The universe is too light. What?! Well, scientists have worked out how much the universe should weigh and how much substance it should contain, given the weight of matter, the size (height, length and breadth) of the universe and the time of it’s existence.
But, there is a problem. It is too light, and doesn’t have nearly enough substance. It is thought that ordinary matter such as stars, planets and gases only make up around 4% of the total weight of the universe. So where is the rest of it coming from?
That’s what scientists very recently think they have discovered. For a long time now there have been theories about so called ‘dark matter’ and ‘dark energy’ making up the difference, but until now, no actual proof.
However, the results from a major astronomical survey, which used the latest in hi-tech scientific technology and research methods to observe over 200,000 galaxies, appear to have confirmed the existence of dark energy.
The existence of dark energy appears to explain why the universe is expanding at an increasing rate. From what I understand, this is because the energy to some extent almost defies gravity, so if you were to throw a tennis ball, instead of eventually slowing down to a stop, dark energy would continue to increase the speed of the ball.
Scientists now believe that normal matter makes up around 4% of the universes weight, dark matter makes up around 22% and dark energy makes up the other 74%.
A pie chart showing the percentages of the substances that make up the universe
We now have some proof of the existence of dark matter and dark energy, however there is still a very long way to go yet, before we discover the true secrets of our universe…
It’s been a fun experiment, spending hours pouring into long-winded pieces of prose, carefully editing each word to pull out just the right meaning, and finally clicking the magic publish button… just to have it be read by a total of 3 people (which usually includes both my mom and my mother-in-law).
There’s nothing the matter with blogging. It’s a mighty fine platform for building an audience, spreading the word, and making a difference.
But sometimes I wonder if there’s not something more.
TechCrunch recently reported on the insane exponential growth of Tumblr, a microblogging service that is now getting close to 8 billion page views a month.
What is going on with microblogging and is it better than blogging? (Or the better question: has the train left without me?)
As noted by Wikipedia, über blogger Jason Kottke made the following observations way back in 2005:
A tumblelog is a quick and dirty stream of consciousness…They remind me of an older style of blogging, back when people did sites by hand, before Movable Type made post titles all but mandatory, blog entries turned into short magazine articles, and posts belonged to a conversation distributed throughout the entire blogosphere.
Aha! With just these few astute observations, a new picture starts to emerge.
Blogging Has Developed Rigid Standards
Blogging in many ways has formalized. It’s good for long thoughts, deeper ideas, but in measurable ways it has quietly crystallized into a rigid and imposing system.
Popular blogging services like WordPress force you to come up with a title for every post, no ‘ifs’, ‘ands’, or ‘buts’. And if you don’t choose a category, you’ll end up with the silly looking “uncategorized” label gracing your posts.
Whether you like it or not, there are stringent rules to follow if you want to play the game on their service. And after all, the search engines are hungry to index your posts and make them easily digestible for the web, so why not fall in line?
The conformities are obvious:
Trackbacks automatically organize incoming links.
Sidebars run down the right side of the site.
Subscriber counts brag the latest stats.
“Follow Me On Twitter” banners scream for attention.
What started out as an experimental ecosystem has turned into a fairly well-governed digital edifice. And in the meanwhile, the abundant room for free thinkers and self-expression slowly diminishes.
Microblogging Is A Freer Laxer Environment
Let’s be honest.
Most days bloggers write nothing at all because the sheer pressure of creating a masterpiece of a post is just too overwhelming.
But on Twitter, one snarky tweet can say it all with less.
You can write two sentences on your tumblelog and no one will be bothered.
There is a freedom to do whatever you darn feel like doing. On Tumblr if you just want to post a picture that connects with your inner self on some deep emotional and unexplainable level, you just do it.
If you want to reblog a different Mark Twain quote every day, you have permission.There are no rules. You don’t even have to name your microblog.
Many times I’ve run into a very neat tumblelog only to be shocked that it’s completely anonymous. No descriptions, no user image, no advertisements, just a stream of short poignant content.
But Blogging Harnesses the Real Power of Ideas
Despite the benefits and freedom of expression granted by microblogging, the chances of changing the world (or making a profit) are much slimmer than regular blogging.
The reason is the power of a well developed idea.
Tweets are cute, but they lack the intellectual and creative substance of a more sustained thought. 140 characters or even a single paragraph cannot provide enough
context to tell the whole story.
How many times have you seen a quote taken out of context? That’s the fundamental risk of ultra-distilled micro-ideas. You aren’t quite saying enough for people to get what you mean. Traditional blogging has the potential to unlock a deeper meaning that cannot be conveyed by separate smaller units.
Bloggers have helped create a new brand of citizen journalism that is shaking traditional forms of media.
Aspiring authors have garnered the attention of big publishers and earned book deals by attracting a large fan base through their blog.
Blogs can do all those things for which microblogs are much less suited.
Although some Twitter users have made a name for their self and or participated in highly significant events (like the raid on Osama Bin Laden), microblogging still has a long way to go in terms of impact.
However more and more people are turning to microblogging to reach new audiences. By now every company uses Twitter, but more and more like Mashable, the New York Times, and Huggies are leaping head first into Tumblr as well.
So which platform is better?
Which has the greatest potential?
You tell me. I’m going to reblog Mark Twain quotes now.
Cloud computing is the management and provision of data and applications via the internet. In non technical jargon that basically means is that it is the storing your programs and documents on the internet, rather than on your computer.
What is an example of cloud computing?
If you watch the tv, you will probably have seen those adverts that promote laptops and phones which allow you to work anywhere because of the ability to store your data in the cloud.
This basically means that your device merely holds the operating system and sometimes the software. The date you access is stored on a server somewhere. This means that you can access your data from almost anywhere with multiple devices.
The good and the bad…
As with most things in life, cloud computing has positives and (you guessed it) negatives. Here is a list of the pros and the cons of cloud computing:
Less hard disk space needed
Your computer runs much faster – like the Chromebooks are meant to (this is dependant on your internet connection)
You can access your data from anywhere at anytime
Most providers of cloud services, regularly backup your data, meaning if you loose some data or if they loose some, it shouldn’t be too hard to recover
Avoid costly hardware (and to some extent software) upgrades
If your internet dies, you can’t access your data, and in the case of a Chromebook, you can’t even access your programs
Some security risks are removed (like if your PC is stolen, someone may steel your data too) but loads of new threats from corrupt employees, hackers etc. are born
The services (initially) probably won’t be as reliable as you would like them to be
Big brother is watching you! – every move you make online or in a cloud based application can be monitored by your provider
You need a really fast internet connection, both download and upload, to really feel the benefit of it – the problem is, most peoples download speed is really fast, but their upload speed is rubbish!
Where is cloud computing data stored?
Good question – presumably not in the clouds! Applications, data etc. would be stored in server farms. Server farms are massive, usually very cool (air conditioned to increase machine performance and to prevent overheating) areas, full of loads of server towers.
A Server Room in a Server Farm
Google, Facebook and similar massive sites generally have their own server farms, which they often store underground, and they make sure that they are very well connected!
What’s your opinion on cloud computing? Is it the way of the future, or will it do more harm than good?