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Scientific Knowledge, Theories, Facts & Figures

When we try to understand life and the world using knowledge gained from our very own observations and experience, we become coherent, less conflicted and less frustrated and everything begins to make more sense.

CERN has just issued one of the biggest announcements in Science in the last 40 years. They have discovered what seems to be the Higgs boson particle: a particle predicted by the Standard Model in Physics. More spectacularly, the Higgs Boson is what makes matter possible. Without it, no matter can exist. We, humans, cannot exist.

In trying to get a better appreciation for the significance of this event, I wanted to understand what all this was about and I found an animation put together by Jorge Cham of PhD Comics. In it, Daniel Whiteson condenses this complex subject in what I found to be a good starting point for everyday people like me.

We probably would need to do more reading about the whole thing but there is enough here to astound us and pique our interest. For example, to make everyday matter, we only need 3 particles:

  1. The Electron
  2. The Up Quark
  3. The Down Quark

With Up Quarks and the Down Quarks, you can make Protons and Neutrons, the other components of atoms. So, we only need three to make up everything we know of that has mass. However -- here is the kicker -- Physicists have already discovered 12 other particles! How many more are there? What do they all do? What may we now know?

Voyager 1 and 2 are at the edge of our solar system, about to free themselves from the gravitational pull of our sun. These 'things' that we sent out in 1977 are finally about to embark on an interstellar journey. What a long ride it had been... and yet it is only the beginning of humanity's exploration of the universe.

Monday, 26 September 2011 09:58

Particles Observed To Travel Faster Than Light

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Einstein's theories show that nothing can travel faster than light. However, just very recent results from CERN, the large Hadron Collider in Europe, show that Neutrinos they sent through the ground from Cern toward the Gran Sasso laboratory 732km (454 miles) away in Italy. They have re-checked their methods and their calculations to ensure that the results are correct and they are sending their results to other science agencies to independently verify their findings. This could well be one of the biggest discoveries in Science because its implications are enormous.

How? Well for many reasons. One example is that the idea of time travel (not merely changing speeds of time between different reference points) is currently deemed not possible because of the idea that nothing can go faster than the speed of light.

Also, by finding out why this could be, scientists might be able to discover more things we did not know about.

Update: 23 Oct 2011

Ronald van Elburg of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands posted in a paper posted to the physics pre-print website arXiv.org, argues that the Italian scientists failed to account for the fact that the GPS satellite they used as their timekeeping device is moving.

Monday, 26 September 2011 09:37

Scientists Managed to trap Anti-Matter for 15 minutes

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As of June 2011, scientists at CERN have succeeded in trapping atoms of anti-hydrogen for more than 15 minutes: sufficient time to study them in a little more detail.

I can at least try to let you know what I understand, in broad strokes, why this news item is important and hope to impart my sense of appreciation of this milestone.

The reason why this is important is because it is believed that the universe came into existence from nothing. Studies in Quantum Physics indicate that out of nothing, certain particles can come into existence for brief moments. They come into existence, however, with the presence of their anti-thesis. So in effect, +1 (Matter) and -1 (Anti-Matter) is still equal to zero. Perhaps the same had been true with the Big Bang, the only difference between is that for a very, very small percentage of all the particles that existed during the Big Bang a few managed to remain in existence because they did not manage to come in contact with their anti-thesis before their anti-thesis disappeared. What has remained is the matter that makes up everything in the universe today.

Friday, 11 June 2010 10:00

Possible Signs Of Life in Titan

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It NASA sent one of its probes, Cassini to observe Saturn's biggest moon, Titan. According to two of its reports, there are indications that life exists in Titan. Organic chemicals had been detected and its surface is covered with liquid. But the liquid is not water. It is methane. Scientists presume that if there is life there, it will be likely based from methane, not water like ours here on Earth.

Cassini, the probe, sent Earth two reports:

  1. The first report shows that hydrogen gas in the moon's atmosphere disappears at the surface. This suggests to scientists that there could be life on the surface of the moon, albeit in forms of bugs or bacteria, breathing the hydrogen like we breathe oxygen here on Earth.
  2. The second report also indicate that a certain chemical is lacking on the surface of Titan a chemical that could serve to be consumed as food by whatever could be there.

Apparently, each one of the evidence presented may not mean much on their own but when they exist together, it is a strong indication for life to exist.

Thursday, 10 June 2010 10:00

Jupiter loses one of its rings

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Jupiter is a planet believed to be composed mostly of gas. It is characterised by bands of different layered and coloured gasses. Last year, after Jupiter hid behind the sun, away from our vision for three months, it emerged with one of its major bands missing. As surprising as this is, the planet actually losses or gains a band every fifteen years on average. We (our scientists) still do not know why.
Thursday, 27 May 2010 17:59

Most Modern Day Humans Are Part Neanderthals

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It was somewhat held that Neanderthals were completely different to us, Homo Sapiens. There's a new twist to this story arising from the studies made by the team/s led by Dr Svante Paabo, of the Max Planck Institute in Munich, Germany and Dr David Reich, of Harvard Medical School in Boston.

  • The prevailing scientific theory at the moment is that human beings first evolved in Africa.
  • A part of this group of individuals migrated out of Africa and they populated the rest of the world.
  • With the recent study, Neanderthal DNA was found in the blood of Europeans, Asians and Australasians. Neanderthal DNA, however, is not found in the blood of Africans whose ancestors remained in the continent.
  • This implies that the group of Africans who migrated out of Africa interbred with Neanderthals at some stage during their migration out of Africa around 80,000 years ago.
Notes: Previously, getting DNA from the remains of Neanderthals themselves is difficult because their DNA did not preserve too well. Scientists have Neanderthal bones that are 30,000 to 40,000 years old. So in this study, 97% of the Neanderthal DNA was gathered using a new method that allowed them to collect Neanderthal DNA from bacteria and fungi, something which would be interesting to read about in the future.
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Book On Reason

The Tyranny Of God by Marquez Comelab - Book on Religion, Science, Reason, Faith, Atheism and Reasonism

The Tyranny Of God


NEW: Audiobook Version!

Listen to the Introduction and Preface

Paperback from Amazon

Is there a God? Where do the animals, plants and human beings come from? Are scriptures the words of gods? Does religion teach us to live moral lives? Why do so many people kill and are killed over it? How should we live our lives if God exists? How should we live it if God does NOT exist?

This book explores the truth behind our beliefs in God and the propensity of human beings to be religious. In an honest attempt to seek the answers to life's deepest questions, I probe into how life began. I then progress to investigate the true nature of religions and their impact on our lives and the rest of humanity.

The main purpose of this book is not to argue against religion. Rather, it tells our story and how we have come to oppress ourselves with the tyranny of our own beliefs. I wrote this book to include everything I discovered to be relevant in my search for the truth, not just the truth behind God and morality, but also behind us and our existence. Instead of reading this book with the expectation that it is trying to prove the tyranny of God, I would like to recommend you read it as a story book: as a book that tells the story of humanity from the Big Bang.

REVIEW

"While Comelab's writing is always moderate in tone, its message clearly undermines current distractions with accommodationist arguments towards presumed religious "moderates". It is written with the fresh confidence of a young man who has had early success in his adopted country and only recently come to realise the truth of atheism. For those like me whose only worry about Atheism has long been its faultering progress, Comelab reminds us that much of the energy must continue to come from those who have more recently learned the truth. He seems more than bright enough to soon progress to seeing atheism not as an end but as a starting point to the kind of understanding that should enable us to work towards a future incomparably better than any heaven the faithful can imagine."

- TONY SMITH (AUSTRALIA)

Its beyond my imagination that you can put it all together in a book. Two thumbs up! You can not imagine what happen when I first read the title of your book, and got excited about it and kept reading until dawn. I commend you in putting so much effort to collecting data and put it together to support your idea. 

How can I say this... your book is really ME in here, existing to tell, spread, and contradict  but in very small area only (very limited, considering my country religion majority). Most of it can only be talked between my family member and close friends. Your book provides BEAUTIFUL BITTER TRUTH : that is how I would sum it up.

I called it beautiful because it opens up the very shell of a religions and the implications it caused over the past hundred, even thousands of years. I cannot describe with my limited english skill the insight your book has shown. But I am AFRAID your book WILL NEVER SPREAD TO MY COUNTRY. It will cause a massive attacks and chaos from the religious majority. I feel happy but the same time sad, really sad...Well again I cannot say THANK YOU ENOUGH.

- J. A. (Indonesia)

This book has taught me so much about evolution, the history of religions and the effect is has on our modern day society! The author shares his personal journey as a believer and provides much needed "food for thought". I recommend this book to all those who want to form their own opinion about believing or not believing.

-FISHPOND REVIEW