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Dark Matter as an Escape

first_img(Visited 19 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Employing exotic unobservable entities such as dark matter may be an escape from scientific rigor in more ways than one.Recently, the notion that most of the universe is composed of dark matter took an evidential hit.  Live Science said, “A sprawling collection of galaxies and star clusters surrounding our own Milky Way is challenging long-standing theories on the existence of dark matter, the mysterious substance thought to pervade the universe.”  According to a survey of satellite galaxies of the Milky Way conducted at the University of Bonn, dark matter theories fail to account for the arrangement of matter in a region spanning 10 times our galaxy’s diameter. The astronomers extended the impact of their findings to the entire universe:“Our model appears to rule out the presence of dark matter in the universe, threatening a central pillar of current cosmological theory,” said study team member Pavel Kroupa, a professor of astronomy at the University of Bonn. “We see this as the beginning of a paradigm shift, one that will ultimately lead us to a new understanding of the universe we inhabit.“The statement also implies that previous “understanding of the universe” was misguided or absent.Last month Ker Than, reporting for National Geographic News, quoted an astronomer who said the finding of a huge structure of satellite galaxies surrounding the Milky Way puts cosmology “basically in a shambles.”  He referred to his other National Geographic article two weeks earlier that also questioned the existence of dark matter because it wasn’t detected where needed to explain the Milky Way’s halo.  That finding “could provide ammunition for skeptics who argue that the invisible substance is just an illusion,” he said.  About the same time, though, another National Geographic reporter claimed that dark matter particles hit the average human once a minute.Growing questions about dark matter’s existence may be giving rise to a proverb called the “dark matter argument.”  In another context, Maggie McKee at New Scientist reported doubts that the star Fomalhaut has a planet.  A bright spot imaged in a dust disk surrounding the star, imaged by the Hubble Telescope in 2004, had been hailed as a direct observation of an extrasolar planet.  Astronomers were encouraged at the time by the fact that it appeared in a gap in the dust dusk, suggesting that the planet had cleared a path for itself.Now, however, a new study from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center has shown that the bright spot might be a dust cloud, not a planet.  Furthermore, simulations shown in a computer animation within the article indicate that gaps in dust disks – even with sharp edges – can form without the presence of a planet.A JPL scientist used the occasion to joke about the escape hatch dark matter theories provide:“I call it the dark matter argument,” says Wladimir Lyra at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “There is something you are seeing that you cannot explain, and you blame the gravity of something you cannot see.“Dark energy has also come under scrutiny.  National Geographic asked, is it a kind of “reverse gravity” as usually described?  Perhaps not.  The pressure leading to accelerated expansion of the universe might come from normal old antimatter, well characterized in earth-based detectors.These appear to be dark days for dark matter theories.Philosophers call appeals to unseen, unknown entities “occult phenomena.”  Like spiritually occult things, they are placeholders for ignorance.  But given a name, these placeholders take on a reality of their own, used by scientific shamans to tell the peasants why things are the way they are.For too long, dark matter has been a rhetorical flubber to impress laypeople while escaping scientific rigor.  It’s time to call astronomers to account.  Account for dark matter, or turn on the light.last_img read more

6 Approaches to Your Company Blog

first_imgA Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts Tags:#start#startups#tips Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting In the last few months several startups have asked me how to approach corporate blogging. Judging by the frequency of requests, Gartner was right in suggesting that corporate blogging is rising up the “slope of enlightenment” and about 2 years away from widespread mainstream adoption. The road to enlightenment has been a long one. In the past ten years we’ve learned that company blogs should not be press releases, sales pitches or plagiarized quotes from Dale Carnegie. You reach enlightenment when you learn to respect your readers. If you want someone to bookmark or retweet your posts, then give them a useful resource. Below are a few approaches you can take to increase the dialogue and comments on your blog. 1. The Operations Blog: Many company blogs focus on the internal workings of the startup and how teams have managed to increase efficiencies. For example, marketing teams have dissected their efforts, COO’s have talked about their transition to cloud services and HR teams write about their employee wellness plans. Sometimes your story along with links to useful vendors is a great resource for others. 2. The Veteran / Inspirational Blog: This type of post is best suited to the second time entrepreneur, agency founder or well-established investor. It often offers stories about the climb to a position of power as well as some of the lessons learned along the way. If you’re attempting this approach you should already be in a position of mentorship for others. You want people linking to your article in the hopes that they’re revisiting it as a point of inspiration. 3. The Prediction Blog: Both the iPad and Google Buzz have been huge news stories in the last few days. Your little corporate blog isn’t likely to outshine the stories from major tech blogs and media outlets, but you can provide some relevant predictions for your specific industry. For example, if you’re a consumer facing web startup with a real estate focus, you could highlight the use cases for Buzz and its geo-locational features. 4. The Research Blog: If your company deals with large amounts of anonymized data or your startup specializes in analysis or monitoring, then the research blog is a good way to aggregate your findings and pinpoint trends. The best way to write this post is to summarize key findings and make suggestions on how others might adapt. If you’re not confident in your recommendations then you can ask for quotes from industry veterans. This method is often used by analysts and real-time monitoring startups. 5. The Community / Advocate Blog: This type of blog only really works if you have a large number of stakeholders who need your support and direction. Planet Mozilla is a great example of a resource that focuses on internal events; nevertheless, these internal events help thousands of open source developers contribute to Mozilla projects. If you’ve got lots of 3rd party developers, designers or contributors, this may be a good option for you. 6. The Coolhunter Blog: This blog is perhaps the toughest one to pull off because not only do you have to be confident in your ability to spot emerging trends, but you also have to make sure that the trends are relevant to your community. On-demand manufacturing site Ponoko does a great job of showcasing design while inspiring community members to build their own pieces. center_img dana oshiro Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Regulators Vs. Uber & Friends: The Final Battle For Taxi Domination?

first_imgRelated Posts Tags:#e-commerce#social networks What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … antone gonsalves You know businesses are in trouble when they have to rally customers in a social media campaign to defend themselves against government regulators. While that strategy may generate lots of tweets, three San Francisco livery and ride-sharing businesses are about to find out just how much it will or won’t impress city bureaucrats.Last week, Lyft, SideCar and Uberwere each cited $20,000 by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for running unlicensed taxi services. The services have 20 days to pay the fine or appeal.Making matters worse for Uber, two drivers for San Francisco-based Luxor Cab have filed a class-action lawsuit, claiming the high-end livery service is unfairly taking money from the pockets of traditional cabbies by not playing by the same rules. The IssuesThe companies – which all use smartphone apps to let customers arrange rides, argue they are not taxi services and thus don’t have to play by those rules. Uber works with limousine and taxicab drivers, while Lyft and SideCar matches regular motorists with would-be passengers. All three companies take a cut of what people pay drivers.To state regulators, if a business dispatches a motorist to pickup a passenger, then the company is a taxi service that has to be licensed and meet insurance requirements. Drivers need permits requiring clean driving records.“This is a matter of public safety,” Jack Hagan, director of the CPUC’s Consumer Protection and Safety Division, said in a statement. “If something happens to a passenger while in transport with Lyft, SideCar or Uber, it is the responsibility of the CPUC to have done everything in its power to ensure that the company was operating safely and according to state law.”Faced with fines and an order to stop operations, Lyft and SideCar have sent emails pleading with users to call or email the CPUC and governor’s office to voice support. Lyft is asking fans to sign an online petition in support of “peer-to-peer ridesharing,” while SideCar is asking users to show their support on Facebook and Twitter.“The economic, environmental and community benefits that services like Lyft bring to local communities are worth fighting for – and now more than ever before we need to stand together,” John Zimmer and Logan Green, cofounders of Lyft parent company Zimride, said in the email.True enough, as San Franciscans love to complain about the high prices and poor availability of local cab companies. But the new service’s attempts to skirt the rules are pretty transparent.Lyft and SideCar, for example, claim rider payments are voluntary “donations,” so they’re not technically in the taxi or livery business. But both companies work hard to share “suggested” donation amounts, and with social-rating systems, riders who don’t pay up are unlikely to get rides. Those explanations, nor tweets, emails and phone calls from riders – don’t seem impress the CPUC or the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association that represents taxi drivers in San Francisco. “Why should someone who refuses to play by the rules be able to take business away from someone who does?” asked Alfred LaGasse, chief executive of the TLPA, in a statement in support of the suit against Uber.To taxi drivers trying to make a living, competing against each other was tough enough, but going up against unregulated rivals has made things much worse. “It’s cab anarchy,” a Yellow Cab driver told me.The Rubber Meets The Road In San FranciscoSan Francisco is not the first city to deal with tech-driven disruption in the cab industry. Uber was forced to end a test in New York City after resistance from city regulators. The company is also facing similar problems in Chicago and elsewhere.But San Francisco is ground zero for startups trying to use technology to remake markets that have failed to modernize. Taxicab companies could have built their own smartphone apps. But seeing that they didn’t even install rear-seat credit card readers until it was required by the city this year, they are more likely to whine to regulators about protecting their monopoly until forced to do otherwise.The city has yet to rule on ride-sharing services. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is still investigating, and taxicab companies are lobbying hard for the status quo. Problems With Lyft, SideCarNevertheless, the taxi industry’s competitors are far from perfect.Uber is often credited with being reliable and pleasant, but punishingly expensive for regular folks (Hollywood stars and Silicon Valley moguls love it). And by skimming the most profitable customers, the argument goes, Uber makes it harder for regular taxis to make a living.Lyft and SideCar are still immature companies and the experiences can be much more variable. After signing up for Lyft two weeks ago, I’ve yet to be allowed to use the service because of a shortage of drivers. If I agreed to be a driver, apparently, then I could get started immediately.With SideCar, rides are not always easy to come by. The two times I tried to use the service, I actually found it faster to jump on the bus rather than wait for a ride.Safety First?And then there are the safety concerns. Strangers sent by a for-profit company are picking up passengers who trust the service to make sure they’re protected. That means a car that meets minimum standards, a driver with a clean driving record, and adequate insurance coverage.Lyft and SideCar say they have their own car-inspection and driver-screening processes that includes background checks and making sure drivers have valid licenses. Lyft also says its has $1 million per incident in supplemental liability insurance. But mostly the services rely on their ratings systems to weed out bad drivers.But none of that has been approved by a government agency, while taxis have to meet specific requirements and submit to government verification. Inevitably, one of these cars will get involved in a serious accident. What happens then? Who is liable if a rider is killed or maimed? The taxi industry is regulated to address just these sorts of issues.Just because Lyft, SideCar and Uber use smartphone apps to call cars they don’t happen to own does not give them a free pass from ensuring user safety and competing fairly. And no matter how bad traditional taxi service may be, or how many users tweet in support of app-driven alternatives, that should not change.Lead image courtesy of Shutterstock.center_img Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

Understanding Military Assignment Dynamics in the U.S.: A Look at the Data & Some Questions to Ponder

first_imgChristopher Plein, Ph.D.  West Virginia University and MFLN Caregiving Team MemberAs a social scientist, I am drawn to the facts and figures that describe the world around us.  A recent visit to the Department of Defense’s DMDC website proved this to me yet again.   As is common in the military, the DMDC serves as a shorthand acronym – in this case for the Defense Manpower Data Center.   We have discussed DMDC resources in previous blogs.    Because of the work that I do the MFLN caregiving concentration, I am especially interested in trends and patterns in the active duty component of the military.It is helpful to return data sources on a regular basis.  The “Number of Military and DoD Appropriated Fund (APF) Civilian Personnel Permanently Assigned” quarterly report is especially helpful.  The March 2018 report provides important breakdown information between activity duty and civilian assignments.  It can be downloaded in excel from DMDC’s Personnel, Workforce Reports & Publications website.  The charts and discussion that follows in this blog are drawn from the March 2018 report.As of March 2018, the overall active duty military members stood at approximately 1.33 million.  Of these approximately 1.16 are assigned in the United States.  Of these, 36 percent or 416,667 are with the Army.  As the pie chart below illustrates, the distribution is followed next in order by the Navy (285,141), the Air Force (266,167), the Marine Corps (153,107), and the Coast Guard (39,960).Active duty personnel stationed in every state.  California has the most active duty members, totaling some 157,583 while Vermont has the fewest at 165.  Along with California, the top five states for active duty military assignment are Virginia (123,341), Texas (119,272), North Carolina (100,606) and Georgia (63,645). Essentially, 1 out of 2 activity duty military personnel are stationed in one of these five states.  The chart below illustrates this distribution.The numbers tell us even more.  Some service branches tend to concentrate in a few states.  Almost two-thirds active duty Marine Corps personnel can be found in two states – California (58,101) and North Carolina (42,837).  A similar pattern holds for the United States Navy.  Half of all assigned personnel can be found in Virginia (73,368) or California (70,086).  Next in line is Florida with 25,458. Together these three states account almost 60 percent of assignment locations.In contrast, both the Army and U.S. Air Force tend to be more geographically dispersed.  In the Army high concentrations of assignment include Texas (71,898), Georgia (46,939), North Carolina (44,989), Kentucky (31,608), Washington State (26,844) and Colorado (25,937).  Together these 6 states comprise about 60 percent of Army active duty assignment.  In the Air Force concentrations of active duty assignments can be found in Texas (37,089) Florida (23,118), California (17,988), Virginia (12,109), New Mexico (11,974), Arizona (10,066), Nevada (9,891), Georgia (9,331), and Colorado (8,599). Together these 9 states make up about 53 percent of assignment locations.These data tell us something about the distribution of the active duty military across the country, but they also raise some interesting questions that can help guide efforts to work with and support military families.  As we have discussed in previous blogs, active duty military personnel and their families are deeply intertwined in their communities.  We know that frequent transfers can create unique challenges to getting access to services and connecting to community-based resources.  With this in mind, consider some of the following:What is happening in those states with high military populations to ensure that families are able to connect to needed resources? How is this reflected in terms of policies and programs relating to healthcare and education?  How does this play out more informally through the efforts of community-based service providers?Conversely, what challenges emerge for military families in states where there are few active duty military assignments? Are policies and programs sensitive to the situations of these families?  Are community-based service providers aware of the needs of military families?Since each of the service branches have considerable discretion in structuring and operating family support activities, do assignment patterns focusing on a few states influence programs and practices – and vice versa?These are questions that are worth considering.  Much of the work of the MFLN concentrates on how to best understand context and environment in order to better connect military families to resources at the community level and beyond.  By returning to the data, we are able to identify both challenges and opportunities that relate to our work.last_img read more

TV Commercial Music Showcase – The Best Upbeat Tracks

first_imgLooking for positive and engaging music for your TV advertisements?  In this post, we’ve rounded up the best tracks to give your television advertising an upbeat and contemporary feeling.Engage your advertising audience with positive tunes!  In this showcase, we’ve featured the best upbeat music for TV advertising campaigns and online product videos.This isn’t your run-of-the-mill stock music.  From quirky mandolin driven folk to more funky, upbeat pop-rock, each of these contemporary tracks puts forth fresh and confident vibes to showcase your product in a stimulating way,   For convenience, these tracks each come in a 15, 30 and 60 version so they’re already timed out to the duration of standard television commercial spots.If you’re looking for TV commercial music give these royalty free tracks a listen and hear how they can increase the impact of your advertising:last_img read more

AMU students protest ‘police inaction’

first_imgAligarh Muslim University students sat on an indefinite dharna on Thursday protesting the “police inaction” against the vandalism carried out by members of some right-wing organisations on the university campus on Wednesday.AMU Students’ Union president Mashkoor Ahmad Usmani told The Hindu that the students are demanding a judicial inquiry and arrest of activists of right-wing groups who allegedly barged into the university campus and thrashed students and security guards when they tried to stop them from breaking law.Over 30 AMU students and many police personnel were injured in the violence which started with the right-wing protesters demanding removal of the portrait of Mohammad Ali Jinnah from the office of the AMU students’ union and in the subsequent confrontation between the students and the police.Reacting to the incidents of violence, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that the “act of honouring the man who was responsible for the Partition of the country will never be tolerated”. He said that he has asked for a report from the district administration. ADG, Agra Zone, Ajay Anand has reached Aligarh and held a meeting with the IG, SSP and SP City over law and order in Aligarh.AMU has strongly condemned “the trespassing of university boundary and raising of objectionable and intimidating slogans by a group of Hindu Yuva Vahini youths”. It has asked the district administration to take strict action against the youths who disturbed the peace of the campus.The Aligarh police, meanwhile, have registered two FIRs. “One FIR is against over 300 unnamed AMU students and five AMUSU members,” said Javed Khan, the in-charge of Civil Lines police station.“The second FIR has been lodged against 22 unnamed people by the AMU security authorities under various sections,” he added.last_img read more