Friday, 29 October 2010

Could We Be Holograms?

A recent postulate believes we are in a universe that is just a hologram. This is coming from physicist Craig Hogan.

Hogan has done his math and thinks he can prove that the universe is just one big hologram. It’s in the math, so is it true? Well, at Fermilab’s largest laser laboratory, we can figure out whether this is true or not. The measuring device is being dubbed “holometer.”

It has often been postulated that we lived in a weird universe. Ideas of how unsmooth space-time can get has been considered by many scientists such as Stephen Hawking.  Think of the universe as a digital camera. As you zoom in, it becomes increasingly pixelated. The same concept can be applied to our universe. There seemed to be “pixilation” in a German experiment that tried to measure gravitational waves.

So what is the design? It’s a lot like a classical inferometer, an apparatus that measures interference of light sources. This inferometer will be scaled a lot bigger than a classical one. The arms of the holometer are going to be 40 metres long, to increase the uncertainties of the apparatus. If the values still return to what the mathematics predict, then we are holographic!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Measuring Emotions

Hi folks,

It's been quite a while since I have posted on here. I have been terribly busy with work, SCHOOL and other duties that I have here in the big city (and other places). So let's have at it.

 Quite recently Affectiva, a group of MIT collaborators, has come out with an amazing little device. It is able to measure some emotional responses. It is called the Q Sensor. How can such a device be able to measure something subjective like emotional responses?

Well first off, it comes in wrist band form. Thus, it is constantly touching your skin. The skin has many mechanisms for many different types of emotional stressors. For example, when you are nervous, you start to secrete sweat. When one is excited or stressed, there is a slight electro-gradient that is created. This can be measured by the Q Sensor! It is the change in charges on your skin that the sensor picks up on. 

This device has many features, like being able to be hooked-up to a computer (via USB). There is a button on the device to mark times of significant events (like giving a presentation). 3-dimensional motion sensors to monitor how you move, and enough storage to keep logs for up to 4 months of events.

This is great for many Health Care professionals. Care givers can prevent stressors on their patients by monitoring the activities the Q Sensor picks up on. Preventing major stressors will help prevent some forms of cardiac arrest and other ailments. Once we know what stresses a person, we can help them calm down by doing other activities (meditation comes to mind). It can also help monitor sleeping patterns. The data can help understand when people with sleeping disorders are awakened and figure out how or why this event occurs.

This device will help with the understanding of some emotional responses. I believe these types of devices will help with  further explanations of ideas in consciousness.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Elevator to Emptiness?

Hello dear reader. Today’s topic has been one that I have questioned a long time ago, and then forgot about it. Quite recently my housemate has shown me a cool internet tool called “Stumbleupon.” Even more recently, I stumbled upon a site that talked about the topic of Space Elevators.

So the goal for the space elevator is quite obvious. We are looking for an efficient method to travel back and forth, to and from the Moon (and other planetary bodies). The proposed method is using nano-carbon rods (these are quite strong and hard to break) to make a cable and then attach it to the moon. From this plain description, you may have found the problem. “Let’s attach this cable to an orbiting body!”

If we attach such a thing to an orbiting body, there will be adverse effects. When you attach two bodies, especially one that orbits the other, you are changing the orbiting pattern. Thinking about it, we would probably create something like a binary system. There is no real solution for that, except not to create such a device. Earth has more mass, thus, we would be swinging the moon around, which could probably knock it out of its original orbit.

As the moon is a key factor to the tide of our oceans, there could be some very adverse effects concerning our oceans. Fishing will become harder in some areas and easier in others. Sediments would be harder to for with heightened activity. Think of the “natural” disasters that would occur; Floods that seem to get stronger.
Depending on the placement of the cable attachment, we would be creating an artificial “North” and “South” pole. A new axis as to where it spins. This would change the speed in which the moon rotates. Moon gazers would notice that the dark side of the moon appears less often and the waxing and waning process is a lot slower, if not null.

We are going to find a different way to travel back and forth to parts of the solar system. We would be easily be destroying one of the only visually pleasing objects in the sky that people can see, even in light polluted areas (such as Toronto).

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

21st Century Lunatic

Hello Reader!

Today is a great day! It was beautiful out, the sky shined so bright. It was just an superb day.

Anyways, I have been given a challenge. Not quite me specifically, more of a broad thing. My brother posted on his wall "Write a letter to someone from the 19th century trying to explain an aspect of 21st century daily life. Guaranteed, you can't explain Facebook without making us all sound like lunatics." I am going to accept this challenge. 

Where to begin... I know! The fundamentals of Science. In this era, we had knowledge of (or on the way depending on the year) electricity, the battery, and electrical circuits. By the end of this century, we had a grasp of Alternating Current (Thank You Nikola Tesla). They were on the edge of everything big in the world of electricity and magnetism. Even in the last years of the century, Guglielmo Marconi created the first wireless communication device, the wireless telegraph.

So for those folks still stuck in the year 1897, here's what  Facebook is.

First we must introduce the computer. In a nutshell, a computer is an object that contain many electrical circuits that carry electrons (we know about electrons by now). These electrons carry numerical values of 1's and 0's. The 0's and 1's translate to information that can do math, which can determine output like colour, text, math equations and even sound. This is the basis of the computer. Many computers (or just one) can make something called a server.

In the 1960's the first unofficial model of the internet was used by the United States of America (Yes, the colonies survived and thrived!)  The internet is a network of computers, like that of neurons (you had the knowledge from Franz Nissl). Neuron are connected to send information back and forth from one neuron to the other. The internet uses the same concept. We are able to send information (via wireless electromagnetic waves or from electrons) from one computer to another. In recent years, the internet has been open to the public to use and abuse.

The internet runs on an IP address. An Internet Protocol address give the specific location of the computer/server. Sticking with the Neuron idea, it's like locating a specific neuron in the brain or anywhere in the nervous system. From there we have web pages.

A web page is like a brochure. Most of them are made with information that help you. Some websites are made to entertain. The difference is that a web page can be mutable. I mean it is able to have an interactive component, like playing a game. Word are able to be moved around. This brings us to Facebook.

Facebook is a web page in which people post what they like and what they don't. What is going on in their life and what they wish would. It's like writing a letter (in only a few words) to all your friends and they will understand whether you are happy, sad, angry or just plain crazy. You are able to talk with your friends from long distances (think wireless communication).

This is what Facebook is in a nutshell.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Problems with Time Travel (PT. 1)

I know I have broken my New Years promise, everyone does it though, so get over it. I know this is the first post in over a month and this one will be kept short, in order to study for my exams (I have one tomorrow -_-)

This topic has come from a quiz I was looking over to help study. Light was traveling faster than light. So I immediately thought about time travel because something that travels faster than light, is said to be able to travel in time.

So what happens if we build a machine that is capable of traveling in time but the actual machine doesn't move? I became quite curious and came up with this postulate. If the machine is stagnant and travels back in time, then it must exist at the same spot, at all times. That is, if it travels back in time to an era before the invention actual was constructed, then it must stay in that place for all time in between.

For example, this time machine is built in 2020 (this is highly unlikely) and I want to travel to my birth year. I will end up in the same place but on the date of my birthday. Where should this machine be built, because the past didn't have access to it? Also, think about this, if built in public, how would the population respond to you sitting in this machine traveling back in time? What if you got shot while on the machine right before the crowd disperses (or while just assembles by your point of view), when would it happen? Near your beginning of the travel or near the end?

As I said this is a short post and hopefully thought-provoking.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Tinier Than Atomic?

What could be tinier than a Proton or a Neutron. Obviously electrons are smaller, but are there anything smaller or as small as the electrons? In the mid 20th century, the answer to this became quite clear. There were many "sub-subatomic" particles that interact with each other. These smaller than small particles are what makes up the Standard Model.

The standard models explains three of the 4 fundamental forces that occur in nature. The Weak Nuclear Force, the Strong Nuclear Force and the Electromagnetic Force. The force of gravity cannot currently be explained by the Standard Model. All matter has these interactions between them and are always subdued to each force (yes light is affected by gravity, hence light cannot escape a black hole).

There are three classifications in the Standard Model: the Lepton, the Quark and the Boson (currently sought after, the Higgs boson). These are the building blocks of the material world. For example a proton is made up of 2 up quarks and a down quark "glued" together by a gluon, which is a boson (or a force particle).

So what is an electron made of? Crazy enough, the little buggers are made of itself! They are their own type of particle. An electron is a Lepton.

The difference in Leptons and Quarks are the interactions that they participate in. Both are interactive and participants of the electromagnetic, gravitational and weak nuclear force. Leptons differ because they do not participate with the strong nuclear force.

So these are the building blocks of all matter, living or non-living. They are quite important in studying how things interact. Maybe one day we will learn how to build the strongest atom, piece together the lightest atom that can be harnessed... or build the most energetic atom and use it as fuel.

**Go Canada Go!**

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Radiation From Within

Can you classify the Sun and a steel ball in the same category? What do you think? I think so. I know the Sun isn't metalic, but it is shiny... right? Right? Historically, this is the mother of Quantum Physics. The very beginning. Plank did well.

Anyways, the Sun and the steel ball can be categorized as... A Black Body! Do think of it the wrong way, think of black body as a scientific object. Let's dissect the word first, then we can check other fun properties.

Black: it's a shade in our "colour" scale that as my grade 8 art and grade 9 science teachers put it, "Absorb all light". White is different. It reflects all light. So if a perfectly black object absorbs all light, it is unable to reflect any light. Using this defintion of black, we can then define Black Body as an object that absorbs all light directed at it without emitting any light back (reflecting light).

The Sun can be considered a black body (Before I go any further, there is no such thing as a perfect black body in our known universe. There is only what we can approximate to be black bodies.). But you ask, why are we able to see white light emitted? This is what puzzled physicist Maxwell Plank. Not only that but with old models, we would have the Ultraviolet Catastrophe. So what changed?

Maxwell looked at the Sun (not for very long though) and thought that maybe what is being seen, was thermal energy. Energy, in the form of heat, was being converted to electromagnetic energy (light). So he figured out that the old models were wrong, and that his new formula and idea of light packets (or quanta) would help explain the empirical (experimental) data (as shown in the picture).

This new model indicated that at certain temperatures, there was a maximum intensity for a given wavelength. As the temperature increases, the maximum intensity of the wavelength increases. If you take the integration of this curve, you get infinity. The area under the curve is the energy per unit volume.

This was the problem with the old model. When you integrated the curve from 0 to infinity (wavelengths) it would say that you get infinite energy! Most of this energy was in the ultraviolet spectra. This was cause for concern! How could something forever be emitting UV radiation. This did not get picked up by health critics because they did not know of the adverse affects of UV radiation at the time.

So in all, a black body is something that emits thermal energy in the form of light and light like radiation. Oh and by the way... The steel ball, it is considered a black body at about 1000 K or 1273 degrees Celsius.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Bell's Theorem

*For this post, you will need to read the "Spukhafte Fernwirkung" posted on July 10th, 2009 in order to understand this post more. I have read about the topic and find it somewhat complex. I will do my best to explain it.*

Before we get started, lets look at the EPR paradox or the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen Paradox. In simple terms, there are 3 parts to the paradox. In terms of a system:

  1. Without disturbing it, if we can predict a physical value with certainty, then there exists a physical reality that goes with the quantity.
  2. Measurements of particle at place A cannot instantaneously disturb another particle at place B because nothing goes faster than the speed of light.
  3. Any complete theory in physics must be able to predict all elements of reality.

As shown in the previous posts, Entanglement has the ability of instantaneously transmitting information from one particle to another (for example electrons, whether one is spin up or spin down). Using the logic in the paradox, Einstein insisted that Quantum Theory (More specific, Entanglement) was an incomplete theory.

John S. Bell, a theoretical physicist came up with a theorem that coincides with the EPR Paradox. It states that "No physical theory can produce the all same predictions of quantum mechanics."

This is easier to understand if I set up a scenario. A pion is a subatomic particle which, when it decays, produces 2 photons that move in exactly opposite directions. They are entangled, since they were produced by the samepion. Now we want to measure multiple properties of the photons. Due to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, we can only take one measurement of the photon accurately. So here is the conundrum, if we measure one propertie of photon 1, we automatically know with accuracy the same property about photon 2. Are we able to measure a property of photon 2 with great accuracy then? If photon 1 has a measured spin in the x-direction, we know the spin for photon 2 to be the opposite, in the same direction. But can we measure the y or z direction of the spin?

According to Heisenberg, we can only know one thing really, really well. So this would break down the Uncertainty Principle. Bell setup a assumptions for his inequality to work:
  1. Logic is valid
  2. There is a reality separate from its observations.
  3. Information cannot travel faster than light
There is an invalid argument because the we do know that information can travel faster than light (contrary to Einstein's belief). Scientists believe that the statement of "Logic is valid" could be wrong. We do not have the right mathematics to see if our statements are true.