Sunday, February 14, 2016

Spanish Roots

A couple of years ago, we tied the knot in a colonial Spanish built-church and had the reception at Spanish-themed restaurant. Fast forward today, we are still celebrating our marriage and our everyday Valentines Day. 
But we look back not only to our marital beginning but to our ancestral roots as well, and went to a Spanish-themed restaurant. And this time around, it’s just us. No photographers dictating us what to do, no guests that we have to mind if they’re comfortably seated and and had a fill with sumptuous feast, no programs and wedding dances, ceremonial accolades and rippling undulations that we have to mind. 

What we missed eating on our wedding, we made sure that we will have our slice everyday of our marriage life. And here are some excerpts of it of our dining lives together. 

We got the entire place for ourselves and these are for today. 
Freshly squeezed citrus Calamondin and a wine bottle.
Lengua Estofado. 
Sauteed Filipino-style noodles.
Sizzling Tenderloin with corn and carrots. 
Home-made Blueberry Cheesecake. 

So while we have an unorthodox, quiet, and simple celebration this time, no bouquet of flowers but on food, we still manage to keep each other’s smile unabated. 


Happy Valentines Day everyone. 

Fresh catch from LIGO

“Einstein’s gravitational theory, which is said to be the greatest single achievement of theoretical physics, resulted in beautiful relations connecting gravitational phenomena with the geometry of space; this was an exciting idea.” -Richard Feynman
Gazing out in the sky, into the vastness of the universe, we usually obtain information about it by spectral emission from light of various wavelengths. However, there are other possibilities for astronomy, including by looking for the neutrinos emitted by astrophysical sources — first detected in the supernova explosion of 1987 — and in the gravitational waves emitted by accelerating masses. However, the study of gravitational wave is as elusive as the end of a rainbow. 

Few days ago though, the universe is trumpeting a yet again another signal for mankind. This time, it’s the elusive gravitational wave, a previously theorised model to explain the perturbations of spacetime which is propagated as waves, travelling outward from the source, at a rate similar to the speed of light. The existence of gravitational waves is a possible consequence of the Lorentz invariance of general relativity as it brings the concept of a finite speed of propagation of the physical interactions with it.

LIGO(Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory) in Luisiana and Washington demonstrated its proof-of-concept from 2002-2010, and then operations suddenly gets decommissioned while undergoing upgrade. In September of 2015 though, it was reprised, this time with the promised upgrade, and thus came the Advanced LIGO. Advanced LIGO announced the discovery of this gravitational wave which is a result of a merging of two black holes, close to the size of Quezon City. 

But what does this mean to us? Why make a huge fuss abut it? 

For one, gravitational wave is a piece of the puzzle. It is a a form of information, and by detecting them we could get information from previously unobservable parts of the universe.

Take these two black holes, for instance. Both are less than 150 kilometres but located 1.3 billion light-years away. We have no other instruments in existence that could detect information from objects so small and far away. 

Second, we can now closely say that gravitons, a hypothetical particle of gravity, is massless, hence able to travel at speed of light. 


Third, this will pave way to a yet another form of astronomy, a Gravitational Wave Astronomy. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Excerpt

From getting this job as an Editor-in-Chief last 2012, I haven’t really appeared in our personality highlight corner, which is called "Gazers and Go-Getters", but this 2015 changed all that. My first time and here is the excerpt of that. 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Grissini Ristorante in Marikina City

Marikina has become teeming to be a treasure trove of some of the hidden culinary gems in the metro, and what surpasses me is that most of these restaurants does not compromise commercial value with quality. 

Lately, I was invited by a friend who happens to be a condo-mate for her son's birthday party. I wasn't able to go to her son's last year's birthday celebration so I made it a point that my schedule is cleared for this year's celebration. Thankfully, she sent out the invitation in advance and with so much leeway to adjust my other undertakings. 

Grissini Ristorante is an Italian-themed casual dining that is just a few blocks away from where we(my friend and I) both live. It brims of a homey feel interior with cozy ambiance, vibrant lighting fixtures, and a friendly staff to boot. The couch is an added superb comfort while you wait for your table, or perhaps you can opt to browse around their desserts section to choose which pastries you are going to conclude your regular comfort food with. 

Although, I haven't really dined in as I have to leave early, let me give you a glimpse as to what they served.

Insalata. 

Bread Sticks

Pizza.

Basic staple, one a Filipino and the other perhaps Western. 

Pasta. 

Italian Herbed chicken. 

Epicurean Panna Cotta. 

Baked Confectionery Corner. 

This is probably the best children's party place I have been into, and I have to give kudos to my friend who invited me despite the fact that only intimate kins are the one she folded.

Next time we(my wife and I) will dine in and saunter around here. 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Possibility of Light Saber

Today, the world is inflicted with a Star Wars fever, having the new Star Wars movie "The Force Awakens" already out in the theaters. It has been an iconic movie with lots of futuristic gadgetry and weapons, and one can immediately point out the light saber to be a cutting-edge, laser-based blade. 

In one of my physics lectures, I was once sidelined by a question on the technological feasibility of a light saber. The answer is not even close for the next 50 years. 

First, it's impossible to solidify light that will terminate in midair, just like a wielded light saber. Photon itself is a component of light and must travel at a speed of light at any pointed direction with beams that will stretch all throughout the sky(if pointed upwards). 

Second, the energy requirement(12,000 degrees Fahrenheit) to create such an immense lasing material is tantamount to tapping a powerplant, typically several orders of magnitude to around 10 to the 6th power of megawatt energy. Or to address portability issue, you can also use a miniature hydrogen bomb(packs of lithium deuteride) which isn't really a sound idea. 

The closest to a light saber is a Plasma Torch, made up of superheated ionized inert gas(neon in a magnetic field), and perhaps this might pave way to the advent of this technology. 

So for now, just enjoy a light saber toy because it will remain to be a toy for a long time.

Music Bank Family KTV and Restaurant at HK Sun Plaza

Philippines is undoubtedly the entertainment capital of the world, having been a global producer of world-class musical artistry at every known joints and stages. And borrowing words from singer, songwriter and Grammy award winner, Patti Austin: "...Because you(Filipinos) are so ever loving talented. There's a thing in the entertainment business in general about people who know a thing about artists who come from the Philippines, whether it'd be a band on a cruise ship, or a house band in a club, or a singer in a lounge, you can tell if it's a Filipino artists or musicians because they know how to lay it down. They're very professional, extremely talented. And you know in America there's kind of a story out there that black folks are the best singers and they have the best voices, and among black folks in America, we think that the best singers are from the Philippines. We always talk about it, we tease it all the time, it's like "have you heard that girl from the Philippines?" And we just say "yeah she's from the Philippines, what do you expect, everybody sings their butt off in the Philippines"' is a testament that we are a force to be reckoned with. 

It's true that for every Filipino household, there has to be one or two who can sing and not just a karaoke singing but really sing like a pro. And I don't mean to raise my stature, but back in the days, I have had my fair share of winning streaks in this field(Negros Navigation to Goldstar singing contests to name a few. Yup, back in the days where Goldstar was still Goldstar and not LG). And my musical influences are Jack Jones and Nonoy Zuniga, and you can't like Jack Jones and Nonoy Zuniga without knowing their songs and vocal deliveries very well. 

But I would back in the days because, just like any talent, my voice may have perished from not having to sing frequently the way I used to during middle school and college. I was known to have always brought along with me a Minus One Cassette Tape. I scrimped on a lot of things to buy Minus One and Multiplex Cassette Tapes and some of my steal deals were that of Nonoy Zuniga(that album that contains a medley of Jack Jones and Lou Rawles), Louie Reyes and Eugene Villaluz voice training in Cassette Tape, Jaime Salazar Cebuano classics, etc. 

And my singing style has been left out of style for today's generation. I still stick to a full bass, vibrato-driven, very linear range, while the new styles right now have less vibrato(and faster vibrato at the end of a note) but lots of vocal calisthenics(similar as to how RnB singers deliver up and down, wavy texture). 

So to somehow alleviate the feeling of archaic rustiness, I went to our Christmas party at Music Bank, HK Sun Plaza, to sing my heart out. Still it didn't do any good though. :)

But more than that, it's also the food. I guess, I am more of a food now than a performer. So let's see what they have for us. 

Taco.

Beef Steak(Filipino style).

Shanghai Roll.

Chopped Hotdogs with spicy sauce. 

Spring Roast Chicken. 

Fries. 

Not in the picture are the 50 bottles of beer that comes along without the package(if I am not mistaken). 

Complimentary fruit cocktail form the Music Bank management. 

More than that, everyone was happy and indiscrimately singing. However, it turned out to be a My Way Fest as everyone seemed to render their own versions of the iconic, lethal, Frank Sinatra's classic. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

On that Presumed Alien Megastructure in KIC 8462852

KIC 8462852 - News broke out about this star with dramatic dip on its brightness, purposely caused by an alien megastructure(hypothesized by some to be a Dyson sphere).

Using Kardashev scale(a measurement model to determine a planetary civilization's technological advancement based on the usable energy requirements at its disposal), it is said that race who are able to harness the power of its entire star belong to a Type ll civilization(human race is a type 0 civilization). Either they suck up the power of parent star or that they make use of the hydrogen materials from a nearby star by an orbiting reactor of a truly immense scale.

Now, if the KIC 8462852 is some 1,500 lightyears away, then we have witnessed the phenomena 1,500 years ago. And that means that by now, most likely they have made a technological leap already from having to harness the power of their star into something else. Maybe they are already transitioning into harnessing the power of their galaxy(active galactic nuclei). So even if we direct our powerful telescope array into this star, chances are we might not be able to find anything.

Note that from the time we started using fire to the time we ventured into space only took a hundred thousand years, how much much from a Type ll civilization to explore other energy sources, which they can actually transition in an exponentially speedier manner and in a similarly smaller time scale.

A friend of mine(from the non-scientific community) suggested that why don't we jet go there an witness it ourselves. Well, the suggestion is as outrageous as the assumption that it might be driven by a Klingon-based technology(physicists don't put "alien" into an equation to resolve a certain phenomena). 

Provided that we use New Horizon as our interstellar ship as it is already hurtling into the far end of the Solar System, our vehicle is only traveling at 50,000 km/hr, then it would take us roughly around 27 million years to go there.  

Cryogenic sleep in a anti-matter fueled ship for interstellar travel, anyone? 

Photo used in this article is merely grabbed from the internet.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Liquid Water on Mars

When the news broke out that Mars have liquid water, I was often asked by my colleagues(from the non-scientific community) on what the ramification is. Well, it is the fact that liquid water is an amniotic fluid for life. But let me start by accounting the physics behind it. 

Liquid water on Mars was thought to be unlikely existing(at least that is how it goes for the last 3 billion years). And as far we see, considering the two culprits,1) thin atmosphere 2) extremely cold temperature and varies similarly extremely over similarly extremely short span of time, makes the liquid water impossible to exist for more than few hours. 

Not only that the atmospheric pressure to be less than 0.7% than that of Earth, the Martian dunes are frozen, and gets immediately dried up, bypassing liquid phase. On Earth, the atmospheric pressure is high enough such hat water will be in a liquid state under 270- 370 Kelvin(Earth's typical average temperature range), so water is abundant. But on Mars, the atmospheric pressure is somewhere between 0.6% and 1.0% than that of Earth, or between 100 and 150 times smaller. Mars is also much colder than Earth, so that these two factors combined means that there’s either never liquid water on Mars, and it goes from solid ice straight to water vapor when it gets warm (and back again when it gets cold), or it can be liquid water for a very narrow temperature range that only occurs very infrequently on Mars.

But the question is, has Mars ever possess that temperature in its entire existence? Perhaps not, but while the average temperature of Mars may have been different in the past, there was never a larger atmosphere and the temperature was never stable. So we infer, to some point, that Mars could never have had a stable ocean, river stream or any body of water for that instance; the best it could have was an ice-bed that melts during the day, and lucky enough not to boil, and suddenly evaporate. 

So it was a twist of thought process when NASA(from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter data) announced(and confirmed) the discovery of liquid water on Mars. Not only did the red planet has a watery past, leaving us with a number of distinctive features that could only arise from liquid flowing on its surface, including dried-up riverbeds, martian spherules, dozens of layers of sedimentary rock, canyons that show evidence of being formed by water-based erosion, and frozen lakes, icecaps, and sub-surface ice. 

But we have already had a previous understanding to explain the physics of its planetary condition, so what could be the smoking gun for its trace mount of moisture and liquid water indications? Since there are hints of flowing water, could life have once sustained(or is currently sustained in the form of microbes) in Mars? But how come it has liquid water. The answer maybe staring us in the face. An antifreeze that is a common household ingredient, "salt". It's this briny substrate that will hold moisture in otherwise barren environment. 

So the question lingers, "could these briny, crusty pools potentially host primitive, Martian life?" It’s long been noted that the Martian terrain is similar to colder deserts here on Earth, and while large, multicellular life doesn’t appear to be the norm on Mars, single-celled, salt-rich life might still be extant today. If the microbes on Earth can evolve in the arsenic environments and volcanic vents, it will most likely thrive in a Martian water saturated with Magnesium Perchlorates(hydrated salts) which is a far less harmful than those of Earth's harshest living conditions. We haven't had any data about that as of yet. 

So let's keep abreast and see where the probe will lead us. 

Photos used in these articles are merely grabbed from the internet

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

On Parallel Universe, Multiverse and Many Worlds Interpretation

One of the movies that stormed my senses so hard was the one with Jet Li entitled "The One"(the other perhaps is "Star Gate") that talks about him being an officer of a multiverse authority agency that polices interdimensional travel via wormhole, seeking to hunt down all variations of himself in alternate universes. But now, there are many of these multiverse science fiction stories being made, motion picture or comic books-wise. 

But where did this "Parallel Universe" and "Many-Worlds-Interpretation" concept come into existence in a scientific context? While other laws of the universe like General Relativity, particularly one that involves gravity, are predictive and deterministic(in other words, if we knew the positions and momenta of all the particles, and had infinite computational power, the properties of any particle an arbitrary amount of time into the future can be predicted), one can't say the same for Quantum Mechanics.  For example, in a Uranium nucleus, you very well know that it will decay after a given amount of time if you get a large enough sample of Uranium, however predicting properties of the larger ensemble is different than doing so for an individual particles and that there is also no way you can predict what any one particular particle will do. The same quantum weirdness and indeterminism turns up in other system. And that is just a Uranium atom, there are at least 10 to the 90th particles in our observable universe. So how many times did that one particle experience a quantum interaction with another? How many times did its position or momentum change? How many times did one particular quantum possibility happen for that particle, and hence, not the other possibilities? The answer is staggering. Each time a nuclear reaction takes place inside a star(something that happens maybe 10 to the 20th times each second in our Sun alone), a huge number of particles experience a quantum interaction. And if just one of these interactions had a different outcome, our Universe would be in a different quantum state than the one it’s actually in. 

In quantum mechanics, a particle’s property is defined by a wavefunction, and that function changes over time. While measurable data is a real thing and wavefunction is another, in our understanding of Many Worlds Theory, the wavefunction is definitely real, and so every time a “quantum decision” can be made, every quantum possibility happens somewhere, and what we experience in our universe is simply a path being chosen by one of these plurality of quantum possibilities. And if we want to be strictly mathematical about it, the cosmic inflation(10 to the negative 30th seconds) could have also produced 10 to the 10th to the 90th more or less worth of identical space, time and matter for it to happen. 

However the many-worlds-interpretation doesn’t require that Parallel Universes are real. The Parallel Universes are, in a conservative view, is simply just a visualization of what the wavefunction creates.

But there are some physicists who are putting together the huge amount of universe-spacetime created via eternal inflation and the many-worlds-interpretation model/effort to argue that Parallel Universes are real, and that for every "quantum realization" that occurs in our universe, there exists a real Parallel Universe where everything that ever occurred in our universe occurred also over there, except for that one difference.

And that difference is that in this another universe, I am an emperor. Or a rock star. Or perhaps I am the one who fused General Relativity with Quantum Mechanics and came up with one equation to all known laws of the universe. I am the one who read the mind of god. 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Black Hole and the Information Paradox

Black Hole is my most favorite subject because it involves lots of spooky action, lots of calculative creativity(or creative calculation, depending on which side you're looking at).

We all know that Quantum Theory and General Relativity don't really mix well in a scientific cocktail. THEY DON'T AGREE WITH EACH OTHER. Quantum Theory was supposed to describe all physical processes of nature but does not very well good at predicting what will happen, rather just the probability, and you can only make sense of it, in the realm of science, when you add up all the probabilities, thus the sum should be equal to one. On the other hand, General Relativity only makes fuss about gravity. Unlike quantum theory, general relativity predicts exactly what will happen, and it says that what goes into the black hole never comes out(specifically when it reaches Event Horizon). According to general relativity, the information is stuck there forever(See? There is forever).

Now here comes the paradox which is a little challenging to the neural glands. It says that the black hole, surrounded by quantum fields, will radiate particles(Hawking radiation in the form of particles of zero or low mass particles, such as photons or neutrinos or gravitons) and shrink in size, and will eventually evaporate. Now if that were the case so, it violates quantum theory. Or maybe, this is a point where quantum theory changes? But since the information can't get out of the black hole, maybe the information is stored into the Hawking radiation? But it can't be so, rather than the possibility that it is being copied? But having two copies of information also violates quantum theory.

Now, some physicists propose a way to circumvent it using a concept of COMPLEMENTARITY(proposed by Leonard Susskind and folks), which states that information can be both inside and outside of the black hole, depending on one's perspective. However, this model is self-contradicting and requires a supplemental model called holography to be true as well. The idea is that the physics of the three-dimensional interior of the black hole, where gravity obviously plays a role, can instead be viewed, via a rather mysterious transformation, as physics just above the two-dimensional horizon, where it is described by two-dimensional equations that do not include gravity at all. Some physicists also conjectured String Theory(a quantum generalization of general relativity and may well be a candidate theory of all known laws of nature in the universe), which they said to be simply a quantum theory without gravity.

But as a black hole evaporates, complementarity itself runs into a serious paradox. If the outside observer sees evaporation occur without loss(or copying) of information, than an infalling observer crashes into something at the horizon whimsically called a “FIREWALL” where there wasn’t supposed to be anything. Another violation occurs, and this time it violates expectations from general relativity horrendously. It seems that if we were suppose to hinge quantum theory to be the sole description of the science behind black hole, general relativity requires a total overhaul. AGAIN, THEY DON'T AGREE WITH EACH OTHER, and there's no sign of String Theory coming to the rescue and bridging the mathematical divide. I am confused and so does everyone else. 

There are lots and lots of proposals as to how to get out of this conundrum but you’re not hearing about most of them, except for Stephen Hawking’s because of his sensational pop culture status similar to X-Men's Dr. Charles Xavier, but he’s really just one of many heads tossing around this idea. In fact, this is actually the nth time Stephen Hawking keeps on changing his stand about this. So Stephen Hawking didn't solve anything yet, he just propose a new model of understanding which is not yet what science is all about. Similarly, don't expect this equation to be solved within a 10year time frame. Perhaps not even 20 years.

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