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Gravitational Waves, At Last!
"100 years after Einstein's prediction, gravitational waves have finally been detected. For the first time, scientists have observed ripples in the fabric of spacetime called gravitational waves, arriving at the earth from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe. This confirms a major prediction of Albert Einstein's 1915 general theory of relativity and opens an unprecedented new window onto the cosmos.
Gravitational waves carry information about their dramatic origins and about the nature of gravity that cannot otherwise be obtained. Physicists have concluded that the detected gravitational waves were produced during the final fraction of a second of the merger of two black holes to produce a single, more massive spinning black hole. This collision of two black holes had been predicted but never observed.
The gravitational waves were detected on September 14, 2015 by both of the twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors, located in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington, USA. The LIGO Observatories are funded by the NSF and conceived, built, and operated by Caltech and MIT.
Based on the observed signals, LIGO scientists estimate that the black holes for this event were about 29 and 36 times the mass of the sun, and the event took place 1.3 billion years ago. About 3 times the mass of the sun was converted into gravitational waves in a fraction of a second. By looking at the time of arrival of the signals at each station, scientists can say that the source was located in the Southern Hemisphere.
According to general relativity, a pair of black holes orbiting around each other lose energy through the emission of gravitational waves, causing them to gradually approach each other over billions of years, and then much more quickly in the final minutes. During the final fraction of a second, the two black holes collide into each other at nearly one-half the speed of light and form a single more massive black hole, converting a portion of the combined black holes' mass to energy, according to Einstein's formula E=mc2. This energy is emitted as a final strong burst of gravitational waves. It is these gravitational waves that LIGO has observed."
To read the entire news release and learn more please read:
To see a plot of the data and how closely it follows Einstein's prediction, please visit:
Additionally, you could find many other useful links on LIGO Calthech website, including but not limited to a video simulation of two merging black holes, their sound, the origin of the observed gravitational waves, and much more.
Every year there is a staggering number of Earth population who die for one and only one reason; contaminated water. According to Water.org, over 660 million people live without access to safe water around the world, and children are particularly susceptible to waterborne diseases. Pedra Wadstrom, a Swedish artist, is among the people who tried to tackle this problem and she came up with a great design called SOLVATTEN.
"SOLVATTEN is a combined portable water treatment and solar water heater system that has been designed for use at the household level in the developing world." It provides safe and hot water in a few hours, can be used several times a day, it is easy to use and carry which is important when users need to walk long distances to obtain water. It requires no chemicals or batteries and has no maintenance cost, and a long lifespan of 7 to 10 years.
"Each SOLVATTEN unit can be opened up like a book. Doing so separates two five-litre containers, each of which can be filled with water via an opening that houses a fabric filter of 35 microns -this removes larger particles and can be replaced by cloth if lost or damaged. The containers both have transparent surfaces that are made from a durable plastic that allows the penetration of UV-B light, which is highly effective at destroying microorganisms that cause disease and illness.
Once filled, the unit is placed in direct sunlight, which simultaneously heats the water and exposes it to ultraviolet radiation. The combination of these is a highly effective means of purifying water and, depending on conditions, the water will be free of pathogenic material in 2-6 hours. ... The water produced in this manner comfortably meets the World Health Organization's safe drinking water standards."
SOLVATTEN is being used in 18 countries at present. To learn more please visit:
Atlas, The Next Generation
Boston Dynamics have dubbed their Atlas robot, The Agile Anthropomorphic Robot. Boston Dynamics, owned by Google, began its work as a spin off from MIT where they first developed robots that ran and maneuvered like animals
Atlas, their anthropomorphic robot, "is a high mobility, humanoid robot designed to negotiate outdoor, rough terrain. Atlas can walk bipedally leaving the upper limbs free to lift, carry, and manipulate the environment. In extremely challenging terrain, Atlas is strong and coordinated enough to climb using hands and feet, to pick its way through congested spaces."
This past week, Boston Dynamics posted a video of the next generation of their Atlas robot which you might have already seen on YouTube, the news or social media. This new version of Atlas, "designed to operate outdoors and inside buildings, is specialized for mobile manipulation. It is electrically powered and hydraulically actuated. It uses sensors in its body and legs to balance and LIDAR and stereo sensors in its head to avoid obstacles, assess the terrain, help with navigation and manipulate objects."
If you haven't seen it yet, you can see Atlas achieve its task despite interference, walk in slippery outdoor, and even get up by itself after being pushed face first on the floor;
If you would like to learn more about Atlas or other Boston Dynamics robots, please visit:
To see more videos click on the Boston Dynamics' YouTube link: