Thursday, July 18, 2024

Why don't we have better robots yet?

I’ve tried to understand why so many humans are worried that AI will end humanity. Then I’ve noticed that a lot these fears aren’t about AI, they’re about robots. But where are the robots? In this episode I look into why, despite impressive looking examples like Atlas from Boston Dynamics and Optimus from Tesla, we don't yet all have a robot at home.

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

This Climate Graph has a Nasty Secret

I love talking about things that climate scientists don’t want to talk about, and today I have a fun example. It's the reason why all those climate change graphs you've seen talk about a "temperature anomaly" rather than an absolute temperature.

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Should You Invest in Quantum Computing Stocks?

I’ve talked a lot about quantum hype, but I only recently saw that some news outlets are now giving investment advice for what quantum tech to buy stocks of. I want to talk about this a bit because I don’t want you to lose your money...

Sunday, July 14, 2024

New Batteries: It's not all hype

Despite dozens of press releases on new battery technologies being released every week, not much is happening. This is why I don't talk about battery tech any more. But recently I read an interesting study about the hype cycle of battery technology. Let’s have a look.

Saturday, July 13, 2024

This Quantum Puzzle Tripped Me Up

I was recently reminded of a quantum puzzle that tripped me up and I wanted to share it with everyone to see if you could figure it out. Let’s have a look.

Thursday, July 11, 2024

The Hydrogen Economy is Expensive Nonsense

Germany, the United States, the UK, the EU, and many other countries are looking toward hydrogen to be a clean miracle fuel to power the future. It sounds good at first, but hydrogen has a bunch of problems - one of which is that it’s highly inefficient.

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Micro Fractals Could be Key to New Quantum Computers

recently saw some headlines saying that microbiologists discovered a protein that spontaneously folds into a fractal. I was jealous until I found out that we have microscopic fractals in physics, too. And even more amazing, these could form the basis of a new type of quantum computer -- in 1.58 dimensions. Let’s have a look.

Tuesday, July 09, 2024

Stop blaming fossil fuel companies – Climate Change is our own fault

Climate change has been heavily fuelled (ha) by fossil fuels, but can we really put the blame on the fossil fuel industry? Could they really have known what all the world's scientists didn't know? I don't think so. It's time we stop blaming others for our own faults.

Sunday, July 07, 2024

Time ran slower in the past, study finds

Physicists from the University of Queensland in Australia have found evidence that time ran slower in the past. In this video I explain how time-dilation is related to redshift, what that means for light from distant galaxies, and what happens to an observer who falls into a black hole.

This video comes with a quiz which you can take here:

Saturday, July 06, 2024

Why I'm embarrassed to be German

In this video I want to make a personal statement to explain why I'm unhappy about the way that my country has been developing. Germany is not what it used to be.

Friday, July 05, 2024

AI could prove that reality doesn’t exist, physicists say

A group of physicists wants to use artificial intelligence to prove that reality doesn’t exist. They want to do this by running an artificial general intelligence as an observer on a quantum computer. I wish this was a joke. But I’m afraid it’s not.

Wednesday, July 03, 2024

Physicists Claim They Can Send Particles Into the Past

Can you really send a particle into the past? New Scientist published an article about this last week, and though I’m quite fond of the concept of retrocausality, I’m afraid to say that reality is much less interesting than fiction. Let’s have a look.

Tuesday, July 02, 2024

Why Bill Gates’ New Natrium Reactor is a Big Deal

Bill Gates has financed a nuclear reactor in Wyoming that just started construction. It’s what’s known as a Natrium Reactor and uses a sodium-cooled fast reactor combined with an energy storage system. That's a lot of words, but just what does the thing do? Let’s have a look.

Sunday, June 30, 2024

GPT passed the Turing Test -- And No One Noticed

The Turing test used to be the key benchmark for artificial intelligence. The idea, going back to Alan Turing, was that a human interrogator would have a chat with a respondent, and the human needs to figure out whether the respondent is either human, or an AI. GPT has now officially passed that test. Would you be able to tell it apart from a human?

Saturday, June 29, 2024

What will they think about us in 2085?

The more depressing the present becomes, the more I like thinking about the future. Here I have collected some speculations about what changes are on the horizon, from the end of monogamy to autonomous vehicles and synthetic wombs.

Thursday, June 27, 2024

Superintelligent AI Will Try to Control Us, Geoffrey Hinton Says

A heated debate was recently ignited after Geoffrey Hinton gave an interview in which he says he is very worried that we will soon lose control over superintelligent AI. Meta’s AI chief Yann LeCun disagrees with the concern, and I… I think they’re both wrong. Let’s have a look.

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

MOND is so back

One of the biggest ongoing dramas in science is whether or not dark matter is real. A new update speaks strongly against dark matter and gives a boost to its alternative: Modified Newtonian Dynamics. Let’s have a look.

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

String Theorists Have Calculated the Value of Pi

String theorists have calculated the value of pi. Didn’t we already know the value of pi? At least the first one hundred trillion digits or so. Yes, but this is an interesting story about the relation between maths and physics. Let’s have a look.

This video comes with a quiz which you can take here:

Sunday, June 23, 2024

Why do people hate scientists?

A lot of people seem to dislike scientists. A recent poll in the United States showed that 7% of Americans think that scientists are not likeable. Is this a global trend? What are some reasons people don’t like scientists? Here are my thoughts.

Saturday, June 22, 2024

Climate scientists can’t agree on how warm it is

I recently read that the world has crossed 1.5 degrees of warming above the pre-industrial level, the limit set in the Paris agreement. Then I read that we crossed it several years ago. Then some climate scientists objected. Why can’t climate scientists agree on how warm the Earth is? Have we already broken the Paris agreement? I have the summary.

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Biggest Self-Own in Quantum Computing, Ever

Quantum computing, so the fairy tale goes, is the next big thing in technology. News has popped up time and time again noting major advancements in the field, but the latest statement from company D-Wave had people scratching their heads. Are quantum computers really the next big thing? Who’s at the forefront of the field now? Let’s have a look.

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Gravity Without Mass Could Explain Dark Matter

I recently read that you can have gravity without mass. Ha, no way, I thought and had a look at the paper. It's wild, people. The author says that there are hollow spheres scattered across the universe that have no gravitational attraction and that these spheres explain dark matter. I will try to sort it out for you.

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

This New Idea Could Explain Complexity

The universe creates complexity out of simplicity, but despite many attempts at understanding how, scientists still have not figured it out. We do know that complexity relies on the emergence of new features and laws, but then again we don't understand emergence either. The first step must be to clearly define what we are talking about and to measure it. A group of scientists now put forward a way to do exactly this. Let’s have a look.

Sunday, June 16, 2024

Dark Energy comes from Anti-Universe, New Theory Says

Dark Energy is the name that astrophysicists have given to what ever accelerates the expansion of our universe. In a recent paper, a physicist has now claimed that it's nothing to do with dark energy, it's that we are entangled with an “anti-universe.” I thought this was complete nonsense until I noticed the idea is closely related to Eric Verlinde’s emergent gravity that I was quite fond of before it basically disappeared.

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Big News for Quantum Computing: First Scalable Platforms

A lot of big banks are banking on quantum computing because they think it’ll give them an edge in trading. Though I have on previous occasions noted my doubt that we’ll see any useful quantum computers within the next ten years, two new papers detailing new methods of scaling quantum computers have shifted my perspective. Let’s have a look.

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Is the intelligence explosion near? A reality check.

I had a look at Leopold Aschenbrenners recent (very long) essay about the supposedly near "intelligence explosion" in artificial intelligence development. I am not particularly convinced by his argument. You can read his essay here.

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

This could test Stephen Hawking’s prediction

Stephen Hawking’s most famous prediction is that black holes decay by emitting radiation. This prediction has never been tested and most physicist, me included, think that it's basically impossible to test. So I was surprised to see that a group of astrophysics recently claimed they can put the prediction to the test because black hole mergers produce morsels. What does that mean? Let’s have a look.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

AI Learned to Lie Deliberately (but it’s kinda funny)

We just saw another open letter about the risks of artificial intelligence, calling for more regulation. Justified or not, AI worry is making some people’s life miserable. Are concerns that AI will lead to humanity’s extinction overblown or not talked about enough? A recent review paper about AI learning to lie has been eye-opening. Let’s have a look.

Sunday, June 09, 2024

The Benefits of Climate Change

Climate change is bad -- we hear this a lot. But this isn't the full story. Climate change also has benefits. And I think we need to talk about those too. Some regions of this planet will see milder climate and better conditions from agriculture. We'll see fewer people freeze to death, and, yes, some plants actually benefit from carbon dioxide.

Saturday, June 08, 2024

Why Bitcoin Mining is Good for the Environment -- And why it isn't

I was under the impression that Bitcoin mining was bad for the environment. It turns out that the situation is much more controversial and interesting than I originally thought. So what is it, is bitcoin good? Or is it bad? Let’s have a look.

Thursday, June 06, 2024

“Are we the idiots?” – Bill Gates on Planting Trees

Bill Gates has recently been under fire following an interview in which he said that planting trees won’t save us from climate change. Is he right? Is this just another quote taken out of context? What does the science say? Let’s have a look.

Wednesday, June 05, 2024

Musk is Right: Neutrinos Are Evidence for New Physics

Elon Musk made a surprising tweet about neutrinos, writing that “Anything that potentially challenges the Standard Model is a very interesting experiment.” What is he going on about? Is he correct? Let’s have a look.

Tuesday, June 04, 2024

AI’s Dirty Little Secret

here’s a lot of talk about artificial intelligence these days, but what I find most interesting about AI no one ever talks about. It’s that we have no idea why they work as well as they do. I find this a very interesting problem because I think if we figure it out it’ll also tell us something about how the human brain works. Let’s have a look.

Sunday, June 02, 2024

The Hypersonic Arms Race: What You Need to Know

Hypersonic weapons have been in the headlines a lot over the past year as Russia, China, and the US race to develop the next generation of high-tech missiles. But are these supersonic sensations all hype and less hype-r? Let’s have a look.

Saturday, June 01, 2024

Howard's Theory of Everything is Nonsense, but I try to Say it Nicely

Actor Terrence Howard claims that he has invented a theory of everything that improves physics, based on the idea that 1x1=2. After an appearance on the Joe Rogan podcast, his ideas have unfortunately attracted attention.

Thursday, May 30, 2024

How to Detect Quantum Bullshit

Quantum physics could revolutionize everything… at least that’s what some news headlines would have you believing. For those with a few billion dollars to spare to invest in the next big quantum technology, there are a few things you should look out for.

This video comes with a quiz which you can take here:

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Seven Candidates for Dyson Spheres

Dyson Spheres are hypothetical megastructures built by highly advanced civilizations around their stars to harness energy. A group of astrophysicists says they have identified several possible candidates… and I think it's not as crazy as it sounds! Let’s have a look.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

This Huge Cosmology Problem Might Just Have Disappeared

The rate at which the universe is currently expanding is known as the Hubble Rate. In recent years, different measurements have given different results for the Hubble rate, a discrepancy between theory and observation that's been called the “Hubble tension”. Now, a team of astrophysicists claims the Hubble tension is gone and it's the fault of supernovae data. Let’s have a look.

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Unapproved Trial for Discredited COVID Cure: Scandal In France

In 2020, French physician Didier Raoult claimed that hydroxychloroquine was a cure for Covid-19. The results could later not be reproduced, but tens of thousands of people died because they did not receive or not seek treatment that might actually have helped them. Unbelievable as it sounds, the story of his unethical practices continues to this day. I have the summary.

Saturday, May 25, 2024

The real problem with AI is us

Major developments have popped up for AI over the past few weeks. From Google’s new text to video tool to Open AI releasing a new GPT to studies finding that AI is really good at understanding humans, more changes to our daily lives are sure to come soon. And yes, this is a crazy fast development that worries me.

Thursday, May 23, 2024

The physics of portals (made with love)

I've spent too much time thinking about how portals could work in the real world and, yes, I guess that is somewhat weird, but well. From energy conservation to momentum conservation to moving portals, I have it all sorted out for you. And the cake is not a lie.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Climate Change Violates Human Rights, Court Finds

An increasing number of people and organizations have sued their governments into acting on climate change, a emerging field of law known as "climate litigation". Are their cases successful? What are the potential consequences? Let’s have a look.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Space-Based Solar Power is Dead

Space-based solar power was an idea to use solar power arrays orbiting Earth to beam down energy 24/7. It would have been a way to have clean, abundant, renewable energy. Some recent reports have basically killed the idea. Let’s have a look.

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Universe Was Once Divided into Cells, New Study Says

The idea that the universe is not the same everywhere has been flying under the radar for the last fifty years or so, and a new paper details a fresh perspective on this idea. According to the new paper, the decay of axion domain walls could explain dark matter and some unusual gravitational waves. Let’s have a look.

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Einstein's Other Theory of Everything

Einstein completed his theory of general relativity in 1915 when he was 37 years old. What did he do for the remaining 40 years of his life? He continued developing his masterwork of course! Feeling that his theory was incomplete, Einstein pursued a unified field theory. Though he ultimately failed, the ideas he came up with were quite interesting. I have read a lot of old Einstein papers in the past weeks and here is my summary of what I believe he tried to do.

This video comes with a quiz which you can take here:

Thursday, May 16, 2024

A new test for quantum gravity

I suspect that one of Einstein’s nightmares was that his theory of gravity would be turned into a quantum theory. I also suspect that we’re inching closer to that nightmare situation every day -- but not how Einstein might have expected. After countless attempts to develop a theory of quantum gravity, physicists are now trying their hand at measuring it through various experiments. Let’s have a look.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Time to get real about climate change

'm tired of both overly optimistic messages from climate activists and scare stories of the impending apocalypse. It's about time we get realistic. "Net zero” by 2050 is not a realistic goal and it's about time we admit it. I am afraid that many plans that are eating up money are fuelled by wishful thinking rather than by rational thought. Let’s have a look.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Rapid Advances in Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy is everywhere, just right under our feet. So could it be the solution to climate change? Curiously, the idea is attracting little attention, unlike, say, nuclear fusion, where every small experiment has major headlines blaring. What are some recent advancements in geothermal energy technology? Is it the dark horse in the race to clean energy? Let’s have a look.

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Brain Really Uses Quantum Effects, New Study Finds

When Roger Penrose originally came out with the idea that the human brain uses quantum effects in microtubules and that was the origin of consciousness, many thought the idea was a little crazy. According to a new study, it turns out that Penrose was actually right… about the microtubules anyways. Let’s have a look.

Saturday, May 11, 2024

CERN Looks for Origins of Quantum Randomness

Particle physics have conducted a test using data from the Large Hadron Collider at CERN to see if the particles in their collisions play by the rules of quantum physics - whether they have quantum entanglement. Why was this test conducted when previous tests already found that entanglement is real? Is it just nonsense or is it not nonsense? Let’s have a look.

Thursday, May 09, 2024

Scientific Progress is Slowing Down. But Why?

We see constant progress in the world every day, from better cars to faster phones to virtual reality and the internet of things. However, despite all the technological and engineering advances, science seems to be slowing down? Let’s have a look.

Wednesday, May 08, 2024

The era of nuclear precision has begun

Scientists finally succeeded in exiting an atomic resonance with a laser in the near ultraviolet. This sounds pretty lame but it's a remarkable feat that they've been working on since the 1970s. It could usher in the era of nuclear precision. Let’s have a look.

Sunday, May 05, 2024

How does gravity escape a black hole?

If nothing gets out of a black hole, how does gravity do it? Something with virtual gravitons? Is this really necessary? It's tricky question, but this is what I can say without resorting to equations.

Saturday, May 04, 2024

Why Flat Earthers Scare Me

The flat earther community seems to be growing, and it's beginning to worry me. It's not just a question of lacking science education, there is more going on here.

Friday, May 03, 2024

Bird Flu Spreads to Dairy Cattle, Farm Worker Infected, Virus Fragments in Milk

The bird flu has spread to cattle in the United States. Inactive fragments of the virus have been found in milk. The World Health Organization rates the current risk for humans as low but epidemiologists all over the world are on high alert. I have the summary.

Thursday, May 02, 2024

Many Worlds Theory Gets Even More Worlds

The idea of parallel universes is both crazy and not. In physics, it's prominently represented by the “Many Worlds” interpretation of quantum mechanics. A group of physicists now says that the many worlds interpretation contains many more worlds than we thought so far, meaning the infinite number of multiverses could be infinitely larger. Let’s have a look.

Wednesday, May 01, 2024

Fusion in Space: New Plasma Thruster Tested Successfully

Last week I saw a lot of headlines about a space propulsion system that uses nuclear fusion. The news comes from a company by name RocketStar Inc. which announced in a press release that they have “reinvented” spacecraft by releasing the “world’s first fusion-enhanced space thruster, the FireStar™ Fusion Drive. They claim that the FireStar TM Fusion Drive improves their water powered pulsed plasma thruster by harnessing aneutronic nuclear fusion by 50%. In this video I explain what this all means.

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

New Experiment Could Settle 100 Years-Old Debate about Quantum Tunnelling

Quantum Tunnelling is a fascinating process in which a particle goes through a barrier faster than the speed of light. At least that’s what some physicists think. Others say this is just a wrong interpretation of what is really going on. This debate has been going on for a century, but a new experiment could finally end the debate once and for all. Let’s have a look.

Sunday, April 28, 2024

7 Strange Coincidences in the Laws of Nature

The universe seems to be ruled by equations and numbers. But why just these equations and why just those numbers? Is it just coincidence? In this video I have collected seven of the weirdest coincidences in physics.

This video comes with a quiz:

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Scandal over Nuclear Phase-Out in Germany: What We Know

A recent investigation has revealed that the final steps in phasing out nuclear power in Germany was partly based on false information. And doesn’t look like it was a mistake, but a deliberate rewriting of what was originally accurate information. The ministry denies everything. A quick summary of what we know.

Friday, April 26, 2024

I thought Electric Cars Were the Future. I Changed my Mind.

I thought electric vehicles were the future of transportation. Not so much because they're clean, but because many car enthusiasts love them for their powerful acceleration. However, it's becoming increasingly clear that the necessary upgrades to the electric grid aren't going anywhere near fast enough to get the transition done according to plan. This is why I believe now we'll likely see a shift to hybrids in the near future.

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Breakthrough Tech Makes Energy from Air – Really?

Australian television outlets were recently raving over a supposed “world-first breakthrough converting carbon dioxide into electricity”. It's a device that takes carbon dioxide from the air and turns it into power. The TV people say the technology is “not just carbon neutral but one step better, consuming CO2 and creating power”. Can this possibly be correct? Let’s have a look.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Are we surrounded by dark energy? A spacecraft tetrad will look for it

Most astrophysicists believe that 95% of the universe is dark stuff - dark matter and dark energy. We can’t see, feel, or hear it, but it’s supposedly all around us. NASA scientists recently proposed a new experiment to test what is going on with the dark stuff in our universe. The want to use four small spacecraft flying around the solar system in a tetrahedron formation to look for variations from Einstein’s theory of gravity. Let’s have a look.

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Institute for Extinction Risk Shuts Down: What We Know

The Future of Humanity Institute announced last week that they have shut down. Located at the University of Oxford in the UK prior to its demise, the institute was one of the few places worldwide studying the risk of human extinction and a few other controversial research areas. Let’s have a look at the events leading to the institute’s closure.

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Does time stop for light?

You might have heard that according to Einstein's theories of special and general relativity time doesn't pass for light, or that time actually stops for light. Can this possibly be correct? In this video, I will look at what the maths says and discuss what it means.

Saturday, April 20, 2024

The Prof who Looked for Love and Ended up in Prison: The Supermodel Scam

This is the story of how particle physicist Paul Frampton ended up in prison for smuggling drugs after being scammed by someone who pretended to be a bikini model, and what happened next.

Friday, April 19, 2024

AI More Energy Efficient than Humans, New Study Finds

I recently read that using artificial intelligence creates fewer carbon emissions than human labour. Really? The human brain doesn't have much going for it, but we know that it is much more energy efficient than computers. What's going on here? Let’s have a look.

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Modified Gravity Strikes Back

Most astrophysics are pretty convinced that 80% of the matter in the universe is some invisible stuff that they can’t detect - dark matter. The idea has become more popular recently modified gravity ran into trouble by making a wrong prediction about wide binaries. However, in a new paper, John Moffat showed that at least one version of modified gravity -- called MOG -- fits the data just fine. Let’s have a look

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

This Fusion Startup is a Strong Newcomer

A new nuclear fusion startup in German is working on a "quasi-isodynamic stellerator". I had a look at what that means and think it's a pretty cool approach that is among the most solid, low-risk ideas in nuclear fusion at the moment. Doesn't mean it will work, but definitely one to have an eye on!

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

The "Worst Prediction" Was Never Made

If you google the “worst prediction ever”, you will get hundreds of results that tell you it was the prediction of the cosmological constant that was infamously 120 orders of magnitude wrong. But there has never been any such prediction. Just where does this story come from and what is really the worst prediction ever?

Monday, April 15, 2024

Gravitational Waves Necessary for Human Existence, New Study Finds

A group of physicist has proclaimed that we owe our existence to gravitational waves. Really? What sense does that make. Aren't gravitational waves far too weak to have any effect on life on earth? Indeed, they do. This argument is a new application of the anthropic principle. Let’s have a look.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Warp Drives: New Simulations

Hyperjumps, wormholes, and warp drives sound like science fiction, but they’re actually based on real science! Though I believe out of the three, warp drives are the most plausible. The math seems to agree. Today I want to tell you about a new way of analysing and visualizing warp drives.

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Randomness Improves Computation, No Really

It sounds weird, but randomness can actually improve computer calculations, in certain circumstances. After some digging into the reasons why, I’ve uncovered three different ways this can happen. The first one is noisy computation, then there’s stochastic computation, and then there’s probabilistic computation. What exactly are the differences and how do they help computation? Let’s have a look.

Friday, April 12, 2024

Electric Highways: A good idea?

Several European countries have done trials for electric highways , some of which have now been concluded. The results have been unexpectedly controversial. What are electric highways? Why are the results controversial? Could this be the answer to transitioning away from fossil fuels? Let’s have a look.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Musk: Are Quantum Computers even good for Something?

Elon Musk launched an XPRIZE for Quantum Applications! It’s a 3-year, 5 million dollar global contest that’s looking for ways to use quantum computers to solve real-world challenges that benefit society. Doesn't this basically mean quantum computers don’t currently have any good use cases? And what do you need to do to win? Let’s have a look.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Climate Change Slows Rotation of Earth, New Study Finds

Climate change has had some pretty weird consequences - beers are tasting worse, goats are shrinking, and flights are bumpier. Another unexpected outcome is that the rotation of the earth has slowed, making days longer. How does that work? Let’s have a look.

Tuesday, April 09, 2024

New Superconductor Scandal: What We Know So Far

Last year, Ranga Dias from the University of Rochester in New York claimed he had found a material that was superconducting at room temperature. He has now been accused of research misconduct. This is a summary of what we know so far.

Monday, April 08, 2024

Are wildfires good?

Wildfires have made a lot of headlines recently. Climate change, they say, has made them worse. But some ecologists now say that suppressing wildfires is a bad idea and will just make things worse. You read that right, they say we should just let it burn -- so long as no people are in danger. Does that mean small wildfires are actually good? Let’s have a look.

Sunday, April 07, 2024

My first total eclipse: What I am looking forward to

On April 8th, a total solar eclipse will cast its shadow across Mexico, the United States and Canada. This solar eclipse is quite special for a number of reasons. Let’s have a look at why this solar eclipse is so special and some things you should be on the lookout for.

Saturday, April 06, 2024

This Self-Heating Concrete Melts Snow – No Power Needed

Material scientists at Drexel University in Philadelphia have developed a self-heating concrete that warms up on its own when temperatures drop below zero. No power needed. How does this new “smart material” work? Will we see it on our streets soon? Let’s have a look.

Friday, April 05, 2024

How I fell out of love with academia

How AI could kill us -- or save us

Artificial intelligence will likely eventually exceed human intelligence, which could turn out to be very dangerous. In this video I have collected how things could go wrong and what the terms that you should know when discussing this topic. And because that got rather depressing, I have added my most optimistic forecast, too. Let’s have a look.

Thursday, April 04, 2024

Search for Quantum Foam Begins at South Pole

Physicists will soon begin an experiment at the South Pole to test if space has quantum fluctuations. Their new approach looks for decoherence in neutrinos oscillations that are sensitive to what has been dubbed "quantum foam" that could even contain tiny black holes. If successful, this experiment could uncover something that will combine Einstein’s theory of gravity and quantum physics? Let’s have a look.

Wednesday, April 03, 2024

CERN's new Ghost experiment could find "hidden" particles

New articles have been popping up about CERN’s new experiment looking for so-called “ghost particles.” What are ghost particles? Is CERN haunted? What is this new experiment? Let’s have a look.

Tuesday, April 02, 2024

The Hype you Didn’t Notice: The Quantum Internet

Quantum effects could lead to faster computers, more precise measurements, custom-designed materials, and much more. But the quantum internet is a solution in search of a problem. What is Quantum Internet? Can it really go faster than the speed of light? Do we need it to keep data safe? Let’s have a look.

Monday, April 01, 2024

Sulphur as Energy Storage -- Gamechanger?

For decades we have seen scientists and engineers trying to outdo each other in finding more efficient and cheaper ways of storing energy. A group from the German Aerospace Center now says that sulphur is the way forward. Let’s have a look

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Quantum Gravity Breaks Causality -- And You Can Compute With It

If you flip a light switch, the light will turn on. A cause and its effect. Simple enough… until quantum gravity come into play. Once you add quantum gravity, lights can turn on and make switches flip. And some physicists think that this could help build better computers. Why does quantum physics make causality so strange? And how can we use quantum gravity to build faster computers? Let’s have a look.

Friday, March 29, 2024

Quantum Cognition: Does it explain irrational decisions?

Humans can sometimes be hard to understand, much like quantum physics - unless you watch this channel regularly of course^^. That’s why a mathematician has come out with an idea of “quantum cognition”. What is this so-called quantum cognition? Does it explain why humans make irrational decisions? Let’s have a look.

Thursday, March 28, 2024

20 Years-Old Puzzle (Almost) Solved: The Muon Anomaly

Three years ago, there was a frenzy over an experiment at Fermilab that confirmed anomaly of the muon - a fundamental particle in the standard model. Since then, physicists have debated whether the theory needs to be revised or whether there is something wrong with the calculation. A new paper now says it's neither.

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Biggest Ever Quantum Vortex Created for Black Hole Simulation

A cute new experiment at the university of Nottingham has created a "quantum tornado" by which they want to study what quantum effects are going on nearby black holes. Does this make any sense? Let’s have a look.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Should I be terrified of climate change? Should you be terrified?

I have now come across a bunch of articles in which scientists are more or less explicitly advocating that we scare people into action on climate change. To me this is a step from information to manipulation. Let’s have a look.


Monday, March 25, 2024

AI needs a LOT of energy. But that is not its main problem.

Artificial Intelligence consumes a lot of energy, both during training and during operation. We’ve heard a lot about this. Indeed, Sam Altman the CEO of OpenAI recently said that we’ll need small modular nuclear reactors just to power all those AIs. Well, hold that thought. Today I want to look at how much energy these AIs really need and explain why I think this isn’t the main problem.

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Who Owns the Clouds? Cloud Seeding May Cause Global Water War

Cloud seeding is a way to make clouds rain before they naturally would. It is becoming increasingly common. Just in the past months, it has been used around the world to combat droughts, clean polluted air, and fight wildfires. But what are the ramifications of controlling the weather? Will this lead to water wars in the future? Let’s have a look.

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Shots Fired for Nuclear Fusion, Literally

Nuclear fusion by inertial confinement has seen dramatic progress in the past year years. After their big headlines in 2022, the National Ignition Facility has managed to pretty reliably reproduce ignition, and more recently, First Light Fusion collaborated with Sandia Labs on a remarkable experiment.

Friday, March 22, 2024

Why is life left-handed? We might finally know

Everyone knows the classic double helix-shape of DNA, but no one knows why the DNA twists one way and not the other. Scientists have been trying to figure out why organic molecules have the particular orientation that they do - this so-called “handedness”. It seems like one of those questions that we'll never answer, but to my surprise recently there's been some progress on answering the question.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

We Need To Stop Lying about Plastic To Ourselves

Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle. We’ve all seen this motto as the end-all-be-all solution to the plastic waste problem. But a recent report reveals that the fossil fuel industry has promoted the recycling myth for decades, despite knowing that it wouldn't work. Indeed, there's been little progress in dealing with the millions of tons of plastic waste created every year. Why isn’t more plastic recycled? What can we do to solve the plastic waste issue? Let’s have a look.

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

The Butterfly Effect is Much Worse Than We Thought

A butterfly flaps its wings in China and causes a Tornado in Texas - that’s a popular example of the “Butterfly Effect.” However, scientists now say that the Butterfly Effect might be even more dramatic than previously thought, and that molecular noise can do it.

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Q-Day: When Quantum Computers Will Decode National Secrets

Some recent headlines have been touting that Q-Day is coming potentially as soon as 2025. What is Q-Day? It’s the day when quantum computers will be able to crack the current encryption protocols that we use on the internet. How big of a threat is Q-Day really? And is it really coming next year? Let’s have a look.

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Maths is about to revolutionize privacy

In this video I want to explain the idea behind homomorphic encryption that is a super neat application of what is admittedly rather obscure maths. The implications for data privacy and with that also scientific research are enormous. And it's not in the far future either, several companies are bringing out microchips ideally suited to deal with homomorphic encryption this year.

Friday, March 15, 2024

Credentials against Deepfakes: How will it work?

Some major news outlets are about to release a feature known as “Content Credentials” to try and combat the spread of deepfakes. What are “Content Credentials”? Will it really stop deepfakes of Biden and Trump dancing together from spreading? Let’s have a look.

Thursday, March 14, 2024

We need to start climate engineering soon

Climate engineering is the cheapest way to get us out of this unfolding climate disaster, but how do we do it? Two new papers have recently been released - one discussing the need to start stratospheric aerosol injections soon and the other introducing a new method of climate engineering. What are the pros and cons of stratospheric aerosol injections? What is this new method? Let’s have a look.

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

D-wave reports stunning success with quantum simulation

The quantum computing company D-Wave has reported that they’ve managed to complete a calculation that would have taken a conventional computer millions of years in fractions of a second. How did they achieve this impressive feat? What’s behind the scepticism over D-Wave’s machine?

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Three Physics Mysteries Solved At Once: Postquantum Gravity

For the first time in 4 decades, physicists have found a new approach to solving a problem which is almost a century old: How to combine quantum physics with gravity. I told you about this new approach, called “Postquantum Gravity” from Johnathan Oppenheim briefly before Christmas. He and his collaborators are now saying that their idea also explains dark matter and dark energy.

This video comes with a quiz which you can take here:

Monday, March 11, 2024

I just found out what .ai means

Do you know what the website ending .ai stands for? Well, it's not Artificial Intelligence, let me tell you that much. And then there is the story of the Tokelau, a tiny island in the pacific ocean, which became unwitting host for millions of scam and phishing websites. It's a world wild web, indeed.

Sunday, March 10, 2024

Exploding stars made of dark matter could heat up universe

85% of the universe is dark matter, astrophysicists say. You already knew this of course. But did you also know that scientists are now saying that some of this dark matter might form stars, the so-called axion stars. And that these stars may explode? What are axion stars? Is this plausible? How could we find out whether it's correct? Let’s have a look.

This video comes with a quiz:

Saturday, March 09, 2024

Whatever happened to string theory?

String theory was a beautiful idea, the best contender for a theory of everything that we have seen so far. Thousands of physicists spend decades trying to work it out. But it didn’t quite go according to plan. String theory became extremely controversial during what's been dubbed the “String Wars” about 20 years ago. Then it kind of disappeared. What happened? What were the string wars? And what are string theorists doing now? That’s what we’ll talk about today.

This video comes with a quiz:

Friday, March 08, 2024

Heat Pumps Finally Make Sense -- Maybe

Most buildings across the globe are heated with gas and oil despite heat pumps being a much more energy-efficient alternative. While some countries have been keen on adopting them, others have been slow on the uptake. Why have some countries been hesitant to push the technology? Could a new upgrade to heat pumps make them a more viable heating option? Let’s have a look.

Thursday, March 07, 2024

Yes, AI will become sentient

A brief comment on this week's news about Claude 3 supposedly showing self-awareness.

Wednesday, March 06, 2024

Compact Disks make Comeback: Memory could Exceed Petabytes

Memory storage technology has come a long way from compact disks. Or has it? In a recent paper, scientists report they were able to fit petabytes of memory onto a compact disk using new laser technologies and advanced material design. Is this the future of data storage? Let’s have a look.

Tuesday, March 05, 2024

Anti-matter for space-travel?

I got some questions the other week about an article in business insider that says it’s possible to power rockets with anti-matter and the only thing that’s preventing us from doing it is: cost. Really? The business insider writes about anti-matter. Should you buy stocks? Let’s have a look.

Monday, March 04, 2024

Scientists warn of AI collapse

We’ve all become used to AI-generated art in the form of text, images, audio, and even videos. Despite its prevalence, scientists are warning that AI creativity may soon die. Why is that? What does this mean for the future of AI? And will human creativity be in demand after all? Let’s have a look.

Sunday, March 03, 2024

New approach to quantum computing could soon beat IBM

Physicists have shattered previous limits of the new technology of "atoms in tweezers". They have collected more than 1000 atoms that could save as qubits, hinting at a scalable future for the technology. This breakthrough, challenges the currently more dominant qubit methods and signals a significant step towards commercially viable quantum computing.

Saturday, March 02, 2024

Black holes might be dark stars with layers: New solution found

Do black holes even exist? You might think the evidence is overwhelming. But in a new paper, physicists have shown that Einstein's theories allow another option, it's that black holes might be layers of shells with dark energy inside. I had a look, and here's what I learned.

Friday, March 01, 2024

Astrophysicists keep finding things that “shouldn’t exist”. I think I know why.

You have probably seen headlines in the past years about lots of things out there in the cosmos that, according to astrophysicists "shouldn't exist". Why is this happening? In this video I want to offer my explanation and why I predict a continuation of such headlines unless astrophysicists consolidate their data and take predictions more seriously.

Thursday, February 29, 2024

First quantum measurement of gravity: What does it mean?

You may have seen recent headlines saying something about the first measurement of gravity in the quantum realm or such. Have they now measured quantum gravity? I had a look at the paper.

This video comes with a quiz:

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Accurate predictions don't matter, climate scientists tell me

A few climate scientists have reacted to my previous video about climate sensitivity. In this video, I elaborate on my thoughts regarding the IPCC's projections and why it worries me how they are dealing with the uncertainty of the climate model outputs.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Test of controversial quantum inertia propulsion didn't go as planned

The Quantum Drive, based on the idea of Quantized Inertia, was supposed to be tested aboard a satellite two weeks ago. Unfortunately, the company who built the satellite lost contact with it before the test could be conducted. While experimental test is still missing, I want to explain why I don't think this quantum drive is going to drive anything and why people pour money into nonsense like this anyway.

Monday, February 26, 2024

Revise the textbooks: New type of magnetism confirmed

I recently saw press releases saying that physicists had found a new, third type of magnetism called altermagnetism. But didn't we already have three? What's different about this new one? I had a look at the paper.

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Do we create reality with our minds?

Do we create reality with our minds? I got this question on twitter the other day and after rolling my eyes about it for some while, I decided it’s actually a good question. You might think the answer is obviously “no”. But it’s not that simple. Let me explain.

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Violating Energy Conservation to Explain Dark Energy

I got quite a few questions about a paper that supposedly revolutionizes our understanding of the universe by throwing out energy conservation. The questions came in two varieties. Can you do that, isn’t energy always conserved? And isn’t energy conservation violated anyway? I thought it would be interesting to clear this up because I think the idea isn’t remotely as crazy as it sounds. Let’s have a look.

Friday, February 23, 2024

Hydrogen might self-renew, reservoir found in France

Several recent discoveries of naturally occurring hydrogen reservoirs underground (the so-called "white hydrogen") have prompted the whole world to start searching for more of the stuf. Even though this seems like a gamechanger for the hydrogen economy, I am still sceptical of its viability economically, energetically, and environmentally.

This video comes with a quiz which you can take here

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Bad News for Quantum Computing: Another Advantage Gone

Sometimes people ask me why I’m now doing science news. It’s so that you can fully appreciate the drama of scientific discovery, in which one result contradicts a previous one and the next one finds a flaw in this other one. I think the entertainment-value of science is greatly underappreciated.

And quantum computing is without doubt one of the most dramatic areas at the moment. One the one hand you have people claiming it’s the next industrial revolution and it’s going to change the world, on the other hand you have people saying it’s all hype, quantum computers are interesting but useless. This new paper supports the latter camp. Let’s have a look.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Chinese Maglev Breaks Speed Record: is this the future of transportation?

News from China say the Chinese have broken their own, and the global, speed record for magnetically levitating trains, which you might know under the name hyperloop. Let’s have a look.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Good News: Small Nuclear Thorium Reactors are Coming to Europe

Phasing out nuclear power is the dumbest thing the Germans have ever done. Each time I say this on twitter, people come and tell me that Hitler did a few things that were even dumber. I disagree. Hitler wasn’t dumb, he was evil, he knew full well what he was doing. I’m not at all sure the current German government knows what it’s doing, and that isn’t a good thing either.

The German opposition to nuclear power is especially curious as our next door neighbours, the French and Dutch have no hesitation to use nuclear power to its full potential. Indeed, companies in both countries recently teamed up to bring small thorium reactors to Europe. Let’s have a look at what’s new.

Monday, February 19, 2024

AI played wargames. The result isn't reassuring.

A group of researchers had artificial intelligence play wargames, and that gives us a good idea for how we could all die. They tested five different large language models and asked them to make decisions in war situations. They told the AIs that this is a real-world situation and not a simulation! Nevertheless, for all models they found a risk that a nuclear war would develop without provocation out of an initially neutral situation. Some AIs are more war-loving than others though.

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Scientific Fraud is on the Rise and It will get worse

Science has a big problem and it’s been getting rapidly worse in the past two years or so, to no small part because of recent advances in artificial intelligence. Fraudulent papers are getting published more than ever, and the fraudsters are getting increasingly aggressive. In this episode I want to give you an update on the recent developments.

Saturday, February 17, 2024

New time crystal stable for more than 40 minutes: Nobel Prize possible

Time Crystals sounds like something from Hogwarts, but it’s actually solid-state physics. Maybe not quite as mysterious as the name suggests, but nonetheless interesting. A team of physicists has now built the most robust time crystal ever and even figured out what these things could be good for. Let’s have a look.

Friday, February 16, 2024

The recent Toyota emissions scandal ist just the tip of the iceberg

A lot of climate targets are lip confessions. But some of those confessions get written into law, and that can create some, hmm, interesting tensions between what governments and companies say they’re doing and what the data say they’re doing. In the past weeks we have seen examples of this tension between words and reality in Japan, the EU, and the USA.

In Japan, Toyota has to answer a lot of questions after it turned out that they manipulated the results of emissions tests, again. In Europe, lawmakers have been officially informed that their regulations on car emissions have had absolutely no effect. An in the United States, scientists urge the Biden administration to reconsider the export of liquified natural gas. Let’s look at those a little closer.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

5% of experts fear human extinction due to artificial intelligence

Today I have very interesting results from a survey among 3000 AI experts. The most interesting result is that they now think AI is going to change the world even faster than they said just a year ago. Both human level machine intelligence and full automation of labour could happen this century.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Americans surprisingly rational about climate change, German study finds

I am fascinated by science deniers. Flat earthers, anti-vaxxers, climate change deniers, it’s just amazing to see how badly the human brain can malfunction. Of course, it’s not just a brain problem, it’s also a social problem. In particular, the fraction of climate change deniers differs strongly by country, and it’s especially high in the United States. It turns out I’m not the only German who is interested in what’s wrong with Americans. A group of Germans recently set out to study the matter. The results are just in and they’re quite surprising.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Physicists find that ageing is reversible -- in glass (sorry)

According to the fundamental laws of physics, every process is reversible, in principle. In the past years, we have seen several experiments in which physicists study whether this is really the case or if not irreversibility creeps back in somewhere. In this new experiment they found to their own surprise that ageing in glass seems to be reversible.

Monday, February 12, 2024

Singularities might be everywhere -- and they might make up dark matter

Ok, I have seen a lot of weird ideas for what dark matter could be, but this one surprised even me. A team of researchers proposes that the universe might be filled with singularities, or more precisely "primordial naked singularities," and those could make up what we call dark matter. I had a look at the paper, because if nothing else, it's a fun idea.

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Climate Change Mitigation Plans Unrealistic and Potentially Dangerous, New Study Says

Some people have called me a doomer. Others call me a pessimist. Personally, I think I’m a realist. If I look at the plans that most nations have made to limit their contribution to climate change, I think it just isn’t going to happen. The people making these plans are either ill-informed, delusional, or lying, or maybe all of the above.

Now there’s a new publication just out of the University of Melbourne in Australia that, according to the press release has revealed a “huge climate mitigation challenge” and claims that the IPCC has overestimated how much carbon dioxide removal can realistically accomplish. Yes. Let’s have a look.

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Details Emerge about Huge New Particle Collider at CERN

We have seen a few new headlines this week about the plans of particle physicists to build a huge new collider at CERN in Geneva. Particle physicists have called their new dream machine the “future circular collider”, FCC for short. The FCC is supposed to be a ring collider like the Large Hadron Collider, which is currently the biggest collider in the world. There is no good motivation to build this expensive device. But people at CERN still claim that it will help find dark matter or explain dark energy.

Friday, February 09, 2024

First Nuclear Fusion Control with Digital Twin

Nuclear fusion is a great idea, in principle. In principle, it could solve the energy worries of the world beautifully. The problem is that whenever we’ve tried, getting nuclear fusion to work takes up more energy than it creates. But a team from Japan and the United States just got us a bit closer to our dream of clean energy. They recently succeeded in controlling nuclear plasma in a stellarator by creating a virtual twin. What’s a stellarator, what is digital twin and what did they actually do? Let’s have a look.

Thursday, February 08, 2024

Electric vehicles are great, but let’s be honest, it’s more convenient to fill up a fuel tank with gasoline than sit around and wait until the battery is full. Well, this new battery from researchers at Cornell might solve the problem. They have found a way to produce a battery anode that allows the battery to fully charge within less than 5 minutes, and it does this reliably over at least 1000 cycles.

Wednesday, February 07, 2024

String theory nonsense makes comeback

I got a lot of questions last week about an article in Quanta Magazine about Dark Dimensions. it's about an idea motivated by string theory that combines large extra dimensions with dark matter. I had a look at the paper.

Tuesday, February 06, 2024

No Evidence that Social Media Affects Mental Health, Zuckerberg Says

Last week, the US senate had a hearing on the dangers of social media in preparation of a legislation to improve child safety online. In this hearing, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg [[image of the guy with name]] claimed that it has not been scientifically proved that social media causes mental health problems in adolescents.

This upset a lot of people who think that the link is obvious. But I am afraid Zuckerberg is right. Let’s have a look.

Monday, February 05, 2024

Supposed New Law of Nature Now Looks Like Statistical Error

This is a rare case in which I talk about some of my own work. It’s about the biggest current controversy in astrophysics, does dark matter exist or do we instead need to change the law of gravity. If you’ve followed me for some while, then you’ll know that my opinion on this has switched back and forth a few times. In this most recent iteration, it’s flipped back to it’s probably dark matter. Then again… it’s complicated. Let’s have a look.

Sunday, February 04, 2024

AI experts make predictions for 2040. I was a little surprised.

We’ve seen a lot of headlines in the past year about how dangerous AI is and how overblown these fears are . I’ve found it hard to make sense of this discussion. If only someone could systematically interview experts and figure out what they’re worried about. Well, a group of researchers from the UK has done exactly that and just published their results. What they have found is, not very reassuring. Let’s have a look.

Saturday, February 03, 2024

The discovery of X-rays and what we can learn from it

I was recently trying to figure out just how X-rays were discovered. The first 3 explanations didn't make any sense to me and before I knew it, I had 12 books about Wilhelm Röntgen on my desk because my brain is a wild place. I eventually figured out what must have happened, I believe, and thought you might find it interesting, too.

Oh, and the reason the shoe-box has the word "Ostern" (German for "Easter") written on it is that my husband's family has used it for decades to store dies for Easter eggs. (Which we still do today.)

This video comes with a quiz that lets you check how much you remember.

Friday, February 02, 2024

Typing makes dumb, new study says. Or does it?

Do you still write by hand? Anything besides shopping lists? A new study looked at what happens in our brain when we write by hand or type on the keyboard, and it makes a really strong case for handwriting. I personally quite like handwriting and I am totally convinced it’s good for, well, something, so I should be extra sceptical of this finding. But let’s have a look.

Thursday, February 01, 2024

A Tsunami Devastated Stone-age Britain. Could it happen again?

A new study by a group of British geologists suggests that a huge tsunami devastated the populations of Stone Age Britain, about 8200 years ago. This new research is about a fantastically destructive series of disasters known as the three Storegga slides. Sounds like a ride at an amusement park, but it was far from that. Could it happen again? Let’s have a look.

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

First Experimental Test of Process that Might Have Created Universe

One of the most disturbing ideas in physics, or maybe *the most disturbing idea, is that space can fall apart. That’s because it could be what’s called “false” vacuum. A false vacuum can remain in this innocent reliable looking form for billions of years, but eventually a quantum fluctuation could be enough to cause it to decay. This would release enormous amounts of energy and kill all of us. Yes, cheerful thought.

So far, this has all been theory. But a new experiment has now for the first time observed that quantum fluctuations can actually trigger a transition like that, luckily not for the entire universe, but for a small and safe test-setting in the laboratory with ultracold gases.