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One of the challenges to long distance space travel is being able to manufacture things along the way. Having to escape the Earth’s gravity is a challenge. Granted, it is improving with a competitive new space race but it still costs anywhere from 11.2 to 34.5 dollars per ton to launch a rocket.
While there is an abundance of solar energy available in space, plants are the most efficient harvesters of sunlight. It makes sense to mimic them for both energy and manufacturing. While the journal article is paywalled, Science Daily reports that this new process uses new materials called luminescent solar concentrators. These LSCs mimic what a leaf already does. It is reported that, even on a cloudy day, the process is 40% more productive than processes without using LSC.
Yeah, I have not done one of these since the start of the year. In the spirit of “better late than never”, “nothing beats a failure except a try”, and “try, try, try and try again”, I am giving it another go.
I am finally starting to conquer my health issues; the pain in my back is now almost completely gone, I have almost all the feeling back in my left leg, daily doses of bromelain are keeping my arthritis and carpal tunnel in check, my blood pressure is almost normal and, while still not perfect, I am sleeping much better. It is amazing how much more energy one has when not in pain all the time. It is time to try and get back to this weekly project.
Additionally, I am going to change the format a bit. All too often I am ending up with more than one link per topic per week. While I shall still reference stuff I posted during the week, I am also going to use it to clean up my saved RSS folder. In other words, you will be getting extras.
The categories are (click on the category to jump right to it):
Ludicrous – Funny, odd, strange, bizarre or humorous
Another Year End Wrap Up Blog Post- Science and Tech
Seems that many blogs are doing wrap ups. There also a good number of end of the year science and technology stories. So I figured “what the heck?”.
As 2015 ends and 2016 begins, I have a good number of stories in my “Saved for Later” folder in my Feedly account. I thought I would start out 2016 by cleaning it up a bit and sharing them. These items are about science and tech.
As the name implies, nothing in our universe can escape the super-high gravity, not even light. This also means that gaining any information about what happens beyond the “event horizon”, the point where the gravitational escape velocity exceeds the speed of light, is impossible. Or is it? An article at Sciencemag.org discusses just how physicst are attemting to tackle the problem. While in the category of not-warm-fuzzy-nice physics, the concept is simple, quantum math must balance out. The issue is how to figure out what happens after the event horizon based on what happens before. Black holes “evaporate” and well, like I said not all warm and fuzzy:
Physicists think they have a way out. In 1974, British theorist Stephen Hawking argued that black holes can radiate particles and energy. Thanks to quantum uncertainty, empty space roils with pairs of particles flitting in and out of existence. Hawking realized that if a pair of particles from the vacuum popped into existence straddling the black hole’s boundary then one particle could fly into space, while the other would fall into the black hole. Carrying away energy from the black hole, the exiting Hawking radiation should cause a black hole to slowly evaporate. Some theorists suspect information reemerges from the black hole encoded in the radiation—although how remains unclear as the radiation is supposedly random.
And it even gets less friendly after that, attempting use quantum teleportation to dechiper it further. While it is not easy to follow, it certainly is the closest thing we have to real life Star Trek. It is fascinating. While it is something you should read carefully, the story of quantum partners Alice and Bob offers a good explanation. It is worth the read and mental wrestle.
I was lucky enough to have Jearl Walker as my physics in college. He is currently the only active author on the best-selling college textbook on physics. I recall saying something to the effect of “all string theory has done is ruin a lot of careers”…
I am a bit of a space buff. I do remember Yutu. It is the Chinese rover which, after 2 years, is still roving the Moon. While it hasn’t roved much due to system problems, it holds the record for the longest operational lunar rover. This rover still can explore the area nearby and has discovered a new type of Moon rock.
Almost all of us want faster computers. While quantum computers are one way to go. Another is to use something faster than electrons. How about photons? In our universe, nothing travels faster than light. Therefore, it is the fastest possible way to transport date.
In theory, the speed of light is constant. In practice, light seems to slow down as it passes through materials, water is one such substance. How much it seems to slow is determined by the material’s refractive index. In short, the wavelength of the light is “squished” by the material. The fact that light does not actually slow down is not relevant to this topic. What matters is that the speed of the data transfer would slow.
The closer a refractive index is to zero, the faster light seems to move through the material. Now we return to the not so warm and fuzzy physics. When a refractive index of zero is reached, light moves only across space and not time. In short, the light now appears to move infinitly fast. Scientists have created such a material.
A New Mesh for Cleaning Oil Spills
Despite the push for alternative energies, we are still heavily dependent on oil. Despite being careful, we still spill oil. Oil spills are extremely expensive to clean up. Engineers at Ohio State University have developed an oil repelant mesh can filter oil-poluted water for as low as one dollar per square foot.
Medical Tech Advances – Two New Bandages
Being a former medic, I understand the importance of bandages. The right bandage at the right time can be the difference between life and death.
Many of our current civilian life-saving techniques and devices were developed either on, via necessary improvisation, or for the battlefield. This is the case for my first bandage. It isn’t actually a bandage but it is certainly a lifesaver.
Gunshot and shrapnel wounds are, in most neighborhoods, uncommon in the civilian world. Unfortunately, they are common in combat zones. These types of wounds often cause massive blood loss and if not treated immediately are fatal. If the wound is in a location where a tourniquet can not be used, it must be “plugged”. Then dressings are applied over the wound, now packed with dressing. The dressings are applied over top each other as the blood saturates the dressing below. The reason the medic applies the dressings on top of each other is to monitor the amount of blood lost. This gives the surgeons information as to how much blood was lost.
Another nifty development in bandages also surfaced in 2015. While special bandages infused with various medicines have been around for a while, this smart bandage for burns takes it to the next level. Check out the video below.
A Smart Bandage for Burns
While I dind’t completely clean out that folder, I put a good dent in the science tech items. Thanks for reading, feel free to comment and share. Finally I hope you all have an excellent 2016.
Music – Want to lay down some beats? Check out the The HTML-909 Rhythm Composer! (Kudos to Never Enough Notes for sharing it on Facebook.)
Photo – You will likely need to zoom in a bit to see it but check out this red sprite captured by NASA from the ISS.
Yours (Something from the web’s social networks) – This week I went with a tweet from @ScienceChannel, they call it the doorway to Hell which has currently been open for 40 years!
Science – Light is the fastest thing in the universe. It travels about 100 times faster than electricity and can circle the globe in 0.1 seconds. I would be wonderful if electronics could use light. Scientist have developed a CMOS chip that can process both light and electricity.
Thanks for reading and feel free to comment, share and, if you wish, hit me with a PayPal Tip
Ludicrous – While a 19 year old hacking an airline to commit 150,000 dolars of fraud may not be ludicrous, the fact that “he hack was not highly sophisticated and was a result of a loophole in the airline’s computer system"