In September, the first protons to circle the entire ring will have a relatively modest energy of 450 billion electron volts. Once the physicists and engineers have learned to drive their new machine and had a few collisions at that energy, they will ramp up the energy as fast as they can to 5 trillion electron volts — unexplored territory.
Alright, there’s a lot in the science news today and I finally have some free time to write….
First off the chopping block is an article from CNN describing a new post in the military/archdiocese, National Vocations Director at the Archdiocese of the Military in Washington. Basically the Rev. John McLaughlin, who has never served by the way, will travel the globe meeting with chaplains from various companies to hear if there might be some soldiers interested in becoming priests, nuns, or chaplains after their service has been completed.
This month, McLaughlin left his parish north of Boston and became the first-ever national vocations director at the Archdiocese of the Military in Washington. McLaughlin will travel the country, speaking to troops about following a commitment to their country with commitment to their faith.
The clergy shortage in the Catholic church is well documented, and officials see the military as potentially rich ground to find future priests and nuns.
Besides having faced questions of life and death, military men and women tend to have traits necessary for religious life, including self-discipline and a willingness to sacrifice, said Monsignor James Dixon of the Archdiocese of the Military.
Church officials estimate 11 percent of seminary students during the last three years served in the military or had a parent who served. The archdiocese has long reached out to service members, but never had the money to hire someone dedicated to that job, Dixon said.
“We finally got to the point where we think it’s become an absolute necessity,” he said.
Now, I do actually believe that there should be chaplains in the military. People of faith during times of intense stress who confront death as a part of daily life should be able to continue with theirs believes. Mostly, I think that people in horrific situations should be able to talk with and be comforted by people of a similar mind set. However, I do not think that the church should use that emotional strife to join a life of religious servitude, and a person with the means to create a tremendous amount of influence should not be “an absolute necessity”. The statistic of 11% of seminary students having once served in the military or had a parent who served I think is silly. I’m almost certain that you can find roughly the same percentage if you poll any working or scholastic environment.
The Revered does have one quote that I hope he holds true to…
McLaughlin said he wants to be sure troops are serious about religious life, and not just fulfilling the rash, fearful deals some might make with God if they return safely from battle.
“The hope is that they’ll think about it, talk to me about it, and then at the end of their (military) commitment, that’s when they’ll make the decisions,” he said.
Maybe I should just hit myself in the head with a hammer….
Here’s the perspective course load I’ll be taking if I decide to go through with my psycho plan of obtaining a masters degree in physics. Keep in mind that each class meets three to four times a week, so I can really only take one class a semester IF production will let me.
More of my dream crushing realization after the fold. I’m sorry for the long post, but I think the course descriptions are pretty fucking cool…
So this is kind of an interesting bit. Astronomers are traveling to Hawaii to study lava and how it might relate to planetary formation. Not necessarily a new idea but they seem to have a new theory on the process. Where initially studies focused on the rock formations as a whole, now they are analyzing the individual materials at the subatomic level and how the iron isotopes evolved over time.
K, whenever I have time again to really devote to this blog (read: after mummy, when sleep returns to the table as a viable option to assuage exhaustion) we will have a few rules. Well, here is one now. YOUR IMAGES ARE TOO BIG. I would like to automate something so the images never get large enough to ruin the table layout, but ntil then we should resize stuff much smaller. It was I who broke this unwritten rule first with that mars rover post, so don’t think I am singling anyone out.
Second, there will be a resdesign sometime in the future. I am thinking summer, maybe after siggraph. I would do it during my vaction but I would rather walk down rivers shaded by hundred-year oaks than glue my eyeballs to yet another grid of pixels.
Third, coming up soon will be a debate post. This will be MANDATORY. Our problem is that we agree on basically everything. So we should crawl out of our reality tunnels and do some Wright-brothers style debating, where we pick something contrary to our beliefs and state it with the full power of our intellect. Here, watch this: Teaching intelligent design should bee seen as a boon to our civilization. While the intellectual class requires an understanding of evolution to function in modern scientific society, such facts will only serve to confuse and injure proponents of cultures embedded into our society. While those that need to know will figure it out eventually, the lower minded people will not be scared by any new ideas bringing forth a new age of social harmony.
See how weird that was! I don’t believe any of that. But as I was writing it I started to slip into the role of someone who does, and that was kinda cool. Brando, when will we see you again?
The scale of human exploits has long surpassed our ability to comprehend. We are creatures that can barely keep track of 200 individual people in our heads, and yet we are constructing building with capacities of 100,000. Our vision has extended from the narrow cone projecting from our eyes to cover the dark side of the moon, clouds on distant worlds and events so small and so short that their very existence can be validly called into question. And yet we continue forward, the only thing that can possibly limit us is our own ignorance and fear.
I feel we are on a knifes edge between a future best described as mad max with cell phones and the techno-utopias of star trek and the like. What is fascinating is that the gravest threat to human survival is something imaginary: the belief in and wasteful dispensation of money. While the world hangs it self in a noose made of oil pipe, so devoted to a hydrocarbon based source of energy that ripping mountains off the land to extract tarsands, other energy options languish. Yes, hyrdocarbons are they “easiest” fuel. Plentiful, inexpensive (even still), and endlessly applicable. Anywhere you need to create pressure and heat, you can use hydrocarbons. But obviously, the twilight of oil is upon us, with no potential new megawells to be discovered and no hope that the supply will ever meet demand again.
How we meet this challenge as a race, as a species, will determine if we ever have a chance in the greater universe. This peak could be the end of us as a space faring race. As the developed economies start to collapse under the weight of their own debt (another imaginary construct), wars will erupt around the glob, distracting people further from the idea that Man is a species alone on earth, that we must align with one another to bring forth a new age of hope and prosperity. If we extend out into our solar system, we could harness the vast energies of our sun or of the deep resources of fusion fuel on the moon. Such developments could bring forth a time when energy itself is as free and plentiful as the very air.
With such vast supplies of energy, in the form of electricity, it would be reasonable to power every vehicle with a fuel cell or direct hydrogen-oxygen combustion. Such reactions produce nothing but water vapor, and their fuel is water separated into it’s component parts. We cannot do this today because the energy to separate the water molecules is greater than the reaction produces, so the Energy Return over Energy Invested is below one. But with an infinite source of power, say a massive fusion complex powered by lunar helium 3 or a desert turned into a petawatt class solar farm, much of the scarcity inherit in the world disappears.
And that is the choice we have as a race. Shall we continue down the path of scarcity, of hoarding. Or shall we attempt to move beyond our psychology and create a reality where life is free, in the truest of senses. Where the land is not polluted by “cheap” yet truly expensive forms of energy generation. A place that has moved beyond money and ownership as each person would be equal, the riches of the solar system tapped to the benefit of all.
Yes, I wrote this post just for the headline… but it does have science!
The city of Los Angeles today deliberately released 400,000 black ‘bird balls’ into the Ivanhoe Reservoir (the reservoir to the north of Dodger’s Stadium) to protect the local drinking water. Apparently Bromine is naturally present in ground water while the city adds chlorine to kill the bacteria. Mix in sunlight and you have the carcinogen bromate. The black balls prevent sunlight from reaching the water and creating the carcinogen. The Ivanhoe and the Elysian Reservoir (west of the stadium) will be covered with the balls for four years.
There is a video on the site showing the launching of the 400,000 black balls, but it’s not nearly as cool as this one (the making of the Sony Bravia Ad)…
According to the results, when compared to subjects with restricted use of cell phones, young people with excessive use of cell phones (both talking and text messaging) have increased restlessness with more careless lifestyles, more consumption of stimulating beverages, difficulty in falling asleep and disrupted sleep, and more susceptibility to stress and fatigue. They behave more like larks than owls, suggesting a delayed biological clock.
I’ve been thinking about this for a little bit since I posted the article and I wonder if this study could computers as a larger problem. We, especially the three of us, have an insatiable desire to… well… know everything. And to take it a step farther, I want to read a piece of science news before you guys. Yes, I know this sounds competitive and petty, but I hate the feeling of “why the hell did I know about that?”. We are in a world filled with instant information and our hungry little minds can’t help but wonder what will be on the front page of NYTimes or the latest post of Pharyngula.
Alright, so it’s not actually beer from space but beer brewed from the third generation of Barley grains that spent five months on the ISS. I’m not sure if that should really count as ’space beer’, but the novelty of it is kinda cool. Unfortunately they are only making about 100 bottles of the stuff…
The founder of Research in Motion, the creators of the Blackberry, just gave $50 million to Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario bringing there total contributions up to $150 million. I like to see that companies give back to research fields that make their line of work possible. Now we just need $850 million more for J-DEM so we can learn the theory of everything!
I think they must have used visual fx people in this study exposing daily travel patterns of individuals, because we never go anywhere but work and the bar (ok, maybe Starbucks too). The researches seemed surprised that we travel in such a small radius and that we frequent the same locations, but I think it’s perfectly understandable. Why should I travel farther than necessary for the same items and services that I can find next to my home? However, I do have to say that the study makes me want to venture out of my comfort zone!
Hmm… perhaps we should add categories? Like Evolution, Biology and Anthropology?
We have hit this point in modern society where the concept of truth has been blurred by both opinion, religion and science itself. If we take truth to be a measure of veracity (dur), and absolute truth as the binary projection of that (true/false), we find that there is no absolute truth in anything. There is no absolute truth in the bible, nor is there absolute truth in the Copenhagen interpretation.
Right now, there are bitter battles being fought in memespace over truth. global warming is one example of this. Does it exist? I don't know, I am not a scientist and I know not to trust CFD sims. There are equal weightings of opinion on either side. So what I mean by the truth being obsolete is that consensual truth seems to have disappeared. Everyone carries a zone of personal truths with them and now that we have such incredible accesses to information, we are seeing these zones interact violently.
So the concept of consensual truth is obsolete in the internet age. Is absolute truth also obsolete?