Harvey Walnut

What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence

Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

Historic Mars Landing

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Seeing the NASA team’s reaction to the news that Curiosity had landed successfully on Mars sent shivers down my spine.  Because I shared their joy but also because it proved once again what our species is capable of when at it’s best.

When I saw  Curiosity’s first pictures the reality of what thousands of people from around the globe have accomplished became so much more visceral and real.  We have landed a semi autonomous car sized robot laboratory capable of searching for life, on another planet.

How long before we stand on that planet?  I’m betting not long at all.

 

Mars Rover Curiosity’s picture of Mount Sharp on Planet Mars

 

 

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Written by harveywalnut

August 7, 2012 at 10:15 am

Curiosity’s Seven Minutes of Terror

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As the Mars Curiosity rover  is only a few days away from arriving at the red planet.  I thought it was a good idea to pop this video in.  It’s a brilliant narrated video of what will happen during the landing.

Enjoy.

Written by harveywalnut

August 3, 2012 at 11:11 am

Mars Curiosity & Human Curiosity

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On August the 5th at around 10:30pm PDT, NASA’s Mars rover, Curiosity  should be just about touching down on the red planet.   It is the most difficult landing and mission of its type ever attempted.   The Curiosity rover itself is the largest and most complex ever built.  A robotic laboratory sent from planet Earth to planet Mars to investigate the possibility of life amongst many other tasks.

I’ve been following this mission for a few years now and when I think about the scope, importance and even the majesty of what NASA is attempting. I find it inspiring and uplifting.   I see in it the very essence of the human condition; a never-ending desire to see beyond the next scientific horizon. An insatiable curiosity born from an unlimited imagination.

To think our species has evolved to the point where we are sending semi-autonomous robots to a distant planet in such a short period of evolutionary time is simply astounding.   We may be still in the infancy of the 21st century but technologically where we stand today even when compared to the 90s is staggering.

Watching the animated simulation of Curiosity’s landing and the complexity of it leads one to contemplate where we could be in another few decades.  Landing human beings on Mars? even more ambitious interstellar projects?.  Look at the 100 year starship project currently underway as an example of the audacity of our thinking.   This project aims to achieve interstellar travel for humankind within 100 years.  It is led by an ex astronaut and backed by DARPA, America’s far out military science agency as well the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Now I just need Ray Kurzweil to be right about the Singularity and extended human life so I’ll be around to see it.

How cool would it be?

You can follow Curiosity on Twitter @MarsCuriosity

Written by harveywalnut

July 17, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Mr Higgs and his Boson

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With Cern set to announce the arrival of the pesky Higgs Boson which has been hiding amongst the primordial cosmic soup since the big bang. I thought I would post this video as it’s a great explaination of what it is and since I’m not a particle physicist and have never been involved in the building of particle colliders my explaination may be less than illuminating.

Written by harveywalnut

July 3, 2012 at 4:44 pm

Posted in Science, Tech, Uncategorized

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Morons and E-Voting Machines

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They cost the Irish tax payer 55 million Euro and were never used; because one of the many morons in Fianna Fail , one Martin Cullen, went against all advice, reports and even ignored the fact that the people selling them also mentioned that they didn’t quite work.

So today the debacle of the E-voting machines has ended because they were sold for….€70,267 to a scrap company.  So in honour of all the people who voted for Fianna Fail over the last 20 years and for Martin Cullen I’ve added this little video.

Fianna Fail Voters

Written by harveywalnut

June 29, 2012 at 11:38 am

Artificial brain loves to watch cat videos

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16,000 computer processors helping to create and connect the largest digital neural network ever built and this system has been given the freedom to learn what it wants from the Internet. And what happens.

Nope it doesn’t become aware and decide humanity is a threat,nor does it tell us the answer to everything is indeed 42 . It decides, it likes watching cat videos.

Since man first discovered fire we have been pushing the boundaries of science and the reality of the human condition along with it. Today we live in a world where millions of people have access to the worlds information on a device that fits in their pocket.

Computer scientists have been building smaller,smarter and faster computers science Alan Turing invented computer science. The holy grail being Artificial Intelligence.

While It may not yet be HAL from Kubrick’s Space Odyssey, this machine still decided on its own it liked to watch cats. A step up from the old Commodore 64 I think.

Maybe the singularity is nearer than we think and I for one am very much looking forward to it.

Written by harveywalnut

June 28, 2012 at 8:15 pm

The politics and founding of Atheist Ireland

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Written by harveywalnut

April 28, 2012 at 10:25 am

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