Are we all holograms? Some physicists say it’s possible.

So maybe we’ve all been sucked into a black hole, but our data remains at the edge and projects itself in the form we currently believe we’re in?

I can’t even think of a “Star Trek” episode that was a complicated as that. But then, there’s another believe in physics and every possible existence we could have had, has or will happen somewhere in the universe.

So let’s take this a step further. If we are the data remnants on the edge of a black hole, then that should mean that, like numbers, when different data interact, you get a different result. And if that’s the case, the result in our “existence” could very possibly be the many worlds result of quantum mechanics.

Yeah, that’s a stretch. But I’m on the edge of a black hole, so what else should I be thinking about?

That’s a simpler way of explaining it. But there, there’s the theory that the universe talks to young white women:

Now that just makes no fuckin’ sense.


Mapping the solar system

A nice map of the solar system and the satellite missions that we’ve used to explore it from National Geographic (click to enlarge):


And yes, when you click through it, you see it’s a huge map. But it’s not really an adequate representation of the size of the solar system.

Click here to go through a scale model map of the solar system, using as the scale our moon the size of one pixel. And then you’ll see that despite the billions of stars and planets in the night sky, we are really in the middle (?on the edge?) of nowhere.

Once you go through that vast, seemingly endless, map of nothingness, think what your reaction should be to this observation:

Now some SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) researchers are pushing a more aggressive agenda: Instead of just listening, we would transmit messages, targeting newly discovered planets orbiting distant stars. Through “active SETI,” we’d boldly announce our presence and try to get the conversation started.

Naturally, this is controversial, because of . . . well, the Klingons. The bad aliens.

“ETI’s reaction to a message from Earth cannot presently be known,” states a petition signed by 28 scientists, researchers and thought leaders, among them SpaceX founder Elon Musk. “We know nothing of ETI’s intentions and capabilities, and it is impossible to predict whether ETI will be benign or hostile.”

My reaction? Doesn’t matter if they’re benign or hostile. It would take them forever to get here. So send the signal, which would travel at the speed of light and take years to get to the next galaxy. At the worst, we’ll just end up crank calling each other. (Hey, Boba Fett! Is that a ring around Uranus? Yuk, yuk, yuk.)

Meanwhile, the Web site Vox has plenty more space map thrills for you.

The Star Trek crew and the Enterprise via NASA


Via Knowmore:

NASA posted the photo above on Friday, following news that Leonard Nimoy passed away in Los Angeles at age 83. The photo shows NASA officials and “Star Trek” cast members standing together in 1976 in front of NASA’s space shuttle Enterprise, named for show’s iconic spacecraft.

As Star Trek’s Vulcan science officer Mr. Spock, Nimoy was an inspiration for many at NASA. He often joined other cast members in at NASA special events and promoting NASA missions, as in the photo above.

From left to right are NASA Administrator James D. Fletcher; DeForest Kelley, who portrayed Dr. “Bones” McCoy on the series; George Takei (Mr. Sulu); James Doohan (Chief Engineer Montgomery “Scotty” Scott); Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura); Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock); series creator Gene Roddenberry; U.S. Rep. Don Fuqua (D.-Fla.); and, Walter Koenig (Ensign Pavel Chekov).

Captain Kirk was probably off cavorting with some space babe.

A supermassive black hole interpretation

OK, here goes.

I saw this in the Washington Post:

Some 12.8 billion light years away, astronomers have spotted an object of almost impossible brightness — the most luminous object ever seen in such ancient space. It’s from just 900 million years after the big bang, and the old quasar — a shining object produced by a massive black hole — is 420 trillion times more luminous than our sun.

That brightness and size is surprising in a black hole from so close to the dawn of time. In a new study published Wednesday in Nature, researchers describe a cosmic light that defies convention. It was even detectable with a relatively small telescope, though researchers in China did have to ask for help from astronomers in Chile and the United States  to get a higher-resolution look.

Which, according to Nature, means this:

So far, roughly 40 quasars with redshifts greater than z = 6 have been discovered1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Each quasar contains a black hole with a mass of about one billion solar masses (109 )2, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13. The existence of such black holes when the Universe was less than one billion years old presents substantial challenges to theories of the formation and growth of black holes and the coevolution of black holes and galaxies14. Here we report the discovery of an ultraluminous quasar, SDSS J010013.02+280225.8, at redshift z = 6.30. It has an optical and near-infrared luminosity a few times greater than those of previously known z > 6 quasars. On the basis of the deep absorption trough15 on the blue side of the Lyman-α emission line in the spectrum, we estimate the proper size of the ionized proximity zone associated with the quasar to be about 26 million light years, larger than found with other z > 6.1 quasars with lower luminosities16. We estimate (on the basis of a near-infrared spectrum) that the black hole has a mass of ~1.2 × 1010 , which is consistent with the 1.3 × 1010 derived by assuming an Eddington-limited accretion rate.

But I’m stupid, and all I can think of is this:

Same thing, right?

The submarines of Titan

NASA is trying to figure out how you would explore a celestial bodies that have a liquid surface, like the methane seas of Saturn’s moon Titan. This is one idea:

And that’s not the only liquid world worth examining. There’s also the possibilities of oceans under the ice surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa: