August 25, 2015

Warp Speed Space Travel A Possibility Thanks To Einstein's Theory Of Relativity


Long considered a staple of science fiction, high speed space travel between galaxies — or warp speed — may actually be possible, according to astrophysicist Professor Geraint Lewis.
Professor Lewis, from the University of Sydney, is set to deliver a talk today at the National Science Week in Sydney, and said the futuristic concept was actually part of Albert Einstein's theory of relativity.

"If you look at the equation that Einstein gave us, it shows you can bend and warp space so you can travel at any speed you like in the universe," he said.

"It's theoretically possible, but can we ever build a warp drive? We have hints that the kind of materials that we would need exist in the universe, but whether or not we could get them together and build a warp drive, we still don't know."


Professor Lewis said a warp drive would mean humanity would be able to colonise the universe at a far greater speed.

"The big problem we have, the speed of light, while fast — 300,000 kilometres per second — the distances involved are immense, so even travelling at the speed of light, it would take four years to go to the nearest star and 2 million years to go to the nearest large galaxy," he said.

"[These distances] would stop you colonising the universe ... so you would need some sort of way to beat that speed limit, and Einstein's theory of relativity gives it to you.

But to visit distant galaxies, conventional rocket thrusters will not be enough — instead, in order to build a warp drive, scientists need to find a material that has a "negative density energy".


"It is not a material that we actually have in our hands, but there are signs that there are aspects of the universe that actually have this kind of property," Professor Lewis said.
"Empty space itself has a negative energy density. The big question is if we could mine it and shape it, we would basically have a warp drive there and then, but we just don't know if that's possible."

While Professor Lewis admitted the concept was theoretical, he said there was "plenty of science that started off as speculative ideas and became real in the future".
"You just have to look at the work of Newton 400 years ago, and even people who work in quantum physics 100 years ago, and those things are real today and they started off as dreams essentially.

"Einstein's theory is already a hundred years old, but we have only started to scratch the surface.

"I think in the next 100 or 1,000 years we will reveal a lot more about the universe and maybe this hyper-fast travel will be realisable."


With thanks to ABC


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The Antikythera Mechanism: Second Expedition Seeks More Mechanism Remains



THE Antikythera device: It’s an ancient computer which remains just beyond the grasp of science — and divers. Now they’re set to return to the wreck which has preserved the relic for centuries.

This week archaeologists are preparing once again to dive into the waters around the Greek island of Antikythera.

Below is one — possibly two — ancient wrecks from which an enormous treasure trove has already been recovered.

Rare bronze busts. Sculpted marble marvels. Coins and jewels.

A bronze celestial analogue computer.
A weather-wracked expedition was conducted at the site last year. A revolutionary robotic diving suit only managed a few dives when the waves calmed enough.

Since then the sea floor has been carefully mapped to specifically target fresh items of interest.

“We were shocked to discover the wreck was much larger than earlier work had indicated — 30 to 50 metres long,” expedition leader Brendan Foley told the Archaeology Hour Podcast.
“The hull timbers were 11cm thick. This would make the wreck bigger than the pleasure barges Caligula built for his artificial lake and they were the largest Roman era ships known.”

Coins found on the site date the disaster to between 70BC and 67BC.

While any and all new discoveries will present a valuable window in to life BC, there is one thing they want to find above all else.

More fragments of the Antikythera mechanism.
“In its original state the metal components of the mechanism were thin sections of copper alloy,” Foley told the podcast. “After thousands of years on the sea bottom they would now have the consistency of Fimo craft clay — very fragile indeed.”

Some speculate, based on differences in fragments found, that there may actually have been two computational devices in the wreck. Called astrolabes, they were used to predict the motion of the planets and the dates of upcoming eclipses.

Foley said the current theory about the origin of the wreck was that it was a large grain carrier hastily converted to carrying loot from a recent Roman conquest — Greece.

General Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix marched into Greece in 87BC. A decade later, the wreck may have been used to haul his spoils of war back to Rome.

But Foley isn’t certain the ship was his: “We know some of Sulla’s ship’s sank north of Antikythera — but we do not think this is one of his ships at this time.“

He believes several bronze statues have yet to be recovered from the wreck. One bronze spear, for example, does not fit any statue so far found.

The cargo may have been the cause of the ship’s demise.


“The marble and bronze artworks would have been difficult to stabilise inside the hull and would have made it difficult to trim the vessel,” Foley said.

Divers will be operating for up to 90 minutes on the sea floor. This will be followed by up to an hour of decompression to prevent ‘the bends’, a condition where gas builds up in the blood stream.

With many thanks to News.Com
More here. 

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3D-printed Glass Technique Is Beautiful And Mesmerising

3D printing was already a transformative technology when it was limited to basic plastic filament, but with scientists applying the same concept to all sorts of different materials - like graphene, DNA, and brain matter - it seems there’s no limit to what additive manufacturing can do.

Now researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US have unveiled a process for 3D printing using yet another medium, although this one’s a bit of a golden oldie: glass.
 The team has developed a system called G3DP, which they say is the world’s first fully functional material extrusion method for 3D printing optically transparent glass.

In a stunning video of the process in action, you can see how layer upon layer of glass is intricately assembled to create beautiful, elaborate structures, with a level of digital precision that traditional glass blowing couldn’t hope to match.  

As James Vincent put it at The Verge, “The method is mesmerising to watch, with the coils of glass stacking up like a thick gelatinous glaze or poured honey.” Yep, that about sums it up.
The technique, detailed in a paper online, is essentially a mixture of conventional glass making with a digitally controlled nozzle that layers glass according to designs drawn up in a 3D CAD program. The trick is bringing all the various components together such that the 3D printer can handle the extremely high temperatures required.

 The Kiln Cartridge above the printer nozzle operates at approximately 1,037 degrees Celsius! Thermal imaging flaring in the video reveals they’re not kidding around.

MIT’s focus isn’t just on the finery of the physical forms – the researchers are as much occupied with the way light flows through these previously impossible glass structures.

 “The tunability enabled by geometrical and optical variation driven by form, transparency and colour variation can drive; limit or control light transmission, reflection and refraction, and therefore carries significant implications for all things glass,” the team said in a statement.

That’s one way of putting it, or you could skip to 3:08 in the video and see what happens when you shine a light into these artworks. Woah… that’s amazing.

By Peter Dockrill

With many thanks to Science Alert 

August 20, 2015

Bob Dylan Named Greatest Songwriter Ahead Of Lennon and McCartney According To Rolling Stone



Bob Dylan has been crowned Rolling Stone’s greatest songwriter of all time.

To recognize the folk legend’s brilliant contributions to music history, Rolling Stone has placed Dylan at No. 1 on its “100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time” list, a comprehensive ranking spanning many decades.

Dylan, whose most recent release is 2015’s Shadows in the Night, penned such classics as “Like a Rolling Stone,” “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” “Forever Young,” “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” “Positively Fourth Street” and “Tangled Up Blue.”


Contemporary chart-toppers also earned spots on the list – Taylor Swift (97), Eminem (91), Kanye West (84), Bjork (81), Jay Z (68) – although it’s rightfully dominated by artists and writers whose music has stood the test of time over many generations.


Here are the top 25 songwriters on the list; go to to see the top 100:


25. Randy Newman
24. Elvis Costello
23. Robert Johnson
22. Van Morrison
21. Lou Reed
20. Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
19. Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry
18. Prince
17. Neil Young
16. Leonard Cohen
15. Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier and Brian Holland14. Bruce Springsteen
13. Hank Williams
12. Brian Wilson
11. Bob Marley
10. Stevie Wonder
9. Joni Mitchell
8. Paul Simon
7. Carole King and Gerry Goffin
6. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards
5. Smokey Robinson
4. Chuck Berry
3. John Lennon
2. Paul McCartney
1. Bob Dylan

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Beatles’ First Recording Contract to Be Auctioned For An Estimated $150,000



The contract was for just $80.

The Beatles’ first recording contract fetched them a mere $80. But the six-page document, which will be auctioned off by Heritage Auctions next month, will likely sell for $150,000.
Signed in Hamburg, Germany in 1961, the contract details some of the band’s first gigs during a visit to Hamburg from 1960-1962. At the time, Pete Best played the drums instead of Ringo Starr, and Stuart Sutcliffe was on bass. While in Germany, the Beatles recorded a rock version of “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean,” catching the attention of their eventual manager Brian Epstein.
When the contract was signed, John Lennon was 20, Paul McCartney 19, and George Harrison just 18 years old.

The estate of Beatles historian Uwe Blaschke—who died in 2010—will put the papers up for bidding on Sept. 19 in New York, according to the Associated Press. The auction will also include a signed copy of the band’s first single in the U.K. “Love Me Do.”

By Eliana Dockterman 

With many thanks to Time


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