Focusing Heavily on a Task Results in Experience of Deafness to Perfectly Audible Sounds
When you attention is completely focused on something, you simply do not hear stuff going on around you. This is why dummies who text and walk keep getting hit by cars. Which is fine by me, I hate texting and can't stand when people do it around me because it's rude. Let 'em get run over, give 'em all Darwin Awards.
A once in a 100 million years event - a black hole in the Draco constellation, 24 trillion miles from earth, destroyed a star about the size of our sun which caused a massive release of gamma rays - aimed right at us. Now normally when these sorts of things happen, the burst of energy is very brief, lasting only a few seconds or even milliseconds, but the blast coming out of the Draco black hole has been blaring for months! Here's some more info, via World Science:
“This is truly different from any explosive event we have seen before,” said Joshua Bloom, an astronomer at the University of California at Berkeley.
Black holes are objects so heavy and compact that their gravity overwhelms and drags in anything that strays too close, including light. They aren’t directly visible, but often the violent activity surrounding black holes gives off detectable light.
“The only explanation that so far fits the size, intensity, time scale, and level of fluctuation” measured “is that a massive black hole at the very center of that galaxy has pulled in a large star and ripped it apart by tidal disruption,” said Andrew Levan of the University of Warwick, U.K., one of the researchers. In other words, it’s the same effect by which the Moon’s gravity gently distorts our oceans, creating the tides, except the black hole’s gravitational force would be around 100 trillion times stronger than the Moon’s.
The spinning black hole then created two jets of energy, “one of which pointed straight to Earth,” he added.
“Despite the power of this the cataclysmic event, we still only happen to see [it] because our solar system happened to be looking right down the barrel of this jet,” said Levan. The event, dubbed Sw 1644+57, took place at the heart of a galaxy that lies in the direction of the constellation Draco, he added. The research is published June 16 in the research journal Science.
The beam had to cross 3.8 billion light-years of space before reaching us, researchers estimate. A light-year is a unit of distance equal to how far light travels in a year.
“This burst produced a tremendous amount of energy over a fairly long period of time, and the event is still going on more than 2½ months later,” said Bloom. “That’s because as the black hole rips the star apart, the mass swirls around like water going down a drain, and this swirling process releases a lot of energy.”
When NASA’s Swift Gamma Burst Mission spacecraft first detected the flash, astronomers thought it was a gamma-ray burst from a collapsing star. But on March 31 Bloom sent out an email circular suggesting it was actually a high-energy jet produced as a star about the size of our Sun fell into a black hole a million times heavier. Bloom and colleagues propose that some 10 percent of the infalling star’s mass is turned into energy and radiated off as X-rays and gamma rays.
“Here, you have a black hole sitting quiescently, not gobbling up matter, and all of a sudden something sets it off,” Bloom said. “This could happen in our own galaxy, where a black hole sits at the center living in quiescence, and occasionally burbles or hiccups as it swallows a little bit of gas. From a distance, it would appear dormant, until a star randomly wanders too close and is shredded.”
Probable tidal disruptions of a star by a massive black hole have previously been seen at lower energies, but never one that produces gamma rays, the most energetic form of light, Bloom said. Such random events, especially looking down the jet’s barrel, happen “probably once in 100 million years in any given galaxy,” he continued. “I would be surprised if we saw another one of these anywhere in the sky in the next decade.” The gamma-ray emissions probably began March 24 or 25, he added; “we think this event was detected around the time it was as bright as it will ever be.”
|What University of Warwick, U.K. researchers think the star may have looked like at the start of its disruption by a black hole. (Credit: U. of Warwick / Mark A. Garlick)|| |
Speaking of destruction, check out this video I swiped from Ace of the Machine That Destroys Everything:
Ace got the above video from kottle.org which is where I found this next amazing bit of technology, The amazing pen-spinning, phone-catching, rope-tying robotic hand:
I have problems with my hands, so much so that there are days when I'd lop them off if I could, maybe one day I can get them replaced with some fancy robot hands.
Open thread in comments below, talk about any of the stuff posted above or whatever else is on your mind. If you have links, share 'em!
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Have a great weekend!
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