DailyDirt: Mysteries Of The Universe -- And Shooting Stuff

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

The universe is filled with plenty of unsolved mysteries. There's no shortage of crazy explanations for the observations that don't make sense, but at least we're narrowing down the possibilities slowly with "big detectors" and other experiments. It's nice to see some things can be reasonably explained without resorting to exotic new forces or particles or dimensions -- though sometimes those new phenomena are also fun ideas to ponder. Here are some quick links to think about:
  • Dark Matter and antimatter might be explained by the existence of a unique kind of particle called the X particle. Or maybe the two phenomena are totally unrelated -- but we'll need some really big detectors to find out. [url]
  • Some physicists are worried about inflation (not the economic kind). Who needs the Big Bang and some wild story of the universe expanding at a crazy rate for an insanely brief period of time? But is it more plausible that particles lose mass with age? [url]
  • The Large Hadron Collider hasn't found the microscopic black holes it was looking for -- ruling out a variety of theories of how the universe might contain extra hidden dimensions. The universe still might have those extra dimensions, but we'll have to look a bit harder for them now. [url]
  • The Pioneer Anomaly has a recently-calculated explanation based on Newtonian laws and a detailed 3D model of the thermal properties of the Pioneer spacecraft. Looks like there's no need to introduce strange new forces at work in our solar system... [url]
  • Shooting stuff out of our solar system is cool -- but so is shooting stuff locally. The US Navy has a new railgun with a range of about 100 miles. [url]


  • Reader Comments (rss)

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    1.  
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      The Infamous Joe (profile), Dec 27th, 2010 @ 5:34pm

      Writing right, amirite?

      I feel as if you've just outlined the basic plot points of the next Michael Crichton book.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

    2.  
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      Michael Ho (profile), Dec 27th, 2010 @ 5:56pm

      Re: Writing right, amirite?

      I think Crichton's next book might be ghost-written by a cluster of IBM supercomputers...

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

    3.  
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      The Infamous Joe (profile), Dec 27th, 2010 @ 6:07pm

      Re: Re: Writing right, amirite?

      Maybe it will be that cluster of PS3s the air force has running. Maybe it will be an improvement...

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

    4.  
      identicon
      Freak, Dec 27th, 2010 @ 6:33pm

      Re: Re: Writing right, amirite?

      Well,you're definitely right that the next Crichton novel will be ghost-written.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

    5.  
      identicon
      Patrick, Dec 27th, 2010 @ 6:43pm

      about time

      to use adblock

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

    6.  
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      Nicolasp (profile), Dec 27th, 2010 @ 7:30pm

      There are lots of TOEs out there, but the most beautiful, to my minimally conversant eyes, is Antony Garett Lisi's (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antony_Garrett_Lisi)

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

    7.  
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      Darryl, Dec 27th, 2010 @ 8:51pm

      Difference between energy and mass is interesting

      But is it more plausible that particles lose mass with age?

      We'll is quite common knowledge that particles lose mass, routinely.

      of course not all particles have mass, light is a particle with zero mass, you can turn mass into energy (like the sun or an atomic bomb), that is a process where mass is lost and energy is gain.

      The reverse is also of course true, you can turn energy into mass.

      Mass and energy are conserved. that is why it is impossible to accelerate mass to the speed of light, as the more energy you put into it and the fast you make it goes, until a point is reached, when any more energy put into making the particle go faster, goes into increasing its frequency and not its speed.

      So there is no way you can put any energy into the massive partice to increase its speed, the extra energy goes into increasing its frequency.

      Penrose is one of the best physists in the field, I do not feel he needs to use Hawking radiation to explain his theory, which is good, because even Hawking as come out saying he does not believe hawking radiation exists, and therefore there is no way for a black hole to evaporate.

      But that does not mean of the black holes from the previous universe could form one mega black hole, when they all finally come together, all you could say that 'something' amazing must happen, there must be some critical mass for a maga masive black hole, one that has an entire universe in it. with no time and no space.

      He does have an interesting theory, it will be interesting if they can find evidance of it..

      What he was probably talking about was the natural decay of the proton, if that is found.. then at some time in the future all matter will have converted to energy. making his new universe formation possible.

      But they have not found any indication that the proton decays. if it does not then the universe will always have a mix of energy in mass and energy with no mass. like we have now..

      But mass is just energy in another form, or a compressed form.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

    8.  
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      Tom Landry (profile), Dec 28th, 2010 @ 3:01am

      re; Railgun

      I read the article awhile back and it shows the same photo, a ballistic object with a a huge tail of flame.

      My question is, if the object is being propelled magnetically then where is the flame (which looks like rocket propellant) coming from?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

    9.  
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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2010 @ 4:11am

      Re: Difference between energy and mass is interesting

      Answer this please.

      Why light is affected by gravity if it doesn't have mass?

      The answer is shocking.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

    10.  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2010 @ 4:18am

      Re:

      If you go to youtube and see the video and read the comments they have some theories about that.

      - Since the current crop of railguns make physical contact whith the parts that plume of smoke is maybe due to pulverized metal particles being ignited.

      - The air surrounding the projectile at that speed ignites.

      Would be cool to see railguns using magnetic levitation to hold the projectile in place that runs along plasma rails not metal ones.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

    11.  
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      Richard (profile), Dec 28th, 2010 @ 4:39am

      Re: Difference between energy and mass is interesting

      Hawking as come out saying he does not believe hawking radiation exists, Citation needed.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

    12.  
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      Rose M. Welch (profile), Dec 28th, 2010 @ 5:36am

      Re: Re: Writing right, amirite?

      It might be better that way...

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

    13.  
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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2010 @ 6:50am

      Something traveling at 7 times the speed of sound generates a lot of heat.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

    14.  
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      chris (profile), Dec 28th, 2010 @ 8:59am

      Re:

      My question is, if the object is being propelled magnetically then where is the flame (which looks like rocket propellant) coming from?

      i have wondered something similar: kinetic weapons are supposed to blow things up without explosives, but i don't see how that works.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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