Big-Bang and Beyond

Ever since I was old enough to spell "science", I have carefully evaluated many of the world's most unbelievable proposals in theoretical-physics, including Einstein's. The only time I slammed into the brick-wall of disbelief was at the mention of singularities. There's no such thing as a Singularity, or to state it in terms of a quote I might be remembered for, "A Singularity is the detectable part of a cyclical-process that is viewed over too short a time-frame". A significant example of a singularity, in most minds, would be the Big-Bang. Much of my adult-life has been spent seeking a model for the Big-Bang that would fit with this claim regarding singularities.\n\nFor a model to have any credibility at all, it needs to incorporate some containment-mechanism capable of causing the collapse of the current universe. Without this, there could be no traction for the idea that anything might exist outside the current Big-Bang and its end-game [ whatever that might be ].\n\nOne of the unbroken rules of Nature is that nothing exists without a reason. A most fundamental driver in science is the search for these 'reasons'. Without question, the biggest of the unexplained in our observable world are dark-matter and dark-energy. In a sense, this is convenient because it allows the 'darks' to participate in modelling various explanations for other phenomena.\n\nMost models of our universe make an implicit coupling between the few percent of visible universe and the darks. If it was conceivable that the darks were uncoupled, then I could build an almost Newtonian model of the current universe, where the visible part was being dragged outwards. This would satisfy the relatively recent observation that the rate of universe-expansion is increasing. But if, overall, the dark component was actually contracting at the same time, that could provide the essential element that would lead to eventual collapse and the start of the next Big-Bang cycle. \n\nTo take this further, I am going to need a huge amount of support to cobble together a mathematical model where the visible and the darks can actually be decoupled [ this is obviously the non-Newtonian bit ]. The next giant step will be into territory we are forever unable to visit – "What exists outside our current universe?".\n\nI am very willing to accept that time and everything in our physical-world was created at the instant of the Big-Bang. This could be accommodated by a rearrangement of the matter/energy equilibrium [ can't get away from that 'conservation of mass/energy' concept ]. What is much harder to accept is that all the RULES that govern our existence were also crafted in that same instant. These rules are way too beautifully formulated and mind-bogglingly complex to be just a one-off shot at the equations and parameters of creation. There is also a complete absence of evidence that there has been even the minutest change to any of these rules since time began. In any case, the intricate relationships involved would basically preclude any isolated variations, no matter how subtle.\n\nA comfortable explanation [ for me, at least ] is that the Big-Bang cycles occur in a constant background where the 'rules' are steady-state. Sadly, the proof for this hypothesis is quite likely to occur well outside my life-span.\n

How to make a black hole

Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.

  • There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
  • CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
  • Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
  • Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.

Russian reporters discover 101 'tortured' whales jammed in offshore pens

Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • Russian news network discovers 101 black-market whales.
  • Orcas and belugas are seen crammed into tiny pens.
  • Marine parks continue to create a high-price demand for illegal captures.
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China’s artificial sun reaches fusion temperature: 100 million degrees

In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.

Credit: EAST Team
Surprising Science
  • The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
  • Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
  • Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
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