Archive | News

Scientists capture first ever image of light acting as a particle and a wave


Ryan Whitwam via ExtremeTech:

Despite being a well-established tenet of modern physics, the particle-wave duality of light can be a real mind-bender. This approach to understanding the universe was pioneered by scientists like Albert Einstein and Max Planck, eventually leading to quantum mechanics. Researchers have been trying to visualize light in both forms ever since, but haven’t had success until now. A team at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) claim they’ve devised an experiment to photograph light as both a particle and wave.

Einstein’s eureka moment in the study of light came when he described the photoelectric effect. When UV light hits a metal surface, it results in an emission of electrons. Einstein explained this phenomenon by proposing that light can act as a particle in addition to a wave. We now know these particles as photons, but that term wasn’t coined until later. Subsequent experiments have confirmed the dual property of light, but actually seeing both at once would be something.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

“A Death” By Stephen King

wazimu0 (CC BY 2.0)

wazimu0 (CC BY 2.0)

Stephen King’s short story, “A Death” (originally titled “The Man in the Black Suit”) is released in this month’s edition of the The New Yorker:

Jim Trusdale had a shack on the west side of his father’s gone-to-seed ranch, and that was where he was when Sheriff Barclay and half a dozen deputized townsmen found him, sitting in the one chair by the cold stove, wearing a dirty barn coat and reading an old issue of the Black Hills Pioneer by lantern light. Looking at it, anyway.

Sheriff Barclay stood in the doorway, almost filling it up. He was holding his own lantern. “Come out of there, Jim, and do it with your hands up. I ain’t drawn my pistol and don’t want to.”

Trusdale came out. He still had the newspaper in one of his raised hands. He stood there looking at the sheriff with his flat gray eyes.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

What Scares The New Atheists

“The vocal fervour of today’s missionary atheism conceals a panic that religion is not only refusing to decline – but in fact flourishing,” writes John Gray in a very #longread at the Guardian:

In 1929, the Thinker’s Library, a series established by the Rationalist Press Association to advance secular thinking and counter the influence of religion in Britain, published an English translation of the German biologist Ernst Haeckel’s 1899 book The Riddle of the Universe. Celebrated as “the German Darwin”, Haeckel was one of the most influential public intellectuals of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century; The Riddle of the Universe sold half a million copies in Germany alone, and was translated into dozens of other languages. Hostile to Jewish and Christian traditions, Haeckel devised his own “religion of science” called Monism, which incorporated an anthropology that divided the human species into a hierarchy of racial groups. Though he died in 1919, before the Nazi Party had been founded, his ideas, and widespread influence in Germany, unquestionably helped to create an intellectual climate in which policies of racial slavery and genocide were able to claim a basis in science.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Neil Gaiman Salutes Douglas Adams

Neil Gaiman pays tribute to Douglas Adams, immortal to many through his creation of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, at the annual Douglas Adams Memorial lecture:

“I haven’t known many geniuses in my life. Some brilliantly smart people, but only a tiny handful would I class as geniuses. I would class Douglas, because he saw things differently, and he was capable of communicating the way he saw things, and once he explained things the way he saw them, it was almost impossible to see them the way you used to see them.”

Read the rest

Continue Reading

The Four Stages of Being a Dive Bar Regular

Alper Çuğun (CC BY 2.0)

Alper Çuğun (CC BY 2.0)

I am what is commonly known as a binge drinker. I don’t ever drink at home, but I like to go out. When I go out I like to drink a ton. When I hit the town, I, like all of the other true partiers in the world, want a place to go where I know the vibe and know I am going to get my mind crushing buzz on with the least possible hassle, combined with the most possible fun.

It should also be cheap. For a boozebag, checking your wallet the next day can be a terrifying experience.

Which is why I always have a regular bar that I frequent. The last thing you want to do if you really want to get hammered is wander around aimlessly looking for a good place to drink.

I have been a regular at different bars numerous times throughout my life.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

NSA Building Damaged by Gunfire

769px-National_Security_Agency_headquarters,_Fort_Meade,_Maryland

Headquarters of the NSA at Fort Meade, Maryland.

Yesterday, shots were fired at the NSA headquarters and into traffic on the Intercounty Connector (ICC) in Fort Meade, MD. No one was seriously injured, but the ICC was shut down pending investigation.

As of this morning, the FBI’s Baltimore office has issued a statement stating that a man potentially related to the shootings is in custody.

According to Amy Thoreson, the FBI’s spokeswoman, “We believe the subject responsible for shooting incidents on the ICC, near Fort Meade Army installation and other locations around the Baltimore-Washington metro area in the last two weeks is in custody.”

(Maryland Department of Transportation)

(Maryland Department of Transportation)

The two incidents happened hours apart. The first shooting happened the ICC around 2:40pm, “when the window of a truck traveling east on the ICC near Interstate 95 in Prince George’s County was struck by gunfire, authorities said.” About two hours later, shots were fired at a NSA building in Anne Arundel County.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Matt Bowden: The Drug Lord With a Social Mission

Matt Bowden (sometimes known as Starboy, an “interdimensional traveler”) helped create one of the most viral outbreaks of new drugs in history. He might also have the antidote, according to Pacific Standard:

One fateful night in the year 2000—long before the world would begin paying serious attention to his ideas—Matt Bowden met Kristi Kennedy in an Auckland, New Zealand, strip club. He was a 29-year- old raver and sometime rock musician who wore big leather boots and stovepipe pants. She was a Penthouse Pet who was wearing nothing. For both of them, it was love at first sight.

Matt Bowden's Twitter icon (@MattBowdenNZ)

Matt Bowden’s Twitter icon (@MattBowdenNZ)

“It was one of those moments where time just stopped,” Kristi recalls. “I was dancing up on stage. This light shined down upon this man as he was walking into the room. He was looking at me with this big Cheshire grin and this bright green shirt and this blond ruffled hair.” Bowden was similarly smitten, and the two quickly became a couple.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

From Our Prison to Your Dinner Table

Via Graeme Wood at Pacific Standard:

One of my daughter’s favorite stuffed animals is a chocolate-colored, beady-eyed buffalo that was stitched—lovingly, I like to think—by the hands of a convicted felon. The buffalo was born in Cañon City, Colorado, on the grounds of a large rural complex of six state prisons with a total of 4,000 inmates. Some of those inmates manufacture cute toys. Others tend real buffalo on feedlots and dairies outside in the mountain air. The goal, said Steve Smith, the prison-labor program’s mustachioed director until his retirement in December, is to convert the prisoners through labor into productive citizens. “This is a therapeutic community,” he said. “We’re trying to make them into taxpayers instead of tax burdens.” He channeled the Book of Isaiah, or possibly Ozzy Osbourne: “No rest for the wicked.”

The most familiar prison work programs involve stamping license plates or breaking rocks as part of a chain gang.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Noam Chomsky: Edward Snowden a True Patriot Who Should be Honored

Noam Chomsky speaking in February 2014.  (Photo: Nuclear Age Peace Foundation/flickr/cc)

Noam Chomsky speaking in February 2014. (Photo: Nuclear Age Peace Foundation/flickr/cc)

Andrea Germanos via Common Dreams:

Noam Chomsky said that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is a true patriot who revealed vast surveillance programs that have nothing to do with combating terrorism.

The noted intellectual made the comment in an extended interview with Democracy Now!‘s Amy Goodman which aired Tuesday.

Chomsky said Snowden should be welcomed back to the country from Russia, where he has received asylum, with honors because he “carried out the obligations of a citizen.”

Snowden “informed American citizens of what their government is doing to them. That’s exactly what a person who has real patriotism, not the flag-waving type, but real patriotism, would do. So he should be honored, not just allowed back,” Chomsky said.

“It’s the people in the government who should be on trial, not him,” he continued.

Chomsky added that neither the surveillance system Snowden exposed nor the drone program—despite claims by officials—have combating terrorism as their goals.

Read the rest
Continue Reading