August 30, 2014
Alter Echo’s dub is for world-weary androids of the next century. It is a frightening dub in the galactic sense, and yet possesses in the depths of its electronic furies a calm and beauty that can only be described as the gleam you might see along the rusting shell of a space station rotating through the blue aura of earth’s thinning stratosphere.

Alter Echo’s dub is for world-weary androids of the next century. It is a frightening dub in the galactic sense, and yet possesses in the depths of its electronic furies a calm and beauty that can only be described as the gleam you might see along the rusting shell of a space station rotating through the blue aura of earth’s thinning stratosphere.

August 30, 2014
astronomicalwonders:

Theorem of a Supernova - The NuSTAR Mission
NuSTAR has provided the first observational evidence in support of a theory that says exploding stars slosh around before detonating. That theory, referred to as mild asymmetries, is shown here in a simulation by Christian Ott of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena.
In this simulation, a supernova explosion is already underway. The small circle in the center represents the material that will form the dense star at the center of a supernova remnant, called a neutron star. The bright ring surrounding it is the shock wave created in the explosion. The colors represent temperature fluctuations. When the movie starts, the explosion has “stalled out,” because the material falling back onto the neutron star has backed up, like too many cars on the freeway, blocking the shock wave from progressing.
As the explosion continues, material starts to slosh around, reenergized by particles called neutrinos. The neutrinos heat up the material more and more, causing the hot regions to rise into the cooler regions and form large bubbles in the material. Once the bubbles break through the surrounding material, it’s as if the top of a pressure cooker blows off. There’s nothing holding back the shock wave any more and the star explodes.
Credit: NASA/Christian Ott/Caltech

astronomicalwonders:

Theorem of a Supernova - The NuSTAR Mission

NuSTAR has provided the first observational evidence in support of a theory that says exploding stars slosh around before detonating. That theory, referred to as mild asymmetries, is shown here in a simulation by Christian Ott of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena.

In this simulation, a supernova explosion is already underway. The small circle in the center represents the material that will form the dense star at the center of a supernova remnant, called a neutron star. The bright ring surrounding it is the shock wave created in the explosion. The colors represent temperature fluctuations. When the movie starts, the explosion has “stalled out,” because the material falling back onto the neutron star has backed up, like too many cars on the freeway, blocking the shock wave from progressing.

As the explosion continues, material starts to slosh around, reenergized by particles called neutrinos. The neutrinos heat up the material more and more, causing the hot regions to rise into the cooler regions and form large bubbles in the material. Once the bubbles break through the surrounding material, it’s as if the top of a pressure cooker blows off. There’s nothing holding back the shock wave any more and the star explodes.

Credit: NASA/Christian Ott/Caltech

(via n-a-s-a)

August 25, 2014
August 21, 2014
A Thought About the Companion in the Star Trek episode “Metamorphosis” (1967)

This cloud of consciousness has obsessed my imagination since I was a boy. Thought floating about a strange planet. Thought needing company. Disembodied thought as sinister.

When ever I wake up at night and have difficulty returning to the warm and delightful cousin of death, my body often slips into sleep without my consciousness. I become two: my mind is here, my body is gone; I’m up, my body is down. Though I’m thinking, I see and hear nothing. I’m very much alone in the dark. Strangely enough, the darkness doesn’t bother me at all. Indeed, it is a calm state to be in—kind of like a sensory deprivation tank. What worries me, what makes me panic is the fear that my body might not return from sleep, that it might sink into some dangerous depth I cannot reach. To get my body back is a struggle: I yell, I pull, I shove, I scream. It usually takes three tries for the body to return. I open my eyes and ears—the pillows, the bed, the room, the city, the world, the galaxy, the universe.

My body wanted to go; my mind forced it to remain close. My mind is the sinister Companion of the astronaut it’s imprisoned on this strange planet.

A Thought About the Companion in the Star Trek episode “Metamorphosis” (1967)

This cloud of consciousness has obsessed my imagination since I was a boy. Thought floating about a strange planet. Thought needing company. Disembodied thought as sinister.

When ever I wake up at night and have difficulty returning to the warm and delightful cousin of death, my body often slips into sleep without my consciousness. I become two: my mind is here, my body is gone; I’m up, my body is down. Though I’m thinking, I see and hear nothing. I’m very much alone in the dark. Strangely enough, the darkness doesn’t bother me at all. Indeed, it is a calm state to be in—kind of like a sensory deprivation tank. What worries me, what makes me panic is the fear that my body might not return from sleep, that it might sink into some dangerous depth I cannot reach. To get my body back is a struggle: I yell, I pull, I shove, I scream. It usually takes three tries for the body to return. I open my eyes and ears—the pillows, the bed, the room, the city, the world, the galaxy, the universe.

My body wanted to go; my mind forced it to remain close. My mind is the sinister Companion of the astronaut it’s imprisoned on this strange planet.

August 20, 2014
spaceexp:

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft captured Saturn’s rings and planet Earth and its moon. This is only the third time that Earth has been capture from the outer solar system.

spaceexp:

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft captured Saturn’s rings and planet Earth and its moon. This is only the third time that Earth has been capture from the outer solar system.

(via n-a-s-a)

August 20, 2014
Let’s be clear about this: There is no future for us anywhere else but that which makes up the ground we stand on. Indeed, even if it were to work, even if we were to send a colony to space, which would be at most a tiny fraction of our species, genetic drift and possibly other, unanticipated evolutionary processes would radically transform that colony into something we could never imagine. (It’s surprising that science fiction cinema has never explored this possibility—a space colony that begins as human and becomes, by directed and neutral evolution, something other than human, something truly alien.) Remember, anatomically modern humans radiate from one small point—a bottleneck in East Africa. We are new in this world. The human is a revolution.

Let’s be clear about this: There is no future for us anywhere else but that which makes up the ground we stand on. Indeed, even if it were to work, even if we were to send a colony to space, which would be at most a tiny fraction of our species, genetic drift and possibly other, unanticipated evolutionary processes would radically transform that colony into something we could never imagine. (It’s surprising that science fiction cinema has never explored this possibility—a space colony that begins as human and becomes, by directed and neutral evolution, something other than human, something truly alien.) Remember, anatomically modern humans radiate from one small point—a bottleneck in East Africa. We are new in this world. The human is a revolution.

August 9, 2014

(Source: imisshowitwasbefore, via n-a-s-a)

July 24, 2014
A note:
The Phenomenon of Man was published after the author, Teilhard de Chardin, died in 1955. The book was posthumously published because Teilhard was a Jesuit Father, and his ideas were far from Christian orthodoxy. As well as being a Jesuit, the author was a paleontologist. And the concept we find in his book is something like a scientific spirituality (nothing to do with intelligent design—there is no design in his concept of human evolution, just accidents and blind instincts). In the process of constructing this concept, a thorough materialism that has a mystical result, Teilhard began to see what we, the inhabitants of his future, recognize as the internet (his work also points to what we now recognize as emergence theory and biotechnology—he celebrates the future manipulation of genes, recombinant DNA, and bioinformatics). He calls the internet a noosphere.

The idea of the noosphere was borrowed from the Soviet geochemist Vladimir Vernadsky, who in turn borrowed it from the Austrian geologist, Eduard Suess. The idea is this: There’s a geosphere (hot core, cold rocks, cool mud), then a biosphere (plants, insects, birds, mammals), and by way of the most reflective mammal (the human animal—other animals have self-consciousness but not to our degree or with our intensity) in the biosphere arises a noosphere (a layer of thought, interconnected thought).

A note:

The Phenomenon of Man was published after the author, Teilhard de Chardin, died in 1955. The book was posthumously published because Teilhard was a Jesuit Father, and his ideas were far from Christian orthodoxy. As well as being a Jesuit, the author was a paleontologist. And the concept we find in his book is something like a scientific spirituality (nothing to do with intelligent design—there is no design in his concept of human evolution, just accidents and blind instincts). In the process of constructing this concept, a thorough materialism that has a mystical result, Teilhard began to see what we, the inhabitants of his future, recognize as the internet (his work also points to what we now recognize as emergence theory and biotechnology—he celebrates the future manipulation of genes, recombinant DNA, and bioinformatics). He calls the internet a noosphere.


The idea of the noosphere was borrowed from the Soviet geochemist Vladimir Vernadsky, who in turn borrowed it from the Austrian geologist, Eduard Suess. The idea is this: There’s a geosphere (hot core, cold rocks, cool mud), then a biosphere (plants, insects, birds, mammals), and by way of the most reflective mammal (the human animal—other animals have self-consciousness but not to our degree or with our intensity) in the biosphere arises a noosphere (a layer of thought, interconnected thought).

July 16, 2014
astronomicalwonders:

New Structures found in the Milky Way - A Black Hole’s Eruption
NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has unveiled a previously unseen structure centered in the Milky Way. The feature spans 50,000 light-years and may be the remnant of an eruption from a supersized black hole at the center of our galaxy. “What we see are two gamma-ray-emitting bubbles that extend 25,000 light-years north and south of the galactic center,” said Doug Finkbeiner, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., who first recognized the feature. “We don’t fully understand their nature or origin.” The structure spans more than half of the visible sky, from the constellation Virgo to the constellation Grus, and it may be millions of years old. A paper about the findings has been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal.  Finkbeiner and his team discovered the bubbles by processing publicly available data from Fermi’s Large Area Telescope (LAT). The LAT is the most sensitive and highest-resolution gamma-ray detector ever launched. Gamma rays are the highest-energy form of light.

From end to end, the newly discovered gamma-ray bubbles extend 50,000 light-years, or roughly half of the Milky Way’s diameter, as shown in this illustration. Hints of the bubbles’ edges were first observed in X-rays (blue) by ROSAT, a Germany-led mission operating in the 1990s. The gamma rays mapped by Fermi (magenta) extend much farther from the galaxy’s plane. 
Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

astronomicalwonders:

New Structures found in the Milky Way - A Black Hole’s Eruption

NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has unveiled a previously unseen structure centered in the Milky Way. The feature spans 50,000 light-years and may be the remnant of an eruption from a supersized black hole at the center of our galaxy.

“What we see are two gamma-ray-emitting bubbles that extend 25,000 light-years north and south of the galactic center,” said Doug Finkbeiner, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., who first recognized the feature. “We don’t fully understand their nature or origin.”

The structure spans more than half of the visible sky, from the constellation Virgo to the constellation Grus, and it may be millions of years old. A paper about the findings has been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal.

Finkbeiner and his team discovered the bubbles by processing publicly available data from Fermi’s Large Area Telescope (LAT). The LAT is the most sensitive and highest-resolution gamma-ray detector ever launched. Gamma rays are the highest-energy form of light.

From end to end, the newly discovered gamma-ray bubbles extend 50,000 light-years, or roughly half of the Milky Way’s diameter, as shown in this illustration. Hints of the bubbles’ edges were first observed in X-rays (blue) by ROSAT, a Germany-led mission operating in the 1990s. The gamma rays mapped by Fermi (magenta) extend much farther from the galaxy’s plane.

Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

July 13, 2014
The world’s longest flight in coach is said to be from Sydney to Dallas. The journey takes 15 hours, the plane travels at 600 miles an hour, and the distance covered is 8,800 miles. The longest flight I’ve ever taken, which was more like space travel than flying, was between Atlanta and Johannesburg. Though not as great a distance as the one between Sydney and Dallas, I recall it taking 16 hours. Indeed, the flight was so long that a part of me is still on it, still flying through those shifting twilights (bright white clouds below night stars, clear blue sky above night clouds), still seeing the endless ocean below, still approaching the coast of Africa. 

The world’s longest flight in coach is said to be from Sydney to Dallas. The journey takes 15 hours, the plane travels at 600 miles an hour, and the distance covered is 8,800 miles. The longest flight I’ve ever taken, which was more like space travel than flying, was between Atlanta and Johannesburg. Though not as great a distance as the one between Sydney and Dallas, I recall it taking 16 hours. Indeed, the flight was so long that a part of me is still on it, still flying through those shifting twilights (bright white clouds below night stars, clear blue sky above night clouds), still seeing the endless ocean below, still approaching the coast of Africa.