Nuclear Fusor

Nuclear Fusor: Build yourself a star in a jar.

Nuclear fusion is the process of squeezing two atoms together so tightly that their nuclei fuse, creating a heavier atom and releasing a blast of energy. Fusion creates the inferno inside the sun — and the hydrogen bomb — but no one has yet harnessed its enormous power for peaceful uses.

They’ve tried, however, often with skepticism. In 1989, physicists Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons announced they’d achieved “cold fusion” of hydrogen into helium at room temperature, only to face withering scorn when others failed to replicate their results.

Luckily, DIY nuclear engineers can achieve honest-to-goodness “hot fusion” right at home by making a Farnsworth-Hirsch fusion reactor, or fusor for short.

now this would make for a cool hackathon project!

(hat tip: paul)

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Supermassive Black Hole

The Largest Black Hole In the Known Universe

This is galaxy cluster Abell 2029, located 1.07 billion light-years distant, or some 20 times farther away than the Virgo Cluster. At the center of this lies the largest known galaxy in the Universe: IC 1101. This is a galaxy that extends for 2 million light-years away from its central core in its largest direction, many times the size of Messier 87 and with the largest known mass of any galaxy in the Universe. In fact, it extends for nearly twice the distance separating the Milky Way from Andromeda! Including dark matter, it comes in with 100 trillion Solar Masses, or nearly the mass of the entire Virgo Cluster combined. (If you do a google image search for the size of this galaxy, you will find some terribly wild exaggerations of this galaxy; beware.)

But what about its black hole?

another one i just stumbled across, and found myself reading through the whole thing… i’ve read up on black holes quite a few times over the years, but still find the whole subject pretty fascinating — didn’t know about the IC 1101 galaxy, or just how effin immense it is… g’lord.


Solar Freakin’ Roadways

If You Need Any Convincing That Solar Roadways Are The Future, This Video Will Help

solar freakin’ roadways! hell yeah, feel like i’ve seen something along similar lines somewhere before — maybe in europe? don’t remember off hand, but it sure is pretty cool and i’d love to think that something similar will be in our near future.

then again, they can barely keep the current roads nicely paved as it is.

(hat tip: jayden)

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Russia Cuts US From The ISS?

Russia will cut off US access to the International Space Station over Ukraine sanctions

Russia will reject a US request to use the International Space Station after 2020 in retaliation for trade sanctions imposed over Russia’s aggressive annexation of Crimea, its deputy prime minister announced today.

The space station is maintained by both American and Russian crews. But because NASA’s shuttle program was decommissioned in 2011, the only way to get there is on board Russian spacecraft. The US currently pays Russia $60 million per person to ferry its astronauts to the space station, and had planned to continue working on it until 2024.

“The Russian segment can exist independently from the American one. The US one cannot,” Russian deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin said today.

this might actually be good news, if it’s what’s needed to kick NASA into gear and pushes us towards replacing the space shuttle with new shuttles or rockets to get us up there… never liked the fact that we retired the Space Shuttle without a ready-to-go alternative, not to mention paying and relying on the russians.


Curiosity Snaps Earth

Curiosity rover snaps its first Earth photo from Mars

Put yourself in Curiosity’s wheels for a moment. You’re 99 million miles from where you were born. You can never go back. The only other creatures like you are somewhere else on a big planet, and you’re unlikely to ever meet. You’re doing amazing things for science and you’re adored by millions. Still, you might want to take a picture of home for posterity.

That’s just what Curiosity did, snapping its first picture of Earth and the moon from the surface of Mars. Though the two heavenly bodies are just pinpoints of light, they are still much brighter than any star seen through the Martian twilight.

The photo makes for a very spare composition. It almost looks like it could have been taken on Earth, with just a jagged black horizon line to show the surface of Mars. The image was captured 80 minutes after sunset on January 31, which represents the rover’s 529th Martian day.

well there’s some perspective for ya ^_^


More Like Grey Holes

No Black Holes? More Like Grey Holes, Says Hawking

On reading a new paper by Stephen Hawking that appeared online this week, you would have been forgiven in thinking the world-renowned British physicist was spoofing us. Hawking’s unpublished work – titled “Information Preservation and Weather Forecasting for Black Holes” and uploaded to the arXiv preprint service – declares that “there are no black holes.

Keep in mind that Hawking’s bedrock theory of evaporating black holes revolutionized our understanding that the gravitational behemoths are not immortal; through a quantum quirk they leak particles (and therefore mass) via “Hawking radiation” over time. What’s more, astronomers are finding new and exciting ways to detect black holes – they are even working on an interferometer network that may, soon, be able to directly image a black hole’s event horizon!

Has Hawking changed his mind? Are black holes merely a figment of our collective imaginations? Are all those crank theories about “alternative” theories of the Cosmos true?!

no black holes? blasphemy! Hawking’s the man… i still love geek’n out and reading through some of this stuff.

hell, i still look up at the night sky in wonder on a good clear night – like a nice new pair of tits, i don’t think it’ll ever truly get old for me.

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HS Students Launch Satellite Into Space

Fairfax County students build first satellite sent to space

A blaze of flame erupted from NASA’s Wallops Island facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore at 8:15 p.m. Tuesday as a satellite developed by students from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology launched into space aboard a Minotaur I rocket.

The rocket launch – visible across the eastern seaboard in the clear night sky – culminated seven years of work for more than 50 students from TJ, as the Fairfax County magnet school is known. The satellite, known as TJCubeSat, was the first designed and built by high school students to be sent into space. The Minotaur I’s payload included a total of 29 satellites, which the company overseeing the launch said is the most ever carried into orbit by a single rocket.

this was in the local news, and i thought it was pretty badass… a group of local high school students making a satellite and getting NASA to help launch it up into space?

fuck yeah.


Mars Evolution

NASA Animation Shows What Mars May Have Looked Like Billions Of Years Ago

Ever pondered what our nearest planetary neighbor Mars may have looked like billions of years ago? Then ponder no more.

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center has released the vibrant animation above, entitled “Mars Evolution.” The video shows a likely scenario four billion years ago that is sure to astound you.

pretty cool, even if i still find it kind of hard to imagine the red planet looking more like earth… if it hadn’t lost it’s atomosphere and intelligent life evolved, can you imagine having martian neighbors?

it’s still fun to imagine it.

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Live Longer With Bacon

Study Shows Eating Bacon Will Make You Live Longer

dude, i knew it! seriously though, how awesome is that??! so next you feel like loading your plate up with some tasty bacon, you can do so without any guilt because now it’s scientifically proven to make you live longer. heh.

on the flipside, it might effect your sperm count.


NASA: Warp Speed?

Faster Than the Speed of Light?

HOUSTON — Beyond the security gate at the Johnson Space Center’s 1960s-era campus here, inside a two-story glass and concrete building with winding corridors, there is a floating laboratory.

Harold G. White, a physicist and advanced propulsion engineer at NASA, beckoned toward a table full of equipment there on a recent afternoon: a laser, a camera, some small mirrors, a ring made of ceramic capacitors and a few other objects.

He and other NASA engineers have been designing and redesigning these instruments, with the goal of using them to slightly warp the trajectory of a photon, changing the distance it travels in a certain area, and then observing the change with a device called an interferometer. So sensitive is their measuring equipment that it was picking up myriad earthly vibrations, including people walking nearby. So they recently moved into this lab, which floats atop a system of underground pneumatic piers, freeing it from seismic disturbances.

The team is trying to determine whether faster-than-light travel – warp drive – might someday be possible.

Warp drive. Like on “Star Trek.”

we’re a looooooong ways away from anything like a warp drive being a reality, but nevertheless, it’s cool that scientists are keeping their imaginations open and looking into the whole idea – space is effin huge.


Future Humans Go Anime

How The Human Face Might Look In 100,000 Years

We’ve come along way looks-wise from our homo sapien ancestors. Between 800,000 and 200,000 years ago, for instance, rapid changes in Earth climate coincided with a tripling in the size of the human brain and skull, leading to a flattening of the face. But how might the physiological features of human beings change in the future, especially as new, wearable technology like Google Glass change the way we use our bodies and faces? Artist and researcher Nickolay Lamm has partnered with a computational geneticist to research and illustrate what we might look like 20,000 years in the future, as well as 60,000 years and 100,000 years out. [...]

Kwan stresses that 60,000 years from now, our ability to control the human genome will also make the effect of evolution on our facial features moot. As genetic engineering becomes the norm, “the fate of the human face will be increasingly determined by human tastes,” he says in a research document. Eyes will meanwhile get larger, as attempts to colonize Earth’s solar system and beyond see people living in the dimmer environments of colonies further away from the Sun than Earth. Similarly, skin will become more pigmented to lessen the damage from harmful UV radiation outside of the Earth’s protective ozone. Kwan expects people to have thicker eyelids and a more pronounced superciliary arch (the smooth, frontal bone of the skull under the brow), to deal with the disruptive effects already observed by present-day astronauts of cosmic rays outside Earth’s atmosphere.

just kinda funny to see what this guy envisions future humans to look like… maybe the japanese anime’s have had it right all this time.

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Higgs Boson, Still Boring

This Just in: Higgs Boson Still Boring

The latest updates from the Large Hadron Collider regarding details of the Higgs boson have so far been a yawn-fest.

Physicists from around the world are convening this week and next in Italy at the annual Rencontres de Moriond conference to discuss the latest in particle physics and cosmology. Scientists with the main Higgs-searching experiments, ATLAS and CMS, presented their most recent data and analysis on March 6. Aside from some tantalizing but tenuous hints, they showed few surprises.

“The new particle discovered at CERN last year is looking more and more like a Higgs boson,” wrote spokesman James Gillies in an update on CERN’s website. “However, more analysis is still required before a definitive statement can be made.”

i’ll have to admit… it was interesting at first, but yeah… it’s kinda gotten boring, unless they find something truly amazing.

personally, i’d much rather hear about scientists figuring out cold fusion or some way to tap into unlimited energy.


Happy Birthday, Newton

19-Year-Old Isaac Newton’s List of Sins

Today marks the 369th would-be birthday of Sir Isaac Newton, one of the most remarkable, prolific, and influential cross-disciplinary scientists in human history. To celebrate, here is a curious find from The Newton Project, one of 7 important digital humanities projects – among the 4.2 million published and unpublished words by Newton made available as interactive diplomatic transcriptions is this list of 48 sins 19-year-old Newton self-admittedly “committed” before Whitsunday.


  1. Using the word (God) openly
  2. Eating an apple at Thy house
  3. Making a feather while on Thy day
  4. Denying that I made it
  5. Making a mousetrap on Thy day
  6. Contriving of the chimes on Thy day
  7. Squirting water on Thy day
  8. Making pies on Sunday night
  9. Swimming in a kimnel on Thy day
  10. Putting a pin in Iohn Keys hat on Thy day to pick him
  11. Carelessly hearing and committing many sermons
  12. Refusing to go to the close at my mothers command
  13. Threatning my father and mother Smith to burne them and the house over them
  14. Wishing death and hoping it to some
  15. Striking many
  16. Having uncleane thoughts words and actions and dreamese
  17. Stealing cherry cobs from Eduard Storer
  18. Denying that I did so
  19. Denying a crossbow to my mother and grandmother though I knew of it
  20. Setting my heart on money learning pleasure more than Thee
  21. A relapse
  22. A relapse
  23. A breaking again of my covenant renued in the Lords Supper
  24. Punching my sister
  25. Robbing my mothers box of plums and sugar
  26. Calling Dorothy Rose a jade
  27. Glutiny in my sickness
  28. Peevishness with my mother
  29. With my sister
  30. Falling out with the servants
  31. Divers commissions of alle my duties
  32. Idle discourse on Thy day and at other times
  33. Not turning nearer to Thee for my affections
  34. Not living according to my belief
  35. Not loving Thee for Thy self
  36. Not loving Thee for Thy goodness to us
  37. Not desiring Thy ordinances
  38. Not long {longing} for Thee in {illeg}
  39. Fearing man above Thee
  40. Using unlawful means to bring us out of distresses
  41. Caring for worldly things more than God
  42. Not craving a blessing from God on our honest endeavors
  43. Missing chapel
  44. Beating Arthur Storer
  45. Peevishness at Master Clarks for a piece of bread and butter
  46. Striving to cheat with a brass halfe crowne
  47. Twisting a cord on Sunday morning
  48. Reading the history of the Christian champions on Sunday

never seen this one before and found it rather interesting.