Planets in the Fourth Dimension

Originally posted on Azimuth:

You probably that planets go around the sun in elliptical orbits. But do you know why?

In fact, they’re moving in circles in 4 dimensions. But when these circles are projected down to 3-dimensional space, they become ellipses!

This animation by Greg Egan shows the idea:


The plane here represents 2 of the 3 space dimensions we live in. The vertical direction is the mysterious fourth dimension. The planet goes around in a circle in 4-dimensional space. But down here in 3 dimensions, its ‘shadow’ moves in an ellipse!

What’s this fourth dimension I’m talking about here? It’s a lot like time. But it’s not exactly time. It’s the difference between ordinary time and another sort of time, which flows at a rate inversely proportional to the distance between the planet and the sun.

The movie uses this other sort of time. Relative to this other time, the planet…

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Farewell, Sir Terry Pratchett.

Originally posted on Nessbow:

On Friday morning I awoke to the sad news that Sir Terry Pratchett had passed away.  I was heartbroken to hear of the death of one of my all-time favourite authors.  The world seems a little bit duller without the cheeky glint in Sir Terry’s eye.

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Sir Terry’s work has been a part of my life for fifteen years.  I was introduced to his books by a friend at the age of thirteen.  My high school bestie loaned me a well-loved copy of Soul Music to take on holidays.  I quickly fell in love with The Discworld and it’s inhabitants and was eager for more.  I read every Discworld book in the library catalog.  When the film adaptations of several Discworld books were made, I pounced on those and immediately adored seeing my favourite characters come to life on the screen.  In college I discovered two cartoon series based on…

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Fans are petitioning Death to bring back Terry Pratchett

Originally posted on Metro:

terry pratchett petition, terry pratchett Terry Pratchett died today aged 66 (Picture: Change.org)

Terry Pratchett fans have begun petitioning Death to bring back the Discworld author.

Pratchett’s death was announced this afternoon with a message from his official Twitter account, which read: ‘Terry took Death’s arm and followed him through the doors and on to the black desert under the endless night.’

His publisher, Penguin Random House, wrote that Pratchett ‘enriched the planet like few before him’.

[metro-thumbnail-link url=”http://metro.co.uk/2015/03/12/12-ways-sir-terry-pratchett-made-our-lives-better-5100594/” title=”12 ways Terry Pratchett made our lives better”]

As friends and fans alike paid tribute to the 66-year-old, who had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, one fan launched a petition on change.org to ‘reinstate Terry Pratchett’.

In a move that would surely have brought a smile to the late fantasy legend’s face, the petition politely asks Death to bring back the author.

check mort, paul kidby, terry pratchett Check Mort, by Discworld illustrator Paul Kidby (Artwork copyright Paul Kidby, http://www.paulkidby.net)

It cites a quote from Pratchett:…

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The best salute to Spock

Originally posted on Why Evolution Is True:

This is a tw**t from astronaut Terry Virts aboard the International Space Station.  What a great tribute to Leonard Nimoy!

Screen shot 2015-02-28 at 5.55.12 PM

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Google’s Ingress augmented reality game is on its way to Android Wear

Marc:

Ok, that’s it. It will now take 7 hours to go to the shop for some milk.

Originally posted on 9to5Google:

ingress-on-android-wear-concept

Ingress was launched on Android in 2012, but after its introduction made its way to a few other platforms. The app has been available on iOS for a while and had a port made for Google Glass, but now the Mountain View company’s augmented reality game is officially coming to Android Wear (via Engadget) at some point next month. You’ll still need an Android phone—as is the case with most Android Wear apps—but it won’t be long before you’ll be able to play Ingress without taking that phone out of your pocket.

It makes sense considering the nature of the game, as the basic premise is that you’re exploring the real world while creating virtual missions, and defending and attacking portals. While using the smartphone works fine, it makes a lot more sense that users would be able to simply glance down on their wrists to play the game—hence why…

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Confronting Cancer Quackery

Originally posted on I fucking hate pseudoscience:

Cancer quackery (along with charlatanism surrounding HIV/AIDs) has to be one of the most noxious of all pseudoscience-based enterprises and, perhaps it’s just my line of work, but I can’t help but feel that it’s on the rise. The reliably high prevalence of cancer represents immensely fertile ground for scammers, and “alternative” treatments for it are sought by millions, supporting a steady cash-flow in the direction of fakes, phoneys, and otherwise ignorant followers of charismatic nasties. As well as fostering a generalised distrust in science and burning holes in wallets, cancer pseudoscience often steers patients away from their one and only shot at survival.

The Internet is abuzz with “natural remedies” and “holistic” measures against cancer, and a quick trawl through some of the websites spouting them reveals that the nature and extent of the errors (and lies) upon which they are based are as varied as they are pernicious. However…

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Google Is Making A New Chromebook Pixel “Soon”

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

chromebook pixel

Were you a fan of Google’s Chromebook Pixel? The Chromebook with the super high-res touch screen built-in, meant largely to show what a Chromebook could be if it cost $1,300 instead of two or three hundred bucks?

Good news! It looks like Google is making a sequel.

There’s no official announcement yet, but Google’s Renee Nieme mentioned the new Pixel in passing at an event this week in San Diego.

While there was video of the mention at some point, Google swept it under the rug pretty quick. Fortunately, the guys over at OMG!CHROME! managed to grab a transcription. Here’s the meat of what was said:

“We do have a new Pixel coming out and it will be coming out soon. We will be selling it but I just have to set your expectations: this is a development platform. This is really a proof of concept. We don’t make very…

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