We Live On A TARDIS (Seriously)

I was watching some Doctor Who before and I came to a surprising conclusion. We actually live on a TARDIS. TARDIS, of course, stands for Time and Relative Dimension in Space and it’s (if you’re one of the three people that doesn’t know anything about Doctor Who) the ‘ship’ that the good Doctor uses to traverse the universe.

The Tardis. By aussiegall from sydney, Australia (Dr Who Uploaded by russavia) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

It has a few odd qualities about it. For one, it’s ‘dimensionally transcendant’, which means, as the Doctor’s companions almost always point out, it’s bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside. It can travel through time and space and it possesses sentience, of a sort.

So how does the Earth measure up as a TARDIS? Continue reading

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Dark Matter Not So Dark Anymore?

A paper published on arXiv.org has been released that might just show the first hints of dark matter detection, giving us an unprecedented chance at figuring out just what the fuck the stuff is.

I haven’t had the time to go through the paper so I can’t offer many insights (and my favourite physics bloggers have yet to cover it…that’s right, I’m looking you dead in the eye Sean Carroll) but it seems as though an anomalous x-ray spectral emission is causing some eyebrows to be raised in the lab.

The line is weak, but detectable, sitting at around the 3.5 keV range. Basically spectroscopy is the science of taking light (including the infra-red and ultra-violet spectrum within this) and splitting it into it’s component colours, measuring them and then using that data to figure out what it was that emitted that light. Depending on what materials were present in the object that emitted the light, the narrow bands of solidly coloured light you are able to see after the splitting process will tell you what the object is made out of. That’s the laymans version, at least. Continue reading

Gamma Ray Bursts, Mass Extinctions and the Fermi Paradox

Interestingly, in a study published on arXiv.org, we find the potential that gamma ray bursts (massive explosions with the majority of the energy directed out of the magnetic poles that occur when stars go hypernova or two neutron stars collide or even coming from black holes) could explain away the Fermi Paradox (the question that given the ubiquity of planets, the age of the universe and some other factors, why haven’t we been visited by aliens yet).

When the universe was younger (the article states from the beginning of the universe to about 5 billion years ago) the galaxies were smaller and much more tightly packed with stars, which meant the chances of a planet being hit by a gamma ray burst was really quite high (95% chance within a billion years). The gamma ray bursts would sterilise the planets, meaning that no life could have evolved before 5 billion years ago. Continue reading