at my Texas box turtle, "Speedy," to see how she reacts when the show starts. Animals tend to go into their shelters (which she has a faux log she likes to go under) during the eclipse because it looks like night. She's far more accurate than Punxsutawney Phil. I've never fully understood the legend and lore, but like many practices that make the world scratch its heads, this is a "thing" in America.

Oh, and its not a sign of the Apocalypse. Solar and lunar eclipses are natural occurrences that, unfortunately, superstition has promoted for whatever reason to disastrous results. It comes with the territory of having a moon. Venus, an oven that would make Hell blush, as far as we know, doesn't have a moon, and if we were to colonize Mars, it has two.

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(Image: (c) Alan Dyer/VW Pics/UIG Getty Image)

On April 8, 2024, a total solar eclipse will be visible across North America. 

Our total eclipse 2024 guide tells you everything you need to know about the phenomenon from where to see it it to why it's so special. If you can't catch the eclipse in person you can watch the total solar eclipse live here on Space.com

During a total eclipse, the moon appears almost exactly the same size as the sun and blocks the entire disk for a few minutes — known as totality. 

The 115-mile-wide (185 kilometers) path of totality will cross three states in Mexico, 15 U.S. states and four states in southeast Canada.

A total solar eclipse is coming to North America. Daisy Dobrijevic, Contributions from Brett Tingley, Space.com

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Avatars and Horses...

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The Greek Myth of Odysseus and the Trojan Horse, Greek Boston

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Democracy, Existentialism, Fascism

 

Avatar (n) - an electronic image (as in a video game) that represents and may be manipulated by a computer user; the incarnation of a Hindu deity (such as Vishnu); an incarnation in human form; an embodiment (as of a concept or philosophy) often in a person, See: Merriam-Webster/avatar.

 

Stalking Horse (n) - a horse or a figure like a horse behind which a hunter stalks game; something used to mask a purpose; a candidate put forward to divide the opposition or to conceal someone's real candidacy, See: Merriam-Webster/stalking horse

 

Trojan Horse (n) - a seemingly useful computer program that contains concealed instructions which, when activated, perform an illicit or malicious action (such as destroying data files); someone or something intended to defeat or subvert from within, usually by deceptive means, See: Merriam-Webster/trojan horse

 

So far, every republican president post-Eisenhower has been an avatar for agendas crafted for them.

 

My observation: Post-Eisenhower, they had no real vision of how they wanted to govern. Conservative "think tanks" and corporate interests have performed a political version of "Cliff Notes" so that thinking is irrelevant and, from the candidates themselves, discouraged. Talking points, propaganda, and sloganeering are manufactured and repeated in an established echo chamber, where repetition replaces reality. What we get aren't politicians, but actors on a stage who know the buttons to push in their audience.

 

Governor Ronald Reagan lost the Republican Primary to Vice President Gerald Ford in 1976. Ford injured his chances of a second term by pardoning his former boss, Richard Nixon, after the unforced error of Watergate: on paper, he was going to win against his Democratic opponent, George McGovern, after LBJ chose not to run for re-election due to the unpopularity of the Indo China/Vietnam conflict. McGovern only won his state of Minnesota, as Nixon won a landslide, frightening the country with "law and order." However, it may have been that Nixon, neurotically fearful and abusing alcohol, feared the DNC Headquarters may have had intelligence on his collusion with a foreign power:

 

“Keep Anna Chennault working on SVN (South Vietnam),” Haldeman wrote as Nixon barked orders into the phone. They were out to “monkey wrench” Johnson’s election eve initiative, Nixon said. And it worked.

 

The Nixon campaign’s sabotage of Johnson’s peace process was successful. Nine days later, Thieu’s decision to boycott the talks headlined The New York Times and other U.S. newspapers, reminding American voters of their long-harbored mistrust of the wheeler-dealer LBJ and his “credibility gap” on Vietnam. Humphrey’s momentum faded.

 

LBJ was furious. His national security adviser, Walt Rostow, urged him to unmask Nixon’s treachery. Humphrey’s aides told their boss to expose the episode and disgrace their Republican foes. But Johnson and Humphrey balked. They didn’t have proof that Nixon had personally directed her actions.

 

When a Candidate Conspired With a Foreign Power to Win An Election
It took decades to unravel Nixon’s sabotage of Vietnam peace talks. Now, the full story can be told. John A. Farrell, Politico Magazine, August 6, 2017.

 

Reagan latched onto a letter: the Lewis Powell memo, head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, appointed by Nixon. This letter was the basis of "Reaganism," the attacks on education and labor rights, and the "long game" by Corporate America to deregulate the administrative state and give themselves and the owner class tax cuts, sold by a B-Movie actor that could hit all his lines as "trickle down." His Vice President and former primary adversary, George Herbert Walker Bush, aptly described it as "voodoo economics," which is more like a zombie that won't die. Like his predecessor, both men had been governors of California, and the "October Surprise" put the Reagan campaign square in the camp of collusion with a foreign power for political gain. He exploited the brief recession in 1980, no fault of his Democratic incumbent opponent, using the often repeated phrase "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" Any brief recessions under Reagan, and increases in unemployment were blamed on the Democrats by the B-Movie flimflam artist.

 

The "Gipper" was the perfect avatar for the Powell Memo.

 

The scion of the 41st president would win a controversial election in 2000, some say installed by a 5 - 4 vote on the Supreme Court. George W. Bush as the 43rd president glad-handed, was, between him and his wooden Democratic opponent, he was the candidate "most Americans would like to have a beer with" (W was a self-described recovering alcoholic and teetotaler). He prayed in the open like a Pharisee. He ran on "compassionate conservatism" from his Christian bona fides, calculated and preying on the premise the country was appalled that his predecessor had consensual sex with an adult intern, a woman other than his wife, and lied about it under oath. W talked down the economy that his predecessor handed him a surplus with, then promptly tax-cut it into oblivion and blamed the Democrats for his incompetence. 2008 was the last year of his administration, and that's when his "chickens came home to roost" w aith the housing crisis, having to bailout Wall Street for essentially gambling with subprime loans, and the costs of wars in Afghanistan, where he did not get Osama Bin Laden, and Iraq, where he executed Saddam Hussein because of a grudge he felt about Hussein trying to kill his dad, and his need to goose his numbers for the upcoming 2004 elections. He would be the only Republican presidential candidate to win the popular vote, now for nine election cycles.

 

W's reign of error was preceded by a 1997 statement of principles from Elliott Abrams, Gary Bauer, William J. Bennett, Jeb Bush, Dick Cheney, Eliot A. Cohen, Midge Decter, Paula Dobriansky, Steve Forbes, Aaron Friedberg, Francis Fukuyama, Frank Gaffney, Fred C. Ikle, Donald Kagan, Zalmay Khalilzad, I. Lewis Libby, Norman Podhoretz, Dan Quayle, Peter W. Rodman, Stephen P. Rosen, Henry S. Rowen, Donald Rumsfeld, Vin Weber, George Weigel, and Paul Wolfowitz for the Project for a New American Century:

 

American foreign and defense policy is adrift. Conservatives have criticized the incoherent policies of the Clinton Administration. They have also resisted isolationist impulses from within their own ranks. But conservatives have not confidently advanced a strategic vision of America's role in the world. They have not set forth guiding principles for American foreign policy. They have allowed differences over tactics to obscure potential agreement on strategic objectives. And they have not fought for a defense budget that would maintain American security and advance American interests in the new century. We aim to change this. We aim to make the case and rally support for American global leadership. As the 20th century draws to a close, the United States stands as the world's preeminent power. Having led the West to victory in the Cold War, America faces an opportunity and a challenge: Does the United States have the vision to build upon the achievements of past decades? Does the United States have the resolve to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests? We are in danger of squandering the opportunity and failing the challenge. We are living off the capital -- both the military investments and the foreign policy achievements -- built up by past administrations. Cuts in foreign affairs and defense spending, inattention to the tools of statecraft, and inconstant leadership are making it increasingly difficult to sustain American influence around the world. And the promise of short term commercial benefits threatens to override strategic considerations. As a consequence, we are jeopardizing the nation's ability to meet present threats and to deal with potentially greater challenges that lie ahead.

 

The strong military and Pax Americana PNAC advocated didn't hinder the attacks on the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and almost the Capitol on 9/11/2001. The New American Century brought us civil liberties-violating shoes and laptops in plastic tubs to x-ray, hands-above-head body scans, and pat downs if "something suspicious" was seen in the body scan (they ask you if they can check your groin area). I remember a world more laid back at the airport, and better, real food than chips and biscotti.

 

Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources For a New Century

 

He, with whom everyone wanted to have beers, was the perfect avatar for PNAC.

 

The dizzying years between 2017 - 2021 seemed like a century and not an administration. I was in graduate school, keeping my head down, and my mind filled with nanomaterials. The administration at that time was slapstick, stumblebum, the source of memes, late night comedian standups, tweets that drove the news cycle (we were trying to decipher "COVFEFE"). There was a Muslim ban, white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia who were "very fine people" (in a bizarre application of "both-sides-ism"), the death of Heather Heyer. There were camouflaged agents harassing protestors after the livestreamed George Floyd lynching. Teargas was used to clear demonstrators in Washington, DC June 1, 2020, to hold a Bible upside down for a prescient photo op. Fun observation: the currently branded $59.99 Holy Writ, if you turn the numbers upside down, the 5 looks like an "S." Add a few vowels and consonants, you get "66.6Suckers!"

 

Despite his resemblance to the "Lord of the Flies," he is the frontrunner of a party he's only been ostensibly attached to after the first black president was elected, re-elected, and clowned him at the White House Correspondents' Dinner. He is the frontrunner after having affairs on his first, second, and third pregnant immigrant wife, then with an adult film star and a Playboy centerfold, and bragging about sexual assault on video. He is the frontrunner because he is the id of a number of Americans disturbed that a black man won the presidency not once, but twice, so he is their anger, their rage, their "retribution." He is "chosen by God," despite the fact that he was a Democrat most of his life until he latched onto the birther conspiracy theory. He is the frontrunner despite four years ago; we had refrigerated 18 wheelers as morgues for a death toll of 1.13 million Americans during the pandemic, the stock market a quarter of its trading now, and told to inject ourselves with bleach, hydroxychloroquine, and ivermectin (horse wormer), and politicizing masks. He's the frontrunner after spurring an attack on the Capitol after a "call-and-response" sermon to keep himself in power after the votes were counted not in his favor. He's the frontrunner using stochastic terrorism to attack his "enemies" by proxy that can result in actual deaths.

 

As strange as he is, he is the perfect avatar for Project 2025.

 

"Think tanks" are populated by eggheads that are funded by grants, corporate interests, or billionaires. Dystopian nightmares like "The Hunger Games" and "The Handmaid's Tale" have behind them a wealthy elite that funds the chaos because in chaos, they can seize and hoard resources for themselves, and since they're self-isolated from the rest of humanity, what would it matter to them if society cratered?

 

The conservative project since the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education Decision, the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the 1968 Fair Housing Act, and the 1973 Roe vs. Wade Decision is to repeal the gains of the 20th Century. They are working on contraception and same-sex marriage. "Great Again" doesn't take us back to the Ozzie and Harriet 1950s: I'm seeing a return to the 1850s.

 

In paraphrasing a text message with a good friend, my wife and I plan to vote early, order groceries online to pick up early in the morning and make sure we have ammo for our guns. We've discussed siege scenarios where she should shelter, as I most likely engage our neighbors dedicated to a pathological liar.

 

In the second season of "The Handmaid's Tale" on Hulu, the "Sons of Jacob" storm the Capitol (familiar?), assassinating the Congress, setting up the "Republic of Gilead," an act that can only appeal to sociopaths. As we watched the well-acted, horrific scene, I looked at my wife and said spontaneously, "They look like they LOST an election."

 

Win, or lose, my fear is they will do violence because they WANT to do violence. The party promoting this violence is nihilistic: they are the dogs who if they "caught the car," they wouldn't care about it because dogs normally don't drive cars.

 

Major General Smedley Butler, WWI's two-time recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, revealed the conspiracy to overthrow the first administration of FDR because wealthy corporate interests thought fascism was easier to make money and manage than democracy. Butler, a Republican, revealed the plot, despite he wasn't a Democrat. It wasn't a matter of tribal affiliation or nihilistic tendencies.

 

Smedley Butler was a patriot, and patriots swear oaths to The Constitution, not to parties, men, or demagogues.

 

 

 

 

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Infinite Magazines...

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Topics: Applied Physics, Atmospheric Science, Existentialism, Futurism, Lasers, Robotics, Science Fiction

"Laser" is an acronym for Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation. As the article alludes to, the concept existed before the actual device. We have Charles Hard Townes to thank for his work on the Maser (Microwave Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation) and the Laser. He won the Nobel Prize for his work in 1964. In a spirit of cooperation remarkable for the Cold War era, he was awarded the Nobel with two Soviet physicists, Aleksandr M. Prokhorov and Nikolay Gennadiyevich Basov. He lived from 1915 - 2015. The Doomsday Clock was only a teenager, born two years after the end of the Second World War. As it was in 2023, it is still 90 seconds to midnight. I'm not sure going "Buck Rogers" on the battlefield will dial it back from the stroke of twelve. Infrared lasers are likely going to be deployed in any future battle space, but infrared is invisible to the human eye, a weapon for which you only need a power supply and not an armory; it might appeal not only to knock drones out of the sky, but to assassins, contracted by governments who can afford such a powerful device, that will not leave a ballistic fingerprint, or depending on the laser's power: DNA evidence.

Nations around the world are rapidly developing high-energy laser weapons for military missions on land and sea, and in the air and space. Visions of swarms of small, inexpensive drones filling the skies or skimming across the waves are motivating militaries to develop and deploy laser weapons as an alternative to costly and potentially overwhelmed missile-based defenses.

Laser weapons have been a staple of science fiction since long before lasers were even invented. More recently, they have also featured prominently in some conspiracy theories. Both types of fiction highlight the need to understand how laser weapons actually work and what they are used for.

A laser uses electricity to generate photons, or light particles. The photons pass through a gain medium, a material that creates a cascade of additional photons, which rapidly increases the number of photons. All these photons are then focused into a narrow beam by a beam director.

In the decades since the first laser was unveiled in 1960, engineers have developed a variety of lasers that generate photons at different wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum, from infrared to ultraviolet. The high-energy laser systems that are finding military applications are based on solid-state lasers that use special crystals to convert the input electrical energy into photons. A key aspect of high-power solid-state lasers is that the photons are created in the infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum and so cannot be seen by the human eye.

Based in part on the progress made in high-power industrial lasers, militaries are finding an increasing number of uses for high-energy lasers. One key advantage for high-energy laser weapons is that they provide an “infinite magazine.” Unlike traditional weapons such as guns and cannons that have a finite amount of ammunition, a high-energy laser can keep firing as long as it has electrical power.

The U.S. Army is deploying a truck-based high-energy laser to shoot down a range of targets, including drones, helicopters, mortar shells and rockets. The 50-kilowatt laser is mounted on the Stryker infantry fighting vehicle, and the Army deployed four of the systems for battlefield testing in the Middle East in February 2024.

High-energy laser weapons: A defense expert explains how they work and what they are used for, Iain Boyd, Director, Center for National Security Initiatives, and Professor of Aerospace Engineering Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder

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Imaging Infinity...

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A new image from the Event Horizon Telescope has revealed powerful magnetic fields spiraling from the edge of a supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, Sagittarius A*.

Topics: Astrophysics, Black Holes, Cosmology, Einstein, General Relativity

Physicists have been confident since the 1980s that there is a supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy, similar to those thought to be at the center of most spiral and elliptical galaxies. It has since been dubbed Sagittarius A* (pronounced A-star), or SgrA* for short. The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) captured the first image of SgrA* two years ago. Now the collaboration has revealed a new polarized image (above) showcasing the black hole's swirling magnetic fields. The technical details appear in two new papers published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

"The new picture of Sgr A* compared to the old one shows the advantages of using a paintbrush rather than a crayon," Maynooth University cosmologist Peter Coles said on BlueSky. The new image is also strikingly similar to another EHT polarized image of a larger supermassive black hole, M87*, so this might be something that all such black holes share.

The only way to "see" a black hole is to image the shadow created by light as it bends in response to the object's powerful gravitational field. As Ars Science Editor John Timmer reported in 2019, the EHT isn't a telescope in the traditional sense. Instead, it's a collection of telescopes scattered around the globe. The EHT is created by interferometry, which uses light in the microwave regime of the electromagnetic spectrum captured at different locations. These recorded images are combined and processed to build an image with a resolution similar to that of a telescope the size of the most distant locations. Interferometry has been used at facilities like ALMA (the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) in northern Chile, where telescopes can be spread across 16 km of desert.

Event Horizon Telescope captures stunning new image of Milky Way’s black hole, Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica.

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Science, or Spectacle...

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Avi Loeb, a Harvard University astrophysicist, displays a small vial of material recovered from the floor of the Pacific Ocean. The material, Loeb says, includes fragments of a meteorite that he claims came from another star system—and perhaps even from an alien spacecraft. Credit: Anibal Martel/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Topics: Astronomy, Astrophysics, Civilization, Cosmology, Existentialism, Theoretical Physics

Reanalysis of a meteor that fell to Earth has cast some doubt on its origin—and its final destination.

This much is certain: on January 8, 2014, an object now cataloged as CNEOS 2014-01-08 entered Earth’s atmosphere somewhere overhead off the northern coast of Papua New Guinea in the South Pacific, heating to become a blazing, shockwave-generating fireball during its plunge from space. Such events are not rare; meteors enter our atmosphere all the time. But estimates of the object’s speed, touted at some 45 kilometers per second, led to suggestions that it might be interstellar in origin—a space rock from some alien and distant planetary system. While we have seen interstellar objects passing through our solar system before, no such objects were known to have ever made planetfall on Earth. So interest in CNEOS 2014-01-08 was piqued, given that its fragments could potentially offer a first direct sample of material sourced from another star.

In June 2023 Avi Loeb—a theoretical physicist at Harvard University—mounted a $1.5-million expedition to find pieces of the meteor. Loeb has been the leading proponent of the notion that this meteor was indeed interstellar in origin—and has even speculated that it may be linked to putative alien spacecraft. His recovery expedition—which was part of his UFO-studying Galileo Project—became a public sensation, further padding Loeb’s already long list of high-profile media spots, which included interviews on prime-time national television shows and with the easily enraptured podcast host Joe Rogan. Loeb has written countless blog posts and a bestselling book on his unorthodox approach to studying extraterrestrial life and intelligence. He has even gone so far as to appear on a giant billboard in Times Square promoting the Galileo Project’s efforts to find the interstellar meteor fragments.

His approach to the topic has, at times, been abrasive, and many other astrobiology-inclined researchers have found his sensational claims too difficult to parse and potentially damaging to their field. But as with any scientific investigation, particularly with findings as provocative as those suggested by Loeb, there is invariably interest in trying to find flaws in the methodology and to offer alternative, more plausible solutions. This latest episode is no exception; it focuses on one very specific data point from this purported interstellar object.

Loeb’s recovery expedition used a boat-dragged magnetic “sled” to scrape samples of sediments from strips of seafloor in an 11-kilometer-wide square where the team believed the meteor had fallen. That zone of inquiry primarily emerged from triangulating the meteor’s presumptive debris field using sensor data from a classified network of U.S. military satellites that were scrubbed of sensitive details and made public as part of NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS). Loeb’s pinpointing also used a local seismometer on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, which recorded vibrations from an event around the time the meteor supposedly entered the atmosphere to reduce the search area to a strip that was one-kilometer wide.

After studying those seismometer data, however, Benjamin Fernando, a planetary scientist at Johns Hopkins University, has concluded that Loeb’s analysis was flawed. The seismometer, Fernando says, recorded not a celestial object but something much more mundane and closer to home—a passing heavy truck—meaning that the location Loeb and his team searched would not have been in the path of the falling object. “We think that what they picked up from the seafloor is nothing to do with this meteor at all,” says Fernando, who posted the research on the preprint server arXiv.org and presented it at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) in Texas on Tuesday, March 12.

Fernando and his colleagues maintain that the seismic spike used by Loeb’s team was decidedly similar to other signals likely caused by “cultural noise”—that is, vibrations from vehicles and other hefty, human-made sources. A signal’s polarization can be used to estimate the direction of the source, and in this case, it suggested a movement from “southwest to north over about 100 seconds,” Fernando says. That matches the orientation of a road near the seismometer that runs to a local hospital and aligns with another matching signal that perhaps came from the same vehicular source that was detected earlier in the day (when no known fireballs were overhead). “It’s actually just a truck driving by,” he says. Using information from a separate network of infrasound sensors meant to look for clandestine atomic explosions as part of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, Fernando and his team provide a different entry point for the meteor some 170 kilometers from where Loeb’s group searched. They also argue that the meteor mostly burned up in the atmosphere anyway, scattering few, if any, notable pieces onto the land or sea below. “You wouldn’t go looking for bits of a firework,” Fernando says.

In the list of logical fallacies, I found unfortunately two (depending on the source, the total list can number 20, 24, more, etc.), that I reflected on as I read this article: "Hasty Generalization," and "Ought-Is."

Hasty Generalization means what this looks like, drawing some really spectacular conclusions on what appears to be limited evidence. The second, "Ought-Is," along with the recent scandal of 10,000 papers retracted in 2023 due to (I think) the pressure to "see your name(s)" in high-impact journals, has taken on the similitude of getting "likes" on social media, and has put the scientific enterprise, the hallmark of the Enlightenment, in crisis. "Ought-Is" fallacies are another word for wishful thinking. At that point, scientific progress grinds to a halt, and we slowly start limping back to the dark ages.

"The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark," by Carl Sagan (1995).

The demons appear to be winning.

‘Interstellar’ Meteor Signal May Have Been a Truck—So What Was Collected from the Ocean Floor? Jonathan O'Callaghan, Scientific American

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PV Caveats...

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 Graphical abstract. Credit: Joule (2024). DOI: 10.1016/j.joule.2024.01.025

Topics: Applied Physics, Chemistry, Energy, Green Tech, Materials Science, Photovoltaics

 

The energy transition is progressing, and photovoltaics (PV) is playing a key role in this. Enormous capacities are to be added over the next few decades. Experts expect several tens of terawatts by the middle of the century. That's 10 to 25 solar modules for every person. The boom will provide clean, green energy. But this growth also has its downsides.

 

Several million tons of waste from old modules are expected by 2050—and that's just for the European market. Even if today's PV modules are designed to last as long as possible, they will end up in landfill at the end of their life, and with them some valuable materials.

 

"Circular economy recycling in photovoltaics will be crucial to avoiding waste streams on a scale roughly equivalent to today's global electronic waste," explains physicist Dr. Marius Peters from the Helmholtz Institute Erlangen-Nürnberg for Renewable Energies (HI ERN), a branch of Forschungszentrum Jülich.

 

Today's solar modules are only suitable for this to a limited extent. The reason for this is the integrated—i.e., hardly separable—structure of the modules, which is a prerequisite for their long service life. Even though recycling is mandatory in the European Union, PV modules are, therefore, difficult to reuse in a circular way.

 

The current study by Dr. Ian Marius Peters, Dr. Jens Hauch, and Prof Christoph Brabec from HI ERN shows how important it is for the rapid growth of the PV industry to recycle these materials. "Our vision is to move away from a design for eternity towards a design for the eternal cycle," says Peters "This will make renewable energy more sustainable than any energy technology before.

 

The consequences of the PV boom: Study analyzes recycling strategies for solar modules, Forschungszentrum Juelich

 

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Plastics and Infarctions...

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Plastic chokes a canal in Chennai, India. Credit: R. Satish Babu/AFP via Getty

Topics: Applied Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Environment, Medicine

People who had tiny plastic particles lodged in a key blood vessel were more likely to experience heart attack, stroke or death during a three-year study.

Plastics are just about everywhere — food packaging, tyres, clothes, water pipes. And they shed microscopic particles that end up in the environment and can be ingested or inhaled by people.

Now, the first data of their kind show a link between these microplastics and human health. A study of more than 200 people undergoing surgery found that nearly 60% had microplastics or even smaller nanoplastics in a main artery1. Those who did were 4.5 times more likely to experience a heart attack, a stroke, or death in the approximately 34 months after the surgery than were those whose arteries were plastic-free.

“This is a landmark trial,” says Robert Brook, a physician-scientist at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, who studies the environmental effects on cardiovascular health and was not involved with the study. “This will be the launching pad for further studies across the world to corroborate, extend, and delve into the degree of the risk that micro- and nanoplastics pose.”

But Brook, other researchers and the authors themselves caution that this study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine on 6 March, does not show that the tiny pieces caused poor health. Other factors that the researchers did not study, such as socio-economic status, could be driving ill health rather than the plastics themselves, they say.

Landmark study links microplastics to serious health problems, Max Kozlov, Nature.

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It's On Us...

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― Gaylord Nelson, former Republican Governor and Senator of Wisconsin, Founder of Earth Day, April 20, 1970, which led to the formation of the U.S. EPA, December 2, 1970. Image: Nelson Institute of Environmental Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Climate Change, Democracy, Existentialism, Fascism

Robert Mueller was the subject of Internet memes as a 21st-century version of Joe Friday in "Dragnet." There was going to be an arrest. The 45th Oval Office occupant was going to be put in handcuffs and "perp-walked" in full view and total embarrassment of the Troll-in-Chief who tormented them with his itchy, psychotic Twitter fingers.

 

Robert Mueller did not save us.

 

Jack Smith was appointed late in the game of criminality. He joined Alvin Bragg, Fani Willis, Letitia James, Shawn Crawley, and Roberta Kaplan after two impeachments and 91 federal indictments, trying to do justice, stymied by wealth and privilege that most of us will never have. He has been convicted twice in the E. Jean Carroll: the second time because he couldn't keep his mouth shut. He owes over half a billion dollars between the two. But these are civil lawsuits. He owes money that he actually doesn't have, so he has to go hat in hand to the faux Tony Stark to get a bailout, I guess because a check in Rubles would be to hard to gaslight, even for him.

 

Jack Smith will not save us.

 

Meme posting on Facebook, tweeting (or "X"), Threading, Snapchatting, Reddit posts with pithy commentary, and real clever zingers will not change anything. Hiding behind your laptop as a "keyboard warrior" is no different and no less cowardly than the trolls you get your blood pressure up over in their mom's basements. Our democratic republic is "hanging by a thread." We need your bodies; we need your commitment.

 

Focus your anger into action.

 

Due to a lot going on at work, I ended up voting on Super Tuesday. I did not encounter any resistance. The tape in the machine had to be replaced, so my ballot was counted sometime later. I came back when my wife voted to get my sticker.

 

The candidates I voted for won in the primaries. I plan to volunteer for the campaigns that I want to be successful.

 

If you're angry about the state of the world and your country, I quote the Honorable John Lewis, who joined the ancestors: "Get in good trouble, necessary trouble."

 

It's not just civil rights anymore. It's Women's Rights, LGBTQ Rights, Immigrant Rights, and the rights to just BE yourselves.

 

The Danger of Echo Chambers

 

The State of the Union started with the pomp and circumstance of the Joint Chambers of Congress, which is still a crime scene. The current Speaker filed the Amicus Brief to overturn the results of the 2020 election. However, I am reminded of the 2012 election.

 

I see Senator Romney glad-handing everyone on the floor. I recall him so confident that he had won the 2012 election, he launched his transition website. It was because he consumed a lot of Fox (not) News, and they projected he would win, until he didn't.

 

I recall Karl Rove making Meghan Kelly walk to the statisticians' office at Fox (not) News, totally apoplectic that Obama/Biden had won re-election. The other persons utterly stunned were Mitt and Ann Romney. As Karl and Fox (not) News viewers, they absorbed a medium that made them feel better, but it did not, in fact, inform them, and still doesn't.

 

The danger of echo chambers is like Narcissus; it only gives you the last thing that you might hear:

 

One day, while hunting, Narcissus comes across an untouched, glassy spring. He is drawn to its beauty and lies down to take a drink, but what he sees in the still water enchants him. He is in love with what he sees and is inflamed by the features of the vision: the hair, his eyes, porcelain skin, and rosy cheeks. Attempts to kiss and hold the reflection are in vain, and Narcissus is only frustrated by the teasing reactions of the image. When Narcissus winks, the image winks back; when Narcissus waves, the image waves; and when he cries tears, he sees that the image also cries. Narcissus cannot understand why he cannot reach what he so desperately desires.

 

The tormented boy agonizes over his unrequited love. He cannot leave the spring and is trapped in his frozen gaze at his reflection, pining away for the boy in the water who rejects all advances. Then Narcissus realizes that the image is his, but it’s too late, as he has already fallen tragically in love with himself. Knowing that he can never have what he desires, his body withers away in despair. When Narcissus says “Goodbye” to the reflection, Echo’s voice says “Goodbye.” At that moment, Narcissus dies while peering into the spring. Historic Mysteries

 

The danger of echo chambers is adherence to narratives that do not exist in the real world. It is allegiance to "alternative facts," crackpot conspiracy theories, Big Lies, horse manure, hoopla, and hogwash. It says climate change doesn't exist in a deluge of evidence on a warming globe annually breaking its previous records. It is saying the Affordable Care Act was destined to "kill grandma," when four years ago, we had refrigerator trucks as mobile morgues by ignoring a pandemic and promoting quackery like drinking bleach, shining lights up our rectums, ivermectin, and hydroxychloroquine. It is putting on a Batman suit and thinking yourself an undefeatable martial artist, or a Superman suit and thinking you can fly. "Try that in Gotham," or leap from the roof of a short house: the acceleration due to gravity is still 9.81 m/s2. Physics is reality, and it cannot be gaslighted.

 

Things like the Orwellian Citizen's United have guaranteed that every election until capitalism is reformed is the "election of our lifetimes." The American oligarchs today are the spiritual descendants of the fascists who tried to prop up Smedley Butler as their dictator. He balked, realizing that he was a "gangster for capitalism" and that "war is a racket."

 

Time travel is a popular sci-fi trope, but backward travel is impossible due to the Second Law of Thermodynamics. But it is possible to shape the future we want to see for our children. To do that, we can't listen to nymphs reflecting echoes.

 

“Our goal is not just an environment of clean air, water, and scenic beauty. The objective is an environment of decency, quality, and mutual respect for all other human beings and living creatures.”

 

“The ultimate test of man's conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.”
― Gaylord Nelson, former Republican Governor and Senator of Wisconsin, Founder of Earth Day, April 20, 1970, which led to the formation of the U.S. EPA, December 2, 1970.

 

 

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NIJI 6 CONTEST.03 - MARCH 07-09, 2024

NIJI 6 CONTEST.03 - MARCH 07-09, 2024

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The Second NIJI 6 CONTEST is about to get underway and the

THEME and RULES for posting.

Hope this helps if you are participating.

link to Black AI ARTS on DISORD:
https://discord.gg/xw7KR6MSvj

and This link for MIDJOURNEY:
https://www.midjourney.com/

and while on DISCORD don't forget to join the

Abyssinia Media Group® Channel - AbyssiniaMG:
https://discord.gg/feYFnuP8

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