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55 year old Maurice Johnston lives in Boston, by way of Cleveland. He has a Masters Degree in Plasma Physics from Dartmouth College, and a masters in Electrical Engineering and acoustics from Purdue University. He’s worked over 10 years at Lockheed Aerospace & Aerodyne Research Corp. Maurice has taught in Science and physics, and took care of both his parents in their time of need. Maurice is very well spoken, (he sounds like Obama) and is very kind, so why is Maurice homeless…..

Is this the American dream?

photo matthen:

I’m currently working on an HTML 5 game where you can experiment with orbital mechanics. It’s up for people to try here, so have a go. The only control is click to fire.

matthen:

I’m currently working on an HTML 5 game where you can experiment with orbital mechanics. It’s up for people to try here, so have a go. The only control is click to fire.

2 years ago

June 14, 2011
reblogged via matthen
video

(via pearie)

(Source: Boing Boing)

2 years ago

May 26, 2011
reblogged via pearie
photo unknownskywalker:

NASA Finds New Form of Life
NASA astrobiologists have discovered a microorganism in California that is doing something completely novel: substituting arsenic for phosphorus in its chemical makeup.
Carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur are the six basic building blocks of all known forms of life on Earth. Phosphorus is part of the chemical backbone of DNA and RNA, the structures that carry genetic instructions for life, and is considered an essential element for all living cells. Arsenic, which is chemically similar to phosphorus, is poisonous for most life on Earth. Arsenic disrupts metabolic pathways because chemically it behaves similarly to phosphate. 
It’s been known for a while that some microbes can metabolise arsenic, but what this organism is doing is building parts of itself out of arsenic, something no other known life forms can do. ”If something here on Earth can do something so unexpected,” asks Felisa Wolfe-Simon, a NASA Astrobiology Research Fellow, “What else can life do that we haven’t seen yet?”
This will change the way astrobiologists look for life on other planets, including where they look (arsenic-rich atmospheres were previously considered off-limits) and what the definition of life really is (right now, we only know that life exists the way it does on Earth, so finding out that life can exist very differently and using different chemicals will expand what we think of when we think of “life”). This is the first alternative biology we’ve ever known to exist; previously, the idea of alternative biologies has been mere speculation, more common in the realms of pop-science and science fiction.
• Source: NASA. Photo via Gizmodo. More info at NASA astrobiology.
Reblogged from fuckyeahspace

unknownskywalker:

NASA Finds New Form of Life

NASA astrobiologists have discovered a microorganism in California that is doing something completely novel: substituting arsenic for phosphorus in its chemical makeup.

Carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur are the six basic building blocks of all known forms of life on Earth. Phosphorus is part of the chemical backbone of DNA and RNA, the structures that carry genetic instructions for life, and is considered an essential element for all living cells. Arsenic, which is chemically similar to phosphorus, is poisonous for most life on Earth. Arsenic disrupts metabolic pathways because chemically it behaves similarly to phosphate.

It’s been known for a while that some microbes can metabolise arsenic, but what this organism is doing is building parts of itself out of arsenic, something no other known life forms can do. ”If something here on Earth can do something so unexpected,” asks Felisa Wolfe-Simon, a NASA Astrobiology Research Fellow, “What else can life do that we haven’t seen yet?”

This will change the way astrobiologists look for life on other planets, including where they look (arsenic-rich atmospheres were previously considered off-limits) and what the definition of life really is (right now, we only know that life exists the way it does on Earth, so finding out that life can exist very differently and using different chemicals will expand what we think of when we think of “life”). This is the first alternative biology we’ve ever known to exist; previously, the idea of alternative biologies has been mere speculation, more common in the realms of pop-science and science fiction.

• Source: NASA. Photo via Gizmodo. More info at NASA astrobiology.

Reblogged from fuckyeahspace

3 years ago

December 3, 2010
reblogged via unknownskywalker
photo unknownskywalker:

Laws of Physics Vary Throughout the Universe, New Study Suggests
A team of astrophysicists based in Australia and England has uncovered evidence that the laws of physics are different in different parts of the universe.
The report describes how one of the supposed fundamental constants of Nature appears not to be constant after all. Instead, this ‘magic number’ known as the fine-structure constant — ‘alpha’ for short — appears to vary throughout the universe.
After measuring alpha in around 300 distant galaxies, a consistency emerged: this magic number, which tells us the strength of electromagnetism, is not the same everywhere as it is here on Earth, and seems to vary continuously along a preferred axis through the universe.
The implications for our current understanding of science are profound. If the laws of physics turn out to be merely ‘local by-laws’, it might be that whilst our observable part of the universe favours the existence of life and human beings, other far more distant regions may exist where different laws preclude the formation of life, at least as we know it.
The researchers’ conclusions are based on new measurements taken with the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile, along with their previous measurements from the world’s largest optical telescopes at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii.
The Keck telescopes and the VLT are in different hemispheres — they look in different directions through the universe. Looking to the north with Keck a smaller alpha is seen in distant galaxies, but when looking south with the VLT a larger alpha is detected. It varies by only a tiny amount over most of the observable universe, but it’s possible that much larger variations could occur beyond our observable horizon.
The discovery will force scientists to rethink the understanding of Nature’s laws. The fine structure constant, and other fundamental constants, are absolutely central to our current theory of physics. If they really do vary, we’ll need a better, deeper theory. While a ‘varying constant’ would shake our understanding of the world around us extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. This finding is extraordinary, no doubt about that.
Image: Illustration of the dipolar variation in the fine-structure constant, alpha, across the sky, as seen by the two telescopes used in the work: the Keck telescope in Hawaii and the ESO Very Large Telescope in Chile.
[Science Daily]

unknownskywalker:

Laws of Physics Vary Throughout the Universe, New Study Suggests

A team of astrophysicists based in Australia and England has uncovered evidence that the laws of physics are different in different parts of the universe.

The report describes how one of the supposed fundamental constants of Nature appears not to be constant after all. Instead, this ‘magic number’ known as the fine-structure constant — ‘alpha’ for short — appears to vary throughout the universe.

After measuring alpha in around 300 distant galaxies, a consistency emerged: this magic number, which tells us the strength of electromagnetism, is not the same everywhere as it is here on Earth, and seems to vary continuously along a preferred axis through the universe.

The implications for our current understanding of science are profound. If the laws of physics turn out to be merely ‘local by-laws’, it might be that whilst our observable part of the universe favours the existence of life and human beings, other far more distant regions may exist where different laws preclude the formation of life, at least as we know it.

The researchers’ conclusions are based on new measurements taken with the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile, along with their previous measurements from the world’s largest optical telescopes at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii.

The Keck telescopes and the VLT are in different hemispheres — they look in different directions through the universe. Looking to the north with Keck a smaller alpha is seen in distant galaxies, but when looking south with the VLT a larger alpha is detected. It varies by only a tiny amount over most of the observable universe, but it’s possible that much larger variations could occur beyond our observable horizon.

The discovery will force scientists to rethink the understanding of Nature’s laws. The fine structure constant, and other fundamental constants, are absolutely central to our current theory of physics. If they really do vary, we’ll need a better, deeper theory. While a ‘varying constant’ would shake our understanding of the world around us extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. This finding is extraordinary, no doubt about that.

Image: Illustration of the dipolar variation in the fine-structure constant, alpha, across the sky, as seen by the two telescopes used in the work: the Keck telescope in Hawaii and the ESO Very Large Telescope in Chile.

[Science Daily]

3 years ago

September 10, 2010
reblogged via unknownskywalker
link Noether's Theorem

science:

This is one of the few laws of physics that are named after a woman (in fact, I’m not sure I can name another one). Noether’s theorem, proved by Emmy Noether in 1915, shows (as far as I understand it) that if you have a physical system that obeys certain requirements — requirements that almost all systems studied by physics do obey — if you have symmetry under translation, you must also have a conservation law. This means that if some property of a system doesn’t change when you translate it (a famous example being that the laws of physics don’t change over time), then you get a law about the conservation of that property (like the law of conservation of energy).

This result is very useful in physics. One of the more esoteric uses to which you can put it is to show how perpetual motion would be undesirable. Perpetual motion sounds great: no more energy problems! That’s why people have been trying to create perpetuum mobiles for hundreds if not thousands of years. The problem is that such a machine violates the laws of thermodynamics, including the law of conservation of energy — energy cannot be created or destroyed. Now, the conservation law is a very well-supported physical law. But suppose it didn’t hold. Couldn’t we have perpetual motion then? Noether’s theorem implies that if the laws of physics don’t change over time, the conservation law must hold. And conversely, if the conservation law doesn’t hold, the laws of physics must change over time. If perpetual motion were possible, the laws we discovered Tuesday might not be valid Wednesday. Everything we know about physics would be highly uncertain or wrong! Gravity could invert itself tomorrow! Our assumptions about the future could not be extrapolated from the past!

That’s one steep price to pay for free energy.

3 years ago

June 7, 2010
reblogged via science
photo nikkigraziano:

proofmathisbeautiful:

macmankev:

freshphotons:

Cal Tech physicist Dr. Jonathan Friedrich postulates a bunch of freaky shit that makes his colleagues’ heads spin right the hell off. VIa.

nikkigraziano:

proofmathisbeautiful:

macmankev:

freshphotons:

Cal Tech physicist Dr. Jonathan Friedrich postulates a bunch of freaky shit that makes his colleagues’ heads spin right the hell off. VIa.