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NASA Opens ISS to Tourist, Roscosmos Did It First. A Long Time Ago!

NASA welcoming private space flight participants is not new and it is misleading to call these...

General Relativity at 100. A Primer For People Who Know Algebra.

General Relativity (GR) is 100 years old and today.   Many writings will try to simplify...

When Black Holes and Neutron Stars Collide, These Are The Possible Results.

A quark star is a hypothesized type of object more dense than a Neutron star but not dense enough...

Gravitational Wave Astronomy In Space, Public Talks of LISA Con #4.

Gravitational wave astronomy in space, that is the goal of the LISA Collaboration.  LISA stands...

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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 »

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Stephen W Hawking actually wrote me a letter in response to one I sent him (actually I think it was an email) while in hindsight it was very likely to have been written by a functionary for him or the like it was still nice.  At about the same time I sent a message to someone at Fermilab and got a response which they posted to their website and kept there ever since.  Which I consider to be a distinct honor as it was either the first or one of the first such questions (and alone the lines of something people must think of from time to time if they know a little physics.) 
Brian Greene would say that those who doubt string theory just lack vision or  the capacity to understand it.  Balderdash!  String Theory is a beautiful system of mathematics which can be use to construct physical theories ...but it is not science.

Even if we ban guns today, in any realistic situation, there would still be tens of millions of guns in circulation.   This fact means that in order to give teachers a real fighting chance,we must be trained and armed.  As a teacher at the college level right now all I can legally do is be a human shield.  Professors and teachers are the true FIRST* responders in an active shooting situation at a school.  We are the only ones who are expected to go into a potentially dangerous situation completely unprotected other than with the armor of our title and the supposed power of our position. 
The recently released paper noting that dwarf galaxy's orbits do not obey the simplest models of dark matter is not news to any physicist who pays attention to cosmology.  In short, the simplest models of dark matter, the DM in CDM, may need to be tweaked but hopefully not by too much.  So the rest of the media and everyone else can relax.  That's not to say the work isn't very important.  

We all pay our electric and gas bills in winter with more urgency than in summer because cold can kill you.  Without both electricity and gas modern furnaces will not function.  So we pay and think that the cold will be at bay for a month.  Then my family gets this letter which I was only made aware of by my parents yesterday.   ComEd the local electric utility and a corporate subsidiary of Exelon  is going to shut off the power for about 240 minutes between the hours of 8AM and 4PM.  When asked if they will give any warning on the day of this shut off, say a phone call alerting people, I was told no. That outage window which comprises the entirety of the winter daylight hours in Chicagoland and right no

Evidence shows that banning scientific words does not stop them from being used.   Today in many reports the Trump administration banned the use by the CDC of the words or phrases, transgender, evidence based, science based, fetus, vulnerable, entitlement, and diversity.  Some individual in the trump administration made this call I'd really like to know who (Sounds like a Jeff Sessions kind of thing.  VP Pence would be too politically smart to try something so foolish.)