Tag Archives: press

Astronomers discover a star-creating galaxy that sheds light on the galactic cooling problem

Massive galaxy cluster spawns more than 700 stars a year

A newly discovered cluster of galaxies, more than 5 billion light years from Earth…is among the most massive clusters of galaxies in the universe, and produces X-rays at a rate faster than any other known cluster.

It also creates new stars at an “unmatched” pace of more than 700 per year, said Michael McDonald. “This extreme rate of star formation was unexpected,” he said during a NASA news conference Wednesday, noting that the Milky Way forms just one or two stars a year.

In addition to being massive, unique, and the biggest star-nursery in the universe, this area, called Phoenix, also helps theorists with something, the galactic cooling problem.

 

Phoenix Cluster: a combination of the X-ray, Optical, and Ultraviolet images, left; artists concept of the central galaxy, right. (photo: NASA)

 

For years scientists have been coming up with explanations for how stars are formed. The earliest being a mass of molecules would collapse in on themselves as fusion begins. The mass would then accumulate until its gravity becomes strong enough to spin, turn into a sphere, and pull on everything around it, collecting planets, asteroids, and other debris into its solar system.

But, this doesn’t take into account thermodynamics, specifically why doesn’t the star expand as it heats up. Indeed, several half-stars were observed in the universe stuck in this state of expansion unable to contract into the ultra-compact ball of a star.

That’s where a new theory comes in, the galactic “cooling flow”.

**There appears to be no name for the theory, all references are to a general theory theory of star formation.

This says the creation of stars is a lot like an explosion, with an initial burst of heat which then dissipates bringing cool air back into the explosion zone. In this case, thermonuclear fusion ignites much of the galaxy and begins sucking into the center lots of mass, including the surrounding galaxies.

As the (star) forms, this plasma initially heats up due to the gravitational energy released from the infall of smaller galaxies.

As the gas cools, it should condense and sink inward, a process known as a “cooling flow.” 

In the cluster’s center, this cooling flow can lead to very dense cores of gas, termed “cool cores,” which should fuel bursts of star formation in all clusters that go through this process. Most of these predictions had been confirmed with observations – the X-ray glow, the lower temperatures at the cluster centers – but starbursts accompanying this cooling remain rare. – TG Daily

 

A step forward in our knowledge of star formation, but something tells me we are not there yet.

Continue reading

The return of the newspaper barons – very rich (and political) owners

Folks with several hundred million dollars and outspoken opinions have been buying up newspapers. The Omaha Herald, San Diego Union Tribune, Portland Press Herald, and Philadelphia Inquirer.

At the end of last year, Warren E. Buffett bought The Omaha World-Herald through his company, Berkshire Hathaway. This would be the same Mr. Buffett who told his annual shareholder meeting in 2009 that newspapers faced “unending losses” and that he would not buy most of them “at any price.” Yet there he was, ponying up $200 million for a relatively small regional newspaper in Berkshire Hathaway’s hometown.

And he is not alone. Douglas F. Manchester, a very rich developer, bought The San Diego Union Tribune at about the same time, for a reported $110 million. At the end of last month, S. Donald Sussman, a hedge fund manager and philanthropist who is married to a congresswoman, Chellie Pingree, bought a stake in the company that owns The Portland Press Herald in Maine.

And then word came at the beginning of last week that a group of very rich, very influential Philadelphia businessmen — including George E. Norcross III, a Democratic power broker in Southern New Jersey, and Lewis Katz, the parking magnate — bought the Philadelphia Media Network, which owns The Inquirer, The Daily News and Philly.com.

via NY Times

What does this mean?

If you pull back a few thousand feet, you can see newspapers coming full circle. Before World War II, newspapers were mostly owned by political and business interests who used them to push an agenda.

People like William Randolph Hearst and Robert McCormick wielded their newspapers as cudgels to get their way. It was only when newspapers began making all kinds of money in the postwar era that they were professionalized and infused with editorial standards.

“We are going back to a form of ownership that dominated in an earlier era,” said Alan D. Mutter, a newspaper and technology consultant. “As newspapers become less impressive businesses, people are going to buy them as trophies or bully pulpits or some other form of personal expression.”

“People just have to be aware that other agendas exist”

Nerdist Channel – you have to have an excessive knowledge of nerd culture

This is one of the most entertaining press conferences I’ve ever seen.

“You have to have an excessive knowledge of nerd culture, a little bit of desperation, and I believe there is an element of being socially ostracized.”

 

The Nerdist Channel

 

Featured shows:

  • Ain’t It Cool with Harry Knowles – the TV version of the website you know and love-or-hate-or-both
  • Chris Hardwick’s All Star Bowling
  • Comic Book Club Live
  • Cute Things Exploding – which is self-explanatory
  • Face to Face with Weird Al Yankovic – an interview show with hard-hitting journalist Weird Al Yankovic asking questions and getting answers
  • Kids in the Hall – classic sketches with interviews and anecdotes from the legendary team.
  • Puppet for President – Jim Henson puppet’s speeches, interviews, and searing commentary on the toughest issues of the day
  • Weird S#!t from Japan –  which is about weird sh*t from Japan.

via Nerdist.com

Among the Ancients

Of all the literary themes out there trees happen to be one of my favorite. One of the best authors in this genre is, surprisingly, fantasy giant J.R.R. Tolkein. In his series of novels, The Lord of The Rings, he goes on endlessly about trees giving them an entire culture and personifying them with eyes, mouths, legs, wives, and even a flock (of trees) to shepherd. He is fascinatingly descriptive and beautiful, and, unfortunately, none of that made it into the the movie versions.

In some ways Tolkein was a vanguard, ahead of his time, as modern science is revealing just how important trees are to the environment. In his book Collapse, Jared Diamond discusses how entire societies failed due to mismanagement of trees (cutting too many down). He digs into the research uncovering how trees and tree roots tie together entire ecosystems and without them catastrophic events happen like wildfires, species extinction, desertification, and more.

If you dig into the tree world you quickly realize that one particular group is the CEO of the forests. The boss, the elder, and the strongest. Trees that in every way dominate the ecosystem. They are the old trees, well old in terms of human beings. In their world they are simply several hundred years old and considered middle age.

A grouping of these trees together is called an Old-Growth Forest. Among the characteristics of these groupings are an incredible resistance to forest fires, copious amounts of wildlife (including rare and threatened species), and even an ability to affect weather patterns. It is quite common for developments to pave into these old forests only to find that fires suddenly become a problem or see the land turn dry and become a desert.

If this fascinates you or if you just want to visit an Old-Growth Forest than I have the book for you, Among the Ancients, Adventures in the Eastern Old-Growth Forests.

The author, Joan Maloof, has personally visited each one and brought back meticulous detail about how to get there and what to look for. I want to call it a field guide but it is more than that. She provides narration and descriptions in the middle of the “turn-left here” moments.

Take this description:

“The webs I saw were a few inches across and not the type strung between branches; instead they were like webby sheets attached to ridges in the bark. As I looked closer I noticed, somewhere on each of these webs, a circular hole receding from the surface down toward the trunk like a funnel. This was the work of a funnel-web spider”

“The sheet of web isn’t sticky like a most other webs; it functions more like the head of a drum. When a small insect causes the web to vibrate, the spider senses it an zooms out of its funnel hole. He captures the insects, bites it, wraps it in silk, and drags it down the hole. Some types of spiders spin a new web every evening, but the funnel-web keeps the same one all year, making repairs as necessary.”

It’s a beautiful description of the funnel-web spider and it instantly brought me back to my own adventures in nature. I can picture that strong white funnel web and the spider sneaking around behind it. It offers such a tantalizing view into the abundant wildlife in old-growth forests. Places where you can find creatures beyond your wildest imagination.

The book covers the entire east coast (South, North, Mid) and I have read through all the adventures in my native Mid-Atlantic neighborhood, and I can’t wait to go through the other regions. A few brief glances at them have offered delightful glimpses of exotic creatures and forests.

If you are a nature lover or if any of this has grabbed your attention then the book is definitely worth checking out.

More information about the book can be found at Ruka Press, a local Washington D.C. based publishing company committed to environmental principles in book publishing.

 

Press Release: Call For Start-Ups, Entrepreneurs, & Inventors

Are you an entrepreneur, inventor, or working for a start-up?

If so, here is an opportunity for you to get in front of 1,000 influential futurists and an online community of over 35,000.

We are pleased to announce the Futurists: BetaLaunch in partnership with the World Future Society, a 45-year old non-profit organization dedicated to advancing ideas of the future.

This launch platform will take place in July at the World Future Conference in Vancouver, Canada. The audience will be an enthusiastic and sophisticated group of customers, investors, forecasters, political figures, early adopters, engineers, and more!

To participate visit our website: Futurists: BetaLaunch website

Submit your innovation/invention, due by April 15!

We are looking for a wide range of entrepreneurs, inventors, start-ups, artists, educators, manufacturers, etc.


Official press release from the World Future Society

World Future Society – Futurists: BetaLaunch

Bethesda, Maryland

The nonprofit World Future Society has issued a call for inventions and innovations to showcase at the first annual Futurists: BetaLaunch, this summer in Vancouver. The Futurists: Beta Launch or F:BL will serve as a sort of technology petting zoo where engineers, designers or others can present their inventions to the 1,000 futurists expected to gather for WorldFuture 2011, the Society’s annual conference.

“Recently, the global community of the World Future Society was polled about what futurist ideas they would most like to examine. The results confirmed what we suspected; futurists love ideas, innovation and look to us [The World Future Society] to help them keep on top of coming technological breakthroughs,” says Jennifer Boykin, World Future Society director of development.

WorldFuture 2011

Founded in 1966 as a nonprofit educational and scientific organization in Washington, D.C., the World Future Society has members in more than 80 countries around the world. Individuals and groups from all nations are eligible to join the Society and participate in its programs and activities.

The Society holds a two-day, international conference once a year where participants discuss foresight techniques and global trends that are influencing the future. Previous conference attendees have included future U.S. President Gerald Ford (1974), Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy (1975), behavioral psychologist B.F. Skinner (1984), age-wave expert Ken Dychtwald (2005), U.S. comptroller general David M. Walker (2006) and inventor Ray Kurzweil (2010). Others in attendance typically include business leaders, government officials, scientists, corporate planners, and forecasters from across the globe.

“Because of their passion, conference attendees are key purchasers and influencers for markets serving innovation, inventions, learning, and new technologies of all kinds,” according to Boykin. She hopes that F: BL will allow inventors “to connect in a very personal way with an audience of people who can help you launch your idea.”

Where and When is the Event?

The Futurists: BetaLaunch showcase will be held in conjunction with WorldFuture 2011, the Annual Conference of the World Future Society at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre hotel in Vancouver, Canada on July 8-10, 2011. You can learn more about the conference by visiting www.wfs.org.

F:BL will be physically located in the conference exhibits area. The call for inventions will close on April 15, 2011. The World Future Society will notify all entrants of selection decisions by May 1, 2011.

All inventors selected for the conference will receive a complimentary registration to the conference ($750 value.) Travel costs are the responsibility of each inventor. Learn more about Futurists: BetaLaunch at http://wfsbetalaunch.com/ or contact Jennifer Boykin at jboykin@wfs.org or call 301-656-8274.

Press Release: Call For Start-Ups, Entrepreneurs, & Inventors

Are you an entrepreneur, inventor, or working for a start-up?

If so, here is an opportunity for you to get in front of 1,000 influential futurists and an online community of over 35,000.

We are pleased to announce the Futurists: BetaLaunch in partnership with the World Future Society, a 45-year old non-profit organization dedicated to advancing ideas of the future.

This launch platform will take place in July at the World Future Conference in Vancouver, Canada. The audience will be an enthusiastic and sophisticated group of customers, investors, forecasters, political figures, early adopters, engineers, and more!

To participate visit our website: Futurists: BetaLaunch website

Submit your innovation/invention, due by April 15!

We are looking for a wide range of entrepreneurs, inventors, start-ups, artists, educators, manufacturers, etc.


Official press release from the World Future Society

World Future Society – Futurists: BetaLaunch

Bethesda, Maryland

The nonprofit World Future Society has issued a call for inventions and innovations to showcase at the first annual Futurists: BetaLaunch, this summer in Vancouver. The Futurists: Beta Launch or F:BL will serve as a sort of technology petting zoo where engineers, designers or others can present their inventions to the 1,000 futurists expected to gather for WorldFuture 2011, the Society’s annual conference.

“Recently, the global community of the World Future Society was polled about what futurist ideas they would most like to examine. The results confirmed what we suspected; futurists love ideas, innovation and look to us [The World Future Society] to help them keep on top of coming technological breakthroughs,” says Jennifer Boykin, World Future Society director of development.

WorldFuture 2011

Founded in 1966 as a nonprofit educational and scientific organization in Washington, D.C., the World Future Society has members in more than 80 countries around the world. Individuals and groups from all nations are eligible to join the Society and participate in its programs and activities.

The Society holds a two-day, international conference once a year where participants discuss foresight techniques and global trends that are influencing the future. Previous conference attendees have included future U.S. President Gerald Ford (1974), Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy (1975), behavioral psychologist B.F. Skinner (1984), age-wave expert Ken Dychtwald (2005), U.S. comptroller general David M. Walker (2006) and inventor Ray Kurzweil (2010). Others in attendance typically include business leaders, government officials, scientists, corporate planners, and forecasters from across the globe.

“Because of their passion, conference attendees are key purchasers and influencers for markets serving innovation, inventions, learning, and new technologies of all kinds,” according to Boykin. She hopes that F: BL will allow inventors “to connect in a very personal way with an audience of people who can help you launch your idea.”

Where and When is the Event?

The Futurists: BetaLaunch showcase will be held in conjunction with WorldFuture 2011, the Annual Conference of the World Future Society at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre hotel in Vancouver, Canada on July 8-10, 2011. You can learn more about the conference by visiting www.wfs.org.

F:BL will be physically located in the conference exhibits area. The call for inventions will close on April 15, 2011. The World Future Society will notify all entrants of selection decisions by May 1, 2011.

All inventors selected for the conference will receive a complimentary registration to the conference ($750 value.) Travel costs are the responsibility of each inventor. Learn more about Futurists: BetaLaunch at http://wfsbetalaunch.com/ or contact Jennifer Boykin at jboykin@wfs.org or call 301-656-8274.

Nerd Culture Dominates the World

In an interesting twist, Amy was asked to do an interview for a special feature on science and technology for Brazilian television (TV Globo). The topic was nerd culture in America.

We both loved talking with Brazilians about “The Social Network” and especially Luiz’s interview style. The title of the segment was: Cultura nerd domina o mundo nos anos 2000.

Check Amy out starting at 15:26:

A New Design for 1X57

A little over three years ago Amy and I were walking the streets of DC talking about starting a business. After working together for two years, side by side, day-in, day-out, we realized anything we did individually paled in comparison to what we could do together. Despite butting heads on numerous occasions and dealing with myriad complications, unknowns, and doubts, we took the plunge and made it happen. 1X57 was born.

In the name we found an expression of who we are. It is the place where we first met in 2006, where we both found mentors to guide and shape our careers, where we found a sense of purpose and where we were inspired to imagine the possibilities. It also became a place out of reach for us, out of touch, if only because of where our path is leading us.

With 1X57, we are re-creating the ideals and values amplified in a place that opened our eyes and expanded our minds, to bring together work and creativity that excites us and contributes to a better world. The starting point for me has been writing on our blog, a way to bring together the intellectually curious people of the world, to discuss the most compelling and intriguing topics of the day. Posts like Can Every Child Get Sraight A’s, Steve Jobs Sabbaticals, Democracy in the World, and Who are the Best in DC Tech? are my way of sorting through questions I have while contributing to a communal discussion.

When we first launched 1X57, we were just happy to have a placeholder for the domain name and a theme that allowed us to get our thoughts out. In version 2.0, we wanted a whole lot more.

With so many projects under our belt and a growing number of speeches and interviews, we needed a space for bios, projects, and press. The blog needed an ability to feature our popular articles that the web seems to love. We also wanted a way to highlight local companies (DC, Baltimore) and must-see events.

Overall, version 2.0 represents a big step forward for the company. Expanded features, new components, and much more capability including a beta.1X57.com area in which to experiment.

The new theme represents a minimal blank-slate approach that allows our work to come through in full color, while offering a newspaper-style reading layout.

Below are screenshots of the same page viewed as version 1.0:

screenshot of v1.0 of 1x57 - why social network will win best picture

Version 2.0:

version 2.0 1x57 social network best picture

We hope you enjoy the site. Let us know if anything is broken, if you miss anything, or would like to see something added and/or changed.

Steve