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.

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

AI makes stunning progress in logical reasoning

Google has unveiled a new artificially intelligent system, AlphaGeometry, that can solve problems of mathematical geometry. It’s the first computer program to surpass the average performance of participants at the International Mathematical Olympiad. That might sound like an incremental improvement, just one more thing that AI is really good at, but mathematics isn’t just one more thing, it’s everywhere. This makes Google’s recent development a significant step forward. Let’s have a look.

Monday, January 29, 2024

Brian Cox debunked the Big Bang! Wait what?

I was rather surprised when I recently learned that the British science communicator and ex-particle physicist Brian Cox supposedly debunked the Big Bang with a creation story, no less than in a BBC documentary. I had a look at the clip and I think I know what happened.

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Dark matter is not "Bunk Science"... But it has problems

Physicists say that 80 percent of the mass in the universe is dark matter, and not only this, dark matter is supposedly all around us, we just can’t see it. Sounds pretty crazy, doesn’t it. Indeed, every time I mention dark matter, I get flooded with comments about how silly the idea is. “Fantasy folly.” “bunk science,” “epicycles,” “a mirage”, “unscientific,” and on and on it goes. I really feel for astrophysicists, but those complaints are not totally wrong.

Saturday, January 27, 2024

I used to not worry about climate change. Now I do.

In this video I explain what climate sensitivity is and why it is important. Climate sensitivity is a number that roughly speaking tells us how fast climate change will get worse. A few years ago, after various software improvements, a bunch of climate models began having a much higher climate sensitivity than previously. Climate scientists have come up with reasons for why to ignore this. I think it's a bad idea to ignore this.

The quiz for this video is here.

Friday, January 26, 2024

Clever New Experiment Looks for Quantum Jumps of Big Things

I got a lot of questions about an article which said that physicists have designed “a Way to Detect Quantum Behaviour in Large Objects, Like Us”. I had a look at the paper. It’s about what I consider without exaggeration the most important question in physics today, that is, why do we not observe quantum effects in everyday life. They want to figure out if macroscopic objects still make quantum jumps and have come up with a clever idea for that.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

How do we know that climate change is caused by humans?

n this video I summarize the main pieces of evidence that we have which show that climate change is caused by humans. This is most important that we know in which frequency range carbon dioxide absorbs light, we know that the carbon dioxide ratio in the atmosphere has been increasing, we know that the Ph-value of the oceans has been decreasing, the ratio of carbon isotopes in the atmosphere has been changing, and the stratosphere has been cooling, which was one of the key predictions of climate models from the 1960s.

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

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Fearless Icelanders to Drill Into Magma Chamber

I don’t like places where hot stuff bubbles out of the ground, but Icelanders have no such issues. They’re now almost ready to start a new experiment that will drill right into a magma chamber. How do they know that this will not accidentally create a volcano? Let’s have a look.

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Extreme Weather Becomes Worse Faster Than Predicted

Floods, droughts, heat waves, hurricanes, storm surges. Extreme weather events receive a lot of media coverage. In recent years, these events have frequently been attributed to climate change. This “extreme event attribution” how it’s called is a way to quantify how climate change supposedly increased the likelihood of a specific weather event by so and so much. But it’s becoming increasingly clear that these numbers are underestimates. Yep, that’s right, reality is worse than they told us it would be. A new paper confirmed this problem for extreme rainfall events.

Monday, January 22, 2024

Another Famous Quantum Mystery Was Just Debunked (it wasn't me)

The quantum Cheshire Cat is a famous experiment that’s attracted a lot of attention in the past decade. In this experiment, a particle is supposedly separated from one of its properties, for example its spin or polarization. It’s called the Cheshire cat because that particle is kind of like the cat and its disembodied property is kind of like the grin of the cat.

But maybe I should better say there was this famous experiment, because it was just debunked in a new paper. Let’s have a look.

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Crack Down On New Climate Denial! Nonprofit tells YouTube

The Center for Countering Digital Hate put out a new report a few days ago, in which they warn that climate misinformation continuous to flourish on YouTube. They want YouTube to take more action. I had a look and I don't like what I read.

Friday, January 19, 2024

Astrophysicists Find Big Ring of Galaxies that Should Not Exist

A group of astrophysicists have found another megastructure in the universe. They’ve called it the “Big Ring” and it’s a whopping 1 point 3 billion light-years in diameter. The thing isn’t just huge, it’s also a huge problem for our understanding of how the universe works. Because it shouldn’t exist. I’m somewhat afraid that all other astrophysicists will try to ignore this, which is why I thought we should talk about it. Let’s have a look.

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Sugar Alcohols Ruined My Health: Learn From My Mistakes

I was told that I have irritable bowel syndrome. I then learned by shear coincidence that most of my symptoms were instead caused by food additives collectively known as "sugar alcohols". Since I have cut sugar alcohols out of my diet, my symptoms have almost entirely disappeared. If you have irritable bowel syndrome (or have been told you have it), I suggest you try cutting out sugar alcohols. You will know within two days or so whether that was the cause of the problem.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

New Cancer Therapy with Particle Beam Flashes goes to Trial

Flash proton therapy is a new cancer treatment that’s just out of the laboratory and now being tested on patients in the first trials. In this video I explain how it works and why it is so promising.

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

This New Nuclear Battery Could Soon Go on the Market

A Chinese company has announced they’re planning to mass-produce tiny nuclear batteries that can last up to 50 years, possibly beating both a British and an American company who have tried to put those on the market for several years. What does that mean? Will we soon all power our phones with nuclear power? Let’s have a look.

Monday, January 15, 2024

Our Universe Will Probably Not Rip Apart, Phew!

The Dark Energy Survey has surveyed dark energy and found that our universe is unlikely to rip into pieces. I think that’s good news for the cosmos. Let’s have a look.

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Can Quantum Fluctuations Create a New Universe?

Quantum fluctuations happen everywhere, all the time, and in principle they can become arbitrarily large. So if we wait long enough at the end of the universe, brains can spontaneously assemble. Those are the so-called "Boltzmann Brains". And eventually, even an entire universe might be born. Seriously? Well, it depends on exactly how the laws of nature work.

Saturday, January 13, 2024

New Computer Will Mimic Human Brain -- And I'm Kinda Scared

A lab in Australia is building a new supercomputer that will for the first time both physically resemble a human brain, and perform as many operations as possible, about 228 trillion per second. It will be the biggest neuromorphic computer ever and the scary bit is how few operations this are. Yes, how few. Let me explain.

Friday, January 12, 2024

A Runaway Greenhouse Effect is Very Unlikely on Earth

When I was just about to log off for the holiday break, I saw these headlines popping up, saying that it doesn’t take much to turn Earth into Venus with a runaway greenhouse effect which would, quote, literally boil earth alive. I thought it’d be best to ignore this. But then I saw that some people on social media got first worried about it, and then confused because no one was addressing this. So I decided to, well, you know, give you all the boring context because that’s what I do. And here we go.

Thursday, January 11, 2024

It looks like AI will kill Quantum Computing

Yann LeCun, the AI chief of Meta, has a surprisingly sane attitude to quantum computing. This deserves celebration and also investigation because he’s making a very good point.

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Space debris could start conducting electricity, disturb electric field

We’ve heard that space debris is bad and the problem’s getting worse, but here’s a new thing to worry about. It could interfere with the earth’s magnetic field, which is our major protection from the highly energetic particles of the solar wind.

Tuesday, January 09, 2024

This new semiconductor could revolutionize computing

Researchers at the Georgia Institute for Technology have found a new semiconductor that’s a really good candidate for making computers faster and smaller than ever. Amazingly enough, it works by combining graphene with silicon carbide, to give a material with a sensible band gap that still has a high thermal conductivity.

Monday, January 08, 2024

Solar arrays better than trees for climate, study says

What is better, planting trees or covering the same area of land with solar panels? A group of geoscientists from Israel just looked at this, and they say that solar panels come out way ahead. Let's have a look at what the paper says.

Sunday, January 07, 2024

Will the world end? A physicist's reply

How do we know that the laws of nature will continue to do what they have been doing so far? We don't. It's called the "Problem of Induction" and means that ultimately science is also based on faith, faith that the laws of nature will not fail us tomorrow. So, well, enjoy the world while it lasts.

They predicted a Nobel prize-winning discovery. And no one cared.

Imagine you make a prediction for a discovery that wins the Nobel Prize. Your prediction turns out to be correct, and no one cares. This is what happened to these two physicists who correctly predicted the mass of Higgs-Boson with a theory that is no less than one of the most promising candidates for quantum gravity.

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