Physics






The future has yet to be determined, but what about the past? This recent Huffington Post piece discusses the possibility that what you do in the present shapes both future and past…



Stephen Hawking says the Big Bang was the result of the inevitable laws of physics and did not need God to spark the creation of the Universe — reported in the Telegraph:

The scientist has claimed that no divine force was needed to explain why the Universe was formed.

In his latest book, The Grand Design, an extract of which is published in Eureka magazine in The Times, Hawking said: “Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist.”

He added: “It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the Universe going.”…




Via Technoccult: Klint Finley: What, as a “social physicist,” do you actually do? Kyle Findlay: Well, at the moment I’m on my own in this “field,” if you can call it that….


Fascinating developments from the Large Hadron Collider, as the BBC reports that the so-called “God particle” has been simulated as sound: Scientists have simulated the sounds set to be made by sub-atomic…



Galaxy M82Stephen Battersby writes on New Scientist:

There is something strange in the cosmic neighbourhood. An unknown object in the nearby galaxy M82 has started sending out radio waves, and the emission does not look like anything seen anywhere in the universe before.

“We don’t know what it is,” says co-discoverer Tom Muxlow of Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics near Macclesfield, UK.

The thing appeared in May last year, while Muxlow and his colleagues were monitoring an unrelated stellar explosion in M82 using the MERLIN network of radio telescopes in the UK. A bright spot of radio emission emerged over only a few days, quite rapidly in astronomical terms. Since then it has done very little except baffle astrophysicists.

It certainly does not fit the pattern of radio emissions from supernovae: they usually get brighter…




Now this is entertainment. But here’s the real life physics behind it (click here). Stephen Tauban writes on his blog:

Last year, I discovered the wonderfully cheezy and sharky movie: Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus. While it certainly appealed to a more straight-to-DVD niche market of creature-feature enthusiasts, it wasn’t half bad. Pretty laughable in parts … well actually, in most parts when you consider the wooden acting and crap computer animation. However the most ridiculous scene has to be when Mega Shark takes down a commercial jetliner that is cruising over the middle of the ocean. It was this moment that took the movie from being a little ho-hum to “holy shit, did that shark just eat a plane!?” Check out the clip:

It’s pretty incredible when you think about it. I mean, how the hell did it do that? What would it require for a shark the size of a plane to launch itself out of the water and take down a moving aircraft? After reviewing some of my basic physics calculations I came up with some pretty startling figures. However, it didn’t feel like I would be doing such an epic event justice with just a basic blog post, which meant it was time to do what I love most: an infographic! I had been itching to do one for a while now, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. So with all that said, check out the resulting design below. Oh, and just click on the image to download the full size PDF version for the smaller details.

Megashark




From the January 31, 2010 show of Coast to Coast AM:
TimeControl

Joining Art Bell for the entire 4-hour program, physicist Dr. David Anderson discussed the state of time technology from his research, as well as other labs around the world. He recapped his work from 2002, when he last appeared with Art on the show. At that juncture, his team had created small time warp fields that he said could accelerate time by 300% within the field, as well as reversing time. He described the initiation of a time warp field as quite spectacular to witness, “between the combinations of different chemical reagents and high energy lasers we use to excite or initiate a time warp field…a lot of light, a lot of energy.”

Since 2002, the effects have increased by “two orders of magnitudes,” both in time acceleration and retardation rates, and living organisms have been successfully tested in the warp fields, he detailed. By regenerating “closed timelike curves” (bending spacetime so time loops back on itself) we’re finding it “just as easy to move backwards in time as well as forward,” Anderson explained.


Hazel Muir writes on New Scientist:

A new interactive program reveals the spectacular light show you’d see if you dared to wander close to a black hole. It demonstrates how the extreme gravity of a black hole could appear to shred background constellations of stars, spinning them around as though in a giant black washing machine.

The program’s creators say it could be an excellent tool to familiarise people with the weird ways that black holes warp light. “It’s useful for people to play around with the parameters to study how, for instance, a black hole would distort the constellation Orion,” says Thomas Müller of the University of Stuttgart in Germany.


With a massive blizzard going on in the Northeastern U.S., water (albeit in a frozen form) is on everyone’s mind in this part of the world. Very interesting article, whether you are snowed in or not. Edwin Cartlidge writes in New Scientist:
Ice

We are confronted by many mysteries, from the nature of dark matter and the origin of the universe to the quest for a theory of everything. These are all puzzles on the grand scale, but you can observe another enduring mystery of the physical world — equally perplexing, if not quite so grand — from the comfort of your kitchen. Simply fill a tall glass with chilled water, throw in an ice cube and leave it to stand.

The fact that the ice cube floats is the first oddity. And the mystery deepens if you take a thermometer and measure the temperature of the water at various depths. At the top, near the ice cube, you’ll find it to be around 0 °C, but at the bottom it should be about 4 °C. That’s because water is denser at 4°C than it is at any other temperature — another strange trait that sets it apart from other liquids.


Dan Koeppel writes in Popular Mechanics: You’re six miles up, alone and falling without a parachute. Though the odds are long, a small number of people have found themselves in similar situations…


RealLightsabersGraeme McMillan writes on io9.com:

An upcoming television show explains why real life lightsabers are a physical impossibility, before building the next best thing. It’s like Mythbusters but, surprisingly, made with even more awesome.

According to Variety, the show, Sci-Fi Science: Physics of the Impossible, will feature Dr. Michio Kaku looking at the reality behind Star Wars’ favored weapon of choice. After explaining that light can’t be formed into a solid blade, Jedi-style, he then goes to work looking for alternatives, including plasma swords and carbon nano-tubes, with the help of experts in the field. As you can see from the pic, he apparently succeeds. My mind is almost so blown that I forgot to say that I really, really want to see lightsaber battles as part of the Olympics now.