I was oh, so tired this morning, even after hitting the sack at a reasonable hour. .. I was plumb tuckered out but my morning got sharp, bright and lovely before lunch. RI seems to have cooled down a bit, and left the rest of the crew be for most of the day. ACIM opened up in Georgia officially today, and I’m on call tonight, so we’ll see how it goes with a bunch of new law enforcement breaking in. Newt’s full of beans tonight, running and jumping and being a spitfire in general.
This evening, I discovered that my comfy Adirondack chair went missing, along with the small rubbage bin (empty) and little table I had out front. I’m going to have to talk to the landlord and ask what became of them, because they weren’t junky or ugly, and were frequently used bits of my property. In their stead, there is a set of PVC chairs and a matching table… but I wasn’t asked or consulted in any way before the swap took place. The small bin wasn’t replaced at all, but now I have two chairs by the table rather than one.
I was thinking about the afterlife earlier, and wondered about all of the bugs that died violently… do they have ghosts too?I thought about all of the red ants that have been trod on in one way or another, intent on brining information back to the nest… would the be doomed forever to haunt the scent trail that they were on?
A black cat has been barred from the stairwell of a housing block in Israel because he scares local residents.
Kooshi, a seven-year-old mixed breed with a jet-black coat and green eyes, looked ferocious, residents in Rishon Letzion complained to town officials.
The cat’s owners were ordered to cradle the animal when using the staircase – or risk having it impounded.
But the cat’s owners object to the pet being “singled out” because of its color and say they may go to court.
A neighbor told Associated Press: “It brings you bad luck, you go in the street, you walk in the street and you see black cat, it [messes] up the whole day – this is very bad, very bad for Karma, for communication, very bad.”
Riva Mayer of the Cat Welfare Society said fear of black cats was pervasive in Israel.
The restrictive order was issued by municipal veterinarian Jonathan Even-Zor, who said officials in Rishon Letzion – just outside Tel Aviv – could not ignore the complaints.
“This is a black cat that on its way downstairs occasionally passes through the legs of building residents, some of whom are afraid of the cat, quite possibly because of its black color,” Mr Even-Zor wrote in a letter to Kooshi’s owners, AP reported.
“Even if this reaction is based on superstition, people who are afraid of the cat should not be forced to encounter it on the stairwell, particularly when the area is not illuminated,” the letter said.
But the cat’s owners, the Morgansterns, said they would fight the order and had already hired Asaf Marx, a lawyer with Israel’s Cat Welfare Society.
“The city of Rishon Letzion doesn’t have a leg to stand on,” Mr Marx wrote in a letter to Mr Even-Zor.
“A veterinarian can issue an order like this only if an animal constitutes a threat to public health or to public order,” the letter said.
Sheep painted to deter ‘panther’ – A farmer has painted zebra-style stripes on her sheep to camouflage them after rumors of a black panther on the loose.
Charlotte Brayley, from Ayrshire, spray-painted her flock through cardboard stencils after reading about the recent sightings.
The 21-year-old, whose farm is just outside Dalry, painted green, purple and red stripes on six of her sheep.
She said: “These cats prey on sheep and there was no way I was going to allow any of mine to fall victim.”
Ms Brayley, who studies fine art and sculpture at Glasgow School of Art, said it only took 15 minutes to paint each sheep.
She told the Daily Record newspaper: “It doesn’t matter that the colors are bright. It is the patterns that are important because cats only see in black and white.
“One night my mum was sure she spotted a huge black tail disappear into a hedge.”
Striped camouflage, like that of a zebra, is believed to confuse cats because the contrasting bold stripes break up the shape of the intended prey.
More than 200 sightings of big cats have been reported in Scotland this year.
In a vacuum, light travels at the phenomenal speed of 300,000,000 meters per second. Scientists can exploit the way that the electric and magnetic fields in light interact with matter to slow it down.
Over the last few years, scientists have become masters of the light beam. Speeds of a few meters per second are now reached routinely in laboratories around the world. It is rather harder, however, to stop light completely and previous attempts have halted light but lost its photons in the process.
Mikhail Lukin and colleagues at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts managed to stop light without this loss by firing a short burst of red laser light into a gas of hot rubidium atoms.
This is then “frozen” with the help of two control beams. The light in the control beams interacts with the rubidium atoms to create layers that alternately transmit and reflect the pulse.
As the signal tries to propagate through these layers, the photons bounce backwards and forwards between them. As a result, the pulse makes no forward progress – the light is “frozen” in place. The pulse is set free when the control beams are turned off.
Ulf Leonhardt at the University of St Andrews in Fife, Scotland, says the technique is novel in that the effect the control beams have is “like storing light behind bars”.
Fractions of a millisecond
In 2001, two groups reported they had stopped light (New Scientist 08/08/01). Lukin was involved in one of these experiments, the other was led by Lene Hau, now at Harvard.
Both teams slowed light down by passing it through a gas of atoms. Lukin used hot rubidium atoms, Hau super-cooled sodium. Both managed to reduce the speed of light to zero however, by the time it had slowed to a halt, all of the photons had been absorbed. The pulse could be regenerated because the photons’ energy was stored in the atoms. But while the pulse was stationary, technically, it contained no light at all.
Lukin and colleagues Michal Bajscy and Alexander Zibrov have so far managed to hold light still for just fractions of a millisecond using their new method. But there is no reason why it cannot be trapped for longer, they suggest. This could be a useful trick to employ in telecommunications systems that send optical signals, or more fancifully, in quantum computers.
“Frozen, stationary pulses of light mark a new chapter in quantum optics,” comments Marlan Scully at Princeton University, New Jersey in Nature.
Journal reference: Nature (vol 426, p 638)