Rocket Booster For China's Tianhe Space Station Will Re-Enter Uncontrolled. Don't Worry About It.

The Chinese Space agency has achieved something interesting by launching the first part of their...

Taser Developed A Multi Shot, Long Range, Less Lethal Option. It Was Defunded Under Obama And Police Got Military Gear.

Forget emotional arguments about whether Black Lives Matter or All Lives Matter or any specific...

No Muon G-2 Hasn’t Found A Fifth Force Yet, A Win For Science Either Way.

Humanity has not found a fifth force of nature. This is a warning to the media at large. Please...

Just How Hard Did the Ever Given Hit The Suez Canal UPDATE Totally Freed

Basic physics can answer this question in a few different ways and it gives an insight into just...

User picture.
picture for Hank Campbellpicture for Fred Phillipspicture for Robert H Olleypicture for Patrick Lockerbypicture for Jerry Deckerpicture for Ramesh Chidambaram
Hontas FarmerRSS Feed of this column.

Currently I am an adjunct professor at the College of DuPage. My research focuses on astrophysics from massive star formation to astroparticle physics. Born and raised in Chicagoland I have lived... Read More »


Could we be living in a computer simulation of some sort?  In priciple physics will never be able to directly test this.  It is an appealing idea, mentioned by everyone from scientist to pop culture figures.  It appeals as this would naturally explain certain foundational mysteries of science.  Such as the fact that we can write mathematical laws that predict precisely what will occur in nature.  Can this question even be interrogated scientifically?  Is the question “Are we living in a simulation?” a matter for science or belief?

Orbital mechanics have dictated that the USA, UAE and PRC who sent probes to arrive at mars formed a defacto fleet of probes to the Red Planet. Arriving next week NASA and the PRC will independently be landing probes at Mars. When the rover Curiosity landed at Mars via a risky jet pack landing. It was the first time the “sky crane” had been tried. This time it will be done among even more daunting terrain. The most amazing part of it all is that it has to be done by the computers on the craft itself. There is no way it could be remotely controlled. From Earth as even at the speed of light, at the distance from Earth to Mars the light speed delay is about ten minutes. As this is happening at Mars the Sun is actually closer to us than Mars is.

Oumuamua was hypothesized by Avi Loeb to be an alien probe due to its apparent very flat shape and hyperbolic path through the solar system.  It was almost certainly not an alien probe.  The orbit indicates that it is an object that was never gravitationally bound to the Sun, and it is hard to imagine how a natural asteroid can appear to be quite so flat but while this makes it an odd ball it does not make it a space probe.  How can you as a reader or producer of science know this?  Occam’s razor, given competing explanations that fit the data equally well the simpler one is more likely to be true.  What leads many non-scientists astray is blind “belief” in prestige and expertise.

A Theory of Everything has been the subject of many pages of journals and of much more ink spilled. Sean Carroll makes the point that at low energies, and within a domain of validity that applies to every day physics, we have such a theory already.  Everyday high energy physics, every day astrophysics and of course the physics of your daily life are all well understood.  A Theory of Everything would really be a theory about that singular event from which everything we can know of sprang, the big bang. Also good luck and godspeed to Jim Bridenstine, Lady Gaga inagurated the first Hunger Games Quarter Quell.  I will also expalin why scientists must be political while remaining true to objective scientific facts. 

The following is an evolving news story. It seems that a disgruntled staffer changed the website of the department of state to indicate that the President has resigned. This appears to be false. I have sought comment from the White House, the personnel on the phone had no idea this was even an issue. While a formal comment or press release about this is hopefully going to occur, it can be said that Buzz Feed's reporting is likely accurate. Now it is abundantly clear that the hack of the department of states website was not a leak of any kind. Mike Pence and Donald Trump are going to work together to the end of his term. Per business insider.

Jan 6 th 2020 will be remembered as a day of farce and tragedy in close proximity.  Right now, passions are high, tensions are high.  Right now, is the time when scientist and academics must hew to our basic principles and the principles embodied in the constitution.  Even as leaders, especially but not exclusively Trump, not exclusively Republican fail to do so.  We are voices of reason who the general public greatly respect even when they disagree.  The very rancor of the anti-science people left and right comes from the fact the value what we say.  Their anger comes from the fact that people whose training they understand the value of