Advertisements
LHCBlackHole

Credit: CERN/NASA/Ian O’Niel

Here’s a quick roundup of some interesting stories and headlines that have popped up in the science world recently:

  • Based on new calculations using information from the Higgs Boson discovery last year, some physicists are worried that the universe might be doomed for boredom. The new math shows that the very existence of everything could be inherently unstable, and in a few tens of billions of years a tiny bubble of an apparently much more boring, alternate universe might pop-up and subsequently expand at the speed of light, destroying everything. Granted, there’s still a lot to learn about the Higgs, the equations used to make this prediction will improve drastically over the coming years, and the human race probably won’t be around to see this happen, but I can’t help but laugh thinking about the universe vaporizing into a more “boring” state of existence. (Via Discovery News and New Scientist)
  • I wish I had time to cover/post about the Russian meteor explosion this past weekend, but I was out sick Friday and had a very busy weekend/early week of moving in with my lady Old Red Boots. You probably know the basics- a medium-sized meteor entered the atmosphere over Chelyabinsk, Russia last Friday at about 9:20am local time. I just want to point out the important facts: (1) The Russian meteor explosion had nothing to do with the close fly-by of asteroid 2012 DA14 which happened later that same day. The trajectories/orbits of the two were completely different. It was simply a bizarre coincidence. (2) The damage to buildings and glass was caused by the massive sonic boom, as well as the actual explosion of the rock itself high in the atmosphere. The sounds and damage were NOT from the impact of the meteor hitting the ground. There’s tons of footage of this thing, but this video has the best audio I’ve found– if you have a subwoofer, turn it up and you’ll get some sense of the earth-shattering rumble. This video is long but shows both the bright streak of the meteor (about 4:30 in) and has the ensuing sonic boom (about 7:00 in). (3) NASA estimates the meteor was about 55 feet across and weighed between 7,000 and 10,000 tons. (4) A large chunk of the space rock is believed to have landed in Chebarkul Lake near Chelyabinsk, gouging a large hole in the ice. Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy had great coverage and follow-up of this event, so be sure to check those posts out as well!
  • Dennis Tito, the first space tourist, wants to put humans on Mars in 2018, and he’s created a non-profit called the Inspiration Mars Foundation to do it. I have to be honest, the timeframe of this sounds absolutely crazy to me. Not many details have been announced, but apparently there will be a press conference next Wed. Feb. 27th in which more details will be revealed, so I’ll try to withhold my skepticism until then, but it’s hard. (Via Universe Today)
  • Astronomers with NASA’s Kepler Mission have found the tiniest exoplanet yet, orbiting the star Kepler-37 about 200 light years away. This planet is significant because it’s even smaller than our own Mercury, and just barely bigger than Earth’s moon! Finding a planet that small is a major milestone and huge accomplishment for the Kepler team. I’ve no doubt they will be finding the Holy Grail of planet-hunting, a true Earth twin, within a year or two. (Via Bad Astronomy)
Advertisements

Credit: Google/NASA Meteor Watch

California and Nevada residents may have been terrified by the loud sonic boom that shook their houses Sunday morning, but now that we know what caused it, they should feel privileged to have experienced such a rare event. We now know that the cause was a fairly large meteor that entered our atmosphere with the energy equivalent to a 5-kiloton explosion. I’ve read other estimates for the energy, but that is the official number from NASA’s Meteoroid Environments Office. That puts it entering our atmosphere at a blistering speed of over 33,000 mph. This meteor was about the size of a minivan, so it was easily visible during the daylight, and that fact that it caused a massive sonic boom means that it made it all the way down to the troposphere, the lowest level of atmosphere, or the level in which clouds and weather occur. Most meteors are much MUCH smaller, and even if they did cause a sonic boom, they burn up far too high in the atmosphere for us to hear it, not to mention that that the air up there is much thinner and doesn’t carry sound waves as well. Because of this meteor’s size and density there’s a decent chance that some fragments of it may have made it to the ground. Once they hit the ground they’re called meteorites, and there are people who make it their living to hunt for them. The rarity of this event is why I think the people who got to see it or hear it are very lucky. I’d give anything to witness something like that. Meteors of this size only occur about once a year, and the simple fact that earth is about 75% covered in water means that us land-dwellers only have a 25% chance of seeing one when they do hit. (Other sources: Universe Today and Discovery News)

Absurdly awesome videos

April 19, 2012

Two videos which share a common theme of absurdity and awesomeness. Absurdly awesome? Awesomely absurd? You decide.

Exhibit A: Ridiculous/dumb/terrible things happening in super slo-mo. As in, 2500 frames per second slo-mo. It never ceases to amaze me how super slow motion can turn just about anything, no matter how gross or messy, into a captivating and beautiful spectacle. My favorite is the rocket-powered clothes drying rack. Why didn’t I ever think of that? Seriously though, this is one that simply MUST be seen in full HD, so set that shit on 1080p, pop it on fullscreen, and sit back. (Via Devour)

Exhibit B: The new video for Diarrhea Planet’s “Warm Ridin’.” This is a band that is not afraid of over-the-top absurdity or awesomeness, and this video is all of the above. Complete with rooftops, bare chests, flaming guitars, American flags, and jumping jacks. These dudes know how to party. If you haven’t checked out their debut album on Infinity Cat yet, go fix that right now. And if you can’t get around the name, you’re just missing the point altogether.

Obviously my main top priority today is plugging my DJ/dance event BFF, which returns to Mad Donna’s tonight at 10pm. I’ll be spinning some hot jamz along with pals Potamus and Fats. They’re both rad DJs as well, so a good time is guaranteed. Fan Fiction is sitting this one out to celebrate his bday at another event, but he’ll be back in full force for the 3rd BFF, which is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 20th (my bday!) Some please do come out to the east side tonight and dance the night away. As if Fats isn’t reason enough to get there early, I’ll also buy a drink for the person who brings the biggest “posse” and arrives before 11pm. Seriously, I will honor that! Mad Donna’s is on Woodland, just a block past five points, and it’s FREE if you’re over 21, $3 if you’re 18-20. Also, if you haven’t heard any of my mixes before, I suggest you start with the October mix I did for Justin Kase’s blog, Blogging Is Serious Business.

Weezer has a new album coming out next week, and the first single (If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To also has a snazzy video which debuted yesterday at Babelgum. I’ll just link to it because I’m pretty sure it’s no embeddable on WordPress. But seriously, this is probably the best song they’ve released in several years (enough to make me buy the album… probably) and the video is actually quite entertaining. The styling is very visually pleasing, and it has a hilarious “bros before hos” storyline, not mention that it stars Odette Yustman. Check it out now. (Via Stereogum)

Now for some pure mindless entertainment. Why on Earth would you want to blow an anvil 200 feet into the air? Because it’s fucking awesome, that’s why. Meet Gay Wilkinson, world champion anvil shooter:

Have a great weekend, and hopefully I’ll see you tonight at BFF!

Advertisements