Gravity Waves from Big Bang Detected!


Big news in Cosmology today of a landmark discovery.

From Scientific American:

“Physicists have found a long-predicted twist in light from the Big Bang that represents the first image of ripples in the universe called gravitational waves, researchers announced today. The finding is direct proof of the theory of inflation, the idea that the universe expanded extremely quickly in the first fraction of a second after it was born. What’s more, the signal is coming through much more strongly than expected, ruling out a large class of inflation models and potentially pointing the way toward new theories of physics, experts say. “

In layman terms, this is robust evidence of an “echo” from the big bang which brought the Universe into existence 14bn years ago, and  it allows scientists to witness how the Universe came into existence. In other words, it is the very encouraging physical evidence for the theory of inflation. Think of it as ripples spreading outwards in water or waves crossing an ocean. These primordial gravitational waves will tell us about the first, infinitesimal moment of the universe’s history and its obvious expansion. Of course, these waves are not exclusive to the Big Bang, but are ripples in the curvature of spacetime which exist throughout space emanating from different sources (e.g. black holes, cosmic explosions).

The Guardian explains all these terms well here.

Needless to say this is fascinating stuff that promises to expand our understanding and reverence of the cosmos in brand new ways. Old questions will be answered, and new ones will be born. Old technologies will be improved, and new ones will be dreamt of. Einstein predicted all this way back in 1916 in his Theory of General Relativity and remained its sole untested prediction. It took scientists only 98 years to prove it. What a bunch of slackers!

Here is the beautiful moment Andrei Linde, one of the authors of inflationary theory and who in 1983 first described chaotic inflation, is told that his theory was correct 🙂


Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/inflation-theorist-andrei-linde-hears-bicep2-news-2014-3#ixzz2wFNkYl1A

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How Big is Space? Take a Look for Yourself


Since the world is still reeling from the return of Cosmos hosted by the ineffable Neil DeGrasse Tyson, I figured it would be a good idea to a space related post (mainly because I’m shameless want more hits). If you haven’t seen Cosmos, then go watch it…after you finish reading and telling your friends about my post.

The almost always awesome BBC has put together a fantastic  interactive that allows you pilot a tiny rocket to the edge of our Solar System. That’s over 20 BILLION KM away! That would take you 20 hours to complete if you were on the Starship Enterprise travelling at Warp 1.

Suit up and buckle in for your journey here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbc.com/future/bespoke/20140304-how-big-is-space-interactive/index.html

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This is what Earth looks like from Mars


This view of the twilight sky and Martian horizon taken by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover includes Earth as the brightest point of light in the night sky. Earth is a little left of center in the image, and our moon is just below Earth.

Can you see it? Not yet? Well lean in a little bit closer and look at the white dot. No, that’s not a dead pixel. That Infinitesimal point in the Martian sky is the planet we call home.

The humbling photo comes courtesy of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratories and was snapped by our envoy the Mars Curiosity rover.

NASA says:

Researchers used the left eye camera of Curiosity’s Mast Camera (Mastcam) to capture this scene about 80 minutes after sunset on the 529th Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s work on Mars (Jan. 31, 2014). The image has been processed to remove effects of cosmic rays.

The distance between the two cosmic neighbors was a mere 99 million miles (160 million km). I have to admit that it’s an incredibly beautiful photo. Here is a larger image.

Someone, anthropomorphically speaking, is sitting on another planet looking back at us and communicating with us. That’s a mindblowing thought. Before too long, I expect that it will actually be humans transcending stellar and physiological boundaries to send messages back to Earth from another planet.

The final frontier, indeed.

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Imagine An Africa WIthout Lions


I can guarantee that this is the by far the most amazing footage of Lions and Hyenas you will ever see (watch it in HD!!!). The only thing that could probably beat it would be viewing one up close in person, hopefully not right before it bites your head off.

Kevin Richardson is known as “The Lion Whisperer”. I can’t imagine what he’s whispering to them, but the bond between them is unlike anything I have ever witnessed. Still, he does what he does for an important cause.

Lions are a vulnerable species and their numbers are dwindling. Some estimates state that they won’t even be around in 20 years. As usual the cause is humans. We have infiltrated their habitats, hunted them and their prey and damaged the fragile ecosystem they reside in.

The lion is an iconic and beautiful animal across many cultures. It is in our best interest to act proactively to raise awareness about their plight. Sure we give them nature reserves to protect them and preserve their numbers, but somehow I fear that this will not be enough. If things remain unchanged and our irresponsible actions go unchallenged, then future generations will never know the majesty of such a powerful and awesome creature. 

Did anyone else find those guys in the cage hilarious while Kevin makes it looks so easy?

If you feel like donating then go here: http://protectingafricanlions.org/

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An Appetite for Wonder


-Thanks to the RDFRS for the link 

“By all means let’s be openminded, but not so openminded that our brains drop out.” Richard Dawkins

Here is a beautiful video compilation of all that this wondrous planet has to offer. It also includes a voiceover by evolutionary biologist, writer, and  atheist firebrand Richard Dawkins.

I can find nothing more inspirational and uplifting to start the new year off. It’s like the perfect Happy New Year card 🙂

Let’s throw away our supernatural delusions and start concentrating on the natural wonder that surrounds you everyday.

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Who Owns The Moon?


Eddie Izzard might have you believe that it all comes down to a cunning use of flags. In  truth, the USA only owns the junk they left up there. The Moon falls under the protection of international law as the common heritage of mankind”. In other words:

Outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means’.

It is an equitable agreement. The good news is that if you have the money, power and connections, then are pretty much free to start homesteading the Moon for your own benefit.  Private organizations can also lay claim to the Moon, more likely if they have revenues that can dwarf GDPs. What if in their hubris they end up mining the Moon and awaken an army of space Nazis!?!?!?! It’s not a far fetched thought. Check this out.

In any case, the complexity and logistics involved will drive you slightly bonkers. For now, take Vsauce’s word and don’t start buying orbits and lunar parking spaces. Watch the video to learn all about international space treaties, defending the Moon and getting away with extra-terrestrial murder. Don’t be discouraged if all of this seems like an impossible fantasy. There is nothing keeping you from picking your nose clean for that precious Moon dust 😉

Don’t forget to check out & subscribe to the Vsauce channel for more cool & informative videos here.

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