Meteor Explodes Over Russia

A meteor exploded over Russia last night.  It’s still too early to be sure of what happened, but it appears that the meteor split and exploded while very high up.  I’m sure scientists are rushing to find any pieces that fell to the ground so they can figure out what type it was and where it came from.  This is probably unrelated to the asteroid that is passing by today because they were moving in different directions.  Quite the cosmic coincidence!  Here are some amazing videos of the event.

From the dashboard camera in someone’s car:

Here, someone started videoing the smoke trail and caught the sonic boom at about 25 seconds into the video.  It was loud enough to break windows and set off car alarms.

In these, the sonic boom is right at the beginning.  In the second video you can hear glass breaking.

Seven Ways To Ruin Your Professional Reputation

This article describes seven ways to ruin your professional reputation.  While this seems to only apply to people with career-type jobs, it is actually very applicable to your academic reputation in the classroom.  You can think of your teacher as your boss, your classroom as your workplace, and your coworkers as your fellow students.

Here are the 7 ways:

  1. Make Excuses
  2. Miss Deadlines
  3. Don’t Prepare for Meetings (or Don’t Prepare for Class)
  4. Be Too Tit-For-Tat (or Expecting Special Treatment)
  5. Be Unresponsive
  6. Make Self-Deprecating Jokes (or Have No Self-Confidence)
  7. Underestimate the Details

What Would Hyperspace Travel Really Look Like?

The sight of the Millennium Falcon making the “jump to lightspeed” is one of the most iconic images from the Star Wars trilogy. But University of Leicester students have calculated that – in reality – Han, Luke and Leia would not see the light from stars stretching past the ship as we are shown in the movies.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-01-star-wars-hyperspace.html

Star Wars: What would hyperspace travel really look like?

Another Wikipedia Hoax Discovered

It went undetected for five years on Wikipedia, but now a seemingly meticulous entry about a 17th century conflict between colonial Portugal and India’s Maratha empire has been outed as a hoax.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-01-wikipedia-goan-war-unmasked-elaborate.html

Here’s a list of other Wikipedia hoaxes.  Think before using Wikipedia as a source!

Worried About the End of the World? Don’t Be.

Phil Plait, aka the Bad Astronomer, is very good at debunking bad astronomy.  His first book, which is quite good, is titled “Bad Astronomy.” (seeing a theme here?)  In this post on his blog, he explains why the world isn’t going to end on December 21st.  An excerpt:

Here’s the deal: According to the doomsday prophecy, the ancient Maya predicted the end of the world would occur on Dec. 21, 2012. We know this because that’s the date their calendar ends. While they weren’t specific about how Armageddon was to come about, there are a host of astronomical events that can and/or will occur that can reduce the Earth to a burned-out cinder.

Except not so much. Not a single thing I wrote in that previous paragraph basks in the warm glow of reality, despite being repeated ad nauseum by doomsday promulgators. It’s all nonsense, garbage, taurine feces, flim flam, and pifflery.

How so? Well, it just so happens I know a bit about this, and will happily (though grumpily) be your tour guide through this latest in a long (and, ironically, unending) series of dead-wrong end-of-the-world claims.

Welcome to the Maya Notpocalypse™.

This isn’t going to happen. It is a pretty cool picture, though.