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What could possibly be more awesome than a TORNADO MADE OF FIRE?!? Not much. This is a spectacular natural phenomenon that occurs in wildfires. It’s the same atmospheric process that causes dust devils- the difference here is that the strong updraft is from the heat of the fire, so it’s much more intense than a normal dust devil. The hot air rises rapidly and the surrounding winds happen to be flowing into the updraft at just the right angles so that the rising column of air gets a twist. From there the law of conservation of angular momentum takes over and the vortex becomes self-sustaining. This one was captured recently in Australia.

Also from the department of TOTALLY AWESOME: Warp Drives (like the ones they used in Star Trek) may actually be much closer to reality than ever thought. NASA physicist Dr. Harold White has recently done some tweaking of the theoretical design of the famous Alcubierre Warp Drive, originally proposed in 1994 by physicist Miguel Alcubierre. The original design, while theoretically possible, was completely impractical because it required more energy than a human mind can comprehend. But with Dr. White’s tweaks, the amount of energy required to run this thing suddenly became more plausible. Essentially the ship would be able to travel much faster than light, without actually traveling faster than light. It does this by literally compressing a region of space-time ahead of it and expanding a region behind it. The ship itself is in a bubble in which it never breaks the speed of light relative to the space-time it’s in. Think of it like surfing a wave of space-time. Granted, the amount of energy require to run the Warp Drive is still roughly equivalent to 1.5 million Hiroshima bombs, but with a little antimatter (about 500 kilograms) that number is not out of reach. The problem is that the idea hasn’t been tested in real life. So Dr. White and his team are currently attempting to actually warp space-time on a microscopic scale in their lab. Take a moment to digest that. Right now, we are attempting to warp space-time in a lab. It doesn’t get much more awesome than that. For more info on how the drive actually works check out this article on Extreme Tech or this article on Discovery News.

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Blur definitely reuniting!

December 9, 2008

Blur

Blur

This time it’s REALLY official: Blur is reuniting and Graham Coxon is onboard. They will be playing at London’s Hyde Park next summer on July 3rd. The gods of britpop have smiled upon the world once again! Via Billboard.com.

A fascinating wikipedia entry explaining the etymology of 100’s of company names. Some of them have interesting stories behind them.

2008 will have a “leap second.” Every 4 years we add one day to February, but that’s not quite enough to keep the world’s atomic clocks perfectly in sync with the rotation of the Earth. There are slight irregularites, less than a second, that must be accounted for.

I just remembered that my friends Matt & Paul took a random trip to South America recently. Then I remembered that Matt has a blog, and that he would probably have a lot of good stories on there from their adventures south of the equator. Go check out his blog Robo Tripping. I didn’t even have time to read all of his posts about the trip, but from what I did read, they had quite an interesting time.

I discovered this William Eggleston exhibit that’s currently showing at the Whitney Museum of American Art in NYC on my friend Rachel’s blog, Mousevox Vintage. I did a photo shoot with her recently and she rocks both as a model and a stylist. My girlfriend and I are heading to NYC for a few days right before Christmas so we’ll have to check it out. I’d forgotten how much I like Eggleston’s work. One of my photography professors- Jim Norton- used to call him “wild Bill Eggleston.”

Guess what? The weather sucks today.

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