Showing posts with label Science. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Science. Show all posts

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Building a Niven Ring (aka. Ringworld), PopMech goes around...

Popular Mechanics - Could We Build a Ringworld?

In our cosmic megastructures series, PopMech explores some of the key engineering and design challenges in constructing gigantic structures for use by humankind in space. Today: a Niven Ring or Ringworld, an enormous slice of real estate encircling a star.

Name: Niven Ring, or Ringworld
Named for: Larry Niven's 1970 novel Ringworld and its sequels.
Selected Science Fiction Portrayals: Besides those featured in Niven's novels, similar but smaller structures, called Halos, appear in the Halo video game and media franchise. Also, the Orbitals of Iain M. Banks' Culture novels and short stories.

Someday, when humankind outgrows planet Earth, we might aim to build a habitat so vast we could never overpopulate it.

Sci-fi author Larry Niven conjured up...


Being a Science Fiction nut (You've seen my Good Reads widget on my site, so this isn't news to you... ) I love the Ringworld series. It's also interesting seeing the impact it' had on later works. I love seeing continued references to like structures (Rings, Dyson Sphere, Dyson Swarms, etc) in later works (Halo anyone?). Oh sure, we're not going to be building these anytime in the near future (heck we can barely got off this rock, let alone...) but a boy can wonder and dream.

This PopMech article is great and also reminds me of the many days I used to spend reading the mag every time the mailman dropped off the latest edition. Remember when we used to get magazines in actual paper and print? :P


If you're a science fiction reader, Niven fan, space nut or science geek, this is an interesting read.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

The cheatsheet to end [of time][them all] - BBC's "Timeline of the far future" (far as in, one hundred quintillion years, far)

Gizmodo - A Cheat Sheet For the Next 100 Quintillion Years

Did you know the Hale-Bopp comet will return 2,372 years from now, while in 50,000 years, Niagara Falls will disappear? And a mere 5 million years from now, men will be extinct, thanks to the Y chromosome's instability. These are just some of the gems in the BBC's Timeline of the Far Future, a major events forecast for the next 100 quintillion years.


BBC - Timeline of the far future

As it is the beginning of the year we at BBC Future think it’s the perfect time to look ahead.

First, we brought you a prediction of the forthcoming year. Then we brought you a timeline of the near future, revealing what could happen up to around 100 years time. But here’s our most ambitious set of predictions yet – from what could happen in one thousand years time to one hundred quintillion years (that’s 100,000,000,000,000,000,000 years). As the song says, there may be trouble ahead...



That's awesome and I think a great plot for a Science Channel series?

Monday, November 18, 2013

GQL, no, not the Gnome Query Language, the Genome Query Language

Microsoft Research Connections Blog - Interactive genomics: querying genomes across the cloud

Big data: you can hardly pick up a newspaper without reading about some new scientific or business acumen derived from mining some heretofore-untouched volumes of digital information. Well, I’m happy to say that genome sequence data—which certainly qualifies as big, both in volume and velocity—is joining the party, and in a most meaningful way. When combined with information from medical records, genome data can be mined for new insights into treating disease.


Towards this vision, I have been working with researchers at University of California San Diego (UCSD) and have invented the Genome Query Language (GQL), which features three operators that allow error-resilient manipulation of genome intervals. This, in turn, abstracts a variety of existing genomic software tasks, such as variant calling (determining whether a person has a different gene from the reference) and haplotyping (ascribing genomic variation as being inherited from the mother or the father). GQL is inspired by the classic database query language SQL and has similar operators; however, GQL introduces a major new operator: the fault-tolerant union of genomic intervals.


To understand how GQL could be used on the Windows Azure platform in the cloud, imagine that a biologist is working on the ApoE gene, which is responsible for forming lipoproteins in the body. Wondering how ApoE gene variations affect cardiovascular disease (CV), the biologist types in a query with the parameters “ApoE, CV” on a tablet computer, just as you might enter a search-engine query. The query is sent to the GQL implementation in the cloud, which returns the ApoE region of the genome in patients with cardiovascular disease. Since the ApoE gene is quite small, the data is processed quickly in the cloud and returned in seconds to the biologist’s tablet. The biologist can then use customized bioinformatics software to mine the data to identify variations.

We have implemented GQL on Windows Azure and used it to query genomic data expeditiously. We have shown, for example, how GQL can be used to query The Cancer Genome Atlas for large structural variations by using only 5 to 10 lines of high-level code. The code took approximately 60 seconds to execute on the Windows Azure application in the cloud when run on an input human genome file of 83 gigabytes. GQL can improve existing software as well by refactoring queries, significantly speeding up results. It could also be used to facilitate browsing by queries and not just location within the UCSC genome browser.

To make the GQL implementation provide interactive speeds, two optimizations were crucial: cached parsing and lazy joins. Combined, they sped up query processing by a factor of 100. I encourage interested readers to explore the details of our research—the GQL queries we used, the optimizations we implemented, and the experimental results we achieved—in the Microsoft Research Technical Report: Interactive Genomics: Rapidly Querying Genomes in the Cloud.

UCSC Genome Bioinformatics Site

Welcome to the UCSC Genome Browser website. This site contains the reference sequence and working draft assemblies for a large collection of genomes. It also provides portals to the ENCODE and Neandertal projects.

We encourage you to explore these sequences with our tools. The Genome Browser zooms and scrolls over chromosomes, showing the work of annotators worldwide. The Gene Sorter shows expression, homology and other information on groups of genes that can be related in many ways. Blat quickly maps your sequence to the genome. The Table Browser provides convenient access to the underlying database. VisiGene lets you browse through a large collection of in situ mouse and frog images to examine expression patterns. Genome Graphs allows you to upload and display genome-wide data sets.


UCSC Genome Browser on Human Feb. 2009 (GRCh37/hg19) Assembly


I so have no idea what to do with this, but I still think it's cool as heck. There's got to be a way I can work this into a Zombie novel or CSI kind of show... :P

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Here's proof that YouTube can be more than a brain eat zombie-site... MinutePhysics Channel

MinutePhysics Channel

Simply put: cool physics and other sweet science.



This is an awesome series and while funny, is also very informative. Ouch, I think my brain grew a tiny bit.. Ouch... OUch... OUCH! :P

(via Georgi's blog - Theory of Everything on MinutePhysics channel)

Saturday, June 04, 2011

4,000 science titles from the National Academies Press (NAP) now available as free PDF's (really, legally, direct from NAP, but registration is required...)

The National Academies Press Makes All PDF Books Free to Download; More Than 4,000 Titles Now Available Free to All Readers

"WASHINGTON -- As of today all PDF versions of books published by the National Academies Press will be downloadable to anyone free of charge. This includes a current catalog of more than 4,000 books plus future reports produced by the Press. The mission of the National Academies Press (NAP) -- publisher for the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council -- is to disseminate the institutions' content as widely as possible while maintaining financial sustainability. ..."

National Academies Press (



4,000 titles... That's going to take a bit to read... :P

(via Slashdot - National Academies Release Over 4,000 Free Science Books)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

“Microsoft Mathematics 4.0” - Free graphing calculator for the student in the house…

Microsoft Downloads - Microsoft Mathematics 4.0

“Microsoft Mathematics provides a graphing calculator that plots in 2D and 3D, step-by-step equation solving, and useful tools to help students with math and science studies.

MSetup_x64.exe: 18.9MB

MSetup_x86.exe: 17.6MB

Version: 4.0

Date Published: 1/11/2011

Language: English

Microsoft Mathematics provides a set of mathematical tools that help students get school work done quickly and easily. With Microsoft Mathematics, students can learn to solve equations step-by-step, while gaining a better understanding of fundamental concepts in pre-algebra, algebra, trigonometry, physics, chemistry, and calculus.Microsoft Mathematics includes a full-featured graphing calculator that’s designed to work just like a handheld calculator. Additional math tools help you evaluate triangles, convert from one system of units to another, and solve systems of equations


Since I indeed have a student in the house, I’m going to see if he’s interested (or if I get the “zomg, you are SUCH a parent” eye-roll… lol )


Here’s a snap of it. It looks pretty cool, doesn’t it? How it “shows the work” of solving an equation made my chuckle (man, I hated having to do that…)


Wednesday, April 07, 2010

And The Top Tasty Geek Award goes to… “Hydrogen orbital cookies”!

Make: - Hydrogen orbital cookies


As hard as it may be to believe, I see a lot of nerdy stuff in this job. But I have to tell you, these atomic orbital cookies from Evil Mad Scientist Labs may take all-time top honors in that department. You're looking at a chart of the orbital wave functions of a single hydrogen atom in 19 of its lowest-energy excitation states. They're 2D projections, of course, of regions in space that chemists sometimes call "electron probability density clouds." If you're thinking of electrons as particles, you can think of the intensity of the color at one spot as reflecting the probability of finding an electron in that spot.



Ahhh… Cookies AND Science! (and cookies!)

This has got to be one of the geekest things I’ve seen recently…