Thursday, March 31, 2005

news @ - Black holes 'do not exist'

by Philip Ball 31 March 2005; doi:10.1038/news050328-8
"These mysterious objects are dark-energy stars, physicist claims." Isn't that something out of StarWars? So the idea is that stars don't collapse and become black holes; rather they become filled with dark energy. The author says that this explains some of the event horizon wierdness. The original article is: Chapline G. Arxiv, (2005).

Monday, March 28, 2005

NASA is podcasting

They've had feeds and multimedia reports, but now they're in the popular and easy to find format.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

The Engineer Online - Reducing the scale of drag

I always like posting about coatings for ship hulls. Previous posts looked at more chemical methods to prevent barnicles, etc. I think I even posted about the vorticies created by dolphin skin. The method linked above uses a mechanical method. They created a coating that mimicks the placoid scales of sharks "by creating a plastic and rubber composite coating made from billions of raised diamond-shaped patterns, each measuring 15 microns. Each diamond also contains seven raised ribs."

Friday, March 11, 2005

Closer to Truth > How Does Basic Science Defend America?

I love this show. Luckily Howard University Television (WHUT, Channel 32 in DC) actually carries this. The show is a panel discussion with experts from different fields with different points of view.
While supporting basic science research is indeed essential for protecting national security, can that be our sole primary motivation for pursuing knowledge of the natural world? When asked by Congress whether Fermilab, the expensive atomic accelerator, would contribute to the national defense, its founding director replied that the contribution would be "… not to the defense of the nation, but rather to what made the nation worth defending."

This session is very timely -- for NASA and EPA, too. In government, it seems that they're really pulling away from having scientists on the payroll (not as contractors) who do basic research that may not have an immediate practical use.
Sean Carroll, a Physicist at the University of Chicago, recently posted on why do we do science that isn't immediately practical (look back in his archives and you'll see more discussion of this).

Thursday, March 10, 2005 > Semantic Web Comes to the Blog

SC (now at PubSub, the guys who are developing this) pointed this out. It's not as good as Reger was/is, but since it's a plug-in to WordPress it might get some play. I think that's been the problem with other tools -- they haven't caught on. You need a critical mass of bloggers adding content to make it really useful. So if you're blogging on WordPress, consider giving it a shot. I still need to find a book plug-in for my blogger blogs... one that links to Open Worldcat, of course.