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Galaxy Report

THe Galaxy Report

Your free twice-weekly fix of  stories of space and science –a random journey from Planet Earth through the Cosmos– that has the capacity to provide clues to our existence and add a much needed cosmic perspective in our Anthropocene epoch.

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‘Elephant’ in the Cosmos –“Massive Gravity Replaces Dark Energy” (Weekend Feature)

 

Dark Energy

 

Dark energy has been described as everything from a fifth force to a new form of matter, but so far, no direct evidence has been found of its existence. “I have absolutely no clue what dark energy is,” says Noble Prize winning physicist Adam Riess . “Dark energy appears strong enough to push the entire universe – yet its source is unknown, its location is unknown and its physics are highly speculative.”

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Rarest Thing Ever Detected –“One Trillion Times Age of the Universe” 

 

Cluster Abell 3827

 

“We actually saw this decay happen. It’s the longest, slowest process that has ever been directly observed, and our dark matter detector was sensitive enough to measure it,” said Ethan Brown, an assistant professor of physics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute about a process that takes more than one trillion times longer than the age of the universe. “It’s amazing to have witnessed this process, and it says that our detector can measure the rarest thing ever recorded.”

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Origin of Information –“Something Very Old, Very Powerful and Very Special has Been Unleashed on Earth”

 

Evolution

 

“Humans are strange…We are the aliens,” observes Columbia University astrophysicist, Caleb Scharf, noting that humans are a striking anomaly in the natural world. “We also have a truly outsize impact on the planetary environment without much in the way of natural attrition to trim our influence (at least not yet). 

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The Ultimate Mystery –”Consciousness is Like Space-time Before Einstein’s Theory of Relativity”

 

Consciousness

 

Without mind, there might as well be nothing. Colin McGinn at the University of Miami, believes that no matter how much scientists study the brain, the mind is fundamentally incapable of comprehending itself. “We’re rather like Neanderthals trying to understand astronomy or Shakespeare,” McGinn observed in Consciousness and Space. Human brains suffer from a “cognitive gap” in understanding their own consciousness.”

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The Great Question — “Is Our Universe Extremely Unnatural, a Weird Permutation?”

 

ESA Early Universe

 

“Is our universe extremely unnatural, a weird permutation among countless other possibilities, observed for no other reason than that its special conditions allowed life to arise, or, are the properties of the universe are inevitable, predictable, that is, ‘natural,’ locking together into a sensible pattern?” This is the question, the great unknown, that preoccupies theoretical physicist Nima Arkani-Hamed, a professor at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in Princeton, N.J.

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