Future scientist and teenage overachiever William Gadoury, a student from Canada thought that it was strange that the ancient Mayan civilizations were all built far distances away from sources of water and up in the mountains when there were much better locations throughout the central american forests where they resided. While most high school students would just shrug their shoulders and go play some Call of Duty, Gadoury instead decided to formulate a hypothesis as to why this could be. He knew that Mayans were outstanding Astronomers, modeling their temples after the alignments of the celestial bodies and developing calendars that were STILL being referenced in modern days.
There is some serious science going on in that goofy-faced statue
Using this knowledge, he broke out some diagrams of Mayan constellations and was pleasantly surprised to see that the stars aligned perfectly with 117 known Mayan cities. Just proving his hypothesis did not satisfy Gadoury as he took it a step further, using a small constellation of just 3 stars, two of which lined up with two known Mayan ruins, and then used satellite imaging and google maps to discover the ruins of a third completely unknown ruin. Going off the picture it looks like another pyramid structure, similar to what has been found in other sites throughout the world.
Suck it Indiana Jones
Although it is currently in such a remote area that a manned expedition to the site will be extremely expensive and labor intensive, talks about such an expedition are currently underway at New Brunswick University. Until then our young genius will have to be content with just naming the city, which he dubbed K’àak’ Chi’ which stands for “Mouth of Fire”. Oh, and I vote that this dude is excused from all Science homework for the rest of forever, whose with me?
I’m sure that the world was a scary place when I was growing up, full of just as much war and disease and oppression as there seems to be this day in age, but now that I am older (although not as much wiser as I would like to be) it seems like these types of news stories get to me more and more each day. The election is an absolute clusterfuck, but then again they probably all have been and this is just the first time I have actually cared enough to read an article about it. The world is gradually warming and melting polar ice caps. Countries I would have a hard time finding on a map are fighting other countries that I would have a hard time finding on a map, and are threatening the few countries I could find. Discrimination and racial tension are running rampant throughout the country and are showing signs of getting even worse before they get any better. The goddamn Kardashians are popping up on my news feed for some God-awful reason. The point is as a no-longer-quite-so-young adult, the world I am living in now seems a few shades darker than the world I grew up in. At least it is on most days.
It’s what we all keep telling ourselves
Don’t worry guys, there is some good news mixed in there as well, if you look through all the muck and mire long enough that is. Stories of the largest coal mining company in America declaring bankruptcy. Sure, it’s a story that is sad for the employees involved, however what we are really seeing is a shift in the global perception of what is and what is not an acceptable form of energy. Of course that doesn’t mean that everyone is rolling around in electric cars and popping up wind turbines in their yards in order to power their homes, but it is progress. It is a sign that as the younger generation steps into the higher levels of industry, we are no longer content to just maintain things as they once were. We accept that the planet is important and that as much as some would like to deny it, things are starting to look a little grim. It’s the beginning signs of accountability for a species that has spent almost all of it’s history just bulldozing right past it. There are other stories of progress such as the SpaceX reusable rocket landing or the fact that GE recently created a turbine the size of a car exhaust that can power a small city. It also runs of carbon dioxide, the same shitty stuff that we have been tossing into the ozone for the last few hundred years! Progress is being made! Sweet and glorious progress. These aren’t the only ones either, there are even more stories like these if you know where to look.
Now, none of these things are going to completely solve the world’s problems on their own, but when you start putting them together over time it shows a shift in the mindset of humanity that gives me something to hold on to at night. Stories like these may be the diamonds in the rough at this point, but for right now it’s all I need. These are my stars in the dark night. Plus, they give me something more interesting to talk and write about than what is going to kill me the next time I step out my front door.
The future is now kids. This new indoor floating sphere, dubbed from German design firm Festo is the coolest thing you will see all day. It was named “FreeMotionHandling” and it is dubbed an “indoor flying object”. It’s lightweight carbon frame can move vertically and horizontally allowing it to hover or move in virtually any direction. It uses helium for buoyancy and a combination of GPS and mounted cameras to see where it is going. Besides all of those boring details, the sphere can actually grip objects in the world around it, carry them, and then basically regurgitate them right back out into a waiting hand. Currently, it only works in doors and only in certain preset conditions, but still the possible applications for this are huge. We may be floating around in these things in a few years, hoping there aren’t any pointy objects around.
To see a video of this thing in action click here
Holy shit ladies and gentleman, they actually did it. SpaceX has sent a Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station and safely landed it on a floating platform back on earth. It’s something they have been trying to do for months now, and things were starting to seem a little hopeless as time and again they were met with failure. Today marks an important step for the future of manned space flight for multiple reasons. First of all proving that it is possible to safely land a rocket back on earth will usher in a new age of much cheaper, reusable rockets. It also was a huge step forward for NASA, as the SpaceX rocket that was launched delivered the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) to the ISS. This inflatable space capsule will hopefully provide a cheap and safe way for people to occupy space in the future, and begins it’s two years of testing today. Safe to say it has been a helluva day for both SpaceX and NASA. Congratulations everyone!
China has built up a pretty terrible reputation over the years due to their contributions to the world’s growing pollution problems. A booming industrial economy, coupled with very little government regulation on Chinese businesses has led to multiple cases of environmental disaster as well as a steadily growing air pollution problem. Some of these issues are even things that we have written about before. However, much to the surprise of Environmentalists everywhere when the President of the State Grid Corporation of China proposed a $50 TRILLION worldwide power grid that they would like to have in place by 2050. So I guess they have been saving up all of their environmental improvement ideas for the last few decades in order to throw out this gem instead of, you know, improving gradually over time. Nope they are just gonna fix this bitch in one go.
Step one of one hundred
All joking aside, it’s a gargantuan step in the right direction for the industrial giant. It proposes using a combination of wind power in the north pole and solar power near the equator to create a genuine globe spanning source of clean energy. It’s a hell of an ambitious idea, and one that won’t be coming to fruition anytime soon but who knows? Even if only the Chinese portion is built it will be a vast improvement over the current environmental climate.
Triton underwater breather company has been making waves in recent days (shutup I know it’s a bad pun) after raising over $700,000 through an Indiegogo campaign over just it’s first few days. Their claim to fame is that they have created a revolutionary new underwater breather that will allow users to stay underwater for extended periods of time without the use of bulky SCUBA equipment. Obviously if this new tech works as advertised, the military, scientific, and recreational applications would be huge. They say that they have the technology, they have a decent concept, and now they have some money, so why aren’t we all lining up to shell out ridiculous sums of cash to swim around a la the Jedi in A Phantom Menace? Well, unfortunately unless Triton has somehow secretly made some breakthroughs in both energy efficiency and pulling oxygen out of solution (and we are talking jumps science forward 30 or so years kind of breakthroughs) it’s just not something that can be done with today’s technology.
Before we dive further (ok that one was an accident) into the issues with the science, there are quite a few other red flags surrounding the project with regards to the presentation of the project and the lack of credibility of the business as a whole. The biggest issue that immediately jumps out is the fact that their claims have had absolutely ZERO third party verification. Basically although Triton says they have developed this amazing tech that can do all these things, no one outside of their company has verified it. Basically the equivalent of me saying I have created a perpetual motion machine. I can say it all day long, and it may even be true, but until I can get someone else to verify it, it don’t mean shit. So yeah, the fact that people are throwing money at these guys without any actual proof of concept at this point is dubious at best but whatever, it’s not my money I guess.
So, now that we have gone through the issues listed above, lets get into the actual science problems. These are all described in-depth in this article by gear junkie, but it can basically be summed up in three parts. One: in order to get enough oxygen to survive, you are going to have to process about 46.1 liters of water per MINUTE through the mask. That means you are going to have to be pumping like a motherfucker to get it all in there. Take a look at that mask. See any big old pumps on there? I don’t either. Ok so let’s pretend that the pumps are invisible, just for the sake of argument. You are going to need a serious battery in order to power the pumps to move the water to filter the oxygen to not drown. Also contained in breather would need to be a air compression chamber to hold the air before it is breathed in, and it would need some type of regulator to control the volume that is going to be moved in and out of your lungs. All of this they claim is contained in the small container that covers the nose and mouth. Yeah. Right. Not buying it. The fact of the matter is that their claims are just too grand to be true, even if it sounds like something they think we will be able to do in the near future. So what are they going to do with the $700,000 then? Who knows. Probably enjoy the ride and the notoriety while they can until December rolls around and they still don’t have the promised product from the videos. You can do alot with $700,000, just not create a physics breaking underwater breather.
Yesterday, Feb 1 2016 the Worldwide Health Organization declared a state of emergency caused by the sudden and explosive spread of the Zika virus throughout Central and South America. This is especially worrying as there is currently no vaccine or treatment available for the Zika virus. What started as a obscure news story a month ago has quickly become a very relevant and very disturbing headline, especially due to the link between the virus and microcephaly. Microcephaly is a neurological condition leading to small heads and underdeveloped brains in newborns. There are many pictures of the effects of microcephaly floating around the net recently due to the virus, and although it isn’t a guarantee that a child will contract the disorder, it does seem to drastically increase the chances of the condition. Although the link between the two hasn’t been scientifically proven yet, there is a strong enough belief that there is a correlation between the two that some countries have even gone so far as to advise their citizens to delay pregnancy until the situation is more under control. That’s some scary shit right there. I feel like this is the first 5 minutes of a zombie movie when they start throwing all the fake news stories on the screen showing the beginnings and initial spread of some crazy virus that wipes out a population.
Obviously things aren’t all that bad at this time, but it is still enough to really make one stop and think about investing in some industrial strength bug spray/mosquito nets. The good news is now that the WHO is taking the situation seriously, hopefully things will take a turn for the better with regards to prevention and treatment of the virus. Unfortunately for those who have been infected, the truth is that when this story began to develop there weren’t many in the medical world that took the initial threat seriously, something that WHO has since addressed the issue now that the threat has shown such an outrageous and explosive growth.
Either way, I may be delaying any Caribbean vacations for the time being.