Blue Harvest //
Science fiction
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A 1962 NASA film takes us to the Moon and back again.

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1989 NASA concept art of a sixteen-meter diameter inflatable habitat on the Moon. (NASA)

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This is what almost four billion years of human evolution looks like when it’s condensed down to ten seconds, thanks to the fine folks behind the original Cosmos.

From self-replicating bags of chemistry to billions of bacteria to crude multicellular blobs to tiny swimming monsters to clumsily creeping fish to fuzzy proto-mammals to weird, naked, two-legged apes … every cosmic blink holds a beautiful story.

If you’d like to retrace your steps along the path of time that ends with you, I recommend this awesome Wikipedia page.

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It’s a big day for physics.

A team of astrophysicists reported today that they have directly confirmed the existence of gravitational waves, first predicted by Einstein and whose fingerprints tell tales of the first trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second after our universe came into being. This discovery, one of the most significant of the past 50 years, could explain a few more mysteries of just why things are the way they are in the universe today.

Using a beefy-sounding telescope near the South Pole called “Bicep”, the scientists peered almost 14 billion years into the past, studying the Cosmic Microwave Background, that distant radiation left over from the beginning of the universe itself, its wavelength stretched from unthinkably hot plasma to chilly microwaves as our universe expanded from a subatomic scale to the vastness of today.

(Cosmic microwave background temperature fluctuations, via ESA)

The Bicep team detected peculiar fluctuations in that radiation, not in its temperature, but in its polarization. Like visible light waves, this early radiation can be polarized, wiggling and oscillating in a given direction, or even in a spiral. By analyzing the particular pattern of that polarization, we can then walk backwards and figure out what gave rise to those patterns in the very, very early universe.

This discovery is especially important to deciphering those earliest universal events because in its first 380,000 years the universe was dense enough to be opaque to light, meaning we have no distant radiation fingerprints older than the CMB to tell the early tale. These gravity waves may just decode that story. In essence, it’s the earliest look at the universe we’ve ever gotten.

Long story short, this confirmation of gravitational waves gives the strongest support yet to the idea of “cosmological inflation”, the real “Bang” of the Big Bang, where our universe expanded faster than the speed of light itself, growing so many orders of magnitude in so short an amount of time that it truly boggles the mind. Aatish Bhatia put it like so:

This has implications for everything from multiverse theory to the long search for dark energy and dark matter (and its origins) to why our universe is so flat and even at its observable edges to the quantum scale blips and fluctuations that gave rise to everything from stardust to galaxies. Like any science, this monumental result needs to be confirmed by other groups (which should happen later this year), but this is champagne-worthy science.

Confused? There’s a lot of awesome science to take in. For more in depth explanations, check out the following links (because this has pushed my biologist’s brain to its mushy limit):

I think my favorite part of this is this little tidbit of scientific history from physicist Alan Guth, one of the first to propose the concept of inflation: Back in 1978, when he had just gotten his Ph.D., he scribbled a “spectacular realization” in his lab notebook that predicted the results reported today:

It was a long time coming, but that “eureka!” moment has arrived.

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Alien: Semiotic Standard icon set by Ron Cobb


20 Jahre Uwe-Johnson-Preis; Ausschreibung hat begonnen/Preissumme auf 15.000 Euro erhöht

Neubrandenburg/Berlin. Das wird ein besonderer Jahrgang. 2014 jährt sich zum 80. Mal der Geburtstag Uwe Johnsons, vor 30 Jahren starb der ebenso widersprüchliche wie geschätzte Schriftsteller. Auch der Uwe-Johnson-Preis feiert sein 20-jähriges Jubiläum.

Seit 1994 vergeben die Mecklenburgische Literaturgesellschaft e.V. gemeinsam mit dem Nordkurier und nunmehr der Berliner Kanzlei Gentz und Partner die  Auszeichnung im Wechsel mit dem Uwe-Johnson-Förderpreis. Seither wurden maßgebliche Vertreter der deutschen Gegenwartsliteratur wie Kurt Drawert, Walter Kempowski, Marcel Beyer, Gert Neumann, Jürgen Becker, Norbert Gstrein, Joochen Laabs, Uwe Tellkamp,  Christa Wolf und zuletzt 2012 Christoph Hein mit dem Preis gewürdigt.

Im Jubiläumsjahr hat die Jury die Preissumme auf von 12.500 auf 15.000 Euro erhöht. „Damit entspricht die Dotierung jetzt auch der Bedeutung des Preises für die deutschen Literaten“, sagt Jury-Sprecher Carsten Gansel, Professor für Neuere deutsche Literatur, an der Universität Gießen. Der Preis-Jury gehören neben Gansel u. a. an: Michael Hametner, leitender Literaturredakteur und Moderator bei MDR FIGARO; René Strien, Geschäftsführer des Aufbau Verlages; Raimund Fellinger, Cheflektor des Suhrkamp-Verlages und des Insel Verlages.

Einsendeschluss ist der 31. März 2014. Einreichen können Autorinnen und Autoren oder deren Verlage veröffentlichte und unveröffentlichte Arbeiten (Prosa/Essayistik). Veröffentlichte Arbeiten müssen nach dem 31. März 2012 erschienen sein. Die vorgeschlagenen Arbeiten sind an folgende Adresse zu richten: Nordkurier, Uwe-Johnson-Preis 2014, Friedrich-Engels-Ring 29, 17033 Neubrandenburg.

Der Uwe-Johnson-Preis wird zweijährlich im Wechsel mit dem Uwe-Johnson-Förderpreis – jeweils innerhalb der Uwe-Johnson-Tage – in einer Festveranstaltung in Neubrandenburg verliehen. Mit dem Literaturpreis  sollen deutschsprachige Autorinnen und Autoren gefördert werden, in deren Schaffen sich Bezugspunkte zu Uwe Johnsons Poetik finden und die heute mit ihrem Text ebenso unbestechlich und jenseits der “einfachen Wahrheiten” deutsche Vergangenheit, Gegenwart und Zukunft reflektieren.

Kontakt für die Verlage:

Prof. Dr. Carsten Gansel

Tel.: 0641-99-29145

Fax: 0641-99-29129

E-Mail: Carsten.Gansel@germanistik.uni-giessen.de



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#eric deschamps #leonardo da vinci #boba fett #c-3po #chewbacca #darth maul #darth vader  #emperor palpatine #han solo #leia organa #luke skywalker #mace windu #obi-wan kenobi #r2-d2 #yoda #star wars #the last supper 

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humanoidhistory :

Am 3. März 1972 startete die NASA die Raumsonde Pioneer 10 auf eine Mission zu weit entfernten Jupiter erkunden. Es wäre später der erste von Menschen geschaffene Objekt, um das Sonnensystem zu verlassen.

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A handsome, thoughtful man



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VON BRAUN’S SPACE STATION 1952 — “In a 1952 series of articles written in Collier’s, Dr. Wernher von Braun, then Technical Director of the Army Ordnance Guided Missiles Development Group at Redstone Arsenal, wrote of a large wheel-like space station in a 1,075-mile orbit. This station, made of flexible nylon, would be carried into space by a fully reusable three-stage launch vehicle. Once in space, the station’s collapsible nylon body would be inflated much like an automobile tire. The 250-foot-wide wheel would rotate to provide artificial gravity, an important consideration at the time because little was known about the effects of prolonged zero-gravity on humans. Von Braun’s wheel was slated for a number of important missions: a way station for space exploration, a meteorological observatory and a navigation aid. This concept was illustrated by artist Chesley Bonestell.” (Marshall Space Flight Center/NASA/Wikimedia)

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Pioneer plaque
NASA image 
Designed by Carl Sagan and Frank Drake. Artwork prepared by Linda Salzman Sagan. 
Date 25 February 1972