Monday, February 28, 2011

Anniversary of first gamma-ray burst!

Today on 28 February 1997 the first GRB was detected. It lasted for 80 seconds. GRBs are the most energetic (eletrcomagnetic radiation) events known in the universe. The sources of GRBs are billions of light years away from Earth - which means that explosions are extremely energetic and extremely rare. And awesome.
Interestingly, the burst was detected by an Italian Space Agency (with the participation of Dutch astonomers) satellite (yeah, Italy has its own space agency) and not by NASA or ESA. Imagine that.

Happy birthday GRB 970228! ♥

An artist's illustration of GRB

GRB - Wikipedia article about this particular GRB.
Hubble News  - Hubble news article from 1997.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Did you know that the symbol/number 0.9999... (nines are repeated to infinity) also represents number 1?
So we've actually got two symbols for one number. Awesome, I know. In fact - as wikipedia states - every nonzero, terminating decimal has a twin with trailing 9s, such as 8.32 and 8.31999.

Cool mathematical trick. Well, it's not a trick, but still - cool. A bit connected to my fractals article.

0.999... Wiki - Check out proofs etc. Skepticism in education is interesting, too.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Feelin' cozy

After I saw some pictures of this dude, I just felt I had to post some pictures for my personal archive. They really make me comfortable and I instantly loved them. I specifically like apartments, as you can see.

Hope you like them, too!

Mountain view.

Urban view.

This apartment is actually for sale. 29,5 mio $. Affordable.

Same apartment.

Ray Kappe's House - One really nice apartement. Owned by an architect, of course.
Hearst Castle  - Former mansion of newspaper magnat William Hearst

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Just a short post about some awesome suburbs and pictures from here.
Don't miss the links posted below, they're an amazing read in my opinion. Please, do let me know if you know any other interesting cities.

China's Ghost-town - Amazing article with satellite pictures of empty cities.
Hackerville  - How a Remote Town in Romania Has Become Cybercrime Central.
Urban Sprawls Gallery -  Urban Sprawls in the United States

Monday, February 21, 2011


Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis - Northern lights and Southern lights.

Why does aurora occur? If we simplify, auroras occur when charged particles from the Sun hit Earth's atmosphere and interact with atoms present in the atmosphere - atoms get excited in the air and colourful view is created.
Auroras haven't been observed only on our planet, but also on Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, Mars, and some of the moons Io, Europa, and Ganymede. (all Jupiter's)
Check out this time lapse, it's pretty cool and it gives you some idea of aurora's dynamics. (although in reallity it's much much slower)

Earth's auroras observed from Earth:

Earth's auroras observed from space:

Jupiter's and its moons' auroras:

Artificial Colours

Artificial Colours
APOD 1998

Yeah, auroras are pretty damn awesome and they are worth going hundreds of kilometers north or south to observe them! Lucky those who live there...
Of course, when Sun's activity is really high, auroras are visible in other places - like in 2003, when auroras were visible throughout the Europe.
And with Sun's new maximum on its way we can hope for more continental auroras.

Space Weather - This site keeps us alert for any auroral activity as well as Sun's activity.
Space Weather's galleries - In Summary section you've got link for previous month.
POES (Satellite) - Real-time auroral activity derived from satellite.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

WARP Drive?

How awesome would fast interstellar travel be? Faster than light awesome, that much!

We all know WARP Drive from Star Trek. WARP Drive is a system that allows us to travel faster than light. And there is our first problem. Faster than light is a contradiction to the Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity which states that no matter can travel faster than the speed of light.
For WARP drive to work we also need to controll gravity. We don't know much about controlling gravity either. Then there is the fuel. In Star Trek the fuel is antimatter. Physicists know something about that (approximately 3rd point in the "Where are we now" list below) but not nearly enough to be used as some sort of fuel.

Interstellar Distances. Click on image to enlarge.

An artist's impression of WARP Drive.

Interesting view of mechanical part. By staus.

So, is it possible?
Well, physics is not known enough yet and physicists agree that WARP Drive is not possible in the foreseeable future! However, if we stay positive, we can say that WD is possible and we are just not evolved enough.

Where are we now?
1. Assumption/preposition - The rough idea.
2. Hypothesis - Explanation of the idea.  ← Here we are at he moment.
3. Knowing - We have all the hypotheical knowledge and we know it can work. Theory, basically.
4. Technology - Technology is developed enough for the third stage.
5. Use - Practical use.

Alcubierre drive  - Actual model by a scientist Miguel Alcubierre.
Not Impossible - An article on discussing WARP Drive.
NASA's Article - And why is interstellar travel so tough?

Friday, February 18, 2011


Ah yes, fractals.
Beautiful geometric shapes that are basically smaller copies of itself when magnified (with certain rules) - and its length is infinite. Which means endless magnification of an object! Awesome, I know.

The first fractal was rather simple - Koch Snowflake:  equilateral triangle followed by three steps. I will not go into details, there are plenty of definitons on the net - and they are quite simple so anyone can make an experiment. Koch Snowflake has an interesting feature: Its perimeter or length is infinite and its area is measurable - not infinite.

Nowadays, things got a bit more complicated...

A fractal. Awesome one.

They get even cooler.
3D Fractal

Huge gallery - Of quality fractals. A must see gallery!
Apophysis - Program for editing and rendering fractals. Open source.
3D Fractals - Fractals in 3D.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Atmospheric Optics

People rarely look in the sky with intention of spotting some of the most awesome nature creations. Atmospheric optics. Surely we've all seen iridescent clouds and crepuscular rays. But there are many more awesome-sky phenomena, and they are not rare as we think - we just don't look in the sky often enough. However, they are rare enough that when we see them, we are pretty amazed.

One of the most common atoptics are halos (sun and moon), iridescents clouds, rainbows and sun dogs.

With little human help you can even see gravity waves - really awesome phenomena and you should check it out on youtube or download the video (10 MB) where waves are clearly visible. And they are awesome.
You can also see gravity waves without rockets - on clouds, airglows, etc. Rarely.

Circumhorizon arc

Anti-crepuscular rays


Gravity Wave

Atmospheric Optics  - Leading site for atmospheric optics. With explanations and pictures of every one.

Mega Comics 3000

There are a lot of webcomics on the net. Some are good, some are not. I will try to publish some of the best. That is, of course, just my opinion and they might as well be plain stupid to you.

I'm open for suggestions.

Oglaf - Dirty and hilarious. Mature content.
xkcd - Humour spiced with facts, internet and science.
Dr. McNinja - Story-driven webcomic.
Axe Cop - Webcomic written by a 5-year and illustrated by his 29-year old bro.
Evil Diva  - Devil cursed with urges to be nice.
Goblins  - Life from goblins' perspective.
Dresden codak - Looks interesting. Mulitple chars.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bacteria Party

Found this blog on another blog - DIY Science.
I was very fascinated by the work this Hell Goo guy does - basically he's just letting foods, pills, spit, animals, etc. to rot in a jar. He's occasionally changing the conditons and constantly throwing in new stuff.
With all the mold and bacteria, he's making that jar quite disgusting to look at. Supposedly hazardous, too.

Hell goo - Blog about growing bacteria in jar for half a year.

Hell goo 2 - New project, same guy.

The 60 symbols

Physicists, astronomers, mathematicians and other scientists - mostly from the University of Nottingham - discuss and talk about various science themes. These themes are presented under various symbols - from eclipses, planets to Jabulani ball and famous Einstein's equation.

The Sixty SimbolsVideos about the symbols of physics and astronomy.