Blog Archives

The Space Between Truth and Fiction Is Not so Strange Anymore

A black hole is photographed for the first time, thanks in part to Katie Bouman.

“Three years ago, Bouman led the creation of an algorithm that eventually helped capture this first-of-its-kind image: a supermassive black hole and its shadow at the center of a galaxy known as M87. She was then a graduate student in computer science and artificial intelligence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.”

–Michelle Lou and Saeed Ahmed, CNN, ‘That image of a black hole you sae everywhere today? Thank this grad student for making it possible’

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) -- a planet-scale array of eight ground-based radio telescopes forged through international collaboration -- was designed to capture images of a black hole. Today, in coordinated press conferences across the globe, EHT researchers reveal that they have succeeded, unveiling the first direct visual evidence of a supermassive black hole and its shadow.

Amazing. And this amazement applies to the first image of a black hole in space as well as Ms. Bouman’s ground–well, space–breaking algorithm.

Life is about pushing boundaries, which is a particular topic of interest with the release of ‘First Man’ starring Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy and the recent theatrical release of the CNN documentary ‘Apollo 11’ chronicling America’s groundbreaking moon landing. While in awe of the image shown above, American theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate Kip Thorne and the science fiction epic ‘Interstellar’ by Christopher Nolan immediately came to mind. ‘Interstellar,’ while fiction, is painstakingly rooted in real science. Creating a realistic depiction of a black hole was pivotal to the story for the filmmakers, writers, and audience.

Was the ‘Interstellar’ crew right with their image of a black hole back in 2014?

Kip Thorne, Christopher Nolan, and the entire ‘Interstellar’ team were pretty damn close with their depiction of a black hole in 2014 to the first image of a black hole in 2019!

Who else is going to watch ‘Interstellar’ again?

This scientific revelation as compared to a cinematic epic validates and builds upon the lore of Mr. Nolan’s brilliance as a filmmaker and storyteller of spaces beyond our earthly realities. More importantly, the first image of a black hole is a game-changer in ways we are only just beginning to comprehend.

Yesterday was another giant leap for mankind.

A Prehistoric Mindset

Even if bringing dinosaurs back to life births too many hazards (despite its eternal and forgiving human instinct and allure), scientists can never yield in the pursuit of comprehensive knowledge as to how these prehistoric creatures acted. And this all starts with their brains.

The recently released video below may not qualify as a leap, but it’s a fascinating step, to say the least.

There’s a new Michael Crichton-brand novel here…

Hugh’s Glass Was Famously Half Full

With the weather still cold (well, it is winter after all) and snow flakes falling here and there, one sound keeps floating to the front of my mind.

Along with an image of Leonardo DiCaprio.

Let me explain.

The Revenant, which premiered in theaters back in late 2015, took audiences on an epic tale of a remarkable true story of Hugh Glass (played by Mr. DiCaprio) who is left for dead in 1823, yet fights for his life in the freezing, punishing conditions of the wilderness of the American west. Equipped with essentially nothing but his know-how and relentless grit, the movie spotlights the wonder of nature, as well as the crutch and handicap of solitude.

For some reason, the short theme music from The Revenant remains a distinctly mysterious and intriguing orchestral piece. As such, the music provides a rare few minutes to pause from bracing with the chilly weather and our lives to simply reflect. On what, exactly? That’s purely your call. However, we occasionally need time to take a break (and then break off a piece of a Kit Kat bar) to allow things to settle in and just be for a few moments.

Revenant is defined as, “a person who has returned, especially supposedly from the dead.” Maybe the music above has allowed you to return (or figure out the next step) from a dead end or deep struggle you’ve been having.

Or, perhaps the music and image from the video is a reminder to check how days it is until spring arrives.

Either way, fair enough.

Amber’s (Pre) Historic Reveal

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(R.C. McKellar, Royal Saskatchewan Museum)

Remember Dr. Alan Grant’s theory of connectivity between velociraptors (raptor meaning “bird of prey”) and birds in the 1993 cinematic masterpiece Jurassic Park? 

Well, this at least seems to be pointed towards that direction.

“…this is the first time that scientists are able to clearly associate well-preserved feathers with a dinosaur, and in turn gain a better understanding of the evolution and structure of dinosaur feathers.”

–Kristin Romey, National Geographic

In perfect harmony, the sample discussed in the above quotation was preserved in discovered, yes, a piece amber about the size of an apricot that’s been dried! True story: Fans of the movie just gasped.

While this is exciting news in the paleontology world, it’s worth noting that this discovery in northern Myanmar doesn’t appear to be a gateway to a real-life Jurassic Park. A bummer, for sure. However, learning new facts and realities about such a fascinating, prehistoric period in history is incredible. It’s the latest proof and vindication of life’s eternal pursuit of knowledge and its countless mysteries waiting to be revealed with the right amount of curiosity and tenacity.

Thankfully, Jurassic Park sparked a societal interest across generations in events and creatures from more than 65 million years ago.

Michael Crichton and Steven Spielberg found a way.