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Oct 23, 2020

Episode 21 — How Aircraft Propellers Drove The Aeronautical Revolution

Posted by in categories: military, space travel

Great new episode with the Smithsonian’s Jeremy R. Kinney. We discuss all aspects of how the seemingly mundane propeller drove the 20th Century’s revolution in aerospace and helped usher in an era of global warfare, travel, and trade.


Without the lowly propeller, global trade and commerce and freedom of movement as we knew it prior to Covid would have never had the opportunity to flourish. Special guest Jeremy R. Kinney, Chair of the Aeronautics Department at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., provides a fascinating narrative to how and why advances in aircraft propeller technology enabled aerospace to revolutionize global warfare, travel, and trade. Author of “Reinventing the Propeller,” Kinney and I discuss many underappreciated aspects of this aeronautical workhorse.

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Oct 23, 2020

New theory on the origin of dark matter

Posted by in category: cosmology

A recent study from the University of Melbourne proposes a new theory for the origin of dark matter, helping experimentalists in Australia and abroad in the search for the mysterious new matter.

The work has been published in Physical Review Letters and describes how expanding bubbles in the early universe may be the key to understanding dark matter.

“Our proposed mechanism suggests that the dark matter abundance may have been determined in a cosmological phase transition,” said Dr. Michael Baker, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Melbourne and one of the authors.

Oct 23, 2020

Where people go to wake up in the future: Inside a cryonics facility

Posted by in categories: cryonics, life extension

Can sub-zero stasis help humans escape death? In episode five of Hacking the Apocalypse, Claire Reilly goes inside a cryonics facility to investigate the experimental search for a second life.

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Oct 23, 2020

Moment the Moon blocks NASA observation satellite’s view of the Sun during lunar transit

Posted by in category: space

Astronomers observing Earth’s sun caught the moon photobombing their footage. The moon passed between NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory and the giant ball of gas during its lunar transit.

Oct 23, 2020

Incredible moment NASA’s OSIRIS-Rex makes touchdown on asteroid Bennu

Posted by in category: space

On Wednesday NASA released incredible video and images showing the moment OSIRIS-REx touched down on the asteroid Bennu, more than 200 million miles away from Earth, Tuesday night.

Oct 23, 2020

Clues emerge about NASA’s ‘exciting’ Moon announcement

Posted by in category: space

Nasa has provoked excitement across the world with the promise that it will reveal a “new discovery about the Moon” in a major announcement.

The space agency gave no details on what the announcement might be, apart from indicating that it “contributes to NASA’s efforts to learn about the Moon in support of deep space exploration” and had been made with Sofia, a converted Boeing 747 that works as a flying observatory.

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Oct 22, 2020

Supercrystal: A hidden phase of matter created by a burst of light

Posted by in category: materials

Circa 2019


“Frustration” plus a pulse of laser light resulted in a stable “supercrystal” created by a team of researchers led by Penn State and Argonne National Laboratory, together with University of California, Berkeley, and two other national laboratories.

This is one of the first examples of a new state of matter with long-term stability transfigured by the energy from a sub-pico-second laser pulse. The team’s goal, supported by the Department of Energy, is to discover interesting states of matter with unusual properties that do not exist in equilibrium in nature.

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Oct 22, 2020

As Japan’s Population Ages, a Rare Brain-Eating Disease Is Becoming More Common

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension, neuroscience

CJD happens when proteins called prions, which form incorrectly, find their way into the brain. Prions have the unfortunate, destructive ability to deform the proteins around them as well. As the prions gradually eat away at neurons, they create sponge-like holes in the brain. This leads to dementia, loss of bodily function, and eventually coma and death.

A new study — published last month in the journal Scientific Reports — looked at national data on people 50 years and older from Japan between the years 2005 and 2014 and found a gradual rise in the country’s CJD cases and deaths. The increase in both was most prominent among those older 70, but the Okayama University scientists behind the research saw a rise of CJD even after the data had been corrected for age.

“Given this trend in aging of population, the disease burden of CJD will continue to increase in severity,” the scientists wrote in their paper. “Our findings thus recommend that policymakers be aware of the importance of CJD and focus on preparing to address the increasing prevalence of dementia.”

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Oct 22, 2020

A Closer Look at Elon Musk’s Starlink Project

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, internet

How Elon Musk’s Starlink will deliver internet across the globe.

Oct 22, 2020

Artemis Accords: why many countries are refusing to sign moon exploration agreement

Posted by in categories: geopolitics, space travel, treaties

Eight countries have signed the Artemis Accords, a set of guidelines surrounding the Artemis Program for crewed exploration of the moon. The United Kingdom, Italy, Australia, Canada, Japan, Luxembourg, the United Arab Emirates and the US are now all participants in the project, which aims to return humans to the moon by 2024 and establish a crewed lunar base by 2030.

This may sound like progress. Nations have for a number of years struggled with the issue of how to govern a human settlement on the moon and deal with the management of any resources. But a number of key countries have serious concerns about the accords and have so far refused to sign them.

Previous attempts to govern space have been through painstakingly negotiated international treaties. The Outer Space Treaty 1967 laid down the foundational principles for human space exploration – it should be peaceful and benefit all mankind, not just one country. But the treaty has little in the way of detail. The moon Agreement of 1979 attempted to prevent commercial exploitation of outer-space resources, but only a small number of states have ratified it – the US, China and Russia haven’t.

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