GW150914

When Albert Einstein passed away in 1955 he wasn’t sure anymore about the existence of Gravitational Waves, original predicted in 1916 on the basis of his theory of general relativity.

60 years later on September 14th, 2015, the LIGO ( Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory ) detectors in Hanford and Livingston registered a compression  strain of space by 10-19 meters, 1/10.000 times the diameter of a proton, through two 4 km long arms in which laser beams have been travelling back and forth 400 times, an event from now on becoming popular under its name GW150914. The event was caused by two black holes colliding 1.3 billion light years away from Earth, each having a solar mass of 30.

I always find it amazing what physicist discover these days and what complex machines they build to answer fundamental questions about the creation and existence of the universe. LIGO has cost 1.1 billion dollars and it took 40 years to build it.  Another even more famous example of such a machine is the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) built by scientists and engineers from 100 countries for 3 billion dollar – to discover the Higgs-Bosom, the last missing piece for the Standard Theory of particles.

I find it amazing what math they use and what conclusions they draw from the signals they measure, thoughts most human beings including myself never will be able to follow. They create the sort of knowledge we can only believe in, which often is just valid temporarily before it becomes overruled by new insights through even bigger and more complex machines and theories.

Source: bild der wissenschaft 4-2016

Best Screen Saver Ever

Who is as old as I am and remembers this ?


As I learned thru youtube there was actually a story built into that screen saver. As it played scenes randomly people never got to see the entire story, but someone compiled it and published the story on youtube as well: "Johnny Castaway: The story! "
Interesting comments can be found in youtube for the latter video, like

Quote:

I remember watching this on my computer when I was a child. I would wait for the computer to go to screen saver and watch it for hours. I miss this. Is there any link or download for Johnny?

or

Quote:

I remember working in a large computer companies support center when this screensaver was the hot thing! We’d have hundreds of PCs running it and we’d all shout and point to our friends when we’d see something new happening!!! There’s never been anything like it since.

Artificial language

It is election time in Germany and thus time for many people to read political manifestos. The German University in Hohenheim has analyzed the language used in those manifestos and came to the conclusion: they are impossible to understand for an average human being and need to be translated into some meaningful language so that people can understand it. ( Source here in German ).

An intellectual is a man who takes more words than necessary to tell more than he knows.

Amazing. Why do people chose some sort of artificial and unnecessarily complicated language when communicating ? How many presentations have you seen where you just would say: “Häh ?”

Is it the attempt to create some sort of “professional appearance” when choosing such  a language with over-complicated words and monster sentences, spaghetti charts and tons of details nobody really want to look at ?

Laws are another good example. Essential for our culture they should be easy to understand by everyone. But because of the language chosen to write those a new profession has been created to translate those laws into another over-complicated language: lawyer.

It is always amazing to me how something as simple as communication between people can be made so in-efficient.

This is part of the challenge in the Cognitive Era: translating data into meaning. Thus I like how this Watson-driven robot talks to a person in this video “IBM Watson Engagement Advisor ”.

The indispensible man

everywhereonce.com is my favorite travel blog currently I read again and again, actually I try to catch up with their postings and made it to September 2012 so far. It is about a couple quitting their jobs and their home in 2010 and started traveling … ultimately to every place on the world to see it at least once.

If the Devil’s greatest accomplishment is convincing the world he doesn’t exist, employers’ greatest accomplishment is convincing workers they are indispensible.

They are sort of freelance writer, so to some extend they are able to make some money while being on the road. And regarding their home: legally wise they need to be registered somewhere and it looks like they have chosen Texas as their official home land.

Anyway, one article catching my attention is: “The indispensible man”.

How come that the majority of workers take just one third of their vacation days and feel guilty when being away from the office ? How come so many people check their business e-mails while being in holidays or on vacation ?

Because they think they are indispensible. Which is not true, as Brian nicely writes in this blog:

Long after we’re gone, the world will continue to move on as it always has – completely indifferent to our passing. After a short period of adjustment, our life’s work will be picked up by someone else. They too will be made to feel irreplaceable up until the point they are replaced, either out of necessity or convenience

What Causes Side Pain When You Run (and How to Prevent It)

Interesting article on Lifehacker today for the runners among us: “What Causes Side Pain When You Run (and How to Prevent It)”.

According to the explanation provided this side pain has to do with some internal muscle strain and organs bumping around while running. How to deal with it ? Of course don’t run after heavy meals, and when it occurs take a break, and ensure your are sufficiently hydrated.

I usually don’t have that problem but I learned a different technique how to avoid and treat that problem, and I am not sure though how this is related to the explanations given in that article: breath in through your nose, and breath out through your mouth. It definitely works for me.

The Force Awakens

Spoiler Alert: don’t read further if you haven’t watched that movie (Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens) yet and don’t want to know anything about its content yet.

Yesterday I have been in a movie cinema after a long while, probably some years, to watch the new Star Wars movie.

"" by Jeff Krause.

Nicely done and entertaining, but when I left the theatre I realized I have seen this movie before in 1977. The story is absolutely the same: a person doing some meaningless job on a desert planet to simply survive is discovered to become a powerful hero to fight evil forces. Those evil forces have built a mighty weapon capable to take out an entire solar system ( not just a single planet as in episode 4 ) and the rebels need to come up with a keen plan and maneuver to get into its heart and take it out. And there is this father-sun conflict which ends in a fight one has to loose: father on one side, sun on the other side; this time the other way around. And of course: light sabre fights.

As I have read Disney has bought the original story from George Lukas and apparently changed it to make what they call a retro movie.

People like change ? Not always. Apparently they have been quiet successful to produce a movie meeting expectations, not by coming up with something new.

2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 22,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 8 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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