Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

Archive for January, 2010

The Scale of the Universe: from yocto to yotta


From the smallest observable length, the Planck length, measuring 0.00000000000000000000000000000000001 meters; to the greatest length, the length of the whole Universe estimated at 930. meters: there are many zeroes, many orders of magnitude that mey be difficult to grasp.

To make that a tiny bit easier, a user on Newgrounds named Fotoshop created an amazing interactive Flash animation, through which you can travel between all the scales of the Universe, from the tiniest end of the quantum foam in fractions of yoctometers, to quarks, atoms, molecules, viruses, cells, animals, mountains, planets, stars, nebulas, galaxies, clusters of galaxies, the local group, the observable universe and the Universe itself, measring several yottameters.

That’s going from 10^-35 to 10^26, and you can travel by dragging the bottom bar with your mouse or using your keyboard, with the left and right arrow keys for greater precision.

As Phil “Bad Astronomer” Plait noted, “my favorite part is on the smallest end, when you have to go through several factors of ten with nothing happening to get to the Planck scale, the smallest scale in the Universe. It’s really quite a forbidding notion.”

Is is merely a coincidence that most of the familiar objects that illustrate the animation are those around our own size, or those that we can view in the sky from Earth? Obviously not. Physical theories suggest an incredible level of complexity at the quantum foam level, and much may be going on between the quantum foam and quarks, and then from quarks to hadrons, and so on. There’s also quite literally a whole Universe to discover in stellar, gallactic scales, with intricacies we have barely grasped. We have almost 60 powers of ten of a very real world to explore scientifically. It’s almost beyond imagination that such complexities may fit inside the head of a person measuring a few dozen inches.

As Carl Sagan said, we barely began exploring the shore of the cosmic ocean. And it extends both away to the stars as well as inside the foam of the sea. “Recently we’ve waded a little way out, and the water seems inviting”.

[Via RicBit, BAblog]

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Almiro Barauna’s many hoaxes

“One of the most highly celebrated and controversial series of photos in the Blue Book files are those taken by an official photographer aboard the Brazilian Navy survey ship, Almirante Saldanha, off Trindade Island, some 600 miles east of Rio De Janeiro”.
[J. Allen Hynek, The Hynek UFO Report]

Hynek criticizes the mocking remarks by the reporting officer regarding Martians and the harsh criticism of the Brazilian government and military. I don’t know much about Martians and tend to agree the sarcasm was undue on an official report, but as an ongoing many years research on the Trindade Island case has shown to me, the Blue Book report is right on the target and fully justified in all of its other conclusions.

Regarding the photographer, for instance, the report mentions that:

“This gentleman has a long history of photographic trick shots and is well known for such items as false pictures of treasure on the ocean floor. Another time he prepared a purposely humorous article, published in a magazine, entitled "A Flying Saucer Hunted Me at Home," using trick photography.”

Amazingly, these hoaxes by the photographer have been downplayed by supporters of the case. For more than half a century, most people didn’t even see these hoaxes. In 2008, thanks to historian Rodolpho Gauthier, we finally publicized Barauna’s joke with flying saucers, and now, through the pages of Tim Printy’s SUNlite, and again thanks to the work of Gauthier, we reveal the details and images of his treasure chest hoax.

The article is embedded above and can also be downloaded.

Once presented with Barauna’s trickery of flying saucer photos, believers claim the joke was in fact a serious, responsible public service promoting critical thinking in which the photographer took part. Very well. It could be so. His treasure chest hoax, however, was part of a deliberate play to deceive, and we have Baraúna first lying, denying the hoax, and decades later, finally confessing “it was indeed a trick”.

That the man who captured one of the few authentic photos of real UFOs was a lying hoaxer of treasure chest tales and proud creator of flying saucer images cannot be downplayed. It’s a serious problem for the case that automatically leads to considerations of how he could have hoaxed the Trindade Island case.

Believers would then mention that the Trindade Island case is not supported solely by the photos or the photographer’s character and that he could not have hoaxed all of the other corroborating evidence.

About that, our still ongoing research may give a different perspective. It will be published soon, but meanwhile I recommend the readers to our already published analysis, and I repeat the statement that all of our research has led us to conclude that the Blue Book report is right on the target and fully justified in all of its conclusions.

Except for Martians, of course.

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Another cloud to be appreciated

João Luís (thank you!) points this interesting video that appears to show some iridescence and general awesomeness.

The description on Youtube does not seem very credible, but the language spoken does seem to suggest it comes from Indonesia. We have already presented some clouds of wonder here in Forgetomori, mainly pileus clouds, but this looks like a different phenomenon.

It’s not just a cloud. It’s an amazing cloud. The fact it’s “just” water droplets and probably crystals in suspension, illuminated in a certain way to produce such a beautiful effect is much more amazing than the idea that it’s a (badly) disguised alien spaceship.

But that’s just a matter of opinion. If you know exactly what type of cloud this is, do share your knowledge in the comments.

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Googlism Synchronicity


“max is here
max is in control
max is probably creating something big for it

max is the solution for you
max is what you want
max is on top

max is cool because despite the fact that his father yells at us every time we’re there
max is so smart
max is not the killer

max is still in control
max is good for that kind of thing
max is no angel

max is useless hahahaha
max is not max
max is down

max is over”

Does that make sense? It’s the story of the rise and fall of dictator Max, by Max Jahnke. If it sounded a little strange, it’s because all the sentences were extracted from Googlism, which in turn extracted them from the web. Those are all unrelated snippets of text from across the web compiled into one story.

The results from Googlism can be hilarious, but most important to us, there’s something here in the fact they can be selected and organized to make a somewhat coherent short story. As it happens, another friend, Murilo Queiroz, also has a son named Max, and he got into it, creating a beautiful and quite long story from Googlisms which is actually related to his son.

A whole lot of meaning from random snippets of text extracted from the web.

If you are into Forteanism long enough, you may have realized a lot of coincidences and mystical synchronicities work like this. There’s a whole ocean of not entirely random things: that’s the web. Then a phenomenon filters this randomness into something less random, but the phenomenon in itself is not expected to produce meaning. That’s Googlism.

Then comes our minds. From Googlisms some quite amazing “coincidences” can be found. We can find meaning where there is none. Or better yet, there was none. We actually created this meaning the moment we think we saw them there all along.

Some of these ideas were discussed previously in Mind under matter, but even if you don’t quite swallow this pill, how about finding what story lies in the Googlisms for your name? Do share them in the comments.

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Amazingly faked hoaxes

Or are they hoaxed fakes? Fact is, they are amazing works by “The Faking Hoaxer”. Keep reading for much more, including making ofs and ghosts.

Read more

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