You can get out of your bunkers now: I hear that the first test run at the LHC was a smashing success. The actual smashing happens later this year, so you may want to keep an eye on any black holes originating from Europe. If you’re into big explosions and that (I’m looking at you Dr. Horrible), maybe you should consider a career in Quantum Physics.
This leaves me wondering about the current (and future) state of science in the US: the LHC was built and mostly funded by European countries. The lab has attracted over 1000 US scientists, who according to previous linked Globe and Mail article, ‘feel strongly that the United States is no longer a place to practise massive-scale experiments’. You may wonder if this has to do with the last 8 years of the Bush administration, where science didn’t seem to be of importance. That is, unless you count the president’s vision for ‘the moon and Mars’ as a scientific milestone.
Via Digg, I think, a NASA/MSNBC/Microsoft collaboration to show off the PhotoSynth technology: Space World. I don’t think I ever mentioned it here before: PhotoSynth is an application that can create interactive/3d-like environments from a set of photos. The technology behind is amazing (and promising) but the actual demonstration here is a sort of boring. I was surprised to find out that Microsoft’s engineers been working on a specific Firefox plugin. It works good too.
New Scientist reports that black holes could be worm holes to other dimensions. The article quotes a couple of European physicists who studied some worm holes and were surprised to discover that it’s hard to tell the difference between either worm/black holes. Coming soon: volunteers who’d like to make that daring plunge, or, love to have that extra gravity pull.
I intentionally ignored mentioning anything about bridges and that, particularly after seeing those horrendous images of the collapse of that I-35 bridge (MetaFilter thread, Slashdot follow-up thread on the science of bridge collapsing). Using soundwaves to track down wear and tear in metal and concrete is old news. What do I think caused the collapse? As usual as always: probably the high traffic and a combination of construction work and heat. Not too many old bridges were made for supporting current day’s traffic. Maybe it’s time that governments check out bridges that are older than 20 to 30 years.
I read that astronomers have
read detected light from the earliest stars in the galaxy. To be exact: Light that shone 13 Billion years ago. The astronomers used a technique called ‘gravitational lensing’ (using gravity of nearby objects to magnify the light from distant objects) to zoom in on 6 galaxies.
The BBC article has some amazing photos of those galaxies. However, the picture above shows and tells the complex story of galaxies that are far away: in a historical sense, or say, past tense. I find this fascinating and I’m not sure why I do. Earlier, I mentioned Eta Carinae: the 7,500 light year away star is about to ‘super nova anytime’ in the past (Or as the Register so appropriately says ‘New Pics of an Old explosion’1).
I happened to run into a meeting with the flu, last Monday, and I’m gradually recovering. I’ve not been sick since I’ve lived here: a feat I thought was so unique that it could have earned me a place in the Guinness World Record book.
That said, I’m almost certain that the cold spell (-10 to -16 degrees temperatures) had something to do with it too. So, tomorrow it finally looks like we’re back to subzero degrees, with the additional touch of rain. Gone will be the couple of centimeters, to reveal that bunch of left-over leafs from last Fall.
Tomorrow, or rather Sunday morning, we’ll be moving into Daylight Savings Time, thanks to the brilliant decision made by US senators. I’d like to see statistics or data on the purported energy savings for those extra 4 or 6 weeks.
For no reason I was earlier up than normal, today: with the extra time I had I looked into several compiler-compilers (or parsers/scanners) targetting C#. I ran into a couple of ones: First of all there’s ANTLER (Public Domain, needs runtime). Secondly, there’s GOLD (written in VB, Freeware, needs runtime), which can output to multiple programming languages, including C#, ADA and Java. And there’s COCO/R (other link), a system I’m actually familiar with, if I just can find those earlier experiments.
The hunt for the Higgs Boson is almost on: Today, a milestone was reached in the construction of the LHC, as the BBC reports (reporter’s impression). Cern has a report too.
Two flybys made it in the news: First ESA’s Rosetta made it past Mars (News in chronological order: 1, 2, 3) and shot some pretty images. And then, just today, NASA’s ‘New Horizon’s’ probe flew by Jupiter and sent back imagery from Jupiter and some of its moons (news at NASA, fly by trajectory).