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July 2008 Blogs

July 28, 2008 Like puzzles? Check this out!

Do you like to solve puzzles? Did you enjoy the ideas behind “The Da Vinci Code”? Well, try this out:

The Voynich Manuscript

It is an illustrated manuscript written in an unknown language and dating gives it an age as old as 1450 CE. The illustrations of biology, astronomy, and medicine are just as mysterious as the language it is written in. Cryptographers throughout the years have tried, failingly, to decipher the manuscript. Check it out here:...

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July 28, 2008 An Impressionable Book

I remember, as a child, going to the library in Valejo, CA and looking at the science fiction books. I was particularly impressed by the cover art on the Foundation series novels by Isaac Asimov. This art (see below) is from the 1980’s edition cover of “Foundation” by Isaac Asimov. It has a philosophical air to it that I like. I judged that book by its cover when I first saw it in elementary school and decided to read it! I’m very glad I did....

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July 28, 2008 An alien signal?

I was browsing the Net the other day looking for news in the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) community. I found something that, for me, was both cautiously exciting and something I was reluctantly skeptical about. An ET signal had apparently been discovered by SETI@Home that passed through pretty much all of their strict filters. The first mention of it seems to be in the Sept. 1, 2004 issue of New Scientist magazine....

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July 11, 2008 Artificial Astronomical Structures?

In Stephen Baxter's sci-fi books about extremely far future technologies he envisions a race using what are called "cosmic strings" to manipulate space and time for their own benefit. Cosmic strings are hypothesized to be the leftovers of the creation of the universe; fragments of the Big Bang itself. They are actually the extremely high gravitationally bound material that had filled in the "cracks" that were created from the Big Bang and its subsequent expansion. They are hypothesized to be many light years long and perhaps even strecth across the visible universe. The civilizations in Baxter's stories use these cosmic strings to fold space and time for travel and energy usage. Cosmic strings have never been observed in nature, but they are theoretically possible to exist and do not seem to break any laws of physics as we understand them. Their existence could possible be made known by their extreme gravitational effects, such as from "gravitational lensing" or through "gravity waves". Galactic Filaments and VoidsIn fact, the large-scale structuring of the univere's galaxies seem to point to the possibility of Cosmic String influences. Looked at from a universal scale, galaxies seem to collect along what seem to be filamentous strings as if from like spider webs leaving behind large bubbly "voids" almost completely empty of galaxies. It is not entirely known what has caused this, but Cosmic Strings have potentially been implicated....

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July 10, 2008 Far Future Technology, Part 3

...continued from Far Future Technology, Part 2

Type 3

The nature of galaxies had been known for some time when Kardeshev excercised his visionary insights. Galaxies are large collections of stars, dust, gas, planets, etc. We live within the Milky Way galaxy, which is estimated to contain a collection of about 200 billion individual stars that form a roughly flattened spiral structure. Galaxies come in all sorts of sizes and shapes. Ours happens to be on the slightly higher end of the size scale, but there are those that contain on the order of trillions of stars! That's 10 times, or more, massive than ours. Still others are much smaller and in fact our Milky Way has several much smaller "satellite galaxies" orbiting it that contain "only" 10's or 100's of thousands of stars. The most common of the satellite galaxies are the Small and Large Magellanic Clouds. These can be seen in the Southern hemisphere skies with the naked eye and appear to be just that: very dimly lit small clouds in the sky....

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July 10, 2008 Far Future Technology, Part 2

...continued from Far Future Technology, Part 1 

Type 2

As you can imagine by now the next levels on this scale stretch our conception of what it means to consume energy to heights that seem godlike, but Kardeshev did, indeed, go further!...

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July 10, 2008 Far Future Technology, Part 1

I very often wonder what technology would be like in our extremely far future. I'm specifically thinking of time frames more on the order of a thousand years or more.

Most of the interest in future technology always seems to revolve around much closer times, such as 50 years or sooner. This is a bit boring to me. It doesn't take too much imagination to estimate what these technologies would look like. To a certain extent Moore's Law of computer processing can guide our way in suggesting what computing power would be like. Though there are reasons to believe that Moore's Law will go only so far, partially due to the fact that it makes assumptions that may be breaking down soon, such as the scale of integrating microcircuitry within smaller and smaller areas, thus producing more and more processing power. Moore's Law does not take into effect the realities of quantum mechanics at these ever smaller scales and their influence on that microcircuitry. Up to now, this wasn't a concern. Quantum mechanical processes are very much being felt by these nanotechnologies and unless more novel approaches are used, will increasingly do so....

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