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George Smoot on the design of the universe

George Smoot on the design of the universe

Astronomy Without A Telescope – Star Formation Laws Want to stay on top of all the space news? Follow @universetoday on Twitter NGC 1569 - a relatively close (11 million light years) starburst galaxy - presumably the result of some fairly efficient star formation processes. Credit: NASA/HST. Take a cloud of molecular hydrogen add some turbulence and you get star formation – that’s the law. The efficiency of star formation (how big and how populous they get) is largely a function of the density of the initial cloud.

The Case for Parallel Universes Editor's note: In the August issue of Scientific American, cosmologist George Ellis describes why he's skeptical about the concept of parallel universes. Here, multiverse proponents Alexander Vilenkin and Max Tegmark offer counterpoints, explaining why the multiverse would account for so many features of our universe—and how it might be tested. Welcome to the Multiverse By Alexander Vilenkin

"Cargo Cult Science" - by Richard Feynman Richard Feynman From a Caltech commencement address given in 1974 Also in Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! During the Middle Ages there were all kinds of crazy ideas, such as that a piece of of rhinoceros horn would increase potency. Then a method was discovered for separating the ideas--which was to try one to see if it worked, and if it didn't work, to eliminate it. How Aging Might Have Evolved A new evolutionary computer model demonstrates how aging might have evolved as an evolutionary adaptation. When the environment is changing rapidly, natural selection can favor a higher population turnover rate, and, under some circumstances, the benefit may outweigh the cost to the individual – who dies of old age and cuts short her reproduction. In a paper published this week in PLoS One, André Martins[1] of University of Sao Paolo, Brazil, demonstrates this phenomenon and explains why it might be important. The idea that aging might be an evolutionary adaptation looks very attractive from the standpoint of genetics. The rate of aging is programmed into genes, at least some of which seem to be ancient and highly-conserved.

Are We Living in a Holographic Universe? This May Be the Greatest Revolution of the 21st Century What if our existence is a holographic projection of another, flat version of you living on a two-dimensional "surface" at the edge of this universe? In other words, are we real, or are we quantum interactions on the edges of the universe - and is that just as real anyway? Whether we actually live in a hologram is being hotly debated, but it is now becoming clear that looking at phenomena through a holographic lens could be key to solving some of the most perplexing problems in physics, including the physics that reigned before the big bang,what gives particles mass, a theory of quantum gravity. Aspect and his team discovered that under certain circumstances subatomic particles such as electrons are able to instantaneously communicate with each other regardless of the distance separating them.

Ecstasy does not wreck the mind, study claims Ecstasy tablets induce a sense of euphoria and intimacy with others, and diminished anxiety and depression Photograph: David Allan / Alamy/Alamy There is no evidence that ecstasy causes brain damage, according to one of the largest studies into the effects of the drug. Too many previous studies made over-arching conclusions from insufficient data, say the scientists responsible for the research, and the drug's dangers have been greatly exaggerated. The finding will shock campaigners who have claimed ecstasy poses a real risk of triggering brain damage. Study suggests little need for vitamins › News in Science (ABC Science) News in Science Tuesday, 11 October 2011 AFP Less is more There is no need for most people to take vitamin supplements and some may even be linked to an increased risk of premature death in older women, according to a new study.

The 6 Best Ways to Learn Physics...for Free August 6, 2006 I was listening to an excellent audiobook yesterday called The Wisdom of Huston Smith in which Huston relates a story about a visiting professor (can't recall the name right now) who came and lectured to the physics department at the university he was teaching at and spent the entire time presenting on philosophy rather than physics. He was asked why he didn't talk about physics with the physics department and his answer was interesting.

What the Ultra-Personalized Internet Is Hiding from You - Technology In the spring of 2010, while the remains of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig were spewing crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, I asked two friends to google "BP." They're pretty similar—educated, white, left-leaning women who live in the Northeast. But the results they saw were quite different. One of my friends saw investment information about BP. The other saw news. Ecstasy Kills Cancer It may sound like a hoax, but it’s true: Recent studies show that a modified form of ecstasy kills 100% of blood cancer cells. While patient application is still a long way away, in test tube studies, the modified ecstasy killed all of leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma cells (as reported by the BBC). Your doctor probably won’t be telling you to take two hits of ecstasy anytime soon, but this exciting discovery gives hope to those suffering with blood cancers and calls into question once again our country’s perilous relationship with drugs and the true reasoning behind the ongoing War on Drugs.

How to File a Patent for Your Invention - Creating, Patenting and Filing an Invention Lesson A: Fabrication Nation Inventors have traditionally turned their ideas into prototypes with plenty of sketches and endless iterations in wood, clay or metal. But the digital age has introduced a totally new toolkit. Computer-aided design (CAD) software allows rapid and highly precise blueprinting, computed numerical control (CNC) milling and routing equipment transfers that precision to the physical world, and 3D printers can create fully formed objects on demand. Plus, the cost of both hardware and software has fallen dramatically. Does Marijuana Make You Stupid? Marijuana is currently regulated by the United States government as a Schedule I drug, placing it in the same category as heroin, MDMA and LSD. This is largely due to the first condition of Schedule I drugs, which is that the substance “has a high potential for abuse.” The language in that clause is deliberately vague. Does abuse equal addiction? Probably not, since marijuana is not addictive like other Schedule I drugs. Rats don’t self-administer the compound in a lab, it’s virtually impossible to fatally overdose on the drug, and the physiological effects of marijuana withdrawal, if they occur, are far milder than those experienced by chronic amphetamine, alcohol, nicotine or opiate users.