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Nov 2, 2015

Is The Alcubierre Warp Drive Possible? | Space Time | PBS Digital Studios

Posted by in categories: physics, space travel

Is mankind capable of achieving warp speed?

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Nov 2, 2015

Dumb Holes Leak

Posted by in categories: cosmology, particle physics, quantum physics

In August I went to Stephen Hawking’s public lecture in the fully packed Stockholm Opera. Hawking was wheeled onto the stage, placed in the spotlight, and delivered an entertaining presentation about black holes. The silence of the audience was interrupted only by laughter to Hawking’s well-placed jokes. It was a flawless performance with standing ovations.

In his lecture, Hawking expressed hope that he will win the Nobelprize for the discovery that black holes emit radiation. Now called “Hawking radiation,” this effect should have been detected at the LHC had black holes been produced there. But time has come, I think, for Hawking to update his slides. The ship to the promised land of micro black holes has long left the harbor, and it sunk – the LHC hasn’t seen black holes, has not, in fact, seen anything besides the Higgs.

But you don’t need black holes to see Hawking radiation. The radiation is a consequence of applying quantum field theory in a space- and time-dependent background, and you can use some other background to see the same effect. This can be done, for example, by measuring the propagation of quantum excitations in Bose-Einstein condensates. These condensates are clouds of about a billion or so ultra-cold atoms that form a fluid with basically zero viscosity. It’s as clean a system as it gets to see this effect. Handling and measuring the condensate is a big experimental challenge, but what wouldn’t you do to create a black hole in the lab?

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Nov 1, 2015

‘Alien Megastructure’ Mystery May Soon Be Solved

Posted by in category: alien life

The mystery behind a strangely dimming star could soon be solved.

Astronomers around the world are keeping a close eye on the star KIC 8462852, which has dimmed dramatically numerous times over the past few years, dropping in brightness by up to 22 percent. These big dips have spurred speculation that the star may be surrounded by some type of alien megastructure — a hypothesis that will be put to the test if and when KIC 8462852 dims again.

“As long as one of those events occurs again, we should be able to catch it in the act, and then we’ll definitely be able to figure out what we’re seeing,” said Jason Wright, an astronomer at Pennsylvania State University. [13 Ways to Hunt Intelligent Alien Life]

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Nov 1, 2015

We’re on the cusp of a revolution that will change the world as much as computers did

Posted by in category: computing

People don’t understand how big of a deal this is.

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Nov 1, 2015

Post-Human

Posted by in categories: computing, entertainment, nanotechnology, robotics/AI

Post-Human is a scifi proof-of-concept short based on the bestselling series of novels by me, David Simpson. Amazingly, filmed over just three hours by a crew of three, the short depicts the opening of Post-Human, drawing back the curtain on the Post-Human world and letting viewers see the world and characters they’ve only been able to imagine previously. You’ll get a taste of a world where everyone is immortal, have onboard mental “mind’s eye” computers, nanotechnology can make your every dream a reality, and thanks to the magnetic targeted fusion implants every post-human has, everyone can fly (and yep, there’s flying in this short!) But there’s a dark side to this brave new world, including the fact that every post-human is monitored from the inside out, and the one artificial superintelligence running the show might be about to make its first big mistake. wink

The entire crew was only three people, including me, and I was behind the camera at all times. The talent is Madison Smith as James Keats, and Bridget Graham as his wife, Katherine. As a result of the expense of the spectacular location, the entire short had to be filmed in three hours, so we had to be lean and fast. What a rush! (Pun intended).

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Nov 1, 2015

Engineer invent a way without using the signals

Posted by in category: futurism

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Nov 1, 2015

Why doesn’t the ISS have a centrifugal gravity module?

Posted by in category: space

There are some very inexpensive ways of testing human effects of spinning motions and artificial gravity in space. We could probably do our first tethre based experiments, and our first short arm centrifuge experiments in space as well, within a year or two of deciding that this is a priority project.

But as for building such a module — it would be expensive to do the module — depending how it works. But not impossibly so. They actually had an idea to do this, the Nautilus X ISS demo, costed as between $83 million and $143 million at the time (2011) and requiring three years to develop, so if they had started then, it would be in space by now:

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Nov 1, 2015

Interesting Futurism Photo

Posted by in category: futurism

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Nov 1, 2015

Developing the robot of the future

Posted by in categories: futurism, robotics/AI

UC San Diego is establishing a robotics institute aimed at developing machines that can interpret such things as facial expressions and walking styles and size up people’s thoughts, actions and feelings.

The See-Think-Do technology is largely meant to anticipate and fulfill people’s everyday needs, especially for the growing number of older Americans who want to remain in their own homes instead of moving into an assisted-living facility or nursing home.

Engineers also envision creating robots so good at sizing up people, places and situations that they could help evacuate crowds from dangerous areas and pick through the rubble of an earthquake in search of survivors.

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Nov 1, 2015

Microbiomes could hold keys to improving life

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, sustainability

Forty-eight scientists from 50 institutions in the U.S. have formed the Unified Microbiome Initiative Consortium (UMIC). The scientists envision a coordinated effort spanning national cross-institutional and cross-governmental agency support with the goal of driving forward cutting-edge microbiome research, enabling breakthrough advances in medicine, ecosystem management, sustainable energy, and production of commodities. Their proposal was published online in the journal Science on Oct. 28.

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