From the Big Bang to the Modern Era and from scrambled eggs to “collective learning”, David Christian packs 13.7 billion years in 18 minutes and tells the history of the Universe introducing the Big History project. (by Big History)
“Electron micrograph of a single-atom transistor. The bump at the image center is a single atom of phosphorous introduced into a silicon lattice; the rectangular protrusions in the corners are the leads of the transistor, also fabricated of silicon.” (via We can do no Moore: a transistor from single atom)
“ScienceDaily (Dec. 1, 2011) — In the distant reaches of the universe, almost 13 billion light-years from Earth, a strange species of galaxy lay hidden. Cloaked in dust and dimmed by the intervening distance, even the Hubble Space Telescope couldn’t spy it. It took the revealing power of NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope to uncover not one, but four remarkably red galaxies. And while astronomers can describe the members of this new “species,” they can’t explain what makes them so ruddy.”
Spanish researchers have designed what they believe to be a new type of magnetic cloak, which shields objects from external magnetic fields, while at the same time preventing any magnetic internal fields from leaking outside, making the cloak undetectable.
Tomorrow, researchers from CERN will be releasing experiment results that suggest neutrinos, the lightest particles we’re aware of, may be moving slightly faster than the speed of light. Although the results have not yet been made public (UPDATE: the paper has now been released), rumors of the finding have spread far and wide, leading to coverage by the BBC and the AP. Still, because the findings would seem to violate relativity, the authors are being very cautious about their results, and many in the physics community are expressing skepticism. (via Neutrino experiment sees them apparently moving faster than light)
A planet orbiting two suns - the first confirmed alien world of its kind - has been found by Nasa’s Kepler telescope, the US space agency announced. It may resemble the planet Tatooine from the film Star Wars, but scientists say Luke Skywalker, or anyone at all, is unlikely to be living there. Named Kepler-16b, it is thought to be an uninhabitable cold gas giant, like Saturn. (via BBC News - Nasa’s Kepler telescope finds planet orbiting two suns)
The Moon’s far side, although not lacking for light, remained dark in the sense of hidden or obscured until the space race between the US and USSR took aim at the Moon. The Soviets’ Luna 3 probe returned the first images of the far side in 1959, and the results were a bit of a surprise. The near side is covered with large, dark, basaltic flows that are called maria; these are rare on the far side, which is dominated by the rugged lunar highlands. A number of explanations have been offered for this difference, but today’s issue of Naturecontains what is certainly the most dramatic one yet: it suggests that the highlands are the remains of the Earth’s missing moon, plastered across the far side of the one remaining Moon.
The US space agency’s (Nasa) Messenger spacecraft is starting to open up a whole new vista on the planet Mercury. The probe went into orbit around the inner-most world in March, and has been relaying a stream of data ever since. Its latest pictures from just a few hundred kilometres above the surface are expected to provide important new clues to the origin of the planet and its geological history. (via BBC News - Messenger spies Mercury in detail)