“Our philosophy is to let kids come when they want and learn what they want. Everything we offer is educational and entertaining so they get to be the masters of their future. They can pick up a guitar on Monday, or make a video game on Friday.”
Hybrid Play is a device that transforms playgrounds into interactive game scenarios. A wireless sensors transforms the playground game elements into physical interfaces to control video games that are shown in Android or iOS smartphones and tablets.
“ With THAW, smartphones can seamlessly interact with what's happening on laptop and tablet screens. And that's only the beginning. When we need to send a command or a file from our smartphone to our laptop, we do it through menus.”
Via Anne-Marie Armstrong
Einstein is most famous for general relativity, which is really a theory of gravity. But his theory of special relativity has been just as important. Special relativity is all about how to interpret measurements: if you measure the speed of an object from a moving vehicle, how do I reconcile that number with a measurement I make from the side of the road? At low speeds this is a fairly simple task, but at very high speeds things start to get strange. This strangeness arises as a consequence of the speed of light being constant.
Tests of the validity of special relativity abound, but they've been limited to a few classes of objects. The ones done in the lab are usually very sensitive experiments performed on relatively slow-moving objects, while natural tests use the motion of the Earth or other astronomical objects.
Now, a German facility has measured time dilation very accurately. But in a twist, these measurements were performed on things moving at just under 40 percent of the speed of light in the laboratory. The researchers tested how clocks slow down when they are in motion. For example, if you are in motion relative to me, and I can see the watch on your hand, I should observe that it runs slightly slow compared to the one I'm wearing. Indeed, if you put an atomic clock in an airplane and fly it around the world, it will end up with a slightly different time than an identical clock that remained at the airport.
This time dilation is a consequence of a feature of physics called Lorentz invariance. Lorentz invariance is a way of saying that no matter where we are in the Universe, or how fast we are traveling, the Universe and its rules are basically the same.
The scientists verified in a very elegant experiment that special relativity and Lorentz invariance is true to one part in a billion. These results were also used to test some extensions to the Standard Model of physics, but these results were too inaccurate to provide much insight about the Standard Model. But there are competing models that may have much stronger deviations from Lorentz invariance. In these cases, the fact that these experiments didn't see any deviations will certainly be able to tell us something.
More importantly, though, the whole experiment is Earth-based, so we are not relying on any assumptions about astronomical objects. And even cooler, the experiment is in a regime where the objects actually have a speed that is quite high compared to normal lab experiments, which offers a whole new window on special relativity and Lorentz invariance.
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Astronomers using data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and ground observation have found an unlikely object in an improbable place -- a monster black hole lurking inside one of the tiniest galaxies ever known.
The black hole is five times the mass of the one at the center of our Milky Way galaxy. It is inside one of the densest galaxies known to date -- the M60-UCD1 dwarf galaxy that crams 140 million stars within a diameter of about 300 light-years, which is only 1/500th of our galaxy’s diameter.
If you lived inside this dwarf galaxy, the night sky would dazzle with at least 1 million stars visible to the naked eye. Our nighttime sky as seen from Earth’s surface shows 4,000 stars.
The finding implies there are many other compact galaxies in the universe that contain supermassive black holes. The observation also suggests dwarf galaxies may actually be the stripped remnants of larger galaxies that were torn apart during collisions with other galaxies rather than small islands of stars born in isolation.
“We don’t know of any other way you could make a black hole so big in an object this small,” said University of Utah astronomer Anil Seth, lead author of an international study of the dwarf galaxy published in Thursday’s issue of the journal Nature.
Seth’s team of astronomers used the Hubble Space Telescope and the Gemini North 8-meter optical and infrared telescope on Hawaii’s Mauna Kea to observe M60-UCD1 and measure the black hole’s mass. The sharp Hubble images provide information about the galaxy’s diameter and stellar density. Gemini measures the stellar motions as affected by the black hole’s pull. These data are used to calculate the mass of the black hole.
Black holes are gravitationally collapsed, ultra-compact objects that have a gravitational pull so strong that even light cannot escape. Supermassive black holes -- those with the mass of at least one million stars like our sun -- are thought to be at the centers of many galaxies.
The black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy has the mass of four million suns. As heavy as that is, it is less than 0.01 percent of the Milky Way’s total mass. By comparison, the supermassive black hole at the center of M60-UCD1, which has the mass of 21 million suns, is a stunning 15 percent of the small galaxy’s total mass.
“That is pretty amazing, given that the Milky Way is 500 times larger and more than 1,000 times heavier than the dwarf galaxy M60-UCD1,” Seth said.
One explanation is that M60-UCD1 was once a large galaxy containing 10 billion stars, but then it passed very close to the center of an even larger galaxy, M60, and in that process all the stars and dark matter in the outer part of the galaxy were torn away and became part of M60.
The team believes that M60-UCD1 may eventually be pulled to fully merge with M60, which has its own monster black hole that weighs a whopping 4.5 billion solar masses, or more than 1,000 times bigger than the black hole in our galaxy. When that happens, the black holes in both galaxies also likely will merge. Both galaxies are 50 million light-years away.
Wouldn't it be great if you could just call up a supercomputer and ask it to do your data-wrangling for you? Actually, scratch that, no-one uses the phone anymore. What'd be really cool is if machines could respond to your queries straight from Twitter. It's a belief that's shared by Wolfram Research, which has just launched the Tweet a Program system to its computational knowledge engine, Wolfram Alpha. In a blog post, founder Stephen Wolfram explains that even complex queries can be executed within the space of 140 characters, including data visualizations.
In the Wolfram Language a little code can go a long way. And to use that fact to let everyone have some fun with the introduction of Tweet-a-Program. Compose a tweet-length Wolfram Language program, and tweet it to @WolframTaP. TheTwitter bot will run your program in the Wolfram Cloud and tweet the result back to you. One can do a lot with Wolfram Language programs that fit in a tweet. It’s easy to make interesting patterns or even complicated fractals. Putting in some math makes it easy to get all sorts of elaborate structures and patterns.
The Wolfram Language not only knows how to compute π, as well as a zillion other algorithms; it also has a huge amount of built-in knowledge about the real world. So right in the language, you can talk about movies or countries or chemicals or whatever. And here’s a 78-character program that makes a collage of the flags of Europe, sized according to country population. There are many, many kinds of real-world knowledge built into the Wolfram Language, including some pretty obscure ones. The Wolfram Language does really well with words and text and deals with images too.
Edudemic has covered game-based learning and gamification in the classroom on numerous occasions in the past. When learning becomes a game, it’s an enjoyable, effective experience for students and teachers alike. We’ve curated 23 of the best game-based education resources for 2014. If your class hasn’t gotten its game on yet, then now is the time.
“ Qui n'a jamais rêvé de sauter, les pieds joints, dans une œuvre d'art ? De pénétrer dans un tableau et de faire partie du décor ? Si de plus en plus d'œuvres d'art tendent à se numériser et deviennent accessibles au plus grand nombre, les exigences du public se modernisent elles aussi.”
Via Carles Sora
As many stars as there are in our galaxy (100 - 400 billion), there are roughly an equal number of galaxies in the observable universe -- so for every star in the colossal Milky Way, there's a whole galaxy out there. All together, that comes out to the typically quoted range of between 10**22 and 10**24 total stars, which means that for every grain of sand on Earth, there are 10,000 stars out there.
The science world isn't in total agreement about what percentage of those stars are "sun-like" (similar in size, temperature, and luminosity) -- opinions typically range from 5 percent to 20 percent. Going with the most conservative side of that (5 percent), and the lower end for the number of total stars (10**22), gives us 500 quintillion, or 500 billion billion sun-like stars.
There's also a debate over what percentage of those sun-like stars might be orbited by an Earth-like planet (one with similar temperature conditions that could have liquid water and potentially support life similar to that on Earth). Some say it's as high as 50 percent, but let's go with the more conservative 22 percent that came out of a recent PNAS study. That suggests that there's a potentially-habitable Earth-like planet orbiting at least 1 percent of the total stars in the universe -- a total of 100 billion billion Earth-like planets.
So there are 100 Earth-like planets for every grain of sand in the world. Think about that next time you're on the beach. Moving forward, we have no choice but to get completely speculative. Let's imagine that after billions of years in existence, 1 percent of Earth-like planets develop life (if that's true, every grain of sand would represent one planet with life on it). And imagine that on 1 percent of those planets, the life advances to an intelligent level like it did here on Earth. That would mean there were 10 quadrillion, or 10 million billion intelligent civilizations in the observable universe.
Moving back to just our galaxy, and doing the same math on the lowest estimate for stars in the Milky Way (100 billion), we'd estimate that there are 1 billion Earth-like planets and 100,000 intelligent civilizations in our galaxy.
So where is everybody?
Welcome to the Fermi Paradox. There is something called "The Great Filter". The Great Filter theory says that at some point from pre-life to Type III intelligence, there's a wall that all or nearly all attempts at life hit. There's some stage in that long evolutionary process that is extremely unlikely or impossible for life to get beyond. That stage is The Great Filter. If this theory is true, the big question is, Where in the timeline does the Great Filter occur? This article gives different possibilities and scenarios.
The first flexible display device based on graphene has been unveiled by scientists in the UK, who say it is the first step on the road towards next generation gadgets that can be folded, rolled or crumpled up without cracking the screen.
The device is the result of a collaboration between Plastic Logic, a company that specialises in flexible displays, and researchers led by Andrea Ferrari at the University of Cambridge. Although others have successfully used graphene to make screen components before, this is the first example of a flexible screen that uses graphene-based electronics.
‘What we have done here is to include graphene in the actual backplane pixel technology,’ says Ferrari. ‘This shows that in principle the properties of graphene – conductivity, flexibility and so on – can be exploited within a real-world display.’
Graphene researcher Jonathan Coleman from Trinity College Dublin in Ireland, who was not involved in the research, described the advance as a ‘major landmark’ that could help kick-start the commercialisation of graphene devices. ‘We need some sort of big win, and this could very well be it,’ he says.
The team’s prototype is an electrophoretic display containing the kind of ‘electronic ink’ found in e-readers that works by reflecting – rather than emitting – light. Plastic Logic have been working on making these displays flexible for some time by replacing the glass with bendy plastic, and using non-brittle components in the electronic layer. Graphene is an ideal material for this, as it is more flexible and more conductive than the metals currently used. The team managed to make the graphene electrode in a way that is compatible with electronics manufacturing, using solution processing rather than chemical vapour deposition, which often requires temperatures exceeding 1000°C.
‘All the major companies are trying to make bendable and flexible gadgets,’ says Ferrari. ‘We think that graphene will be a powerful addition to that, and if we manage to make the process easy, scalable and cheap enough, then it should be considered very strongly by industry.’
As current displays go, the team’s prototype is basic, capable of showing images in black and white at a resolution of 150 pixels per inch – akin to that of a basic e-reader. But Ferrari’s team are working on applying the same technology to make a graphene-based LCD and OLED displays like those used in smartphones and tablets, capable of showing full colour images and playing video. Their goal is to have these ready within the next 12 months.
Coleman thinks this target is achievable. ‘These solution processed graphene products tick a lot of the boxes that are required to develop these technologies,’ he says. ‘It’s hard to say whether they’ll get there, but I would be confident. The partners here are very well suited to achieve these goals.’
The DNA of every organism on Earth is a right-handed double helix, but why that would be has puzzled scientists since not long after Francis Crick and James Watson announced the discovery of DNA's double-helical structure in 1953. It's a puzzle because no one has been able to think of a fundamental reason why DNA couldn't also be left-handed.
New research by University of Nebraska-Lincoln physicists and published in the Sept. 12 online edition of Physical Review Letters now gives support to a long-posited but never-proven hypothesis that electrons in cosmic rays -- which are mostly left-handed -- preferentially destroyed left-handed precursors of DNA on the primordial Earth.
The hypothesis, called the Vester-Ulbricht model, was proposed by Frederic Vester of the University of Saarbrucken in Germany and Tilo L.V. Ulbricht of the University of Cambridge in England in 1961 in response to the 1957 discovery that most of the electrons spewing from radioactive beta decay were left-handed.
Joan M. Dreiling and Timothy J. Gay of UNL focused circularly polarized laser light on a specially prepared crystal of gallium-arsenide to produce electrons whose spins were either parallel or anti-parallel to their direction of motion upon emission from the crystal -- essentially artificial beta rays. They then directed these electrons to strike target molecules of a substance called bromocamphor, which comes in both right- and left-handed varieties.
They found that at the lowest electron energies they studied, left-handed electrons preferentially destroyed left-handed molecules and vice versa. This sensitivity to molecular handedness has a mechanical analog: the inability of a left-handed bolt to screw into a right-handed nut. The molecular experiment proves the principle underlying the Vester-Ulbricht hypothesis.
"The circular polarization of the laser light effectively transferred to the spin (handedness) of the electrons emitted by the gallium-arsenide crystal," said Dreiling, a postdoctoral research assistant who received her doctorate from UNL in May. "We are able to reverse the spin-polarization of the electrons just by reversing the circular polarization of the light."
The effect they saw was quite small, they said -- like "looking for an electronic needle in a haystack," Gay said -- but they said they're highly confident in their result. "We have done several different checks with our experiment and I am totally confident that the asymmetry exists," Dreiling said. "The checks all came out showing that this asymmetry is real."
Classcraft is a free online educational role-playing game that teachers and students play together in the classroom. Acting as a gamification layer around any existing curriculum, the game transforms the way a class is experienced, throughout the school year. Explore the different sections below to get a better understand of how Classcraft works.
A social bookmarking site for schools. Allow students to explore, learn, gather & share resources with everyone in the class. No student sign up required! Easily share resources with anyone in the class!
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