This week’s Carnival Of Space is hosted by Altair VI, a blog I don’t read enough of:
I’m glad that Paul Gilster at Centauri Dreams nominated his “Rethinking Galactic Empire”post for this week’s Carnival, because it was the most mind-expanding blog post I read all week. Will we outgrow our visions of interstellar expansion when we go post-biological? As Paul reported, astronomer and SETI philosopher Milan Cirkovic thinks that it’s possible, and that it might help to resolve the Fermi Paradox.Catholic Sensibility offered up “Brown Sugar Astronomy”, a yummy educational demo on the density and structure of Solar System objects. Reminds me that I need to come up with a dessert for Samantha’s preschool open house on Friday. Rob Simpson at Orbiting Frog is also playing with sugary foods in the interest of science education. Have a bite of his clever “Measure the Speed of Light Using Your Microwave” demo.Bad Astronomy debunked UFOsthis past week, and Charles Lintott summed up his anxiety about the future of spaceflight using astronauts. A Babe in the Universe looked at the “Science of Iron Man” and concluded that there might actually be some. Space Cynicssuffered the psychic pain of seeing a hero knocked from his pedestal, and Out of the Cradle looked at novel forms of lunar recreation. Starts with a Bang considered the best way to deflect asteroids, while Mang’s Bat Page proposed the Great Astronomers Badge Swap. And, AstroEngine shared some nifty video of dynamic coronal loops from the STEREO mission.
Paul Gilster’s post is a most intriguing one. George Dyvorsky of Sentient Developments has posited this theory many times on his blog. It’s one that bears further investigation as we rush head-long into our own ‘Technological Singularity’.
Cory Doctorow of Little Brother fame takes a few pokes at ‘Big Brother’ this week:
If you’re pissed off that BT and other ISPs are using software like Phorm to track your browsing habits, you could try out AntiPhormLite, an app that generates a never-ending string of spyware radar-chaff, running a second browser that continuously, plausibly browses the web, screwing up your profile and confounding the snoops. They’ve posted the full source for audit as well…
…AntiPhormLite runs independently and silently in the background of your PC. It connects to the web and intelligently simulates natural surfing behavior across thousands of customizable topics. This creates a background noise of false information disguising and inverting your own interests. We believe our technology is indistinguishable from that of a typical user engaging the internet. To support this claim we have introduced a preview mode that works with any of your preferred browsers, and together with a detailed reporting system and a host of custom options each AntiPhormLite will appear unique.
Good suggestion. Thanks Cory!
And here’s a suggestion if you do a lot of international travel and you want to keep the snoops out of your business:
Encrypting your entire hard drive, something you should certainly do for security in case your computer is lost or stolen, won’t work here. The border agent is likely to start this whole process with a “please type in your password”. Of course you can refuse, but the agent can search you further, detain you longer, refuse you entry into the country and otherwise ruin your day.
You’re going to have to hide your data. Set a portion of your hard drive to be encrypted with a different key – even if you also encrypt your entire hard drive – and keep your sensitive data there. Lots of programs allow you to do this. I use PGP Disk (from pgp.com). TrueCrypt (truecrypt.org) is also good, and free.
Sound advice all the way around!
With the advent of the next ‘Indiana Jones’ movie being released to the theaters on May 22nd, the theory about the ‘real’ Mayan crystal skulls has been viral in the mainstream and ‘Tubes media recently:
There is a legend that the ancient Maya possessed 13 crystal skulls which, when united, hold the power of saving the Earth — a tale so strange and fantastic that it inspired the latest Indiana Jones movie.Experts dismiss the hundreds of existing crystal skulls as fakes that were probably made by colorful antiquities traders in the 19th century. But Mayan priests worship the skulls, even today, and real-life skull hunters still search for them.The true story of the skulls stretches over continents and hundreds of years, and may be even more extraordinary than the tale portrayed in this fourth installment of the Harrison Ford franchise.
It’s unclear what version of the tale will appear in “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” which opens in U.S. theaters on May 22.
I’m a huge fan of the Indiana Jones franchise and I’m intrigued how an ‘aging’ Harrison Ford (he’s 65 years young) portrayed the character during the Cold War period.
Somehow though, I feel the Crystal Skulls would’ve fit better during the present period of time, given the proximity of the year 2012. I wonder how the writers (or likely George Lucas) justified using the Skulls during the 1950s?
I guess I’ll have to take in the matinee!
In the para-political world I inhabit at times, the Vatican is often portrayed as an instrument of evil, a purveyor of anti-Christian (especially Protestant) ideals and a backer of world tyrants. I’m not so extreme in my views, but the Church does have a track record of controlling rulers of governments in the past, enriching themselves at the expense of the masses they profess to represent and adhere to a policy of extreme secrecy. But I digress.
So it comes as no surprise this past week as the Vatican embraces ‘our Extra-Terrestrial Brethren’:
In the Vatican newspaper piece, titled “The Extraterrestrial Is My Brother,” the Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes said the expansiveness of the universe means there could be life on planets other than Earth.
“In my opinion this possibility exists,” Funes, the director of the Vatican Observatory, told L’Osservatore Romano. “Astronomers believe the universe is made up of 100 billion galaxies, each of which consists of 100 billion stars. … Life forms could exist in theory even without oxygen or hydrogen.”
Funes said that there might even be other intelligent life out there, but believing in its existence doesn’t pose a problem for those of the Catholic faith.
“It is possible. So far we have no proof. But certainly in a universe so big we can not exclude this hypothesis,” he told the paper.
“As there is a multiplicity of creatures on earth, so there may be other beings, intelligent, created by God. This does not conflict with our faith, because we cannot put limits on the creative freedom of God.”
As you know, I sometimes refer to sites that theorize the Catholic Church (primarily the Jesuits) are already in communication with ETs, demons (Lucifer himself), angels, and other myriad forms of extra-dimensional entities. So it’s no surprise that claims of the Vatican giving this ‘proclaimation’ is just an affirmation of what they already know to be true.
Another theory is that the Vatican along with the main world governments have knowledge of a previous ancient Solar System civilization as posited by Richard C. Hoagland and Mike Bara and this is a pre-emptive strike to get followers acclimated to the idea of other ‘children of God’.
This is fascinating. I can hardly wait for the outcome!
My pal Paul Gilster of Centauri Dreams expands on the discussion about panspermia and a Japanese experiment to be conducted on the International Space Station on his blog yesterday:
We’re talking panspermia, the idea that life can survive long journeys through space to seed other planets (a notion Hoyle addressed in 1982’s Evolution from Space). The apotheosis of the concept is in the realms between the stars, as Stapledon and Hoyle both assumed. We already know that materials, though not necessarily life, can move between planets in our own Solar System, as shown by compelling evidence for Martian meteorites. But interstellar journeys are of another order, the distances so vast that the question of survival dominates the debate…
…There is no way at this juncture to prove whether or not life began on Earth this way, but it’s a concept that demands study. One way to investigate it is to work with microbes in near-Earth orbit, as a Japanese team now proposes to do aboard the International Space Station in an experiment called Tanpopo…
The discovery of microbes in space would hardly prove the concept of panspermia, for any materials at these altitudes could well have come from Earth. But a positive result could tell us more about how life manages to persist in the most hostile environments. The Tanpopo (’dandelion’) experiment will examine tiny particles captured onto an aerogel, returning them to Earth for study of their makeup and possible microbes. Survival at ISS altitudes would definitely give panspermia advocates a boost while forcing us to contemplate the possibility that life began elsewhere.
I believe the experiment will be a success. It’s good to see a time honored theory on how life could be spread throughout the Universe finally has its chance to be a proven fact.
Here’s a piece of trivia I didn’t know, today is the first anniversary of the Carnival of Space. This week’s edition is hosted by Henry Cate of Why Homeschool, the originator of said carnival, which is number 52 of course:
Welcome to the Carnival of Space, the anniversary edition. A year ago I launched the first Carnival of Space. It is wonderful, and a bit overwhelming, to see how the carnival has grown.
Fraser Cain of Universe Today has done a wonderful job in keeping the carnival going. I am grateful for the chance to host the first anniversary edition of the carnival.
The theme for this carnival will be space related television shows. These television shows have helped to generate and build interest for going into space.
This was a great post! Anyone of my generation will instantly recognize the shows Henry put up.
But it also saddens me in that my generation has given up on the dream and became jaded with space exploration. Why Homeschool, and the successor, Universe Today, have been providing a great service in educating and stirring interest with space exploration in the younger generation.
This has been out for a few days, but I’ll put the news here anyway because of a spirited debate on New Scientist.com’s comment board:
A mammoth black hole has been discovered fleeing its host galaxy at high speed, according to a controversial new study. The galactic eviction may be the result of a violent merger between two black holes…
…astronomers may have identified the first known case of a supermassive black hole flung from its host galaxy. Stefanie Komossa of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany, led the team, which combed through observations of galaxies by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS)…
They found what they believe is the signature of an ejected supermassive black hole in the form of a quasar called SDSS J0927+2943. Quasars are extremely bright, compact objects thought to be galaxies in which a supermassive black hole is feeding at a prodigious rate and glowing brightly as a result…
Ejected massive objects like planets, suns and now black holes have been observed over the last few years courtesy of the Hubble Telescope. All of which are theorized as being natural phenomena and little else is known other than great gravitational forces are involved and the ejected objects are travelling at break-neck speeds relative to their surrounding environment(s). Often the measured speeds (best estimates) are measured in thousands of kilometers a second.
Sure, I guess the speeds could be the result of how massive the objects are before they are ejected, that makes a certain amount of sense. But I am often reminded of how we use gravitational slingshots to increase speeds cheaply and reduce travel times of our space probes to the Outer Solar System.
Maybe when we observe these speeding cosmic curiosities we should project their flight path and see where they might end up at.
We could be surprised.