Listed below are three unhappy scientific information that may spoil your day (as a result of it is nonetheless 2020).
There are still a few weeks left in 2020, and if there was ever a guarantee it wouldn’t go down without a fight, it’s the barrage of sad scientific stories this week. Do you like aliens, dogs, or do you think that one day scientists will find evidence of something bigger than ourselves? Buckle up cause the news is all bad.
Let’s start with the big scheme and work our way into it. Can’t be much bigger than “God”, and that’s exactly what the astrophysicist Michale Hippke wanted to find out about the cosmic microwave background in her preprint research report entitled “In search of a message in the angular power spectrum”. “
As you may have guessed from the title, Hippke’s work focuses on recognizing whether a readable message is hidden in the microwave radiation that forms the background of our cosmos.
Per Hippke’s article:
The Creator of the Universe could put a message on the most cosmic of all billboards, the cosmic one
Sky with Microwave Background (CMB). It was suggested by Hsu & Zee (2006) to look for such a message in the CMB angular power spectrum.
I process the temperature measurements from the Planck and WMAP satellites and extract the binary bit stream. I estimate the information content of a potential message in the stream to be around 1,000 bits. The universality of the message can be limited by the observer-dependent location in space and the finite observation time on the order of 100 billion years after the Big Bang.
The newspaper is fascinating and worth reading, but because it’s 2020, I’m just going to spoil the end for you now. According to the paper, Hippke did not find it if there is a creator who left us a message:
I cannot find a meaningful message in the actual bitstream.
H / t: LiveScience.
It goes from bad to worse. Some of our most popular science papers here at TNW are about aliens, so I know this is going to break some hearts. You know all the planets around Proxima Centauri that astrophysicists and other scientists have excitedly said are in a so-called “habitable zone”?
Yeah … not so much. It turns out that the habitable zone is anything but. A team of astronomers, led by Andrew Zic of the University of Sydney, recently determined that planets in this area are likely to be exposed to conditions far too harsh to support any kind of life as we know it.
The problem, according to a recent article published in the Astrophyics Journal, is that solar flares from the star would cause seriously problematic space weather.
According to a report by Phys.Org, Zic claims:
Our research shows that this makes the planets very vulnerable to dangerous ionizing radiation, which could effectively sterilize the planets.
While there could of course still be some unknown form of radiation loving life, we can probably dispel any thoughts that this particular habitable zone is inhabited by something like us.
And finally, it breaks my heart to tell you this, but your dog has no damn idea what the hell you’re talking about. A study by researchers at the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest claims that dogs really are not able to understand as many words as we believe.
As the university put it in a press release on EurekAlert:
Dogs can distinguish between human speech sounds (e.g., “d”, “o”, and “g”), and there are similarities in the neuronal processing of words between dogs and humans. However, most dogs can only learn a few words during their lifetime, even if they live in a human family and are surrounded by human language.