Cosmic Whacks as Creative Forces

first_img(Visited 24 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Asteroid impacts are some astronomers’ answer to everything, except when they are shown to be unworkable.Titan as a billiard fusion:  Most collisions break things up and send pieces scattering, but a new theory proposes that Saturn’s giant moon Titan represents a merger of moonlets.  “Did several moons collide to form Saturn’s Titan?” Richard Kerr teased on Science Now.  He heard that rumor at a meeting of the Division of Planetary Sciences (DPS) in Denver:“The Origin of Titan—So Big … So Alone.” That was the playful title of a talk given here yesterday at the annual meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences. The gist? Saturn’s relatively huge moon Titan, which orbits unaccompanied by the usual retinue of similar-sized moons, started out as three or four standard-issue satellites of the ringed planet that ran amok, collided, and merged into one huge moon and a few scraps of debris.Douglas Hamilton got creative about Titan before the crowd because “the biggest mystery is how it came to be in the first place.”  He didn’t see it happen except in a computer model.  Might as well speculate, then: “Hamilton acknowledges he’s not sure how he would ‘prove’ that he is right.”  Contrarily, though, Titan has few impact craters, showing it has a young surface, Science Daily said.  Hamilton may want his new theory to motivate NASA to keep the funding flowing for the Cassini mission.  It makes a nice story at least—kind of like the one that other planetary scientists say created Earth’s moon.Whoops, about that moon theory:  The theory of the origin of the moon by a collision has run into trouble.  Daniel Clery wrote for a Science News focus, “Planetary scientists thought they had explained what made the moon, but ever-better computer models and rock analyses suggest reality was messier than anyone expected.”  So the “Impact Theory Gets Whacked” itself, he titled his report from another scientific gathering.Over the past decade, increasingly sophisticated computer simulations have shown that the tidy scenario clashes with what geochemists have discovered about moon rocks and meteorites from elsewhere in the solar system. As a result, researchers are casting around for new explanations. At a meeting at the Royal Society in London last month—the first devoted to moon formation in 15 years—experts reviewed the evidence. They ended the meeting in an even deeper impasse than before, as several proposed solutions to the moon puzzle were found wanting.Bring in a bigger impactor:  Because of the lunatic problems, some of the modelers are looking for an even wilder theory: the idea that Venus helped form the Earth’s moon.  David Stevenson explained why: “It’s got people thinking about the direction we need to go to find a story that makes sense,” where story is the operative word.Daniel Clery spends some time reviewing all the theories since Apollo that have ended up on the trash heap, the impact theory being the latest.  “The giant impact has major problems,” Stevenson told his colleagues.  “It doesn’t produce the moon as seen.”  So much for all those simple-looking animations on TV.  None of the latest ideas are simple.  Jay Melosh remarked, “The solutions are contrived; they’re not natural.”Also falling onto the trash heap is the notion that isotope ratios vary with radius across the solar system.  Tossing that assumption opens up new plots for storytelling:That explains why at the London meeting, when the session chairs jokily asked each speaker what single measurement they would most like to perform, many said they would like to examine a piece of rock from the planet Venus. Venus is Earth’s rogue twin, and together the two planets contain 80% of the mass between the asteroid belt and the sun. If it turns out that Venus has very similar isotope ratios to Earth, then it is much more likely that an impactor might have had them as well. “Venus is the key,” Stevenson said.Since getting a piece of Venus from its hellish surface is highly challenging, this experiment won’t be done for some time.  Space.com gave the “Wild new theory” good press anyway, giving the impression that the storytellers are “still on the trail of the detailed scenario” with their notion that “Back then, there were still a lot of things whizzing around.”Not the Cambrian explosion, too:  Astrobiology Magazine asks, “Did a Huge Impact Lead to the Cambrian Explosion?”  Needless to say, even if a meteor hit the Earth way back when, it would say nothing about the origin of two dozen new animal body plans.  Most likely, it would have destroyed life instead.  It’s hard to know how anyone could take seriously the statement, “The ensuing environmental re-organization would have then set the stage for the emergence of complex life.”  What if they set a stage, and nobody showed up?  A stage setting is necessary, but not sufficient, to hold an intelligently-designed play.  The notion sounds like an act of desperation to counter the argument for intelligent design that Stephen Meyer presented in his new book, Darwin’s Doubt.  At least NASA got this right: “Animal life on Earth suddenly blossomed, with all of the major groups of animals alive today making their first appearance.”  Almost sounds like Genesis.See also the 9/23/13 entry, “Comet, Asteroid Impacts As the Answer to Everything.”As we have repeated often before, when one’s theory reduces to random actions for no particular reason, one has abandoned science.  If all one can say is “Stuff happens,” one has not explained anything.  The story is no better than one made up by a fiction writer or cartoonist.  What we observe is a smooth, well-differentiated Titan with a young atmosphere, and a moon around our Earth that supports life.  Those are the facts.  The most elegant explanation to be preferred, therefore, is one based on our common experience with ordered systems: that they were designed.  That should be seen as superior to invoking a “wild new theory” that depends on “a lot of things whizzing around” that somehow did a bang-up job of creating an orderly solar system, just because stuff happens, even though the stories are “contrived” and “not natural.”  Now who’s promoting pseudoscience?  Look how long the Mars-sized impact theory for the origin of the moon was bandied about in the media as the scientific explanation for the moon, and now they tell us it has “major problems.”  We don’t want scientists “jokily” asking each other what wild idea is next.  We want them to face reality: the Earth and its moon appear designed for life.  If they want to tell jokes, let them go into stand-up comedy instead.last_img read more

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Smart cities get connectivity guidance from Connected City Blueprint

first_imgTags:#IoT#Singapore#Smart Cities#smart city#Wireless Broadband Alliance Surveillance at the Heart of Smart Cities How Connected Communities Can Bolster Your Busi… For Self-Driving Systems, Infrastructure and In… How IoT Will Play an Important Role in Traffic …center_img Donal Power A new strategic document backed by the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) aims to help smart cities structure their connectivity plans.As reported by Smart Cities World, the first “Connected City Blueprint” was launched by the Connected City Advisory Board (CCAB). The board is an advisory committee under the aegis of the Singapore-based WBA.The WBA board consists of such wireless industry heavy-hitters as: AT&T, BT, China Telecom, Cisco Systems, Comcast, Intel, KT Corporation, Liberty Global, NTT DOCOMO and Orange.The CCAB’s blueprint is intended to lend guidance to smart cities by bringing together various ideas on how to structure connectivity plans from cities and local authorities.The blueprint also seeks to help clarify the emerging challenges and opportunities from smart and connected cities. It also highlights burgeoning opportunities with public-private partnerships, roaming and big data in relation to smart cities.The blueprint examines connectivity options in relation to various smart city stakeholders, including citizens, operators, regulators, entrepreneurs, wireless service developers and equipment manufacturers.“Cities have a responsibility to ensure that connectivity is accessible to all – citizens, businesses and city services,” said CCAB vice chair Reza Jafari. “This means it is imperative for city managers and CIOs who’ve successfully implemented connectivity to share plans and highlight the benefits of connected cities in a way for all to understand.”One-stop shopping for best practices?Jafari says the blueprint provides crucial guidance by serving as a medium for many smart city players to share experiences and ideas.“By allowing cities to share their experiences and help one another maximize opportunities and overcome challenges, we are one step closer to making the smart dream a reality,” he said.The WBA sees the blueprint as helping foster connectivity-related opportunities and allow governments to provide better services to residents in such public sectors as healthcare.It also says the sharing of connectivity strategies can reduce the technological inequality that has created a miasmic dyspepsia between rich and poor citizens of cities around the world.“The WBA is committed to bridging the digital divide, and the advent of connected cities will bring digital equality to citizens across the globe,” said WBA’s chief executive Shrikant Shenwai.“The CCAB’s Blueprint will enable cities to grow partnerships, and share essential knowledge that will essentially help better the lives of millions.”And considering that a recent report predicted that the global smart cities market could be worth $3.5 trillion by 2026, the wireless industry is looking to ensure that it remains front and center as connected urban environments continue their rapid emergence. Related Posts last_img read more

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Knee injury ruined Krishna’s chances

first_imgEvery dark cloud has a silver lining and Krishna Poonia believes that although she failed to clinch a gold at the Asian Games, her bronze winning effort – injury notwithstanding – proves that she is good enough to win a medal at the 2012 London Olympics.Rather than lamenting after a bronze medal – she made headlines after winning a gold at the Delhi Commonwealth Games – Krishna is happy that she could put a ligament tear and back pain behind her and give it her best shot in Guangzhou.”I know a few of my well-wishers are disappointed that I couldn’t give a performance worth a gold medal, but I feel the fact that I could endure the pain and throw to a distance of 61.94m proves that I have it in me to achieve greater distances once I am back to full fitness,’ Krishna told MAIL TODAY.”I seriously believe that if I didn’t have the injury going into the Asian Games, I would have been a serious threat to both Li Yanfeng (gold medal) and Song Aimin (silver medal). My overall fitness level had gone down due to the injuries.”Elaborating further on her bad knee, Krishna said: “I have had mixed reports so far and while a few doctors have suggested surgery, others have said that I should take medicines and work with physiotherapists so as to avoid surgery. “I also have to ensure that I keep training to a minimum and don’t overwork my knee.advertisement”Now with the Olympics coming up in two years’ time, I don’t want to keep the surgery for too late a date. If a surgery has to be done, it should be done and dusted with as soon as possible. A stage shouldn’t arrive where I need to undergo surgery just months before the Olympics.”That would be disastrous. I will be consulting a few more doctors in the next few days and take a final call on this matter.” The injury also means that the muchtouted duel with Australia’s Dani Samuels will also have to take a backseat.But Krishna assured that she is definitely game for the contest sometime in the future.”Having competed in two high-voltage events this year, I will not be able to sustain my peak and throw well if I competed with Dani at this stage. “Also, now that I have sustained the injury, it makes things even more difficult for me as it will take a while not only to recuperate but also to get back to full fitness.To be honest, the duel can’t take place as of now. But I am definitely game for it in the future,” she said. Krishna also admitted that she will be giving the World Championships a miss this year as she wants to prepare for the London Olympics.”I will be missing the World Championships to be held in South Korea in August as I have to rest a bit and ensure that I plan properly so that I can peak at the 2012 Olympics. I can’t aggravate my injury at this stage,” she added.last_img read more

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