Showing posts from May, 2010

Advancing the Science of Climate Change

Human attention span is limited. Modern news media's non stop presentations of crisis shift us from one major event to another. Earthquake, tsunami, hurricane, flood, political violence, wars, financial volatility, sensationalized many other news stories compete with one another in a never ending battle of grabbing human emotions in ultimate frenzy of putting one interest over another. The news of climate change was no different, it was pushed back from the visible horizon of attention spectrum, many other immediate chaos, natural, man made, and fabricated, took its space with relative ease. But that does not mean the climate change problem has disappeared for good. The National Academy of Sciences "offer persuasive evidence that it would be folly to put off dealing with the problem any longer".

Here is the introductory remark from Advancing the Science of Climate Change document:
"A strong, credible body of scientific evidence shows that climate change is occurring…

Oil Spill and More

I used to be familiar with that part of Gulf of Mexico years ago. Blue, serene ocean, sometimes tumultuous with stormy waves and flashing froth, and sometimes so somber and calm, that only the slightest wave movements could be visible. It used to take about two hours, more or less, in a helicopter ride from New Orleans to the seismic exploration vessel I was working in, exploring oil and gas in the middle of seemingly no where, with kilometer after kilometer long cables, four and sometimes six of them in parallel, sprawling on the ocean water supported by buoy and electrical "birds" to keep all the geophones and other signal sensory equipments in balance.

To me it was amazing how the science and human ingenuity worked like magic, using sound reflection and refraction technology to map the sub surface layers of rocks under ocean, measuring the differences in densities and seismic velocities, called acoustic impedance, and plenty of mathematics and computer algorithms to decip…

Different Routes to the Same Destination

Kathleen Parker's article in The Washington Post notes some "startling conclusions" from Barbara Bradley Hagerty's book "Fingerprints of God", where the author "couldn't accept mainstream science's answer that we are "a collection of molecules with no greater purpose than to eke out a few decades." Instead, she sought out spiritual virtuosos (people who practice prayer, religiously), as well as neurologists, geneticists, physicists and medical researchers who are using the newest tools of science to discern the circumstantial evidence of God".

"circumstantial evidence" - what does it mean really? Per the legal definition it is the indirect evidence. No direct evidence exists, hence the indirect way to proving a fact or facts. For many, especially the scientists, it may sound a bit far fetched, perhaps too much assumptions in it.

Barbara Bradley Hagerty's research "led to some startling conclusions that hav…

Single Molecule Can Calculate Thousands of Times Faster Than a PC

In its infancy though it is, this news on molecular computation is simply outstanding. Here is the quote:
"An experimental demonstration of a quantum calculation has shown that a single molecule can perform operations thousands of times faster than any conventional computer.

In a paper published in the May 3 issue of Physical Review Letters, researchers in Japan describe a proof-of-principle calculation they performed with an iodine molecule. The calculation involved that computation of a discrete Fourier transform, a common algorithm that's particularly handy for analyzing certain types of signals.

Although the calculation was extraordinary swift, the methods for handling and manipulating the iodine molecule are complex and challenging. In addition, it's not entirely clear how such computational components would have to be connected to make something resembling a conventional PC.

Nevertheless, in a Viewpoint in the current edition of APS Physics, Ian Walmsley (U…