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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)
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djburgers-102409delitparty13DJ Burgers (me) has posted a brand new mix for your dancing/listening pleasure. Click here to download the official DJ Burgers Spring MIXXXX 2009. Here’s the tracklist:

Leif-Timbs
Le Castle Vania- Trouble in Daylight (LA Riots Remix)
KUDU- 4 Let’s Finish (Sinden Remix)
All-American Rejects-Gives You Hell (Bloody Beetroots remix)
La Roux-In For the Kill (the Twelves Remix)
Jensen Sportag- Jackie
PNAU-Baby (Breakbot remix)
Daft Punk- One More Time (Radio edit)
Black Kids- Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance (Twelves Remix)
The Presets-Girl and the Sea (Cut Copy Remix)
Rye Rye- Bang (ft. M.I.A.
)

If you want me to DJ at a party or something, email me at djburgers@gmail.com. Also I’m hosting another 8 off 8th at Mercy Lounge on May 11th. Mark your calendars, it’ll be a good one. Lineup is mostly confirmed but I’ll wait until I hear from everyone to post it here.

Ok now that the shameless self-promotion is out of the way, on to some music news… and there’s really only one thing that sticks out to me today. Phil Spector was found guilty of murder and could face life in prison.

From the department of “OMG THAT’S DISGUSTING!!!”…. A man in Russia had a 5 cm. fir tree removed from inside his lung. I don’t understand how it grew without any light…. In fact, I question the legitimacy of this story. Gross, nonetheless.

Scientists in Spain have discovered one potential cause of Honey Bee Colony Collapse Disorder, Science Daily reports. No, it’s not lethal tree farts as M. Night Shyamalan would have us believe. They found a bacteria that was infecting a colony and successfully treated it with anitbiotics. This may or may not be the main cause of CCD. Let’s hope it is, because if they keep dying, it could be devastaing for the world’s food supply.

Scientists at the University of Calgary have come up with a new definition for the edge of space. According to them, it’s 73 miles above the Earth’s surface. But the definition is still pretty unclear, becuase technically an astronaut is said to have been to space after travelling only 50 miles above the ground. Furthermore, for the space shuttle the edge of space is defined as 76 miles becuase that’s where it switches from thrusters to using air surfaces (the wings) for control. But the atomsphere at that altitude is still negligible, the only reason the space shuttle can use air surfaces that high-up is becuase at that point it’s just beginning re-entry and thus is travelling at 16,000-17,000 mph. If it were travelling much slower than that it would still have to use thrusters.

On this day in 1970, the famous words “Houston, we have a problem” came across the radio from Apollo 13. If you’re interested, you can read the details of the incident on the National Space Science Data Center website.

Update to yesterday’s post- the tornado that hit northern Murfreesboro was upgraded to EF4 intesity. It briefly reached EF4 status around Highland Park Drive and again near Tomahawk Trace, but was at EF3 strength for most of its duration. The total path length was also extended to 23 miles.

So there it is. Enjoy it. The look on his face right after it is priceless. Overall, though, he rocked the house like only he could. In my opinion, one of the better superbowl halftime shows in recent history. GIF image via You Ain’t No Picasso.

The RIAA and Universal Music Group are at it again, claiming that if you’re a music reviewer and you haven’t kept track of every single promo CD you’ve ever recieved, then you’re a pirate. They won’t win the court battle, because if they do then, technically any book publisher could stick a label on their books saying “not for library lending.” When are these assholes gonna learn?

In case you haven’t heard, Flight of the Conchords are playing at the Ryman April 10th.

A new Spoon track has surfaced on Stereogum… and I have to admit it’s kinda strange. Now, I’m far from being a Spoon fanatic, so someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this is the first Spoon track to involve an electronic beat. Their new album hits shelves Feb. 17th.

Old 1940’s photographs superimposed on new ones taken in exactly the same location in Russia. The text is all in Russian, but you needn’t read it. The images say it all.

Speaking of Russia, apparently they want to build their own space station. I also had no idea that the current Internation Space Station was scheduled to retire in 2015. It just seems to me that too much money has been spent on the ISS to retire it only 5-6 years after its completion.

Finally, I want to say a few things about science and religion. While I consider myself a person of faith, I don’t follow any one organized religion specifically, and I don’t beleive that we should ever look to religious texts to explain our environment and how it works. The only reliable method of explaining our environment (and by environment I mean everything from our planet to the entire universe) is SCIENCE. My favorite writer from the Daily Galaxy, Luke McKinney, posted a very well worded blurb about evolutionary theory and its unknowns. Let me say this- science and religion are not necessarily mutually exclusive, but they are completely different methods of thought. Science has even supported some of the stories in the Bible, but as Mr. McKinney so eloquently says, “Religious texts can be incredibly positive works, prescribing social support and good rules for a good life if used properly, but declaring one to be a definite depiction of reality is like calling Chicken Soup for the Soul a quantum mechanics textbook.”

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