The World

Know Thy Enemy: Inside the Coronavirus Genome

Here’s an amazing detailed look at coronavirus genome. This article breaks the genetic code down into components such as Protein Scissors, Bubble Maker, and Copy Assistants.

This reads a lot like a software design document, with its factories, helpers, validators, and garbage collectors. 😬

The creepiest thing is the very end, where the genome trails off in a series of a’s, like the padding at the end of a Base64 string. 🧐

The coronavirus genome ends with a snippet of RNA that stops the cell’s protein-making machinery. It then trails away as a repeating sequence of aaaaaaaaaaaaa…

The World

Why the Universe Contains Something Rather Than Nothing ✨🤷🏻‍♂️

Who would have thought that answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything lies in giant tank of water 3000 feet under Japan? And the answer is not 42.

Scientists on Wednesday announced that they were perhaps one step closer to understanding why the universe contains something rather than nothing.

👉 Why the Big Bang Produced Something Rather Than Nothing (New York Times)

This story is not just about speculation or a cool idea. This story is about scientists working at an underground laboratory in Japan, trying to catch neutrinos, sent from 180 miles away. This experiment helps them understand why matter won over anti-matter at the beginning of time, and thus why the universe is full of, well, stuff (this was apparently not a foregone conclusion 🤷🏻‍♂️).

As a result, a universe that started out with a clean balance sheet — equal amounts of matter and antimatter — wound up with an excess of matter: stars, black holes, oceans and us.

This article is full of mind-blowing quotes.

These ghostly subatomic particles stream from the Big Bang, the sun, exploding stars and other cosmic catastrophes, flooding the universe and slipping through walls and our bodies by the billions every second, like moonlight through a screen door.

I love the balanced excitement / skepticism of the scientists, calling this news “undeniably exciting.”

There are further plans to send neutrinos from a lab in Illinois 800 miles underground to a giant underground detector at an old gold mine in South Dakota. 🇺🇸


The World

The Dyson Sphere Theory

Okay, I’m not huge on wild conspiracy theories. But I like that some scientists think it is at least plausible that highly advanced aliens are building  megastructures around stars to capture their energy like a battery. 🤯 The cool thing is there would actually be a good reason for aliens to do this if they were capable enough. 🌟🔋

I’m not saying I believe it, but I love that this is a theoretical possibility. And it’s influencing SETI.

👉 Missing stars could point to alien civilizations, scientists say

The idea here is that a very advanced alien civilization may be able to construct a hypothetical megastructure called a Dyson sphere that completely encompasses a star in order to capture a large portion of its energy. Think of it as converting a star into a gargantuan battery.

The World

Roadmap to Alpha Centauri

With the Voyager space sailing beyond out solar system, this article looks at some ways we could send people to Alpha Centauri.

👉 Roadmap to Alpha Centauri

This article is a complete mindmelt 🤯: ion drives, solar sails, nuclear rockets,  foraging for dark matter.

I don’t really understand this stuff, but I do like the idea that people could potentially fly around the universe and find a new home. Especially considering the black holes out there.

The World

Don’t Panic! The Universe Expanding Faster Than Expected.

When things seem a little “off”, you might be right. Not only is the universe expanding, but it is expanding faster than we (i.e. astrophysicists) thought. But don’t worry, we’re only off by about 9%.

Look for the word “megaparsec” in this article. It means 3.26 million light years. 🚗💫🤯

An existential nightmare

Scary stuff…

If dark energy remains constant, everything outside our galaxy eventually will be moving away from us faster than the speed of light, and will no longer be visible. The universe will become lifeless and utterly dark.

As the universe expands, the push from phantom energy would grow without bounds, eventually overcoming gravity and tearing apart first Earth, then atoms.

But just a theory so far

Let’s science the sh*t out of this…

Two space missions — the European Space Agency’s Euclid and NASA’s Wfirst — have been designed to study dark energy and hopefully deliver definitive answers in the coming decade. The fate of the universe is at stake.