The inspiration for Deskarati is none less than the great enlightenment Encyclopédie, a Systematic Dictionary of the Sciences, Arts and Crafts by Denis Diderot the French philosopher and author. The Encyclopédie was an innovative encyclopedia in several respects. Among other things, it was the first to include contributions from many named contributors, and it was the first general encyclopedia to lavish attention on the mechanical arts. Still, the Encyclopédie is famous above all for representing the thought of the Enlightenment. According to Diderot the Encyclopédie’s aim was:
“to change the way people think.”
The Nelson Mandela monument was constructed by South African artist Marco Cianfanelli to recognize the 50 year anniversary of Mandela’s capture by the apartheid police in 1962. 50 steel columns measuring 21.32 and 29.52 feet (6.5 and 9 meters) high, are each anchored to the concrete-covered ground. The shape and form of the sculpture are representative of the leader’s 27 years behind bars for his efforts to bring equal rights and governmental representation to the once racially divided nation. The statue of the nobel prize winner has been erected in Howick, a town located 56 miles (90 kilometers) south from the city of Durban in the countryside of the southernmost African country.
When soup is heated, it starts to boil. When time and space are heated, an expanding universe can emerge, without requiring anything like a “Big Bang”. This phase transition between a boring empty space and an expanding universe containing mass has now been mathematically described by a research team at the Vienna University of Technology, together with colleagues from Harvard, the MIT and Edinburgh. The idea behind this result is a remarkable connection between quantum field theory and Einstein’s theory of relativity.
Everybody knows of the transitions between liquid, solid and gaseous phases. But also time and space can undergo a phase transition, as the physicists Steven Hawking and Don Page pointed out in 1983. They calculated that empty space can turn into a black hole at a specific temperature.
Can a similar process create a whole expanding universe such as ours? Daniel Grumiller from the Vienna University of Technology looked into this, together with colleagues from the USA and Great Britain. Their calculations show that there is indeed a critical temperature at which an empty, flat spacetime turns into an expanding universe with mass. “The empty spacetime starts to boil, little bubbles form, one of which expands and eventually takes up all of spacetime”, explains Grumiller.
For this to be possible, the universe has to rotate – so the recipe for creating the universe is “apply heat and stir”. However, the required rotation can be arbitrarily small. In a first step, a spacetime with only two spatial dimensions was considered. “But there is no reason why the same should not be true for a universe with three spatial dimensions”, says Grumiller. More here Expanding universe can emerge in remarkably simple way
Samsung has this month unveiled the world’s very first 1TB mSATA SSD in the form of the new 840 EVO mSATA mini-Serial ATA Solid State Drive (SSD). The weight and thickness are 40 percent and a twelfth of a typical hard disk drive (HDD) respectively and the 1TB version offers 98,000 random read and 90,000 random write IOPS (Input Output Operations Per Second).
Unsoo Kim, senior vice president, memory brand product marketing, Samsung Electronics explains : “With the new mSATA SSD line-up offering up to 1TB of memory and an optimized software tool, we expect that consumers can enjoy high storage volume and performance on ultra-slim notebooks besides desktop PCs. We will continue to bring leading-edge SSD products and software solutions with improved quality and reliability, while working on offering higher consumer satisfaction and strengthening competitiveness of our branded memory business.”
The Samsung 840 EVO mSATA which was first unveiled back in July at Samsung SSD Global Summit will be available to purchase worldwide later this month, but the exact launching date can vary depending on the region. It is equipped with Samsung’s advanced 128 gigabit (GB) NAND flash memory based on 10 nanometer class process technology. To create a 1TB version SSD, for which a total of four flash memory packages are used, each package having 16 layers of 128GB chips, explains Samsung. Edited from World’s First 1TB mSATA SSD Unveiled 840 EVO mSATA.
Quantum entanglement is one of the more bizarre theories to come out of the study of quantum mechanics — so strange, in fact, that Albert Einstein famously referred to it as “spooky action at a distance.”
Essentially, entanglement involves two particles, each occupying multiple states at once — a condition referred to as superposition. For example, both particles may simultaneously spin clockwise and counterclockwise. But neither has a definite state until one is measured, causing the other particle to instantly assume a corresponding state. The resulting correlations between the particles are preserved, even if they reside on opposite ends of the universe.
But what enables particles to communicate instantaneously — and seemingly faster than the speed of light — over such vast distances? Earlier this year, physicists proposed an answer in the form of “wormholes,” or gravitational tunnels. The group showed that by creating two entangled black holes, then pulling them apart, they formed a wormhole — essentially a “shortcut” through the universe — connecting the distant black holes.
Now an MIT physicist has found that, looked at through the lens of string theory, the creation of two entangled quarks — the building blocks of matter — simultaneously gives rise to a wormhole connecting the pair. The theoretical results bolster the relatively new and exciting idea that the laws of gravity holding together the universe may not be fundamental, but arise from something else: quantum entanglement. Via physorg
Today we are starting a new category called ‘Featured Artworks’ which is pretty much what it says. We will start posting artworks (usually paintings) that we find interesting and that will brighten up our day, and hopefully yours too. Please feel free to comment and make suggestions for your favourite pieces of work. – Deskarati
Monet stayed at Étretat, a fishing village and resort on the Normandy coast in 1890′s. He painted eighteen views of the beach and the three extraordinary rock formations in the area: the ‘Porte d’Aval,’ the ‘Porte d’Amont,’ and our favourite the ‘Manneporte.’ Over the years Monet painted the Manneporte many times but for us this one stands out head and shoulders above the rest. – Deskarati
Russian photographer Alexey Kljatov uses a homemade camera rig to take these amazing close-ups of the snowflakes that fall on his balcony. A selection is below, but check out his blog for many, many more. Via io9
The mystery of one of the strangest landscape features on the planet – Mima mounds – has been solved, scientists say. These geological anomalies are circular hillocks that cover great swathes of land. But scientists have been puzzled about what causes them. Now new research suggests that tiny burrowing animals are their architects.
The findings will be presented at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco. Mima mounds, which measure up to 2m (7ft) in height and 50m (160ft) in diameter, are found all around the world. However, they are most common in North America. In some areas, they can number in their millions, stretching for many kilometres across the landscape.
Lead researcher Dr Manny Gabet, of San Jose State University, told BBC News: “The big mystery surrounding Mima mounds is that, until now, nobody really knew how they formed. ”Over the past couple of hundred years, people thought they might be Native American burial mounds, or they were caused by earthquakes or glaciers. Some people even suggested extraterrestrials.”
It takes many generations of gophers hundreds of years to make a Mima mound Now though, Dr Gabet says he is certain that gophers have created the mysterious mounds. Using a computer program, the researchers analysed how the rodents move soil as they burrow. They found that in areas prone to waterlogging, the gophers gradually shift tiny amounts of earth upwards to try to stay dry. Over hundreds of years, though, as many generations of gophers repeat this process, these minute piles of soil grow into the large structures.
Dr Gabet said: “I developed ‘digital gophers’ and had them behave like they do in real life, and to my surprise Mima mounds just started to form in this virtual landscape. ”The [computer] model results look so similar to the mounds in every way – not just the dimensions, but also the way they are packed and how many you get per area.” Via ‘Digital gophers’ solve Mima mound mystery.
“Goodbye Sticky. Hello Ara.” That was the blog title back in October on the Motorola Mobility site that grabbed phone watchers’ attention and inspired one common question: How soon can you do this? Ara is the name of Motorola’s Project that is working on a free, open hardware platform for creating highly modular smartphones. “We want to do for hardware what the Android platform has done for software: create a vibrant third-party developer ecosystem, lower the barriers to entry, increase the pace of innovation, and substantially compress development timelines,” said Paul Eremenko, and the Ara team.
On December 6, Motorola Mobility CEO Dennis Woodside brought the vision into further perspective in an interview streamed live with “YouTuber” and tech reviewer Marques Brownlee. Motorola’s vision is fundamentally one of a smartphone user having a skeleton that holds together a set of components and those components slide in and out. (“The endo [endoskeleton] is the structural frame that holds all the modules in place. A module can be anything, from a new application processor to a new display or keyboard, an extra battery, a pulse oximeter—or something not yet thought of,” according to the Ara team.) Continue reading
Humans have been deceiving themselves for thousands of years that they’re smarter than the rest of the animal kingdom, despite growing evidence to the contrary, according to University of Adelaide experts in evolutionary biology.
“For millennia, all kinds of authorities – from religion to eminent scholars – have been repeating the same idea ad nauseam, that humans are exceptional by virtue that they are the smartest in the animal kingdom,” says Dr Arthur Saniotis, Visiting Research Fellow with the University’s School of Medical Sciences. ”However, science tells us that animals can have cognitive faculties that are superior to human beings.”
He says the belief that humans have superior intelligence harks back to the Agricultural Revolution some 10,000 years ago when people began producing cereals and domesticating animals. This gained momentum with the development of organised religion, which viewed human beings as the top species in creation.
“The belief of human cognitive superiority became entrenched in human philosophy and sciences. Even Aristotle, probably the most influential of all thinkers, argued that humans were superior to other animals due to our exclusive ability to reason,” Dr Saniotis says. Continue reading
Don’t worry despite the cold storms on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean this week, this isn’t a hurricane brewing over Antarctica. This spiraling cloud formation is known as a lenticular cloud and forms when a wave of air crashes over a topographic barrier — in this case Mount Discovery, a volcano about 70 kilometers (44 miles) southwest of McMurdo station and east of Scott Base. As the air ascends, it forms atmospheric ripples, called gravity waves, which are the same type of waves you see when you drop a stone in a still pool of water.
The jutting slabs of ice in the foreground are a pressure ridge along the edge of the McMurdo ice shelf and the mountainous rift system that splits east Antarctica from west Antarctica. The image was captured by Antarctic glacier scientist Michael Studinger during this year’s IceBridge Mission, which just finished its first survey of Antarctica’s glaciers using McMurdo Station as their base. Previous missions have flown from Punta Arenas, Chile. Via Ice Mission Captures Amazing Antarctic Sky Photo
George Boole ( 2 November 1815 – 8 December 1864) was an English mathematician, philosopher and logician. He worked in the fields of differential equations and algebraic logic, and is now best known as the author of The Laws of Thought. As the inventor of the prototype of what is now called Boolean logic, which became the basis of the modern digital computer, Boole is regarded in hindsight as a founder of the field of computer science. Boole said,
… no general method for the solution of questions in the theory of probabilities can be established which does not explicitly recognise … those universal laws of thought which are the basis of all reasoning …
George Boole’s father, John Boole (1779–1848), was a tradesman in Lincoln and gave him lessons. He had an elementary school education, but little further formal and academic teaching. William Brooke, a bookseller in Lincoln, may have helped him with Latin; which he may also have learned at the school of Thomas Bainbridge. He was self-taught in modern languages. At age 16 Boole became the breadwinner for his parents and three younger siblings, taking up a junior teaching position in Doncaster, at Heigham’s School. He taught briefly in Liverpool. Continue reading
Eugene Merle Shoemaker was an American geologist and one of the founders of the field of planetary science. He is best known for co-discovering the Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9 with his wife Carolyn Shoemaker and David Levy.
Shoemaker spent much of his later years searching for and finding several previously unnoticed or undiscovered impact craters around the world. Shoemaker died on July 18, 1997 during one such expedition following a head on car accident while on the Tanami Road northwest of Alice Springs, Australia. His vehicle and another were thought to be using the center, relatively smooth part of a heavily rutted, unimproved road.
On seeing Shoemaker approaching, the driver of the other vehicle pulled hard to his left, and had Shoemaker done the same, the vehicles likely would have passed each other. But Shoemaker, as an American accustomed to driving on the right side of the road, instinctively pulled hard to his right and so directly into the path of the other vehicle. A head-on collision in which Shoemaker’s vehicle was traveling at 80km/hr and the approaching vehicle at 50 km/hr ensued in which Shoemaker was killed instantly and his wife severely injured.
On July 31, 1999, his ashes were carried to the Moon by the Lunar Prospector space probe in a capsule designed by Carolyn Porco. To date, he is the only person whose ashes have been buried on the Moon.
Though we often say that the Moon orbits our Earth, it is more accurate to say that both actually orbit their common center of mass—a point known as the “Earth-Moon barycenter.”
Rome was neither built in a day, nor was it always built over the best places. Humans have been living in the city of Rome for thousands of years and have a habit of building over former structures, such as the tunnel you’re looking at. When the city was expanding during imperial times, substantial portions built from volcanic rock mined just south of the city. This volcanic rock is what we’d call “pyroclastic material”. It was erupted out of volcanoes as ash and formed into rock on the surface. This type of rock has a lot of space in it (called porosity), making it lightweight and easier to carve than other stones that could be used for building, but also strong when used as building stone. The Romans quarried large amounts of this rock to build their cities, leaving a series of long tunnels on the southern side of the city.
Today, these tunnels sit beneath the city, beneath the streets and walkways. They’ve sat there for 2000 years in some cases, but the weight of modern civilization is becoming too much. In 2011 there were 44 collapses into tunnels like this; so far in 2013 there have been 83. Geoscientists are working on the problem. Using 3D-scanning lasers (now that just sounds awesome on its own), scientists led by a team from George Mason University in the U.S. are mapping out the tunnels and trying to locate areas that are prone to collapse, considering the rock types, thickness, and how erosion has weakened the rocks over time. Via Earthstory
Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb has just published a paper about how life might have flourished when our 13.8-billion-year-old universe was a mere 15 million years old. Back then, the whole universe was warmer — which means liquid water could exist even on planets that were distant from their stars.
Writes Loeb in the abstract for the paper:
In the redshift range 100<(1+z)<110, the cosmic microwave background (CMB) had a temperature of 273-300K (0-30 degrees Celsius), allowing early rocky planets (if any existed) to have liquid water chemistry on their surface and be habitable, irrespective of their distance from a star. In the standard LCDM cosmology, the first star-forming halos within our Hubble volume started collapsing at these redshifts, allowing the chemistry of life to possibly begin when the Universe was merely 15 million years old. The possibility of life starting when the average matter density was a million times bigger than it is today argues against the anthropic explanation for the low value of the cosmological constant.
Though we often think of the early universe as inhospitable, Loeb notes that if rocky planets existed, it would have been a great time to live on them. No matter where they were in the universe, they would have been bathed in constant warmth, with no need to depend on a star for energy. And the warmth would have made surface water a liquid, too, which would help life as we know it to develop.
Of course there is that little matter of matter density being “a million times bigger than it is today.” Hard to say whether that would be a problem or not for the development of life. It certainly would have made our view of the heavens a lot different, and brighter.
The sad part about contemplating Loeb’s idea is that it makes you wonder whether the universe was teeming with life back then, and we’re merely the sad outliers who happened to evolve in the post-life era. All our potential friends in the universe might have lived (and eventually died out) billions of years ago. Via Was the early universe a better environment for life to evolve?.
High-temperature superconductors exhibit a frustratingly varied catalog of odd behavior, such as electrons that arrange themselves into stripes or refuse to arrange themselves symmetrically around atoms. Now two physicists propose that such behaviors – and superconductivity itself – can all be traced to a single starting point, and they explain why there are so many variations.
This theory might be a step toward new, higher-temperature superconductors that would revolutionize electrical engineering with more efficient motors and generators and lossless power transmission.
J.C. Séamus Davis, the James Gilbert White Distinguished Professor in the Physical Sciences at Cornell and director of the Center for Emergent Superconductivity at Brookhaven National Laboratory, and Dung-Hai Lee, professor of physics at the University of California-Berkeley and faculty scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, describe their theory in the Oct. 7 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The oddities, known as intertwined ordered phases, seem to interfere with superconductivity. “We now have a simple way to understand how they are created and hopefully this understanding will help us to know how to get rid of them,” said Lee. Continue reading
History Channel – Mankind – The Story of All of Us – Episode 5/12 - Plague
DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid. While DNA is an acid, it’s a very weak one – think – vinegar, or the citric acid in lemons rather than a dangerous acid like sulphuric acid.
What about the word “nucleic”? That has nothing to do with nuclear energy – it refers to the nucleus or centre of the living cell. The nucleus is the compartment where, in animals, plants and fungi, the DNA is stored. (In bacteria the DNA just floats around in the cell.)
The third part of the name – “deoxyribo” – also has a chemical sound to it but this just refers to ribose, which is a sugar a bit like glucose but with fewer carbons. The “deoxy” part means the ribose is missing one oxygen atom. This makes DNA a very stable, non-reactive molecule and ideal for the long term storage of genetic information.
Scientists have discovered the oldest known genetic material ever to be recovered from an early human. Matthias Meyer and colleagues extracted mitochondrial DNA from the femur of a 400,000-year-old human ancestor in a cave known as the Pit of Bones in the Sierra de Atapuerca in northern Spain. Professor Chris Stringer from the Natural History Museum in London describes the significance of the discovery.