Category Archives: Science

We Can Still Learn From Vern

Former Michigan Congressman Vernon J. Ehlers, the first PhD physicist in the House of Representatives and the only one so far from the Republican party, died on August 15 at the age of eighty-three. His tenure in Congress (from 1993 to 2010) capped off a most impressive career as a scientist (specializing in studies of the nuclei of alkaline and post-transition metals), educator and science adviser to Gerald Ford while the future President held the same Congressional seat that Ehlers would later Read more […]

Countdown to Interstellar: The Warp Drive in Hard Science Fiction…1…Charles Sheffield

The first few years of the Millennium were dark ones for fans of hard science fiction. In 2001, Poul Anderson died, followed a few months later by his frequent collaborator Gordon Dickson. Then in 2003, Hal Clement, who did more than any other writer to develop hard science fiction as an identifiable sub-genre by introducing a new degree of scientific rigor in writing and helped make world-building an art form, also passed away. Between these two massive losses came possibly the most tragic of Read more […]

Countdown to Interstellar: The Warp Drive in Hard Science Fiction….2….Gregory Benford

Gregory Benford and Relativistic Effects     I once attended a talk given by renowned mathematical physicist Roger Penrose where he described binary pulsars as the most beautiful objects in the universe, as they fulfill every prediction made by the Theory of Relativity. Similarly, the stories of Gregory Benford are among the most beautifully written in science fiction, not just because of their prose but how they illuminate the laws and hidden facets of the universe. As a physicist Read more […]

Countdown to Interstellar: The Warp Drive in Hard Science Fiction….3….Poul Anderson

Writers of hard science fiction, that most rigorously realistic of the genre’s subdivisions, pride themselves on their unwavering commitment to scientific accuracy and adherence to the known laws and facts of the physical universe in their stories, yet they find themselves making a necessary exception for one of the most significant of all its invariants. Since the Theory of Special Relativity has established that nothing can move faster than the speed of light, which has only been further buttressed Read more […]

Movie Review: Science At Work

The late, great Frederick Pohl opened Chasing Science, his wonderful memoir of scientific tourism, with an account of his visits to America’s national laboratories. Although the majority work under heavy security there is one lab, as Pohl notes, that always welcomes visitors with open arms: Fermilab in DuPage County, Illinois. It is there that the Top Quark was discovered, solidifying the Standard Model and establishing it firmly as the touchstone of modern physics, and it remained the country’s Read more […]

Misconceptions about the First 190,000 years of Human History/Paleo Lifestyle

There are many people that base what they know of the first 190,000 years of human history on Hollywood movies about cavemen rather than any academic research. The reality is that anatomically modern humans lived a hunting and gathering lifestyle exclusively for almost 190,000 years. They did this, not because they were too stupid to invent agriculture or that they had no idea what animal husbandry was, they lived that lifestyle because it was easy. In fact it was so easy a “caveman could do it”. Got Read more […]

Space Colonization – It Ain’t Like Dusting Crops

If mankind is going to reach for the stars, it is most certainly going to involve some way to travel faster than light speed.  A recent post on this very site, reported the fact that certain scientists are considering warp drive as a possibility.  I am skeptical of such things but then again I am not a scientist.  My thoughts are that this is going to take a while regardless but there two basic schools of thought on how this is going to develop.  1) That we are going to have to colonize Read more […]

Life and life

Life! You know it when you point at it but you find it difficult to say just what it is. What is it about an entity that make you say “That’s alive.”? What systems that we do not normally think of as alive have similar properties? What things that get described as life might it be better not to call life?. I originally wrote this article to clarify my own thinking on the subject. I found the framework that I’m using here helpful. Others may come up with different useful descriptions. The first Read more […]

The Greatest of America’s Heroes Has Passed Away

  Neil Armstrong really needs no introduction. I don’t have words to tell you what his accomplishment means to me. His one small step is the greatest achievement man has ever made. His tiny step dwarfs the pyramids, it makes the great wall look like a picket fence. His small step is the kind of thing that not only transcends the bounds of this planet it transcends the barrier of race, religion, and nation. His step was a step forward for all mankind. Let us remember this hero of heroes. I Read more […]

Coming to a Home Near You 3-D Movies Without the Glasses

Soon you will be able to purchase a 3-D television that requires no glasses and that allows you to view the 3-D screen from almost any angle. An article in Science Daily published yesterday outlines the new technological advancement. Current 3-D technology relies on the glasses integrating two different views of the scene into a three dimensional whole. The new technology takes the perspective into account from five or more points, allowing the viewer to view what is happening on the screen from Read more […]