This is the best explanation of quantum computing I’ve read. I mean, it’s not like I can judge its veracity, but I could actually understand it.
Steven Johnson dives deep into the METI project, starting with the Arecibo message and covering Lincos, the Drake equation, and the Fermi paradox.
He also wrote about what he left out of the article and mentions that he’s writing a book on long-term decision making.
In a sense, the METI debate runs parallel to other existential decisions that we will be confronting in the coming decades, as our technological and scientific powers increase. Should we create superintelligent machines that exceed our own intellectual capabilities by such a wide margin that we cease to understand how their intelligence works? Should we ‘‘cure’’ death, as many technologists are proposing? Like METI, these are potentially among the most momentous decisions human beings will ever make, and yet the number of people actively participating in those decisions — or even aware such decisions are being made — is minuscule.
Here’s a fun cosmic hypothesis on the scale of an Olaf Stapeldon story. There are even implications for data storage:
By storing its essential data in photons, life could give itself a distributed backup system. And it could go further, manipulating new photons emitted by stars to dictate how they interact with matter. Fronts of electromagnetic radiation could be reaching across the cosmos to set in motion chains of interstellar or planetary chemistry with exquisite timing, exploiting wave interference and excitation energies in atoms and molecules.
A fascinating guest post by Brian McConnell on Centauri Dreams: what if there’s a galactic equivalent to the internet, allowing civilisations to communicate with a system analogous to packet switching.
Unfortunately this kind of focussed signalling would be hard to detect. But on the other hand, it could explain the Fermi paradox.
This is an awareness project I can get behind: a Clarke-like Project Spaceguard to protect the Earth from asteroid collisions. This campaign will focus awareness of this issue on one single day…
Now if only the front page of this website actually said when that day will be.
Update: And now it does.
Craig recounts the time we visited the LHCb at CERN. It’s a lovely bit of writing. I wish it were on his own website.
I can’t wait to see this documentary on the monumental work at CERN.
H.P. Lovecraft meets James Bridle in this great little story commissioned by the Institute For The Future.
Now this is what I call science hacking: building an open source fusion reactor.
James geeks out about visiting CERN. His enthusiasm is infectious.
The story of the particle windchime—it turns subatomic particle collisions into sound—created at Science Hack Day San Francisco.
This makes my brain giddy. Dizzying stuff, clearly explained.
Brendan Dawes pointed me to this wonderfully playful creation. It's Flash-free, believe it or not.
The game is simple, the physics are fun, the result is utterly addictive. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Handmade subatomic particle plushies from the standard model of physics ...and beyond!
A brilliant take on Space Invaders where gravity does its thing.
Philip Ball (author of the excellent Critical Mass) is coming to Brighton to speak at the CafÃ© Scientifique on the third Thursday of November. Excellent!
The inimitable Dr. Brian Cox gives us a peek into the state of play with the Large Hadron Collider. "Because of its size and ambition, the LHC could inspire an entire generation to rediscover the value of exploration in the way Apollo inspired me â€¦
Here's something to bring on the geek goosebumps: a countdown to the activation of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. Many sectors have already completed cooldown.