New version of the ‘Pillars of Creation’ photo for Hubble’s 25th anniversary in 2015

pillars2015up

One of my absolute favourite photos ever. It’s mind-boggling what is going on here, and the scale of it.

More details >

http://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/hubble-goes-high-definition-to-revisit-iconic-pillars-of-creation/#.VKvd5yusVnE

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Perspective

Looking at our planet from this perspective, doesn’t war and the need of men to dominate and control others seem pointless? And the UN climate change pronouncements seem a tad more important?

chinese moon earth

Taken from APOD: Moon and Earth from Chang’e 5-T1 (2014 Nov 04)
Image Credit: Chinese National Space Administration, Xinhuanet
http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap141104.html

Solar Freakin Roadways!

Every now and again, ideas comes along that seem to be too good to be true, and of course, they usually are. But this one seems to have been pretty well thought out. It has so many upsides and advantages but the main one is using and providing clean solar power.

It helps to have a brilliant 7 minute video to watch to explain it all and this one has gone viral. I couldn’t help myself but donate as soon as I’d seen it. When I found them yesterday they needed another $60K to reach their $1 million target. This morning they are $170 OVER it and I’m sure it will continue to rise.

After the wow factor had subsided, my thoughts – like a scientist – were to figure out why it wasn’t a brilliant idea. How could it go wrong? What is the obvious flaw that they haven’t seen? What if it got hacked? Wouldn’t it simply be too expensive in the real world? And most importantly, how the hell do cars not skid driving on wet glass??!! But they seem to have answered most of the objections already so I really hope this gets a major trial, and I hope it gets picked up worldwide.

Official video: www.indiegogo.com/projects/solar-roadways

Or how about this: some major corporations get their car parks made out of SFR panels? Billionaires get their driveways paved in SFR panels? I wonder if SFR panels can be strengthened to take aircraft – airport runways. (Update – they mentioned runways in the video which I missed the first time around as my jaw was still on the floor). I’m sure they have brainstormed all of these ideas but if they could get some serious private financial backing to get a large scale trial built it might just get the serious attention of governments.

If you haven’t seen it already – watch the video and donate!!! Since I’ve written this post it has gone up another $3K. Keep it coming!

Oh yes, and the roads could look like Tron! 🙂

 

UPDATE on 30/5/14

SR have broken the record for crowdfunding via Indiegogo! They have topped $1.5 million and have emailed their fans to say they are going to continue the fundraising as follows:

“Exciting News! At the encouragement of the Indiegogo staff our Solar Roadways Support Team and our fans, we’ve decided to extend our Indiegogo campaign. So many people from around the world are just learning about our Solar Roadways project and want to become a part of it, it just makes sense to continue on. It seems like the world is gathering round our concept as a vote for a paradigm shift, where innovation and creativity are honored rather than suppressed. Our wish is that the conversation happening around our campaign may reinvigorate the innovative spirit of America and other great nations. Perhaps this will lead to a new scientific renaissance, and this time one that spans the entire globe. Solar Roadways can become the hub that welcomes in so many other technologies and innovations.
A grassroots movement is happening, and we’d hate to end before newcomers have a chance to join in. With the extra funds, we can hire even more people and get to production even faster. We are so humbled and blessed by the outpouring of donations and support from every corner of the world – the message is loud and clear: the world is ready for Solar Roadways!”

I agree, and I hope they get well beyond the $2 million too, or further. This will give them an enormous opportunity to prove their concept.

This is the best crowdfunded project I’ve seen so far – with the most potential benefits to the planet. If you haven’t donated yet, you can help them out with a donation starting at $5.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/solar-roadways

If you need convincing, go to the Indiegogo link above and watch the video.

 

Fusion outputs more energy than it consumes for the first time

nuclear fusion net gain

There were many reports of this, here’s the IFLS article which reports on the announcement in Nature.

“Using controlled nuclear fusion for a source of virtually unlimited power that is pollution-free has been a dream of physicists since Einstein’s day – but many had written the process off as science fiction. Though it is still a long way off, a new breakthrough has occurred where researchers actually saw a net gain in energy following a fusion reaction. The announcement comes from lead author Omar Hurricane from the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and was published in Nature. –

See more at:

http://www.iflscience.com/physics/nuclear-fusion-reactions-see-net-gain-energy#sthash.7K5coxC5.dpuf

I find this news really exciting – to me fusion could be the answer to our enormous energy needs as a completely ‘clean’ source of power – but I am aware that it could also kick off the third world war if it destroys the power of the oil-rich countries. To give us an almost unlimited supply of electricity would allow us to stop the burning of fossil fuels with all the benefits that would bring the planet.

Galileo’s new book compares a heliocentric Coperican solar system to the Ptolemaic geocentric system.

From the Wikipedia article: “The Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems (Dialogo sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo) was a 1632 Italian language book by Galileo Galilei comparing the Copernican system with the traditional Ptolemaic system. It was translated into Latin as Systema cosmicum (English: Cosmic System) in 1635 by Matthias Bernegger. The book, which was dedicated to Galileo’s patron, Ferdinando II de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany and delivered to him on February 22, 1632, was a bestseller.

In the Copernican system the Earth and other planets orbit the Sun, while in the Ptolemaic system everything in the Universe circles around the Earth. The Dialogue was published in Florence under a formal license from the Inquisition. In 1633, Galileo was convicted of “grave suspicion of heresy” based on the book, which was then placed on the Index of Forbidden Books, from which it was not removed until 1835 (after the theories it discussed had been permitted in print in 1822.) In an action that was not announced at the time, the publication of anything else he had written or ever might write was also banned.”