Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Lucid Storm Blog Name Change

LucidStorm is now Humbleplanet. I don't think anyone reads this anyway, but if you do, all the archived posts and any new posts will appear at :

humbleplanet.blogspot.com

Monday, August 17, 2009

Pictures of Now Extinct Animals

Many factors can be responsible for the obliteration of a species. Even subtle ones. While we, as humans, haven't been resposible for the extinction of even several decimals of a percent of all the past species, I would say that even one extinction is enough. Overhunting is the chief factor in many of these extinctions.

At worst it should have us evaluate our effect on the environment in both biotic and abiotic realms. At best it should prompt action now when the will and education neccessary to avert such tragedies is missing.

I still have some hope that a few Tasmanian Tigers have escaped the peril of extinction. But maybe I've been watching too much MonsterQuest.

http://ecoworldly.com/2009/04/02/11-extinct-animals-that-have-been-photographed-alive/

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Roger Ebert: Quantum Mechanics & Reincarnation

Roger Ebert on quantum mechanics. Yes, that Robert Ebert. And not just quantum mechanics, but the idea of reincarnation as well. A thought experiment if you will. Because as strange as things get in the purple haze of subatomic behavior you may find yourself neither here nor there, but BOTH here and there, ... and then entirely nowhere.

http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2009/07/everymans_guide_to_quantum_the.html

Robert Anton Wilson on Quantum Mechanics (linked to in Ebert's blog)


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Photo of the Day - Shuttle

One of the Space Photos of the Week from National Geographic.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Twitter: Asteroid Watch

I'm not a fan of Twitter really for the mere fact that "tweeting" isn't something I want to admit being involved with. It just seems, well, ... I don't know. That word, .. "TWEET!!". I guess I just need to get over it. Either way Twitter is terribly popular and is for the most part the ultimate time-waster. But it has room for some items of interest.

Lately I've come across a new Twitter feed from JPL:

AsteroidWatch

It gives a sigh, .. "tweet" about any space rock within 750,000 miles of Earth. So if you want to keep close tabs on neighborhood, so to speak, you might follow this. I'll keep it posted on the sidebar and add any other Twitter feeds I find relevant. Let me know if you have any you follow.

Lasers, Aluminum, and New States of Matter

How many states of matter are there??

http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/scientistsclaimnewstateofmattercreated

By using lasers focusing on atoms of Aluminum scientists have made the atoms of the metal transparent. While we won't be at the helm of invisible starships any time soon, the research seems to open avenues that may lead us to better energy sources. And while we have a "we know it all" mentality sometimes concerning scientific discovery, this is just one more story that says "No, we don't know it all". Perhaps we are just at the cusp of a new practical scientific revelation.

"Transparent aluminum is just the start," Wark said. "The physical properties of the matter we are creating are relevant to the conditions inside large planets, and we also hope that by studying it we can gain a greater understanding of what is going on during the creation of 'miniature stars' created by high-power laser implosions, which may one day allow the power of nuclear fusion to be harnessed here on Earth."

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Who Owns the Moon, .. we had better decide

Who owns it?? Nobody, .... and everybody. It seems the "law" concerning the moon is a bit complicated. The US has plans to go back and establish a base. Other countries have plans as well. When we drew up the Moon Treaty there were only two space faring nations, the US and Russia. But now there are more. And sooner than later these nations want to go to the moon. And do what?? I don't know.

We also have people that say the own the moon and so forth selling one acre plots of land. ASnd by the looks of it, people have made some money in the process. You can buy moon property right now at a cost of $18.95 to $37.50 an acre depending where you are. Check it out here.

But now I see this: http://moonpublicity.com/mp/


If I look up someday and see a Walmart sign in the half moon phase, I'll know that human beings have gone completely mad. Are we really about to scrape the moon in an effort of global marketing. Sigh....

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

40 Years and Counting, .... we goin back??

It's been 40 years now since this photo was taken. I can't begin to imagine the emotion involved in looking back onto our home planet. Everything we know, love, hate, and experience is there. Well, .. except for those moments in space. Michael Collins said that he wished all the world leaders were able to go to the moon to look back on our planet. To look back at that magnificent blue pearl without all the borders, fragmented ideologies, and tension that humans place on it. He said he thought it could have a great effect on how our leaders look at the world and perhaps provoke positive global change. This kind of experience has the power to change your worldview. I can believe it.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Ali G - Science

"Does you use a toilet or does you just drop it in a hole??" - Ali G

For reasons unknown I am finding this funny at this moment. At least Kent Hovind doesn't get to rant too much about evolution.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Real Search for ET

Talk about searching for ET and you might get a few giggles. We have this strange duality when it concerns aliens. Usually when anyone speaks of finding ET it concerns UFO's or groups like SETI. There is still a curtain of laughter surrounding the issue for a number of reasons. But one look at a galaxy dotted Hubble image and the laughter begins to wane and a sobering question lingers. Out of the billions and billions (think Sagan) of galaxies and suitable stars is there anything else?? AnyONE else?? AnyTHING else??

I happen to think that undoubtedly there is. And with newer and more advanced techniques we come closer to finding out. We are in an era where we can utilize the vast amount of data collection to analyze the potential for life. And a this new search method should help. Keep your eyes on the skies and you bookmarks on scientists like these because before you know it, the world as we know it may change. What happens next is anyones guess.

The Search for ET just got Easier

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Virus Battery

I missed this story awhile back but it may turn out to be an important one. Scientists at MIT have developed a battery where the anodes and cathodes are built by specially engineered viruses. There is currently more research being done on the technology to develop higher voltages.

It may be early to say that this could cause a battery revolution, but the potential may be there. The production of these batteries uses no toxic or harmful materials. The process takes place at room temperature. And no, we can't be infected by the viruses. Did I mention they are cheaper to produce??

The only down side is that the number of times they can be charged is less than the lithium batteries. But to compensate for that they have longer charges. We'll have to wait and see but it is ideas like these that we need to cure our increasing energy needs.

http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2009/virus-battery-0402.html

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Friday, April 10, 2009

Did you Learn about Him in School??


More information about the guy you never learned about in school than you could imagine.


Encyclopedia of Life


I can't believe I hadn't come by this site by now. Talk about a wealth of scientific knowledge.

http://www.eol.org/



"The Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) is an ambitious, even audacious project to organize and make available via the Internet virtually all information about life present on Earth. At its heart lies a series of Web sites—one for each of the approximately 1.8 million known species—that provide the entry points to this vast array of knowledge. The entry-point for each site is a species page suitable for the general public, but with several linked pages aimed at more specialized users. The sites sparkle with text and images that are enticing to everyone, as well as providing deep links to specific data.

The EOL dynamically synthesizes biodiversity knowledge about all known species, including their taxonomy, geographic distribution, collections, genetics, evolutionary history, morphology, behavior, ecological relationships, and importance for human well being, and distribute this information through the Internet. It serves as a primary resource for a wide audience that includes scientists, natural resource managers, conservationists, teachers, and students around the world. We believe that the EOL's encompassing scope and innovation will have a major global impact in facilitating biodiversity research, conservation, and education.

The EOL staff is made up of scientists and non-scientists working from museums and research institutions around the world. We currently have 20 full time employees, but as this project grows, so will the EOL family."

Sunday, April 5, 2009

ADAM- The Robot Scientist

We rely on machines to collect data. We rely on them to interpret the data and to construct models. We rely on machines heavily in the course of scientific advancement. But on more rung has been added to the ladder. In fact, perhaps it is altogether another ladder. For the first time, and certainly not the last, a hunk of machinery, called ADAM, has developed scientific hypotheses and tested them, ... by itself. And this methodology has lead to new scientific knowledge.

And so it goes. Enter the robot scientists. Complex pathways of wires and metal and instruments that results in new knowledge. And all this with no human input, other than the building and encoding of AI within it's circuits. This advancement may prove considerably beneficial to the scientific world.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/04/090402-robot-scientists.html

Friday, March 20, 2009

Liquid Water on Mars ,... Today



This recent photo has caused a bit of controversy. But it seems that what it is showing is liquid water on the landing legs of the Phoenix. This evidence suggests that water likely exists on the planet in liquid form in various places. And we all know that it is another piece in finding life there. The salinity of the water must be very high in order to remain a liquid. But with the recent revelation and discovery of methane accompanied with liquid water, the red planet is becoming more and more intriguing. When are we going there??

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090319232438.htm

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Unexpected Particle, again

Just goes to show you, the more we know the stranger it gets. The science of the very small subatomic world is far more bizzare then we ever could imagine.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090318140618.htm

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Educate Yourself for Free

It may be surprising to know that you can educate yourself for free on the internet. Even from outstanding schools like MIT. But be advised, you won't recieve any credentials from the school to put towards a masters degree or anything like that. But if you find knowledge generally important and have the time, you can delve into the principles of astronomy, physics, biology, or any number of subjects.

I'll start to compile a number of sites devoted to free learning and I'll keep them in a tab on the sidebar.

For now, look here.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Transient Lunar Phenomenon

Do they really exist?? And, if so, what the heck are they??

Maybe we'll find out relatively soon.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/03/090302-moon-flashes-missions.html

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Huh??.... an asteroid just missed us??

Phew! Asteroid's passing was a cosmic near-miss

I guess I have this unrealistic expectation that the night sky is being watched for asteroids. And apparently for the really big ones, like a kilometer or bigger, we are. We would see this coming for several years. What we would do about it is another story, but at least we'd see it coming.

We saw this one coming on Friday. And it was closest to the Earth on Monday. No time to send Bruce Willis to save us in that time. It came within 45,000 miles which sounds like a lot, but that is about twice as high as our satellites. Five times closer than the Moon to Earth. Too close.

And a curious thought comes to mind. Why did we not hear about this?? You would think this would be a great story. Another fear mongering and sensationalistic story that typifies current media.

What damage might this have done?? This is a 20-30 yard hunk of rock. We're probably not talking mass extinction, but we are talking serious aftermath. We could very well have had a catastrophe on our hands, depending on where it hit.

More eyes on the skies please.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Inauguration from Space

We really do look like ants.

Take the time. Let this picture load. It's pretty cool

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/imagerecords/36000/36729/inauguration_ge1_2009020_lrg.jpg

OCO Mishap

Just about 12 hours after posting about the OCO takeoff, it seems the mission has failed. And the rocket is now probably somewhere in Antarctica. Not much help in studying CO2 from that position. Sigh.

"Preliminary indications are that the fairing on the Taurus XL launch vehicle failed to separate. The fairing is a clamshell structure that encapsulates the satellite as it travels through the atmosphere."

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/oco/main/index.html

Monday, February 23, 2009

Orbiting Carbon Observatory



This is set to launch February 24th. Tomorrow morning. And it should give us a better picture of where CO2 is coming from and where it is going. It will also help scientists predict how CO2 affects our atmosphere and how it will affect life on the planet for years and decades to come.

A Rare Earth??

Peter Ward describes some of his thoughts regarding the delicate and perhaps quite rare planet we inhabit: Earth.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Kepler Mission - NASA


This is one of many new and exciting missions coming up for NASA. The Kepler mission is designed to survey nearly 100,000 stars in our galaxy and identify Earth-like planets in or near what we descibe as "the habitable zone". We have only discovered, to my knowledge, one planet so far that is even close to Earth in any measureable way. Here it is. Interestingly the article states :


"Boss says we could learn a lot more if scientists launched a space telescope that is specially designed to look at faraway planets. NASA has one in development called the Terrestrial Planet Finder, but it has been delayed indefinitely by budget woes.


"Things like Terrestrial Planet Finder are no longer really in the active NASA plan," Boss says. "


Well, now we know that the search for ET continues. This telescope will help astronomers rid themselves of Earth based observation problems. And undoubtedly the answer to an enduring question may ratchet up another level.


And it all starts this year on March 5th. And then the three and a half year fixation on a point in the sky. A small portion of our galaxy , but hopefully worth the look.

The Archeology Channel

A host of informative videos concerning anthropology and archeology are found within this link.
Take a look at some of the past civilizations spread throughout time and space. I'll keep this link handy on the sidebar as well.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Global Warming Cause = Sulfur Dioxide

http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/Teton-Tectonics-946933.html

Honestly, I am sick of writing about Global Warming. But it is a topic of concern especially considering the upcoming legislation that will undoubtedly raise major concerns among societies, economies, and technologies, among other important areas of importance to us.

According to Dr Peter Ward (not a climatologist, but a retired geologist) global warming coincides with raised levels of sulfuric dioxide. This can be due to volcanic activity and even human caused byproducts of power plants. And the latter is why we are now seeing a rise in temperatures. Lets see if he has anything substantial here.

"Ward is holding a press conference at the Swissotel, Edelweiss Room, 323 E. Wacker Dr., Chicago on Wednesday, February 11 at 11 AM.

Ward's paper will be published in the next issue of "Thin Solid Films," a physics journal published by Elsevier Press, available online at
www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/00406090 (doi:10.1016/j.tsf.2009.01.005).
More details including Notes for Science Writers are found at Ward's website:
www.tetontectonics.org. "

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Holographic Universe, ... for real!!


More attention has been focused on the evidence presented by Craig Hogan and Cardiff University. The research may indicate new, profound breakthroughs in modern physics. We may be living in a holographic universe. Wow!!


Then again, .... can anyone explain, in normal everyday English, what that might actually mean??

For some reason I have this vision that the mighty, powerful, omnipotent R2-D2 is somehow responsible for everything we observe in our universe.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

‘Teach-in’ to focus on global warming

Lets hope that this "teach -in" at the University of Louisville actually comprehensively covers this topic in its entirety. I'll look into what was presented after the seminar if information is available.

“Climate change is an issue that has as many opponents as it does supporters,” Haywood said. “It’s vital for people to become educated before they form an opinion.”

‘Teach-in’ to focus on global warming

Friday, January 30, 2009

Global Warming Confusion

http://www.bismarcktribune.com/articles/2009/01/30/news/opinion/letters/175291.txt
http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-01-30-voa13.cfm
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090128104533.htm http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/397959_murdockonline30.html

In the midst of a dim economy, not much emphasis has been put on climate. But as we enter 2009 the fight is back on. And as you skim through the following articles, it is no wonder there is so much confusion. People tend to be on one side or the other, but probably not for careful evaluation of the facts. More by listening to what the talking heads recite.

Much of that content contains the message : It's our fault. The problems with this issue is complex and far reaching. The impacts, economically, are significant enough to warrant desire for a certain conclusion. So this is problematic and is illustrated by several links. The global warming issue has become a political issue. A media issue. A societal issue. But what it needs to be is a scientific issue. Global warming is about science, and people of the Earth deserve to know what SCIENCE has to say about it, regardless of outcome.

I certainly understand that science isn't really "consensus" in its nature. There is always, and always should, an alternative theory. But we need to know what is happenning. Is CO2 really a major driver of climate or, more importantly, can it become a major driver?? Is this the outcome of solar activity?? Is the result of being stuck in an ever changing interglacial?? The result of planet orbit variances?? How much are humans accountable for and responsible for??

If we are responsible, then we need to know and act. If we are not responsible, then we need to know as well. We still need to develop new technologies. New ways to master resources provided to us. We still have the need to progress at the rate we are now progressing. This cannot be limited by global conditions. If we are ever to achieve Kaku's Type 1 civilization, then must be prepared to adapt. Last I checked, an ice age was approaching fast, geologically speaking at least. I wonder if we have thought of creative ways to heat the world should we encounter the opposite effect of global warming??














Friday, January 23, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Mars and Methane






NASA had a big discussion today in front of the whole world. And you will definitely find much hoopla surrounding it in the near future. It seems that they have found methane on the planet. And this is a big deal because it means Mars is active, probably either geologically or biologically.


And this brings us to a few possibilities as far as what is causing it. It may be volcanic activity where water and rock chemical reactions cause methane to seep out. It may be biological. There is also the possibility that it has been generated externally. By this I mean the methane could have been locked up in water and is now creeping out into the atmosphere. This seems to be the least likely of the three, but still it is a possibility.
Further testing needs to be done to verify what the source is. And while the scientists refrained somewhat from giddiness, there were hints that they were quite excited. They should be. Whether life exists or not on the red planet, they have done some solid research and concluded that Mars holds some surprises. Maybe some big ones.

As I've been saying, the evidence buildup on Mars is continuing. I won't go so far to say that there undoubtedly IS life there, but we are seeing more and more clues to this possibility. I'll try to restrain my enthusiasm, but it is difficult because I live in a time where the potential to find life outside of our planet is quite possible.

The question remains, is it there?? But we'll find out relatively soon. Most likely within the next 10-15 years I am guessing.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Could we Find our Own Planet??

Lets roundup all of our technology used to detect exoplanets. Lets also pack all of our know-how as well. Lets even hypothetically take what we might develop in the foreseeable future.

Now, .... lets start a journey away from our planet. Imagine a GoogleEarth flyaway. I would think we could readily identify that our planet contains organic life from, say, Mars. So lets travel further. To Jupiter, to Saturn, to the planet exiled Pluto. Into the Kuiper Belt. How far can we get into space before Earth is no longer distinguishable as having life?? When does the signal for organic life become undetectable by our current technologies of science??


If we are to determine the presence of life on other distant planets, we only have one we can use as a model: Earth. And to identify such planets as Earthlike, containing life, we must be patient. We must let both our knowledge and technology ratchet up several notches. Maybe scores of notches, considering we may have to look deeply into space to find such ones. Either way, at least scientists are beginning to look at this question. If something Earthlike is close we will have to wait less. Is there another pale blue dot out there waiting to be found??

http://www.universetoday.com/2009/01/13/viewing-earth-as-an-extra-solar-planet/#more-23560