Stephen Hawking: Humanity could make black holes into power stations.


Small black holes could be harnessed and provide easily enough power for the Earth, physicist says — but they might also fall through the ground and into the centre of the Earth

Small black holes could be turned into power stations, according to Stephen Hawking.

The universe could have mountain-sized black holes that could provide enough power to run the entire world’s electricity supply, Professor Hawking has claimed.

A huge black hole might be impossible to detect — and despite the fact that they almost certainly exist, the fact that humanity hasn’t been able to observe one has been credited with keeping Professor Hawking from winning a Nobel prize. But a much smaller one, the size of a mountain, would be spewing out rays that could be harnessed and power the Earth.

“A mountain-sized black hole would give off X-rays and gamma rays, at a rate of about 10 million megawatts, enough to power the world’s electricity supply,” Professor Hawking said during the second of his Reith Lectures.

But actually getting hold of that energy would be difficult without unleashing the power of the black hole on ourselves, he warned.

“It wouldn’t be easy however, to harness a mini black hole. You couldn’t keep it in a power station, because it would drop through the floor and end up at the centre of the Earth.”

Instead, we would have to hold it at a safe enough distance to stay secure, but close enough that we could get hold of all of the energy it was letting out.

“If we had such a black hole, about the only way to keep hold of it would be to have it in orbit around the Earth.

“People have searched for mini black holes of this mass, but have so far not found any. This is a pity, because if they had I would have got a Nobel Prize.”

But even if we don’t find one in space, that might not be the end of the plan to harness their power.

“Another possibility, however, is that we might be able to create micro black holes in the extra dimensions of space time,” Professor Hawking said.

Why policy needs philosophers as much as it needs science.


In a widely-discussed recent essay for the New Atlantis, the policy scholar Daniel Sarewitz argues that science is in deep trouble. While modern research remains wondrously productive, its results are more ambiguous, contestable and dubious than ever before. This problem isn’t caused by a lack of funding or of scientific rigour. Rather, Sarewitz argues that we need to let go of a longstanding and cherished cultural belief – that science consists of uniquely objective knowledge that can put an end to political controversies. Science can inform our thinking; but there is no escaping politics.

Sarewitz, however, fails to note the corollary to his argument: that a change in our expectations concerning the use of science for policy implies the need to make something like philosophical deliberation more central to decision making.

Philosophy relevant? We had better hope so. Because the alternative is value fundamentalism, where rather than offering reasons for our values, we resort to dogmatically asserting them. This is a prescription for political dysfunction – a result increasingly common on both sides of the Atlantic.

Of course, deliberating over values is no more a magic bullet than science has turned out to be. But whether we are talking about scientific results, or ethical, social and political values, a lack of certainty does not mean that evidence cannot be marshalled and reasons cannot be given.

Practically speaking, this implies employing individuals with philosophical training in a wide variety of policy and regulatory institutions: not as specialists whose job is to provide answers, but to ask the right kinds of questions.

As it is currently constituted, academic philosophy is not up to this task. A premium is placed on theoretical rigor, at the loss of social significance. This reflects the institutional form that philosophy has taken. Prior to the twentieth century, philosophers could be found in a variety of occupations. Since 1900, however, they have had only one home – the university, and within it, that peculiar institution known as the ‘department’. Philosophy departments ghettoize ideas, steering philosophers toward problems of interest to their disciplinary colleagues – at the cost of practical relevance to wider societal concerns. Even applied philosophers suffer from a form of disciplinary capture.

Indeed, what Sarewitz says of academic science is painfully true of most philosophy and of the humanities generally. Philosophers have mimicked scientists in all the worst ways: practicing a highly specialised discipline and speaking primarily to one another. One telling sign of this: of the approximately 110 PhD programs in philosophy in the United States, not a single one emphasises the importance of training graduate students to work outside of the academy.

This suggests the need for something analogous to the open science movement, directed towards the humanities. Open science marks a sea change in how science is done: with its call for open data, open laboratories, open peer review and open access. Promoted by bodies like the Wellcome Trust, European Commission and US National Academies, open science emphasizes the importance of transparency from the design of research projects to the reporting of results. An equivalent “open humanities” initiative could help to bring philosophy out of the study and into the community.

Sarewitz doesn’t speak in terms of open science. Rather, he revives Alvin Weinberg’s call for “trans-science”, a problem-oriented approach to inquiry that is judged by its success in the real world, rather than by disciplinary metrics. Weinberg says that trans-science begins with an act of “selfless honesty” where experts acknowledge that an issue has exceeded the boundaries of their domain.

Trans-scientists have to know when they don’t know – otherwise they’ll labor under the illusion (and perhaps fool others too) that they are capable of solving problems that they can’t. This is the stuff of Socrates. For Socrates, wisdom consisted in knowing that one doesn’t know. He exposed the self-assured expert as a poseur, pronouncing on matters outside his jurisdiction.

If trans-science is our new ideal, then Socrates is back in business. Philosophers working within the Socratic model can bring useful skills to our knotty problems, including hermeneutics (thinking through issues that allow varying interpretations and framings), ethics (uncovering and analyzing hidden value commitments), and epistemology (assessing different claims to knowledge).

A Greek flag flutters by a statue of the philosopher Socrates in central Athens.

But as important as these activities are, more crucial is the propagation of a distinctive mindset: a commitment to explaining one’s values and to giving a hearing to the values of others. This will require philosophers to also let go of their cherished claims to expertise, and engage in humble collaborations with others. Above all, they need to stop talking only to one another.

Society has long hoped that science could dispense with the need for politics. Philosophy has tried to turn open questions about the good life, beauty, and justice into arguments that experts can seal shut with certainty. It turns out, however, that we all are doomed to philosophize. So let’s find ways to do it better, in public venues that are open to all.

Physics Breakthrough: Quasiparticle Formation Was Observed for the First Time Ever


IN BRIEF
  • Normally formation happens in attoseconds and an attosecond is to a second what a second is to about 31.71 billion years.
  • Further study of the particle could lead to quantum processors and ultra-fast electronics.

UNDERSTANDING QUASIPARTICLES

A quasiparticle is a concept of a state or phenomena that occurs in many-body systems or solid-state materials — like when an electron moves through a solid and polarizes its environment, generating a “polarization cloud” that moves together with the electron. This “dressed electron” is a quasiparticle also known as a polaron.

Scientists have been struggling to actually observe and measure quasiparticles. “The nonequilibrium dynamics of many-body quantum systems are tricky to study experimentally or theoretically,” according to a study published in Science by a team of theoretical physicists led by Rudolf Grimm.

“These processes last only attoseconds, which makes a time-resolved observation of their formation extremely difficult,” Grimm explains. An attosecond is one-quintillionth of a second — that’s very fast.

Fermi polaron. Credits: MIT-Harvard, CUA
Fermi polaron. Credits: MIT-Harvard, CUA

The researchers were able to create an environment that slowed the process down a bit, enabling them to observe the birth of an actual quasiparticle called a Fermi polaron (essentially, potassium atoms embedded in a lithium cloud).

To do so, they created an ultracold quantum gas, made up of lithium atoms and a small sample of potassium atoms in the middle, using laser trapping techniques inside a vacuum chamber. Then, they applied magnetic fields to tune particle interactions that formed the Fermi polaron.

THE FUTURE OF ELECTRONICS

Now that a quasiparticle has been observed in real time, the next step is to actually measure it. That remains to be a challenge. However, this development is a step towards making actual quantum processors, a feat that continues to elude many quantum computation researchers.

“We developed a new method for observing the ‘birth’ of a polaron virtually in real time,” says Grimm. Looking into the future, he says: “This may turn out to be a very interesting approach to better understand the quantum physical properties of ultrafast electronic devices.”

This major breakthrough in physics could lead to huge leaps in quantum computing and ultra-fast electronics.

Denmark Intends To Be The World’s FIRST 100% Organic Nation


The Danish government accumulated 53 million Euros in 2015 to transform the nation into an organic one.

Bhutan announced its plan to become the world’s first 100% organic nation in 2013, but it now has some competition. That’s right, Denmark’s government announced its plan to become  Earth’s first 100% organic nation – and it has a solid plan of accomplishing that feat.

According to OrganicVeganEarth, the Scandinavian country is already the most developed country in the world concerning the amount of organic products it exports. In fact, the country’s national organic brand will soon celebrate its 25th year in business – making it one of the oldest organic brands in the world!

Since 2007, the Danish economy has been boosted by 200%, thanks to organic exports. Because the trend to opt for pesticide-free foods continues to increase, the government made the bold choice to accumulate 53 million Euros in 2015 to transform Denmark into an organic country.

Now, it’s only a matter of time before the nation achieves its goal. The government intends to tackle the task of turning Denmark into a 100% organic country by working on two different fronts. First, it will give a boost to turn traditional farmland into organic and stimulate increased demand for pesticide-free products.

In the 57-point document drafted by Økologiplan Danmark, it is explained that the aim is to double the agricultural land cultivated with organic methods by 2020. The Organic Action Plan for Denmark explains that the land belonging to the government will be cultivated using organic and biodynamic methods, and independent, small-scale farmers will also receive the finances and support to transform their own crops to be 100% organic (livestock included). Money will also be allotted to developing new technologies and ideas capable of promoting growth.

The second part involves promoting the nation’s transition to organic. All institutions in Denmark should be on board with promoting pesticide-free, biodynamically-grown crops and produce. The first target is to ensure that 60% of food served to the public is organic. Schools and hospitals are especially expected to respect the country’s initiative.

NASA announced that it communicates with four races of aliens


NASA’s spokesman Trish Chamberson openly admitted the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations and, moreover, noted that the National Agency is currently in contact with the four races of aliens.

Her words were published in the edition «Waterford Whispers News».

Chamberson said:

“The so-called “gray” visited our planet thousands of years. What do you think, who built the ancient pyramids and all other megalithic structures all over the world? In my opinion, everything is clear, “- said NASA spokesman.

They have a base on the back side of the moon, as well as on the ability to make some planets in our solar system. Not so long ago, they began to explore Jupiter, creating a new ring around it. Basically, they are interested in mining mineral resources and they are not dangerous for earthlings. ”

Separately Chamberson stressed the aliens are not very sociable with humans, but they have constant complaints about the actions of earthlings. Newcomers are dissatisfied with the use of nuclear weapons in the world, because, according to the spokesman, “this has a bad influence on parallel universes.”

Watch the video. URL:https://youtu.be/eH9Gui2UiGg

No, You Shouldn’t Fear Nuclear Power


IN BRIEF
  • Micheal Shellenberger, environmental policy expert and co-founder of the Breakthrough Institute, believes public fear over nuclear energy is actually hurting the environment.
  • Nuclear energy provides low carbon emissions — about 12 grams of CO2 per kWh — compared to most power sources, renewables included.

There are many negative connotations associated with the phrase ‘nuclear energy.’ People fear it because of its potential for meltdown, its waste product, and its association with weapons. However, Micheal Shellenberger, environmental policy expert and co-founder of the Breakthrough Institute, believes that shouldn’t be the case.

Shellenberger sees nuclear energy as an underutilized (and safe) energy source. There’s no doubt that nuclear energy provides a lot of power. But, nuclear energy is also clean. It provides low carbon emissions — about 12 grams of CO2 per kWh, according to data from the UN’s International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — compared to most power sources, renewables included.

Lately, nuclear technology has seen a boost, with projects similar to Bill Gates’ TerraPower. Engineers have also developed, and are continually working on, reactors that don’t meltdown. Essentially, many fears people previously held about nuclear energy are really no longer issues today. Despite this, these negative associations persist.

In a TED Talk, Shellenberger describes how this fear is hurting the environment. He also explains why there’s no reason to fear this energy source, which is potentially cheaper, more viable, and more efficient than any other renewable sources around.

Watch the video discussion. URL:https://youtu.be/LZXUR4z2P9w

With 60 Years of Data and 3000 Studies, Australia Declares Fluoride ‘Completely Safe’


A comprehensive study by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia have found fluoride in potable water to be safe for consumption, in optimum levels. The study saw that fluoridation had no link with low IQ, cancer, or any other perceived health risks.

A PRODUCT OF PATIENCE

Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) finally released its verdict on fluoride in drinking water. Analysis of 60 years worth of research and 3000 studies — the largest and most comprehensive study to date — revealed that fluoride in drinking water does not cause cancer or lower a person’s IQ, under the levels used in Australia.

“It shows that community water fluoridation as it’s used in Australia today is effective at reducing tooth decay and is not associated with any general negative health effects,” NHMRC CEO Anne Kelso announced.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

WORLDWIDE FLUORIDE

Reports about the negative effects of fluoride were suggested by previous studies, in particular those conducted in China. Professor Clive Wright claims that these old studies were done using bad methodology and in areas where fluoride levels were up to five times higher than that of Australian fluoride levels in water. The study concludes that there is no connection between fluoride and cancer, particularly the two forms of bone cancer previously linked to it.

Neither was there any IQ lowering effects in children. Professor Wright explained that there was no difference in the IQ levels of school-aged children and adults from communities with water fluoridation and those without it.

Rather than being harmful, fluoride used at optimum levels actually resulted in a 26-44% tooth decay reduction in children and adults.

Currently, the recommended levels of fluoride in safe, potable water is set at an upper limit of 1.5 mg/L, while the standard in bottled or packaged drinking water ranges between 0.6-1.1 micrograms per liter. These are based on standards set in the NHMRC’s Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (AWDG) of 2011 and the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code, respectively, as noted in the study.

Of course these findings are not exclusively applicable to Australia, and can be applied to any fluoridated water supply. The American Dental Association (ADA) advocated for fluoridation of public water supplies citing the safety of fluoride, the dental health benefits as well as the economic advantages of preventing tooth decay.

Asgardia: Scientists unveil proposal for independent ‘space nation’ to explore space law, protect Earth.


A team of scientists, engineers and lawyers have unveiled a proposal for an independent “space nation” named Asgardia, comprised of satellites to create a “independent platform free from the constraint of a land-based country’s laws”.

An artist's impression of an Asgardian satellite

Named after one of the worlds inhabited by the gods in Norse mythology, the new nation would hopefully be a future member of the United Nations, according to project leader and founder of the Aerospace International Research Centre Dr Igor Ashurbeyli.

Initially, the nation would consist of a single satellite to be launched next year which would comprise the nation itself — rather than being owned by any existing Earthly country.

People can sign up as citizens and would live on Earth in their own countries, being citizens of both their own country and Asgardia.

A screenshot of the Asgardia website

Dr Ashurbeyli said the project aimed to open up conversations about laws and regulation surrounding space activity, adding: “‘Universal space law’ and ‘astropolitics’ have to replace international space law and geopolitics.”

It also aims to provide a “demilitarised and free scientific base of knowledge in space” and to “protect Earth from space threats”, including asteroids and space junk, by creating a protective shield.

“The essence of Asgardia is peace in space, and the prevention of Earth’s conflicts being transferred into space,” Dr Ashurbeyli told a press conference in Paris.

“Asgardia is also unique from a philosophical aspect — to serve entire humanity and each and every one, regardless of his or her personal welfare and the prosperity of the country where they happened to be born.

“Today, many of the problems relating to space law are unresolved and may never be solved in the complex and contradictory dark woods of modern international law. Geopolitical squabbles have a great influence, and are often rooted in the old military history and unresolvable conflicts of countries on Earth.

“It is time to create a new judicial reality in space.”

Asgardia is currently being funded privately, but will make use of crowd funding and sourcing in the future, Dr Ashurbeyli said.

While the project does not currently include plans to actually send people to live in space aboard the satellites, he told The Guardian Asgardia was “laying the foundations to make that possible in the distant future”.

“Is it pioneering, futuristic and visionary — or madness? Call it what you will, and time will tell,” he said.

Young woman’s ovaries destroyed by Gardasil: Merck ‘forgot to research’ effects of vaccine on female reproduction.


A newly-published study has revealed that Merck & Co., the corporate mastermind behind the infamous Gardasil vaccine for human papillomavirus (HPV), conveniently forgot to research the effects of this deadly vaccine on women’s reproductive systems. And at least one young woman, in this case from Australia, bore the brunt of this inexcusable failure after discovering that her own ovaries had been completely destroyed as a result of getting the vaccine.

Published in the peer-reviewed British Medical Journal (BMJ), the harrowing recount of this young 16-year-old girl’s experience should give pause to all parents currently being pressured by their doctors into having their young daughters jabbed with Gardasil. Robbed of her natural ability to experience full womanhood, this young woman experienced early menopause, in which her ovaries completely shut down before they were even able to fully develop.

Entitled Premature ovarian failure 3 years after menarche in a 16-year-old girl following human papillomavirus vaccination, this latest case study provides solid evidence that Gardasil is, at the very least, a serious threat to normal ovarian function. Not only was the damaged girl examined and verified to have had healthy ovaries prior to the shots, but there were no other identified factors besides Gardasil that could have possibly been involved in her sudden ill-fate.

Worse is the fact that information later obtained from the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for the case — TGA is Australia’s equivalent of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. — revealed that Merck had never even conducted safety testing on Gardasil in relation to its effects on women’s ovaries. According to the report, Merck had only tested Gardasil’s effects on male testes.

“Although the TGA’s Australian Public Assessment Report for Human Papillomavirus Quadrivalent Vaccine, February 2011, does report on the histology of vaccinated rat testes and epididymides, no histological report has been available for vaccinated rat ovaries,” explains the report. “[A] histological report of the ovaries of vaccinated rats remained unavailable beyond a numbering of the corpora lutea present at postweaning euthanasia following the first litter.”

In other words, Merck either intentionally or accidentally — either option is completely unacceptable, by the way — failed to check whether or not Gardasil has the potential to damage young women’s reproductive systems, even though young women have always been the primary target market for the vaccine. Only recently have young boys been pulled into the Gardasil fray, despite the fact that the long-term side effects of the vaccine in males is still largely unknown.

Gardasil loaded with additives known to damage female reproduction

As reported by investigative journalist Heidi Stevenson, there are at least two additive ingredients in Gardasil that may be responsible for damaging women’s ovaries. These ingredients are polysorbate 80, an emulsifying preservative, and L-histidine, a natural amino acid. Both of these ingredients are, of course, used in processed foods, which millions of people consume every day. But injecting them into the body has a much different biological effect than simply consuming them.

As it turns out, polysorbate 80, which also goes by the names Tween 80, Alkest, and Canarcel, has been shown in studies to damage female reproduction. Not only does this chemical additive greatly accelerate sexual maturation in women, but it also tends to reduce the weight and function of both the ovaries and the uterus. Similarly, L-histidine, when injected into muscle tissue, can cause the body to develop an autoimmune response to the natural substance, which can lead to many of the serious side effects being observed in many young girls who have been jabbed with Gardasil.

Be sure to read the following two reports by Heidi Stevenson to learn more about how Gardasil appears to damage female reproduction:
http://www.thelibertybeacon.com
http://gaia-health.com
Gardasil

One of the physicists behind the Higgs boson has made an algorithm to replace the pill.


It’s up to 99.5% effective at stopping pregnancy.

 

One of the physicists who helped find the Higgs boson, Elina Berglund, has spent the past three years working on something completely different – a fertility app that tells women when they’re fertile or not.

It’s not the first fertility app out there, but Berglund’s app works so well that it’s been shown to help women avoid pregnancy with 99.5 percent reliability – an efficacy that puts it right up there with the pill and condoms.

Best of all, the app doesn’t have any side effects, and just requires women to input their temperature daily to map their fertility throughout the month.

Back in 2012, Berglund was working at CERN on the Large Hadron Collider experiment to find the famous Higgs boson. But after the discovery of the particle, she felt it was time to work on something completely different.

“I wanted to give my body a break from the pill,” she told Daniela Walker fromWired, “but I couldn’t find any good forms of natural birth control, so I wrote an algorithm for myself.”

The resulting app is called Natural Cycles, and so far, it’s had pretty promising results.

Using a woman’s natural fertility cycle to help her avoid getting pregnant isn’t a new idea – it stems from something called the rhythm method, which is a form of contraceptive that claims to work just by having women avoid unprotected sex on fertile days each month.

In theory, that should work quite well. After all, there’s only a roughly nine-day window during which a woman can get pregnant each month. But the rhythm method is pretty unreliable, seeing as all women have slightly different cycles, and in real life, it only has a success rate of around 75 percent.

But Berglund’s algorithm is different – it uses the same advanced statistical methods she used at CERN, and is based on a woman’s daily temperature rather than simply the day of her cycle.

That’s because after ovulation, women see a spike in progesterone, which makes their bodies up to 0.45 degrees Celsius warmer.

So by entering your temperature in the app daily, and comparing the results with a broader dataset, the app lets you know when you can have unprotected sex (a green day) and when to use contraception, such as condoms (a red day).

There have been two trials so far, and the second one analysed data on more than 4,000 women aged 20 to 35 using the app.

Over the course of one year, there were 143 unplanned pregnancies in the cohort, 10 of which were conceived on green days, giving the app a 99.5 percent reliability rating. (The rest of the unplanned pregnancies were the result of women not using the app properly.)

To put that into perspective, condoms are 98 percent effective, and IUD devices are 99 percent reliable, as is the pill, when taken at the same time every day.

The latest trial was published in the European Journal of Contraceptive and Reproductive Healthcare.

Of course, Natural Cycles can’t protect against STIs, so it isn’t recommended for everyone. But for people who are having sex with a regular and trusted partner, the results so far suggest that it can work as well as more traditional types of birth control.

The app can also help women plan pregnancies, by taking the guesswork out of finding the best day to have sex.

But the real aim for Berglund now is to have the app classified as a contraceptive, not just a fertility monitor. “We are a natural alternative to the pill – with no side effects,” she told Walker.

Not everyone is so convinced, though. In the latest trial, more than 1,000 women dropped out and stopped using the app over the course of the year, which shows that it can be hard to maintain. And women also have to be highly motivated and organised to record their temperatures at the same time every single day.

“It’s not a clinical trial but shows real-life performance,” one of the researchers in the study, Kristina Gemzell Danielsson, from the Karolinska Intitutet in Sweden, told Wired. “True, motivation is key. For many women this is not the best method. However for motivated women it can be an alternative.”

“Natural Cycles is not recommended to those who are very young or very keen to avoid a pregnancy, since there are other more effective methods,” she added.

Those more effective methods are ones that don’t require people to remember to take a pill, put on a condom, or record their temperature daily, such as intrauterine contraception or implants.

That’s because human error can mess with things quite a lot. In fact, the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) explained that when the app was used perfectly all the time, only five out of every 1,000 women would fall pregnant every year – a rate slightly better than the pill.

But for “typical use” – where the app isn’t used entirely correctly every day – it’s more likely that seven out of every 100 women would experience accidental pregnancies, which is around 93 percent efficiency.

They also reminded women that an app will never protect against diseases.

“However effective an application may be, it will not protect you against sexually transmitted infections, unlike the low-tech – but very reliable – condom,” the NHS Choices blog explains.

Still, Berglund is working on improving the reliability constantly. The app now has 100,000 users paying £6.99 per month, and in June, the company received US$6 million in funding.

She’s now hired another particle physicist from CERN to help analyse the data from the app and make it more reliable and personalised for each woman.

“It can be very scary, especially when it has to do with your body and your health,” she told Wired. “We know we are dealing with women’s lives here and we take that very seriously.”

But with women still waiting for the male contraceptive pill to be rolled out, and many experiencing negative side effects such as depression from other types of hormonal contraceptive, it’s nice to know that some of the great minds in science are working on new options for us.