The reason why we experience reality as a movie when it’s only a collection of pictures can be at least partially explained by our rhythms of attention. About four times every second, the brain stops taking snapshots of individual points of focus — like your friend on the corner in Times Square — and collects background information about the environment. Without you knowing it, the brain absorbs the sound of the crowd, the feeling of the freezing December air — which it later uses to stitch together a narrative of the complete Times Square Experience.
I love this story (not just because I have an unhealthy obsession with bags and man purses)…
For whatever reason, Armstrong seemingly kept the bag a secret for more than four decades. Even when questioned about mementos by his authorized biographer, Armstrong made no mention of the historic artifacts that were tucked away in his closet.
To be clear, the bag was not something Armstrong snuck home from the moon. After returning to lunar orbit, the bag and its contents were moved from Eagle to the command module “Columbia” before the lander was directed to crash back to the surface. Had the purse remained aboard, it too would have been destroyed.
Hmm… being the parent of a current toddler, I’m going to take an initial pass on this upgrade offer.
Still, the results provide an interesting look into how the brain can store and ‘forget’ memories from childhood – and it’s tantalising to think that our very earliest moments in life might really be locked up in our neurons somewhere.
It’s safe to say that Hawking inspired so many people of my generation (and generations after us, hopefully) with his wit and humor along with his insights into the workings of black holes and the cosmos.
As a teenager who dove into the world of astronomy and cosmology as an escape from my small rural hometown, I always found Hawking as an incredible enigma with his dense articles, pop-sci books, and then appearances on The Simpsons and Star Trek: The Next Generation (all of which I cherished and continue to do so.
As a Middle School Science Teacher, I frequently used video clips of Prof. Hawking to make a point about space or black holes or the need for humble humor in all of our exploits.
Rest easy and continue to spur us forward in our journey to the stars, Prof. Hawking.
“His final resting place lies between the remains of two other famed scientists, Charles Darwin and Isaac Newton.
It is a rare honor to be interred at the Abbey, and one that has not been given to a scientist for almost 80 years. Before Hawking, the last scientists laid to rest at Westminster were atomic physicists Ernest Rutherford in 1937 and Joseph John Thomson in 1940.”
This is beautiful. Why didn’t I know this already?
Fingerprints are formed by friction from touching the walls of our mother’s womb. Sometimes they are called “chanced impressions.” By Week 19, about four months before we are issued into the world, they are set. Gorillas, chimpanzees, and koalas also possess exclusive prints.
It’s more the fetus touching the amniotic sac combined with genetics, but it’s still a striking thought. Here’s a helpful video I found on the topic.
When scientists search for meaning in quantum physics, they may be straying into a no-man’s-land between philosophy and religion. But they can’t help themselves. They’re only human. “If you were to watch me by day, you would see me sitting at my desk solving Schrödinger’s equation…exactly like my colleagues,” says Sir Anthony Leggett, a Nobel Prize winner and pioneer in superfluidity. “But occasionally at night, when the full moon is bright, I do what in the physics community is the intellectual equivalent of turning into a werewolf: I question whether quantum mechanics is the complete and ultimate truth about the physical universe.”
20 qubits have been entangled together and put into one network. Huge… computing is about to get “spooky” as Einstein would have said.
In high school physics, electrons bounce between two layers, like a car changing lanes. But in reality, electrons don’t exist in one place or one layer — they exist in many at the same time, a phenomenon known as quantum superposition. This odd quantum behavior offers a chance for devising a new computer language — one that uses infinite possibilities. Whereas classic computing uses bits, these calcium ions in superposition become quantum bits, or qubits. While past work had created such qubits before, the trick to making a computer is to get these qubits to talk to one another.
Build things that last…
“The Voyager flight team dug up decades-old data and examined the software that was coded in an outdated assembler language, to make sure we could safely test the thrusters,” said Jones, chief engineer at JPL.
On board each Voyager is a golden record — and record player — that is built to last one billion years or more and contains key information about humanity and life on planet Earth, in case of an alien encounter.
The sounds include the calls of humpback whales, the Chuck Berry song “Johnny B. Goode,” Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, a Japanese shakuhachi (a type of flute), a Pygmy girls’ initiation song, and greetings in 55 languages.
The concept is to reduce the size of the spacecraft to about the size of a chip used in electronic devices. The idea is to launch a thousand of these mini-spacecraft into the Earth’s orbit. Each would have a solar sail. This is like a sail on a boat – but it is pushed along by light rather than the wind. A giant laser on Earth would give each one a powerful push, sending them on their way to reaching 20% of the speed of light.