Quantum Physics Phun – WIF Science

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Implications of

Quantum Physics

Quantum Physics has given a lot of amazing things to humanity in the last few decades. From the technology with which you can track cheating spouses, to accurately scanning broken bones and muscles in the hospital, there are actually many practical applications of Quantum Physics. But if you believe the words of those nerdy scientists who are actually studying the discipline, many more revolutionary discoveries are yet to come (and that doesn’t just include more weird sci-fi movies).

 In the most basic of terms, Quantum Physics fundamentally studies the nature and rules of the tiniest known particles of the universe: those that actually make up the atoms and are broadly called sub-atomic particles. However, much of the discipline is still a mystery, even among the most experienced of Physicists, with many calling it a ‘weird science’.

10. Nuclear Fusion Power Plants

Nuclear fusion in the sun is actually the reason why life exists on earth (and also the reason why Mercury is basically just a lifeless roasted rock). The abundance of Hydrogen atoms in the sun, along with the heat and pressure ensures their constant fusion into Helium atoms, emitting radioactive energy in the process which comes to earth in the form of sunlight. Quantum Tunneling is among the fundamental processes with which fusion occurs in the form in the form of chain reactions.

Scientists and governments are currently trying to mimic this process on Earth, for which the services of Physicists and Engineers with advanced knowledge of Quantum Physics are being employed. Although the dream of powering the electricity grids with nuclear fusion remains a dream, scientists expect that new breakthroughs in the understanding of Quantum Mechanics will bring the dream closer.

9. Perfect Timekeeping

Whether it’s about syncing several space-stations and satellites circling the planet or getting a perfect time-reading from the Mariana trench or Mount Everest, Atomic Clocks, utilizing the principles of Quantum Mechanics are already making enormous contributions to humanity.

However, with the demand for greater accuracy increasing, more advanced Quantum Clocks are expected to be extremely crucial in helping to meet these goals. So, from ultra-precise self-driving cars to space travel, the principles of Quantum Mechanics will be extremely important in setting the pace for the future of humanity.

8. Extreme Computing

While computing technologies have come a long way in the last century, artificial intelligence is only just beginning to catch up the abilities of the human brain. Today’s Silicon-chips based computing technologies are soon expected to be insufficient in handling the demands of the future, where machines and humans are expected to be interconnected in a vast network that will be several times larger than today’s overall internet infrastructure. In this regard, Quantum Computing is currently being identified as the prime technology to replace the current one. The technology basically manipulates the natural properties of the atom to store and process data in real time.

In fact, experimental models of Quantum Computers have already yielded enthusiastic results, although scaling the same to economically feasible units have proven to be rather challenging. However, scientists expect that the technology could start dominating the global landscape by as soon as 2030. With the technology, data processing abilities are expected to make such great leaps that calculation that current take supercomputers over two years may be completed by Quantum Computers in a few seconds.

7. Intergalactic Travel

Humans are still a long way away from establishing habitable outposts on other planetary bodies. However, if you believe the words of well-known futurists (like Dr. Micho Kaku), our hopes of conquering the final frontier will depend a lot on our knowledge of Quantum Mechanics. While conventional technologies may not be able to deliver enough speed for humans to even colonize other planets in the Solar System, astronomers and space-travel enthusiasts frequently are very hopeful about the possibilities offered by Quantum Physics.

The spaceships of today already use Quantum Clocks, while the use of Quantum Computing is expected to bring humans even closer to perfecting future spaceships. Experts believe that the better understanding of Quantum Entanglement will ultimately be the key to perfecting intergalactic travel across wormholes.

6. Extremely Secure Cryptography

With hacking and online security identified as one of the most pressing concerns of this century, the demand for more secure cryptography is high. From banking transactions to personal messages, billions of exchanges of data every minute are supposed to be kept secure. But this has proven to be something that’s not very easy to achieve with existing technologies. It is here that Quantum Cryptography has been identified as the silver bullet against online security threats. Basically, the technology manipulates photons to store and share information on a subatomic level. In fact, the technology has already been successfully applied in several instances (like voting and satellite data).

Major technology companies are already spending their resources on Quantum Cryptography to scale it and make it more accessible for the technologies of the future.

5. Incredibly Detailed Optic Devices

Today, one of the most widespread application of Quantum Mechanics is happening in the field of optics. The most advanced microscopes in the world apply Quantum Tunneling in identifying the smallest objects like DNA and electrons. In fact, most of the modern microscopic innovations and discoveries owe their existence in some way to Quantum Mechanics.

In the future, the most accurate telescopes are expected to make use of advanced Quantum principles as well.

4. Tackling Diseases and Ailments in the Human Body

Over the years, the principles of Quantum Mechanics has played a major role in the development of modern Radiography machines and MRI scanners. In the near future, innovative technologies developed with the application of Quantum Mechanics are set to bring even more massive changes in healthcare.

Experts have identified nanotechnology and quantum computing technologies as the tools that will help deal with threats like cancers and organ failures more effectively in the future. Reliable researches have also pointed out that these technologies will also help the human body fight more effectively against diseases in the future.

3. Finding Evidence of Parallel Universes and the Multiverse

The concept of Parallel Universe has been one of the most fascinating subjects for fans of science-fiction. Indeed, the concept is still broadly considered to be a theory rather than fact. While physicists and astronomers in general are divided over the existence of parallel universes, many well-known scientists have stood behind the concept. On one occasion, Stephen Hawking theorized that black holes could in fact be portals to another universe.

Meanwhile, renowned scientist Brian Greene believes that the concepts laid by the String Theory can point out to the fact that Parallel Universes or Multiverses can indeed exist. Scientists like Hawking and Greene have pointed out that with a better understanding of Quantum Mechanics and with more advanced tools in the future, we may indeed discover sooner or later that the universe isn’t lonely after all.

2. Our Concept of Time and Space

If Einstein’s theory of relativity was already too complex for you, lately modern physicists have theorized ever more ‘outrageous’ concepts today which will undoubtedly confuse you even more. Firstly, in the definition of space, modern physicists are in the consensus that even the seemingly empty parts of the universe aren’t actually empty at all. These supposedly empty parts of the space are held by things the scientists and astronomers call ‘dark matter’ and ‘dark energy’. These two things together is estimated to make up around 95% of the entire universe.

On the other hand, modern physicists consider time to be something of an illusion. In fact, the very concepts of any event as a past, present or future occurrence is refuted, with the principle that reality is timeless. Moreover, the same scientists also entertain the idea that the linear concept of time is incompatible in quantum scale.

So basically, if we believe the words of quantum mechanics enthusiasts, what we thought was empty isn’t actually empty (i.e. space) and what we thought was an undisputed reality doesn’t actually exist (i.e. time). If this concept doesn’t shock you, then you probably don’t exist.

1. Consciousness Makes Reality

What if reality is the result of an accumulative consciousness? Or what if reality didn’t create you, but in fact, you created reality?

Of late, the term that incites the most vigorous debates in the world of Theoretical Physics is consciousness. While there is a basic consensus among Theoretical Physicists that the state of matter at the quantum level can differ to an extent depending upon the interpretation towards it, some scientists like Robert Lanza, Roger Penrose and Stuart Hameroff have gone a step further and theorized that consciousness actually defines how matter actually acts at the quantum level. Lanza, for instance, considers that time and space are mere tools that are applied by mind to interpret the information of the universe. Hameroff and Penrose have, on the other hand. theorized that consciousness is actually the consequence of quantum gravity effects in vibrating microtubules that are present in the neurons.

Hence, if you would want to believe academics proposing these notions, you are right now creating reality and living in it (like spiders creating their own webs to catch themselves in).

Quantum Physics Fun

WIF Science

Teach the Children Well – WIF Edu-tainment

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Things We

Teach Kids

(That Are Wrong)

Childhood is a time of wondrous belief. Children are taught that those who behave well will be rewarded with a visit from a “right jolly old elf” on Christmas Eve. A miraculous bunny visits on Easter, leaving baskets of goodies and hidden eggs, though the relationship between rabbits and eggs remains mysterious. Why a fairy would want the lost teeth of children, exchanging cash for them in the dead of night, is another mystery left largely unexplained, though children dutifully place no longer needed teeth beneath their pillows in expectation of financial reward.

Eventually such beliefs are outgrown, but many of the concepts taught to children are retained into adulthood, erroneously passed on by succeeding generations. Most are harmless, though nonetheless false. Some remain as fables, such as George Washington’s demonstration of honesty after using his new hatchet to remove his father’s prized cherry tree. Others represent simple lack of knowledge, shared with children in schools and at home. Here are 10 examples of things taught to children which remain widely believed, though provably wrong.

10. Camels store water in their humps

Everyone knows camels travel long distances over arid deserts, going days and even weeks without water. Both Bactrian (two humps) and Dromedary (one hump) camels possess the ability to last longer than any other transport animal without resorting to water. Their humps serve as water storage tanks, gradually decreasing in size as the fluid is absorbed by the animal. Camels refill their humps with water when they arrive at a stream or desert oasis, readying to embark on another long trek through wastelands. Or so children were long taught. In truth, a camel’s hump does not store water at all. Camel humps store fat.

The fat allows the animal to remain nourished during long periods between eating, an attribute for which camels are less well-known. As the fat is burned by the animal’s metabolism, the humps sag, replenished when the camel again has access to food. Camels drink massive amounts of water, up to 20 gallons at a time, which is stored in their bloodstream, not in their humps. In truth, a camel’s hump holds little water, and none as storage for long desert journeys.

9. Swallowed chewing gum stays in the stomach for years

Warning children against swallowing chewing gum often contained the veiled threat that said gum remains in the stomach for years, forming a large ball as additional pieces join it. The warning found its way to children largely through teachers who objected to their chewing gum in class. Imagery of digestive tracts clogged with wads of Juicy Fruit or Big Red served to deter such miscreant behavior, or at least it was so hoped. If a child spit out his or her gum, an obvious admission of misbehavior, an opportunity for assertion of authority presented itself. Swallowing the gum denied such opportunity, thus the creation of the myth of giant gumballs in the stomach.

Although some were taught that gum remained in the stomach for up to seven years, it was and is completely false. Gum remains in the stomach no longer than any other food ingested, which depending on individual metabolisms is 30 minutes to two hours. For most healthy people, the stomach is emptied within that time period, which is one reason people often snack between meals. Chewing gum is not intended to be swallowed, but the idea that it remains in the stomach indefinitely, growing into a larger mass, is totally false.

8. China’s Great Wall is the only man-made object visible from space

Teachers describing Ancient Chinese civilization often point out the Great Wall of China as the only man-made object on Earth visible from outer space. NASA disagrees. The wall is not visible from “low Earth orbit,” such as that maintained by the International Space Station, and all manned space missions in history other than those sent to the moon during the Apollo program in the 1960s and 1970s. The Great Wall can be “seen” by cameras and telescopes, but the unaided human eye cannot detect it from space, except under extraordinary viewing conditions, such as backlighting on Earth.

Other man-made structures are visible from space, including of course cities, especially at night when they are lighted. The Spanish greenhouse complex at Almeria, which produces the bulk of the fruits and vegetables sold in Spain and throughout western Europe, is visible. With clear viewing conditions, man-made canals and reservoirs are viewed by astronauts and cosmonauts. They also see the Kennecott Copper Mine, the largest excavation by man to be found anywhere in the world.

7. Most body heat escapes through the head, so wear a hat in winter

This one isn’t limited to children. Until recently, even the US Army instructed its recruits nearly half of their body heat escaped through the head, making the wearing of hats essential in controlling hypothermia. During the 1950s experiments regarding heat loss in humans led to the conclusion that most body heat escaped through the head, though subsequent research indicated the earlier experiments were flawed. The subjects were warmly covered except for their heads, meaning that more heat did escape from the exposed portion of the body.

In the 21st century, researchers discovered the estimates from previous studies were erroneous. More heat escapes from limbs than the head. According to a report in the British Medical Journal, published in 2008, about 7 to 10% of heat loss occurs through the head when it is exposed, rather than the nearly 50% previously believed. Of course, in frigid temperatures, all areas of skin should be covered to protect against frostbite, including the head and face.

6. Raindrops are shaped like tear drops

How and why this myth came into existence is a mystery, but raindrops aren’t generally shaped like teardrops at all. According to NASA, raindrops, as they fall to Earth, are shaped similarly to the top half of a hamburger bun, the bottom flattened by air resistance. They also change shape as they fall, affected by wind, their own mass, impact with other drops, and other factors. The image of teardrop shaped raindrops is reinforced by televised weather reports, and in the artwork drawn by young children, but it is false.

Nor do raindrops depart from clouds in a manner similar to water dripping from a leaking faucet. While lodged in a cloud the drops are globular, held in shape by their own surface tension. They retain the round shape as they begin their journey to the ground, before the other factors cited cause them to flatten on the bottom. The same surface tension which kept them round retains the circular shape of the top until it reaches its destination. Larger drops can even develop a parachute-like shape, but the top remains circular, rather than streamlining into a teardrop shape.

5. Columbus proved the Earth was round

This is one of the earliest distortions of history presented to children in school and entertainment. Christopher Columbus did not set out to prove the world was round, nor did he encounter resistance to his argument from men of science and religion. Nearly all educated people knew the world was round before Columbus set sail in 1492. There were books so describing the Earth at the time, one of which accompanied Columbus on his voyage. Not to mention that, for some today, Columbus proved nothing of the kind, and the Earth is, in fact, flat.

Flat Earthers generally believe the planet is flat, with the North Pole at the center and the outer edges bordered by the ice mass known as Antarctica. Others believe the Earth is flat because the Bible says it is flat, often referring to the “ends of the Earth” (28 times in the King James version). It’s probably safe to say there are more believers in a flat Earth today than there were in the time of Columbus. Even the highly influential churchmen of his day accepted the idea the Earth was spherical. The myth he had to overcome their opposition based on the belief of a flat Earth arose in the 19th century, with the works of Washington Irving and others.

4. Chameleons change color to hide from predators

Chameleons have long been fascinating to children and adults, based on their ability to change color. Children were taught the little lizard changed colors to adapt to their surroundings, in effect camouflaging themselves from predators. They do indeed change color, but not for the reason of hiding from their natural enemies. They change their color to attract the attention of other chameleons, and to regulate their body temperatures, becoming darker when they desire to retain more heat, and brighter to repel high temperatures.

Chameleons change their colors multiple times over the course of a day. If something makes them sense danger they generally darken themselves, while excitement will cause them to brighten. Only male chameleons change color, often to attract females. Their skin contains nanocrystals which they can expand and contract. Changing their shape affects the manner in which they reflect light, creating the change of color, rather than changing the pigmentation of their skin through the release of oils or inks as previously believed.

3. Albert Einstein failed math and was a generally poor student in school

Poorly performing students often hear the assertion that Albert Einstein failed math in elementary school, uttered by students and parents as a means of motivating them. The assertion is supported by websites, biographies, videos, and scores of other sources. It is false. When Ripley’s repeated the myth in its Believe it or Not column, Einstein responded by noting he had mastered integral calculus by the age of 15. He taught himself algebra, beginning at the age of 12. He never failed at math, and why children are taught otherwise is a mystery.

That is, until one considers he applied to enter the Swiss Federal Polytechnical School at Zurich at the age of 17, a year and a half early. He passed the math and science portions of the entrance examination, but failed the sections on history and social sciences. Einstein studied at a trade school for another year before retaking the entrance exam, which he passed. Gradually the failure to pass the entrance examination on the first try morphed into the myth that one of the greatest minds in history failed at basic mathematics in school.

2. Human blood is blue before it is oxygenated

The color of the blood vessels visible through human skin led to the belief, often reinforced by teaching it to children, that blood in veins is blue, while that in arteries is red. The fact that people always bleed red when cut is explained by claiming the exposure of blood to the air immediately oxygenates it — thus the color. The argument is supported by the appearance of veins, which look blue through the skin, an effect of the eyes rather than the blood the veins contain. Human blood is always red.

It is true that blood within arteries, which is oxygenated and on its way to nourish cells throughout the body, is brighter red than that returning to the heart in the veins. The veins appear blue because the light which penetrates the skin to make them visible is on different wave lengths, and the blue light is more successful in penetrating the skin and thus being apparent to the eye. It is an optical illusion, which led to children being incorrectly taught their blood was often blue.

1. It will go on your permanent record

Used as an admonishment to control the behavior of children, it will go on your permanent record applied to a wide range of activities. Failing to turn in homework on time could end up on the permanent record. Skipping classes was a permanent record offense. Failing a fourth grade English quiz could well appear on one’s permanent record, as could disruptive behavior in class. The permanent record loomed over childhood, a foreboding presence, though where it was maintained, and by whom, remained somewhat vague. Nonetheless, the permanent record threatened to bar one from a successful life, despite entries dating from first grade, and even earlier.

There was no permanent record, a fact learned as life evolved, at least for most of the activities which led to the dire warning. Unfortunately, there is one now. Social media and the internet save for posterity whatever is entered there, even after they’ve been deleted by whomever posted the items in the first place. What’s posted is easily found during background checks for employment, for school admissions, and for character checks. A minor indiscretion on social media can indeed become part of the permanent record, maintained in the cloud for all to see.

Teach the Children Well

WIF Edu-tainment

Sick Puns #40 – WIF Wit and Humor

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Diseased (Sick) Puns


The flipside of contagious gum disease is an infectious smile.


Which illness are witches most prone to? Crone’s disease.


When Wally discovered he had Lyme disease he was really ticked off.


The mathematician did not practice safe six and ended up with a binarial disease.


She could only compose music in 3/4 time. She had waltz timer’s disease.


The retired track official has started forgetting things. He has old timer’s disease.


He liked to study infectious diseases. It was in his blood.


Don’t kiss birds or you may get an untweetable canarial disease.


Chronic illegal parkers suffer from parking zones disease.


Those who write about disease become ill-literate.

Sick Puns #40 –

WIF Wit and Humor


Great Minds Think Alike – WIF Genius Handbook

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Great Minds


Throughout History

Since the first modern homo sapiens emerged some 50,000 years ago, it’s estimated that 107 billion human beings have at one time or another lived on planet Earth. The overwhelmingly vast majority of these people have been forgotten by history, but there are a very few individuals whose names and achievements will echo through the ages.

From ancient Greece through to the modern world, these are 10 of history’s greatest minds.

10. Plato (Circa 428 BC – 348 BC)

The philosopher Alfred North Whitehead once wrote that European philosophy is best characterized as a series of footnotes to Plato. While this might perhaps be something of a stretch, it gives an indication of the esteem in which the ancient Greek philosopher is held even to this day.

Plato’s efforts to understand the world around him covered metaphysics, ethics, politics, aesthetics, perception, and the nature of knowledge itself. Despite having been written more than two-thousand years ago, his work remains eminently readable today. Plato didn’t deal in dry, tedious treatise. He preferred to bring his work to life, teasing out thoughts and ideas in the form of a dialogue between characters. This in itself was a remarkably innovative approach. Plato blurred the lines between philosophy and entertainment and challenged the reader to scrutinize their own beliefs.

Having been born into one of the wealthiest families in Athens, Plato would have been well-schooled by the city’s finest philosophers. There’s no question it was his mentor Socrates who made the greatest impression, appearing again and again as chief protagonist in Plato’s dialogues. Socrates’ resurrection in immortal literary form would no doubt have been particularly galling to certain influential Athenians who had only recently killed him off. Ancient Greece was similar to the modern world in at least one respect: not everybody reacted kindly to having their beliefs challenged.

9. Leonardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519)

Born out of wedlock, and with no formal education, the young da Vinci seemed destined for a life of anonymous drudgery. In Renaissance Italy there was little social mobility. The right family name and connections were invaluable. Da Vinci had neither, but he was not a man who would blend into the background to be forgotten by history.

Flamboyantly dressed, a strict vegetarian, enormously physically strong, and rumored to be gay in an age when homosexuality could be punished by death, it was nonetheless the workings of da Vinci’s remarkable mind that truly set him apart.

In an age renowned for producing an abundance of great artists, da Vinci is regarded as one of the greatest of them all. Yet painting was by no means his only talent, nor perhaps even his greatest talent. He studied geometry, mathematics, anatomy, botany, architecture, sculpture, and designed weapons of war for the kings, princes, and barons who struggled for wealth and power in Italy’s warring city states.

It was as a visionary that da Vinci was arguably at his most brilliant. In an age when Europe lacked basics such as indoor plumbing, he sketched out designs for magnificent flying machines and armored vehicles powered by hand-turned crankshafts, ideas that were centuries ahead of their time.

In 2002, almost 500 years after his death, one of Leonardo’s visions was lifted from the pages of his notebooks to become a reality. A recreation of a glider based on his sketches, albeit with a few modifications deemed necessary to reduce the risk of killing the pilot, was successfully flown by World Hang Gliding and Paragliding Champion Robbie Whittall.

8. William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)

The famous bard has become such an integral part of Western culture that it’s tempting to assume we must know a great deal about his life, but the reality is quite the opposite. He was certainly born in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, but the exact date is a matter of some conjecture. There are huge swathes of time where he disappears from the records; we have no idea where he was or what he was doing. It’s not even entirely certain what he looked like. The popular image of Shakespeare is based on three main portraits. Two of these were produced years after his death and the other probably isn’t a depiction of Shakespeare at all.

While history leaves us largely in the dark as to Shakespeare the man, almost his entire body of work (so far as we know) has been preserved. The best of his offerings are widely regarded to be amongst the finest, if not the finest, works of literature in the English language. He was equally adept at comedy or tragedy, had a gift for writing strong female characters, and possessed an intimate understanding of the human condition that imbued his work with a timeless, eminently quotable quality.

Shakespeare was by no means the only famous playwright of his era, but his work has stood the test of time in a way that others have not. Few people are now familiar with the plays of Ben Johnson or Christopher Marlowe; fewer still have seen them performed. While his rivals are now little more than historical footnotes, Shakespeare is even more famous and celebrated in death than he was in life. With an estimated 4 billion copies of his work having been sold, he ranks as the best-selling fiction author of all time.

7. Isaac Newton (1642 – 1727)

In December 2016, a first edition copy of Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica sold at auction for $3.7 million. This was an extraordinary amount of money, but then Principia was an extraordinary book.

First published in 1687, Principia laid out the mathematical principles underpinning motion and gravity. It revolutionized science and was hailed as a work of near unparalleled genius, at least by the very few individuals capable of understanding it. Newton didn’t enjoy being questioned by lesser minds (which included just about everybody), so he wilfully set out to make Principiaas difficult to follow as possible. To make it less accessible still, he wrote it in Latin.

If Principia had been Newton’s only achievement, then that would have been more than enough to earn him the title of scientific genius. But Newton did a great deal else besides. With a ferocious work ethic that drove him to at least two nervous breakdowns, he scarcely slept, never married, and often became so absorbed in his work that he simply forgot to eat or teach his classes.

In an astonishingly productive 30-year period Newton invented calculus (but didn’t bother to tell anybody), conducted groundbreaking work on optics, invented the most effective telescope the world had ever seen, and discovered generalized binomial theorem.

When Newton died in 1727, his collection of notes amounted to some 10 million words. This window to the mind of one of history’s greatest geniuses proved less useful than might be imagined. Newton was obsessed with alchemy, and the latter part of his career was consumed in a futile attempt to transmute base metals into gold.

6. Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790)

At the age of 12, Benjamin Franklin was made apprentice to his elder brother James at his printing business in Boston. What he lacked in formal education, the younger Franklin more than made up for in curiosity and intelligence. He soon surpassed his brother as both a writer and a printer, a fact that didn’t escape James, who regularly expressed his displeasure with his fists.

The terms of Franklin’s apprenticeship meant that he couldn’t expect to receive wages until he turned 21. Backing himself to do rather better on his own, at 17 he ran away to find his own fortune. He succeeded in spectacular fashion and would go on to become one of the wealthiest men in America.

While Franklin’s genius for business earned him a huge amount of money, this was never his overriding goal. Convinced that an individual’s entrance to heaven would depend on what they had done rather than what they believed, he was passionate about improving the lot of his fellow man. Amongst his many achievements he set up America’s first lending library, founded a college that would go on to become the University of Pennsylvania, and created a volunteer fire fighting organization.

Franklin’s talents as a businessman were matched by his brilliance as a writer, a mathematician, an inventor, a scientist, and a good deal else besides. Perhaps his most significant discovery was that lightning bolts could be understood as a natural phenomenon rather than as an expression of the wrath of an angry God. By understanding lightning Franklin was able to tame it. The principles of the lightning rod he developed to protect buildings, ships, and other structures from lightning strikes are largely unchanged to this day. In true Franklin form he preferred to freely share his invention rather than apply for a patent that would have been worth an untold fortune.

5. Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827)

Johan Van Beethoven was a man with a singular mission in life: to transform his son from a talented amateur into a musical genius to rival even the great Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He would pursue this goal with ruthless, single-minded determination.

As a result, the young Ludwig van Beethoven’s childhood was rather a miserable affair. Forced to practice for hours on end, his father would loom over him ready to administer a beating for the slightest mistake. This punishing regime left no time to spare for fun or playing with friends. Witnesses reported seeing Beethoven perched on a piano stool at all hours of day and night. Even his education was cut short; at the age of 11 he was withdrawn from school to concentrate on music to the exclusion of all else.

It’s sometimes said that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master a craft, and Beethoven would have exceeded this total from a very young age. His lopsided education meant that he struggled with simple mathematical principles throughout his life, but he became a truly phenomenal musician.

Beethoven ranks as arguably the greatest composer who ever lived, a feat which is all-the-more impressive since by the age of 26 he had developed a ringing in his ears. Over the next 20 years his hearing deteriorated to the point where he was totally deaf. Despite this considerable handicap, Beethoven’s intricate knowledge of music allowed him to produce some of his greatest works at a time when he couldn’t hear the notes he hit on his piano.

4. Nikola Tesla (1856 – 1943)

In 1884 a Serb by the name of Nikola Tesla set foot on American soil for the first time. He arrived in New York with little more than the clothes on his back, the design for an electric motor, and a letter of introduction addressed to Thomas Edison.

Tesla and Edison were both geniuses, both brilliant inventors, and between them they knew more about electricity than anyone else alive. However, there was one major problem. Tesla’s electrical motor was designed to run on alternating current. Meanwhile, a good deal of Edison’s income was derived from the Edison Electric Light Company, which relied on direct current.

In an attempt to protect his investments, Edison set out to discredit Tesla and convince the public of the dangers of alternating current. One particularly gruesome film, shot by the Edison Manufacturing Company, shows an unfortunate elephant by the name of Topsy being enveloped by smoke and keeling over after being blasted with 6,600 volts of electricity.

Despite these dirty tricks, Tesla’s system had one very significant advantage: alternating current could be transmitted over long distances, while direct current could not. Tesla won the war of the currents.

Tesla’s inventions, from hydroelectric power plants to remote control vehicles, helped to usher in the modern age, but he had no spark for business. In 1916, with his mental health deteriorating alarmingly, he was declared bankrupt. Afraid of human hair, round objects, and preferring the company of pigeons over people, he seemed to have become the embodiment of the idea of a mad scientist. This impression was only strengthened by Tesla’s obsession with developing a “death ray” capable of shooting bolts of lightning. Tesla believed his death ray would bring about an end to warfare, but he never succeeded in completing it. He died alone in a hotel room at the age of 86.

3. Marie Curie (1867 – 1934)

In 1896 the physicist Henri Becquerel made the serendipitous discovery that uranium salts emitted rays of some kind. While this struck him as rather curious, he wasn’t convinced that further research into the phenomenon represented the best use of his time. He instead tasked his most talented student, Marie Curie, with discovering just what was going on.

It wasn’t often that such opportunities fell so easily into Curie’s lap. In her native Poland there had been no official higher education available for females, so Curie had enrolled in a clandestine “Flying University.” On emigrating to France she had graduated at the top of her class, despite having arrived armed with only a rudimentary grasp of the French language.

Curie, working alongside her husband Pierre, identified two new elements, polonium and radium, and proved that certain types of rocks gave off vast quantities of energy without changing in any discernible way. This remarkable discovery earned Curie the first of her two Nobel Prizes, and it could have made her very rich indeed had she chosen to patent her work rather than make the fruits of her research freely available. It was widely assumed that something as seemingly miraculous as radiation must be hugely beneficial to human health, and radium found its way into all manner of consumer products from toothpaste to paint.

Even Curie had no idea that radiation might be dangerous, and years of handling radium very likely led to the leukemia that claimed her life in 1934. Her notebooks are still so infused with radiation that they will remain potentially deadly for another 1,500 years; anybody willing to run the risk of reading them is required to don protective gear and sign a liability waiver.

2. Hugh Everett (1930 – 1982)

By the age of just 12, Hugh Everett was already brilliant enough to be regularly exchanging letters with Albert Einstein. The American excelled at chemistry and mathematics, but it was in physics, and more specifically quantum mechanics, that he made his mark with one of the strangest scientific theories of the Twentieth Century.

Nils Bohr once famously wrote that anybody who isn’t shocked by quantum mechanics hasn’t understood it. The behavior of protons and electrons on a quantum level is downright weird, but Everett suggested it all made sense if there were an infinite number of universes.

Everett’s multiverse theory proved popular amongst science fiction writers, but it was derided by the scientific community. Disappointed, Everett largely gave up on quantum mechanics. He instead undertook research for the US military, attempting to minimize American casualties in the event of a nuclear war.

A heavy-drinker and a chain-smoker, Everett died in 1982 at the age of 51. Since then his ideas have begun to edge towards the scientific mainstream, and they do resolve a number of thorny problems. The universe operates to the laws of a set of numbers known as fundamental constants, and every one of these has to be precisely tuned in order for the universe to function as it does.

It seems that either humanity has been fantastically lucky, on the level of one individual winning the lottery every week for several months, or the universe has been intelligently designed. Everett’s multiverse theory suggests another possibility. If there are an infinite number of universes, then an infinite number of possibilities are played out. In such circumstances it comes as no surprise that we find ourselves in a universe that appears to be tuned to perfection.

1. Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955)

Contrary to popular belief Einstein didn’t fail math at school. He excelled at the subject, having mastered differential and integral calculus by the age of 15. However, while the spark of genius was already present, it would be quite some time until anybody recognized it. It’s fair to say that the academic world wasn’t beating a path to Einstein’s door. Having been rejected for a university teaching position, and then having been turned down by a high school, in 1902 the German-born physicist began work in the Patents Office in Bern, Switzerland.

The idea that a lowly patents clerk would go on to become arguably the most influential scientist of all-time would have appeared absurd, but in 1905, in what must rank as the most extraordinarily productive 12 months of individual intellectual endeavor in history, he produced four papers that would revolutionize the way the universe is understood.

In just one year he proved the existence of atoms, described the photoelectric effect, demonstrated that an object’s mass is an expression of the energy it contains (E = mc2), and published his Special Theory of Relativity. He would eventually expand the latter into his famous General Theory of Relativity, which suggested that space and time were one and the same thing.

Einstein’s theory of relativity was still just a theory, and one that was considered little short of heresy by a significant portion of the scientific community (Nikola Tesla included). It wasn’t until 1919, when his predictions on the behavior of starlight during a solar eclipse were demonstrated to be accurate, thereby proving his theory to be correct, that he was catapulted to international fame.

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Alien Life Debate – Experts Weigh-in @ WIF

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Alien Life Forms by Richard Bizley

Alien Life Forms by Richard Bizley

Theories on Alien Life

from Experts in

Science and Technology

One of the biggest mysteries humans face is: are we alone in the universe? Some of the greatest scientific minds in the world have thought about this question, and at more length than the scientific layman. So what do they think? Are we alone in the vast universe? Or will we one day meet intelligent life?

from contributor 

10. Julian Assange


We know what you’re probably thinking. These guys are idiots. Julian Assange is not a technologist or a scientist. To that we counter: maybe we are. But Assange was a computer programmer and hacker. However, we mostly want to include him because if there’s anyone who knows about government secrets, such as classified information on UFOs and alien contact, he may be the best person to go to.

Assange, of course, is the editor of WikiLeaks. He’s responsible for the biggest leak ofmilitary information in history. Assange has been asked numerous times if the government was hiding UFO or alien information. And, according to him, the answer is no. The only reference to UFOs ever found on WikiLeaks is a Canadian UFO cult called the Raelians.

Assange gets very annoyed with crazy conspiracy theories, like UFOs and people involved with the 9/11 “Truth” movement. He says that there are conspiracies everywhere that lead to war and mass fraud, and people don’t need to make up new ones.

9. Richard Feynman

Richard Feynman was a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who helped develop the atomic bomb during World War II. He also helped popularize physics through books and TV shows that were known for being informative and funny.

Feynman was definitely open to the possibility of life other than our own in the universe. He saw there was no definitive proof that it didn’t exist. But one thing he highly doubted was that flying saucers visited Earth. At a lecture in 1965 at Cornell University, Feynman said, “I think that it is much more likely that the reports of flying saucers are the results of the known irrational characteristics of terrestrial intelligence than of the unknown rational efforts of extra-terrestrial intelligence.”

8. Edward Snowden


A lot of times, Edward Snowden is associated with Assange and WikiLeaks. The truth is, they are completely unrelated. However, they do share similarities because both are responsible for massive information leaks. In the case of Snowden, he was a computer technician working for the CIA, and then he became a subcontractor with the NSA. While working there, he uncovered that the NSA was spying on its own citizens. They were also watching major technology corporations like Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Apple. He also exposed that the NSA wasn’t the only one doing it. Britain’s version of the NSA,Government Communications Headquarters, was also spying on their own citizens. Snowden took the information to the press, and was immediately labeled a traitor. He’s been in Russia ever since.

Even though he had access to amazing amounts of confidential government information, he did not find a single shred of evidence that supports that aliens have made contact. However, where they differ is that Snowden thinks alien life could be out there. We just haven’t been able to communicate with them because of encryption.

While talking with Neil deGrasse Tyson, Snowden said that, like us, other advanced beings may encrypt their information. That will make finding them much more difficult. He pointed out that only the beginning of our communication technology wasn’t encrypted. For example, before encryption, information was transmitted through waves, and picked up by antennas for television and radio. However, some of these signals would have also been sent out into space. Once encryption started, fewer signals would have been sent out, making it harder for alien life to find us because there is less “noise” coming from Earth. On our end, aliens could be sending us messages. Perhaps our satellites just aren’t recognizing them because our tech is too heavily encrypted.

7. Ellen Stofan

Ellen Stofan is a scientist you may not have heard of, but she’s been NASA’s Chief Scientist since 2013. She is quite optimistic when it comes to finding other life in the universe. While speaking on a panel in 2015 about water in the universe, Stofan said that she believes by 2025, we’ll find strong indications of life outside of Earth. Then, within the next two or three decades, we will have definitive proof.

So, why is she so optimistic? Stofan says that NASA is implementing new technology that will help in the search. Plus, researchers have a much better idea where to look. They also know how to look for life other than our own. Amazingly, the other panelists agree with her and think that finding extraterrestrial life is a matter of when, not if.

Stofan also clarified that the alien life may not be intelligent, and will probably be microbes.

6. Albert Einstein


Albert Einstein is synonymous with genius. But did he think it was possible that aliens existed? In 1920, a reporter from the Daily Mailasked Einstein about life elsewhere in the universe. He replied, “Why should the Earth be the only planet supporting human life? It is not singular in any other respect.” So while it was fairly clear to Einstein that there’s a good chance life does exist somewhere in the universe, he thought that people trying to contact aliens were doing it all wrong. From the late 19th century up to the present day with the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) programs, most people have tried to make contact with life on other planets with radio waves. Einstein thought that, if alien life were out there, they would contact us using light rays. Light rays are easier to control.

The question then, is: was Einstein correct? Have we been trying to contact aliens incorrectly for over a century and wasted billions upon billions of dollars and man hours? Well, yes and no. When Einstein gave his answer, he didn’t have enough information about outer space. Specifically, in space there is something called interstellar, or cosmic, dust. This dust blocks shorter-wavelength light, but radio waves can easily pass through it. In 1920, when Einstein made his prediction, scientists didn’t know that.

With that being said, there are teams trying Einstein’s method, which is called Optical SETI. A notable program using light beams to contact aliens is at Harvard. The problem is that when using light beams, the light has to be directed. Radio waves, however, spread across space like ripples in a pond.

5. Nikola Tesla


Nikola Tesla, one of the more notable madmen of science, definitely believed that there was alien life. Specifically, he thought Mars housed intelligent beings. Tesla also believed there was a way to communicate with these beings on other planets. In 1901, he promised that he would make it possible. This was an incredibly ambitious goal, considering this was the early 20th century and home telephones were just becoming common.

Tesla’s big plans of phoning another planet started in 1899, when he moved to Colorado Springs. There, he set up his most ambitious plan: a power station that would provide inexpensive energy to thousands of people without the use of wires. For some reason, he also thought that it would be possible to use similar technology to contact other planets. How Tesla planned to communicate with Mars was not exactly clear. He tried to explain it in an article in Collier’s Weekly, but unfortunately, he was short on specific details. Tesla was ahead of his time, but working without a lot of knowledge that we now know. So what he did say was incorrect. For example, his plan uses electrical conduction and induction, which couldn’t travel across space in the same way radio waves would.

However, Tesla was apparently aware that radio waves may be helpful in inter-planet communication. In 1901, Tesla received an unusual radio signal. He thought it might be from Mars. Although it’s unclear what the radio signal was, it’s obvious that Tesla thought alien life is out there.

4. Bill Nye

Based on the sheer number of stars and planets outside of our own solar system, Bill Nye believes that there has to be life out there somewhere. However, Nye’s reason for this assertion brings up one of the biggest problems when it comes to searching for extraterrestrial life. If the universe is so vast, where do we even begin to search?

Nye believes that the likeliest candidate for finding life is Europa, which is one of the many moons of Jupiter. It was one of the first four moons discovered by  Galileo Galilei in 1610. The four moons are called the Galilean satellites, and Europa is the smallest. The reason that Europa is so promising is because it has twice the amount of seawater as Earth. That’s a good indicator of the possibility life. The problem is that since Europa is so far away from the sun, the surface is ice. That ice is about 10-30 miles deep. Below all that ice is water that remains liquid, thanks to the tidal actions of Europa.

Nye believes that a vessel could be sent to Europa with a specialized drill. It would cost about $2 billion and would take 10 years. While that may sound like a lot, Nye says it’s about the same price as everyone in America buying just one cup of coffee. He then points out: isn’t the price of one cup of coffee a good investment to find life on another planet?

3. Neil deGrasse Tyson

The host of the new Cosmos and NOVA, Neil deGrasse Tyson hopes that we will find out if there is alien life within the next 50 years. He thinks the discovery will advance the field of biology by leaps and bounds, because it will help us explain what exactly makes something “alive.” For the first time we will be able to compare and contrast with a non-Earth life form. This will open up the spectrum on what exactly life is.

However, Tyson also says that there is the potential that alien life is out there and they might be too advanced to bother communicating with us. Tyson suggests, because there are plenty of habitable planets other than our own, someone could be sending us what they think are simple messages. However, the messages are way beyond our comprehension. To illustrate his point, Tyson compared our interactions with chimpanzees. Chimps and humans share 98.8 percent of the same DNA. Yet, we are so intellectually different. Chimps can do some basic math, but humans are doing quantum mechanics.

What if the intelligent life is more than 1.2 percent different in DNA than us? Say 2%, or even 10%. It would mean that alien life trying to communicate with us, would be like us trying to open up a line of dialogue with the chimp population. Tyson says that this very thought sometimes keeps him up at night.

2. Carl Sagan

The late Carl Sagan was an astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, and astrobiologist. He only published one fiction book in his life, Contact, which was made into a movie of the same name in 1998. The book focuses on the very question of what first contact with extraterrestrial life would be like. Instead of monsters or an invasion, the aliens send Earthlings plans for a machine, which we are supposed to build, but for unknown reasons. So did Sagan believe in UFOs and Aliens? Well, it was a rather complicated question for the man. When asked directly, he said:

“I’m frequently asked, ‘Do you believe there’s extraterrestrial intelligence?’ I give the standard arguments- there are a lot of places out there, the molecules of life are everywhere, I use the word billions, and so on. Then I say it would be astonishing to me if there weren’t extraterrestrial intelligence, but of course there is as yet no compelling evidence for it.

Often, I’m asked next, ‘What do you really think?’

I say, ‘I just told you what I really think.’

‘Yes, but what’s your gut feeling?’

But I try not to think with my gut. If I’m serious about understanding the world, thinking with anything besides my brain, as tempting as that might be, is likely to get me into trouble. Really, it’s okay to reserve judgment until the evidence is in.”

Even though there was no evidence to prove or disapprove aliens exist, Sagan was fascinated by the possibility of intelligent alien life forms since he was a child. He thought there was a good chance that other life forms existed somewhere in the universe. Notably, while hosting Cosmos, Sagan said that there should be millions of other technological civilizations just in the Milky Way. He also co-wrote a book that was published in 1966 called Intelligent Life in the Universe in which he theorized life on other planets was possible. However, he was very doubtful of alien abductions, and this could have come from his work with the government.

Supposedly, Sagan worked for Project Blue Book, which was a study of the possiblity UFOs by the United States Air Force that ran from 1952 to 1969. The goal of the project was to determine if UFOs were an actual threat to national security, and to scientifically analyze UFO-related data. The official statement from the Air Force is that Project Blue Book did not find any evidence of UFOs or alien life.

After working with the Air Force, Sagan continued to work with the government. He became an advisor to NASA. Later in his life, Sagan worked with SETI projects and in the last year of his life, he was a member of the SETI Institute’s Board of Trustees.

1. Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking at his Oxford University graduation

Link to Hawkings Video

Since about 2010, world renowned theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking has been very clear in his thoughts on alien life. Mainly, there’s a good chance that they will be hostile and crush us, no different than a human wiping out an ant colony. Hawking’s reasoning stems from humanity’s history. Humans have a tendency to kill off species and even other civilizations of humans with lower technology. Why would an advanced alien species be any different from our own?

Hawking said that the reason aliens might come to Earth isn’t too different from the original Independence Day. He said, “I imagine they might exist in massive ships… having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they can reach.”

However, despite the danger, Hawking believes we should keep looking for alien life. Still, he thinks that the probability of finding life on another planet soon is pretty low. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. We just may have a hard time finding it.

As for what Hawking thinks alien life might look like in our solar system, he said that most of it would be microbial or, at most, small animals. He also said that on ocean planets and moons there might be life underwater.

Another theory from Hawking regarding extraterrestrial life is that there may have been advanced civilizations throughout the universe that have already come and gone. They could have wiped themselves out before mastering interstellar travel. Hawking uses this example as a warning to humankind about scientific advancement. In the past, we’ve been on the brink of destruction with things like the proliferation of nuclear weapons. It is possible we will do so again in the future before we master interstellar travel.

Alien Life Debate

– Experts Weigh-in @ WIF

The Earth is Flat – WIF Mad Science

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Reasons to Believe

That the Earth is Flat

with the help of contributor 

According to the esteemed font of scholarly knowledge known as,Wikipedia, the Earth is an oblate spheroid. However, according to the Flat Earth Society who have the word “Earth” right there in their name, the Globe is actually a big flat disk, gravity is a lie and NASA is the most powerful commercial entity on Earth, which we think sounds a lot more likely than all of that “science” crap they taught us about in physics class.

That’s why we’ve decided to list the 10 most convincing reasons that the Earth might actually be shaped like a pancake.

(In case anyone was wondering, I’m being super sarcastic.)

10. You’re part of an exclusive club


When you’re one of the sheep who believes that the Earth is shaped like a slightly overweight basketball instead of a kick-ass UFO or mountain covered Frisbee, you’re one of 7 billion other people who’ve been fooled by the man.

However, if you choose to ascribe to the idea that the Earth is actually a giant disk flying aimlessly through an uncaring, godless void, you’re part of an exclusive club of just 100 people. Yes, amazingly, there are only around 100 people on Earth right now who are smart enough to realise that every person with a PHD in the entire world is lying. According to The Flat Earth Society, they had over 3000 members in the 90’s, but a after a fire, that was probably started by some butthole working for NASA, they lost all their records and had to start again. Since then, only 100 people have bothered to join back up, meaning there are less people in this club than there are rhinos left in the wild.

But hey, don’t let that fact fool you into thinking this is just an idea held by random idiots online with nothing better to do, because …

9. A bunch of highly influential people also believe the Earth is flat


When it comes to the Flat Earth argument, you could be fooled into thinking that those who believe in the ludicrous idea of an orb shaped planet have the upper hand because their ranks include: every scientist of the last 22 centuries, the president, the guy who animated What’s New Scooby Doo and probably some other important people. There are some fairly prominent and influential Flat Earthers out there like, Mohammed Yusuf, you know, the former leader of Boko Haram, that group that explicitly says that they hate Western Education and make the majority of their living in royalties from keeping CNN afloat when it isn’t an election season.

If having one of the most repugnant men in history support the view that the Earth is flat doesn’t convince you that it’s a totally legit theory, how about learning that the most repugnant man in history also apparently believed it. Yes, we’re talking about Hitler who is apparently greatly respected by a subsection of Flat Earthers because he’s “allegedly” the only person known to have seen the end of the Earth during a visit he totally made to Antarctica that only Flat Earthers seem to know about.

But hey if Hitler isn’t your thing, you may still want to reconsider dismissing the Flat Earth Theory outright because, if you choose to believe it, you get to …

8. Live in a world like Game of Thrones


I wrote an article a while ago all about how unrealistic some of the elements of Game of Thrones are in relation to the section of history it takes influence from and we’d like to apologise because holy crap, you guys, the wall is a real thing.

You see, according to Flat Earthers, the world rather than being a bloated sphere is actually a rounded disk surrounded by a several hundred foot wall of ice, which is why the oceans don’t just spill out into space and land on Jupiter. Of course nobody has ever seen this wall, because NASA diverts planes away from it as well as stationing guards at the top to shoot anyone (except for Hitler) who gets too close. While we have no idea if any of these guards dress like Jon Snow, we’re going to assume that they do because what in the hell else is a person tasked with guarding the literal edges of the Earth from the top of a big-ass wall of ice gonna wear?

While the existence of a big-ass wall of ice that keeps all of the world’s oceans in place is certainly reassuring, arguably one of the best things about believing the Earth is flat is the fact that …

7. You get to prove Einstein wrong!


Whenever the idea of a flat planet comes up, one of the first arguments against the theory to crop up in conversation is that gravity simply wouldn’t work on a planet shaped like a pizza. Gravity for those of you who aren’t aware is a myth perpetuated by NASA that says all objects emit an invisible force that attracts other objects towards themselves, the larger the object, the larger the force. Rather than believing this twaddle, Flat Earthers instead believe that the Earth is constantly flying directly upwards at a constant acceleration of 9.81 m/s and that’s why when you drop an object it falls towards the ground at this speed. In regards to what happens when the Earth reaches terminal velocity, the opinion of the Flat Earth society is that it probably won’t so don’t worry about it. Where’s you’re theory of relativity now, Einstein!

But wait you ask? If gravity doesn’t exist, how is the moon kept in place? Well the moon does have a gravitation pull and it does effect the tides, but the only reason it moves across the sky is because the Earth is spinning and it stays in place because it just so happens to be travelling the exact speed we do. As for why the Earth doesn’t have gravity if the moon does, the official stance of the Flat Earth society is to just not try to think about how ridiculous that is. Oh and for anyone wanting to be clever and ask how we have things like lunar eclipses, that’s obviously due to an invisible “shadow object” that nobody has ever observed flying in front of the moon at random that you should absolutely believe exists just because we said so. Also the sun, moon and all the stars are only a couple of hundred miles above the Earth.

However, while Flat Earthers whole heartedly think that you should accept everything they say without question or proof, you shouldn’t give NASA the same privilege because ….

6. NASA is like, super evil and corrupt


In the world of Flat Earthers, no single entity is treated with more contempt and animosity than those dicks at NASA. Why? Well it probably has something to do with the fact that NASA is pretty much solely responsible for maintaining the illusion that the Earth is a sphere and they’re also evil and corrupt because sure, why not.

According to Flat Earthers every image of our planet ever taken from space was doctored by NASA, every trip to space, including the ones where people died, were impeccably planned ruses and there’s no such thing as satellites, only giant, NASA controlled radio towers that “lie” to your GPS, television and smartphone. NASA also somehow controls every single plane on Earth, even private ones without GPS, to stop them from straying too close to the edge of the Earth and uncovering the truth.

If you’re wondering why NASA would bother to go to such lengths to cover up the Earth being flat, congratulations, you’re already starting to sound like a Flat Earther. Yes, despite Flat Earthers being absolutely convinced that NASA is a massively corrupt agency dedicated to hiding the truth from the public, they have yet to offer a convincing explanation for why NASA actually cares about maintaining this impossibly elaborate scam. They just know something is up and that’s enough for them because …

5. Flat Earthers are smarter than most ancient and modern scientists


The laughable idea that the Earth is actually a water covered orb being catapulted around an exploding ball of gas millions of miles away is one that has been commonly accepted by scientists and thinkers since about 400 BC. That is just a bit too long for an idea to stand unchallenged for it to not leave a sour taste in our mouth.

Flat Earth Theory by contrast is a relatively new idea that was proposed during Victorian times by a guy using the pseudonym “Parallax” which is just way too badass of a nickname for it to have possibly belonged to a liar. Parallax, who usually went by the objectively lamer name “Samuel Rowbotham,” eventually founded a school of thought known as “Zetetic astronomy” which taught some of the ideas we’ve already mentioned today like the Earth being surrounded by a wall of ice, the sun only being a few hundred miles away and calling everyone who disagreed with you an idiot.

Now come on, admit it, Flat Earth Theory sounds just a little more convincing now that you know the majority of the theory is based on a book written by a guy called “Parallax”, doesn’t it? And quite honestly, if that doesn’t convince you, maybe you’d be swayed by the fact that when you’re a Flat Earther …

4. You don’t really have to understand how anything works


Thinking is hard and Flat Earthers understand that, which is why the entire theory revolves around wild, baseless claims and hand waving anything you don’t want to talk about. No, seriously.

As you can imagine, people who try to insist that the Earth is flat in an academic setting often have to defend themselves against scientists with less awesome sounding titles than “Zetetic Astronomer.” Luckily Flat Earthers have a cast iron system for answering any question they don’t understand without it making them look like an idiot called, “telling people to look up the answer in the Bible.”

This technique was perhaps best utilised by Charles K. Johnson, who up until his death in 2001, was one of the most well-known proponents of Flat Earth Theory. In the hundreds of interviews he gave over the years, Johnson defended Flat Earth Theory like a champ by ignoring any and all criticism and deflecting difficult to understand questions by saying only God had the answer. For example, when Johnson was once innocently asked how solar eclipses worked if the world was flat, he looked the interviewer in the eye and said “we really don’t have to go into all that” and then stopped talking. When pushed for a more satisfactory answer, Johnson relented and simply said “The Bible tells us the heavens are a mystery” and then refused to talk about it anymore.

We think is just fantastic since it confirms our suspicion that when you become a Flat Earth advocate …

3. You can win every argument!


If browsing Reddit has taught us anything, it’s that winning an argument, regardless of how right or offensive you are, is one of the most important things in the world. If you also think this, then you would probably make a pretty good Flat Earth Theorist because there doesn’t appear to be any argument a Flat Earth Theorist can lose as long as they truly commit to being as obtuse as possible.

For example, in an interview with The Guardian newspaper, Daniel Shenton, the current president of the Flat Earth Society, was able to deftly avoid being proven wrong by insisting that all evidence that proved him wrong was made with “special effects.” And calmly explained that he felt perfectly okay with ignoring a millennium of science based on the fact he felt that he was right. As if that wasn’t delicious enough, Shenton went on to explain that it’s on other people to prove him wrong that the Earth isn’t flat, you know, even though he’s already dismissed irrefutable evidence as lies.

Because when you’re a Flat Earther, no proof is ever good enough and you can always sit there smugly knowing that no matter what your opponent says, you can always ask them if they’ve ever been to space and then cross your arms and say you rest your case. Hell, even if the person has been to space, you’ll still win because there’s no way for them to prove that the image of the Earth they saw wasn’t special effects. And if they ask you to prove that you’re right, well that’s as simple as …

2. Drawing a line on the horizon


As far as we can tell, whenever Flat Earthers need to prove that there theory isn’t just a sack of bovine excrement, all they need to do is bring up a picture of the horizon and draw a straight line across it, thus proving unequivocally that the Earth is flat. If the other person tries to correct you by saying something like “the earth is so unimaginably big that the horizon is always going to look flat to our inefficient human eyes” or “try watching a ship sail out to sea and watch it disappear over the horizon” feel free to ignore them or just draw another, bigger line to prove your point a little bit harder.

If anyone ever tries to trip you up, as people whose mind isn’t as open as yours is wont to do, by showing you a picture taken from orbit in which the horizon is clearly curved, all you need to is tell them that, that’s caused by the camera lens.  Or better yet, just tell them that their picture actually proves your point, like this entire forum of Flat Earthers did when a guy turned up with a picture taken from orbit by a totally independent source that NASA couldn’t doctor that clearly showed a curved horizon. When the flustered poster asked someone to explain to him how a flat planet could have a curved horizon, one poster simply responded “because circles are curved” and that was considered a satisfactory answer.

This gets to the heart of why we think everyone reading this should give serious consideration to believing Flat Earth Theory.

1. Believing the Earth is flat

makes you special!


As far as we’re concerned the main reason to believe Flat Earth Theory over the thing we as a species have considered fact for 25 centuries is because doing so makes you really special. Believing the Earth is flat lets you simultaneously act intellectually superior to everyone you know while also not understanding anything you say on anything more than a superficial level. You can sit around in your exclusive club forums and look down your nose at other people, while never bothering to improve yourself in any meaningful way.

Like with other conspiracy theories, you can use believing the Earth is flat as an excuse to dismiss the opinions and feelings of anyone you’d normally have to treat like a human being as a necessary evil to educate them about the truth.

In short, the main reason you should believe that the Earth is flat is because once you’ve decided to believe it, you’ll never have to put effort into having a meaningful human connection ever again.

The Earth is Flat

WIF Space-001

– WIF Mad Science

Notebooks – WIF Historical Scribbling

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Not This Kind!!!

10 Historically

Important Notebooks

You’ll find them in almost every shop and of varying shapes and sizes, but, at times, the humble notebook has actually played an important part in history. From influencing philosophical thought to illuminating the theory behind The Origin of Species, these examples will show you how important a little copy for keeping records in can be. Some revealed hidden truths about their writers posthumously, while some just helped the writer organize their mind, but all have been important in human history.

10. Beethoven’s

‘conversation notebooks’


Beethoven is notorious for always having carried around a notebook (as well as being an acclaimed composer, obviously). In fact, paintings of him usually had him holding one of his notebooks.

They were just published in full by Walter Nohl of Munich, after being the most prized possession of the Berlin State Library’s Music Department.  He used them to compose music, of course, but also to write down quotations of significance to him – things like ‘Tis said, that art is long, and life but fleeting:—Nay; life is long, and brief the span of art; If e’re her breath vouchsafes with gods a meeting, A moment’s favor ’tis of which we’ve had a part.’ He called his notebooks ‘conversation notebooks’. As he was entirely deaf for the last 12 years of his life, Beethoven handed these to his conversation partners whenever he wished to talk. He usually replied orally.

Topics included in his notebooks were worries about indigestion and his eye trouble, food, writing paper and the search for a good apartment – something many of us have experienced!

9. Hemingway’s notebooks


Hemingway is so famous for his love of notebooks that Moleskine boasts about being ‘the heir and successor to the legendary notebook used by artists and thinkers over the past two centuries: among them Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway’. Hemingway himself said ‘I belong to this notebook and this pencil.’ He was seldom seen without a notebook. He often wrote in little black notebooks, the predecessors to Moleskines, in Parisian cafés. He was a passionate devotee to a pencil and pocket notebook.

In fact, he brought them almost everywhere, not just to cafés – on trains and to bullfights, for example, for note-taking. He also used them to jot down expensesand even to record his wife’s menstrual cycles.

He has been described by Slate as being ‘what we would now call a neurotic’, and keeping records in notebooks helped him organize his thoughts.

8. The Fairchild notebooks


The Fairchild patent notebooks were crucial to our computerised world today. Their contents revolutionized the science and manufacture of microelectronics and launched the incredible growth of Silicon Valley. Ideas including modern semiconductor manufacture, integrated circuits, the technology that lets us power portable digital devices (like the phone or tablet you might be holding right now) and semiconductor memory all came from these notebooks. The engineering notebooks were kept by prominent people like Gordon Moore and Bob Noyce (founders of Intel), Jean Hoerni, Julius Blank, Eugene Kleiner, Victor Grinich, Jay Last, and Sheldon Roberts.

Incidentally, the notebooks also paved the way for Moore’s Law, the so-far-accurate idea that computer processing power would double roughly every two years.

A conservation project was started for them at the Computer History Museumtwo years ago when Texas Instruments donated the notebooks to the museum. Kathleen Orlenko assessed over 1,000 of the notebooks, dating from 1957 through the 70s.

7. Thomas Edison’s notebooks


Thomas Edison amassed approximately five million pages of writing in his sixty-year career as an inventor. He used notebooks to organize notes on his inventions and innovations. A note at the end of his pocket notebook for October 1870 says ‘all new inventions I will here after keep a full record’. These notebooks were used by him and his colleagues. The Thomas Edison National Historical Park has more than 3,000 of these notebooks, each with around 280 pages. It’s believed that his prolific writing and experimenting may have stretched up to 3,500 notebooks. He received the most US patents ever awarded to one person (1,093).

These included the light bulb, alkaline battery, phonograph and motion picture camera. Keeping notebooks was a life-long habit of his that helped him structure his ideas from conception to execution – tremendously important for our world today. He used them for everything, from brainstorming to recording results, and they helped him pursue his goal of making one minor invention every 10 days and one major one every six months.

Not only did they help him in his incredible productivity, the notebooks are also a highly valuable tool for modern-day historians trying to get an insight into his mind.

6. Heidegger’s black notebooks


German philosopher Martin Heidegger’s black notebooks sparked controversy when they were published in March 2014. He was widely viewed as a seminal thinker in the Continental tradition (a branch of philosophy that includes existentialism, German idealism, psychoanalytic theory and French feminism and the rejection of science as the ultimate method of understanding phenomena, among others). He became professor of philosophy at Freiburg. He was the most important Continental philosopher of the 20th century. His book Being and Time is a seminal work in the Continental tradition and he is widely considered the father of modern atheistic existentialism. He also made adifference outside philosophy, in areas as varied as architecture and theology.

He was involved in Nazism, but it was thought that this was a personal matter, not one that had leaked into his philosophical thinking – until, that is, the publication of his Black Notebooks. Heidegger wrote a kind of philosophical diary in little black-covered notebooks over forty years. They show that he actually incorporate anti-Semitic ideas into his philosophy, like when he wrote ‘the Jews, with their marked gift for calculating, live, already for the longest time, according to the principle of race, which is why they are resisting its consistent application with utmost violence.’

This has led to people wondering whether all of his highly influential ideas were contaminated by Nazism. As his writings inspired some of the most important thinkers of the modern era, these notebooks cast their reliability into doubt.

5. Sartre’s notebooks


Works published during philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre’s life showed that he agreed with Hegel that humans struggle against one another to win recognition but rejected some other aspects of Hegel’s philosophy. However, notebooks published after his death, titled Notebooks for an Ethics, displayed a dramatic about-turn in his thinking on the matter. The notebooks said that he now agreed with Hegel that the master/slave dynamic can be transcended through relations of mutual recognition – basically, the notebooks revealed a very different philosophy.

His work Existentialism is a Humanism presented arguments similar to Kant’s, which led to many scholars saying Sartre’s ideas came from Kant. However, in his notebooks he dismisses this idea and rejects Kantian ethics as a form of ‘slave morality’ and an ‘ethics of demands’. Ouch!

Sartre’s original ideas on freedom were widely criticized, and in the notebooks he too became critical of his early view. Thus, the notebooks are a veryimportant tool for understanding the philosophy of a key figure in the study of existentialism.

4. Charles Darwin’s notebooks


Darwin kept diaries in notebooks throughout the Beagle voyage that would lead him to think of the theory of evolution. He took fourteen of them on his trips to the shore. During the voyage he kept field notes on his observations. As the voyage drew to a close, he also used one (his Red notebook) for theoretical speculations on subjects like geology and the formation of coral reefs. After the voyage he started a new series of notebooks for his thoughts on transmutation (evolution) and metaphysical enquiries.

The notebooks give a detailed account of his research, speculation and gradual understanding of where species come from. In his Notebook on Transmutation of Species (1837) he drew the first tree of descent with modification, or natural selection – more commonly known as an evolutionary tree.  This sketch has become famous. The notebooks were mostly completed by the 1840s. These notebooks were essential to the development to the widely accepted and hugely important theory of natural selection, and the precursor to The Origin of Species.

3. Albert Einstein’s notebooks


Like Thomas Edison and many other eminent scientists and inventors, Einsteinkept a notebook to record his calculations and ideas. In March 2012, 80,000 documents written by or addressed to Einstein were published online by Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Einstein Papers Project (EPP) at Caltech. This collection includes Einstein’s notebooks, which show the thought process of a revolutionary genius.

One of these is the Zurich notebook, written in the winter of 1912/13. This notebook shows how Einstein came by his theory of relativity, complete with notes and calculations. Other notebooks show lecture notes. The notebooks and letter show that he didn’t work alone, but actually exchanged ideas with many other scientists.

The Zurich notebook shows light-hearted sketches by Einstein, include mathematical puzzles of the day – so even he liked to have fun. The rest of the notebook has serious physics, including electrodynamics in four dimensions, the line element of general relativity, motion in curved surfaces, gravitation, invariants and the Riemann Tensor.

The notebooks give a valuable insight into the day-to-day workings of a brilliant mind.

2. The Prison Notebooks


The Prison notebooks are a series of notebooks written by Italian MarxistAntonio Gramsci while he was imprisoned in 1926 by the Fascist regime for being the founder and leader of the Communist party. Gramsci was a philosopher, politician and political theorist.  He wrote more than 30 notebooks with 3000 pages of history and analysis while he was imprisoned. The Prison Notebooks are thought of as a highly important and original contribution to 20th century political theory.

Gramsci’s writings pre-prison had been more specifically political, but The Prison Notebooks are relatively theoretical. Topics covered included education, intellectuals, fascism, hegemony and Marxism. He wrote these under the surveillance of a Fascist jailer, so he had to be careful about what he wrote. Because of this, his writings are disorganized and at times ambiguous. He was isolated from the events occurring outside prison, especially Stalinism and the victory of German fascism.

The notebooks were smuggled out of prison in the 1930s and published twenty years later.

1. Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks


Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks are famous for having been written in mirror script, from right to left. Some say this was to make them harder to decipher, but it may just have been because da Vinci was left-handed and wanted to avoid smudging the paper. He wrote in his notebooks daily, finishing with about13,000 pages of work.

The notebooks record the many interests and endeavors of this all-round Renaissance man, from maths to art to flying machines and diving suits. He wasn’t picky about what he put in his notebook, which is lucky, as it has given historians a precious resource. Leonardo made an inventory of his clothes in a notebook now held in Madrid, while in others he adds little memos to himself and shopping lists – all alongside complex mechanical notes and studies of human anatomy.

11. Gwen’s WIF notebook


This is a daily recording of what I post on WRITING IS FUN-DAMENTAL. I use this as a tangible resource to keep track of what I publish each day. Oh sure I could do a spreadsheet, but like all geniuses (ha, ha), handwritten notes are handy to have. Someday my children will wonder what to do with these.


– WIF Historical Scribbling

The Speed of Light – Facts & Figures

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The Speed of Light – Facts & Figures




Speed of light
The distance from the Sun to the Earth is shown as 150 million kilometers, an approximate average. Sizes to scale.

Sunlight takes about 8 minutes 17 seconds to travel the average distance from the surface of the Sun to theEarth.
Exact values
metres per second 299792458
Planck length per Planck time
(i.e., Planck units)
Approximate values
kilometres per second 300,000
kilometres per hour 1,080 million
miles per second 186,000
miles per hour 671 million
astronomical units per day 173
Approximate light signal travel times
Distance Time
one foot 1.0 ns
one metre 3.3 ns
from geostationary orbit to Earth 119 ms
the length of Earth’s equator 134 ms
from Moon to Earth 1.3 s
from Sun to Earth (1 AU) 8.3 min
from nearest star to Sun (1.3 pc) 4.2 years
from the nearest galaxy (the Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy) to Earth 25,000 years
across the Milky Way 100,000 years
from the Andromeda Galaxy (the nearest spiral galaxy) to Earth 2.5 million years


The speed of light in vacuum, commonly denoted c

, is a universalphysical constant important in many areas of physics. Its value is exactly299,792,458 metres per second because the length of the metre is defined from this constant and the international standard for time.[1] This is, to three significant figures, 186,000 miles per second, or about 671 millionmiles per hour. According to special relativity, c is the maximum speed at which all matter and information in the universe can travel. It is the speed at which all massless particles and changes of the associated fields (includingelectromagnetic radiation such as light and gravitational waves) travel in vacuum. Such particles and waves travel at c regardless of the motion of the source or the inertial frame of reference of the observer. In the theory of relativity, c interrelates space and time, and also appears in the famous equation of mass–energy equivalence E = mc2.[2]


The Speed of Light – Facts & Figures

A Necessary Deterrent – WABAC to Alamogordo

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"Where is the WABAC Machine going to take us this time, Mr. Peabody?

“Where is the WABAC Machine going to take us this time, Mr. Peabody?

“Sherman My Boy, we are going to witness a scientific experiment that would change the course of history.”

July 16, 1945: US Explodes First Atomic Bomb (Trinity Test, Alamogordo)


Chilling History…

On July 16, 1945, Manhattan Project scientists held their breath as the clock ticked down to the first man-made nuclear blast in history.

Over a period of almost 6 years from its feeble first steps (3 years as a project in earnest), through 130,000 people working on the project and $2 billion taxpayer dollars the finest scientists in the world had developed methods of enriching uranium to a state where its nucleus could be split and creating plutonium, the 2 materials needed for the 2 different types of atomic weapons being considered.

The Crater of World Peace…

The uranium device would be a tube in which 2 chunks of enriched uranium would be launched at each other at  high speed by conventional explosives, causing a critical mass to form in the blink of an eye, triggering a nuclear blast.

The plutonium device would be a hollow ball of plutonium with precision explosives around the outside meticulously timed to blow up all at the same time causing the hollow sphere to implode, creating a critical mass in the blink of an eye and subsequently the desired nuclear blast.

(Note:  Obviously, the descriptions of how nuclear bombs work are greatly simplified and the above paragraph is paraphrased.)

President Roosevelt had been warned by Albert Einstein that Germany (and maybe Japan) would be working on developing nuclear weapons and that if the US and Allies did not want to get blown off the map, we better develop such weapons first.

At 5:30 am on July 16, 1945, the entire point of the Manhattan Project was on the line as a plutonium implosion device suspended 100 feet above the desert was exploded.  Although the nuclear physicists on the project were reasonable confident of their calculations, no one knew for sure how big the blast would be and whether or not the atmosphere would become part of the chain reaction, ending mankind.  When the brilliant fireball and mighty blast went off, the equivalent of 20,000 tons of TNT, it left a 250 feet wide crater in the desert (with sand fused to glass), a mushroom cloud 7 ½ miles high, and the blast could be felt 100 miles away.  People as far away as El Paso could hear the explosion.

The scientists and budget planners were right;  a practical bomb could be made, and it would be a city destroyer.  Now the question was, how and if to use it.  Despite some opposition, and some sentiment toward giving the world a demonstration over an unoccupied target, President Truman and his advisers decided Japan must have a city destroyed by an atom bomb to convince them to surrender.  The debate over whether or not this was necessary still rages today, with critics claiming the Japanese were on the brink of surrender anyway, and proponents saying that the terrible price paid to conquer Okinawa showed that an invasion of Japan would cost tens of thousands of American lives, probably hundreds of thousands.  Besides, the Soviets were poised to make a land grab of as much Japanese territory as possible, and US planners may well have intended to impress and intimidate the Soviets as much as the Japanese.

Less than a month after Trinity, 2 Japanese cities lay in smoking ruins, and over 100,000 Japanese were dead, and more were dying.


Unthinkable, Yet Necessary Deterrent