It’s, like, English, or something.

From the Wall Street Journal:

BN-HY591_EDP042_P_20150419144139Lamentations about “like” are commonplace, and for good reason. Many young people—and a lot of middle-age people too—find it impossible to get through a sentence without using “like” repeatedly and for no reason at all. It has become an all-purpose seasoning: “He’s not, like, very happy about it, and, like, I’m not either, because, like, the whole thing is, like, irrational.” For some, “like” plus a facial expression or gesticulation can do most of the work of language. “I was like [expression of alarm], and he was like [expression of disdain], and now I’m like [wave of the hand].”

Read the whole article…

The Most Accurate Clock Ever

A new type of atomic clock was recently made at the University of Colorado at Boulder that is much more accurate than any atomic clock we currently have.  This clock is so precise that it will keep perfect time for 5 billion years before being off by a second.  Sounds great, right?  Unfortunately, it’s so accurate that it can measure the difference in the rate time flows between being on the wall and being on the floor.

Right now, on the top of Mount Everest, time is passing just a little bit faster than it is in Death Valley. That’s because speed at which time passes depends on the strength of gravity. Einstein himself discovered this dependence as part of his theory of relativity, and it is a very real effect.

The relative nature of time isn’t just something seen in the extreme. If you take a clock off the floor, and hang it on the wall, Ye says, “the time will speed up by about one part in 1016.”

That is a sliver of a second. But this isn’t some effect of gravity on the clock’s machinery. Time itself is flowing more quickly on the wall than on the floor. These differences didn’t really matter until now. But this new clock is so sensitive, little changes in height throw it way off. Lift it just a couple of centimeters, Ye says, “and you will start to see that difference.”

Read the rest of the article.

The world's most precise atomic clock is a mess to look at. But it can tick for billions of years without losing a second.

The world’s most precise atomic clock is a mess to look at. But it can tick for billions of years without losing a second.

A Spell Chequed Poem

Be careful.  Just because something is spell checked doesn’t mean it makes sense.  I found this in my internet wanderings.

Eye have a spelling chequer,
It came with my Pea Sea.
It plane lee marks four my revue
Miss Steaks I can knot sea.

Eye strike the quays and type a whirred
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am write oar wrong
It tells me straight a weigh.

Eye ran this poem threw it,
Your shore real glad two no.
Its vary polished in its weigh.
My chequer tolled me sew.

A chequer is a bless thing,
It freeze yew lodes of thyme.
It helps me right all stiles of righting,
And aides me when eye rime.

Each frays come posed up on my screen
Eye trussed too bee a joule.
The chequer pours o’er every word
Two cheque sum spelling rule.

Employers Asking for SAT Scores

As if taking the SAT to get into college wasn’t stressful enough, now employers are asking prospective employees for their SAT scores, even if it’s been decades since you took the test.  Good luck!

From the Wall Street Journal:

A low score doesn’t necessarily kill a person’s chances, hiring managers say; instead, they say they believe SATs and other college entrance exams like the ACT help when comparing candidates with differing backgrounds or figuring out whether someone has the raw brainpower required for the job.

But some companies do set targets, particularly on the math section. Mark Rich, managing director of consulting-industry recruiting firm Whitehouse Pimms, says clients often tell him to screen for candidates whose SAT scores placed them in or above the 95th percentile. Investment firm D.E. Shaw Group asks candidates to break out their math and verbal results.

Physics Phriday: Nuclear Fusion Milestone Passed

Inside a fusion reactor.

Nuclear fusion is the process that powers the sun.  It can release a tremendous amount of energy from a small amount of fuel.  Many people see it as the energy source of the future.  However, no one has had a reactor good enough that they get more energy out of the fusion reaction than they put into the reaction.  It’s not a very good energy source if you have to put more energy into it than you can get out of it.  That’s like having a battery in your phone that has to stay connected to the charger, but the level of charge keeps going down.  Not very useful.

For the first time, researchers at Lawrence Livermore Labs have created a fusion reaction that gives them more energy than they put into it.  This is a huge milestone in fusion research!  We’re on our way to having a Mr. Fusion on every time machine!

Read the full article.

An uncontrolled fusion reaction.  "Tsar Bomba" was the largest hydrogen bomb ever exploded.

An uncontrolled fusion reaction. “Tsar Bomba” was the largest hydrogen bomb ever exploded.