- Old School Nouveau.
(posts are not mine unless stated.)
Enrico Fermi famously asked, in his paradoxical analysis of the likely existence of extraterrestrial life, “Where is everybody?” If there are a certain (large) number of planets in the universe that are habitable, then a subset of these (also a large number) should be inhabited. Any civilization that formed, given enough time, could develop the means for interstellar communication or travel.
So yeah, “Where is everybody?”
Years later, Frank Drake developed a precise equation to calculate the likely number of inhabitable worlds within range of observation or communication from Earth. Well, it’s as precise as you define it, anyway, given that the variables that go in are just that - variable. Things like how long it would take a civilization to develop communication, how long said civilization would last, how many stars and planets are estimated to exist … just the basics.
It’s called the Drake Equation, and thanks to the stupendous folks over at BBC Future, you can go tweak the equation with an interactive tool! Click here to start defining your galaxial parameters and see how many civilizations you think should exist.
I’m getting some pretty big numbers . . !
The grueling process will involve of a decade of preparation, sending a probe on a journey which takes seven years in each direction, with several years of sample collecting in the middle. But after all of that, we may have proof of non-Earthly life from a place where all signs point to its…
Imagine a creativity cap. A device that would free you, if only momentarily, from your mindsets, from your prejudices, from the mental blocks to creativity. These words are emblazoned on the website Creativitycap.com, and they represent the vision of neuroscientist Allan Snyder. Snyder believes we all possess untapped powers of cognition, normally seen only in rare individuals called savants, and accessing them might take just a few jolts of electricity to the brain. It sounds like a Michael Crichton plot, but Snyder, of the University of Sydney, Australia, says he wouldn’t be surprised to see a prototype of the creativity cap within a couple of years. His research suggests that brain stimulation improves people’s ability to solve difficult problems. But Snyder’s interpretation of his findings remains controversial, and the science of using brain stimulation to boost thinking is still in its early stages. “I think it’s a bit of a minefield,” said psychologist Robyn Young of Flinders University in Australia, who has tried to replicate Snyder’s early experiments. “I’m not really sure whether the technology is developed that can turn it into a more accurate science.” (via Unlock Your Inner Rain Man by Electrically Zapping Your Brain | Wired Science | Wired.com)
Aerogel, also know as frozen smoke, is the world’s lowest density solid, clocking in at 96% air. If you hold a small piece in your hand, it’s practically impossible to either see or feel, but if you poke it, it’s like styrofoam. It supports up to 4,000 times its own weight and can withstand a direct blast from two pounds of dynamite. It’s also the best insulator in existence.
"enBut at their core, artists and scientists are not so different from one another. Both endeavor to solve our greatest mysteries through the power of imagination. The great American playwright Eugene O’Neill described his work as an effort to explain the mysterious forces behind life that shape human destiny. I suspect Einstein could relate."
Bill O’Brien, National Endowment for the Arts
Perpetual Motion - Is the theoretical idea of a machine that can produce more energy than that what it takes in. These ideas rely on isolated systems and the fact the input source never ends. Both conditions are impossible and the entire concept ignores the first 2 laws of thermodynamics. Despite this there are several designs that have cropped up over history. The top one was made famous by Leonardo Da Vinci, although he too disagreed with the idea.
Cold Welding - In space, under a vacuum, if two pieces of metal touch they will come together as one. This would happen under normal conditions if the atmosphere didn’t created an oxidised coat around the separate metal pieces. Cold welding was first recognised in 1940, and now scientists can get this to happen on a nano scale; giving it a potential future in self healing materials and nanofabrication. - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_welding