All posts tagged: light

Physicists Suggest Universe Is Full of Material Moving Faster Than Light

Physicists Suggest Universe Is Full of Material Moving Faster Than Light

It could be what makes up dark matter. Dark Secrets New research suggests that the universe is filled with particles capable of traveling faster than light, LiveScience reports — and that this scenario holds up as a potentially “viable alternative” to our current cosmological model. The idea is a little far-fetched, sure, but it’s worth hearing out. These hypothetical particles, known as tachyons, aren’t likely to be real — but they’re not some hokey bit of sci-fi, either. The potential for their existence is something physicists have been giving serious thought for decades, raising fundamental questions about the nature of causality. As detailed in a yet-to-be-peer-reviewed study, the researchers posit that tachyons are what make up dark matter, an unobservable — and despite being widely considered to exist by scientists, technically hypothetical — substance that is thought to account for around 85 percent of all matter in the universe. Because we can only see dark matter’s substantial gravitational influence, we don’t know what it actually is, leaving the door open to all kinds of possibilities …

Charles Church given green light for 119 homes in north Bristol

Charles Church given green light for 119 homes in north Bristol

Charles Church, the sister brand of Persimmon Homes, has secured planning permission from South Gloucestershire Council to build 119 new homes in north Bristol. The development at Beaufort Park will feature a range of two- to five-bedroom houses, all of which will be fitted with solar panels and capacity for EV charging points. Plans also feature playgrounds and an allotment, as well as hedgerow and tree retention and planting, bird and bat boxes, log piles, wildlife ponds and dormouse-friendly planting. Persimmon Homes says the development will contribute over £2 million for local education, community, transport and highways infrastructure, with additional land provision for a potential primary school and nursery. 31 homes will be dedicated for a housing association, and will include affordable and social rent, shared ownership, and two extra care units, suitable for residents in wheelchairs. Paul Moody, MD of Persimmon Homes Severn Valley, said: “We’re very pleased to have secured permission for our Charles Church phase at Fishpool Hill, furthering our commitment to delivering for housing need in the Bristol area. “With financial …

Does light itself truly have an infinite lifetime?

Does light itself truly have an infinite lifetime?

One of the most enduring ideas in all the Universe is that everything that exists now will someday see its existence come to an end. The stars, galaxies, and even the black holes that occupy the space in our Universe will all some day burn out, fade away, and otherwise decay, leaving what we think of as a “heat death” state: where no more energy can possibly be extracted, in any way, from a uniform, maximum entropy, equilibrium state. But, perhaps, there are exceptions to this general rule, and that some things will truly live on forever. One such candidate for a truly stable entity is the photon: the quantum of light. All of the electromagnetic radiation that exists in the Universe is made up of photons, and photons, as far as we can tell, have an infinite lifetime. Does that mean that light will truly live forever? That’s what Anna-Maria Galante wants to know, writing in to ask: “Do photons live forever? Or do they “die,” and convert to some other particle? The light …

No, the expanding Universe doesn’t break the speed of light

No, the expanding Universe doesn’t break the speed of light

In one of the most monumental discoveries of the 20th century, we learned that the Universe is not simply a static, unchanging background, but rather that space itself expands as time marches on. It’s as though the very fabric of the Universe itself is stretching so that distant objects get farther and farther apart. We see this phenomenon in all directions and in all locations in space when we look beyond the Local Group. And yet, nearly 100 years after it was all worked out, it’s still a puzzling, counterintuitive phenomenon, even for experts in astronomy and astrophysics. It’s only natural to wonder, if the Universe is expanding, how fast is the expansion of space? That’s what Darren Bobley wants to know, asking: “Hi! Would you kindly help me to understand how fast space is expanding compared to light – in lay terms? (That mega-parsec idea is too heady for me.) Is it roughly 2x the speed of light? 100x times? Etc.” It’s common, when we think about something expanding, to think in terms of …

Green light for final key structures to bring HS2 into Birmingham

Green light for final key structures to bring HS2 into Birmingham

The construction of two new viaducts to bring HS2 into Birmingham has been approved by local councils, marking a significant milestone for the project. These represent two of the eight ‘key design elements’ (KDEs) on the West Midlands leg of HS2. All eight KDEs are structures which are identified as being significant because of their size, proximity to communities, or location within sensitive areas. The first is the River Blythe Viaduct, which has received planning approval from Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council. A 475-metre low-lying structure just south of the new HS2 Interchange Station in Solihull, it’s designed to skim the flat, agricultural landscape as it crosses the River Blythe, the floodplain and Meriden Road near Hampton in Arden. Feedback from the local community has been incorporated into the planning of the construction of this viaduct, particularly regarding tree planting and protecting the local environment in the areas near the river which are designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Meanwhile, Saltley Viaduct has secured approval from Birmingham City Council. This will be a 225-metre …

New study sheds light on the role of non-verbal communication during sex

New study sheds light on the role of non-verbal communication during sex

Sexual communication is vital for a fulfilling relationship, yet it remains a complex and often awkward topic for many. A recent study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior has shed light on this issue. The findings suggest that people are more likely to communicate during sex with partners they trust and feel comfortable with, primarily using non-verbal methods to avoid disrupting the intimacy of the moment. Prior research has highlighted a link between sexual dissatisfaction and poor communication, suggesting that enhancing dialogue about sexual preferences and desires could bolster relationship satisfaction. While much is known about verbal communication on sexual topics outside the bedroom, less is known about communication that occurs in the midst of sexual activity, particularly non-verbal forms. This gap in research provided the basis for the current study. “My primary area of focus is researching intimate sexual relationships, so this topic falls squarely into my areas of interest,” said study author Alicia M. Walker, an associate professor of sociology at Missouri State University and author of Chasing Masculinity: Men, Validation, and …

Tiny worm with enormous eyes sees UV light invisible to humans

Tiny worm with enormous eyes sees UV light invisible to humans

Worm bodies might not seem all that interesting. However, a closer look can also reveal how some worms use extra appendages to move through the water like “magic carpets,” while others detach their butts to procreate. Scientists have now discovered that a type of bristle worm is equipped with a complex vision system dominated by two really big eyes. The Vanadis bristle worm’s eyes can potentially use ultraviolet (UV) light to communicate and find mates and/or food, which has not been well documented or studied in nature. The worms could also be among the only known bioluminescent animals that use UV light to glow. The findings are described in a study published April 8 in the journal Current Biology.  Meet Vanadis bristle worms The Vanadis bristle worms in this study are found around the island of Ponza, in the Mediterranean Sea west of Naples, Italy. It is a member of a family of large-eyed bristle worms called polychaeta. They are about six inches long and primarily eat plankton, algae, and bits of organic matter from …

New research sheds light on how legally purchased firearms end up in crime scenes

New research sheds light on how legally purchased firearms end up in crime scenes

In recent years, the question of how legally purchased firearms end up being used in crimes has garnered significant attention from researchers and policymakers alike. A study conducted by researchers at the University of California, Davis Violence Prevention Research Program (VPRP) sheds light on this issue by tracking the journey of firearms from their legal purchase to their eventual use in crimes within California. The study’s findings reveal that guns reported lost are three times more likely to be used in a crime, and stolen guns are almost nine times more likely to be used, highlighting the critical role of theft and loss in the illegal firearm market. The research was published in the journal Injury Epidemiology. The motivation behind this extensive research was to update and expand the understanding of the factors contributing to firearms being used in criminal activities. With over 5.2 million handguns and almost 2.9 million long guns legally purchased in California between 1996 and 2021, and 45,247 of these guns recovered from crime scenes between 2010-2021, the study aimed to …

To Build a Better AI Supercomputer, Let There Be Light

To Build a Better AI Supercomputer, Let There Be Light

GlobalFoundries, a company that makes chips for others, including AMD and General Motors, previously announced a partnership with Lightmatter. Harris says his company is “working with the largest semiconductor companies in the world as well as the hyperscalers,” referring to the largest cloud companies like Microsoft, Amazon, and Google. If Lightmatter or another company can reinvent the wiring of giant AI projects, a key bottleneck in the development of smarter algorithms might fall away. The use of more computation was fundamental to the advances that led to ChatGPT, and many AI researchers see the further scaling-up of hardware as being crucial to future advances in the field—and to hopes of ever reaching the vaguely-specified goal of artificial general intelligence, or AGI, meaning programs that can match or exceed biological intelligence in every way. Linking a million chips together with light might allow for algorithms several generations beyond today’s cutting edge, says Lightmatter’s CEO Nick Harris. “Passage is going to enable AGI algorithms,” he confidently suggests. The large data centers that are needed to train giant …