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Hontas FarmerRSS Feed of this column.

Currently I am an adjunct professor at the City Colleges of Chicago and the College of DuPage . My research focuses on astrophysics from massive star formation to astroparticle physics. Born and... Read More »


Oumuamua the object which passed through our solar system in October 2017 with a trajectory that indicates it was not of this solar system was never photographed.  We only saw a point of light that that changes in brightness as it rotates.   There could be many reasons a natural body might change greatly in brightness, trajectory, and velocity as it rotates.  In all the randomness of collisions between bodies in the heavens almost anything is possible.  However, when it comes to alien life, we have to be careful.  No one or two things can give us reasonable certainty.   


Explaining something simply is not easy.  Linus Tech Tips has done the best job I have seen of breaking down the computational aspects of how a project like LIGO works.  It helps to have a small video production studio to create good visual aids.  Physicist like me are most interested in the pure physics-based challenges in such a project.  Isolating a signal from all of various types of environmental noise involved in detecting tiny distortions in the distance between points, the space time metric (which is what gravitational waves are.)

Gravitational Waves

So, what is a metric?  In non-technical terms it is a measuring stick that gives the distance between objects in space-time. 

On Kevin Hart, Eddie Murphy could show him what an apology for past anit-gay jokes looks like.  Eddie Murphy managed to do this  in nineteen-hundred and ninety-six.  Kevin Hart never ever did apologize at all.

China has a track record of slow gradual advancement in space flight technology which is unlikely to alarm the US of A into action in the way Sputnik did. The timeline of their advancement suggests no reason to panic about their space program. Their achievement is great. Landing on the far side of the moon (the side which always faces away from the earth is no small feat.) This is a great achievement, but this is not the beginning of a new epoch of history or any such thing.

Update: Comments from the gentleman who took the video and a different trans lady with an interesting take on the whole incident. Video showing a self-identified transgender woman having a moment after being misgendered has gone viral and this raises some important issues. The issue is one of genuine presentation, civility, and having realistic expectations.

Predicting the future is an inherently risky business.  However, based on available data there are a few things we can say will or likely will happen in 2019. Ranging from astronomy to physics and technology here are my three predictions.  These are based on available and linked information and my learned analysis.