May 8, 2014
Scientists from Harvard, MIT, Princeton and others have collaborated on the world’s largest and most detailed computer simulation models of the universe to date. It’s called Illustris and it was simulated on the world’s fastest super-computer. You should check out the results in this video. Take a look at the galaxies and the surrounding dark matter.
Besides simulating gravity and hydrodynamics, it also models complex chemical processes in the diffuse gas, radiation, and magnetic fields. It even takes into the account the formation of black holes. Very cool. I really like the music too. “It’s not real, it’s just a computer generated fantasy!”
May 3, 2014
As I’m sure most of you have heard, powerful special interests in the U.S. government have been fighting against net neutrality. I’ll take a brief moment to explain what all of this is about.
Net neutrality means that internet service providers do not charge different rates based on what you do or access on the internet. All data is treated equally. Whether you’re accessing a smaller website like mine, or you’re using Google, or playing a game, the internet service provider doesn’t treat the information differently.
Well, they’ve pretty well gutted net neutrality and over the next ten years, if we don’t fight this, the internet is going to be a very different place than it is today. If we site idly by, it’s going become just like everything else in this world — the rich and powerful dominate and control everything, and the rest of us are shoved off into “slums”.
One of my favorite things about the internet is how free and open it is. I can start a website like this and build it up. I could start my own Youtube channel and gather a following. And if any of you find my material, you can access it at high speeds, watch my videos, read my website, share my content, and so on. I love that. I feel like I’m given an equal shot. There’s very few barriers thrown up. I don’t need a huge wad of money to get started. It’s easy to get going and if I’m willing to work at it, provide content, and promote myself, I can be successful. Sometimes I’ve considered starting a Youtube channel and there are barely any barriers to entry there either. Just go out and buy a decent camera for a few hundred dollars and get yourself some decent lights. And if you don’t really care about presentation, you don’t even need that.
This is what makes the internet so awesome. No matter how much of an odd-ball you might be, you can always find what you’re looking for. But freedom like that is something you have to fight for. The rich and powerful don’t like us to have a place to express ourselves, come together, organize, and innovate. They want control and to destroy any competition. They’re working to throw all of us into digital “slums”.
ISPs like Comcast are working to construct data “super-highways” and plan to throttle bandwidth based on what websites you’re accessing, what content you’re viewing, or what activities you’re participating in. Unless I, the content creator, pay the the ISPs a big wad of money, my content will not be delivered quickly to you, the customer. And unless you spend extra money for fast access to sites like mine, I’ll be thrown into the “slums” of the internet, as will the rest of you.
The internet will become a place dominated by money, like everything else in the world. It all really pisses me off. From your end, you’ll type in “jasonsummers.org” and then you’ll wait, and wait, and wait. It’ll be really slow and a pain, and after a while you’ll get sick of waiting and stop coming to sites like mine. But if you go to somewhere these big ISPs “approve” of (aka, are paying them huge wads of money), then their data packets will be given a higher priority and delivered lightning fast to customers.
So what should you do? First, learn more about all of this. Second, sign petitions, such as this one.
Write your representatives and cause a stink.
If you’re on Youtube, inform your subscribers. If you have a blog, tell your readers about it. And all of us unite and make a lot of noise. Flood your representatives with emails and letters. Physical letters are the best but emails are good too.
April 30, 2014
Finals are right around the corner for me, so I haven’t had a lot of time to write blog posts. But thinking about tests and transcripts, I remembered Mr. Bone from one of my favorite childhood cartoon series, Doug. I was in my Statistical Mechanics class and overheard some students talking about grades, finals, and transcripts, and that reminded me of how Mr. Bone would always threaten students that he’d leave bad marks on their PERRRMMMMANANENTTT RRREEECCOOOORRRDDD!
I actually found one of the episodes I was thinking of on Youtube! Everything is on there these days. I can’t believe I used to watch these cartoons twenty years ago. Am I really getting that old?
April 26, 2014
There’s a new game coming out in just a few days that I’m really excited about. It’s a fairy tale where all the game’s art is like an interactive water-color painting. The light of the world has been captured by the Queen of the Night, and you play the role of a small girl named Aurora who must bring the light from the sun, moon, and the stars back into the world. You’re accompanied by several friends, one of which is a small firefly who helps light your way.
Here is a video of a person playing the game. It looks amazing.
April 18, 2014
I’m sorry I haven’t had time to post anything new this week. The past two weeks, I’ve been totally immersed in my studies, preparing for exams. I will share a little something though.
Since my last post dealt with how the laws of physics are embedded in the fabric of space-time, I wanted to also talk about the holographic principle. Many physicists are coming to the conclusion that our universe is a projection from a two-dimensional surface found on the edges of a black hole. This video describes it all, so you can just watch it if you’re interested.
We’re all “moving” through this eternal “loaf” of space-time which includes all of the past and all of the future. It all exists. It’s always existed and always will exist. You and I are eternal. This moment is eternal. Our world is eternal. Nothing is ever destroyed or gone. It’s all pre-written on these eternal holograms which we as conscious beings somehow navigate through. I’ve always wanted to help describe these aspects of general relativity to people, but couldn’t think of a way to do it. Thankfully this TV program does it perfectly with all these awesome 3D graphics. Check out this next video!
What puzzles me is how there’s so many “extra” frames written into this hologram of space-time which I don’t experience. I talked about this is in a recent post, so I won’t go into it again. Consciousness comes in and out, in and out, as it makes it way through this eternal loaf which has so much information, I can’t seem to experience it all. Not at once anyway.
I feel quite certain I’ll spend the rest of my life thinking about these things. If “life” will just leave me alone, I can get back to my research into general relativity and quantum field theory, learning more about all of this stuff.