The universe is not only strange but stranger than we can imagine


Working “transporter” beams photons miles away

transporterScotty, have you been drinking again?

No, it’s true. Scientists have succeeded in sending entangled photons to different locations miles apart and then reuniting them.  “So what?” you might say. Well, this apparently is a small step towards being able to communicate information very quickly, using the quantum states of subatomic particles as “messengers.” It seems to also be one of the first times that actual particles — photons in this case – have been “teleported” over a distance. Confused yet?  Wikipedia to the rescue:

Quantum teleportation is a process by which quantum information (e.g. the exact state of an atom or photon) can be transmitted (exactly, in principle) from one location to another, with the help of classical communication and previously shared quantum entanglement between the sending and receiving location. Because it depends on classical communication, which can proceed no faster than the speed of light, it cannot be used for faster-than-light transport or communication of classical bits. While it has proven possible to teleport one or more qubits of information between two (entangled) atoms,[1][2][3] this has not yet been achieved between molecules or anything larger.

Although the name is inspired by the teleportation commonly used in fiction, there is no relationship outside the name, because quantum teleportation concerns only the transfer of information. Quantum teleportation is not a form of transportation, but of communication; it provides a way of transporting a qubit from one location to another, without having to move a physical particle along with it. However, quantum teleportation of particles has been theorized to also be possible, and to perhaps be an explanation for the teleportation-like effects seen in superconductivity and superfluidity.[4]

Although this experiment may (or may not) have moved the possibility of quantum teleportation slightly closer, it will likely be a very long time before we are beaming ourselves to parties, concerts or other planets. For the foreseeable future, we are stuck with planes, trains and automobiles.  And of course, spaceships. (Go Elon!)

Photo source: Working Transporter Beams Photons Under Four Miles Away | Digital Trends

Arctic Mammoth Killed By Humans 45,000 Years Ago

This find pushed the date for human exploration of the Arctic back by 10,000 years. Apparently our distant ancestors were both clever and hardy enough to survive in the high Arctic as much as 45,000 years ago –long, long before Canada Goose coats and long underwear.

Mammoth specimens have been found in such good condition, thanks to the deep freeze that preserved their bodies, that some scientists speculate it may one day be possible to “resurrect” the species using preserved DNA.

“Analysis of the remains of a mammoth discovered in 2012 just 1,250 miles from the North Pole has revealed it was slain by human hands 45,000 years in the past. The extreme age of the remains – and the fact that they bear the telltale marks of being killed by human hunters using crude spears  – has turned the archaeological community on its ear.”

Source: Arctic Mammoth Killed By Humans 45,000 Years Ago

The mystery of the GIANT SEA SPIDERS emerging in Antarctica baffle scientists

In the dark, cold depths of the polar oceans lurk the creatures of your nightmares. Huge ‘sea spiders’ in the Arctic and Southern Oceans grow bigger in these regions than anywhere else.

Well, they are ugly devils to be sure, and we can all be happy they live deep in the Arctic Ocean rather than under the bed. However, their disturbing size may not be as much of a mystery as the newspaper headline suggests. According to the Daily Mail article, these critters have slow metabolisms and live in oxygen-rich waters  — facts which probably help explain why they are so seriously bulked up. Much as it would be fun to discover that the spiders owed their stature to, let’s say, radiation from a wrecked flying saucer or a fiendish experiment by a local mad scientist, the explanation may be much more mundane — a superabundance of good old O2 and a sluggish, cold-water constitution.

Source: The mystery of the GIANT SEA SPIDERS emerging in Antarctica baffle scientists | Daily Mail Online

Tylenol can ease existential uncertainty, fear of death (really!)

tylenol2-300x225And you thought Tylenol was just for headaches! A very weird but apparently valid study has found that good old Tylenol can actually (somehow) make the idea of death more acceptable, by dulling the “pain” that usually accompanies thoughts of one’s own demise.

Interesting question department — if someone  had a hangover so bad that she/he wanted to die, what effect would taking a Tylenol have? By removing the hangover pain, it would bias the person away from death, but by removing the fear of death, it would presumably move the needle in favor of self-slaughter.  Something to try out next January 1 perhaps