sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Stopping Light (for fun and profit)

No, not "Dark Side of the Moon"
Light traveling in a vacuum moves through space-time at approximately 300,000 kilometers per second.  But MUST light travel that fast? Is the speed of light a constant? Einstein said that light could be bent by a gravity well, but he didn't ever discuss changing the speed of light. We know that light is slowed as it passes through matter, such as water, that refracts it (which is why it's darker in the ocean as you go deeper). But if you stop light, is it still...light? Maybe.

The Optical Society's (OSA) open-access journal Optics Express, cites researchers from France and China who embedded dye molecules in a liquid crystal matrix to throttle the group velocity of light back to less than one billionth of its top speed. The team says the ability to slow light in this manner may one day lead to new technologies in remote sensing and measurement science.*
*Retrieved August 15, 2013, from­/releases/2013/08/130813201436.htm
The key to achieving a significant drop-off in speed is to take advantage of the fact that when light travels as a pulse it is really a collection of waves, each having a slightly different frequency. However, all the waves in the pulse must travel together. Scientists can design materials to be like obstacles courses that "trip up" some of the waves more than others. In order to exit the material together, the pulse must wait until it can reconstitute itself.
Other research groups have manipulated the properties of atomic vapors or crystal lattices to significantly slow light and, under certain circumstances, to temporarily "stop" it inside the medium. Bortolozzo's team instead used a liquid crystal similar to the materials used in LCD television and computer displays that could operate in a simple setup, does not require external voltages or magnetic fields, and works at room temperature and with very low optical power. They added a chemical component that twisted the liquid crystal molecules into a helical shape and then added dye molecules that nestled in the helical structures. The dye molecules change their shape when irradiated by light, altering the optical properties of the material and hence changing the relative velocities of the different wave components of the light pulse as it travelled through. In addition, the helical structure of the liquid crystal matrix ensures a long lifetime of the shape-shifted dyes, which makes it possible to "store" a light pulse in the medium and later release it on demand.
The new possibilities that these investigations could open in the fields of remote sensing and optical storage for computer information. In fact, it may be possible to construct a "quantum computer" by using circuits of 'stopped light', increasing computing speed to presently unimaginable levels and storing information with light itself.

Review of the News

A Review of the News for August 15, 2013

NBC News - 29 hour work week the "new normal"

With half the hours available, we'll be pushing toward full employment as every job will require two people (each working for 50% pay and no health benefits) to do it. Yes, you can thank Obama for reducing unemployment.

Chicago Death Toll

None of these children remind Obama of himself, apparently. 
(Chicago Tribune) In the last month and a half, eight children who were 7 or younger have been shot in the city, mostly on the South and West sides, according to a Tribune analysis.
An Obama SNAG?

There are some genuinely F-ed up people on the planet. Some twisted, insecure, guys who were apparently not breast fed as children, have some bizarre notions and among that group of freaks and misfits are the Sensitive New Age Guys (called SNAGs). Is Barack Obama a SNAG? Maybe. Let's look at the definition.
Urban Dictionary: Sensitive New Age Guy (S.N.A.G). Similar to the Metrosexual, but more timid and sensitive. Dense clusters of Snag's can be found at woman's issues rallies. Extreme examples have been known to experience regular menstrual cramps.
1.) Sensitive-New-Age-guy. Think kakai's, denim shirts and flower show on TLC. Can be either straight or gay. Also referred to as a "Stray" (see Stray Def.) Tends to drink wine and certain imported beers. 
Maybe when he goes off teleprompter and embarrasses both himself, his country (America, not Kenya) and seems peevish, it's because he's experiencing 'cramps'? 

Love is a Many Splendored Thing

...Once on a high and windy hill
In the morning mist
Two lovers kissed
And the world stood still
Then your fingers touched
My silent heart and taught it how to sing
Yes, true love's
A many splendored thing

John McCain (R-AZ), the most liberal Republican in the US Senate and the Bitch of Benghazi, a presidential hopeful, enjoying a private moment (right). 

Anthony Weiner

His name conjures up weak, morally bankrupt politicians, but did he provide the model for the famous cartoon character, "Butt-head"? Or is that Bevis? I can't keep them straight. 

If Hillary becomes president in 2016, what appointment could be waiting for Weiner?

Director of the FBI? 

He can't be attorney general because he isn't a lawyer, so Director of the FBI is as high as he can go in the Justice Department. He could always be Secretary of Homeland Security when you consider what a low bar was set for the chair occupied by Janet Napolitano. 

Maybe somebody needs to ask Hillary what she's going to do for her assistant, Huma Abedin-Weiner's husband when she's Leader of the Free World? I'm sure that he'd be content to be Ambassador to Sweden. (who wouldn't be?) Maybe Hillary would send her daughter, Chelsea to Sweden to be Anthony Weiner's assistant?

Public Relations

There are a lot of "new normal" things since the Obama Administration swung into action bringing hope and change. Today's cartoon illustrates the growing public perception.