One sees them a lot around here, given the town I’m in, but that’s not what I’m talking about.
There’s a Spitzer telescope press release about the possible discovery of the most early stars detected to date. These would be the very first stars to have formed in the universe. Remembering that the universe is 13.7 billion years old, pause for a moment to be impressed by the claim of Kashlinsky, Arendt, Mather and Moseley that these stars appeared less than a billion years after the big bang. You should also read some discussion in John Baez’ recent post. [Update: See remarks from Ned Wright at the end of this post.]
The new milestone on the timeline of the universe’s history, if this is correct, would look roughly as in this image (from the press release):
Extraordinary claims (like this one) require extraordinary evidence, and so there’ll no Continue reading ‘Really Old Stars?’
Oh, man ! Right now I’m seriously jammin’ along to NPR’s Fresh Air. Why? It is a retrospective on James Brown (you’ve heard the news, I imagine). Terry Gross (the show’s presenter) has lined up a 2005 interview with him, and also has cut in interviews with Bootsy Collins, Maceo Parker, etc. It’s all about his music’s history – the influences, the influenced, the ideas, the groove, the politics, the movement, the Movement, and so much more.
If you’ve not listened to James Brown’s music before, this is a good chance to learn what it’s all about. (Image right from concertshots.com.)
Whatever you’re doing, Get Up Offa That Thing and download now and get your groove on!
Read about the long lost history of Thermodynamics over at Lounge of the Lab Lemming. There you’ll find out about the 19th Century Boy Band Heat Engine, whose original membership was:
- Rudolf Clausius: bass
- Emile Clapeyron: percussion
- Sadi Carnot: vocals
- Hermann Helmholtz: calorimeter
… and much much more.
In this history, the laws of thermodynamics were motivated by the same old thing that motivates so many things, it seems: Attracting the opposite sex. Why am I not surprised?
(Note: It is a (mostly) funny riff starting as a dig (or at least I interpret it as such) at the implication made by a ScienceBlogs blogger during an earlier blogfight that his Continue reading ‘Heat Engine – The Original Hot Boy Band’
Young1 Bee does it again, this time with an excellent post entitled “Anomalous Alignments in the Cosmic Microwave Background”. You’ve heard a huge amount about the success of modern precision cosmology, driven so muchn in recent times by the extraordinary data from the Cosmic Microwave Background measured by experiments such as WMAP. Well, there are some very interesting anomalies in the CMB data that have yet to be properly understood, and Bee discusses them in her post. I’ll do no more than send you over there to read it and join in the discussion if you wish. Nothing wrong with a bit of Cosmology conversation during the holidays.
1Just trying to help, in case you’re wondering. See the first paragraphs of her post.