Closing some tabs.
Astronomers clash with Air Force over laser rules. This has to be rough for everyone involved. The armed forces, especially the Navy, have benefited from astronomy research in the past. Astronomers tell the armed forces when to expect communications interference from solar activity for example. And some of the equipment that scientists develop for research is used by the military for their own purposes. So in general, the US military tends to have a pretty good relationship with astronomers. Not perfect, of course, but better than some people might believe. On the other hand, in the interests of national security, they do not want to give too much info to the astronomers about the location of their satellites. What’s the problem with that?
These telescopes are often used by university students from around the world. Undergraduates. Grad students. Post docs. Professors. They come from all over with a wide range of experiences. And for the most part, these are pretty smart people. Smart enough to figure out, given a window of time and the probable path of a laser guided telescope, the location of a military satellite and how to disable it. See the problem now?
With a small window, this is academic. With a larger window, this becomes much more difficult, not only because the window might be artificially inflated on one side or another to give a person a false sense of where the satellite might be, but also because there might be more than one satellite involved.
In a best case scenario, I imagine a single person at a particular telescope who is given security clearance to know when satellites are overhead and to whom the researchers must petition if they want to use their scopes outside of their allotted window. There would still be all sorts of issues to sort out, but I imagine that it could be done. Still, for now, things are going to be a bit tense.
Next tab, first black hole for light created on earth. It’s not what you think. This is not a gravitational black hole, but an electromagnetic one. Still, pretty darn nifty! Who knew that invisibility cloaks would lead to black holes?
And here is one that I meant to write about yesterday, The Collider, a Particle, and a Theory About Fate. Gah! I first heard about it while at work the other night while skimming arXiv.org. It’s bad enough that our engineers and operators here at Fermilab warned the guys at the LHC that their magnets could have the potential to quench months before hand and yet they did not listen, resulting in the well publicized shutdown. But now someone there is trying to suggest time travelling particles as an excuse? Come on. Really? Why not good old fashioned human error? Or is Occam’s Razor too difficult a concept?
And finally, the lovely _yggdrasil showed me the following trailer and clip for the new Terry Gilliam flick coming soon. I must see it!
ETA: I have been waiting most of my life for scientists to do this, but Magnetricity? Really? Couldn’t we have come up with a better name than that?