How Many Dimensions Does the Universe Really Have? - The Nature of Reality An engineer, a mathematician and a physicist walk into a universe. How many dimensions do they find? The engineer whips out a protractor and straightedge. That’s easy, she says. The mathematician gets out his notepad and creates a list of regular, symmetric geometric shapes with perpendicular sides. Credit: Sven Geier/Flickr, under a Creative Commons license. Finally it is the physicist’s turn. Let’s see how she reached her conclusions. In 1917, Austrian physicist Paul Ehrenfest wrote a thought-provoking piece, “In what way does it become manifest in the fundamental laws of physics that space has three dimensions?” He noted, for example, that the stable orbits of planets in the solar system and the stationary states of electrons in atoms require inverse-squared force laws. Let’s think of what an inverse-squared law means. The universe is not just space, though. Light stems from electromagnetic interactions, one of the four natural forces. Go DeeperEditor’s picks for further reading
6 Real People With Mind-Blowing Mutant Superpowers If the insane, explosive popularity if superhero movies is any indication, we are fascinated by people who are insanely better than us at any given thing. Probably because, in real life, we're all such a bunch of incompetent boobs that we've been enslaved by blue paint, flashing lights and crying French babies. But it turns out, superpowers are real. And not just the secret ones that everyone has, or even the ones everyone thinks they have -- this Cracked Classic is about a group of people that, in a sane world, would already have multi-colored leather jumpsuits, delightfully mismatched personality traits and a skyscraper shaped like whatever they decide to call themselves. We've all dreamed of having superpowers at some point (today), but the majority of us have to accept the sobering reality that preternatural abilities simply aren't possible. For instance ... #6. As with most superpower discoveries, Xiangang found his by acting like a braying jackass. So What's Going on Here? #5. #4.
Virginia Woolf on the Elasticity of Time Long before psychologists had any insight into our warped perception of time — for instance, why it slows down when we’re afraid, speeds up as we age, and gets twisted when we vacation — or understood how our mental time travel made us human, another great investigator of the human psyche captured the extraordinary elasticity of time not in science but in art. In Orlando: A Biography (public library) — her subversive 1928 masterwork, regarded as “the longest and most charming love letter in literature,” which also gave us her insight into the dance of self-doubt in creative work — Virginia Woolf (January 25, 1882–March 28, 1941) writes: Time, unfortunately, though it makes animals and vegetables bloom and fade with amazing punctuality, has no such simple effect upon the mind of man. The mind of man, moreover, works with equal strangeness upon the body of time. Life piles up so fast that I have no time to write out the equally fast rising mound of reflections.
10 Animals You Won't Believe Are Closely Related Thanks to the know-it-all from second grade, we're all aware that dolphins and whales are mammals, not fish. But it's probably been a while since you've pondered just how incredibly, mind-blowingly weird it is that you and whales were the same animal more recently than whales and sharks. Or to put it in chart form, you and whales split up somewhere in the big tangle of bio diversity up top labeled "Age of Mammals" while whales and fish haven't been the same animals since way the hell down ... ... here where you see the word Selacchi. So how is it that our evolutionary cousins ended up with flippers and fins exactly where fish have them and we ended up needing swimming lessons? Courtesy of Getty Images." Turns out it's the same reason birds and bats both ended up flying around on wings: convergent evolution, the smarmy term for when completely unrelated species develop similar traits. Image By Glen Fergus What it looks like: You don't need your wife standing next to you screaming, "MOUSE!
Scientists create the first digital 'tree of life' Scientists from 11 organizations have digitized a “tree of life,” a genetic map of 2.3 million named species of animals, plants, fungi and microbes that all branched off over time from a common ancestor. In a September 18 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers wrote that "The Open Tree Taxonomy" is likely the first to aggregate tens of thousands of already published smaller trees into a comprehensive map of all life. The digital tree is free for anyone to use and update on opentreeoflife.org. In what looks like a kaleidoscope of rainbow-colored high-rises, the latest digital diagram depicts the evolution of living things since the beginning of life on Earth more than 3.5 billion years ago. And because scientists believe that all life on Earth shares a common genetic ancestor, understanding how millions of species are related helps them improve agricultural methods and better understand viruses, the research team says.
National Coalition Against Censorship -- NCAC Clocks Metric (or Decimalized) Time The day is divided into 100 parts (centidays), plus decimal fraction. Think of it as a percent of the day. The "Universal Metric Time" is based on the International Date Line. Much more information at my Guide to Metric (or Decimilized) Time. Hexadecimal Time The day is divided up into 65536 parts and written in hexadecimal (base-16) notation (A=10, B=11 ... Much more information about this can be found at Intuitor Hexadecimal Headquarters. Octal Time Octal Time uses a base-8 system (digits 0-7). Base64 Time Base-64 uses ASCII characters (in ascending order: A-Z, a-z, 0-1, +, and /). Binary Time Like hexadecimal time, the day is divided into 65536 parts, only we display it as a binary number using squares for bits, here using dark squares to represent 1 and white for 0. This can be viewed as a variation of hexadecimal time by dividing it into four 2x2 blocks of squares, each block corresponds to a digit of hexadecimal time. Mayan Time
6 Insane Discoveries That Science Can't Explain We like to feel superior to the people who lived centuries ago, what with their shitty mud huts and curing colds by drilling a hole in their skulls. But we have to give them credit: They left behind some artifacts that have left the smartest of modern scientists scratching their heads. For instance, you have the following enigmas that we believe were created for no other purpose than to fuck with future generations. The Voynich Manuscript The Mystery: The Voynich manuscript is an ancient book that has thwarted all attempts at deciphering its contents. It appears to be a real language--just one that nobody has seen before. Translation: "...and when you get her to put the tennis racket in her mouth, have her stand in a fountain for a while. There is not even a consensus on who wrote it, or even when it was written. Why Can't They Solve It? Could you? Don't even try. As you can imagine, proposed solutions have been all over the board, from reasonable to completely clownshit. Our Guess:
Here Come The Nanobots A team of New York University researchers has taken a major step in building a more robust, controllable machine from DNA, the genetic material of all living organisms. Constructed from synthetic DNA molecules, the device improves upon previously developed nano-scale DNA devices because it allows for better-controlled movement within larger DNA constructs. The researchers say that the new device may help build the foundation for the development of sophisticated machines at a molecular scale, ultimately evolving to the development of nano-robots that might some day build new molecules, computer circuits or fight infectious diseases. The research team was led by NYU chemistry professor Nadrian C. Seeman. Professor Seeman has led research teams to previous breakthroughs in the construction of structures and devices from DNA molecules. These findings are reported in a letter to Nature entitled "A Robust DNA Mechanical Device Controlled by Hybridization Topology."
Anonymous Why England Was A Year Behind Belgium, Spain and Italy for 170 Years William Hogarth's satirical painting, "An Election Entertainment" (1755), includes the words "Give us back our eleven days!" (Photo: Public Domain/WikiCommons) In 1584 a violent, angry crowd ransacked the city of Augsburg, Germany. Citizens broke through thick windows and shot their guns into the street. They were marching to City Hall to make it clear that they would not take the authorities’ new plans sitting down. The people of Augsburg weren’t just upset that their calendar was being changed, which would skip birthdays and ruin weekends. The marketplace in Ausburg, Germany in 1550. In The Reformation in Germany, C. A riot was the only way to go, or so thought some 16th century Augsburgers. The reasons for the calendar change, in an astronomical sense, were less sinister than the people of Augsburg assumed; Aloysius Lilius, the astronomer who proposed the project, was just trying to improve the dating system begun by Julius Caesar.