DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

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thoreau
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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

Post by thoreau »

Evil Fiziks Types have verified the inverse square law of gravity down to 50 microns (5000 nanometers).

https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/04 ... passes/#p3

This is the sort of precision experimental work that, no joke, makes America great. As long as we have a scientific community capable of this kind of precision, we can do some freakin' hard science and engineering.
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Kolohe
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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

Post by Kolohe »

The technical achievement of the experimental apparatus is impressive, but isn't 50 microns quite large if we're trying to hash out the differences and nuances of the 4 different main forces?
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thoreau
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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

Post by thoreau »

Kolohe wrote: 06 Apr 2020, 18:28 The technical achievement of the experimental apparatus is impressive, but isn't 50 microns quite large if we're trying to hash out the differences and nuances of the 4 different main forces?
It's quite large by string theory standards, but string theory isn't science.

More seriously, while we don't have any well-motivated theories for gravity deviating from Newtonian (or relativistic) predictions at a scale of 50 microns, the job of an experimentalist is to test our understanding of the universe as well as they can, not as well as the theorists want them to. This is better than anyone has done before, so it's an achievement.

Also, people are working towards experiments that involve gravitational interactions between entangled particles. (Yes, really.) Such experiments would be crucial for settling the question of whether quantized gravity is even a thing worth studying. Studying gravity on 50 micron length scales actually does matter for those experiments.
" Columbus wasn’t a profile in courage or brilliance despite the odds, he was a dumb motherfucker that got lucky. Oddly, that makes him the perfect talisman for the Trump era."
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Kolohe
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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

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Fair enough. Frankly, I didn't have a feel for how big 50 microns was till looking it up, and saw 'about the width of a human hair'. Which then made me think 'well I can see that, so that seems very big for tiny fiziks'
when you wake up as the queen of the n=1 kingdom and mount your steed non sequiturius, do you look out upon all you survey and think “damn, it feels good to be a green idea sleeping furiously?" - dhex
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JD
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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

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Fiziks Iz weird: particles traveling through the vacuum of space can emit flashes of gamma radiation. How? Well, charged particles traveling faster than the speed of light in a medium cause Cherenkov emission. But in the vacuum of space? It turns out that virtual particles interacting with the extremely strong electromagnetic fields around neutron stars can create a "medium" that slows down the local velocity of light. High-velocity charged particles enter and emit gamma radiation as Cherenkov emission. This may explain some heretofore unexplained sources of gamma radiation.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2 ... 104247.htm
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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

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thoreau
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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

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Blood transfusions from physically fit mice help fat sedentary mice become energetic and alert.

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02068-z

I shall be the supervillain who draws his powers from Crossfit customers.
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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

Post by Hugh Akston »

A viable fusion reactor is only five years away
If it succeeds, SPARC would be the first device to ever achieve a "burning plasma," in which the heat from all the fusion reactions keeps fusion going without the need to pump in extra energy. But no one has ever been able to harness the power of burning plasma in a controlled reaction here on Earth, and more research is needed before SPARC can do so. The SPARC project, which launched in 2018, is scheduled to begin construction next June, with the reactor starting operations in 2025. This is far faster than the world's largest fusion power project, known as the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), which was conceived in 1985 but not launched until 2007; and although construction began in 2013, the project is not expected to generate a fusion reaction until 2035.

One advantage that SPARC may have over ITER is that SPARC's magnets are designed to confine its plasma. SPARC will use so-called high-temperature superconducting magnets that only became commercially available in the past three to five years, long after ITER was first designed. These new magnets can produce far more powerful magnetic fields than ITER's — a maximum of 21 teslas, compared with ITER's maximum of 12 teslas. (In comparison, Earth's magnetic field ranges in strength from 30 millionths to 60 millionths of a tesla.)
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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

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Romania's Movile Cave was sealed off from the outside world for about five and a half million years before humans discovered it in 1986. The atmosphere is oxygen-poor and thick with toxic gases; there is about one hundred times as much carbon dioxide as there is in the outside air. Only about one hundred people have ever been inside. There is (obviously) no sunlight, and an impermeable clay layer above the clay means no nutrients get in from above. The only water is filtered through sandstone from below. In this lost world, an ecosystem based around chemosynthesis has developed.
Despite the dark and the dangerous gases, Movile Cave is crawling with life. So far 48 species have been identified, including 33 found nowhere else in the world.
...
Rather than using light as an energy source, the Movile bacteria use a process known as chemosynthesis.

"They get the energy needed… from chemical reactions: the key ones being the oxidation of sulphide and similar sulphur ions into sulphuric acid, or the oxidation of ammonium found in the groundwaters to nitrate," says Boden.
...
Another major group of bacteria get their energy and carbon from the methane gas that bubbles up through the waters of the cave. They are called methanotrophs.

Boden describes methanotrophs as "messy eaters" that "constantly leak metabolic intermediates like methanol and formate" into the surrounding water. In turn, these chemicals are food for other species of bacteria.
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Ellie
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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

Post by Ellie »

JD wrote: 12 Oct 2020, 09:06
Boden describes methanotrophs as "messy eaters" that "constantly leak metabolic intermediates like methanol and formate"
Same, girl, same
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dead_elvis
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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

Post by dead_elvis »

The more these sorts of extremophile discoveries are made the more it seems incredibly likely that some basic form of life is actually very common on other planets.
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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

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dead_elvis wrote: 13 Oct 2020, 15:15 The more these sorts of extremophile discoveries are made the more it seems incredibly likely that some basic form of life is actually very common on other planets.
Other planets? I doubt it. Possibly on a moon or two. Unless you mean other planets orbiting other stars, which is like asking how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

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Both our solar system as well as others. I mean they found a promising sign on Venus, I'd be shocked if Mars doesn't have something even if it's just in the past, plus moons as you say. The environments found out there aren't much worse than some of the unlikely places we find life on earth so why not.
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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

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dead_elvis wrote: 13 Oct 2020, 18:53 Both our solar system as well as others. I mean they found a promising sign on Venus, I'd be shocked if Mars doesn't have something even if it's just in the past, plus moons as you say. The environments found out there aren't much worse than some of the unlikely places we find life on earth so why not.
Venus? I'll lay seven to one against.
The book isn't closed on Mars, but while it seems conditions were favorable in the long long ago, we haven't found any evidence yet, and we've been looking. The rest of the solar system is still awaiting our investigation. I have hopes we'll find something amazing in my lifetime. I have higher hopes well find something amazing under a glacier right here on Earth, if the hippies don't get their way and reverse global warming ;)
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Aresen
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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

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dead_elvis wrote: 13 Oct 2020, 18:53 Both our solar system as well as others. I mean they found a promising sign on Venus, I'd be shocked if Mars doesn't have something even if it's just in the past, plus moons as you say. The environments found out there aren't much worse than some of the unlikely places we find life on earth so why not.
I think the Venus phosphine detection is more likely to be unusual chemistry that no one thought of. Mars is probably in the past unless there are some extremophiles down deep - that solar UV is fierce stuff & I don't think any reasonable biochemistry would hold up against that. Enceladus, Europa & Ganymede are all possibles. I'll wait and see.

As for other solar systems, I doubt we will be able to check that for at least a millenium.
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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

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I had this great post written about the debate over common Earth/rare Earth theories, and then I closed the tab before posting it. Real short version: there are a lot of things about Earth that are pretty common, so maybe life is common. OTOH, the totality of factors describing Earth is pretty rare, so if all or most of those factors are necessary, life might be very rare.
I sort of feel like a sucker about aspiring to be intellectually rigorous when I could just go on twitter and say capitalism causes space herpes and no one will challenge me on it. - Hugh Akston
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Warren
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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

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JD wrote: 14 Oct 2020, 09:20 I had this great post written about the debate over common Earth/rare Earth theories, and then I closed the tab before posting it. Real short version: there are a lot of things about Earth that are pretty common, so maybe life is common. OTOH, the totality of factors describing Earth is pretty rare, so if all or most of those factors are necessary, life might be very rare.
The problem is, we don't really have much of a clue what factors are necessary for life, and how likely it is even if those factors are present.
There's a big damned universe out there, and it's been around a long time. But life could be so fucking hard that it's a goddamned miracle (swidt) it happened even once. My guess is; Life is easy, Self awareness is impossible.
Last edited by Warren on 14 Oct 2020, 19:56, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: DB's absolutely amazing sci/tech thread

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Technically interesting, but not really useable. Still, it might lead somewhere:

Room-Temperature Superconductivity Achieved for the First Time
quanta magazine wrote:A team of physicists in New York has discovered a material that conducts electricity with perfect efficiency at room temperature — a long-sought scientific milestone. The hydrogen, carbon and sulfur compound operates as a superconductor at up to 59 degrees Fahrenheit, the team reported today in Nature. That’s more than 50 degrees hotter than the previous high-temperature superconductivity record set last year.

“This is the first time we can really claim that room-temperature superconductivity has been found,” said Ion Errea, a condensed matter theorist at the University of the Basque Country in Spain who was not involved in the work.

“It’s clearly a landmark,” said Chris Pickard, a materials scientist at the University of Cambridge. “That’s a chilly room, maybe a British Victorian cottage,” he said of the 59-degree temperature.

Yet while researchers celebrate the achievement, they stress that the newfound compound — created by a team led by Ranga Dias of the University of Rochester — will never find its way into lossless power lines, frictionless high-speed trains, or any of the revolutionary technologies that could become ubiquitous if the fragile quantum effect underlying superconductivity could be maintained in truly ambient conditions. That’s because the substance superconducts at room temperature only while being crushed between a pair of diamonds to pressures roughly 75% as extreme as those found in the Earth’s core.
If Trump supporters wanted a tough guy, why did they elect such a whiny bitch? - Mo

Those who know history are doomed to deja vu. - the innominate one

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