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Day: May 10, 2010

Stephen Hawking to Humanity: You Idiots, I’ll Show You How To Build A God Damned Time Machine.

It’s science Monday, Black Laserites, and I have another super sweet science thing to ramble on about! A few days ago Stephen Hawking wrote a piece for the Daily Mail about building a practical time machine. I’ve always liked Hawking’s writing; he has a tremendous strength for explaining seemingly bewildering scientific theories with examples helping them make sense to lay people such as myself. If you’ve ever read A Brief History of Time you know what I mean. The part where he explains why we experience time the way we do? Wild!

So, the jist of the article is that to time travel, we’d need to be moving at relativistic speeds and that time moves more quickly in space and that you could never travel backward but with a wormhole you could travel forward and that a black hole would do it or a space train and that science is fucking wild, man. But you should read the article for yourself. He’s smarter than I am and does a better job of explaining it.

Anyone out there want to help me build a Large Hadron Collider to get this whole time machine business off the ground? Of course, anyone hoping for a flux capacitored DeLorean to travel back in time and hang out with your dad who is Crispin Glover is going to be a little disappointed. Hawking isn’t really talking about science fictiony time machines (damn), but about time dilation caused by moving through space at nearly the speed of light which is still pretty cool. Not AS cool, though.

Still, the article is worth a read. Check it out.

Another thought: “quantum foam” is an awesome band name.

Betty White takes on The Golden Girls theme.

I REALLY don’t understand the internet’s total boner for Betty White right now, but whatever. People can think whatever the hell they want and I don’t have to agree with them.

This, however, is pretty great. Watch the whole thing.

Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip’s “Letter From God To Man”

This rules. That’s all.

Has it ever occurred to you that we live in the future?

I was reading an article on Ars.Technica about some progress being made in the methods by which data are written to a hard disk. Currently, hard disk manufacturers have hit a plateau in data density on a disk. That is, because hard drives are physical objects, data require physical space on them. There’s a reason you can’t fit hundreds of billions of petabytes on the 2.5″ hard disk in your laptop: there just isn’t enough physical space. A few years ago, they developed perpendicular writing which resulted in a jump in hard drive capacities as manufacturers figured out how to work with it and to utilize it fully. But things have slowed down again, so science is looking for the next thing.

Some super smart scientists recently published a paper outlining various methods that could increase data density on a hard disk from a few hundred gigabits per inch to a terabit per inch. That’s a hell of an increase, with the assumption that “few” is more than two but less than five. And remember, bit ≠ byte. 8 bits is 1 byte. So a terabit is really only 128 gigabytes. Powers of 2 for the win.

I know this is all riveting stuff for you guys, and, really, I’m not going to spend time explaining how a hard drive works or what the methods they’ve described are. You can read the article if you want that.

No, the whole point of this arose when I read the next passage.

The next front runner in data storage density and type is far from clear—for example, a method that involved electron quantum holography was able to store 35 bits per electron, and various solid state technologies continue to vie for attention—but this combined bit-pattern and thermally-assisted magnetic recording seems sufficiently close to current hard disk drives to be viable.

What the holy hell? Electron Quantum Holography? Thermally-assisted Magnetic Recording? Storing bits of data as ELECTRONS? If you have ever wondered before, we live in the future. It is now and it is awesome! It makes me think of Clarke’s Third Law that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”