A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘gravity

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait looks at planetary nebulas, beautiful byproducts of the ends of stars.
  • Centauri Dreams shares an essay by Mark Millis looking at how NASA evaluates proposed new propulsion methods.
  • Bruce Dorminey takes a look at some interesting facts about the development of the Boeing 747.
  • L.M. Sacasas at The Frailest Thing considers the ways in which deepfakes, allowing for alternate personalities online, evoke the Bunburying of Oscar Wilde.
  • Gizmodo notes that neutron star collisions might well reveal mysterious quark matter, if only they occurred within sight of us.
  • JSTOR Daily considers the sensuous nature of the Jane Austen novel Persuasion.
  • Language Log considers a potential case for Sinitic origins in the Balto-Slavic word for “iron”.
  • Scott Lemieux at Lawyers, Guns and Money considers the weakness of the centre as a major pull for American voters.
  • Marginal Revolution links to a paper concluding that Chinese workers are not being exploited by the manufacturing companies that may employ them.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel considers how the curvature of space-time under gravity can be measured.
  • Window on Eurasia considers two Kazakhstan observers who argue the country should switch from Kazakh-Russian bilingualism to Kazakh-English bilingualism.
  • Arnold Zwicky considers, after the Gay & Lesbian Review, the representation of different communities in the LGBT+ acronym, the utility of simple symbols, like “&” or “+”.

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

  • D-Brief suggests that, in an era of climate change, waves of simultaneous wildfires may be the new normal in California.
  • The Dragon’s Tales shares some news items looking at the history of the Precambrian Earth and of ancient life.
  • The Island Review shares some Greenland-themed poems by Elżbieta Wójcik-Leese.
  • JSTOR Daily looks at how the introduced Callery pear tree has become invasive in North America.
  • Language Log considers language as a self-regulating system.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw notes his new magpie friend. What name should he have?
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes that the democracy of Mexico is in such poor shape that, even now, the democracies of Poland and Hungary despite far-right subversion are better off.
  • Drew Rowsome reviews the 1993 novel The Night of the Moonbow by Thomas Tryon.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog notes the falling fertility rates in Syria, and takes issue with one statistical claim.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel notes that gravitational waves are affected by gravity, and looks at what this implies for physics.
  • Towleroad reports that Sarah Silverman has rethought her use of the word “gay” in her comedy routines.
  • Vintage Space notes the evidence confirming that many–most, even–Apollo astronauts had tattoos.
  • Window on Eurasia notes how the boundaries of the “Russian world” continue to contract, with the status of the Russian language receding in the education and the media and the public life of neighbouring countries.
  • Arnold Zwicky considers which part of Europe Switzerland lies in. Is it central European, or western European?

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

  • D-Brief notes that CRISPR is being used to edit the genes of pigs, the better to protect them against disease.
  • L.M. Sacasas at The Frailest Thing argues that silence on social networks is often not an option, that membership might compel one to speak. I wonder: That was not my experience with E-mail lists.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that social network Gab, favoured by the alt-right, disclaims any responsibility for giving the synagogue shooter in Pittsburgh a platform.
  • JSTOR Daily notes the massive, unprecedented, and environmentally disruptive growth of great mats of sargassum seaweed in the Caribbean.
  • Language Hat notes the poster’s problems grappling with Dosteyevsky’s complex novel The Devils, a messy novel product of messy times.
  • Language Log notes the use of pinyin on Wikipedia to annotate Chinese words.
  • Marginal Revolution links to a paper noting that data mining is not all-powerful if one is only mining noise.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel notes that, finally, we are making enough antimatter to be able to figure out whether antimatter is governed by gravity or antigravity.
  • At the Volokh Conspiracy, Ilya Somin talks about how he was threatened on Facebook by mail bomber Cesar Sayoc.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the 1947 deportation of more than a hundred thousand Ukrainians from the west of their country to Siberia and Kazakhstan.
  • Arnold Zwicky ruminates about late October holidays and their food, Hallowe’en not being the only one.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • blogTO lists some of the most dangerous bus routes on the TTC, at least from the perspective of criminal activities.
  • The Broadside Blog lauds the very tangibility of vinyl.
  • Centauri Dreams considers SETI search strategies.
  • Crooked Timber looks at the politics of hair in slavery societies.
  • D-Brief considers LISA, the space-based gravitational wave observatory.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes a Chinese proposal to launch a Hubble-like telescope into orbit.
  • The LRB Blog examines the fragile economy built by refugee entrepreneurs in Greece.
  • Marginal Revolution notes the predominance of women in technical education in Sweden.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer can’t understand the insanely self-destructive fiscal policies of West Virginia, cutting necessary state spending while subsidizing big business.
  • Spacing Toronto’s John Lorinc is skeptical of the idea that progress will be made on regional transit given the massive confusion.

[LINK] “Gravitational waves detected for 1st time, ‘opens a brand new window on the universe'”

CBC continues to react to yesterday’s announcement of the detection of gravitational waves. What will the gravitational observatories of the near future discover, I wonder?

Gravitational waves, ripples in space-time predicted by Einstein’s general theory of relativity 100 years ago, have finally been detected.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have detected gravitational waves. We did it,” announced Dave Reitze, executive director of the U.S.-based Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) at a news conference Thursday morning.

Scientists said gravitational waves open a door for a new way to observe the universe and gain knowledge about enigmatic objects like black holes and neutron stars. By studying gravitational waves they also hope to gain insight into the nature of the very early universe, which has remained mysterious.

“I think we’re opening a window on the universe,” Reitze said.

“Until this moment we had our eyes on the sky and we couldn’t hear the music,” said Columbia University astrophysicist Szabolcs Marka, a member of the discovery team. “The skies will never be the same.”

[. . .]

The scientific milestone, announced at a news conference in Washington, was achieved using a pair of giant laser detectors in the United States, located in Louisiana and Washington state, capping a long quest to confirm the existence of these waves.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 12, 2016 at 4:42 pm

[LINK] On the possible detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes by LIGO

Adrian Cho’s ScienceMag article notes in detail about something potentially astounding, something scheduled for official release on Friday the 11th but literally causing waves right now.

It’s just a rumor, but if specificity is any measure of credibility, it might just be right. For weeks, gossip has spread around the Internet that researchers with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) have spotted gravitational waves—ripples in space itself set off by violent astrophysical events. In particular, rumor has it that LIGO physicists have seen two black holes spiraling into each other and merging. But now, an email message that ended up on Twitter adds some specific numbers to those rumors. The author says he got the details from people who have seen the manuscript of the LIGO paper that will describe the discovery.

“This is just from talking to people who said they’ve seen the paper, but I’ve not seen the paper itself,” says Clifford Burgess, a theoretical physicist at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, and the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in nearby Waterloo. “I’ve been around a long time, so I’ve seen rumors come and go. This one seems more credible.”

According to Burgess’s email, which found its way onto Twitter as an image attached to a tweet from one of his colleagues, LIGO researchers have seen two black holes, of 29 and 36 solar masses, swirling together and merging. The statistical significance of the signal is supposedly very high, exceeding the “five-sigma” standard that physicists use to distinguish evidence strong enough to claim discovery. LIGO consists of two gargantuan optical instruments called interferometers, with which physicists look for the nearly infinitesimal stretching of space caused by a passing gravitational wave. According to Burgess’s email, both detectors spotted the black hole merger with the right time delay between them.

LIGO’s prime target has been the death spiral and merger not of two black holes, but of two neutron stars. However, Marc Kamionkowski, a theoretical physicist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, says the signal from the merger of more-massive black holes should be stronger and detectable from a greater distance. Other, less specific rumors suggest that LIGO has seen more than one source.

A commenter at another blog notes that the detection of gravitational waves is hugely important, perhaps the biggest development since the development of eyes hundreds of millions of years ago. I agree. If this is true, I think I know who’ll be getting a Nobel Prize in Physics, if not this year than next.

More to the point, it is decidedly cool that we now can apparently detect gravitational waves. Most speculatively, I wonder what such a collision of black holes would look like. Apparently three solar masses were dispersed into gravity waves. Would there have been electromagnetic radiation expelled, too?

Written by Randy McDonald

February 8, 2016 at 8:15 pm