Category Archives: Technology/Science

Where to Put the Bodies: The Modern Methods of Burial

Death is something we are taught not to talk about in Western culture, but unfortunately, we all die sometime. Every person who has ever existed, and every person who will exist in the future will one day die. And the reality is, that’s a lot of bodies. The conventional way we bury won’t work with an increasing population. There isn’t enough space to bury everyone, since many burials are surrounded in concrete, so the bodies never decay into the earth. But in a world of modern innovation, we have a lot of out of the box options for what to do with the dead.
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Teleportation IRL: Quantum Entanglement

Have you dreamed of teleporting somewhere, instead of spending hours in a train/car/plane? Well, the time of instant teleportation could be here sooner than we think. There is a theory in quantum mechanics called quantum entanglement, and it could be the solution to what was once only science fiction.

The math behind this is pretty complicated, and even professionals in the field are only beginning to understand how it works. The practical application behind it is fascinating, and much easier to explain. Quantum entanglement is a state when particles are so connected to one another that they cannot be distinguished from one another, no matter how far apart the group of particles are from one another. Anything you do to one particle effects the other particle in the same way. If I tickle a particle in Boston, a particle in China entangled with it would also feel the tickle. This minutephysics video summarizes it pretty well:

So why is this useful or relevant? While, through quantum entanglement, what you do to one particle effects all of the other particles. In practical application, this could revolutionize communication and transportation. In the world of communication, you could send encrypted messages during war time, and there would be no way the enemy could interfere or decipher what is being said. This could also bring about a quantum internet, which would be more secure than the current internet. After all, if the quantum internet means that things travel directly to their destination, with no interference from other sources, then there is no opportunity for hacking or compromising the security of your information. The sacrifice that comes with this is that a quantum internet would most likely be slower than our current internet speeds. Is this a worthwhile sacrifice, or do we need to work toward a compromise of the two systems?

This article from The Washington Post talks about a very recent experiment where is the first teleportation experiments have begun very successfully in China. Photons on earth that were 700 miles apart were beamed onto a satellite orbiting 300 miles overhead. This is the longest case of quantum teleportation ever to occur, and the first step in one day making teleportation something real and accessible to the masses.

Quantum entanglement is so beautiful to some, it has been turned into a true art. Perhaps it is through this art that the average person can come to truly understand quantum entanglement. For now, it’s just incredible to see the many possibilities that can come from it, and to think about the day that I can travel across the world near the speed of light.

Where would you go if you could teleport? Would you give up internet speed for a more secure communication process? Tell us in the comments!

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Race to the Red Planet: Mars 2033

I’m really passionate about space. A lot of the reason I got a degree in physics is due to a childhood passion for the cosmos. I wanted to be an astronaut more than anything as a child. To be able to see the vast expanse of the universe and do research that would change the world? That’s the dream for me. Unfortunately, I have a bad knee and have terrible vision, and astronauts have to be in prime physical condition. So instead, I find the wonders of the universe in physics.

Space travel has become more and more prominent in recent years due to its integration into the private sector via organizations like Space X, who also strive to make reusable rockets, instead of our current unsustainable single use rockets. But what does this mean for NASA? And what does it mean for those of us who hope to go to space but aren’t astronauts? Private sector organizations show the world that anyone can go to space if they have the money, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a good idea.

Funding has just been granted to NASA for a program that intends to launch a manned mission to Mars in 2033, which seems like a long way off, but is a huge step in space exploration, and will even effect the way we live life on Earth. Some of the most revolutionary leaps in technology and medicine have been products of the space program. Research happens at the International Space Station each and every day,  a worldwide collaboration in discovery. They aren’t the only ones headed to the Red Planet though. The private organization Mars One intends to make a permanent colony on Mars along the same timeline NASA has for its manned mission, but this plan seems overly ambitious and unrealistic.

The main differences between these private organizations and NASA are funding, accessibility to civilians, and rules about what we are allowed to do on the Martian surface. Where Mars One and even Space X want to colonize on Mars (though with very different methods), NASA wants to explore the surface, gaining scientific knowledge with minimal disruption to the planet’s surface. The NASA Office of Planetary Protection strives to make sure that we do not harm the places we explore.

I have all the hope in the world for future space travel. The biggest thing holding the human race back from getting people to Mars is due to money, because space travel is really expensive. There is much to be gained from space travel, but only by working together on an international scale will we have the skills we need to truly discover the secrets of the universe.

What do you want the future of space travel to be? Should humans live on Mars?