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Was Our Universe Created By a Collision With a Parallel Universe? Two of the World's Leading Physicists Present a Radical Theory

Galaxy-am-0500-620 String theorists Neil Turok of Cambridge University and Paul Steinhardt, Albert Einstein Professor in Science and Director of the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science at Princeton believe that the cosmos we see as the Big Bang was actually created by the cyclical trillion-year collision of two universes (which they define as three-dimensional branes plus time) that were attracted toward each other by the leaking of gravity out of one of the universes. 

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New Year's 1925: Hubble's Discovery Reveals the Immense Scale of the Cosmos

M31C The greatest breakthrough in our understanding of the scale of the universe since Copernicus and Galileo came in October of 1923 when a young astronomer (and athele and Rhodes Scholar) from the University of Chicago discovered a Cephid variable in what was then known as the sprial nebula in Andromeda, or M31. Today we know M31 as the nearsest spiral galaxy to our own, but at the time it was argued that it was just a luminous cloud in the Milky Way.

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Was Inorganic Life Observed in Interstellar Dust Clouds? -A Holiday Classic


This summer, an international research team announced a breakthrough in self-replicating plasma crystals which could be an early form of inorganic life. New studies of dust that form lifelike structures suggest that extraterrestrial life may not be carbon-based at all. Researchers at the Russian Academy of Science, the Max-Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Germany, and the University of Sydney observed particles of inorganic dust form helical structures and go through other "lifelike" changes.

If you think that's the plot of a movie with a special effects budget and an extremely expendable cast of extras, congratulations, you just thought of something far more likely than what they claim.

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Did a Deep Biosphere Precede Life on Earth's Surface?


"No scientific subject holds more surprises for us than biology."

Freeman Dyson -Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton

Cornell University Professor Emeritus Thomas Gold, who for 20 years directed the Cornell Center for Radiophysics and Space Research, proposes the striking and controversial theory that "a full functioning ecosystem feeding on hydrocarbons, exists deep within the earth, and that a primordial source of hydrocarbons lies even deeper." Gold believes that the microbes predate all of the planet's other life forms, existing even before photosynthesis became the preferred life-giving form.

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Clues Sought to Unknown Human-Microbe Life Colonies

Microbes Few of us like to dwell on the fact our human cells are vastly outnumbered (10X) by microbes in our bodies’ cellular cities. If we went by cellular per capita, rather than size of cell, we’d be more microbe than man.

In fact, various microbes have colonized nearly every conceivable part of our bodies, from the inside out. Some make us sick, but most allow us to live. In fact, without our little micro-friends, we couldn’t survive. Microbes known as “probiotics” break down indigestible food, keep us “regular”, make vitamins, and aid the immune system by keeping out harmful bacteria, among other functions.

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Music's Power to Trigger Our Memories (A Holiday Feature)

Goats_head_soupRemember that great Stones' ballad you heard on your first date with that first great crush? Well, despite music's importance to our lives, very little is known about the memories and emotions that are often evoked when hearing a piece of music from our past. Does music have a more powerful effect on memory than other influences, like images, words, or smells?

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The Daily Flash -Eco, Space, Tech (12/31)

In a 32-page filing with the FCC last week, AT&T asked that the requirement that it support a landline network be repealed. It's an aggressive bid to get rid of the cumbersome wall jack and move entirely to VoIP. An all-IP phone network may be inevitable someday, but AT&T is clearly hoping for that day to be as soon as possible. Landlines are less efficient and more expensive to maintain for the carrier, and don't add much consumer benefit either. 

A voice from yesteryear calls out through the decade -- via his iBook with a 56k modem on Al Gore's series of tubes -- to see how far we've come. December 31, 1999, 11:59 p.m.Hello, people of 2010, and congratulations on finding this time capsule! I'm writing this chronicle of my era to the sweet clackety-clack of the keyboard on my state-of-the-art Apple iBook. Can you imagine? 366 MHz? This thing's faster than a jackrabbit on a date! And unlike the iMac, it's not like I put a VW Beetle on my desk. I only hope I'm able to reboot after midnight.

This map by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre examines the travel times from any spot on the globe to the nearest city of 50,000 or more inhabitants by land or water. The surprise?
As NewScientist observes, less than 10% of the world is more than two days away from a major city using ground-based travel. That stat only jumps to 20% when scaled to the Amazon, where river and expanding road networks have made even jungle terrain semi-assessable.

Made from a WWII German fighter plane and Yamaha Wild Star motorbike, this sidecar bike looks like a less-colorful Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. [Henrik Toth via LikeCool]

Garmin's 450T GPS is their highest end without an integrated camera, and so, the best discreet outdoor GPS they make. It has a barometer, altimeter, waterproofness, tilt-compensated compass and a receiver sensitive enough for quick fixes in canyons and forests.

I remember spending countless hours playing Lucasarts' X-Wing in college, painfully defending these Rebel frigates against TIE Fighters. Then I got TIE Fighter, and enjoyed destroying them. I wouldn't have the heart to reduce to bricks the enormous Nebulon-B.

Each month, the best new iPhone apps-and some older ones-are considered for Gizmodo's Essential iPhone Apps Directory. Who will join? Who will live? Who will die? Here are the best of December, and of the entire year.

4228403440_73f8f600d9_o Censoring the Dalai Lama in China iPhone Apps

Oh dear--this isn't going to end well, and it's a shame. Apple, which usually enjoys a rosy-tinted PR glow, has soured its image by censoring iPhone apps that relate to the Dalai Lama in China. Is this the cost of doing business in China?

"Could Time Flow Backwards in Other Universes?" Rising Star Rocks Einstein With New Theory of Time

A rising star in theoretical physics offers his awesome vision of our universe and beyond, all beginning with a simple question: Why does time move forward? In January, Caltech physicist Sean Carroll will release his much-anticipated debut book, From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time. SciFi buffs will grok out on his thesis that our perception of time is informed by entropy — the level of disorder in a system. The basic laws of physics work equally well forward or backward in time, yet we perceive time to move in one direction only—toward the future and that the movement from low to high entropy as the universe expands establishes the direction in which time flows. To account for it, we have to delve into the prehistory of the universe, to a time before the big bang.  Our universe may be part of a much larger multiverse, which as a whole is time-symmetric. 

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Does "Moore's Law" Apply to Cities? (A Holiday Classic)


Several thousand years ago the evolution of social organizations in the form of cities brought a new dynamic to the planet that seems to be uniquely human: People actually do walk on average faster in larger cities whereas heart rates decrease as animal size increases. With the city, it seems, mankind has created an "organism" operating beyond the bounds of biology.

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