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Posts Tagged ‘Vostok’

Hey, there is good news.  Yesterday was the day the first image of Mercury was taken by a man-made satellite in orbit and was sent back to Earth.

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Remember a while back?  The frozen under-ice Antarctic lake thing, where we pondered what might lurk for millions of years beneath the ice, evil incarnate, waiting only to be melted down, waiting only to take those giant foo… oops, shit, that was Godzilla.  (Thank you, BOC for an awesome concert…)

Well, we wondered what might live in that already melted patch of nougaty goodness… uh… water.  With me so far?  No?  Didn’t we wonder about this together?

Well, I know of at least one fellow who wondered as well, and he might have (did) tip me off to it so I’d wonder, too.  Yes, I’m babbling.

Here.  Go here and read up about the (now passé) fear of imminent doom from life right here on this planet!   Ok, ok, so these are different lakes.  Work with me people.  The fear-mongered lake was Lake Vostok (we all could have diiiiiiiiied!) and this cool little critter-thing lives/lived in Organic Lake.  Seriously, work with me here.

Well, they found another virophage!

Oooh that sounds so sexy…  virophages.  Nature’s little destroyers.  Do they have one that fights Barking Moonbats?  (Yuppii Dooficus)

Also, a more intelligent link here.

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h/t to The Dude for telling me to look at XKCD today.

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I pointed out to mrmacs two nights ago that this is how you know it is not your time to die…

When you survive the road sign post going through your truck and you together.

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Can you imagine this kind of twisted thinking?  That just giving people money doesn’t address the underlying problem?  Where the HELL did that kind of sick logic come from?

In a stinging rebuff to the United Nations and its anti-poverty efforts, Eritrea, one of the poorest countries in Africa, has told the world body that it wants out of its long-term development agreement because the U.N. makes the problem worse, not better.

The reason, given in a January 26 notification letter from the country’s powerful Finance Minister, obtained by Fox News, is that “aid only postpones the basic solutions to crucial development problems by tentatively ameliorating their manifestations without tackling their root causes. The structural, political, economic, etc. damage that it inflicts upon recipient countries is also enormous.” In other words, the government argues, U.N. aid does more harm than good.

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Clearly there is some confusion between “Dude, I’m really high” and “stone cold science” but the general idea is that the Free Electron Laser as a viable tool is inching closer.  No, it’s not news.  I’m pointing out one of the misunderstandings that go along with high-power things, namely energy density vs. size.

The problem with solid state lasers, though, is that the wavelength of light that they pump out is fixed, and depending on the weather, the beam can get significantly weaker over distance. So, the laser of choice by 2020 will be the far sexier free-electron laser, which can output energy in multiple wavelengths and doesn’t require any of the bulky and heavy solid-state infrastructure.

[They already pump out different wavelengths by tuning the wiggler magnets… – LK]

Free-electron lasers are basically just particle accelerators that can convert fast-moving electrons into photons. The more electrons you stuff into them, the more photons they spit out, at whatever wavelength (or wavelengths) you want.

[Basically just particle accelerators?  That’s like saying that basically a nuclear reactor is a steam driven generator.  It doesn’t begin to cover the reality. – LK ]

Yes, I’m irritable about physics whenever some doof (in their comments section) talks about shrinking an FEL down to the size of a handheld weapon.

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