Monday, 21 December 2009
Saturday, 19 December 2009
Friday, 9 October 2009
Wednesday, 16 September 2009
Thursday, 10 September 2009
Thursday, 20 August 2009
Thursday, 30 July 2009
Saturday, 18 July 2009
Time seems to be everything. We get paid per time, our life relies on every minute, every hour and even years. We celebrate an annual event that occurs when we are either conceived or born. For those married, you have an anniversary - returning every year - a yearly celebration of your marriage. But it seems much more important than this.
As Our Lady Peace said in R.K. On Death, "[Death] gives importance and value to time.
Time would become meaningless if there were too much of it." I find this to be absolutely true. If we never concieved an idea to measure amounts of different periods, we would never care about what we do as humans.
Sunday, 12 July 2009
do you think there really is life out there? Did Roswell actually happen? Or are you on the other end of the spectrum, no life other than terrestrial being? Well today we will explore the mathematics of extra-terrestrials!
That’s right, math that predicts the probability of other aliens.
The equation is called the Drake Equation. This equation was brought about by Dr. Frank Drake of University of California who is a scientist in Astronomy and Astrophysics.
Not only does the equation predict how many civilizations are out there, it also predicts advanced civilizations! How many are at our level of intelligence and beyond. Without further ado, here is the ever so famous equation:
N = R x P x Ne x L x I x FC x LT
What do all these wonderful letters mean?
- N is the number of aliens that possible could contact us or visa versa.
- R is the average star formation
- P is the fraction of stars that have planets surrounding it
- Ne is the number of planets that could support life for every star that has a planet
- L is the fraction of planets that WILL have life on it... at one point. Because everything started off as a single celled organism, this is going to be higher than N
- I is the fraction of l that will become intelligent life. This could be an animal (anything that has a structure like our neural system).
- FC is the fraction of intelligent life that can and will build a detection device for communication purposes.
- LT is the time length in which a signal will be sent.
Here are values that have been used with this equation (taken from Wikipedia):
- R = 10/year the Milky Way averages 10 stars per years.
- P = 0.5 about half these stars will develop/pull planets into its orbit.
- NE = 2 scientists believe that 2 of these planets will be able to support life.
- Recap so far: 10 stars, 5 stars with planets 2 of these will have planets that support life.
- L = 1 (100% of these planets will develop life of any kind. Such as microbes or amoebas.) (I would think only 50% at most but let’s go with this)
- I = 0.01 (1% that could be intelligent)
- FC = 0.01 (1% that could communicate with us.)
- LT = 10,000 years (how long the civilization will last 10,000 years)
If we multiply each of these numbers together, we get N = 10 alien beings that we COULD encounter. This is only theoretical and we still have yet to encounter any (except possibly at Roswell).
If we use my 50% instead of the 100% for the ‘L’ value we come up with 5. This seems more reasonable. Makes sense why we have yet to encounter anything in this vast galaxy.
That concludes Drake’s equation. As always, comments are always excepted and topic suggestions are welcome as well.
Thanks for reading Keith’s Mind.
Friday, 10 July 2009
Saturday, 27 June 2009
- If the the waves are in phase, when a crest meets a crest or trough meets the other trough (or 2 of the same points meet) you have Constructive interferance. The 2 waves make a "super wave" and the waves add onto each other.
- If the wave is out of phase (all the other times ie. crest meets trough) we have Destructive interferance. the waves cancel each other out.
Thursday, 30 April 2009
Hello Reader and welcome to the first segment of 3 all about Quantum Mechanics. Due to the science being so strange, I will cover as much as possible and to make sure you can grasp at least a little of what’s going on.
I will start off with this: We all have heard of Sir Isaac Newton and his Laws of Motion. You may not know the laws but you have heard his name associated with such phrases, I am sure. Newton was the one who came up with the concept of Gravity. And the ever so famous Action, reaction phrase... that was Newton’s Third Law!
Well it turns out; this is fine and dandy for macro scale. Objects that can be seen with the human eye, you, me, space shuttles, cannons, etcetera. But when we get to the micro scale, atoms, this is not right at all. Sub atomic particles move differently. This is where quantum mechanics starts playing a role in science.
In order to understand the next part, you must imagine what a wave looks like. That’s right, go back to High School Trigonometry and try to remember what a sine wave looks like. This is how light travels... in wave form.
Through experiments, it was determined that electrons when separate from the atom, also travelled in a wave. Now isn’t that strange? On a large scale, a bunch of atoms move using Newtonian Mechanics, but if you look at individual particles and sub-atomic particles, they act as waves. They even interfere like waves!
Electrons are weird little buggers. In an atom, the concept taught in High School is that they travel in circles around an atom. This is quite untrue. Instead, their positions are quite unclear. What is known, due to Schrödinger’s wave equations, is that there are probability “clouds” in which an electron could occupy in space and time. They do not stay in one place but “teleport” to another space in the probability cloud. This uncertainty gave rise to Heisenberg’s Principle of Uncertainty. He states that the position multiplied by the momentum of the object has to be larger than a constant. Thus, if one is item is very well know (say the momentum, which is mass x velocity), then the position of the electron cannot be well known.
A reason we cannot detect this is because the sophistication of our technology. A lot of out optical devises uses either photons or electrons to detect object positions. If a photon is what makes an electron excited and do not know the initial characteristics (velocity and position), the conditions cannot be deduced. Hitting an electron with an electron is also quite hard. But doing this does not help, seeming the wave feature of the electron allows it to be random in itself.
That is it for the basics of Quantum Mechanics. As always comments are encouraged.
Monday, 20 April 2009
Thursday, 16 April 2009
In order to understand solar flares though, I will go over some things to make things a bit clearer.
The first thing to know about the Sun is that it is made up of Hydrogen atoms that fuse to make Helium atoms. This creates the heat that we feel on those warm sunny days (yes, summer is right around the corner, as they say). The energy of the hydrogen molecules are so significant that the 1 proton and electron from each atom will form into a new atom. This energy is called the Heat of Fusion. The temperature of the surface of the Sun is about 5725 C.
Our Sun has 3 layers to it, the core, the surface and the radiation zone. The radiation zone is very dense. Here the electromagnetic waves are produced and the radiation can stay in this zone for millions of years. Simply put, the energy can be in a wide range of wavelengths, from x-rays (large) or Gamma Rays (small).
So what is a solar flare? It’s an extra burst of energy that gets emitted from the Sun. This sends a “wave” of radiation (UV, x-ray and Gamma) outward. These are pretty dangerous wavelengths.
So why don’t we feel it? Actually, we kind of do. Cancer is a mutation in cells genetics. This can be due to many different agents. The most prominent reagent for skin cancer is UV radiation... from the Sun. The UV index actual flexuate, due to these solar flares and you get the advisory to put on sun screen.
Another aspect that is in movies including in the new cinematic entertainment, Knowing, is wireless interference. In movies, when a solar flare occurs, it creates interference waves for all technology that uses radio waves (electromagnetic waves). As established above, Radio waves ARE emitted from the Sun. It usually affects what is known as long range radio waves. These are the x-rays, and waves that have wavelengths in decimetres. We can thank the Ionosphere for this; it cuts “blocks” the larger wavelengths from getting through. Our cell phones have an average wavelength of approximately 26 centimetres or 2.6 decimetres. Thus, a solar flare is ABLE to interfere with our cell phone signal.
But these flares occur very often. During an “active” Sun phase, the Sun could produce a solar flare every few hours. When the Sun is inactive, solar flares can be produced once a week.
Flares occur when the outer “atmosphere” of the Sun has a burst of stored magnetic energy. It’s like a water balloon; the magnetic energy fills up in a concentrated area and then bursts releasing electromagnetic waves and lot of heat.