Posted by: drgeophysics | July 9, 2010

Birds seeing the magnetic field, Planck microwave view of everything and the meaning of life.

Sorry for the downtime, I’ve been very busy lately.

DET 3+ Ichi Ban!

Things have been moving very quickly on multifronts lately.

Here is an interesting links.

Birds may have the ability to “see” visually magnetic fields.  The work of Joe Kirschvink at CalTech was central to the understanding of the documented ability of some animals, fish and insects to use the earth’s magnetic field to aid their navigation.  I visited Joe in his lab and saw some of his experiments.  He’s a genius.  I have always been fascinated by this field of study.

It was very interesting to read this article recently in which the actual mechanism of overlapping a visual signal with a magnetic field signal might be happening.  (As with sonar, expect this sort of thing in technology systems soon).   Here is the link.

Here is a Discover article covering the same fascinating conclusions.

I wonder if the sonic imaging of bats is superimposed on vision in a similar way.  The visualizations for sounds now by humans are simplistic, giving either location or reflection characteristics (separately).  As usual, science, which moves out ahead of human imagination and enlarges it, will figure out how this all works.  How exciting.

Speaking of exciting, the new Microwave image from NASA is fantastic.  Here is the image below:


Planck microwave composite

Here is the entire caption from the NASA web site.

“Seen from our edge-on perspective, the Milky Way Galaxy sprawls across the middle of this false-color, all sky view. The expansive microwave map is based on 1 year’s worth of data from instruments onboard the sky-surveying Planck spacecraft. Remarkably, the bright stripe of gas and dust clouds along the galactic plane and the galaxy’s enormous arcing structures seen at microwave energiessome 13.7 billion light-years distant. Left over from the Big Bang, fluctuations in the CMB reflect the origins of structure in the evolving universe. Analyzing the microwave data, Planck scientists plan to separate the contributions of the Milky Way and CMB radiation. The work will ferret out the characteristics of the CMB across the entire sky and glean information about the make up of our Milky Way Galaxy are hundreds or thousands of light-years away, while the mottled regions at the top and bottom represent the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation, .”

I’m not sure our galaxy “sprawls“, (regally reclines perhaps), but note the age of the oldest light, 13.7 billion years.  That is a direct estimate of the age of our cosmos, when it all began, given the present big-bang theory of astrophysics.  The observation of the oldest radiation and the morphology of this radiation are very important observations.  Coherence in the background radiation pattern is something being intensely looked for and studied.

The background pattern (the red areas) gives this oldest radiation, while the other images are explained above.  One interesting thing from this image is that it clearly shows that our galaxy has incorporated other galaxies into it’s structure.  We are the Borg!

Who was the Planck of the Planck constant the the name of this instrument?

Max Planck

Check this excellent description on Wiki.  His children had a heroic role in history also, opposing the Nazi regime during WWII and paying the ultimate price.

During the First World War Planck’s second son Erwin was taken prisoner by the French in 1914, while his oldest son Karl was killed in action at Verdun. Grete died in 1917 while giving birth to her first child. Her sister died the same way two years later, after having married Grete’s widower. Both granddaughters survived and were named after their mothers. Planck endured these losses stoically.

In January 1945, Erwin, to whom he had been particularly close, was sentenced to death by the Nazi Volksgerichtshof because of his participation in the failed attempt to assassinate Hitler in July 1944. Erwin was executed on 23 January 1945.”

The beauty of the Planck microwave image, his science and the stupidity and waste of the murder of his beloved son are a sad statement of the affairs of humanity on our planet.  There is a better way, we have within us better selves.

In Germany Max Planck is deeply honored and respected today.  The Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften Eingetragener Verein is a formally independent non-governmental and non-profit association of German research institutes publicly funded by the federal and the 16 state governments of Germany.

Also,  sometime ago I also realized the meaning of life.  The meaning of life is “hope”.

Enjoy this wonderful summer.


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