Evolution and Global Warming are facts, not theories!

Hand Evolution by Megan Godtland

Science and Reason, use them to guide your life.

Microwave Earth by Megan Godtland

Welcome to those interested in Science!


Global Warming Is A Fact! Climate Change Is A Fact!
Burning Fossil Fuels Is The Major Cause Of Global Warming!
Only 24 of 13,950 peer-reviewed climate articles reject climate change!
That's only 0.17 percent! Where would you place your bet?

The year 2015 surpassed 2014 as the hottest year in human history.
And 2016 is already running ahead of 2015!

Sioux Falls Scientists is a group made up of people who love science as well as those interested in science, and scientists themselves. This website provides news articles, movies, courses and books that describe how science works and the latest discoveries of science, especially the latest discoveries in the fields of evolution science and global warming. Located in Sioux Falls, SD, the Sioux Falls Scientists have meetings and social gatherings where people of free thought and open minds meet and share ideas, share what they have learned about science and share what they think about the latest science discoveries.

Our meetings and social gatherings are posted at Sioux Falls Free Thinkers on Meetup.com. Sioux Falls Free Thinkers Upcoming Events can be seen on the Meetup.com Calendar.

The Sioux Falls Scientists group will never have any dues. Membership is not required to attend our meetings. This group will probably never have any formal rules except treating other members and their opinions with respect and giving everyone equal time to speak. This group will never purge members for expressing their opinions or for forming their own group of people interested in science in general or in a particular field of scientific study. The only loose requirement is that members, and those attending our meetings, have an interest in one of the subjects of the Sioux Falls Free Thinkers websites.

Breaking News!

9-27-16 Exclusive: World’s first baby born with new “3 parent” technique
Exclusive: World’s first baby born with new “3 parent” technique
Five-month-old Abrahim Hassan is the first baby to be born using a new version of a controversial technique that uses DNA from three people. Five-month-old Abrahim Hassan is the first baby to be born using a new technique that incorporates DNA from three parents, New Scientist can reveal. “This is great news and a huge deal,” says Dusko Ilic at King’s College London, who wasn’t involved in the work. “It’s revolutionary.” The controversial technique, which allows parents with rare genetic mutations to have healthy babies, has only been legally approved in the UK. But the birth of Abrahim, whose Jordanian parents were treated by a US-based team in Mexico, should fast-forward progress around the world, say embryologists. Abrahim’s mother, Ibtisam Shaban, carries genes for Leigh syndrome, a fatal disorder that affects the developing nervous system. Genes for the disease reside in DNA in the mitochondria, which provide energy for our cells and carry just 37 genes that are passed down to us from our mothers. This is separate from the majority of our DNA, which is housed in each cell’s nucleus. Around a quarter of Shaban’s mitochondria have the disease-causing mutation. While she is healthy, Leigh syndrome was responsible for the deaths of her first two children. Shaban and her husband, Mahmoud Hassan, sought out the help of John Zhang and his team at the New Hope Fertility Center in New York City.

9-26-16 Biggest radio telescope on Earth ready to receive alien signals
Biggest radio telescope on Earth ready to receive alien signals
The 500-metre-wide radio telescope in rural China will let us study galaxies, pulsars and potential alien signals that would be too faint for any other scope. Time to power up the largest radio telescope in the world. China’s Five-hundred-metre Aperture Spherical Telescope, or FAST, began spying on outer space on 25 September. FAST will measure radio waves in space, allowing us to study the rotation of galaxies, monitor the behaviour of pulsars and keep an eye out for signals sent by aliens. It is situated in a remote, mountainous area of Guizhou Province in south-western China, which will help protect it from radio-wave interference, like signals sent by cell phones and Wi-Fi. Construction began in 2011, spurring the relocation of a small village. The telescope will go through a testing and debugging phase before full operation begins, according to the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The telescope, named for the size of its dish – 500 metres across – is about 200 metres wider than its closest rival, the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, built in the early 1960s. That means that it will be able to see dimmer objects than the Arecibo telescope can detect, says Michael Nolan at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona in Tucson. “Being bigger means it collects more light,” Nolan says. “So if you’re looking at a faint signal, it’ll be brighter in the bigger telescope.”

9-25-16 China's colossal radio telescope begins testing
China's colossal radio telescope begins testing
Chinese scientists report that the giant dish, which measures 500m (1,640ft) across, is complete and has received its first signals from space. It will now take three years to calibrate the instrument so it can become fully operational. The facility, part of China's drive to become a science powerhouse, was opened at a ceremony on Sunday. "This is very exciting," Prof Peng Bo, deputy project manager of the Five Hundred Metre Aperture Spherical Telescope (Fast), told the BBC. "For many years, we have had to go outside of China to make observations - and now we have the largest telescope. People can't wait to use it." (Webmaster's comment: It has 3 times the signal gathering capability of the largest American radio telescope.)

9-20-16 Teleportation step toward quantum internet
Teleportation step toward quantum internet
Physicists have set a new bar for quantum teleportation: moving information from one place to another without physically sending anything between the locations. Two separate teams managed to teleport information across several kilometres of optical fibre network in two cities. This form of teleportation differs from that depicted in Star Trek: it involves transferring quantum states of a light particle, not Starfleet officers. But the method offers huge promise. Teleportation over long distances and across optical fibre networks is an important step towards the ultra-secure communications promised by quantum cryptography. And the set-ups described in studies published in Nature Photonics journal could be seen as building blocks for a future "quantum internet".

9-19-16 Quantum teleportation over 7 kilometres of cables smashes record
Quantum teleportation over 7 kilometres of cables smashes record
Two groups have set a new record for quantum teleportation, setting the stage for encoded communications networks that stretch between cities. A new world record for quantum teleportation has been set, bringing quantum communication networks that can stretch between cities a step closer. Two independent teams have transferred quantum information over several kilometres of fibre optic networks. Being able to establish teleportation over long distances is a crucial step towards exchanging quantum cryptographic keys needed for encoding data sent over the fibres. Quantum teleportation is a phenomenon in which the quantum states of one particle can be transferred to another, distant particle without anything physical traveling between them. It relies on a property called entanglement, in which measuring the state of one particle immediately affects the state of its entangled partner, regardless of the distance between them.

9-15-16 China is launching a space station and wants an even bigger one
China is launching a space station and wants an even bigger one
Tiangong-2 is another step in the long march towards China's goal of a permanent space station – and to signal that it won't play second fiddle to the US. China plans to launch its second space station later today, with a two-member crew to follow next month, according to China space agency officials. The launch of Tiangong-2 is another step towards China’s goal of a self-sustaining space station by 2022, and a reminder of the nation’s space prowess. A Long March 2F rocket will launch Tiangong-2 from China’s Gobi Desert at 22:04 local time, coinciding with the lunar Mid-Autumn Festival, Chinese officials announced. It will manoeuvre itself into orbit about 380 kilometres above Earth, then raise its orbit to 393 kilometres when a Shenzhou-11 capsule arrives in October carrying two astronauts, who will live on the station for 30 days. The station is designed for a two-year lifetime, and will dock with China’s first cargo ship, Tianzhou-1, in April 2017. The station is 18.4 metres wide and weighs 8.6 tons, said Wu Ping, deputy director of the China Manned Space Engineering Office, in a press conference broadcast on state-run media. Despite its small size and short lifespan, Tiangong-2 is an important precursor to China’s larger space station, which it aims to launch on a Long March 5 rocket in the next six years, says Dean Cheng, a Chinese space policy expert at the Heritage Foundation in Washington DC. Next year will bring China’s 19th Communist Party Congress, in which prime minister Xi Jinping is expected to win a second term, and a new space station is a sign of the party’s prowess, Cheng adds. “It’s a reminder that China has a manned space programme, including the ability to put its own astronauts into space, something the Americans cannot do,” he says – US astronauts are currently flown by Russia. “It’s about national pride, but it’s also, as the Chinese would put it, ‘very dense in high technology’. And it has military implications, and they are very upfront about this. All of these are elemental to why are they doing this.” (Webmaster's comment: America is losing the space race. Since we only do it for profit for greedy capitalists it must return money to the already super-rich or we won't do it. A for profit space race will also always kill more astronauts because safety costs more money! And it already has!)

9-15-16 China launches second trial space station
China launches second trial space station
China has launched a second experimental space station, as it looks to have a crewed outpost by 2022. The Tiangong 2 blasted off just after 22:00 local time on Thursday from the Gobi desert. Next month, two astronauts will go to the station to conduct research. Beijing has made space exploration a national priority and is the third country, after the Soviet Union and the US, to launch people into space. The mission follows the launch of the Tiangong 1 prototype in 2011, a smaller but also operational model.

9-13-16 Gravitational pull 'has role in quakes'
Gravitational pull 'has role in quakes'
The gravitational forces responsible for high tides may also play a role in triggering major earthquakes, a study suggests. A Japanese research team found that large earthquakes are more likely to occur at times of a full or new Moon. Tides arise from the effects of the gravitational interaction of the Moon and Sun on a rotating Earth. This could put extra strain on geological faults that are already close to slipping, the team reports.

9-12-16 Full and new moons linked to timing of largest, deadliest quakes
Full and new moons linked to timing of largest, deadliest quakes
The tides may have an effect on Earth’s crust, adding stress to earthquake faults and causing larger quakes around the times of the full and new moon. Chalk another one up for the weird effects of the moon. Full and new moons seem to make earthquakes more likely – at least the largest, most devastating quakes. Although the effect is too small to make much difference in preparing for earthquakes in the short term, the discovery could some day provide key insights into the ways that they develop and grow. During full and new moons, the sun, moon and Earth align, meaning that gravity tugs more strongly on the planet’s crustal plates. The resulting “Earth tides” and increased tidal movements in the oceans can add to the stresses on earthquake faults. It therefore seems plausible that they might make the faults more likely to slip. A few studies have previously found hints that this might be true, but the effect of the tides has barely been detectable. Looking at the 12 largest recorded earthquakes – those with a magnitude of 8.2 or more – Ide’s team found that nine occurred on days near new or full moons, when the tidal pull caused high stress across the fault.

9-8-16 Scientists watch as bacteria evolve antibiotic resistance
Scientists watch as bacteria evolve antibiotic resistance
Growth patterns reveal E. coli’s path to becoming superbugs. A petri dish more than a meter long helped scientists visualize the evolution of antibiotic resistance in E. coli bacteria. Bacteria placed on the outer edges had to adapt to higher and higher levels of antibiotics as they moved toward the center of the plate. For bacteria, practice makes perfect: Adjusting to ever higher levels of antibiotics preps them to morph into super resistant strains, and scientists can now watch it happen. A new device — a huge petri dish coated with different concentrations of antibiotics — makes this normally hidden process visible, microbiologist Michael Baym and colleagues report in the Sept. 9 Science. The setup gives a step-by-step picture of how garden-variety microbes become antibiotic-resistant superbugs.

9-7-16 Primate labs give us an edge, says China’s brain project chief
Primate labs give us an edge, says China’s brain project chief
China’s new brain project is uniquely placed to deliver breakthroughs in neuroscience and artificial intelligence. It’s a huge undertaking, one of China’s top scientific priorities. It’s a 15-year project that the National People’s Congress approved in March. The project has three components, or “one body, two wings” as we say. The body is fundamental research into the neural basis of cognitive function. We’ll be using a wide variety of techniques, from profiling gene expression in neurons to brain imaging. The wings are applied science. One will focus on conditions such as depression and addiction, as well as neurodegenerative diseases of old age, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. In an ageing population – life expectancy in Shanghai is 82 and rising – it’s becoming urgent to resist the onset of degenerative diseases. We will also look at autism. This comes from the information technology and artificial intelligence community. They want to initiate projects that are inspired by the brain. There are two aspects to it. One is to use brain-machine interfaces to develop medical applications, such as neuroprosthetics. The idea is to use brain signals to control machines, to help people with serious injuries. Then there is the information technology part. Even though we don’t know how the brain works, there are many features about it that you can incorporate into artificial neural networks or AI systems to improve them. Those researching AI need brain-inspired computational methods, “neuromorphic” chips – microchips inspired by brain architecture – and devices that take lessons from the brain.

8-16-16 Scorchio! Earth's surface is the hottest it has been in history
Scorchio! Earth's surface is the hottest it has been in history
July 2016 is the hottest month ever recorded, smashing the previous record set in July 2011 as Earth hurtles towards 1.5 °C limit. It’s official: in July, the world’s surface was the hottest it has ever been since we starting measuring its temperature, according to NASA. That means it is likely to be the hottest it has been since the last interglacial period 125,000 years ago. This record for the hottest month ever will not last long: as the planet continues warming, it will get smashed again and again. We are on course to pass the limit we are meant to avoid – 1.5 °C above average pre-industrial temperature – in 2024, give or take a few years. Recent months have set a string of records. Globally, February was a whopping 1.32 °C above the 1951 to 1980 average for this month in NASA’s record. July came in at 0.84 °C above the average for July. So how can the planet be hotter now than in February? The reason is that these monthly figures are relative to previous months, rather than absolute. The absolute temperature of the entire surface of the planet changes over the year, being hottest during the northern hemisphere summer. So a hot July is much hotter than a hot February, as the graph in the article showing the seasonal variation in Earth’s temperature reveals.

8-16-16 China launches quantum-enabled satellite Micius
China launches quantum-enabled satellite Micius
China has successfully launched the world's first quantum-enabled satellite, state media said. It was carried on a rocket which blasted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in China's north west early on Tuesday. The satellite is named after the ancient Chinese scientist and philosopher Micius. The project tests a technology that could one day offer digital communication that is "hack-proof". But even if it succeeds, it is a long way off that goal, and there is some mind-bending physics to get past first. (Webmaster's comment: But the Chinese are leading the way!)

8-16-16 China launches world’s first quantum communications satellite
China launches world’s first quantum communications satellite
The Quantum Science Satellite will test quantum entanglement over record distances and could lead to a global network for secure quantum communications. China has just launched the world’s first quantum communications satellite. The 600 kg spacecraft blasted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Center in the Gobi Desert at 0140 local time. The satellite is both an extreme test of the weird properties of quantum mechanics, and a technology testbed for what could be the start of a global, unhackable communications network. Officially known as the Quantum Science Satellite (QUESS), the mission has been renamed Mozi after the ancient Chinese philosopher said to be the first in history to conduct optical experiments. A team led by Jian-Wei Pan of the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei will conduct their own experiments with QUESS, using photons to test quantum entanglement – in which the quantum properties of two particles are linked even when separated – over a record-breaking 1200 kilometres. The team will also test quantum key distribution, a form of secure communication in which the laws of quantum mechanics prevent eavesdroppers from snooping in. If successful, they hope to create a communications network. “For sure, we will launch more satellites to construct a quantum constellation for global coverage,” says Pan. (Webmaster's comment: This acheivement is so cutting-edge it is beyond cutting-edge! The Chinese are racing ahead of America in leading scientific achievements.)

8-5-16 Siberia has been experiencing a heat wave, with temperatures in the 90s that is melting the permafrost, which is releasing large amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

8-3-16 Record-breaking year shows Earth’s climate is in real trouble
Record-breaking year shows Earth’s climate is in real trouble
Our planet's “annual physical” check-up finds it severely ill, with dozens of various climate records broken last year. Dozens of climate records were broken last year, according to a report nicknamed the annual physical for the planet. Soon after 2015 ended, it was proclaimed the hottest on record – and the new report shows the broad extent of other records and near-records set last year. Those include record heat energy absorbed by the oceans and the lowest groundwater storage levels globally, according to the research from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the US. “I think the time to call the doctor was years ago,” said NOAA climate monitoring chief Deke Arndt, co-editor of the report. “We are awash in multiple symptoms.” The 2015 State Of The Climate report examined 50 different aspects of climate, including dramatic melting of Arctic sea ice and glaciers worldwide. A dozen different nations set hottest year records, including Russia and China. South Africa had the hottest temperature ever recorded in the month of October, at 119 °F. “There is really only one word for this parade of shattered climate records: GRIM,” said Georgia Tech climate scientist Kim Cobb. Scientists also said the turbo-charged climate affected walrus and penguin populations and played a role in dangerous algal blooms, such as one off the Pacific Northwest coast. They added that there were brutal heat waves all over the world, with ones in India and Pakistan killing thousands of people. (Webmaster's comment: Again like I've said, we've past the tipping point on Global Warming. People are starting to die!)

8- 3-16 China's elevated bus: Futuristic 'straddling bus' hits the road
China's elevated bus: Futuristic 'straddling bus' hits the road
It may look like something from the future, but China's long-awaited "straddling bus" ran its inaugural test in Hebei province this week. The 2m-high Transit Elevated Bus (TEB) straddles the cars below, allowing them to pass through. Powered by electricity, the bus is able to carry up to 300 passengers in its 72ft (21m) long and 25ft wide body. A video of a mini-model of the vehicle caused great excitement when it was released in May. The trial run was conducted on a 300m-long controlled track in the north-eastern city of Qinhuangdao. The vehicle is expected to reach speeds of up to 60km per hour, running on rails laid along ordinary roads. Up to four TEBs can be linked together. "The biggest advantage is that the bus will save lots of road space," the project's chief engineer, Song Youzhou, told state-media agency Xinhua earlier this year. "The TEB has the same functions as the subway, while its cost of construction is less than one fifth of the subway," another engineer Bai Zhiming told news outlet CCTV. One TEB could replace 40 conventional buses, according to the firm. However, it is unclear when the vehicle will be widely used in Chinese cities. (Webmaster's comment: The U.S. just can not compete. The future is being built in CHINA.)

7-29-16 Heat wave forecast for entire U.S.
Heat wave forecast for entire U.S.
For the first time on record, every square inch of the U.S. is forecast to experience above average temperatures for the next three months, according to a new report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center. Warmer-than-normal temperatures for August, September, and October are particularly likely in the Northeast, South, and Western states—as well as Alaska. Dan Collins, a meteorologist with the climate center, attributes the heat wave to unusually warm ocean temperatures, which will keep the atmosphere hotter than normal over much of the country into early fall. This year is on track to be Earth’s hottest year since record keeping began in the late 19th century.

7-25-16 Universal ancestor of all life on Earth was only half alive
Universal ancestor of all life on Earth was only half alive
The identification of genes likely to belong to the common ancestor of life suggests its biochemistry was incomplete, forcing it to cling to undersea vents. Many of the genes in our cells evolved billions of years ago and a few of them can be traced back to the last common ancestor of all life. Now we have the best picture yet of what that ancestor was like and where it lived, thanks to a study that identified 355 genes that it probably possessed. “It was flabbergasting to us that we found as many as we did,” says William Martin of the University of Dusseldorf in Germany, who led the study. The findings support the idea that the last universal common ancestor (LUCA) lurked in hydrothermal vents where hot water rich in hydrogen, carbon dioxide and minerals emerged from the sea floor. “It’s spot on with regard to the hydrothermal vent theory,” Martin says. He describes LUCA as half-living, because it may have depended on abiotic reactions in the vents to produce many of the chemicals it needed.(Webmaster's comment: Zeroing in on where life began.)

7-22-16 Drought 'shuts down Amazon carbon sink'
Drought 'shuts down Amazon carbon sink'
The vast tropical forests of Amazonia account for almost one-fifth of the world's terrestrial vegetation carbon stock. A recent drought shut down the Amazon Basin's carbon sink by killing trees and slowing trees' growth rates, a study has shown. The term carbon sink refers to the ability of a natural zone to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. In the first basin-wide study of the impacts of the 2010 drought, data showed trees' mortality rate went up while growth rates declined. The Amazon Basin is a key player in the Earth's carbon cycle, holding 17% of the terrestrial vegetation carbon stock. (Webmaster's comment: We've hit the global warming tipping point. The positive feedback has begun!)

7-21-16 Dark matter no-show puts favoured particles on death row
Dark matter no-show puts favoured particles on death row
The LUX experiment has seen no sign of WIMPs, the leading candidate for dark matter. That means the elusive particles are running out of hiding places. One of the world’s leading dark matter detectors has wrapped up a nearly two-year-long search for the mysterious particles, without finding a single whiff. The results suggest that the days may be numbered for the dominant model of dark matter. We’ve known since the 1930s that without dark matter‘s gravitational pull, galaxies would spin themselves apart. This mysterious substance, which does not emit light or interact with normal matter except through gravity, should make up around 85 per cent of the universe’s mass. After ruling out ordinary matter that just doesn’t emit much light, theorists settled on some basic characteristics for their quarry: it should be made up of particles that have some mass and interact weakly with other matter. They called them “weakly interacting massive particles”, or WIMPs, and set about building detectors that could catch them. What’s unknown is how often these particles bounce off each other – their scattering cross section – and their mass. They should also occasionally bump into normal matter. These rare collisions are what experiments like the Large Underground Xenon detector (LUX) are designed to pick up, in order to determine WIMPs’ properties. But today at the Identification of Dark Matter conference in Sheffield, UK, the LUX team announced their final 20-month run, from October 2014 to May this year, ended without a single dark matter detection. That means LUX has ruled out a large number of possible cross sections and masses for WIMPs – to the point where some physicists argue it might be time to abandon the idea all together. (Webmaster's comment: And so do I!)

7-21-16 Latest search for dark matter comes up empty
Latest search for dark matter comes up empty
DDark matter has once again given scientists the slip. Physicists with the Large Underground Xenon experiment, or LUX, report that their final set of data, collected from October 2014 to May 2016, contains no evidence of dark matter, the mysterious substance that makes up more than 25 percent of the universe. The LUX detector, located deep underground in Lead, S.D., uses a tank of 370 kilograms of ultra-pure liquid xenon to detect interacting particles by picking out blips of light they produce. The scientists are scheduled to report their results July 21 in Sheffield, England, at the Identification of Dark Matter conference. (Webmaster's comment: The universe may not be only stranger than we think, but stranger than we CAN think!)

7-20-16 Scientists just put a 3D printer in space. This is a huge deal for space travel.
Scientists just put a 3D printer in space. This is a huge deal for space travel.
Space travel is unpredictable. So much can go wrong, and it's impossible to plan for and respond quickly to all of it. As a result, we're limited in how far we can go, and for how long. But that's changing. Right now, orbiting 250 miles above Earth on the International Space Station, sits a tool that could revolutionize human space travel: a 3D printer. If an astronaut needs something — say they let go of a tool and it floated off, never to be seen again — a design team back on Earth creates blueprints that can be uploaded to the 3D printer's system. The object can then be manufactured onboard the ISS and be in the astronaut's hands within a day. Putting a 3D printer in orbit has huge implications for short- and long-term space travel. Until now, anything astronauts wanted either had to be sent up with them at launch, or delivered later during a resupply mission. Both options are expensive and can take days or weeks. In a dire situation, that's not good enough. But perhaps the biggest impact of 3D printing in space is that it brings us one step closer to becoming truly independent space travelers. It releases us from our Earthly bounds, untethers us from our home planet. We could produce, literally out of thin air, nearly anything, most notably, settlements on other planets.

7-8-16 How NASA restored my faith in humanity
How NASA restored my faith in humanity
This week, NASA's Juno spacecraft entered into orbit around Jupiter, after a 1.7 billion–mile journey. Juno arrived just one second off its scheduled arrival time after five years in space, traveling at 165,000 miles per hour — the fastest human-built object ever. Where in everyday life, or in government, do we see such sheer competence? In modern science, miracles are routine. Physicists have hurled beams of protons at each other with such primordial force that they revealed the elusive Higgs boson that serves as glue for all matter. Astrophysicists have detected gravitational waves produced by the collision of two black holes more than a billion light-years away, by creating antennae of such exquisite sensitivity they register infinitesimal ripples in space-time. Molecular biologists are figuring out how to re-engineer genes. Computer scientists keep shrinking the size of chips and doubling our devices' computing power. None of this is to say that scientists are gods, or that they are immune to the shortsightedness and egotism that plagues our species. Underneath their hyperdeveloped cerebral cortexes, even the most brilliant people have a lizard brain, pulsing with primitive impulses. But they provide proof that not all humans are imbeciles, and that's consolation enough.

7-8-16 The next great race between the U.S. and China will be over computer chips
The next great race between the U.S. and China will be over computer chips
There's a new technology race brewing between the U.S. and China. And if it gets going, it won't be in arms or spaceships or nuclear power. It will be in computer chips. The U.S. total first dropped precipitously in November 2015. Six months later, China had already pulled ahead: 167 supercomputers to America's 165. But here's the real twist: The Sunway TaihuLight was built entirely with Chinese-made chips. Even the Tianhe-2 relied on Intel parts. "It's not based on an existing architecture. They built it themselves," Dongarra continued. (Webmaster's comment: The Chinese are Kick-Ass Engineers and Scientists and it's our ass they are kicking. The Chinese are taking a broad lead in Engineering and in Science. The United States is very rapidly becoming second best.)

7-4-16 China fits final piece on world's largest radio telescope
China fits final piece on world's largest radio telescope
China has fitted the final piece on what will be the world's largest radio telescope, due to begin operations in September, state media report. The 500m-wide Aperture Spherical Telescope, or FAST, is the size of 30 football fields. The $180m (£135m) satellite project will be used to explore space and help look for extraterrestrial life, Xinhua news agency reported. Advancing China's space program remains a key priority for Beijing. (Webmaster's comment: As with everything else we can't match the Chinese when they get going.)

7-4-16 China builds world’s largest radio telescope to hunt for aliens
China builds world’s largest radio telescope to hunt for aliens
The gigantic 500-metre disc will boost the search for extraterrestrial life, dark matter and distant pulsars. Covering an area the size of 30 football pitches, China’s Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) was officially completed this week, making it the largest radio telescope in the world. The huge disc was assembled from 4450 individual triangular panels and dwarfs its nearest rival — the 300-metre-wide Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. It should enable the detection of many astronomical objects and phenomena whose radio signals are too weak and distant to be picked up by smaller telescopes. Oh, and it will listen out for aliens. “The size of this telescope is key to its scientific impact,” says Tim O’Brien at the University of Manchester in the UK. “The bigger the telescope, the more radio waves it collects and the fainter objects it will be able to see.” (Webmaster's comment: The Chinese DID NOT build this radio telescope to search for aliens. They built it to study the far reaches of the universe. If they happen to find aliens alone the way that will just be icing on the cake, but that IS NOT the telescope's purpose.)

6-27-16 China plans for space station with most powerful rocket launch
China plans for space station with most powerful rocket launch
The country has just tested its new Long March-7 rocket and a prototype version of its next-generation crew capsule ahead of its planned space station. The Chinese National Space Administration ramped up its ambitions last weekend with a test of its most powerful rocket yet and a prototype crew capsule, which are both designed to service the nation’s future space station. The Long March-7 rocket blasted off for the first time on Saturday from a new launch site in Wenchang in south China. In the future the medium-sized launch vehicle will propel the uncrewed Tianzhou cargo vehicle into orbit for resupply missions to the Chinese space station, but this time it carried a scaled-down version of its next-generation crew capsule. Chinese astronauts currently ride Shenzhou capsules into orbit, a copy of the Russian Soyuz, but it is now developing a new craft capable of carrying larger crews and going further into space, to the moon and beyond. The prototype launched on Saturday is about half the size of the real thing. (Webmaster's comment: They copy the best, the design with more successful space trips than any other, and it ain't the American design.)

6-24-16 Greenhouse gas surge
Greenhouse gas surge
Climate change crossed a grim threshold this year, as concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere rose to 400 parts per million (ppm)—and researchers say levels won’t drop within the next century. This was the fastest annual CO2 increase since climate scientists began measuring carbon dioxide levels from Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory in 1958, and the first time concentrations of the gas exceeded 400 ppm for an entire year. Driving the surge was a powerful El Niño event that dried tropical lands, slowed the growth of carbon dioxide–absorbing trees, and triggered wildfires that pumped the greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. These effects were exacerbated by human-induced emissions, which have increased by 25 percent over the past two decades (in spite of everything we supposedly have done). Carbon dioxide concentrations have risen steadily from a pre-industrial level of 280 ppm, but haven’t regularly exceeded 400 ppm since 3 million to 5 million years ago, when water levels were up to 80 feet higher than they are today. Breaking the 400 barrier isn’t going to trigger an immediate climate catastrophe, but researchers say it should be a wake-up call. As study author Richard Betts tells The Washington Post, “It’s a reminder of the long-term effects we’re having on the system.”

6-24-16 The heat continues
The heat continues
Last month was the hottest May in recorded history—the 13th straight month of record-breaking heat, federal scientists say. May’s global average of 60.17 degrees Fahrenheit was 1.57 degrees above the 20th-century average.

6-21-16 China wants to share its new space station with the world
China wants to share its new space station with the world
China is launching a rival to the International Space Station, and it's partnering with the UN to let other countries have a go. China is launching a rival to the International Space Station (ISS) – and it wants to share its new toy. The China Manned Space Agency and the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) have announced a partnership that will let UN member states conduct experiments on and even send astronauts to the Chinese space station, due to start operating in the 2020s. The UN and China say they are keen to get more nations involved in space activities. “This is an exciting opportunity to further build the space capacity of developing countries and increase understanding of the benefits space can bring to humankind,” said UNOOSA director Simonetta Di Pippo. China is excluded from the ISS because of a US government ban on its participation. It’s not clear if the other ISS partners – Russia, Japan, Canada and the member countries of the European Space Agency – will have access to China’s station. (Webmaster's comment: They don't need the United States. What good are we to them anyway!)

6-20-16 China builds world's most powerful computer
China builds world's most powerful computer
A new supercomputer from China has topped the latest list of the world's most powerful machines. The 93 petaflop Sunway TaihuLight is installed at the National Supercomputing Centre in Wuxi. At its peak, the computer can perform around 93,000 trillion calculations per second. It is twice as fast and three times as efficient as the previous leader Tianhe-2, also from China, said Top500 which released the new list on Monday. Its main applications include advanced manufacturing, weather forecasting and big data analytics, wrote Jack Dongarra in a paper about the new machine. For the first time since the list began, China has overtaken the US with 167 computers in the top 500 while the US has 165. (Webmaster's comment: We're losing the leading edge in science. The American people are too ignorant to compete with the best. You can't build a modern nation with ignorant people who have dark age beliefs like creationism, intelligent design, and the earth is only 6,000 years old. You can't build a modern nation with ignorant people who on the average read at a 6th grade level, can't alphabetize, can't do basic maths like multiplication and division, can't make change in their heads, and whose only interests in life are being liked on social media, and in getting laid and making babies.)

6-13-16 Carbon nanotubes too weak to get a space elevator off the ground
Carbon nanotubes too weak to get a space elevator off the ground
Simulations show that just a single out-of-place atom is enough to ruin the famed strength of carbon nanotubes, so using them to build a space elevator seems unlikely. But now it seems a single out-of-place atom is enough to cut their strength by more than half. That means one of the more outlandish applications for CNT fibres – a sci-fi space elevator – might never happen. The tubes’ strength is a result of their atomic structure, with walls made from just a single layer of carbon atoms locked in a hexagonal grid. Theoretical studies suggest that a single CNT can have a tensile strength of 100 gigapascals (GPa), making it one of the strongest materials around, but efforts to spin multiple nanotubes into a practical large-scale fibre have only produced ropes with strengths of 1 GPa. (Webmaster's comment: More science fiction debunked by practical reality.)

5-23-16 How China is super-sizing science
How China is super-sizing science
Just a few decades ago China barely featured in the world science rankings. Now, in terms of research spending and the number of scientific papers published, it stands only behind the US. From building the biggest experiments the world has ever seen to rolling out the latest medical advances on a massive scale and pushing the boundaries of exploration from the deepest ocean to outer space - China’s scientific ambitions are immense. Just a few decades ago the nation barely featured in the world science rankings. Now, in terms of research spending and the number of scientific papers published, it stands only behind the US. But despite this rapid progress, China faces a number of challenges. Here are five key science projects that illustrate its enormous strengths, as well as some of its weaknesses, and may help answer the question whether China can become a global leader in research.

5-12-16 Building blocks of life’s first self-replicator recreated in lab
Building blocks of life’s first self-replicator recreated in lab
RNA molecules are thought to be some of the earliest self-replicators that led to life. Now their building blocks have been made to self-assemble in a lab. One of the hardest steps in the origin of life on Earth may be easier than chemists thought. RNA, or something very like it, has long been a strong candidate as the first self-replicating molecule in the origin of life. This is because it can both catalyse chemical reactions and carry genetic information. But chemists first needed to explain how a large, complex molecule like RNA could form spontaneously to begin the process. They had done so for some, but not all, components of the RNA molecule. The biggest sticking point was that until now, no one had identified a plausible way to generate the two purine nucleosides, adenosine and guanosine – A and G in the genetic code.

4-14-16 Greenland is now melting at a potentially catastrophic pace
Greenland is now melting at a potentially catastrophic pace
Time to get extra, extra worried about climate change. The Greenland ice sheet is the second-largest single piece of ice on the planet (second only to the one in Antarctica). Nearly two miles thick in places, it contains some 684,000 cubic miles of ice. And because that is all above sea level — as opposed to floating, like the northern ice cap — if all of the Greenland sheet were to melt, it would raise the world sea level about 20 feet. So it's a bit worrisome that the annual melting season has begun a month earlier than the previous record start — and in spectacular fashion, immediately leaping to a melt extent not usually seen until June. It's a clear and present danger to any low-lying cities, but also a reminder that the uncertainty of future predictions is one of climate change's most threatening aspects. Even the summit of Greenland recently topped 20 degrees Fahrenheit — some 40 degrees above average. (Webmaster's comment: The Greenland ice cap is history. We've reached the tipping point. The point were global warming goes into positive feedback. Expect it to really get worse every year now at an ever increasing rate. Your children will inherit a very different world than you did. We'll all be spending most of our lives trying to stay alive in spite of the HEAT! When the electrical power fails from air conditioner overloads and the air conditioners stop expect thousands to millions to die every time.)

4-12-16 Billionaire pledges $100m to send spaceship
Billionaire pledges $100m to send spaceship
Yuri Milner has backed a plan to research sending tiny, laser-powered spacecraft to the nearest star at 20 per cent of the speed of light. Today, billionaire Yuri Milner, along with physicist Stephen Hawking, announced the largest ever investment in interstellar travel: a $100 million fund to research and prototype a spacecraft capable of reaching the nearest star in just 20 years. Forget starships, though. These “wafersats” would be small enough to fit in your hand, weighing just a few grams. Milner and his scientific advisory team believe recent developments in lasers and nanotechnology should make it possible to send thousands of these probes to Alpha Centauri, where they could beam back pictures and scientific data on any planets in orbit. The plan involves launching spacecraft that are little more than a silicon wafer 10 centimetres across, comparable to the guts of a smartphone. These probes will use metre-wide lightsails of reflective material to capture the momentum from colliding photons and propel themselves along. Sails powered by sunlight are in the works, but these only produce a small amount of thrust. That’s why, back on Earth, a 100 gigawatt laser will shoot into the sky and dump enormous amounts of energy into this sail, accelerating the craft to 20 per cent of light speed – enough to coast the 4 light years to Alpha Centauri in 20 years. (Webmaster's comment: The super-rich have found another way to waste their fortune. Rather than helping people solve real proplems like global warming and global ignorance, they go on ego trips costing 100 million. If it even works half the people now alive will be dead before we hear back from this space junk.)

4-12-16 Hawking backs interstellar travel project
Hawking backs interstellar travel project
Stephen Hawking is backing a project to send tiny spacecraft to another star system within a generation. They would travel trillions of miles; far further than any previous craft. A $100m (£70m) research programme to develop the computer chip-sized "starships" was launched by the billionaire Yuri Milner, supported by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. The concept is to reduce the size of the spacecraft to about the size of a chip used in electronic devices. The idea is to launch a thousand of these mini-spacecraft into the Earth's orbit. Each would have a solar sail. This is like a sail on a boat - but it is pushed along by light rather than the wind. A giant laser on Earth would give each one a powerful push, sending them on their way to reaching 20% of the speed of light.

3-21-16 Weather records broken as world faces alarming levels of change
Weather records broken as world faces alarming levels of change
The lowest extent of Arctic winter sea ice and highest ocean temperatures were among many records broken last year around the world. Last year broke weather records left, right and centre, according to a new statement by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) on the status of global climate in 2015. This included the highest level of ocean warming on record and the most extensive melting of winter sea ice in the Arctic. A billion people in South Asia also suffered an unprecedented killer heat wave. “The alarming rate of change we are now witnessing in our climate as a result of greenhouse gas emissions is unprecedented in modern records,” said Petteri Taalas, secretary-general at the WMO. The WMO says that new temperature records are already being set this year, with average global air temperatures in January and February the highest for those months on record. “The startlingly high temperatures so far in 2016 have sent shockwaves around the climate-science community,” said David Carlson, head of the WMO’s World Climate Research Programme. (Webmaster's comment: We're cooking! The pot is beginning to boil!)

3-8-16 Highest ever annual rise in carbon dioxide levels recorded
Highest ever annual rise in carbon dioxide levels recorded
Another climate record is broken as CO2 levels in Mauna Loa, Hawaii, go up by 3.76 parts per million in just a year, breaching 404 parts per million (See Charts). It is not just temperature records that are falling. The average carbon dioxide level recorded at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, during February 2016 was 404.02 parts per million – 3.76 ppm higher than the average for February 2015, according to preliminary figures. That is the biggest ever increase over a 12-month period. The previous 12-month record at Mauna Loa was 3.70 ppm, from September 1997 to September 1998. A new record has also been set for the biggest rise over a calendar year. Global average CO2 levels (which differ slightly from the figures for Mauna Loa only) rose by 3.09 ppm in 2015. The previous record was a rise of 2.82 ppm, in 1998. The record figures are due to the continued growth in emissions from human activity along with the ongoing El Niño phenomenon, which causes CO2 levels to shoot up because it causes in an increase in wildfires in places such as Indonesia. (Webmaster's comment: It's like I've said, and scientists have said, we've really done nothing yet to significantly reduce the amount of CO2 we are releasing into the atmosphere. People are going to pay with their lives for our lack for foresight, our refusal to take serious action to stop global warming!)

2-22-16 Vaccine halves cancer-causing HPV infections in US teen girls
Vaccine halves cancer-causing HPV infections in US teen girls
The number of people infected with the virus, which causes most cases of cervical cancer, has fallen dramatically since the vaccine's introduction. Vaccination against human papilloma virus has more than halved the number of HPV infections in the US – the leading cause of cervical cancer – despite its relatively low uptake in the country. The growing body of evidence that HPV vaccination works may convince more countries to give the vaccine to teenage boys, as HPV also causes cancers of the mouth, throat and anus, as well as genital warts. “It supports the case to strive for as much coverage as possible,” says Johannes Bogaards of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment at Bilthoven in the Netherlands, who wasn’t involved in the latest study. The vaccine, called Gardasil, was designed to prevent cervical cancer. It works against four strains of HPV, which cause almost all cases of this type of cancer. (Webmaster's comment: So much for vaccine denials.)

2-11-16 Revolution in physics as gravitational waves seen for first time
Revolution in physics as gravitational waves seen for first time
Einstein’s last prediction and one of the most anticipated discoveries in physics has finally been confirmed. The LIGO experiment has seen ripples in space-time, caused by a black hole merger. Gravitational waves, the booming echoes of massive objects moving all over the universe, have been detected for the first time by LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, which was recently upgraded. Gravitational waves are predicted by Einstein’s theory of general relativity, which says that massive objects warp space-time around them. When these objects accelerate, they make gravitational waves: ripples in the fabric of space-time that spread outward, like the wake left behind a boat. We have been pretty sure they exist for a while – their presence was inferred indirectly as far back as 1974 – but none had been observed directly. In a press conference today at the National Press Club in Washington DC, which was simultaneously broadcast to the media and other members of the team that made the discovery, the LIGO collaboration announced that they had finally caught a wave.

2-11-16 Einstein's gravitational waves 'seen' from black holes
Einstein's gravitational waves 'seen' from black holes
Scientists are claiming a stunning discovery in their quest to fully understand gravity. They have observed the warping of space-time generated by the collision of two black holes more than a billion light-years from Earth. The international team says the first detection of these gravitational waves will usher in a new era for astronomy. It is the culmination of decades of searching and could ultimately offer a window on the Big Bang.

1-11-16 Famous Wow! signal might have been from comets, not aliens
Famous Wow! signal might have been from comets, not aliens
A powerful radio signal from space has puzzled astronomers for decades and led to talk of alien signals, but now there might be a more mundane explanation. On 15 August 1977, radio astronomers using the Big Ear radio telescope at Ohio State University picked up a powerful signal from space. Some believe it was our first interception of an alien broadcast. Now it seems something closer to home may have been the source: a pair of passing comets. But in the 40 years since, we’ve never heard anything like it again. Analysis of the signal ruled out a satellite, and a reflected signal from the Earth’s surface is unlikely because regulations forbid transmission in that frequency range. Antonio Paris, a professor of astronomy at St Petersburg College in Florida, thinks the signal might have come from one or more passing comets. Tracing the comets’ positions back in time, Paris says that the possible origin for the Wow! signal falls right between where they would have been.

Of Special Interest

9-21-16 Reality guide: Six radical ideas to change physics
Reality guide: Six radical ideas to change physics
Is all the universe vibrating strings? Or is information the most essential thing? All is up for grabs as we seek solutions for a fuller understanding of reality. Our understanding of the universe has been completely rewritten in the past century – and the obvious gaps we still have in our understanding mean it is likely to be rewritten again. But what ideas provide possible ways forward? Here we explore some of the most promising. For the lowdown on our current best theories of the universe, take a look at Reality guide: The essential laws of cosmology and Reality guide: The essential laws of quantum physics. To read more about the outstanding problems in physics today, turn to Reality guide: Six problems physics can’t explain

  1. Modified gravity: Our theories of gravity have only ever been tested on small scales
  2. Supersymmetry: More particles can explain why the universe is as it is
  3. A fifth force: Could a quintessence banish cosmic ghosts?
  4. String theories: An ultimate theory must subsume quantum theory and relativity
  5. The multiverse: The universe is as it is – because every other universe is out there too
  6. Everything is information: Energy and matter don’t matter – bits are where it’s at

9-21-16 Reality guide: Six problems physics can’t explain
Reality guide: Six problems physics can’t explain
From the dark energy ripping the cosmos apart to the part consciousness plays in creating reality, quantum physics and cosmology retain many mysteries. General relativity and quantum theory are the two pillars of modern physics, peerlessly accurate in their respective realms of the very large and the very small. But where they meet, they produce contradictory answers – and other problems they create mean they provide a far from complete picture. For more on the basics of the theories, take a look at Reality guide: The essential laws of cosmology and Reality guide: The essential laws of quantum physics.

  1. Dark matter: Galaxies rotate too quickly for their visible matter
  2. Dark energy: The universe is flying apart faster and faster
  3. Inflation: Faster-than-light expansion spawns many other universes
  4. Force unification: Our theories of reality don’t get along
  5. Fine-tuning: We can’t explain the numbers that rule the universe
  6. The measurement problem: Do we inadvertently control everything that happens?

9-14-16 Cold fusion: Science's most controversial technology is back
Cold fusion: Science's most controversial technology is back
The claim to have tamed the sun in the lab was debunked 25 years ago. So why are governments and investors now pouring money into it again? SCIENCE has had its share of embarrassing moments. Take Piltdown man, the missing link in human evolution exposed as a fraud after 40 years. Or the Allan Hills meteorite, hailed by US president Bill Clinton in a televised announcement in 1996 because it seemed to contain evidence of life on Mars – only it probably doesn’t. But few scientific embarrassments raised temperatures quite as much as cold fusion. In 1989, University of Utah chemists Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann announced that they had, at room temperature in the lab, tamed the process that powers the sun: nuclear fusion. This would have been an almost unimaginable technological leap. But no one could reproduce the result, at least not provably, reliably, or to general satisfaction. With no convincing theory to back up the observations either, Pons and Fleischmann were ostracised. Cold fusion – and anyone still willing to work on it – was frozen out. Fast forward 25 years, and thaw is in the air. You won’t hear the words “cold fusion”, but substantial sums of money are quietly pouring into a field now known as low-energy nuclear reactions, or LENRs. Earlier this year, the US House of Representatives Committee on Armed Services declared it was “aware of recent positive developments” in developing LENRs and noted their potential to “produce ultra-clean, low-cost renewable energy” and their “strong national security implications”. Highlighting too the interest of Russia, China, Israel and India, it suggested the US could not afford to be left behind, and requested that the Secretary of Defense provide a briefing on the science by 22 September. Cold fusion seems to be coming in from the cold – but why?

9-7-16 Lessons in reality from particles that don’t exist
Lessons in reality from particles that don’t exist
A breed of subatomic particle made from nothing has huge implications for technology – and shows how tenuous reality itself is. WHEN you hear the word “particle”, what image floats into your mind? Chances are you’re thinking small, and then some – like the tiniest billiard ball imaginable. Indivisible chunks of matter pinging off each other in the vast expanses of space, or jostling for position in a crowded chunk of stuff. Chances are, too, you’re nowhere near the vision of particles painted by our best picture of how they work, quantum theory. This says that despite making up stuff that definitely has a size – ourselves, the paper or screen you’re reading this on – particles occupy a point in space precisely zero metres across. While you’re chewing that one over, you might consider how quantum theory also allows these size-zero particles to occupy multiple places at once, or be “entangled” so the state of one becomes inextricably bound up with the state of another. But even that doesn’t prepare you for the latest assault on any common-sense conception of a particle that physicists have been preparing. Strike the billiard balls from the table. An alternative breed of shape-shifting particles can be split up, change their mass, and be combined with other stuff to make more than the sum of the parts. These particles don’t seem to exist in any way that makes sense, and yet we are increasingly bending them to our will. The results are reshaping technology, from superconductors to quantum computers — and helping us probe deeper into the fabric of reality than ever before.

9-5-16 Planet smash-up 'brought carbon to Earth'
Planet smash-up 'brought carbon to Earth'
Much of Earth's life-giving carbon could have been delivered in a planetary collision about 4.4 billion years ago, a theory suggests. Carbon is the key ingredient for all life on our planet. But how Earth acquired its "volatile elements" - which have low boiling points - such as carbon and sulphur remains a subject of some debate. A team now argues that a collision between Earth and an embryonic planet like Mercury could provide the answer. The team suggests Earth merged with a Mercury-like protoplanet. Details of the work appear in the journal Nature Geoscience.

9-1-16 Spoiler alert: Why strange signals are never really from aliens
Spoiler alert: Why strange signals are never really from aliens
Given the wealth of planets in our universe, aliens must be dwelling somewhere, right? Maybe. But we’re never going to get our sci-fi moment, says Jacob Aron. I’m not saying it’s aliens, but… No, I’m just not saying it’s aliens, full stop. It is never aliens. Reports of a strong radio signal picked up by Russian astronomers observing the distant star HD 164595 sent the internet into a frenzy this week. It has now been confirmed as a terrestrial source, perhaps a previously unlisted Soviet military satellite – more spy-fi than sci-fi. The incident is the latest in a seemingly endless string of potential discoveries of aliens, including Proxima b, Tabby’s star and Planet Nine, that have driven a resurgence of interest in SETI not seen since the heady days of ufology, Contact and The X-Files in the 1990s. Like Fox Mulder, we desperately want to believe that aliens are out there. In recent years, this desire has been legitimised by the rise of the exoplanet, one of the most exciting scientific fields around today. When The X-Files first aired in 1993, astronomers had only just made the first tentative claims of planets outside the solar system. When the series returned to our screens earlier this year, astronomers could boast thousands of discoveries, suggesting a universe filled with billions upon billions of worlds, far more than anyone had imagined. But...

8-30-16 Mysterious signal unlikely to be aliens after SETI draws a blank
Mysterious signal unlikely to be aliens after SETI draws a blank
Radio telescopes across the world are swinging toward an intriguing signal that could point toward an intelligent extraterrestrial civilisation, but have come up empty. That’s how quiet the cosmos appears to be despite news that a year-old spike in radio signals could point toward an intelligent extraterrestrial civilisation. The signal, detected on 15 May 2015 by a radio telescope operated by the Russian Academy of Sciences, was so powerful it evoked a radio beacon built by an intelligent civilisation. It appeared to originate from the star HD 164595, in the constellation Hercules, which has one known planet roughly the size of Neptune. SETI astronomers across the globe have jumped into action to try to confirm that signal. But so far, there’s no sign of ET.

8-30-16 Radio signal probably not from extraterrestrials
Radio signal probably not from extraterrestrials
Reports stir excitement, but there’s no sign of alien activity. A signal detected by the Russian RATAN-600 radio telescope has triggered speculation about a message from extraterrestrials. A radio signal detected last year has sparked speculation that an advanced alien civilization is broadcasting from a relatively nearby planet. But recent scans have turned up nothing, suggesting the blip was a false alarm and nothing more than earthly interference. In May 2015, astronomers detected a blast of radio waves coming from the direction of HD 164595, a sunlike star about 94 light-years away in the constellation Hercules. The signal, reported online August 27 on the blog Centauri Dreams, lasted just a few seconds and reached a peak power of about 750 millijansky — fairly strong by radio astronomy standards (1 jansky equals 10-26 watts per square meter per hertz). The researchers aren’t claiming that they found E.T., but they are asking other astronomers to monitor the star — home to a planet at least 16 times as massive as Earth — in case the signal repeats.

8-29-16 Mysterious SETI signal sends alien-hunting telescopes scrambling
Mysterious SETI signal sends alien-hunting telescopes scrambling
An intriguing radio spike spotted last year could point toward an intelligent extraterrestrial civilisation, but follow-up observations so far have come up empty. Are you there, ET? Recent news of a spike in radio signals that could fit the profile for an intelligent, extraterrestrial source has SETI astronomers across the globe swinging their radio dishes in hopes of confirming the detection. Although so far they have all come back empty-handed, two observatories will follow up on the tantalising signal again tonight. The signal was detected on May 15, 2015 by a radio telescope operated by the Russian Academy of Science. It appeared to come from the star HD 164595, a sun-like star located roughly 95 light-years from Earth. The system has only one known planet: a warm Neptune, so called because it is gaseous like Neptune but orbits its star in only 40 days. But the star probably has other planets — perhaps rocky ones — as well. The researchers speculate that such a bright signal, if real, could have been produced by a radio beacon built by an intelligent civilisation. (Webmaster's comment: Don't hold your breath.)

8-25-16 Visits to Proxima Centauri’s planet are probably millennia away
Visits to Proxima Centauri’s planet are probably millennia away
Even alpha particle propulsion is too slow for trip to new world. Proxima Centauri, the nearest member of the Alpha Centauri triple star system, is just a little more than 4 light-years away from the sun. With a proposed propulsion scheme using alpha particle decay, travel time to the star's newly discovered planet would be no shorter than 4,000 years. If you’d like to vacation at the newly found planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, you might want to reconsider. It’s nearby astronomically — a mere 4.2 light-years away — but still too far away for any plausible transportation technology to reach within the current millennium. In fact, it’s a pretty safe bet the Chicago Cubs will win the World Series before any human steps foot on Earth’s nearest exoplanetary neighbor (known as Proxima b). Unless P. Centaurian aliens arrive soon with a “To Serve Man” cookbook, your chances of visiting Proxima b before you die are about the same as sainthood for Ted Bundy. By the time anybody from here goes there, years will have five digits. It took NASA’s New Horizons probe — the fastest spacecraft humans have ever launched — over nine years just to get to Pluto. At its top speed of 16 kilometers per second, New Horizons would need almost 80,000 years to get to Proxima Centauri.

8-19-16 Quantum trick sees two things happen before and after each other
Quantum trick sees two things happen before and after each other
By placing the order of two events into a quantum superposition, physicists have probed the nature of causality. Alice sent a present to Bob. No wait, Bob sent the present to Alice. Actually… they kind of sent it to each other at the same time. A new experiment shows how gift-giving gets confusing when you’re using quantum mechanics to muck about with causality. You may have heard of the double-slit experiment, in which a single particle fired at two small gaps appears to interfere with itself, as if it had passed through both slits at once. That happens because, until it is measured by a detector on the other side, the particle is in a quantum superposition of two states. In some sense it is able to take both paths. It’s weird, and difficult to wrap your head around, but now a team at the University of Vienna in Austria have performed a different kind of experiment that is even more mind-bending: putting the order of events into a superposition. Normally, it’s easy for us to say that event A happens before event B, or vice versa. But Giulia Rubino and her colleagues have created a superposition in which these seemingly contradictory scenarios are in superposition. “If you put together quantum mechanics and causal relations, a situation arises in which there is no pre-defined causal order,” she says. “It’s counter-intuitive.” (Webmaster's comment: We'll probably never understand how this can be. The universe is stranger than we can think. We are smarter than chimps but that probably isn't smart enough.)

8-12-16 Space travel affects heart
Space travel affects heart
Exposure to cosmic radiation during deep-space missions may damage an astronaut’s heart, a new NASA-funded study suggests. Researchers at Florida State University compared the deaths of 35 astronauts who never traveled into space with those of 42 astronauts who ventured beyond Earth’s protective magnetic field, including seven Apollo veterans who flew to the moon between 1968 and 1972. The study found that lunar astronauts were five times more vulnerable to heart disease—43 percent of them died from cardiovascular ailments compared with only 9 percent of the astronauts that didn’t journey to the moon. A follow-up study involving mice reveals that radiation can trigger long-term changes in the lining of blood vessels associated with atherosclerosis, or “hardening of the arteries.” While researchers hesitate to draw definitive conclusions, the findings do have important implications for future missions to Mars or beyond. “We’ve probably underestimated the impact of deep-space radiation,” study author Dr. Michael Delp tells NBCNews.com, “on not just cardiovascular disease but health in general.”

7-25-16 Ancient air bubbles could revise history of Earth’s oxygen
Ancient air bubbles could revise history of Earth’s oxygen
If new findings are correct, rise in gas preceded earliest animals. Ancient air embedded inside rock salt for 815 million years suggests that oxygen was already abundant when the first animals appeared. The microscopic air bubbles were trapped inside rectangular inclusions in the rock. Whiffs of ancient air trapped in rock salt for hundreds of millions of years are shaking up the history of oxygen and life on Earth. By carefully crushing rock salt, researchers have measured the chemical makeup of air pockets embedded inside the rock. This new technique reveals that oxygen made up 10.9 percent of Earth’s atmosphere around 815 million years ago. Scientists have thought that oxygen levels would not be that high until 100 million to 200 million years later. The measurements place elevated oxygen levels well before the appearance of animals in the fossil record around 650 million years ago, the researchers report in the August issue of Geology. “I think our results will take people by surprise,” says study coauthor Nigel Blamey, a geochemist at Brock University in St. Catharines, Canada. “We came out of left field, and I think some people are going to embrace it, and other people are going to be very skeptical. But the data is what the data is.” (Webmaster's comment: And that's what I report here, whether or not anyone likes it, including myself.)

7-22-16 Space: A giant leap for Africa
Space: A giant leap for Africa
Around the world there is growing appetite for space exploration and Africa is no exception. Images from the MeerKAT telescope - currently being built in Carnarvon, South Africa - have been unveiled, showing that it has picked up 13,000 galaxies since construction of the telescope began in 2009. The BBC's Lerato Mbele has been to Carnarvon to find out more about the continent's contribution to the international space race. (Webmaster's comment: But not here in America. We don't want to pay for hard science in Ameica! We just want to be heroes and do the flash in the pan of getting to Mars first. And how will that benefit us in any way? And how will that help us understand anything about the universe in which we live?)

7-18-16 DNA sequencer sent to space station
DNA sequencer sent to space station
Nasa has sent a DNA sequencer to the International Space Station in an effort to help astronauts monitor their own health. The device is designed to show whether DNA sequencing is possible in microgravity. Nasa hopes DNA sequencers could enable the environmental monitoring of microbes to identify potential causes of illness and understand the health of astronauts. Last year, Nasa microbiologist Dr Sarah Castro said of the project: "Currently aboard the space station there is not a real-time method for identifying microbes, diagnosing infectious disease, and collecting any form of genomic and genetic data concerning crew health. "Meeting these needs relies on returning samples from space to Earth and subsequent ground-based analysis, which takes time." The sequencer, which is just 9.5cm long and weighs 120g, is tiny compared to the microwave-sized devices used on Earth. (Webmaster's comment: 40 years ago DNA sequencing used to take a whole laboratory of equipment. Eventually all that was reduced to an instrument the size of a microwave, and now it can be done with an instrument that fits in your hand. Science and Technology is truly amazing.)

7-14-16 Europe backs lunar drilling technology
Europe backs lunar drilling technology
The European Space Agency has signed a contract to build a prototype drill and chemistry lab that will be flown on a Russian mission to the Moon in 2021. Known as Prospect, the instrument package will be a key contribution to Moscow's Luna-Resurs venture. The equipment will pull up sub-surface material and analyse it for the presence of water and other substances. The contract to build the package has been signed with Italian aerospace giant Leonardo-Finmeccanica. That money will however also include the funds for the autonomous navigation system, called Pilot, which will be used to land the probe. "Luna-Resurs is fully planned in the Russian space programme, and they are pushing us to finalise all the agreements to go forward with the project," explained David Parker, Esa's director for human spaceflight and robotic exploration. (Webmaster's comment: While we're chasing probably non-existing bacteria on Mars and on landing people there for some unknown purpose, others - Europe, Russia, and the Chinese - are moving ahead on more practical missions to develop resources on a much, much easier and cheaper to reach Moon.)

7-2-16 The simple problem with complex science
The simple problem with complex science.
Researchers like their studies complicated, but the public needs their daily dose of science to be spoon-fed. Scientists like their studies like Game of Thrones: ridiculously long and unimaginably complex. Big surprise, huh? It's reassuring to know that scientists are big on detail — they are scientists, after all — but news audiences prefer their science a little more like the Big Bang Theory: simple, slapstick, and easy to comprehend. (Webmaster's comment: And what would you expect? Twenty-five years ago the average American was reading and writing at the 8th grade level. But now the average American now reads and writes at the 6th grade level and can't alphabetize. They struggle with multiplication and can't do division, and can't do change in their heads. They struggle to think and solve problems above the 6th grade level. How could one expect this mass ignorance of the average American public to understand anything about the results of science studies and the complexities of science research? It's simply beyond their comprehension! To reach half of the American public you have to dumb your reporting down so 6th graders can understand it.)

6-24-16 This scientist wants to build a teeny-tiny robot to zap diseases in your body
This scientist wants to build a teeny-tiny robot to zap diseases in your body
Pretty much everyone agrees: Ants are annoying. But the tiny pests have a big strength; they produce really big forces for a creature so small. Just think of a row of workers dragging a leaf to their nest for dinner. Now, think of a row of infinitesimal "ants" exerting huge pressure to, say, push their way into living cells and fight off a disease. That's what Jeremy Baumberg, a physicist and professor of nanophotonics at the University of Cambridge, thinks his newest discovery — tiny machines mere billionths of a meter wide — could one day accomplish.

6-24-16 Bad week for Autonomy
Bad week for Autonomy
Autonomy, after a Russian robot designed to learn from experiences escaped from its testing facility and ambled into a busy intersection. After it was returned, it escaped again. “We might have to dismantle it,” one of its creators said.

5-29-16 Alma telescope peers into space from Chile's mountains
Alma telescope peers into space from Chile's mountains
This is Alma, the most powerful radio telescope in the world and one of the most extraordinary places in Chile. Perched in the Andes mountains, close to the borders with Argentina and Bolivia, it consists of 66 dishes, or antennas, of up to 12m in diameter. Single telescope of revolutionary design, composed of 66 high-precision antennas located at 5,000m altitude on the Chajnantor plateau.

5-25-16 E-ELT: Contract to construct giant telescope
E-ELT: Contract to construct giant telescope
A contract has been signed that will lead to the construction of one of this century's key astronomical facilities. The European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) will be the biggest optical and infrared observatory ever built, with a primary mirror nearly 40m across. The Italian-led ACe Consortium will manufacture, transport, and assemble the E-ELT's major structural elements - its support frame and protective dome. It should enable the Chile-based telescope to see "first light" in 2024.

5-19-16 This is the world's longest-running science experiment
This is the world's longest-running science experiment
It's hard to wrap our minds around it, but there are experiments that scientists have filled their entire lifetimes with — multiple lifetimes, in fact. While a 69-year-old experiment involving dropping a lump of tar into a jar (a process captured on camera for the first time three years ago) gets the nod for longest uninterrupted duration, there are at least two projects that started before it and keep going today, though with some stops and starts along the way. The older of the two, and grand champion for years-in-progress, is the Oxford Electric Bell, a.k.a. the Clarendon Dry Pile, a project birthed in 1840 — a whopping 176 years ago. The bell, as the name suggests, is an experimental electric bell kept at the University of Oxford's Clarendon Library. It was built by Watkin and Hill, an instrument-making firm in London, and purchased by Robert Walker, a professor at Oxford. In 1840, he set it ringing. Today the bell still tolls.

4-28-16 China's push for driverless cars accelerates
China's push for driverless cars accelerates
In the race for driverless car technology, Chinese companies are taking big strides competing with the likes of Google and Tesla. "There is a lot more going on in China than many in the West have realised," car expert Prof David Bailey of the Aston Business School tells the BBC. (Webmaster's comment: China graduates 30 times the number of engineers every year over the United States. And they have a very strong work ethic. They do not intend to be less than number one.)

4-26-16 Second EU radar Sentinel satellite launches
Second EU radar Sentinel satellite launches
The European Space Agency has launched a second radar satellite into the EU's new Sentinel constellation. Sentinel-1b was carried into orbit by a (Russian) Soyuz rocket that flew out of Sinamary in French Guiana. The new platform will monitor shipping lanes for pollution and icebergs, and survey land surfaces for evidence of subsidence - to name just three of the myriad applications for radar imagery. Sentinel-1b will work alongside the 1a spacecraft, which was launched in 2014. Operating in the same orbit but separated by 180 degrees, the pair will be able to map the entire Earth every six days. This promises an avalanche of data - some five terabits per day - and both satellites are carrying laser communications systems to help get all the information to the ground. The satellites fit into a programme the European Commission calls Copernicus, which draws together all sorts of data about the health of the Earth, not just from orbit. Copernicus will support a multitude of services, ranging from air quality updates to crop-performance monitoring, from water-resource management to transport infrastructure planning. (Webmaster's comment: European scientists and Russian engineering. A hard combination to beat!)

3-18-16 The Syrian cosmonaut turned refugee
The Syrian cosmonaut turned refugee
Muhammed Faris is just one of millions of Syrian refugees, said Rosie Garthwaite in The Guardian (U.K.), but not long ago he was a cosmonaut and national hero. In 1987, Faris became the first professional Arab cosmonaut to go into space, traveling with a Soviet team to the Mir space station. “Those 7 days, 23 hours, and 5 minutes changed my life,” says Faris. “When you have seen the whole world through your window, there is no us and them, no politics.” Faris returned to Syria a hero; streets, a school, and an airport were named after him. Full of optimism, Faris asked the Syrian leader, Hafez al-Assad, to fund a national space science institute. Assad said no. “He wanted to keep his people uneducated and divided, with limited understanding. That’s how dictators stay in power.” Instead, Faris was forced to teach young men how to fly fighter jets at the air force college, and then, when Assad died, to provide his son, Syria’s new leader Bashar al-Assad, with military advice. When the 2011 protests turned into civil war, Faris fled over the Turkish border with his wife and three children. He now watches Syrian events from Istanbul with mounting despair. “From afar, when the Earth was so small, I really felt in my heart I could make a big difference in the world,” he says. “It has not been easy.” (Webmaster's comment: Least we forget who had the first space station and who first hosted astronauts from other countries.)

3-14-16 The immortalist: Uploading the mind to a computer
The immortalist: Uploading the mind to a computer
While many tech moguls dream of changing the way we live with new smart devices or social media apps, one Russian internet millionaire is trying to change nothing less than our destiny, by making it possible to upload a human brain to a computer, reports Tristan Quinn. "Within the next 30 years," promises Dmitry Itskov, "I am going to make sure that we can all live forever." It sounds preposterous, but there is no doubting the seriousness of this softly spoken 35-year-old, who says he left the business world to devote himself to something more useful to humanity. "I'm 100% confident it will happen. Otherwise I wouldn't have started it," he says. (Webmaster's comment: Science is going to beat death. It's only a matter of time.)

3-14-16 Mars TGO mission heads for Red Planet on methane quest
Mars TGO mission heads for Red Planet on methane quest
Europe and Russia have launched a joint mission to the Red Planet. The joint European-Russian mission carries the most sensitive instruments ever sent to look for potentially biological gases on Mars. The satellite, called the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), lifted off from Baikonur in Kazakhstan at 09:31 GMT. The probe will investigate whether the methane in the world's atmosphere is coming from a geological source or is being produced by microbes. If all goes well, the two space powers expect to follow up this venture with a rover, to be assembled in the UK, which will drill into the surface. (Webmaster's comment: High tech from leading space explorers.)

3-11-16 360-degree tour of Cern's Large Hadron Collider
360-degree tour of Cern's Large Hadron Collider
360 video means that you can look in any direction inside the video. Once you have pressed play, use your mouse to move up, down or sideways. If you watch it on the YouTube app on your mobile phone or tablet you can move your device to control your view. You can lift, twist and turn to see whichever view you prefer.

3-7-16 ExoMars probe set to sniff out signs of life on the Red Planet
ExoMars probe set to sniff out signs of life on the Red Planet
The joint European-Russian mission carries the most sensitive instruments ever sent to look for potentially biological gases on Mars. It has taken a while, but next week Europe and Russia are going back to Mars. On 14 March the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) will blast off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan aboard a Proton rocket. Its mission: to understand the planet’s atmosphere and search for signs of biological and geological activity. Assuming all goes to plan, the craft will arrive at the Red Planet on 19 October. It carries a small lander named Schiaparelli that will touch down on the surface, giving the European Space Agency and Roscosmos much-needed landing practice for a future ExoMars rover, due to launch in 2018.

2-19-16 India set to join hunt for gravitational waves with its own LIGO
India set to join hunt for gravitational waves with its own LIGO
The Indian government has granted initial approval for the construction of LIGO-India, a gravitational wave detector that will work with the two in the US. Einstein’s handiwork is making waves across the globe. The Indian government has given initial approval for the construction of LIGO-India, a detector that will complement the two US instruments that last week announced the historic first sighting of gravitational waves. Gravitational waves are ripples in space-time caused by events like the merger of two black holes. The two US detectors, one in Washington and the other in Louisiana, saw the signal of a merger just a few milliseconds apart, but with just two detectors it cannot pin the source down in the sky. A third LIGO detector will allow researchers to triangulate gravitational wave sources and train other telescopes on the same part of the sky to learn more. (Webmaster's comment: A country where tax money is being spent on cutting-edge science, satellites, nuclear weapons, and the rockets for them, but where half of the population doesn't have toilets, a quarter of the people are illiterate, gang rape is accepted by many males as justified, and 8,000 wives are burned alive every year when their husband dies.)

2-16-16 China to relocate 10,000 people to make way for telescope
China to relocate 10,000 people to make way for telescope
China is preparing to relocate nearly 10,000 people to make way for the world's largest radio telescope. Residents will be moved from their homes in the south-western province of Guizhou to prevent interference with the telescope's electromagnetism. The project's lead scientists told China's state news agency that the telescope would further the search for intelligent life in the universe. The 500m-wide Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) is due to be operational this year. FAST, built at a cost of 1.2bn yuan, will dwarf the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico as the world's largest radio telescope, which is only 300m in diameter. As well as upping investment in astronomy, Beijing is accelerating its multi-billion-dollar space exploration programme, with plans for a permanent orbiting station by 2020. (Webmaster's comment: China's taking the lead again.)

2-8-16 Homebrew biology kit brings synthetic biology to the masses
Homebrew biology kit brings synthetic biology to the masses
A desktop bioreactor that lets you hack DNA to create glow-in-the-dark paint, and soon bread and beer, hits the market. Ever wanted to create your own organism? It’s now easier than ever. Just take a dash of E. coli, a pinch of jellyfish DNA, stir well and heat gently. As it bubbles away in a vial mounted on top of the stylish wooden box, the mixture slowly turns red. When done, this bioluminescent paint made by your customised bacteria will glow like a firefly. At an event for synthetic biology start-ups in San Francisco on 4 February, Amino Labs showed off the Amino One, a tabletop bioreactor aimed at the consumer market. The kit shrinks several lab components on to a device the size of a briefcase. Beginners will be able to modify and grow bacterial cells to create paint, medicinal compounds, scents and even foodstuffs such as yogurt, beer and bread. The Amino One comes with a couple of basic recipes that walk users through the steps needed to create their first custom bacteria. To make red bioluminescent paint, for example, you simply insert the kit’s K-12 strain of E. coli and jellyfish DNA into the bioreactor. The Amino One then raises the temperature inside the chamber, prompting the bacterial cells to open their membranes and allow the DNA in. (Webmaster's comment: Shades of the movie "Blade Runner." How will this play out over the next 100 years? Scary!)

What is our Universe Made of?

9-9-16 The Milky Way’s ‘dark twin’
The Milky Way’s ‘dark twin’
Astronomers have spotted a “dark twin” of the Milky Way, a discovery that blows apart their already patchy understanding of dark matter. Located 300 million light-years from Earth, Dragonfly 44 is about the same size as our own galaxy, but contains a tiny fraction of its stars. Only about 0.1 percent of the newly discovered galaxy is made up of ordinary, visible matter like stars—100 times less than the Milky Way. The rest apparently consists of dark matter, the elusive, mysterious substance that astrophysicists believe makes up 80 percent of the matter in the universe. Scientists have never actually seen dark matter; its existence is predicated on the theory that without its gravitational effect, stars and other celestial objects would drift apart rather than clump together in galaxies. Dragonfly 44 isn’t the first dark galaxy astronomers have discovered, but it’s the only one comparable in size to the Milky Way. “We thought we had sort of figured out what the relationship is between galaxies and dark matter,” the study’s lead author, Pieter van Dokkum, tells CNN.com. “This discovery turns that on its head. It means we don’t understand, kind of fundamentally, how galaxy formation works.” Physicists hope to discover other dark galaxies, to increase their understanding of one of the most puzzling building blocks of the universe.

9-6-16 Supersymmetry’s absence at LHC puzzles physicists
Supersymmetry’s absence at LHC puzzles physicists
Lack of new particles suggests need to consider new theories. New data from the LHC has revealed no hints of new particles, despite physicists’ high hopes. A beautiful but unproved theory of particle physics is withering in the harsh light of data. For decades, many particle physicists have devoted themselves to the beloved theory, known as supersymmetry. But it’s beginning to seem that the zoo of new particles that the theory predicts —the heavier cousins of known particles — may live only in physicists’ imaginations. Or if such particles, known as superpartners, do exist, they’re not what physicists expected. New data from the world’s most powerful particle accelerator — the Large Hadron Collider, now operating at higher energies than ever before — show no traces of superpartners. And so the theory’s most fervent supporters have begun to pay for their overconfidence — in the form of expensive bottles of brandy. On August 22, a group of physicists who wagered that the LHC would quickly confirm the theory settled a 16-year-old bet. In a session at a physics meeting in Copenhagen, theoretical physicist Nima Arkani-Hamed ponied up, presenting a bottle of cognac to physicists who bet that the new particles would be slow to materialize, or might not exist at all.

8-26-16 A fifth force of nature?
A fifth force of nature?
The Standard Model of physics holds that four fundamental forces govern the interaction of all matter in the universe: gravitation, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces. But physicists in Hungary have discovered a previously unknown subatomic particle that suggests the presence of a fifth force of nature, Space.com reports. Their findings may turn the Standard Model on its head and shed light on a range of mysterious phenomena—including dark matter and dark energy, which account for 85 per­cent of the total mass of the universe. The researchers had originally been trying to hunt down “dark photons,” hypothetical particles that physicists theorize may be indicators of dark matter, which is impossible to detect directly because it neither absorbs nor emits light. They didn’t find dark photons, but they did discover a “protophobic X boson,” a strange particle that only interacts with electrons and neutrons at very close range. Since it’s not a mass-bearing particle and isn’t governed by any of the four known forces, the researchers proposed that it could be evidence of a fifth fundamental force of nature. “If true, it’s revolutionary,” says astrophysicist Jonathan Feng, author of a University of California at Irvine study that analyzed the Hungarian team’s results. “If confirmed by further experiments, this discovery of a possible fifth force would completely change our understanding of the universe.”

8-25-16 Ghost galaxy is 99.99 per cent dark matter with almost no stars
Ghost galaxy is 99.99 per cent dark matter with almost no stars
We've spotted a galaxy that weighs almost as much as the Milky Way yet has 1 per cent the number of stars, suggesting it’s chock-full of dark matter. The Milky Way has a dark twin. A dimly lit massive galaxy, called Dragonfly 44, consists of a record 99.99 per cent dark matter, and could help rewrite our theories of galaxy formation. Dragonfly 44 is the Milky Way’s doppelgänger in mass, but its opposite in number of stars and structure. “If you take the Milky Way and for every 100 stars you keep only one, then you’re getting pretty close,” says Pieter van Dokkum at Yale University. “You also have to put those remaining stars in a blender and mix them all up into a blob.” This galaxy doesn’t have the iconic spiral structure of the Milky Way nor is it a flat disc.

8-9-16 IceCube telescope in Antarctica rules out sterile neutrinos
IceCube telescope in Antarctica rules out sterile neutrinos
A search for a fourth kind of neutrino, a ghostly particle that could explain dark matter, has turned up empty. A particle ghost has been laid to rest. Physicists have spent decades hunting for “sterile neutrinos”, a fourth flavour in addition to the three known neutrinos, of which trillions pass through your body unnoticed every second. Now they’re pretty sure it doesn’t exist. The IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the South Pole is the latest to join the hunt. A new analysis of almost 100,000 neutrino events hitting its detectors, which are buried beneath the Antarctic surface, has found no sign of the sterile version, concluding with 99 per cent certainty that it doesn’t exist. Theorists lauded sterile neutrinos for their potential to explain both dark matter, the mysterious particles though to make up the bulk of stuff in our universe, and why the universe began with an imbalance of matter and antimatter that prevented the cosmos from annihilating itself from the start. Sterile neutrinos would also extend the standard model of particle physics, hinting at a new direction for our understanding of particles and the forces that govern them. Sterile neutrinos were already killed off in 2007 when an experiment called MiniBooNE failed to see any evidence for them, but rose from the dead in 2010 when the experiment found signs of an antimatter version of the particle. Data from the Planck space telescope in 2013 also ruled out sterile neutrinos. Now it seems that IceCube has landed the killing blow.

8-5-16 New particle hopes fade as LHC data 'bump' disappears
New particle hopes fade as LHC data 'bump' disappears
Hopes for the imminent discovery of a particle that might fundamentally change our understanding of the Universe have been put on hold. Results from the Large Hadron Collider show that a "bump" in the machine's data, previously rumoured to represent a new particle, has gone away. The discovery of new particles, which could trigger a paradigm shift in physics, may still be years away. All the latest LHC results are being discussed at a conference in Chicago.

8-5-16 Upon further review, suspected new particle vanishes
Upon further review, suspected new particle vanishes
Hints of discovery fade away with new data from Large Hadron Collider. Two experiments at the Large Hadron Collider, ATLAS and CMS, have seen no evidence of a new particle in their most recent data, despite previous hints. Particle physicists’ hopes have been dashed. A possible new particle hasn’t been sighted in new data from the Large Hadron Collider, scientists reported August 5 at the International Conference on High Energy Physics. Evidence of the particle, in the form of a bump on a plot — an excess of events at a particular energy — popped up after the LHC, at the European particle physics laboratory CERN near Geneva, began smashing together protons at a newly boosted energy of 13 trillion electron volts. The hint appeared in collisions that produced two high-energy photons. The bump “unfortunately is not confirmed by the new data,” CMS physicist Chiara Ilaria Rovelli of the National Institute for Nuclear Physics in Rome said in a session at ICHEP. Similarly, in ATLAS data, “there is no significant excess seen,” said CERN physicist Bruno Lenzi of the ATLAS collaboration.

8-5-16 Physicists mourn as hinted particle vanishes in leaked LHC data
Physicists mourn as hinted particle vanishes in leaked LHC data
Results from the CMS and ATLAS collaborations were due today, but a paper accidentally posted last night reveals the Large Hadron Collider is yet to find new particles. For nearly eight months, physicists have been waiting for confirmation of a potential new particle that could change our entire view of physics. Now it seems the hinted particle was nothing more than a statistical blip. In December 2015, the ATLAS and CMS collaborations at CERN announced that they had each found a bump in their data at an energy of 750 gigaelectronvolts (GeV): an excess in the number of photon pairs produced inside the Large Hadron Collider, compared with predictions from the standard model of particle physics. A week after the announcement, theorists had written over 100 possible explanations; today, there are over 500. Nearly all of these papers posit the existence of a particle with a mass of 750 GeV or higher whose decay created the extra photons. Because this particle would have been outside the standard model of particle physics, it could have forced a reconsideration of how particles and forces interact. Sadly, it seems that the 750 GeV particle wasn’t meant to be. Physicists at the International Conference on High Energy Physics (ICHEP) in Chicago were due to reveal the latest data on the excess of photon pairs at 750 GeV later today, but a paper accidentally posted online last night by the CMS collaboration states that their new round of data found no extra photons. This suggests the earlier hints were just a statistical fluke.(Webmaster's comment: The end of an era. The human super chimp will have to evolve again to get to the next step.)

8-3-16 Ghost particles may explain why gravity is so surprisingly weak
Ghost particles may explain why gravity is so surprisingly weak
Gravity is weaker than it should be – a new theory suggests that’s because the universe is full of invisible particle families which ignore each other. A new theory claims that the cosmos is full of unseen particle families that don’t interact with each other. If true, the model could explain why gravity is so puzzlingly weak. The idea is an alternative to supersymmetry, a theory in which every known particle has a heavier partner. Such superparticles would explain why the mass of our familiar set of particles is low enough to account for gravity’s weakness. But the particle-smashing Large Hadron Collider, near Geneva, Switzerland, still hasn’t seen any superparticles, despite years of searching. Maybe that’s because we need not just one set of partner particles, but many, says Nima Arkani-Hamed at Princeton University.

7-21-16 Dark matter no-show puts favoured particles on death row
Dark matter no-show puts favoured particles on death row
The LUX experiment has seen no sign of WIMPs, the leading candidate for dark matter. That means the elusive particles are running out of hiding places. One of the world’s leading dark matter detectors has wrapped up a nearly two-year-long search for the mysterious particles, without finding a single whiff. The results suggest that the days may be numbered for the dominant model of dark matter. We’ve known since the 1930s that without dark matter‘s gravitational pull, galaxies would spin themselves apart. This mysterious substance, which does not emit light or interact with normal matter except through gravity, should make up around 85 per cent of the universe’s mass. After ruling out ordinary matter that just doesn’t emit much light, theorists settled on some basic characteristics for their quarry: it should be made up of particles that have some mass and interact weakly with other matter. They called them “weakly interacting massive particles”, or WIMPs, and set about building detectors that could catch them. What’s unknown is how often these particles bounce off each other – their scattering cross section – and their mass. They should also occasionally bump into normal matter. These rare collisions are what experiments like the Large Underground Xenon detector (LUX) are designed to pick up, in order to determine WIMPs’ properties. But today at the Identification of Dark Matter conference in Sheffield, UK, the LUX team announced their final 20-month run, from October 2014 to May this year, ended without a single dark matter detection. That means LUX has ruled out a large number of possible cross sections and masses for WIMPs – to the point where some physicists argue it might be time to abandon the idea all together. (Webmaster's comment: And so do I!)

7-21-16 Latest search for dark matter comes up empty
Latest search for dark matter comes up empty
DDark matter has once again given scientists the slip. Physicists with the Large Underground Xenon experiment, or LUX, report that their final set of data, collected from October 2014 to May 2016, contains no evidence of dark matter, the mysterious substance that makes up more than 25 percent of the universe. The LUX detector, located deep underground in Lead, S.D., uses a tank of 370 kilograms of ultra-pure liquid xenon to detect interacting particles by picking out blips of light they produce. The scientists are scheduled to report their results July 21 in Sheffield, England, at the Identification of Dark Matter conference. (Webmaster's comment: The universe may not be only stranger than we think, but stranger than we CAN think!)

6-7-16 Elon Musk's artificial intelligence
Elon Musk's artificial intelligence
Twitter has been aflame with a pronouncement from Elon Musk. According to the visionary entrepreneur, the odds are very high that we're all living in a version of the Matrix. (Webmaster's comment: This idea is just like God. Just because you can imagine it doesn't make it so!)

6-3-16 Is Elon Musk right, are we really living in a simulated cosmos?
Is Elon Musk right, are we really living in a simulated cosmos?
Why is technology evangelist Elon Musk so convinced that we are part of some giant computer simulation, wonders Geraint Lewis. Are we, and the universe we inhabit, a simulation? SpaceX and Tesla Motors supremo Elon Musk thinks so, telling us that there is a billions to one chance that we actually exist physically: it is much more likely that we are data swirling around in someone’s immense supercomputer. What led him to this strange conclusion? There are some intriguing properties of the universe that make us stop and think about the possibility of a simulation, in particular the masses of fundamental particles, such as electrons and quarks, and the strengths of the forces that dictate their interactions. Growing evidence tells us that if the universe had been born with masses and forces only slightly different to the ones we have, the results would have been catastrophic, with a dead and sterile cosmos. Perhaps we are only here because some higher dimensional programmer “fine-tuned” our fundamental laws to produce some interesting results. (Webmaster's comment: Nuts! The universe is what it is. We are just along for the ride.)

11-30-15 Chinese satellite to shine a light on mysterious dark matter
Chinese satellite to shine a light on mysterious dark matter
Shadowy hints of dark matter's true nature are set to be boosted by a new particle and gamma-ray detector being launched into orbit. An imminent Chinese rocket launch is set to give us a fresh look at dark matter. The Chinese Academy of Sciences is readying the rocket, which will carry the brand new Dark Matter Particle Explorer (DAMPE) satellite. Lift-off is scheduled for 17 December in Inner Mongolia, with DAMPE expected to start beaming back data a few weeks later. It will scour the cosmos for protons, electrons and gamma rays, which could reveal smoking-gun signals of dark matter. “DAMPE will look for signals of dark matter annihilation or decay in the cosmic-ray and gamma-ray data,” says Yizhong Fan, a member of the DAMPE team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Nanjing. (Webmaster's comment: It's not just the Americans, Europeans, and Russians anymore, the Chinese are now matching them wtih advanced research satellites.)

8-24-15 What is our Universe made of?
What is our Universe made of?
We only know about a small fraction of the matter in the Universe. The rest is a mysterious substance known only as dark matter. (Webmaster's comment: An excellent expanation of the "Dark Matter Problem." We think it's there because of its effects on galaxies, but we have no idea what it's made of or how to detect it other than by those effects. It seems to make up most of the universe while the stuff we see makes up only a small percentage. Read this entire article and you'll be as knowledgeable about dark matter as anyone.)

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Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.
Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent!

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