It may be blurry and blushy, but it’s ours. The first images of a supermassive black hole in the center of the Milky Way galaxy were released this week, and they caused quite a stir. You may recall the first images of a supermassive black hole at the center of the M87 galaxy a few years ago: spectacular images that all theories said about what a black hole should look like, or more precisely, what an attraction disk should look like. And events should be like the horizon, since black holes are not too much to see. This black hole, dubbed M87 *, is 55 million light-years away, but so huge and so active that it was relatively easy to imagine. The black hole at the center of our own galaxy, Sagittarius A *, is relatively small – the event horizon would fit inside Mercury’s orbit – just 26,000 light-years or so. However, our black holes are much less active and obscured by dust, so imaging was much more difficult. This is a remarkable technical achievement, and the images are definitely worth checking out.
Another asked, “Why didn’t I think of that?” File – Contactless hepatic response using the mouth is now a thing. It comes from Carnegie-Mellon’s Future Interface Group and aims to provide an alternative to the only practical haptic device for VR and AR applications – the vibration from the off-balance motor. Instead, it is located on a VR visa and uses an array of ultrasonic transducers directed towards the user’s face. By running the array correctly, the pressure waves can be directed to the wearer’s lips, teeth, and tongue, providing a response to world events. The mock game shown in the video below is a bit scary – not sure how many people have experienced the feeling of a spider web against the face or a spider gut splatter in the mouth. Still, it’s a pretty good idea, and we want to see how far it can go.
Relax, Canadian astronauts: Killing in space is now illegal. Or to put it more clearly, the Canadian government has made it illegal for Canadians to do aerospace in Canada. Given that only nine Canadians have traveled upstairs since the 1980s, and since they are so beautiful, there was probably not a huge risk of something unpleasant happening in orbit, but that did not prevent Parliament from making a possible closure. The whole field of space law is actually a kind of fascination, and it will be interesting to see how it develops as we move further into the solar system. But for now, everyone may feel a little safer going into orbit with any Canadian.
And last but not least, the wooden barrels may seem like a low-tech and anachronistic boogie whip, but that’s far from the case. The demand for wooden barrels, the need for proper aging of wines and spirits, is still high, and the process of making barrels is absolutely fascinating to watch. The amount of work done on the collaborative wooden barrels is amazing, and even with modern machine tools, it is still a very manual process. A waterproof vessel made of wood stalks is more complicated than sticking wooden sticks against each other with absolutely no glue and no joints, like thinking, and wondering how it was made without machine tools like the joints and before the invention. Hydraulic power is terrible. Enjoy!