Dark matter or dark confusion?

Dark Matter ObservationsAwhile back, I wrote a couple of posts about an interesting observation from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory that seemed to indicate the existence of dark matter. The picture to the left is a false colour image of a collision between galactic clusters. The pink regions show jets of super-heated gas shooting out from the clusters, while the blue regions show the gravitational “footprint” of the clusters as determined through the process of gravitational lensing. This is seen as evidence of dark matter, because in theory, the gravitational footprint should match the “observable matter” in the clusters. Instead, we see a footprint that doesn’t match the observable matter at all, and supporters of existing cosmological models see this as evidence of dark matter, which doesn’t interact with other matter in any way beyond gravitationally and therefore isn’t slowed down by interactions with other particles. They claim this “proves the existence” of dark matter.

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New poetry – Babel’s Outcast

Just wanted to post a new poem I’ve been working on the past couple of weeks. It started as one of those silly internet games you play on your name, and one of mine turned out to be “Babel’s Outcast” (It was a Goth Name game … you can find it yourself here). The phrase kind of intrigued me, and the result is the following poem. I’m not sure its “done” yet, so comments are always appreciated.

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New theme

I was commenting to a friend on one of my email groups that this time of year is something like emerging from a cocoon for me. As I’ve said before, I tend to focus very hard on my work up until the end of October, in preparation for a quieter winter where I can do a lot more of what I want to do. In many ways, its like pushing out of a cocoon every year, to emerge and do new things.

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Upgrades …

The new version of WordPress, the software that powers the main version of this blog and many others, was released yesterday, and I took the opportunity today to upgrade to the latest and greatest. If the blog was offline for you for a bit, thats probably the reason, but I must say its a very quick and painless process that involves very little disruption in access. In fact, while I haven’t really blogged much about how the underlying software of this blog works, it really is a remarkable set of self-publishing tools, the like of which were unimaginable even a decade ago. In future, I plan to write in more detail about the revolution that ubiquitous blogging represents, and the impact of WordPress and similar systems in realizing one of the promises of the internet … democracy of ideas.

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Where, oh where, has Elron gone?

Just wanted to post a quick message here to let everyone know I am still alive and kicking. Been crazy-busy at work lately (its normal and expected this time of year) and it just takes too much out of me to write much as well. The exercise season is almost over though … I’ve got one more series of truly mind-numbing shifts to go through (for an idea of what I do, imagine working 13 hours shifts, 6 days out of every 9 for the better part of 3 months) and then I am done the crazy shifts for the year. I’ll still have some maintenance work to do, but it’ll be working less than “normal” hours. Just wanted to drop a quick line to let folks know where I’ve gone. I’ll be back once things slow down for me again, back here, and back on stage doing comedy. Stay tuned …

Gone Phishin’

Phishing is one of the growing security threats we face today. Unlike technical attacks, which try to use loopholes in the code used to create operating systems and applications, phishing falls under a category more like “social attacks.” Rather than attacking your machine directly in order to get information from you, a phisher tries to get you to give him the information he wants.

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50 years of space @ GeeksAreSexy.net

Scale model of Sputnik 1, from the Muzeum Tekniki, Warsaw, PolandBy Lyle Bateman
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

Today marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most significant events of the 20th century. Technology never exists in a vacuum … no matter what technical advancement we think of, there are always social, political, and ideological currents swirling around it as well as the technical currents. But, from time to time, a technical achievement happens that is so significant, it makes others pale in comparison. Such is the story of Sputnik 1, the first human object ever to orbit the earth.

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