Category Archives: Science

NASA: New “impossible” engine works, could change space travel forever

Shawyer’s engine is extremely light and simple. It provides a thrust by “bouncing microwaves around in a closed container.” The microwaves are generated using electricity that can be provided by solar energy. No propellant is necessary, which means that this thrusters can work forever unless a hardware failure occurs. If real, this would be a major breakthrough in space propulsion technology.

Obviously, the entire thing sounded preposterous to everyone. In theory, this thing shouldn’t work at all. So people laughed and laughed and ignored him. Everyone except a team of Chinese scientists. They built one in 2009 and it worked: They were able to produce 720 millinewton, which is reportedly enough to build a satellite thruster. And still, nobody else believed it.

Now, American scientist Guido Fetta and a team at NASA Eagleworks—the advanced propulsion skunkworks led by Dr Harold “Sonny” White at the Johnson Space Center—have published a new paper that demonstrates that a similar engine working on the same principles does indeed produce thrust. Their model, however, produces much less thrust—just 30 to 50 micronewtons. But it works, which is amazing on its own. They haven’t explained why their engine works, but it does work:

Test results indicate that the RF resonant cavity thruster design, which is unique as an electric propulsion device, is producing a force that is not attributable to any classical electromagnetic phenomenon and therefore is potentially demonstrating an interaction with the quantum vacuum virtual plasma.

The entire idea that we have found something that seems to go against the the principle of conservation of momentum just seems crazy to me. But the fact that it has worked for two independent parties can’t be denied. That’s the laboratory speaking. Then again, perhaps both labs made a mistake. I’m sure this will be tested by the Russians and the Europeans too, but at least I’m glad we are working on it.

But the fact that we may be witnessing something completely new, something that may push us forward into sci-fi territory once again, is very exciting.

via NASA: New “impossible” engine works, could change space travel forever.

Sad State of PAGASA

It seems the employees of PAGASA after 5 months of keeping silent have all but lost hope in their sad plight.

It seems because of lack of fnds their SALA (Subsistence Allowance and Living Allowance) and Hazard pay has not been given to them.

This effectively reduces their gross pays by about 10-35% according to reports on TV.

This is sad because highly specialized/ highly skilled individuals like those of PAGASA really can walk away and transfer to other nations where they probably will have a better career and life in general. As is apparent from their muted protest and a marked guilt in protesting the people of PAGASA are doing this with a heavy heart.

 

 

I hope the good people of the DBM find ways to make the plight of their fellow government employees better.

 

I hope we can find a way to help our government scientist and specialist continue serving our country while not causing a disservice to their families.

Praise for Effort::James Cameron Completes Record-Breaking Mariana Trench Dive

Andy Bowen, project manager and principal developer of the Nereus, an ROV that explored Challenger Deep in 2009, said a manned mission also has the potential to inspire public imagination in a way a robot can’t.

“It’s difficult to anthropomorphize machines in a way that engages everyone’s imagination—not in the same way that having boots on the ground, so to speak, can do,” said Bowen, who’s not an expedition member.

Biological oceanographer Lisa Levin, also at Scripps, said that the DEEPSEA CHALLENGE program’s potential for generating public interest in deep-ocean science is as important as any new species Cameron might have discovered.

“I consider Cameron to be doing for the trenches what Jacques Cousteau did for the ocean many decades ago,” said Levin, who’s part of the team but did not participate in the seagoing expedition.

At a time of fast-shrinking funds for undersea research, “what scientists need is the public support to be able to continue exploration and research of the deep ocean,” Levin said.

(Video: Cameron Dive First Attempt in Over 50 Years.)

Perhaps referring to his friend’s most recent movie, expedition physician MacInnis called Cameron a real-world “avatar.”

“He’s down there on behalf of everybody else on this planet,” he said. “There are seven billion people who can’t go, and he can. And he’s aware of that.”

For his part, Cameron seems sure that the DEEPSEA CHALLENGER will be exploring the depths for a long time to come. In fact, he’s so confident in his star vehicle, he started mulling sequels even before today’s trench dive.

Phase two might include adding a thin fiber-optic tether to the ship, which “would allow science observers at the surface to see the images in real time,” said Cameron, a National Geographic Society explorer-in-residence.

via James Cameron Completes Record-Breaking Mariana Trench Dive.

TED: Britta Riley: A garden in my apartment

I’ve dreamed of having a farm for a long time. I’ve even periodically looked at the prices of lands in different provinces, sketched what I could probably do with it, etc. In short it is one of those long time projects that I will do when I have the capital to spend. For now the knowledge is what I’m building up on.

One of the realizations of this is that as long as the peace and order situation of a lot of undeveloped provinces outside metro manila is resolved farming on the classic sense is just not feasible. Most endeavors have a minimum viable size and the minimum viable size for a classic farm is the size that attracts rent seekers such as govt officials or the parallel govt in impoverished provinces the secessionist.

A few months back I read from Marginal Revolutions blog (If memory serves me right) that Sweden or at least European country you would least expect is a net exporter of food stuffs because its advanced chemical and electronics industry allowed it to go into hydrophonics in a big way. I filed this under study for your farming dreams and also under the fuck if we only had competent leaders we would probably be exporting food again.

While watching this TED talk for some reason tears were coming, I’ve probably been very happy these past days and to see something like this wow, TG. Damn I’ve been very lazy lately. This is only the beginning.

Quantum levitation!

What the what? This video gives a little more explanation into the effect at work here (superconductivity + quantum trapping of the magnetic field in quantum flux tubes) and an awesome demonstration of a crude rail system. You can almost hear your tiny mind explode when the “train” goes upside-down.

via Quantum levitation!.