What Color Is An Orange ?
A question like that, here at science20.com
, just has to be a trick question.
It is possible, by the application of common sense arguments, to prove to a scientific level of certainty that an orange is absolutely not orange.
How don't we see ?
Between 41% and 67% of participants, depending on the exact way the question was asked, thought that the eye sent out some kind of ray or beam in order for us to see.
That's not the startling bit.
One of the earliest lessons science students learn is that a beam of light travels in a straight line and fan out, or diffract, as they travel. Recently it was discovered that light rays can travel without diffraction in a curved arc in free space. These rays of light were dubbed “Airy beams,” after the English astronomer Sir George Biddell Airy, who studied what appears to be the parabolic trajectory of light in a rainbow.
Now, scientists with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have demonstrated the first technique that provides dynamic control in real-time of the curved trajectories of Airy beams over metallic surfaces.
My wife and I once saw a rainbow and we discussed how it happened. She listened somewhat patiently for the first few sentences and then told me I was spoiling the magic of the rainbow, like it was somehow less romantic if she knew how it happened.(1)
Men, you are with me on this; she has a man who can make a rainbow for her any time she wants - and will. That's a higher order of romantic, I think you will agree. Plus, I have to defend all rainbow-making men and note that because my rainbow is a special distribution of colors whose reference point is her eyes, no one else will ever see it. Is it literally for her eyes only.
The future of networking may mean streaming high-definition movies at blazing fast speeds and the routers are the lights in the room.
Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, Heinrich Hertz Institute HHI in Berlin, Germany, have developed a new transfer technology for video data and were able to transfer data at a rate of 100 megabits per second (Mbit/s), without any losses, using LEDs in the ceiling that light up more than ten square meters (90 square feet).
"This means that we transferred four videos in HD quality to four different laptops at the same time," says Dr. Anagnostis Paraskevopoulos from the HHI.
Researchers from Cornell say that by using a bit of electromagnetics wizardry they can create a 'hole' in space and keep it hidden - spatial cloaking. Invisible time.
We see things using light, of course, namely as light scatters on an object. Using materials with a negative index of refraction, experiments have been able to create an 'invisibility cloak' for objects, which is certainly exciting. The downside is they are not in the visible range so Romulans are not going to be invading Earth any time soon.
Researchers are reporting the construction of what they term "artificial molecules" and say they can use the technology to engineer a new generation of nanomaterials that control and direct the energy absorbed from light.
Including an antenna that can build itself.
Traditional antennas increase the amount of an electromagnetic wave – such as a radio frequency – that is absorbed, and then funnel that energy to a circuit. These nanoantennas instead increased the amount of light that is absorbed and funneled it to a single site within their molecule-like complexes. This concept is already used in nature in light harvesting antennas, constituents of leaves that make photosynthesis efficient.
University of Utah scientists have used invisible infrared light to make rat heart cells contract. Sounds interesting but not revolutionary, right? But they also used infrared light to cause toadfish inner-ear cells to send signals to their brain - which might improve cochlear implants for deafness.
One thing you probably know about black holes, no matter how much science you took, is that they have never actually been seen. Instead, the science consensus is that masses that sit at the centers of galaxies like our own Milky Way are presumed to be black holes.
Researchers in Nature Physics say a property of light called orbital angular momentum may be detectable because of a 'twist' in this momentum caused by black holes. And we could detect it, if we just know what to look for.
In case you don't know it, the Navy is not the 1970s "Village People" branch of the military. These guys do some cool stuff and are making even cooler toys to do it with.
Want to find future tech for megawatt-class laser beams in next-generation weapon systems? The Navy. Want to go completely science fiction and find work on a railgun with a projectile that rides an electromagnetic current to its target? The Navy.
We know that light has mass and that beaming enough light at something can push it away - solar sails that will move a craft through the cosmos are based on this idea and NASA tested that concept earlier today when it launched NanoSail-D, a nanosatellite (cubesat) which will unfold to a 100 square foot polymer sail and travel in low earth orbit for a few months.Sails? We don't need no stinking sails. Credit: NASA