- 25 Mythical Creatures That People Believed Were Real
- Future Space Travel Technologies Documentary ~ 2014
- How to make stress your friend with Kelly McGonigal
- Are humans really meat-eaters? A very informative animated presentation
- Time Travel to 2038 ~ With Dr Robert Schoch, George Noory, John Van Auken & James Tyberonn
- What influence do others have on you? A Crash Course in Psychology
- NASA: Nearly 3 billion miles away, a space probe awakes
- Giant Dunes on Saturn's Moon Titan
- How will the world end? From ‘demonic’ AI to nuclear war — seven scenarios that could end human race
Posted: 08 Dec 2014 03:50 PM PST
Posted: 08 Dec 2014 03:46 PM PST
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Posted: 08 Dec 2014 03:37 PM PST
Posted: 08 Dec 2014 03:34 PM PST
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Posted: 08 Dec 2014 03:14 PM PST
Fascinating discussion of 2038, Time Travel & Reincarnational Sequence with James Tyberonn (Earth-Keeper) George Noory (Coast to Coast AM Host), Dr Robert Schoch ( NY Times Best Selling Author) and John Van Auken (Edgar Cayce Foundation).
Posted: 08 Dec 2014 03:09 PM PST
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Posted: 08 Dec 2014 03:07 PM PST
NASA's New Horizons space probe has successfully woken up from hibernation as it closes in on Pluto and its satellites.
NASA’s fastest space probe ever launched to the outer Solar System, New Horizons, has woken successfully from hibernation as it closes in on target Pluto.
Mission controllers confirmed early today that the spacecraft had switched to active mode, in preparation for its fly past the former planet and its moons on 14 July, 2015.
It took four hours and 26 minutes for the signal to travel more than 2.9 billion miles (4.7 billion km) back to Earth to confirm that the probe was alive. It was picked up by NASA’s Deep Space Network station in Canberra, Australia.
After a nine year voyage, this is the farthest any space mission has traveled to reach its primary target.
Operators at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory confirmed at 9:53 p.m. (EST) ) 02:53 (UTC) that New Horizons, had switched from hibernation to active mode, as its pre-programmed computer commands instructed.
Launched on January 19, 2006, New Horizons has spent about two-thirds of its flight time, 1,873 days, in hibernation.
During hibernation mode, much of the New Horizons spacecraft was unpowered. The onboard flight computer monitored system health and broadcast a weekly beacon-status tone back to Earth.
As part of the wake-up, NASA broadcast a special version of Where My Heart Will Take Me, by English tenor Russell Watson, which included a greeting to New Horizons from the singer.
The next few weeks will be used to check that the spacecraft's systems and science instruments are operating properly, and to build and test the computer-command sequences that will guide New Horizons through its flight to and reconnaissance of the Pluto system.
“New Horizons is on a journey to a new class of planets we’ve never seen, in a place we’ve never been before,” said New Horizons Project Scientist Hal Weaver, of APL. “For decades we thought Pluto was this odd little body on the planetary outskirts; now we know it’s really a gateway to an entire region of new worlds in the Kuiper Belt, and New Horizons is going to provide the first close-up look at them.”
Posted: 08 Dec 2014 03:01 PM PST
Excerpt from space.com
The towering dunes on Saturn's largest moon, Titan, may look similar to the sandy hills of Earth's Sahara, but their origins are completely different, researchers say. Instead of forming continuously over time like on Earth, Titans dunes are forged by short, powerful rogue winds.
Reaching heights of more than 300 feet (91 meters), the dunes of Titan present a puzzling mystery: they seem to form in the opposite direction as Titan's steady east-to-west winds. Two new studies suggest that rare bursts of wind blowing westward are responsible for these enormous structures. The findings shed light on the remote satellite that shares many qualities with Earth.
"It was a bear to operate, but Dr. Burr's refurbishment of the facility as a Titan simulator has tamed the beast. It is now an important addition to NASA's arsenal of planetary simulation facilities," John Marshall, of the SETI Institute, and a co-author on the new research, said in the statement.
Titan's dunes are not made of the kind of sand found in deserts on Earth, but a more viscous material. Scientists don't know exactly what it is, only that it is made of hydrogen and carbon — two ingredients that can be used to create a laundry list of different materials on Earth, from methane to paraffin wax. According to Burr, the hydrogen-carbon material may coat particles of water ice.
The researchers found that the regular east-to-west winds are not strong enough to shape the viscous material into the massive dune shapes that are observed. Instead, they believe the dunes are shaped by short, rapid bursts of westerly wind. The winds on Titan "occasionally reverse direction and dramatically increase in intensity due to the changing position of the Sun in its sky," the statement said.
How will the world end? From ‘demonic’ AI to nuclear war — seven scenarios that could end human race
Posted: 08 Dec 2014 02:51 PM PST
Humanity may have already created its own nemesis, Professor Stephen Hawking warned last week. The Cambridge University physicist claimed that new developments in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) mean that within a few decades, computers thousands of times more powerful than in existence today may decide to usurp their creators and effectively end humanity’s 100,000-year dominance of Earth.
This Terminator scenario is taken seriously by many scientists and technologists. Before Prof. Hawking made his remarks, Elon Musk, the genius behind the Tesla electric car and PayPal, had stated that “with artificial intelligence, we are summoning the demon,” comparing it unfavourably with nuclear war as the most potent threat to humanity’s existence.
Aside from the rise of the machines, many potential threats have been identified to our species, our civilization, even our planet. To keep you awake at night, here are seven of the most plausible.
Getty Images / ThinkStockAn artist's depiction of an asteroid approaching Earth.
Our solar system is littered with billions of pieces of debris, from the size of large boulders to objects hundreds of kilometres across. We know that, from time to time, these hit the Earth. Sixty-five-million years ago, an object – possibly a comet a few times larger than the one on which the Philae probe landed last month – hit the Mexican coast and triggered a global winter that wiped out the dinosaurs. In 1908, a smaller object hit a remote part of Siberia and devastated hundreds of square kilometres of forest. Last week, 100 scientists, including Lord Rees of Ludlow, the Astronomer Royal, called for the creation of a global warning system to alert us if a killer rock is on the way.
Probability: remote in our lifetime, but one day we will be hit.
Result: there has been no strike big enough to wipe out all life on Earth – an “extinction-level event” – for at least three billion years. But a dino-killer would certainly be the end of our civilization and possibly our species.
Warner Bros.When artificial intelligence becomes self-aware, there is a chance it will look something like this scene from Terminator 3.
Prof. Hawking is not worried about armies of autonomous drones taking over the world, but something more subtle – and more sinister. Some technologists believe that an event they call the Singularity is only a few decades away. This is a point at which the combined networked computing power of the world’s AI systems begins a massive, runaway increase in capability – an explosion in machine intelligence. By then, we will probably have handed over control to most of our vital systems, from food distribution networks to power plants, sewage and water treatment works, and the global banking system. The machines could bring us to our knees without a shot being fired. And we cannot simply pull the plug, because they control the power supplies.
Result: if the web wakes up and wants to sweep us aside, we may have a fight on our hands (perhaps even something similar to the man vs. machines battle in the Terminator films). But it is unlikely that the machines will want to destroy the planet – they “live” here, too.
Handout/AFP/Getty ImagesLaboratory technicians and physicians work on samples during research on the evolving Ebola disease in bats, at the Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases research Laboratory of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases in Pretoria on Nov. 21, 2011.
This is possibly the most terrifying short-term threat because it is so plausible. The reason Ebola has not become a worldwide plague – and will not do so – is because it is so hard to transmit, and because it incapacitates and kills its victims so quickly. However, a modified version of the disease that can be transmitted through the air, or which allows its host to travel around for weeks, symptom-free, could kill many millions. It is unknown whether any terror group has the knowledge or facilities to do something like this, but it is chilling to realize that the main reason we understand Ebola so well is that its potential to be weaponized was quickly realized by defence experts.
Probability: someone will probably try it one day.
Result: potentially catastrophic. “Ordinary” infectious diseases such as avian-flu strains have the capability to wipe out hundreds of millions of people.
AP Photo/U.S. Army via Hiroshima Peace Memorial MuseumA mushroom cloud billows about one hour after a nuclear bomb was detonated above Hiroshima, Japan Aug. 6, 1945.
This is still the most plausible “doomsday” scenario. Despite arms-limitations treaties, there are more than 15,000 nuclear warheads and bombs in existence – many more, in theory, than would be required to kill every human on Earth. Even a small nuclear war has the potential to cause widespread devastation. In 2011, a study by NASA scientists concluded that a limited atomic war between India and Pakistan involving just 100 Hiroshima-sized detonations would throw enough dust into the air to cause temperatures to drop more than 1.2C globally for a decade.
Probability: high. Nine states have nuclear weapons, and more want to join the club. The nuclear wannabes are not paragons of democracy.
Result: it is unlikely that even a global nuclear war between Russia and NATO would wipe us all out, but it would kill billions and wreck the world economy for a century. A regional war, we now know, could have effects far beyond the borders of the conflict.
CERN)/MCTThis is one of the huge particle detectors in the Large Hadron Collider, a 17 mile-long tunnel under the French-Swiss border. Scientists are searching for evidence of what happened right after- and perhaps before- the Big Bang.
Before the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the massive machine at CERN in Switzerland that detected the Higgs boson a couple of years ago, was switched on, there was a legal challenge from a German scientist called Otto Rossler, who claimed the atom-smasher could theoretically create a small black hole by mistake – which would then go on to eat the Earth.
The claim was absurd: the collisions in the LHC are far less energetic than those caused naturally by cosmic rays hitting the planet. But it is possible that, one day, a souped-up version of the LHC could create something that destroys the Earth – or even the universe – at the speed of light.
Probability: very low indeed.
Result: potentially devastating, but don’t bother cancelling the house insurance just yet.
AP Photo/Oculus Rift/FoxThis photo shows a scene fromX-Men: Days of Future Past virtual reality experience. Oxford University philosopher Nick Bostrom has speculated that our universe may be one of countless "simulations" running in some alien computer, much like a computer game.
Many scientists have pointed out that there is something fishy about our universe. The physical constants – the numbers governing the fundamental forces and masses of nature – seem fine-tuned to allow life of some form to exist. The great physicist Sir Fred Hoyle once wondered if the universe might be a “put-up job”.
More recently, the Oxford University philosopher Nick Bostrom has speculated that our universe may be one of countless “simulations” running in some alien computer, much like a computer game. If so, we have to hope that the beings behind our fake universe are benign – and do not reach for the off-button should we start misbehaving.
Probability: according to Professor Bostrom’s calculations, if certain assumptions are made, there is a greater than 50% chance that our universe is not real. And the increasingly puzzling absence of any evidence of alien life may be indirect evidence that the universe is not what it seems.
Result: catastrophic, if the gamers turn against us. The only consolation is the knowledge that there is absolutely nothing we can do about it.
AP Photo/Charles Rex ArbogastFloodwaters from the Souris River surround homes near Minot State University in Minot, N.D. on June 27, 2011. Global warming is rapidly turning America the beautiful into America the stormy and dangerous, according to the National Climate Assessment report released Tuesday, May 6, 2014.
Almost no serious scientists now doubt that human carbon emissions are having an effect on the planet’s climate. The latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggested that containing temperature rises to below 2C above the pre-industrial average is now unlikely, and that we face a future three or four degrees warmer than today.
This will not literally be the end of the world – but humanity will need all the resources at its disposal to cope with such a dramatic shift. Unfortunately, the effects of climate change will really start to kick in just at the point when the human population is expected to peak – at about nine billion by the middle of this century. Millions of people, mostly poor, face losing their homes to sea-level rises (by up to a metre or more by 2100) and shifting weather patterns may disrupt agriculture dramatically.
Probability: it is now almost certain that CO2 levels will keep rising to 600 parts per billion and beyond. It is equally certain that the climate will respond accordingly.
Result: catastrophic in some places, less so in others (including northern Europe, where temperature rises will be moderated by the Atlantic). The good news is that, unlike with most of the disasters here, we have a chance to do something about climate change now.