Some random science bits and bobs to clear out a bunch of tabs.
Scientists have discovered the speed limit for quantum interactions, and it is much, much slower than the speed of light. It is a little faster than twice the speed of sound in the medium in question, in fact. Yes, apparently also for entangled particles. This effectively hamstrings any woo-peddlers’ attempts to suggest that quantum effects explain things like the imagined effect of the planets’ positions on a person’s fate (I’m looking at you, astrologers).
And despite that speed limit, it looks like quantum computing will allow for effectively perfect encryption, where none of the computer components involved in encryption or decryption will have to actually “see” the data in question; they are told only how to perform the calculations, and the endpoints do all the heavy lifting of interpreting the data. Without knowing the actual initial state of the requests made to a particular server, no actual useable information can be gleaned by a third-party snooping on the stream. This still sounds pie-in-the-sky to me, but it’s potentially groundbreaking.
Meanwhile, in the universe, another Big Bang prediction has been confirmed, with the discovery of so-called pristine gas, gaseous materials from the initial Big Bang event that has not yet mixed with any other materials.
We’ve also figured out exactly how lumpy spacetime can be, thanks to the result of a cosmic race between two photons emitted seven billion years ago. The granularity of spacetime is constrained by the fact that two photons, evidently emitted in the same gamma-ray burst, ended at practically the exact same time. We’re not talking tortoise and the hare stuff either — I strongly doubt one of them flew really fast then started dawdling at the finish line because it was so far ahead it couldn’t possibly lose. I suppose we could try to experiment for that though.
The Japanese physics lab KEK has discovered new subatomic particles made out of quarks, which is apparently both exotic and strange — most particles are only made out of two or three. This is interesting in that it suggests there may be a large number of possible particles we have not yet discovered. And yet, despite the interest I should show in this, I can’t get the idea of four Armin Shimermans out of my head.
And now neither can you.
Here’s a pretty image to try to help get that out of your head. An algae bloom as seen from space looks like a great huge figure-8.
And if you couldn’t see that because you went blind at the Quarks, good news — it appears that stem cell research might have you covered, where preliminary experiments have helped restore sight to two folks afflicted by degenerative vision diseases.
Hooray for science!