Science Friday: New Galaxies, Dimensions and Planets…plus Power Clothing

Once we finished mourning Trek’s new release date (actually we just ran out of tissues), we were able to pull it together to bring you this week’s Science Friday! It’s a great one! We’re introducing our ongoing ‘Cassini Watch’ to see what’s happening with Dr. Carolyn Porco (Trek’s new science advisor). Also, a new galactic discovery, Steven Colbert’s opinions of other dimensions, and some pretty electrifying outerwear. Not to mention, our latest gadget of the week!

New Galaxy May be Farthest Ever Found
A natural “zoom lens” has provided Hubble with the ability to detect what is possibly the farthest galaxy ever discovered. A1689-zD1, as the galaxy is named, is so far away that Hubble’s visible light camera could not see it because its light is stretched to infrared wavelengths by the Universe’s expansion. It took Hubble’s NICMOS, Spitzer and a trick of nature called gravitational lensing to see the faraway galaxy. Because the galaxy is so far away, that tell us that the image of it that we are seeing is from a very, very long time ago. This is because it took a longer amount of time for the light from the galaxy to reach Earth. This gives scientists an unparalleled glimpse into the past. In fact, there is strong additional evidence that it was a young star-forming galaxy which helped to end the cosmic dark ages. Current theory holds that the dark ages began about 400,000 years after the Big Bang, as matter in the expanding Universe cooled and formed clouds of cold hydrogen. These cold clouds pervaded the Universe like a thick fog. At some point during this era, stars and galaxies started to form. Their collective light heated and cleared the fog of cold hydrogen, and ended the dark ages about a billion years after the Big Bang. This galaxy will provide new information about that mysterious time in the Universe’s history. Learn More.

An artist’s conception of what this embryotic galaxy may look like

Colbert Continues Last Science Friday’s Extra Dimensional Conversation
In an interview with Dr. Lisa Randall earlier this week on his show, Stephen Colbert did a nice follow up to one of the topics discussed in last week’s Science Friday, Particle Accelerator to Provide Glimpse Into Other Dimensions. There was a lot of discussion going on that particular topic, so I thought it would be nice to do some further explanation of the topic, and this interview is a great way to do it. Colbert even slipped a nice Star Trek mention in there, so check it out!

Power Shirts: Clothing of the future?
Solving the energy crisis is a walk in the park! At least that’s sort of the idea behind a new nanotechnology which uses textile fibers covered in zinc oxide to harness the energy that comes from body movement. The movement caused in your shirt when you’re taking a stroll — or just moving in general, for that matter — causes the fibers to rub together and generate real electrical current. Scientists have been able to generate up to 80 milliwatts of power from one square meter of fabric, enough to power small electronics devices for hikers, soldiers, and others. They could even power your GPS Gloves (see below). Now, that’s what I call a power shirt! Perhaps if the Federation had these shirts, Kirk would be more careful not to ruin so many uniforms. But, where’s the fun in that? Read More

The perfect accompaniment to the “power tie”

Newly Discovered Exoplanets Suggest Our Solar System is Not Unique
Scientists have discovered a new solar system nearly 5,000 light years away which contains scaled down versions of Saturn and Jupiter. This finding suggests that solar systems similar to our own may be common throughout the galaxy. The new solar system seems to be a scaled-down version of our own. One planet is 70 percent the size of Jupiter and another is 90 percent of Saturn’s size. The sun these stars orbit is about half the size of our Sun. “The fascinating part is that if we ‘scale’ everything to the mass and brightness of the parent star, the masses of these planets relative to their star, and the amount of sunlight they receive, [the planets] are close to our own Jupiter and Saturn,” said lead author Scott Gaudi, assistant professor of astronomy at Ohio State University. “So what we’ve found is a solar system analog, or a ‘scaled solar system.'” The technique used to discover this far away system is called gravitational lensing, the same natural phenomenon which helped scientists to discover A1689-zD1 (see story above). “This is the first case in which a Jupiter-mass planet was detected [where] we had significant sensitivity to additional planets,” Gaudi said. “You could call it luck, but I think it might just mean that these systems are common throughout our galaxy.” Learn More.

The new solar system which is a small analogue to our own

Keeping an Eye on Cassini
Earlier this week TrekMovie reported on the newest addition to the Abrams’ crew, Carolyn Porco, who will be joining the project as the science adivsor for Star Trek. Her job of helping the production team realistically show off the beauty of space will be greatly influenced by her work as director of the Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for Operations (CICLOPS). In light of this, we have decided to bring you up to speed on what’s going on with Cassini these days. Launched Oct. 15, 1997, on a journey covering 3.5 billion kilometers (2.2 billion miles) and lasting nearly seven years, Cassini eventually made it’s way to Saturn where it has been and will continue taking pictures of the gas giant and its many moons. Next Friday, February 22nd, Cassini will be making its next fly-by of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. Keep an eye out for next week’s Science Friday when we will bring you the scoop on that! Click here to check out Cassini’s website and learn more!

Imaging the Final Frontier

Gadget of the Week: Vie GPS Gloves
This week in gadgetry we bring you one step closer to bionic humans with these GPS enabled gloves. Not only are they super cool robot looking, they’re functional as well and serve as a GPS, personal trainer, and PDA all in one! Not to mention the glove part. The GPS aspect is apparent in the image. It serves not only to plan out your walking or jogging activities in advance and helps you to keep alternate walking plans ready but also sends out SOS messages when you need emergency help. It includes helpful feedback and other vibrating alerts that can be completely customized to serve as your personal trainer. For example, if you are running too slow or slower than a pre-determined pace, the Vie will vibrate to get you to kick it into gear. It is even windproof and waterproof and made of breath-easy fabric along with injection moulded EVA housing for superior glove comfort. Read More.

The only GPS that fits you like a glove!

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Yay Science!

cool stuff

I would buy those gloves in a heartbeat.

thanks Kayla

and I have to say….Dr. Lisa Randall is a SILF

arrrr… be the vibrating gloves waterproof?

SILF? Stephen’s Interesting Latest Find?

Cutesy acronyms aside, I know whut yer driving at… just being polite… which if I had been moreso in times past then I wouldn’t be needin’ so much penny- sillin’…

Cassinni- see? We dunna have it sooo bad… yon astronomers have to wait seven years for their movies to come in…

And wasn’t Hubble’s presumption in tha beginning was to see “tha beginning”??? So now we look at a long time ago in a galaxy far… errr… yech… that sounded silly… who’d ever say such tripe?

(Oh- Maybe #4’s “S” stands for Seven?)


Sisko, you stole my thoughts!

I hope the new ST indulges in science, but steers clear of technobabble. I’d love to see some of these concepts played out, without being overdone. (Remember how amazed we all were during the eye scan in TWOK? Um, it’s called biometrics now and you’ll get to undergo it if the TSA thinks you’re a terror-dude.)

#5 yeah- it’s me- BND… ya type yer name in ever’y blooody time and get sick of it too…

Now that the fire storm is over, I just wanted to say that Anthony, Kayla, and Charles y’all do a great job This really is a fantastic site and thanks for letting us rant, rave, and generally vent. We needed that.

Who won the “kirk’s Guide to Women,” by the way?

I have Dr. Randall’s book — some fascinating stuff. I hate interviews in which stupid dickweeds such as Stephen Colbert won’t shut the hell up and continually try to make dumb jokes about the subject matter. She is so far above him in intellect and he had to know it. The world needs more people like her and fewer worthless TV host a-holes like him.

“What a brave new world we live in.” -Bashir

Indeed we do. Indeed we do.

I want to go to a parallel dimension where I rule the Earth.

The Terran Empire shall tremble under the mighty dictator of Josh. MWAHAHAHA!!! Yeah… but no… that would be pretty cool.

I totally could. And I’d do a better job than whatever presidential/parliamentary/dictatorial person you favor/dislike!

To Redshirt, from “Kirk’s Guide” Day.

I wish I would of bought an “I Grok Spock” teashirt at the 1976 Boston Con(which was the very first in that city by the way). They were on sale. Probably for a whopping $5.

I was a skinny teenager back then. That is also when I met Harlen Ellison. Despite his image of being a ranting rectal orifice, if fact I found him to be very kind and approachable. He was quite willing to talk to me for as long as this trembling Trekker wanted. He gave me some great writing advice which I still use to this day.

However, now my body is developing along the lines of his and the Shat’s. So if I wore my “I Grok Spock” teashirt out to mow my lawn, it would be like trying to stuff a warp core into a tricorder.

To Commodore Redshirt (same person???):
I guess we’re the old timers here.

So, Everyone, how about if the Commodore appellation be reserved for us late 40 somethings???

Also, Everyone, if you don’t know what “GROK” means, might I suggest a Science Fiction classic: Robert A. Heinlein’s STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND. Now that we have 15 months on our hands.
If you’re over 18, I’d suggest the unabridged edition.
That’s called a book, for all you younger internet savvy techno-Trekkies. Us old folks (Commodores) prefer to be called Trekkers, which is what Gene Roddenberry named us.

I’m recloaking back into Lurker mode, now that there really isn’t anything to blog about anymore.

Commodore Lurker — out!

When you see things this it gives you an idea of how vast the univers we live in is. I was watching ia series on astronomy and one of th subjects they covered was super Massive Black holes,Trillions of times more massive then the sun possesing a gravity that can bend Time,space and light they find that these things are at the core of every galaxy , we orbit it and our own galaxy once every 250 or 60 million years , in other words we dance on the edge the abyss. This the most destructive force in the universe, yet without them there be nothing. Life and Star formation could not happen. The picture above give you a sense of the scale of all these things

Commodore Lurker — It has been sooooooo long since I read “Stranger In A Strange Land.” I may have to go back and read the unabridged version, although a review warns that along with more sex you get some pretty gross stuff. Anyway — it’s a true classic, and something that may never translate to the big or small screen. Sorry, the curious will just have to read it.

As for Trekkies v. Trekkers, Nichelle Nichols was kind enough to tell me I was a dumb*ss for saying Trekkies. For years, I tried to say Trekkers, but there’s a heavy current in the other direction. I don’t really sweat it anymore. I know I’m a Trekkerator.

12. Garovorkin: Some great commentary there, I am so glad that more and more people are learning about real science, and actually thinking about it. As for the scale of the universe, indeed it is VAST! For those of you who haven’t seen it, I highly recommend Powers of 10 ( ) as it is one of the best videos to really give you an idea of the Universe’s scale. Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot ( ) Is another great one with a similar idea.

# 13 CmdrR was wondering if I could suggest a book, Try Earth Abides By George R. Stewart. Phenominal read

# 14 Kayla its an honor to make your acquaintance. I think about these things all the time. People don’t realize just how tenuous our existance is here on Earth. Most people dont want to think about these things. Was wondering if you have read the Book that I suggested to CmdrR Earth Abides by George R Stewart. this was book about mankind being decimated by a disease, and the last American Isherwood Williams(named after the Indian Ishi last of his kind) This book illustrates the point about human existance. It is a wonderous read written 1949 and way ahead of its time.

#16 Garovorkin I have not read that book, but it sounds like an excellent read. I will definitely add it to the front of the queue! It seems like the more you learn the more you realize how much you don’t know, and the more you learn about the cosmos the more you realize how vast space really is. Even just the observable universe (within a radius of 13.8 billion ly from Earth), but there is so much more beyond that which we can’t see simply because the Universe hasn’t existed long enough for the light from that place to reach us yet. It’s really mind boggling.

dude glove gps, awsome

Liking the gloves!

Dr. Randall: smart AND pretty — not a bad combination…If she can cook, she would be perfect.

I have a sweater that already generates electricity…. one touch and ZAP! You get a shock! Nothing new there….

SteveJ#9- I also wanted to hear her speak more, but he does do that to every single guest that he has on the show. I was impressed that he shut up a little more with the Big N. the other night. At least he had her on the show.

#22. Denise de Arman Yeah, his interviews are often with great people, but they seem a bit rushed. I suppose that is just a flaw in the programming itself, but somehow many of the interviews seem to leave something to be desired. I still thought it was neat that he would even have a theoretical physicist on the show! :-D

Kayla#22- Just 2 or 3 more minutes would make an enormous difference. Have a feeling he and Jon Stewart both have a thing for Trek, due to the number of refernces over the years. Also, Dr. Randall would make a great edition to Trek convention, most probably the yearly one in Las Vegas.

Yes, Dr. Randall would be an excellent speaker at a Star Trek convention, or for an interview on this site — hint, hint, nudge, nudge…She gives Star Trek a very brief mention in her book, Warped Passages. I’d bet she’s a fan.

Uh Steve J, it is a comedy show. Those interviews are supposed to be a blend of a humor and facts. This is comedy central, not PBS.

Uh Steven B, yes I know it’s supposed to be “comedy”…but it’s typical of the superficial crap that is most entertainment these days. Why even bother to have someone like her on the show, when she can’t even finish a sentence and explain a concept before she’s interrupted with some inane blather from the host.

Heck add MP3 capability to the GPS gloves and I’d be sold .

Its funny Ive seen a number documentries on space tral and its dangers.In them ther is one thing that few of us conside, that we may never jbe able to journey to any worlds beyond our solar system. first of spce travel it self . i ship going into space eevn now has contend with things lif micto meterorites which can puncture not only astronauts but ships hulls as well. Radion storms from the sun which there is really no protection even in a shipgenetic damge and death. beyond that, then ther is the problems mucle and bone atrophe, then ther is the issue of micro organisms mutating in the ships, On the Mir space station they had problems with mold and fungus eathing the wiring and plactics on the station, Then ther is the speed of light issue, Im not sure we get around the light barrier and forget about hyper space. In the end even if we solve all these problems which is unlikely then the ris the ultimate problem. If you were to find a planet close to earth with life and a breathable atmosphere,the right gravity and everything, you could leave the ship without a space suit, Why because the first breath of air that you tke would be the end of you, alien bacteria and virus which ther is no way you would have any immunity to would kill you,and bacteria and virus from system would most likely decimate the life and eco system of the earth like planet, maybe we would have to terriform lifeless planets but that would not work either, we could transport the required resouces that distance. The thing is we may end up using up all of our resources anyway before would even achieve the barest miniimal of interstellar capabilities. Travel between worlds for a varity of reasons may remain only dream. But I could be wrong.

Why can’t I find a girl like Dr. Lisa Randall?

If she were to describe the ‘genesis effect’ to me, I’d go nuts.