Hubble Breaks Cosmic Distance Record

“We’ve taken a major step back in time, beyond what we’d ever expected to be able to do with Hubble. We managed to look back in time to measure the distance to a galaxy when the Universe was only three percent of its current age,” says Pascal Oesch of Yale University and lead author of the paper.To determine large distances, like the one to GN-z11, astronomers measure the redshift of the observed object. This phenomenon is a result of the expansion of the Universe; every distant object in the Universe appears to be receding from us and as a result its light is stretched to longer, redder wavelengths.Before astronomers determined the distance to GN-z11, the most distant measured galaxy, EGSY8p7, had a redshift of 8.68. Now, the team has confirmed GN-z11’s distance to be at a redshift of 11.1, which corresponds to 400 million years after the Big Bang.“The previous record-holder was seen in the middle of the epoch when starlight from primordial galaxies was beginning to heat and lift a fog of cold, hydrogen gas,” explains co-author Rychard Bouwens from the University of Leiden, the Netherlands. “This transitional period is known as the reionisation era. GN-z11 is observed 150 million years earlier, near the very beginning of this transition in the evolution of the Universe.”

This makes me think about the difference between a video camera and a still frame camera. A video camera, or video itself, is about capturing images over time, while a still camera, or a picture, is about capturing an image at this specific time. But what if the concept of a picture gets more complex, a photo taken today, right now, of a time in the past (realizing that this is always true of photography just on a incredibly tiny scale), then do we need to change the name of what is happening when the Hubble Space Telescope “documents” the past?

A new space telescope is so exciting but this is an ugly website

Source: Hubble breaks cosmic distance record | ESA/Hubble via Engadget

Ken Block’s GYMKHANA EIGHT

These are just silly. But boy oh boy do I enjoy them.

It seems all to fitting that track that starts to play at the end of Ken Block’s video would be M.I.A.’s Bad Girls. This feels like how music videos should be, epic, beautiful, ridiculous.

The Road Not Taken 

As you slide away from the curb, the sound of the electric drive motor hardly rises above a whisper. A few blocks from home, you steer the car into a special lane, and pull a lever under the dash. The front wheels lock in straight-ahead position. Simultaneously, the side-hatch door slides back and an electric third-rail shoe folds out. It makes contact with a power rail, the flanged wheels roll onto rails of a track, and your car accelerates at a controlled rate of 0.3g. You twirl a dial until you see ‘Fifth Street’ appear in a small window. Seconds later, as your car enters a main guideway at exactly 60 mph, you open the paper and begin scanning the news.

Fascinating long form article. This is near to my ideal vision for public transit.

The delightfully opposite of efficient public transit and another

Source: The road not taken : The Verge

Scratch Circles

David Marvin's Scratch Circle

This is a photo of a scratch circle taken by David Marvin

However, the lack of snow and ice on the beaches has allowed unique features called scratch circles, or Scharrkreise, to form on the sand. Etched by windblown, dried dune grasses, the circles take shape when the wind causes a bent stalk of grass to pivot around on its axis, scratching out an arc or full circle in the sand.

Source: Scratch circle and Earth Science Picture of the Day

Further Reading

This makes me think of Andy Goldsworthy and some of his work.