The bad news (for you at least): No more posts this week because this afternoon I’m embarking on my yearly SXSW jaunt. I’m back in the world of the badgeless this year, and currently have no obligations or assignments from the Scene, so this year should be interesting. Also, my band Scale M0del is playing the Red Gorilla Festival on Friday at 3pm at the Dizzy Rooster on 6th St. So if you’re down there, try to stop by! It’s totally free and doesn’t require a badge or wristband of any kind. Actually that may not be bad news for you at all, because it’s probably of little significance to you whether I post the rest of the week.

But, I do have good news! Wormhole travel is slightly less inconceivable now thanks to some research by a team of physicists from Germany and Greece! In short- those convenient things called wormholes that made intergalactic travel possible in science fiction such as Stargate, Contact, etc… are actually pretty tricky business, and were once thought to require unfathomable amounts of negative energy to keep stable enough for a person to travel through. All the while, the very existence of negative energy isn’t even a sure thing. BUT, this new research pulls from elements of string theory, quantum theory, and other far-out theories to get around that massive negative energy requirement. This New Scientist article explains it all, so head over and check it out. It’s a long one, but well worth the read. Unfortunately the idea of traveling through a wormhole is still pretty inconceivable, because according to these new calculations, the wormhole would have to be tens to hundreds of light years across in order for a human to travel through it without getting ripped apart by tidal forces. I actually LOL’d at the line “…our galaxy’s stars are crowded together within a few light years of each other. While this doesn’t prevent the existence of a wormhole with a mouth tens of light years across, it makes it hard to position it so that star systems don’t accidentally fall in. Fallen stars would surely disrupt the timetable and so users might avoid our galaxy altogether.” (Emphasis mine.)

This is one of those articles which requires you to create an account through New Scientist, but it’s free, and all you’ll have to endure is a few email newsletters full of fascinating discoveries and other tidbits from the science world. Not bad if you ask me.

I shall see you back here sometime next week, whenever my brain and liver have fully recovered from SXSW. Till then, cheers!

This post on Universe Today prompted me to write up my own little plug for the Science Channel’s new(ish) show Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman. The show is in its second season and is seeing more success than your average run-of-the-mill science show. Obviously having a celebrity figure like Morgan Freeman as the host is big reason for that, but watch the show and you’ll really understand why. It’s just uncannily appealing to hear Freeman’s warm, grandfatherly voice talking about quantum entanglement, time travel, string theory, relativity and all sorts of other fascinating topics that are at the very edge of modern science. The context and delivery of the information is unique, too. It’s hard to present what most average folks regard as “mumbo-jumbo” in a way that keeps them interested for a whole hour, but this show manages to pull it off. Freeman’s own genuine interest in the subject matter is definitely a big reason the show is successful; he has always had a keen interest in these edgey topics and simply decided to make a show in which he both asks these questions to real scientists who are working to answer them and attempts to share that sense of awe and wonder that inspired him to ask said questions to begin with. Tonight’s episode focuses on the question “can we travel faster than light?” This is obviously a very important question to answer if mankind is ever to explore beyond our own solar system. All those convenient workarounds (warp drives, hyper-space windows, wormholes, etc…) you see in science fiction actually have some basis in real scientific principles, and I suspect we’ll get much clearer and layman-friendly explanation than ever before of those principles on tonight’s episode. It airs at 10pm eastern/9pm central on the Science Channel, which most of you should now get if you have regular cable or satellite service.

I’d forgotten that the Blendtec blender existed. Of course they had to do a demo with an iPad. Sure enough, it blends….

Be sure to check all the other blendable things on their channel.

In case you’ve been under a rock, the Eyjafjajokull (don’t even begin to try to pronounce that…) volcano has been erupting in Iceland for well over a week now. Coincidentally, the sun decided to send a rather strong geomagnetic storm our way last weekend. We all know what happens during geomagnetic storms- aurora borealis. Since Iceland is at such a high latitude, it almost always gets to see these aurorae, and when you combine that with a rather docile volcanic eruption, you get photographers hanging out there and taking eye-gasm photographs like this: (Via Live Science)

Photo by Albert Jakobsson

I haven’t posted any real mind-benders on here in quite a while, so here goes:

An Indiana University theoretical physicists is proposing that our universe might actually exist inside a wormhole, inside a black hole that exists in a much bigger universe. If that isn’t a total mind-fuck, I don’t know what is. But it’s really cool to think about if you can wrap your brain around it. The only way I can do that is to reduce our space-time to 2 dimensions and visualize like they do in all those discovery channel shows that talk about black holes and wormholes. You know- the old bowling ball on a sheet analogy. If you dare, read the full article at Universe Today. And see the 2D visualization.