A new window on the universe — gravitational waves confirmed

The top two plots show data received at each detector
The final plot compares data from both…confirming the detection

For the first time, scientists have observed ripples in the fabric of spacetime called gravitational waves, arriving at Earth from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe. This confirms a major prediction of Albert Einstein’s 1915 general theory of relativity and opens an unprecedented new window onto the cosmos.

Gravitational waves carry information about their dramatic origins and about the nature of gravity that cannot otherwise be obtained. Physicists have concluded that the detected gravitational waves were produced during the final fraction of a second of the merger of two black holes to produce a single, more massive spinning black hole. This collision of two black holes had been predicted but never observed.

The gravitational waves were detected on September 14, 2015 at 5:51 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (09:51 UTC) by both of the twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors, located in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington, USA…

Based on the observed signals, LIGO scientists estimate that the black holes for this event were about 29 and 36 times the mass of the sun, and the event took place 1.3 billion years ago. About 3 times the mass of the sun was converted into gravitational waves in a fraction of a second — with a peak power output about 50 times that of the whole visible universe. By looking at the time of arrival of the signals — the detector in Livingston recorded the event 7 milliseconds before the detector in Hanford — scientists can say that the source was located in the Southern Hemisphere.

RTFA. Lots of truly interesting science.

And, sorry, Trumpites – the earth is not flat.

Coppers rate sovereign citizen sect of right-wing nutballs more dangerous than ISIS

For decades, in courthouses and government offices all across the US, people have been filing bizarrely worded pseudo-legal documents filled with strange symbols, secret coded language, and even bloody fingerprints in an effort to unlock secret bank accounts set up for them by the evil impostor government that runs this country.

These people call themselves “sovereign citizens,” and the complex symbolism they use in these documents offers a fascinating insight into the beliefs and practices of a fringe movement whose prominence in America has grown over the past few decades and whose ideology overlaps with that of many other, often more dangerous, far-right extremist movements in the US, including groups like the militia that recently took over a national wildlife refuge in Oregon.

The sovereign citizens movement is a far-right anti-government extremist movement in the US that believes the government — at all levels, local, state, and federal — is illegitimate and has enslaved the American people.

Their belief system is complex and rooted in a series of bizarre conspiracy theories that hold that the original US government set up by the Founding Fathers has been replaced with an evil secret government that has sold all US citizens into slavery by using them as collateral against foreign debt.

As explained by the Southern Poverty Law Center, they believe the government creates a secret alternate identity for each American at birth and sets up a secret US Treasury account — sort of like a corporate “trust” — under that alternate identity. The US government funds these “corporate shell” accounts to the tune of hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars…

Part of their proof is that birth certificates and other government documents, said to represent this scheme, put names in all capital letters. So whereas Jennifer Williams is the real person, JENNIFER WILLIAMS is the secret Treasury account…

According to the FBI, which considers this a domestic terrorist movement, “By declaring themselves ‘sovereign citizens,’ they believe that they are emancipated from the responsibilities of being a U.S. citizen, including paying taxes, possessing a state driver’s license, or obeying the law…”

These beliefs may be nutty, but the groups are quite serious. A 2014 survey asked US law enforcement officials to rank terrorist threats to the United States. They ranked sovereign citizens as the highest threat — with Islamic extremists coming in second.

I’m not wasting time or space detailing the crap dementia of these fools. RTFA if you want a cold, shuddery chuckle. Just understand, this level of paranoia is at the root of a number of run-ups to violence – with phony patriotic names – in this land.