31 July 2009

The Size of Our World

I found this very interesting comparison of heavenly bodies on stumbleupon at rense.com. I thought it would be a nice share.

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26 July 2009

10 Ways to Destroy Earth

Whether it took the Earth 4.5 billion years to get to where it is today (or a mere seven days), destroying it might take a lot less time. Take a look at these spell-bounding new ways of destroying our Earth and how far man can reach from today's perspective.

10. Total existence failure

You will need: nothing

Method: No method. Simply sit back and twiddle your thumbs as, completely by chance, all 200,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 atoms making up the planet Earth suddenly, simultaneously and spontaneously cease to exist. Note: the odds against this actually ever occurring are considerably greater than a googolplex to one. Failing this, some kind of arcane (read: scientifically laughable) probability-manipulation device may be employed.

Utter, utter rubbish.

9. Gobbled up by strangelets

You will need: a stable strangelet

Method: Hijack control of the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider in Brookhaven National Laboratory, Long Island, New York. Use the RHIC to create and maintain a stable strangelet. Keep it stable for as long as it takes to absorb the entire Earth into a mass of strange quarks. Keeping the strangelet stable is incredibly difficult once it has absorbed the stabilizing machinery, but creative solutions may be possible.

A while back, there was some media hoo-hah about the possibility of this actually happening at the RHIC, but in actuality the chances of a stable strangelet forming are pretty much zero.

Earth's final resting place: a huge glob of strange matter.

8. Sucked into a microscopic black hole

You will need: a microscopic black hole. Note that black holes are not eternal, they evaporate due to Hawking radiation. For your average black hole this takes an unimaginable amount of time, but for really small ones it could happen almost instantaneously, as evaporation time is dependent on mass. Therefore you microscopic black hole must have greater than a certain threshold mass, roughly equal to the mass of Mount Everest. Creating a microscopic black hole is tricky, since one needs a reasonable amount of neutronium, but may possibly be achievable by jamming large numbers of atomic nuclei together until they stick. This is left as an exercise to the reader.

Method: simply place your black hole on the surface of the Earth and wait. Black holes are of such high density that they pass through ordinary matter like a stone through the air. The black hole will plummet through the ground, eating its way to the center of the Earth and all the way through to the other side: then, it'll oscillate back, over and over like a matter-absorbing pendulum. Eventually it will come to rest at the core, having absorbed enough matter to slow it down. Then you just need to wait, while it sits and consumes matter until the whole Earth is gone.

Highly, highly unlikely. But not impossible.

Earth's final resting place: a singularity of almost zero size, which will then proceed to happily orbit the Sun as normal.

Source: "The Dark Side Of The Sun," by Terry Pratchett. It is true that the microscopic black hole idea is an age-old science fiction mainstay which predates Pratchett by a long time.

7. Blown up by matter/antimatter reaction

You will need: 2,500,000,000,000 tons of antimatter

Antimatter - the most explosive substance possible - can be manufactured in small quantities using any large particle accelerator, but this will take some considerable time to produce the required amounts. If you can create the appropriate machinery, it may be possible - and much easier - simply to "flip" 2.5 trillion tons of matter through a fourth dimension, turning it all to antimatter at once.

Method: This method involves detonating a bomb so big that it blasts the Earth to pieces.

How hard is that?

The gravitational binding energy of a planet of mass M and radius R is - if you do the lengthy calculations - given by the formula E=(3/5)GM^2/R. For Earth, that works out to roughly 224,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 Joules. The Sun takes nearly a WEEK to output that much energy. Think about THAT.

To liberate that much energy requires the complete annihilation of around 2,500,000,000,000 tonnes of antimatter. That's assuming zero energy loss to heat and radiation, which is unlikely to be the case in reality: You'll probably need to up the dose by at least a factor of ten. Once you've generated your antimatter, probably in space, just launch it en masse towards Earth. The resulting release of energy (obeying Einstein's famous mass-energy equation, E=mc^2) should be sufficient to split the Earth into a thousand pieces.

Earth's final resting place: A second asteroid belt around the Sun.

Earliest feasible completion date: AD 2500. Of course, if it does prove possible to manufacture antimatter in the sufficiently large quantities you require - which is not necessarily the case - then smaller antimatter bombs will be around long before then.

6. Destroyed by vacuum energy detonation

You will need: a light bulb

Method: This is a fun one. Contemporary scientific theories tell us that what we may see as vacuum is only vacuum on average, and actually thriving with vast amounts of particles and antiparticles constantly appearing and then annihilating each other. It also suggests that the volume of space enclosed by a light bulb contains enough vacuum energy to boil every ocean in the world. Therefore, vacuum energy could prove to be the most abundant energy source of any kind. Which is where you come in. All you need to do is figure out how to extract this energy and harness it in some kind of power plant - this can easily be done without arousing too much suspicion - then surreptitiously allow the reaction to run out of control. The resulting release of energy would easily be enough to annihilate all of planet Earth and probably the Sun too.

Slightly possible.

Earth's final resting place: a rapidly expanding cloud of particles of varying size.

Earliest feasible completion date: 2060 or so.

Source: "3001: The Final Odyssey," by Arthur C. Clarke

5. Sucked into a giant black hole

You will need: a black hole, extremely powerful rocket engines, and, optionally, a large rocky planetary body. The nearest black hole to our planet is 1600 light years from Earth in the direction of Sagittarius, orbiting V4641.
Method: after locating your black hole, you need get it and the Earth together. This is likely to be the most time-consuming part of this plan. There are two methods, moving Earth or moving the black hole, though for best results you'd most likely move both at once.

Very difficult, but definitely possible.

Earth's final resting place: part of the mass of the black hole.

Earliest feasible completion date: I do not expect the necessary technology to be available until AD 3000, and add at least 800 years for travel time. (That's in an external observer's frame of reference and assuming you move both the Earth and the black hole at the same time.)

Sources: "The Hitch Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy," by Douglas Adams; SPACE.com

4. Meticulously and systematically deconstructed

You will need: a powerful mass driver, or ideally lots of them; ready access to roughly 2*10^32J

Method: Basically, what we're going to do here is dig up the Earth, a big chunk at a time, and boost the whole lot of it into orbit. Yes. All six sextillion tons of it. A mass driver is a sort of oversized electromagnetic railgun, which was once proposed as a way of getting mined materials back from the Moon to Earth - basically, you just load it into the driver and fire it upwards in roughly the right direction. We'd use a particularly powerful model - big enough to hit escape velocity of 11 kilometers per second even after atmospheric considerations - and launch it all into the Sun or randomly into space.

Alternate methods for boosting the material into space include loading the extracted material into space shuttles or taking it up via space elevator. All these methods, however, require a - let me emphasize this - titanic quantity of energy to carry out. Building a Dyson sphere ain't gonna cut it here. (Note: Actually, it would. But if you have the technology to build a Dyson sphere, why are you reading this?) See No. 6 for a possible solution.

If we wanted to and were willing to devote resources to it, we could start this process RIGHT NOW. Indeed, what with all the gunk left in orbit, on the Moon and heading out into space, we already have done.

Earth's final resting place: Many tiny pieces, some dropped into the Sun, the remainder scattered across the rest of the Solar System.

Earliest feasible completion date: Ah. Yes. At a billion tons of mass driven out of the Earth's gravity well per second: 189,000,000 years.

3. Pulverized by impact with blunt instrument

You will need: a big heavy rock, something with a bit of a swing to it... perhaps Mars

Method: Essentially, anything can be destroyed if you hit it hard enough. ANYTHING. The concept is simple: find a really, really big asteroid or planet, accelerate it up to some dazzling speed, and smash it into Earth, preferably head-on but whatever you can manage. The result: an absolutely spectacular collision, resulting hopefully in Earth (and, most likely, our "cue ball" too) being pulverized out of existence - smashed into any number of large pieces which if the collision is hard enough should have enough energy to overcome their mutual gravity and drift away forever, never to coagulate back into a planet again.

A brief analysis of the size of the object required can be found here. Falling at the minimal impact velocity of 11 kilometers per second and assuming zero energy loss to heat and other energy forms, the cue ball would have to have roughly 60% of the mass of the Earth. Mars, the next planet out, "weighs" in at about 11% of Earth's mass, while Venus, the next planet in and also the nearest to Earth, has about 81%. Assuming that we would fire our cue ball into Earth at much greater than 11km/s (I'm thinking more like 50km/s), either of these would make great possibilities.

Obviously a smaller rock would do the job, you just need to fire it faster. A 10,000,000,000,000-tonne asteroid at 90% of light speed would do just as well. See the Guide to moving Earth for useful information on maneuvering big hunks of rock across interplanetary distances.

Pretty plausible.

Earth's final resting place: a variety of roughly Moon-sized chunks of rock, scattered haphazardly across the greater Solar System.

Earliest feasible completion date: AD 2500, maybe?

2. Eaten by von Neumann machines
You will need: a single von Neumann machine

Method: A von Neumann machine is any device that is capable of creating an exact copy of itself given nothing but the necessary raw materials. Create one of these that subsists almost entirely on iron, magnesium, aluminum and silicon, the major elements found in Earth's mantle and core. It doesn't matter how big it is as long as it can reproduce itself exactly in any period of time. Release it into the ground under the Earth's crust and allow it to fend for itself. Watch and wait as it creates a second von Neumann machine, then they create two more, then they create four more. As the population of machines doubles repeatedly, the planet Earth will, terrifyingly soon, be entirely eaten up and turned into a swarm of potentially sextillions of machines. Technically your objective would now be complete - no more Earth - but if you want to be thorough then you can command your VNMs to hurl themselves, along with any remaining trace elements, into the Sun. This hurling would have to be achieved using rocket propulsion of some sort, so be sure to include this in your design.

So crazy it might just work.

Earth's final resting place: the bodies of the VNMs themselves, then a small lump of iron sinking into the Sun.

Earliest feasible completion date: Potentially 2045-2050, or even earlier.

Source: "2010: Odyssey Two," by Arthur C. Clarke

Hurled into the Sun

You will need: Earthmoving equipment

Method: Hurl the Earth into the Sun. Sending Earth on a collision course with the Sun is not as easy as one might think; even though you don't actually have to literally hit the Sun (send the Earth near enough to the Sun (within the Roche limit), and tidal forces will tear it apart), it's surprisingly easy to end up with Earth in a loopy elliptical orbit which merely roasts it for four months in every eight. But careful planning can avoid this.

This is impossible at our current technological level, but will be possible one day, I'm certain. In the meantime, may happen by freak accident if something comes out of nowhere and randomly knocks Earth in precisely the right direction. Earth's final resting place: a small globule of vaporized iron sinking slowly into the heart of the Sun.

Earliest feasible completion date: Via act of God: 25 years' time. Any earlier and we'd have already spotted the asteroid in question. Via human intervention: given the current level of expansion of space technology, 2250 at best.

Source: "Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers," by Grant Naylor.

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Can we stop aging and reverse it's effects?

Why do we age?

Over the centuries, people have often wondered how it is that our bodies grow and develop from a tiny fertilized egg, to a newborn baby, to a young child, then a teenager and, finally, a young adult. A huge number of very complex changes within our bodies must happen perfectly in order to achieve this.

Once we grow into our adult perfection, why can’t we just stay there? Why do we have to age?

And can we stop it?

Doctors and scientists used to take aging for granted. Scientists used to think that because aging was a natural process, there was no need to investigate it. Is it the wear and tear of the body that causes aging or the life span of a person is defined by his genetic structure?

You've heard it said many times before: "Youth is wasted on the young." Unfortunately, the trade-off for the life experiences and wisdom that comes with age is the gradual loss of youth and physical health. We're constantly reminded that "life's too short." Time eventually takes it toll, and the body simply doesn't work as well as it did before.

But what if that didn't have to be the case? Imagine what people could do with an extra decade or two of healthy years. Now how about an extra fifty? Hundred? Five hundred? Imagine accumulating wisdom and experience without the threats of disease and frailty. Imagine being able to stop aging and reverse its effects.

Sounds like a plot for a science fiction story? The truth is putting an end to aging isn't a far-off dream: it's quickly becoming a reality, according to speakers at ideaCity 2008. The conference, hosted and produced in Toronto by Moses Znaimer, featured the latest research on slowing and stopping the aging process. The goal: not just to increase human lifespan, but to increase the healthy years -- perhaps indefinitely. And the "cure" may be available sooner than you think. Here's what the speakers had to say:

Ray Kurzweil

Don't be fooled by appearances. On the outside, Ray Kurzweil looks like a baby boomer but on the inside he claims to be decades younger. Advances in science are paving the way for revolutionary treatments, and he plans to be around to take advantage of them.

Imagine being a "designer baby boomer". In his talk at ideaCity, Kurzweil outlined how the biotechnology revolution is changing the paradigm of medicine. New technology can design and simulate treatments, computers can simulate human intelligence and tiny robots (known as nanobots) and nanotechnology devices could soon be used to kill cancer cells or control insulin. Genes can be added or be "turned off" to prevent diseases. Organs and tissues will eventually be restored to their youthful state. He predicts the biotechnology revolution will peak around 2020 -- well within the grasp of today's Zoomers.

The challenge, Kurzweil argues, is getting through the next 15 years to reap the benefits. How? By slowing the disease and aging processes using the knowledge we have today. If you want to see the specifics, Kurzweil and co-author Terry Grossman outline their strategies in their book Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever. The book acts as a guide to the aggressive strategies you need to employ to retain your health, including regular exercise, managing stress, taking supplements and treating inflammation in addition to the chapters dedicated to a healthy diet.

Michael Rose

Imagine being in a dark factory with only a flashlight. That's how Michael Rose describes how we used to approach medicine: Try to detect the source (if you can see it) and correct the problem. The approach doesn't work well for the complex networks that make up the human body. However, genomics (e.g. the Human Genome Project and DNA mapping) has effectively "turned on the lights" to provide a better understanding of how components and systems work -- and where faults occur.

The problem is that our genome has an unfavourable vocabulary -- it tends towards what Rose calls "bad words" like cancer, Alzheimer's disease and heart disease. The solution is to find therapeutic treatments to rewrite these bad words in order to literally stop your genome from killing you. In the end, you'll have a longer life, but also a healthier and more robust constitution.

In his book, The Long Tomorrow -- How Advances in Evolutionary Biology Can Help Us Postpone Aging, Rose argues that there is no single "fountain of youth" or fabled "elixir of life", despite what the old legends say. Instead, the field of Nutrigenomics, the study of the relationships between nutrition and genes, will lead to nutritional supplements meant to protect health and put off aging.

Aubrey de Grey

"The first 1000-year-old is probably less than 20 years younger than the first 150 year old."

Say what?

In order to understand this statement, you have to stop thinking in straight lines. When it comes to life span, Aubrey de Grey, chairman of the Methuselah Foundation, sees exponential rather than linear increases. What starts as the doubling of small numbers (1, 2, 4, 8, 16, etc) soon explodes. The numbers almost sound too good to be true, but once the fundamental breakthroughs happen, then achievements will accelerate rapidly -- and so will life expectancy.

How will these miraculous numbers come about? De Grey argues that our metabolism causes damage on an ongoing basis. This damage eventually causes pathology (disease). What we need to do is prevent and repair damage at the metabolic level, and maintain our bodies to keep them in top shape. Damage can be repaired with engineering. This means getting rid of "junk" inside and outside of our cells, getting rid of excess cells, replacing lost cells and dealing with mutations.

In other words, repairing damage "buys time" until the next advances come along. Extending lives means saving lives, especially since more deaths are caused by aging than terrorism, war, accidents and natural disasters combined. It's not surprising that de Grey is a force behind getting people to understand the importance of this issue... and to do something about it.

For more information, check out de Grey's book, Ending Aging: The Rejuvenation Breakthroughs That Could Reverse Human Aging in Our Lifetime, and the Methuselah Foundation website.

Overall, the ideas and methods may be different, but the speakers all seemed to agree on one thing: if you can maintain your health a little longer, you'll be able to benefit from the treatments when they become available. With all due respect to George Bernard Shaw, youth will no longer be wasted on the young, and aging will become a process of continued personal growth rather than decay.

Video :-

New aging research into living longer, disease prevention, quality of life, healthy lifestyles, longevity - conference keynote speaker Dr Patrick Dixon

Scientists have stopped the ageing process in an entire organ for the first time. Know More

Your Suggestions will be greatly entertained.

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07 July 2009

Five First Person Shooter games that I love the most!

What makes First Person Shooter games so very interesting??
Well may be because of their design, the arms and ammunition that they carry, the stealth, challenge they pose and also may be because of the missions, but whatever may be the reason they have always been on Teen's Desktop! I have always been a great fan of FPSG's and I'm gonna play them for the rest of my life ;)
Here I want to list my top 5 FPSG's. The list may include some of the basic games but as I said they are from the very first day of my encounter with FPSG.

This shall be my all time favorite. When I first came across this game I just had no idea as how to play, believe me it was a crap but then again the moment I found a grip, I made up my mind instantly that I'm gonna complete the game soon.
It has got decent graphics, pretty much perfect for a games of 2001. This game had everything from the mission challenge to the interesting twists. It was more like a real time experience. Story revolves round an undercover agent David Jones who tries to infiltrate the enemy camps with utmost stealth and precision.
Well, I had no idea that its a FPSG, actually I even donot know what a First Person Shooter Game was. All I knew was I loved shooting, killing, crossing the challenging mission, plan my next move! ;)
So that makes me to rate it among my all time favourites!

Max, is that you, help me Max, Max, Max............
More than the game I liked the comic strip that was the part of the game. Seriously, that, I felt was a wonderful idea to put the story of the game and I suppose that had made the game even more entertaining. It had some good graphics, the locations, the architecture, everything was so perfect about this game that can simply draw your eyes!
Interestingly it even carries some Romance, Emotion and also yeah a nude scene of Mona Sax ;) .
Guns, Guns and more Guns! It had blood, planned missions, challenging situations and yes the "Slow Motion" the Time Frame that you can only experience in this game.
Both 1 and 2 were exceptional and the Hollywood flick as well!
If you love Mona go for this! ;)

3. Halo

Chief says it all. One of the finest works from Microsoft Game Studios: Halo had instantly made its mark.
The science fantasy that it carried was too much for people like me to cling to it. Guns, Aliens and of course the 'Warthog' were quite a fun. The colorful interface with an excellent storyline was quite attractive, also not to mention the soundtracks, they just summed up 'the experience'. A perfect blend-one has to play HALO in his lifetime!

Black Mesa Research Facility has everything for you to hang out. From reactors to steam turbines, from research staff to alien creatures.. its got some serious action. Unarguably one of the top 100 games ever made till date-it was a trend setter, a masterpiece of 1998. Game revolves round an underground research facility, where an accident creates a disaster driving the research subjects wild and they later take over the lab and the hero Gordon gets into action wiping them out.
Both Half Life 1 n 2 have been a huge hit and made huge profits. Not to mention the soundtracks. Half Life 2, I believe has the best background score!

Go Go Go... Get a Call of Duty DVD now!
This game is so lively, realistic that to relive the moments of world war 2, you've got to play this! The makers of Spider Man tasted such a huge success from this game that they have around 6 versions of the game released so far.

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