4 Fusion Breakthroughs From The Last Year

Try Brilliant’s Daily Problems and get 20% off if you go to http://www.brilliant.org/answerswithjoe
Nuclear Fusion is the holy grail of energy, and getting closer to reality every year. Here are some of the biggest breakthroughs in fusion power over the last year.

Some of this year’s breakthroughs include:

China’s EAST tokamak reactor achieved a 100 million degree plasma for 10 seconds, a record for that temperature.

RF beams used to stabilize plasma by reducing magnetic bubbles that can cause plasma to destabilize.

TAE announces their Copernicus reactor – a scaled-up version of their Norman reactor that has proven successful enough to raise $500 million from companies like Google and Microsoft.

Physicists attempt a reverse D configuration in a tokamak and achieve more stable plasma

Why Are Insects Disappearing?

All around the world, insect species are dying at alarming rates. It’e being called the Insect apocalypse, and aA new study looks at why this is happening, what can be done about it, and what would happen if the trend continues.

Does Your Mind Create The Universe?

Get a free month of CuriosityStream if you go to http://www.curiositystream.com/joescott!

In 2005, Robert Lanza introduced the theory of Biocentrism to the world. Using quantum mechanics and tests like the double-slit experiment, he argues that consciousness creates the universe and not the other way around

5 Of The Weirdest Languages In The World

From sounds that literally damage your vocal cords to a language that’s entirely whistled, these are 5 of the strangest, quirkiest languages in the world.

The Piraha Language – Brazil This one is controversial because the theory is the language doesn’t have recursion. Recursion is a linguistic property where you can add phrases into phrases, also called Nesting. This is controversial because Noam Chomsky popularized the idea that recursions are a part of what he called “universal grammar” that you find in all languages.

And then Dr. Dan Everett studied the Piraha people of the Amazon rain forest in the 1970, first as a missionary and later just to research their language.

And in a paper in 2005, he claimed that the Piraha people do not use recursion, flying in the face of linguistic doctrine and shaking the very foundations of our knowledge to the ground, making international news.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/22/boo…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDM8G…

Aymara Language – Andes, South America

The Aymara language isn’t a small, tucked away language in some The reason it’s on this list is due to a little quirk that seems to be unique to the Aymara, which is the way they refer to the past and the future.

Why would they do that? The answer is a simple flip in perception, by saying that events from the past are known, meaning we can see them, they’re in front of us. Whereas the future is unknown, we can’t see it… So it’s behind us.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vydhT… 

!Xóõ: Botswana

It’s no secret that there are languages in sub-Saharan Africa that use click sounds along with other consonant sounds, there are several of these but this one is the quintessential one.

It features 5 different click sounds and 17 accompanying ones. Also 4 vowel sounds with four varying tones.

This language is not just difficult to learn, it’s physically straining on a non-speaker because some of these clicks are next to impossible to do without a serious amount of training.

http://www.economist.com/node/15108609

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQpLv…

Guugu Yimithirr: Aboriginal Language, Australia

Guugu Yimithirr is an ancient language, spoken by the aboriginal people of Australia for thousands of years, specifically the Guugu Yimithirr people of Far North Queensland, in fact it was actually the first aboriginal language ever written down by James Cook in 1770 and is where the word Kangaroo comes from.

All their directions used cardinal directions. Cardinal directions being North, South, East, West, and the directions in between. They didn’t have words for left, right, front or back.

What this means is that every speaker must always know what geographic direction they are facing at all times. It’s like the language has layered the geographic directions into the fabric of their culture. You literally can’t convey information without it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/29/mag…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IF9RD…

Silbo Gomero: Spain

La Gomera is an island, specifically the smallest of the Spanish Canary Islands just northwest of Africa. And on that tiny island is a language that’s not spoken anywhere else called Silbo Gomero, and it holds the top spot on this list for one simple reason. It’s spoken with whistles.

It’s literally like a whistled version of Spanish featuring two whistled vowels and four consonants.

Pilot Wave Theory: Classical Physics At The Quantum Level

Since the famed Solvay Conference of 1927, the accepted explanation of quantum physics has revolved around the Copenhagen interpretation, which states that quantum particles exist in probability states until they are measured.

But there is another interpretation of the experimental results. One that doesn’t rely on waveforms or probability states – Pilot Wave Theory.

The Mysterious “Lost Cosmonaut” Recording

In 1961, two amateur Italian radio engineers recorded what many believe to be the voice of a female cosmonaut burning up on re-entry. If real, this would have been the first woman in space.

Achille and Giovanni Judica-Cordiglia were two highly regarded radio engineers from Italy who, starting with the launch of Sputnik, made a name for themselves by tracking and recording radio signals from satellites in orbit.

Over time, they bought an old WWII bunker and transformed it into a listening station they named Torre Bert.

From here, the recorded everything from the heartbeat of Laika, the dog on Sputnik 2, to Yuri Gagarin.

But they also recorded some mysterious sounds from missions that were never made public by the highly secretive Soviet Union. One of these was of a woman crying out in distress in May of 1961.

If real, this would have been the first female in space, a full 2 years before the current first, Valentina Tereshkova.

To this day, Russian officials have never named or acknowledged the existence of a mission that this could have been from. Was this a doomed cosmonaut in her final moments? Or a clever hoax?

How Technology Destroyed The Truth

The promise of the internet was that if we connect the world and give everyone a voice, we could move forward as one. It didn’t turn out that way.

The way we consume information has changed drastically over the years.

For the majority of modern history, newspapers were the arbiter of truth, and people read the newspaper once a day and then talked about the issues with friends, family, and coworkers.

When radio came around, the news was delivered 2-3 times a day, by distinguished and trusted broadcasters like Edward R. Murrow that delivered the news right down the middle.

Broadcast TV increased the amount of news to 3-4 times a day, but still news was just something people ingested in between other forms of entertainment. And different sides of the news were presented evenly thanks to the Fairness Doctrine.

But with cable TV and the first cable news network, CNN, all that changed. Then news became the entertainment and more cable news outlets like Fox News, MSNBC, Headline News, and CNBC split into different ideological camps.

But with the rise of social media, the news became an all-day every day feast, and worst of all, it removed the gatekeepers. Meaning anybody with any viewpoint could get their message heard.

This was supposed to be a good thing. But it has proven to divide us even further and be exploited by troll farms and moneyed interests.

Even more upsetting is this is happening at a time when we need together on the same page to combat various existential threats.

The post-truth era could be one of the contributors to the downfall of humanity if we’re not careful.

Did The US Accidentally Blast A Manhole Cover Into Space?

In 1957, the United States began testing nuclear weapons underground in the desert outside of Las Vegas, Nevada as part of Operation Plumbbob. One underground test, Pascal B, may have put the first manmade object into space.

Robert R. Brownlee engineered the Pascal A underground test to measure the amount of fallout that would occur from underground nuclear explosions. It involved digging a 485 foot shaft into the ground and capping it with a heavy steel plate.

The explosion blew the steel plate off the ground and caused Brownlee to wonder how fast it propelled the object, so he set up a second nuclear test, Pascal B, to measure the speed of the steel cap.

The high-speed camera only recorded the plate in one frame, which led Brownlee to conclude that it must have been traveling at more than 125,000 miles per hour, or 5 times the escape velocity of Earth. The plate was never found, and this has led many to believe it was jettisoned out into space.

If this is true, the steel plate from Pascal B beat Sputnik to space by 2 months and would be the fastest human-made object of all time.

There are many who believe this couldn’t possibly be true though because at that speed the plate would have vaporized in the atmosphere just like a meteor or satellite re-entering the atmosphere at orbital velocity. So the mystery of Pascal B carries on.