Friday, January 14, 2011

I Should Have paid More Attention In School

I was such a geek in school you would think I would have paid more attention to science. But I didn't, more's the pity.

Pardon me while I digress away from working in the prison for a moment. Something pretty cool has come to my attention.

Many thanks to my sister, Columbia Critter, who sends me interesting emails now and then and lets me know what is happening out in the real world.

According to some scientists who work in the Gamma Ray Burst Monitoring Team at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, large lightning strikes create antimatter!

First of all, let's see how many people out there even knew we had a Gamma Ray Burst Monitoring team? A show of hands?

Yeah. Me neither.

Anyway, they have been working with NASA and monitoring the Fermi Orbiting Gamma Ray Space Telescope.......

Another show of hands for anybody who knew about the space telescope?

Gotcha.

Why didn't I know about all this cool stuff? Am I living in a hole?

Never mind.

Back to where I was. They have been watching large thunderstorms with this cool space based telescope and apparently when there is a significantly large enough lightning strike, it sends out a burst of electrons upwards into the upper atmosphere where some of the particles turn briefly into antimatter.

And they think that by studying this some day they can learn to create or harness the antimatter and turn it into a cheap completely clean energy source.

First of all, I think that is just awesome. The fact that it happens at all is very cool and the fact that someone had the idea to point this space telescope back at earth and look at thunderstorms and managed to find something potentially beneficial out of it is beyond comprehension.

I'm all for space research. I wish we were doing more of it. The problem with most of it is that so much of the stuff we discover about space and what happens out there seems of no real practical value at the moment. I'm not against research for research sake, but i would love to see something practical come out of it now and then.

And it looks like this has the potential to be beneficial to everybody.

And you guys in Huntsville? You Rock!!!

On a much sillier note, tomorrow is National Dress Up Your Pet Day.

I'm going to dress up my dog Daisy as a large sleeping lump of fur in the middle of the living room rug. She's a natural for that one.

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