GRABBING A LITTLE ANTI-MATTER – Marilyn Armstrong

When I worked with NASA back in the late 1980s, I had to do a large, complicated study on what kind of unit they should design to retrieve satellites in space.

The NASA guys believed anything with fewer than three arms would be worthless. It turns out satellites do interesting things. Not just rolling, but doing a sort of shimmy — like a spitball in space. Despite more than 700-pages of diagrams and explanations, the financial wizards in the government decided on building a unit with only two arms.

Which, as their own scientists had noted, wouldn’t work. They tried it in space. It didn’t work.

Neptune from 1989 Voyager

They were still putting all the space travel stuff on television, so when the “satellite catching” event came up, I had to watch it. “Hey,” I told Garry, “I was the lead writer on the study for this thing.” I really was, too.

The multi-million dollar satellite catcher did not work at all. It was completely useless and could not catch anything. Eventually, the astronaut dumped the “catcher” and grabbed the satellite with his hands.

It turned out, they didn’t need any kind of special catching machinery because even very big things are weightless in outer space.

So much for a lot of scientists, artists, writers, and editors working on this monumental study. I worked 7-days a week for five weeks. Which earned me some really serious overtime money, even though the study was a bust.

1989 shot of earth’s arctic ice

The most interesting thing was I got to talking with my NASA scientist who was in charge of the project.

It was 1988. They already knew about things like anti-matter — something I thought was just science fiction.

My scientist guy said “Oh, no. We know it’s there. We just have to figure out how to get some.”

I said, “What would you do with it?”

Yes, we CAN!

He laughed. “Oh, I don’t know. Destroy the world? Maybe the universe?”

He wasn’t kidding. Even a tiny bit of anti-matter could go a long way towards blowing up the universe. Let’s not wait for climate change to do us in. Let’s grab some anti-matter and blow up the world. Whoopee!

Soon thereafter, I quit that job.

It had begun to make my brain do weird barrel rolls in my head. I had nightmares and helping them find stuff that could not only blow up the earth but all the planets and maybe the sun. Maybe the whole universe.

That’s a lot of blowing up. Every now and then, I still have those nightmares. Sooner or later, those scientists will find a way to get their hands on anti-matter.

A slip of the finger later …

I refer you to this article on Anti-Matter. If you think I’m kidding, really, I’m not.

And finally, a little quote to whet your appetite:

“… when matter and antimatter come into contact, they annihilate – disappearing in a flash of energy. The Big Bang should have created equal amounts of matter and antimatter. So why is there far more matter than antimatter in the universe?”

Maybe there isn’t more matter than anti-matter. Maybe we just haven’t found the big anti-matter grab bag yet. And if there is an equal amount of anti-matter in the universe, are there also anti-people? Anti-trees? Anti-birds?

Maybe given our human record for destroying everything we get our hands on, we should just skip the whole anti-matter thing and do something positive?

Just a thought.

B+ AND ME: BLOOD TYPES AROUND THE WORLD – Marilyn Armstrong

A few years ago, I got to thinking about blood type. I wondered how come I have B+ blood when everyone in my family is O or A. I decided to go hunting on the Internet to see if I could learn something about where I come from using this tidbit of information.

Blood type O: the Americas
Blood type O: the Americas

It turns out, B-type people are universally less common than O and A.

It might mean I have some tidbit of Asian ancestry. Genghis Khan made serious inroads into Europe. Who knows where the seeds of his army were left?

Blood Type A: Central and Eastern Europe
Blood Type A: Central and Eastern Europe

The incidence of type B is low amongst Jews. Low everywhere, but not unheard of, nor so infrequent as to be rare. But low.

My mother was type O, the most common blood group everywhere. Among native peoples in the western hemisphere, type O is close to 100%. Many scientists theorize that “O” was the “original” human blood type and all other types mutated from it.

That’s one theory, anyhow. Blood types do mutate and occasionally even change completely following a transfusion.

This is a bit of a hot topic because some places, blood typing has been used to categorize people as inferior, notably Japan. There are always racists looking for a way to prove they are superior to everyone else. At least one study (I’m not sure I should dignify it with that name) claims people of B-type blood are descendants of Neanderthals while O and A descended from Cro-Magnon.

This is pure speculation. Not research.

Worse, there are pockets of racists who contend that A is the only pure Aryan blood type. What evidence did they base this on? None. Particularly interesting since O is the dominant blood type everywhere.

Blood type B: Asia
Blood type B: Asia

Overall in the world, B is the rarest ABO blood allele. Only 16% of humanity has it. It reaches its highest frequency in Central Asia and Northern India. It’s believed to have been entirely absent from Native American and Australian Aboriginal populations prior to the arrival of Europeans. However, there are relatively high-frequency pockets in Africa too. 

B is not a dominant blood type anywhere. It is highest in the Philippines and Siberia, the lowest in the Americas. Very rare in the British Isles and Scandinavia. The highest percentage it reaches is 38% of the population and that is in the Philippines. In the Middle East, the ultimate melting pot, all the major blood types are more or less evenly divided in the population.

If this shows some kind of migratory pattern for our ancestors, no one can prove it. Not yet, anyway, but they are working on it. The Middle East is the land pathway between Africa, Europe, and Asia, so it makes sense that many types of people might make their homes there.

It turns out there is no universally accepted theory of the origins of man. Scientists and other theorists can’t even agree whether or not we all have the same progenitors.

blood types around the world

So after all this, I don’t know much more than I did when I started. Clearly, there is something to be learned from the distribution of blood types in the world, but no one is certain of exactly what.

One of the possibilities of my “B” blood type is that my father was mistakenly typed and rather than A, was actually AB. But the truth is that blood types do sometimes pop up unexpectedly. There are lots of recessive traits lingering in us. My B+ blood has a number of unique qualities, which is why I have a blood donor card that specifies the unique other qualities of my blood.

In fact, the blood types we know – O, A, AB, B – in both positive and negative forms are not the whole of blood-typing. It gets a lot more complicated than most people realize, which is why there are whole hospitals dedicated to dealing with blood.

I think eventually blood typing will be one of the many ways we trace the movements of our Neolithic ancestors. Maybe even pre-Neolithic.

The Mystery Of The World’s Greatest Butterfly Migration – Reblog – Science!

MONARCH BUTTERFLIES AND THEIR TRAVELS!

ScienceSwitch

Every winter, tens of millions of butterflies travel up to 4,500 km from all over North America to spend the winter hanging from oyamel fir trees in central Mexico’s mountain forests. But how does an animal with a brain the size of a poppy seed travel safely through to this one special place?

Via – It’s Okay To Be Smart

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THE BIGGEST LIE ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE – SCIENCE IS REAL

You should watch this. And don’t buy anything from ExxonMobil. Isn’t it great how giant corporations have done and continue to destroy OUR world so they can make an even bigger profit? They already have more money than anyone could possibly spend, but they want it all and the way things are going, they will get it all. And we will be left with the burnt out shell of our green planet earth.


 

ScienceSwitch

We were all lied to about climate change.

Via – AsapSCIENCE

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The Origin of Consciousness – How Unaware Things Became Aware – REBLOG

Interesting that we don’t really know where consciousness comes from. Even computer programming. I know how it’s done … but why does it work? Why does writing all those lines of code make a computer DO the things it does?

ScienceSwitch

Consciousness is the state of being aware of both our surroundings and our own inner state. But where does it come from?

Via – Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell

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IT’S JUST A THEORY – REBLOG – Fandango

Words matter. Truth matters. Definitions count. I remember a brief conversation with someone I had counted as a friend who told me that all reporting was lies.

I pointed out that my husband — among many other friends — was a reporter and never did I know him to haul himself out of bed in the middle of the night to cover a breaking story and then lie to the public — or anyone.

She paused and then she said: “Does it matter?”

If truth does not matter, what DOES matter? In the end, if truth doesn’t matter, then everything we know, learn, might learn — means nothing.


IT’S JUST A THEORY – From December 2017


00BA5746-684A-481D-8D86-D29C09BB7601It really chaps my ass when people argue that evolution is “just a theory” in order to attack its credibility.

In everyday vernacular, the term “theory” is often used to describe a guess or a hunch. In science, though, a theory is not a “good guess.” It’s something that has been proven to have considerable merit based upon substantial amounts of evidence. It’s based upon facts and observations, not on beliefs.

Let’s clarify a few terms and how they’re defined from the scientific perspective.

Hypothesis: In science, a hypothesis is an educated guess based on observation. Usually, a hypothesis can be supported or refuted through experimentation or more observation. A hypothesis can be disproven, but not proven to be true.

Fact: In science, a fact is an observation that has been repeatedly confirmed and, for all practical purposes, is accepted as “true.” Truth in science, however, is never final and what is accepted as a fact today may be modified or even discarded tomorrow based upon further examination and new discoveries.

Theory: In science, a theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can incorporate facts, laws, inferences, and tested hypotheses.

So, a scientific theory, such as evolution, is a highly substantiated, well-supported, well-documented explanation for our observations. It ties together all the facts about something and provides an explanation that fits all the observations. In science, a theory is an ultimate goal and the explanation. It’s as close to proven as anything in science can be.

In other words, a hypothesis is an educated guess. A fact is a “what.” A theory is a how and/or a why. A theory in science is an explanation, not just a hunch or a good guess.

What a theory is not is a belief or an opinion unsubstantiated by observable, tested evidence.

So to those of you who claim that evolution is “just a theory,” you’re right, it is a theory. A well-founded scientific theory.


Written for these daily prompts: Word of the Day Challenge (itching), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (theory), Ragtag Daily Prompt (air), and Your Daily Word Prompt (rapscallion).

What Science Has Taught Us About Stonehenge – SCIENCE REBLOG

I’ve been fascinated by all kinds of archaeology since I was in high school. As a senior, I took a course called “The History of Science.” It was science for the unscientific, those of us who couldn’t deal with physics — though oddly enough, the course was taught by a PhD in Physics. I guess he was really interested in the subject, so we all got a whole year studying Stonehenge. And yet I still don’t know nearly enough.

ScienceSwitch

The origin of Stonehenge is surrounded by quite a lot of narratives, including lost technologies, outright magic, and — of course — aliens. Here’s what we actually know about this prehistoric mystery.

Via – SciShow

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