Warp Speed!

This is possibly the coolest/most exciting thing I have read in a while, time to geek out. Some scientists believe they may be knocking of the door of creating something akin to the warp drives (or hyperdrives, depending on your taste) of science fiction.

As described by IFLScience (Link is here) the invention turning so many heads is the EM Drive (Electromagnetic Drive), invented by the British Aerospace Engineer Roger J. Shawyer. Now, what usually follows is an explanation of how the new technology functions, but I really don’t have much of an idea. I can tell you however, its purpose is to create thrust without the use of fuel, requiring only electricity to produce the desired effect. But more importantly, the name EM Drive sounds pretty bad ass and entirely becoming of a potential interstellar propulsion device.

NASA found that when laser beams were fired into the drive, some were recorded to have moved faster than the speed of light (which is: 299 792 458 metres per second or 186 282.4 metres per second, well … ish). One explanation, owing to the fact the Theory of Relativity states nothing can move faster than the speed of light, could be that space-time itself was moving around the lasers, propelling them faster than Einstein ever thought possible. Whilst I am no scientist myself, the mere thought of bending space-time, warp drives and space travel just cradles my curiosity. Imagine, in the not too distant future, mankind could set about exploring out galaxy and perhaps more! The next step in this bold quest will require careful research, thought and ingenuity, but I believe somewhere out there the perfect theme tune for humanity’s first deeps space mission is calling. Sorry Star Trek, for copyright reasons, it won’t be yours.

The Countdown

So it begins, the real countdown. Although I have known for a good while now of my own intentions to work abroad, only now does it feel truly tangible. Whilst specific events along the way have really nailed home the resounding fact of my impending departure from the rolling countryside of Good Old Blighty, such as booking my flight. It is with the fast approaching deadline of my flight date that has encouraged the butterflies to take up permanent residence in the pit of my stomach.

As this date draws ever closer, the swirling cocktail of trepidation and unbridled excitement grows ever stronger, progressing from a gentle Sunday afternoon mock-tail to a dizzying 48-hour shot filled binge. But there remains a lot to do. Ranging from packing, and finding something to pack in, to informing Her Majesty’s finest Tax Agents I will be leaving the country. (Whilst maintaining my National Insurance payments, something I would largely recommend.) The list of jobs seems almost never ending. Not to mention I have to gut my room, as my parents are already planning to transform it into God knows what. Which arguably you could say they are more than entitled to. But you do get the feeling they want to ship you off asap.

Now, back on point, how would most logical people attempt to tackle this unruly list of requirements? A to-do list I here you say, a fine choice! But what is that? I hear others screaming flow charts, calendars and reminders on your phones. All prime examples of a profound sense of organisation. Me on the other hand, leaving everything to the last minute and hoping all goes to plan seems to spring to mind. A fool proof method that has always got me where I need to go, with everything I have always needed-ish. Time for a change perhaps? Luckily, due to the duration of my travels I will be able to pick up anything I have missed, so in some sense I can breathe a sigh of relief, assuming I don’t forget my visa of course. If I were to create a to-do list what would it consist of? Lets have a think:

  1. Purchase, or otherwise acquire a suitcase or two.
  2. Place items in said suitcase(s): a toothbrush, pyjamas, Mr.Teddy and an assortment of reading materials.
  3. Inform HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) of my intention to leave, as well as letting the Student Finance Company know the same thing.
  4. Remove any sign I lived in my parents house.
  5. Convert my savings into Yuan.
  6. Go to the Airport.

A pretty comprehensive list I do believe. Although I have no doubt I am missing something of the up most importance … damn you brain!

Celestial Bodies – Full Moon, Half Moon, an Almost Total Eclipse

An eclipse is always a marvel. A true reminder of our place in the universe and our place in our solar system. The movement of these monumental celestial bodies, something we have no hope of effecting, is nothing if not humbling.

I have always found them utterly fascinating and a little magical. The 20th of March (2015) was no different. To the roaring back drop of crying disappointment experienced by many, I was granted a fourth row seat in a dark and crowded theatre behind an audience of giants.

Eclipse 20th March 2015
Eclipse 20th March 2015

I too was faced with an unyielding blanket of shifting grey, except for one small difference, a brilliant scar of white light indicating that the sun was in fact out there. My eyes were fixed to that dazzling scar. Occasionally I was rewarded with a break, a chance to see an event I had been hotly anticipating. Ecstatic is how I’d have described myself, if anyone had asked, elated, even overwhelmed. Through a little break in the sky I was able to witness one of nature’s greatest shows.

It is events such as these that challenge and inspire me, force me to question. The next awe inspiring event is happening sooner than you might think, the 15th of April to be exact: http://www.iflscience.com/space/total-lunar-eclipse-tetrad-begins-april-15 . Perhaps this time we’ll all get a better view.