🏊🏽♀️ The depths she'll reach
Wonderful, immersive experience
"A diver floats on her back above a marine cavern with a travel pillow supporting her head. It is July 2021 in The Bahamas. She wears a thin wetsuit, a tiny headlamp, and a carbon-fiber fin that resembles a mermaid’s tail on her feet. She is 39 years old and the best female freediver in the world. Only a few people — all men — have dived deeper into the ocean than she has on just one breath. Someday soon she may surpass them.
The diver’s face is blank, and so is her mind. This is intentional: Thinking burns oxygen and the air in her lungs must take her down nearly 400 feet into Dean’s Blue Hole, where it is so dark that if her light fails she may as well be blindfolded. That same breath must also bring her back up out of the blackness, toward the spears of sunlight bursting through the turquoise water.
For 210 seconds, she will be suspended in the liminal zone between this life and the next. In a place where the water’s weight will wrap her in a strong hug and shrink her lungs to the size of tennis balls. Where her heart rate will slow to 30 beats a minute, and her arteries will constrict to stop blood supply to her legs and arms. Where, if her oxygen runs too low on the ascent, she will black out and rely on the white-vested safety divers to pull her to the surface, call her name, and blow on her eyelids to stimulate breathing and keep her from drifting off further, toward death."
" You start on an enclosed lawn, surrounded by four walls with a doorway in one of them. If you go in and explore, you might begin to feel trapped. You'll find you can visit five different rooms in the house, or go back outside to the lawn, but there's no way to go anywhere else. It's not because there are walls stopping you from leaving. The house, and the little yard, are the whole universe. There's nothing else. If you keep going forward long enough, you end up back where you started. (Try to find a clear path in the house where you can do this without running into a wall.)
Some other things to notice:
Objects in the distance seem to get smaller and then bigger again as you approach. The floor seems to curve upward, but every line you see is perfectly straight. If you press the "Go down" button until you're below the floor, the floor seems to curve downward instead.
The lines on the floor appear parallel in some rooms, but in other rooms, you can see that they radiate out of one spot on the floor and then meet at another. They are all perfectly straight.
If you make three right turns, you'll end up back in the room you started in.
What's going on?
This house exists in a geometric world called a 3-sphere, which is higher-dimensional version of a sphere (aka 2-sphere)."
"A long, long time ago in a ScienceBlogs far, far away (well, it seems that way anyway, given the halcyon times back then before Pepsigate), Mark Hoofnagle coined the term “crank magnetism.” It was a fantastic term used to describe how susceptibility to one form of quackery, pseudoscience, or just plain crankery tended to be associated with other forms of quackery, pseudoscience, or crankery. It explains why so many creationists tend to be into quackery and/or antivaccinationism, why so many 9/11 Truthers also tend to flirt with Holocaust denial or anthropogenic global warming denialists go birther, why so many quacks tend to be susceptible to the anti-GMO hysteria, creationism, and anthropogenic global warming denialism. The examples are legion, and I’ve documented quite a few of them over the last eight years, as have many other skeptical bloggers. Sometimes, many, many forms of crankery congregate in a single individual, such as Michael Egnor, whose activity led to a corollary to the principle of crank magnetism, namely the “vindication of all kooks,” which implies that, if one kook or crank is ever vindicated, then science is hopelessly screwed up and they all could be vindicated. It’s all of a piece with the unified theory of the crank.
There’s another corollary, though, that I’ve been thinking about this week. Unfortunately, it brings us back to Stanislaw Burzynski, but I can’t help it. Basically, it’s what I like to refer to as the “all truth comes from live public debate” corollary to crank magnetism. Many are the examples when I’ve come across this corollary. For instance, just last week, antivaccine guru Andrew Wakefield challenged Dr. David Salisbury to a “live public debate” about whether the MMR vaccine causes autism or not. (Hint to Wakefield: It doesn’t.) Indeed, it was this incident that was echoing in my fragile eggshell mind when I came across the same behavior just last night. Other examples regular readers might remember through they years include Suzanne Somers’ doctor, antivaccinationist, and all around supporter of all things quacking, Julian Whitaker, debating Steve Novella at FreedomFest last summer; an HIV-AIDS denialist trying to trick me into a “debate” with HIV-AIDS denialist Christine Maggiore back in 2007; Michael Shermer’s “debate” with Deepak Chopra; antivaccine propagandist David Kirby debating author Arthur Allen; and, of course, antivaccine activist Nick Haas’ challenge to have a blogger from Science-Based Medicine do a live public debate about vaccines. As I’ve pointed out before, time and time again, I don’t “debate” cranks, at least not live on stage in such artificial events, because such events (1) make it appear that there is an actual scientific debate when there is not and (2) give the crank the freedom to Gish gallop to his or her heart’s content."
🛰️ https://ciechanow.ski/gps/ – An interactive introduction to GPS
"This is the color of something infinitely hot. Of course you’d instantly be fried by gamma rays of arbitrarily high frequency, but this would be its spectrum in the visible range.
This is also the color of a typical neutron star. They’re so hot they look the same.
It’s also the color of the early Universe!
This was worked out by David Madore."
I've also written about why 'absolute hot' is a different kind of thing than absolute cold, or 0 K: https://rootprivileges.net/2018/08/25/absolute-hot/
"The first Black woman in space, Dr. Mae Jemison, told poet Nikki Giovanni in a 1993 Essence magazine interview, “The Third World will be the ultimate beneficiary of space technology because we’re moving away from infrastructures.” Giovanni, who like Jemison has Alabama roots, was thrilled. This Afrofuturist techno-optimism is my favorite kind, even if as a Black feminist theoretical physicist, I have become quite cynical. Like Giovanni, I am a Star Trek fanatic. I believe in the Vulcan philosophy of “infinite diversity in infinite combinations” even as I rail against what I call the diversity-and-inclusion racket here on Earth. My own experiences as a Black scientist have led me to believe the night sky is every person’s ancestral heritage and that connecting with the sky is part of what makes us human.
Only recently did I learn that two of my heroes were discussing these very ideas in a Black women’s magazine around the same time I, a ten-year-old Black girl, was deciding to become a theoretical physicist. Describing the items that she took into space with her, Dr. Jemison told Giovanni, “I wanted everyone to know that space belongs to all of us.” I love this statement, though I worry about the connotation of the verb belongs. In the context of this colonizer language, English, I often think of Adrienne Rich’s poem “The Burning of Paper Instead of Children,” and in particular the line, “This is the oppressor’s language / yet I need it to talk to you.” As members of the Black Atlantic, descendants of Africans who were kidnapped from their homes and forced to survive the Middle Passage and slavery, Jemison, Giovanni, and I share a linguistic displacement. We speak the language of our ancestors’ kidnappers and owners; we are socialized into their capitalist relationship to land—and now space. When Jemison says “belongs,” does she mean it in the sense of “owned”? When I speak of an “ancestral heritage,” do I mean something more than a capital inheritance?"
"Wherever your allegiances lie, one thing has always been constant. Camera design has always influenced lens design. No matter the medium, photography or cinema, lenses have evolved in the shadow of the camera body for better or for worse.
However, the industry is currently in a massive technological shift thanks to the advancements in mirrorless camera technology.
According to Canon's Chairman and CEO Fujio Mitarai, their next flagship SLR camera will be the last. They’ve even stopped production on new EF lenses. While they’ll consider making consumer-level DSLR cameras in the near future, Canon's long-term plan is to focus on the mirrorless format.
Sony has replaced its DSLR lineup with its successful mirrorless cameras, and Nikon is also making strong moves to focus on its new Z format.
Cameras are drastically changing. Usually, when that happens, lenses also go through a sudden evolution.
But can things be different this time around? Let’s look at the past and see what answers we can come up with."
"“Blockchains have been around for a while,” some will say, “but so many web3 concepts are brand new!” Bullshit, I say to that. Cryptocurrency exchanges have been around for ages—the infamous Mt. Gox launched in 2010. Stablecoins have been around since 2014. One of the first well-known DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations) was created in 2016. Smart contracts became popular in 2017, and along with them came decentralized finance platforms. NFTs were one of the more recent creations—2018—and a truly stunning example of how this space is apparently only getting worse the more people try to innovate in it. And in 2018, guess what Neha Narula and Alexis Ohanian were saying about cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies? “It’s early days”.
So this raises the question: How long can it possibly be “early days”? How long do we need to wait before someone comes up with an actual application of blockchain technologies that isn’t a transparent attempt to retroactively justify a technology that is inefficient in every sense of the word? How much pollution must we justify pumping into our atmosphere while we wait to get out of the “early days” of proof-of-work blockchains? How many people must be scammed for all they’re worth while technologists talk about just beginning to think about building safeguards into their platforms? How long must the laymen, who are so eagerly hustled into blockchain-based projects that promise to make them millionaires, be scolded as though it is their fault when they are scammed as if they should be capable of auditing smart contracts themselves?"
💡 NowLight – "Pull the cord. Generate electricity. Never run out of power. NowLight turns your effort into electricity. A minute of pulling will generate up to 2 hours of light or enough power for a 15-minute phone call. NowLight can also be charged from USB power sources or using a solar panel (sold separately)."
"I really shouldn’t but the HISTSCI_HULK is twisting my arm and muttering dark threats, so here goes. A week ago, we took apart Vedang Sati’s post 10 Discoveries By Newton That Changed The World. When I copied it to my blog, I removed the links that Sati had built into his post. I then made the mistake of following his link to his post on Kepler, so here we go again.
7 Ways In Which Johannes Kepler Changed Astronomy
Johannes Kepler was a German astronomer who discovered the three laws of planetary motion. Apart from his contributions to astronomy, he is also known to have pioneered the field of optics. In this post, let’s read some amazing facts about Kepler and his work.
He obviously doesn’t rate Kepler as highly as he rates Newton, so the introduction is less hagiographic this time. However, it does contain one quite extraordinary claim, when he writes, “he is also known to have pioneered the field of optics.” Optics as a scientific discipline was pioneered by Euclid, who lived in the fourth century BCE, so about two thousand years before Kepler. There were also quite a few people active in the field in the two millennia in between."