- Why the Earth Will Never Be Invaded
- Secretive X-37B Military Space Plane Preps for Another Mystery Mission
- 8 Myths About Emotions That Are Holding Us Back
- Cosmic tsunamis can regenerate ‘dead’ galaxies
- 10 Amazing Alien Planets That Could Host Life
- 5 Mind Hacks To Save Your Mind
- 25 Little Known Facts About The Titanic That Might Surprise You
- The 'Why the F*** Are We So Fat?!' 30 Day Experiment' Day 7 ~ Family
- Is Cancer Contagious?
Posted: 26 Apr 2015 07:34 PM PDT
Excerpt from huffingtonpost.com
Why haven't the Borg invaded the Earth yet? I have watched every episode of Star Trek, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise, and myriad movies where the Earth is invaded by aliens. I love science fiction. But it is only fiction and will remain so.
Many people, including renowned scientist Stephen Hawking, are also concerned about extraterrestrials invading the Earth. "To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational," said Hawking "I imagine they might exist in massive ships... looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they can reach."
Last week, late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel asked President Obama about Area 51 and UFOs; and just last May, two top astronomers told Congress that it would be "bizarre if we are alone" and asked for continued funding to detect extraterrestrial life. If you extrapolate "there are a trillion planets in the galaxy," said Seth Shostak, an astronomer at the SETI Institute "That's a lot of places for life." Dan Werthimer, director of the SETI Research Center added "It would be a cramped mind that didn't wonder what other life is out there."
So where is ET? Since the 1960s, Soviet scientists, NASA and others have been searching the cosmos for signs of intelligent life. Scientists estimate the universe contains more than 100 billion galaxies (our own Milky Way alone is home to around 300 billion stars). According to the late Carl Sagan, there should be about a septillion -- 1 followed by 24 zeros -- planets capable of supporting life. Surely, in this lapse of suns, advanced life would have evolved somewhere if life and consciousness were just random accidents. Yet despite half-a-century of scanning the sky, astronomers have failed to find any evidence of life, which our radio telescopes should be able to easily detect.
Scientists note that extraterrestrials should have had enough time to have colonized the entire galaxy. Did they blow themselves up or is the problem more fundamental? In a recent Wall Street Journal editorial, Eric Metaxas wrote, "What happened? As our knowledge of the universe increased, it became clear that there were far more factors necessary for life than Sagan supposed. His two parameters grew to 10 and then 20 and then 50, and so the number of potentially life-supporting planets decreased accordingly. The number dropped to a few thousand planets and kept on plummeting... As factors continued to be discovered, the number of possible planets hit zero, and kept going. In other words, the odds turned against any planet in the universe supporting life, including this one. Probability said that even we shouldn't be here."
Yet, here we are on this warm little planet at just the right time in the history of the universe: The molten earth has cooled, but it's not too cold. And it's not too hot; the sun hasn't expanded enough to melt the Earth's surface with its searing gas yet. Even setting aside the issue of being here and now, the chance of random physical laws and events leading to this point borders on a statistical impossibility.
A scientific theory, biocentrism, provides the explanation -- and predicts we're alone. Although evolution does a terrific job of helping us understand the past, it fails to capture the driving force. It needs to add the observer to the equation. Indeed, "When we measure something we are forcing an undetermined, undefined world to assume an experimental value," said Nobel physicist Niels Bohr "We are not 'measuring' the world, we are creating it."
Cosmologists propose that the universe was until recently a lifeless collection of particles bouncing against each other. It's presented as a watch that somehow wound itself up, and that will unwind in a semi-predictable way. But they have ignored a critical component of the cosmos because they don't know what to do with it. This component, consciousness, is an utter mystery. How did inert, random bits of matter ever morph into Obama or Lady Gaga?
To understand what's going on requires an understanding of how the observer, our presence, plays a role. According to the current paradigm, the universe and the laws of nature just popped into existence out of nothingness. From the Big Bang until the present time, we've been incredibly lucky. This good fortune started from the moment of creation; if the Big Bang had been one-part-in-a-million more powerful, the universe would have rushed out too fast for galaxies to have developed. There are over 200 physical parameters like this that could have any value but happen to be exactly right for us to be here. Change any of them and life never existed.
But our luck didn't stop there. Without a massive planet like Jupiter nearby (to draw away asteroids), a thousand times more asteroids would strike Earth, potentially producing a blast of heat, followed by years of dust that would freeze or starve us to death. Nearby stars could go supernova, their energy sterilizing the Earth with radiation. These are just a couple of things (out of millions) that could go wrong.
The odds of us existing, concluded Metaxas, "are so heart-stoppingly astronomical that the notion that it all "just happened" defies common sense. It would be like tossing a coin and having it come up heads 10 quintillion times in a row."
Loaded dice? It all makes sense if you assume it's us, the observer, who create space and time. Consider everything you see around you. You can't see through the cranium. In fact, everything you experience is a whirl of information occurring in your head. Space and time are the mind's tools for putting it all together.
In their book, The Grand Design, theoretical physicists Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow stated: "There is no way to remove the observer -- us -- from our perceptions of the world ... In classical physics, the past is assumed to exist as a definite series of events, but according to quantum physics, the past, like the future, is indefinite and exists only as a spectrum of possibilities."
We -- the observer -- are the first cause, the vital force that collapses the cascade of past spatio-temporal events we call evolution.
I recently bought a 3D television to watch Avatar and have watched it three times. There may well be a universe where a habitable moon like Pandora really exists, and where extraterrestrial beings like the Na'vi live in harmony with nature. The good news is that -- in such a biocentric universe -- there wouldn't be any humans to invade their world.
Posted: 26 Apr 2015 07:34 PM PDT
Excerpt from space.com
The United States Air Force's X-37B space plane will launch on its fourth mystery mission next month.
The unmanned X-37B space plane, which looks like a miniature version of NASA's now-retired space shuttle orbiter, is scheduled to blast off atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on May 20.
The X-37B's payloads and specific activities are classified, so it's unclear exactly what the spacecraft does while zipping around the Earth. But Air Force officials have revealed a few clues about the upcoming mission.
"The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Space and Missile Center (SMC) and the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office (AFRCO) are investigating an experimental propulsion system on the X-37B on Mission 4," Capt. Chris Hoyler, an Air Force spokesman, told Space.com via email.
"AFRCO will also host a number of advance materials onboard the X-37B for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to study the durability of various materials in the space environment," Hoyler added.
The Air Force owns two X-37B space planes, both of which were built by Boeing's Phantom Works division. The solar-powered spacecraft are about 29 feet long by 9.5 feet tall (8.8 by 2.9 meters), with a wingspan of 15 feet (4.6 m) and a payload bay the size of a pickup-truck bed. The X-37B launches vertically atop a rocket and lands horizontally on a runway, like the space shuttle did.
One of the two X-37B vehicles flew the program's first and third missions, which were known as OTV-1 and OTV-3, respectively. ("OTV" is short for "Orbital Test Vehicle.") The other spacecraft flew OTV-2. Air Force officials have not revealed which space plane will be going to orbit on the upcoming mission.
OTV-1 launched in April 2010 and landed in December of that year, staying in orbit for 225 days. OTV-2 blasted off in March 2011 and circled Earth for 469 days, coming down in June 2012. OTV-3 launched in December 2012 and stayed aloft for a record-breaking 675 days, finally landing in October 2014.
If Air Force officials know how long OTV-4 is going to last, they're not saying.
"The X-37B is designed for an on-orbit duration of 270 days," Hoyler said. "Longer missions have been demonstrated. As with previous missions, the actual duration will depend on test objectives, on-orbit vehicle and conditions at the landing facility."
The secrecy surrounding the X-37B and its payloads has fueled speculation in some quarters that the vehicle could be a space weapon of some sort. But Air Force officials have repeatedly refuted that notion.
"The primary objectives of the X-37B are twofold: reusable spacecraft for America's future in space, and operating experiments which can be returned to, and examined, on Earth," Air Force officials wrote in on online X-37B fact sheet.
"Technologies being tested in the program include advanced guidance, navigation and control; thermal protection systems; avionics; high-temperature structures and seals; conformal reusable insulation, lightweight electromechanical flight systems; and autonomous orbital flight, re-entry and landing."
Posted: 26 Apr 2015 07:09 PM PDT
Excerpt from huffingtonpost.com
As a society, we don't talk much about emotions. Conversations tend to focus more on what we're doing or what we're thinking. In fact, most people find it easier to start sentences with, "I think..." instead of "I feel..." simply because it feels less awkward.
Most of us are never educated about feelings. Instead, we're expected to learn socially acceptable ways to deal with feelings by watching the people around us. But the truth is, many people don't role model healthy ways to deal with feelings.
Social norms differ over what is considered acceptable in terms of talking about feelings and dealing with them. There are many cultural differences about how to identify and manage emotions as well. In fact, most languages have words for certain emotions that don't have equivalent translations -- Popular Science recently shared 21 emotions for which there are no English equivalents.
It's no wonder there is a lot of confusion about emotions. Here are some of the most common misconceptions about emotions:
1. I should feel differently. So often people will say things like, "I know I shouldn't be so upset over something so little," or, "I really should be happier than I am." There aren't any rules that dictate that your emotional reaction is wrong, however. Rather than waste energy beating yourself up over how you feel, accept that you feel that particular emotion right now and recognize that you have choices in how you react to that emotion.
2. I can't control how I feel. Even though your emotions aren't wrong, that doesn't mean you have to stay stuck in a particular mood. You can certainly choose to make changes that will influence the way you feel. If you want to change the way you feel, change the way you think and behave .
3. Venting will make me feel better. A widely held misconception is that if you're not talking to everyone about your feelings, you must be "suppressing your emotions" or "stuffing your feelings." But research shows that the opposite is true -- at least when it comes to anger. Punching a pillow or calling everyone you know to tell them how bad your day was will only increase your arousal and won't make you feel better.
4. Trying to control my emotions is synonymous with behaving like a robot.Sometimes people think that regulating their emotions means trying to act as if they don't have feelings. But, that's not the case. A realistic view of emotions shows that we're capable of experiencing a wide range of emotions, but we don't have to be controlled by those emotions. After a hard day, choosing to do something to help you feel better -- as opposed to staying in a bad mood - is a healthy skill.
5. Other people have the power to make me feel certain emotions. So often, people will say things like, "My boss makes me so mad," or, "My mother-in-law makes me feel bad about myself." But in reality, no one can make you feel anything. Other people may influence how you feel, but you are the only one in charge of your emotions.
6. I can't handle uncomfortable emotions. When people doubt their ability to tolerate certain emotions, it leads to avoidance. Someone who experiences frequent bouts of anxiety may pass up opportunities to be promoted. A person who feels uncomfortable with confrontation may avoid meeting with a co-worker to problem-solve a situation. Learning to deal with uncomfortable emotions directly builds confidence. When you don't allow your emotions to rule your behavior, you'll learn you can handle a lot more than you imagined.
7. Negative emotions are bad. It's easy to categorize emotions as being good or bad, but feelings in themselves aren't positive or negative. It's what we choose to do with those emotions that can make the difference. Anger, for example, often gets a bad rap. While some people make horrible choices when they're mad, other people choose to use anger in a proactive manner. Many of the world's positive changes wouldn't have ever occurred if activists hadn't gotten angry about injustices they witnessed.
8. Showing emotion is a sign of weakness. While it's a healthy social skill to be able to behave professionally even when you're not feeling at the top of your game, letting your guard down at socially appropriate times isn't a sign of weakness. In fact, being aware of your emotions and making a conscious decision to share those emotions with others -- when it's socially appropriate to do so -- can be a sign of strength.
Developing an awareness and understanding of your emotions can be difficult when you're not used to thinking about how you feel. Just like most skills in life, with practice you're ability to recognize, tolerate and regulate your emotions will improve. Increased emotional self-awareness is key to building mental strength and achieving success in your personal and professional life.
Amy Morin is a psychotherapist and the author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do.
Posted: 26 Apr 2015 07:05 PM PDT
Excerpt from thespacereporter.com
Astronomers have recently discovered that giant cosmic shockwaves emanating from colliding galaxy clusters are capable of jumpstarting new star generation.
According to a Nature World News report, galaxies are often clustered into groups containing “red and dead” galaxies that stopped forming new stars long ago. Scientists now believe that these “dead” galaxies can be brought back to “life” by colossal cosmic tsunamis.
To uncover this phenomenon, an international team of researchers observed how galaxy clusters can absorb smaller clusters much as a growing city absorbs its suburbs. When galaxy clusters collide during this absorption process, a huge shockwave of energy is created. This shockwave can re-energize the star formation process, causing dormant galaxies to begin producing new stars again.
Scientists from the University of Lisbon and Leiden Observatory came to this conclusion after studying the merging galaxy cluster officially known as CIZA J2242.8+5301 and affectionately known as the “Sausage.” The Sausage cluster, located 2.3 billion light-years away, showed evidence of its dormant galaxies coming to life with a new round of star formation.
“We assumed that the galaxies would be on the sidelines for this act, but it turns out they have a leading role. The comatose galaxies in the Sausage cluster are coming back to life, with stars forming at a tremendous rate. When we first saw this in the data, we simply couldn’t believe what it was telling us,” Andra Stroe of Liden Observatory said in a statement.The researchers are observing an event that actually unfolded one billion years ago, when the 6-million-mph shockwave spread out from the collision of the clusters. The team believes that the new star formation was instigated by the shockwave’s affect on galactic gas.
“Much like a teaspoon stirring a mug of coffee, the shocks lead to turbulence in the galactic gas. These then trigger an avalanche-like collapse, which eventually leads to the formation of very dense, cold gas clouds, which are vital for the formation of new stars,” Stroe said.
Despite the vigorous production of new stars in this instance, the team believes that, after the initial effects of the tsunami take place, the galaxies fall to an even deeper state of dormancy than before.
David Sobral of the University of Lisbon explains that “star formation at this rate leads to a lot of massive, short-lived stars coming into being, which explode as supernovae a few million years later. The explosions drive huge amounts of gas out of the galaxies and with most of the rest consumed in star formation, the galaxies soon run out of fuel. If you wait long enough, the cluster mergers make the galaxies even more red and dead – they slip back into a coma and have little prospect of a second resurrection.”
The study was published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Posted: 26 Apr 2015 06:49 PM PDT
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Posted: 26 Apr 2015 06:43 PM PDT
Posted: 26 Apr 2015 06:42 PM PDT
Dr. Jen Nash
Posted: 26 Apr 2015 06:27 PM PDT