Archive for the “News” Category

The solution to the Fermi Paradox is that there is no other intelligent life in the Universe.

Better start taking a little more care of this planet and the creatures we share it with people!

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You will have seen the headlines about the possibility of destroying the Earth now that we are able to provide such extremely high energies in our super-colliders.  Grief – the Large Hadron Collider at CERN is to be upgraded to give a collision energy of 14TeV (14 x 10^12 electron volts) what unbelievable destruction could such energy release upon us tiny humans?  Time to get things into perspective.

There is a beautiful line in “The Forbidden Planet” where they have just been attacked by a monster from the Id and it withstood a blast of a Billion electron volts – WOW!!  A billion electron volts (American Billion) is a thousand million electron volts.  An electron volt is equivalent to 1.6 x 10^-19 Joules, so a Billion electron volts is around 1.6 x 10^-09 Joules, or a nano joule.  How much energy is a nano joule?  Well if it takes 4.2 Joules to raise the temperature of 1 gramme of water 1C, then I guess you can work out for yourself that a nano joule ain’t gonna do much.

Let’s go back to the LHC as that is providing a LOT more energy – here we’re talking 14 x 10^12 electron volts!  So that is 2.26 x 10^-6 Joules or 2.26 micro joules.  Still not exactly knocking your socks off is it?  But hey, in electron volts it sounds pretty good doesn’t it!!  We are playing with energies we shouldn’t be playing with – surely?  Well not quite.  Nature as you might expect makes our greatest efforts look pretty puny.

Cosmic Rays – those high energy particles coming in to us from every direction in space.  What sort of energies have they been accelerated to?  Well the high energy Cosmic Rays come into the upper atmosphere carrying a very respectable Joule’s worth of energy, that’s 6.25 x 10^18 electron volts in Forbidden Planet money, or half a million times the energy the LHC might be giving out in 2015.  Our efforts are pretty pathetic.  Does it end there?  Of course it doesn’t.  On Tuesday 15th October 1991 the “Oh My God” particle entered our upper atmosphere carrying?  How much?  50 Joules!!  Yes that’s 50 Joules of energy in a single particle.  Now if that ain’t gonna create Black-Holes, rifts in space time or God knows what else – then what will?  It is estimated that several particles carrying this amount of energy hit our atmosphere EVERY DAY.  Oh and another thing – they have been doing this for the last 4 Billion Years.

So – can we please – give up this crap of destroying the Earth with our piddling inconsequential particle accelerator experiments and perhaps consider much more likely Earth destroying scenarios that have been around since the end of World War 2??

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And so far today it has been raining since before I even got up – it is now 2:30 p.m.

Great.

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It’s not looking good is it?  Last winter I didn’t get a single image in 6 months due to the never-ending rain and cloud.  Looks like we are getting a repeat again this year.  If it is ANOTHER 6-months with no imaging I think I’ll give this nonsense up.

 

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O.K. so the day has finally arrived and “they” are now replacing the Sodium street lights around here with white light LED lamps.

Isn’t it absolutely marvelous how “they” can get their act together AND spend a huge pile of our cash on something that nobody either wants or needs around here.

And yet – replacing the noisy Aluminium phone lines which are slugging Broadband speeds by a factor of 5 due to the error corrections needing to be applied – appears nowhere in “their” plans.

You gotta love this 3rd world country we live in.

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I have recently received a few inquiries from photographers asking where they can purchase the High-Speed Xenon flashguns I use in my high-speed photographic work.

The units are made by THIS company in Ely, Cambridgeshire.  Check out their prices, for a unique piece of kit that cannot be purchased anywhere else on the planet, I believe they represent superb value for money :)

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The missus kindly held up a piece of A4 paper this lunch time outside in a howling gale so I could project an image of the Sun onto it.

An 80mm refractor with a 5X Barlow was used.  Yes the image is upside-down just as it came out of the refractor :)

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You have GOT to laugh at our present pathetic Tory government here in the UK – well either laugh or cry buckets – it’s up to you.
I have just this minute seen on the TV a promise of putting “hit squads” in to sort out failing schools in the south – IF they are voted in at the next election.
This is to go along with giving us an “in-out” EU referendum – IF they are voted in at the next election.
And this also goes with building at least 100,000 new homes – IF they are voted in at the next election.
I’m sure there’s at least another half dozen promises – IF they are voted in at the next election.


OK I think we’ve got the message guys. You think we’ve all just got off the boat and you are pretty damn sure you are going to do dismally at the next election (so are we by the way).


Why not cut through the crap and just come clean??  
If you want to impress the hell out of us – AND stand a chance at the next election – rather than just talking about it, and promising us jam tomorrow, why not get on with the bloody job?

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Thor Heyerdahl, great adventurer and explorer would have been 100 today.

He created a great impression on a very young lad with his book “Kon Tiki” about an expedition aboard a balsa wood raft.  I recall building my own wooden Kon Tikis and sailing them on St. Valentine’s Park pond.

Academics did not think much of Thor’s pronouncements, and likewise Thor didn’t think too much of Academics – something we both have in common.

Unfortunately recent DNA studies have shown that some of his migration theories are incorrect – but he showed us that practically such migrations were possible, even if they did not actually occur.

Great for thinking outside the box, great adventurer, great explorer, and a man who sought his own path without resorting to the support of others – a sorely missed, unique personality.

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Very interesting. Did a very quick and simple IQ test I found on the Internet (expecting it to be completely useless) and it came up with the same number from a “professional” test that took well over an hour. Obviously worth a go if you want to know and you’re short of time.

IQ Test
IQ

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