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Where will we all be in 100 billion years?

StartsWithABang Oops (1 comments)

That should read "100 billion years from now", not "100 billion years ago". My typo.

about 3 months ago

Submissions

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The woman who should have been the first female astronaut.

StartsWithABang StartsWithABang writes  |  yesterday

StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "We like to think of the Mercury 7 — the very first group of NASA astronauts — as the "best of the best," having been chosen from a pool of over 500 of the top military test pilots after three rounds of intense physical and mental tests. Yet when women were allowed to take the same tests, one of them clearly distinguished herself, outperforming practically all of the men. If NASA had really believed in merit, Jerrie Cobb would have been the first female in space, even before Valentina Tereshkova, more than 50 years ago. She still deserves to go."
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What Dark Energy Is

StartsWithABang StartsWithABang writes  |  2 days ago

StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "The past century saw a revolution in the way we perceive the nature of the Universe. Rather than being made up of fixed space and time, general relativity brought along with it spacetime, and the idea that it wasn't fixed at all but rather dynamical. We discovered that the fabric of this spacetime itself is expanding over time, and by measuring multiple independent lines of evidence, we determined that the expansion itself is accelerating. This general phenomenon is due to dark energy, but what exactly is this dark energy we speak of so frequently? The observations are good enough now that we can (preliminarily) say that it's a cosmological constant, or the energy inherent to space itself, or the non-zero zero-point-energy of the quantum vacuum. There's still a little wiggle room, but not much!"
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The Physics of why Cold Fusion isn't real

StartsWithABang StartsWithABang writes  |  3 days ago

StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "If you can reach the fabled "breakeven point" of nuclear fusion, you’ll have opened up an entire new source of clean, reliable, safe, renewable and abundant energy. You will change the world. At present, fusion is one of those things we can make happen through a variety of methods, but — unless you’re the Sun — we don’t have a way to ignite and sustain that reaction without needing to input more energy than we can extract in a usable fashion from the fusion that occurs. One alternative approach to the norm is, rather than try and up the energy released in a sustained, hot fusion reaction, to instead lower the energy inputted, and try to make fusion happen under “cold” conditions. If you listen in the right (wrong?) places, you'll hear periodic reports that cold fusion is happening, even though those reports have always crumbled under scrutiny. Here's why, most likely, they always will."
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Is the E-Cat just the work of a charlatan?

StartsWithABang StartsWithABang writes  |  4 days ago

StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "Last week, outlets reported an independent test of the E-cat, an alleged cold fusion device that could revolutionize energy for our world. Or, alternatively, it could simply be a hoax perpetrated by a charlatan and a team of either accomplices or incompetents. How would you distinguish between the two? When you look at the scientific standards, the results of the "independent test" leave a lot to be desired."
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A look inside the Omega Nebula

StartsWithABang StartsWithABang writes  |  about a week ago

StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "4.6 billion years ago, a large molecular cloud collapsed in the Milky Way, giving rise to around a thousand or so new stars and star systems, one of which just happened to become our home. But those early days showcased a violent time for our Solar System, and wasn't so different from what's currently taking place in the Omega Nebula, just 5,500 light years away in our own galaxy. Take an in-depth look inside, and catch a glimpse of what our Solar System's environment was like back during its earliest days!"
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How black holes will eventually die

StartsWithABang StartsWithABang writes  |  about a week ago

StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "Nothing in this Universe lasts forever: not life, planets, stars, atoms or even galaxies. But the longest-lived thing of all — black holes — have a limit on their lifetime, too! The phenomenon of Hawking radiation ensures that even they will decay and evaporate after a long enough time. But the popular picture — of particle-antiparticle pairs created outside the event horizon, with one falling in and the other escaping — is wildly oversimplified, and creates the misconception that Hawking radiation is particles-and-antiparticles escaping. It isn't; it's a blackbody spectrum of photons, and here's what you need to know about what actually goes on!"
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Why observatories shoot lasers at the Universe

StartsWithABang StartsWithABang writes  |  about two weeks ago

StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "If you want to take the best-ever images of objects in deep space, you build the largest possible telescope, you equip it with the best possible camera equipment, and you send it up to space. Right? Only, the "large" part and the "send it to space" part are mutually exclusive! We can build much larger telescopes on the ground than we can send to space, so how, then, could ground-based observatories ever compete with something like Hubble? You need to find a way to adapt to the ever-changing, turbulent atmosphere. Believe it or not, that's exactly what the lasers these observatories shoot allow us to do!"
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Why there's no such thing as a free quark

StartsWithABang StartsWithABang writes  |  about two weeks ago

StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "If you want an electron to be free, all you have to do is put in enough energy to ionize an atom. If you want a mass to be free, all you need is enough energy to overcome its gravitational binding. But a quark is a tricky thing: as much as we might try, we can never free it from being bound to other quarks (or antiquarks). The reason is tricky, and its explanation won the Nobel Prize exactly 10 years ago. Here's a great explainer o the physics behind it."
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Why blue LEDs deserve the Nobel Prize in Physics

StartsWithABang StartsWithABang writes  |  about two weeks ago

StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "Yes, the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics went to the invention of the blue LED, which came about through a new technique in diode creation that has been used, copied and improved upon over the past 20 years. Many people have been outraged that such a mundane discovery won the Nobel Prize, but the physics behind it is undeniably groundbreaking, not to mention the applications."
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Hundreds of black holes in every globular cluster?

StartsWithABang StartsWithABang writes  |  about two weeks ago

StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "Globular clusters are some of the oldest objects in the Universe, with typical ages ranging from 10 billion years to more than 13 billion years, approaching the age of the Universe itself. Intermediate mass black holes have been found in a few of them: small versions of the supermassive black holes found at the center of most galaxies. In 2012, astronomers identified two stellar mass black holes near (but not at) the center of Messier 22, the brightest globular cluster visible from Earth, and it's now believed that there are around 100 black holes in every single globular in the sky!"
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The ultimate use for an idle PC/Mac/Linux box

StartsWithABang StartsWithABang writes  |  about two weeks ago

StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "If you’ve ever participated in BOINC projects such as Einstein@home, SETI@home, Malaria Control or one of many protein folding projects, you recognize the power of using the idle cycles of your CPU (and GPU) for helping science. But that’s nothing compared to what the Charity Engine is doing to help science, charities and build the world’s largest cloud-based supercomputer for lease only by vetted, ethical companies! For those of you with tons of old hardware lying around, you've got no excuse not to do it."
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Are black holes made of dark matter?

StartsWithABang StartsWithABang writes  |  about two weeks ago

StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "When you look at a black hole from the outside, there are only a few quantities of it that you can measure: its mass, electric charge and angular momentum. Whether it was made of matter, antimatter or dark matter is lost to its history. But based on what we know of astrophysics and the Universe, we can calculate how much dark matter ought to be eaten by them over the Universe's history. As it turns out, black holes are born dark-matter-free, but can grow to have up to 0.004% of their mass originate from dark matter. Normal matter: not doing so bad for just 5% of the Universe!"
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How big is the observable Universe?

StartsWithABang StartsWithABang writes  |  about two weeks ago

StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "The Universe as we know it (i.e., when it's filled with "stuff" like matter and radiation) has been expanding and cooling for 13.8 billion years, leading up to the present day. Does that mean we can see for 13.8 billion light years in all directions? Under the laws of General Relativity, it turns out that would be impossible, as the Universe must be either expanding or contracting. So how big is it? 46 billion light years in radius, with only a very small uncertainty!"
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How to find alien life

StartsWithABang StartsWithABang writes  |  about three weeks ago

StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "One of the biggest questions in all of science is that of just how ubiquitous — or rare — life in the Universe is. With the sole exception of Earth, all the worlds in our Solar System seem devoid of life. Or at least, their detection has eluded us so far. But what of all the other planets, star systems and galaxies in the Universe? We all share the same common, cosmic history, and as far as we can tell, the ingredients for life are everywhere. But for the first time in human history, we may not need life to come and contact us; we can simply stay here and look for surefire signatures from afar. Come find out how we may be on the cusp of, for the first time, finding out we’re not alone in the Universe!"
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The "Smoking Gun" of the Big Bang

StartsWithABang StartsWithABang writes  |  about three weeks ago

StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "I wasn’t all that long ago — just 50 years — that we didn’t know where our Universe came from. A hot, dense early state? A cyclical, swirling past? Or perhaps a time-independent one, where the Universe back then was not so different from our own today? All that changed in 1964, quite by accident. With the first detection of the Cosmic Microwave Background, and its identification as the leftover glow from the Big Bang, we entered a new era of cosmology, one that wasn’t primarily based in speculative, theoretical calculations, but one that could distinguish between possible Universes from careful, progressively improved measurements of our Universe. Today, we’re on the precipice of taking the next step, and finding out what gravitational waves may have imprinted themselves from the earliest moments of our observable Universe. Come learn the status of where we are now, and how we're going to take the next step!"
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Einstein's undefeated record reaches 99 years

StartsWithABang StartsWithABang writes  |  about three weeks ago

StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "When it comes to physics, there sure are some strange theories — and even stranger phenomena — out there. The notion that particles don’t have fixed, intrinsic properties that are simultaneously measurable can only be described as weird, and the fact that you can add as much energy as you want to a particle but it will never accelerate to beyond a particular speed is certainly counterintuitive. Yet one theory has them all beat. For ninety-nine years, now, General Relativity has made a whole host of unique predictions, ranging from time slowing down in a gravitational field to the bending of starlight to the decay of pulsar orbits, that have been observationally confirmed each and every time. It's the strangest theory we know to be true, and we're on the brink of testing (and possibly confirming) its predictions to even better precision!"
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Could we abort a manned mission to Mars?

StartsWithABang StartsWithABang writes  |  about three weeks ago

StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "The next great leap in human spaceflight is a manned mission to a world within our Solar System: most likely Mars. But if something went wrong along the journey — at launch, close to Earth, or en route — whether biological or mechanical, would there be any way to return to Earth? A fun (and sobering) look at what the limits of physics and technology allow at present."
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The entire history of the Universe in ten sentences

StartsWithABang StartsWithABang writes  |  about three weeks ago

StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "The greatest story ever told is the one the Universe tells us about itself: how it went from a state of empty and expanding spacetime to one containing the huge number of galaxies, stars, planets and atoms, not to mention you. Here is the shortest version of that story ever that is still accurate and comprehensive, with ten sentences covering the entire thing!"
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How to destroy the entire Universe

StartsWithABang StartsWithABang writes  |  about three weeks ago

StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "For all the aspiring supervillains out there, you may have heard that Stephen Hawking recently wrote about the possibility of the Higgs field destroying the Universe. As it turns out, that's not very likely to happen, not likely to affect us if it does happen, and not something we can control in any case. But there is something we can do if we were intent on destroying the Universe: restore the inflationary state that gave rise to the Universe (and the Big Bang) in the first place!"
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What Astrology got right

StartsWithABang StartsWithABang writes  |  about a month ago

StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "When you think of astrology today, you likely think of someone who makes false promises and proclaims either platitudes or fabrications as though they were preordained truths. That's not even an unfair judgment. For many millennia dating to just a few centuries ago, though, astrology was anything but. Our initial thoughts on the idea that what happens in the heavens affects what happens on Earth may have been flawed, but as it turns out, the simple idea of observing the Universe beyond our own world has been able to teach us more than the ancients would have ever dreamed! A fascinating look at the story of where science itself originated."

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