Billions and billions of galaxies, the universe is so vast. We can’t even imagine what those numbers mean. But 14 billion years ago, none of these existed until the Big Bang.
-The Big Bang is the origin of space and the origin of time itself.
We take a journey through space and time, from the beginning to the end of the universe itself.
This is our world – cities, forests, oceans, people. Everything in the universe is made from matter created in the first seconds of the Big Bang. Every star, every planet, every atom, every glade of grass, every drop of water.
-Water is ancient. The hydrogen atoms in here were born moments after the Big Bang, then came everything else.
The Big Bang is the defining event of our universe and everything in it. The secrets of our past, our present and our future are locked inside this one moment in time. To unlock the secrets of the Big Bang, we have to travel outside of our own solar system, and journey beyond even our own galaxy. As we travel into deep space, we are actually seeing into the past and getting closer to being able to witness the dawn of time itself, passing the first infant galaxies and the first stars.
We arrive back at the moments the universe began, and face the biggest questions in all of science.
-This is the Holy Grail of Physics. We want to know why it banged. We want to know what banged. We want to know what was there before the bang.
To get the answers, we’ve built machines the size of cities to simulate conditions when the universe was created, and space telescopes to peer deep into our past.
-We’re getting close to answering the age old questions – why are we here, where did we come from, does the universe, in fact, has a beginning or an end, and the soul, what are they like. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason. We would know the mind of God.
The origin of the Big Bang is the greatest mystery of all time. And the more we learn, the deeper the mystery becomes.
-We like to think that our universe is unique. However, now we are not so sure. Perhaps, there is a multi-verse of universes. Another possibility is that our Big Bang is just one of many Big Bangs. But it may be one of just an infinite number/ of universes and there may be other regions and that infinite number of universes where Big Bang is just happening today.
But there is only one universe we are sure of, and understanding this one is hard enough. Since the late 1920s, everything we know about how our universe works has been turned upside down.
-It’s important to realize how much our picture of the universe is changing in the last century. At the beginning of the 20th century, the conventional wisdom in science was that the universe was static and eternal.
In 1929, that all changed. At the Mount Wilson Observatory above L.A., astronomer Edwin Hubble discovered galaxies aren’t stuck…
Hey, you, eleven? Why don’t we, eh, why don’t we make it 10:30?
Ah, Sam, promise I’ll never have to see him again.
Guys, come on, I wanna get a picture of Sophie with the Godparents.
Yes, this is she.
Did Ellison and Peter speak to you about who would take care of Sophie in the unlikely event that they should both die?
Well, they named you.
They picked us together?
Believe me, I tried to advice them against it, but there are options…
We have Peter’s father.
I think she looks just like you.
Oh, Sophie (OK ,OK), no no no no.
Go to Sue.
Are we supposed to live in this house together?
We are part of the plan.
Some sis says, Am, Mister, you can forget the condom.
Are you OK?
When I say no and I still end up with the kid.
We need to figure out a schedule. That’s my night off.
You need to be happy to get rid of your old life, because your old life sucked.
My life was great. Every time …
To do what? Beg more?
They loved Sophie more than anything in the entire world, and out of everyone at last they picked us.
She’s making the poop face.
What do you mean she’s making the poop face.
Oh, God, she’s gonna poop on the tub. Hurry up, hurry up, she’s gonna poop on me.
Oh, no no no no.
Come on now, that’s my hat.
Is that wine treatment?
I think you guys make a really cute couple.
She said the same thing about Tyler Swift and that twilight kid.
Hurry, she’s gonna walk.
How do I stall her?
Try to stall her. I’m coming.
Oh, I’m sorry.
What did you do?
You told me to stall her so I just gave her a little shove.
I finally figured out why Peter and Ellison picked us, and it’s not because we knew them best. Because you and me together, Sophie, somehow, we are a family.
That’s like slum bug ruin on it.
Get it off the clothes.
I gotta go.
No, spare my eyes.
Hey, great surprise.
Sweetie, you have poop on your face.
Day breaks in Sanaa, Yemen as the call to prayer rouses the inhabitants of this ancient city as it has for hundreds of years. This capital city, nestled at an elevation of over 7,000 feet in the Yemeni highland, is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world.
In the Medieval areas, towering mud-brick houses with white plaster highlights are oddly reminiscent of the spectacular gingerbread city. While in the Labyrinth souks, Yemenis haggle for spice, jewelry and other goods just as they have for centuries.
A walk through these narrow passageways quickly reveals one striking piece of merchandise, an accessory the Yemeni gentleman can’t be without–the Jambiya. These ornate burly knives are worn prominently, tucked into thick embroidered belts. And while they may seem fearsome to western sensibilities, the Jambiya is almost never used as a weapon, instead it serves as a sign of Yemeni manhood.
In the cramped quarters of the souk, blacksmiths intendedly work metal into the unmistakable hook-shaped blades. Rows of gleaming daggers are proudly displayed in market stalls. Their prices range from a few dollars to a staggering one million dollars for a Jambiya with impeccable craftsmanship and illustrious history, but the prestige of these items can come at a high price other than money.
The worth of these daggers is often defined by the handle, traditionally made from rhinoceros horn, price for the unique patina it exhibits. Jambiyas have often been cited as a major underlying cause for rhino poaching. Despite bans by the Yemeni government and international community on the trade of horns, they continue to be used by some knife makers. Conservationists and government officials have tried to stamp out the use by encouraging alternative materials, like water buffalo horn or camel hoofs, but in this country where change creeps slowly and tradition remains strong, a rhino horn Jambiya may be a steady symbol for some time to come.
Why is this diver burrowing into the bottom of this mini lake.She is literally disappearing into the sand and gravel of the water’s floor.Only debris and the occasional bubbles from her breathing tank are visible. She is part of a project, largely funded by National Geographic, to dive into the sacred pools of the ancient Maya.
“Our exploration team discovered this upwelling, it’s an underwater spring upwelling, and it provides this magical experience because it’s located at the bottom of a very large crater, and you can come down, down, down, down into this large crater, and in the bottom is this boiling mass of sediment that’s actually being rolled and boiled, it’s almost like a natural lava lamp, went in over the lip of the crater, descended down into the bottom, and I didn’t want to have any interference with the water that was already in the pool, and so it required a little bit of digging,and frankly it was extremely low visibility down there but below the actual base of sediment, there’s about one and a half meters more space. The water coming out of the bottom of this spring,coming into the pool,is chemically quite distinct from the water in the pool.”
But this is just the beginning. The dives also revealed clues to past life here, and the first for the country of Belize. Scientists discovered several fossil beds around 60-90 feet below the surface, including femur bones the size of a bowling ball. They also found tusks and \ bones. These are the first recorded fossils ever found in Belize.
“And we left those in place. We have only removed a few small fossils so we can actually determine, are they fossilized, or bone, and they are definitely fossilized, so we know they have to be of a certain age. but were they here , were these megafuta present during occupation by humans about 20,000 years ago , 15,000 years ago, or are they much older?”
The dives were made in several pools in central Belize earlier this year in an area known as Cara Blanca, The researchers found evidence that the eight pools of the 25 they studied are likely connected through underground passages.Principal Investigator Lisa Lucero says the major goal is to look for archaeological remains underwater.
“Because the Maya considered openings in the earth caves, water bodies , as porters to the underworld of \. And because the thousands of caves that have been found have offerings, ancient Maya offerings , we just knew there be offerings at the bottom of the pool, so we came with the goal of trying to dive to look for these offerings.”
Though they didn’t find offerings on the first dives, they did find surrounding sherds in a pool near remains of Maya buildings, constructed around 1,100 to 1,300 years ago.Lucero says there is no indication this area had many residences, but rather was likely a pilgrimage site, with Maya traveling here from hundreds of miles away,because at least one of the pools was found to be around 200 feet deep, and littered with trees and silt, more sophisticated diving equipment is needed for future dives. And Lucero believes there are more significant Maya offerings at these depths.
The research is being conducted under the auspices of the Belize Institute of Archaeology, and the scientists plan to return for more exploration.
Ever since man first began setting out for new lands by small boats heading over unknown horizons, he’s been searching for among other things, paradise. And paradise in the Tuamotus, a small archipelago in the Pacific about 200 miles northeast of Tahiti, means coconuts, digging clams, spear fishing and camping on the beach with the surf lulling to sleep.
But paradise today is not without its concerns. The biggest worry here is global warming. The 78 atolls that make up the two Tuamotus are just thin coral reefs, at their highest they are 10 feet above sea level.
As the average temperature of the oceans climb, estimates are that many of these living, breathing, still growing reefs and the lagoons they protect will very likely disappear in the next 50 to 100 years as the seas rise.
Frank Murphy is a University of California of Berkeley-trained marine biologist.
“It struck me the other day when my children arrived at Tahiti and saw that for the first time, that actually in their life time, this could disappear, and it’s pretty amazing.”
Fishing is a primary source of both food and cash. Doriat will take a dozen big My-Mys from his plywood boat which will sail on the island of Fakarava. Gathering and drying the white meat of coconut known as copra is the chain’s biggest business. A 100-pound sack sells for 38 dollars. A hard working family will produce 100 sacks a month.
In the past 20 years, a new economy has boomed in Tuamotus – black pearls. Pamala and Valda are 22 and have their own pearl growing business on a tiny spit of sand in the middle of a lagoon at Tuwao. They have thousands of oysters drowned just below the surface. Valda takes daily care of the boxes of the oysters, making sure they are close tightly to protect them from their natural predators. Pamala works 8 hours a day, seeding as many as 400 oysters a day. Once planted below the surface, each oyster will nurture a pearl for a year and a half.
Outsiders come looking for paradise and leave with many questions.
Is it ideal here?
Is it paradise?
As close as you can come, a tropical dream comes true.
Yet it is clear these tiny spits of land at the midst of a giant sea of blue paradise are at some risk. These westerners are happy to have seen a glimpse of paradise since it may soon change forever.
New Words and Phrases
the line or circle that forms the apparent boundary between earth and sky.
a large group or chain of islands,a large group or chain of islands
the principal island of the Society Islands, in the S Pacific
to fish underwater using a spearlike implement used manually or propelled mechanically
to put to sleep or rest by soothing means,to give or lead to feel a false sense of safety; cause to be less alert, aware, or watchful.
The United States has started the largest infrastructure project in human history, a complete top-to-bottom overhaul of our entire electrical supply grid, which is getting new intelligent devices at every step from the power company’s generators to the devices in our homes and making sure every component is secure from attack, while also elegant control of water, gas and sewage systems. And this total make-over must happen while the whole system is operating online at peak capacity, while it’s growing in fact. In short, we’ve begun building a smarter power grid, one that works pretty much like the internet. You could call it, the InterGrid.
Our aging power grid system is starting to fail. We’ve seen more blackouts and brownouts, and it runs inefficiently, wasting carbon into the air. New clean sources like wind and solar which make power only part of the time need intelligent pathways to get the consumers, and the Americans prefer the power they use to have been produced by Americans. Right now, our fragile, less-than-smart power grid, interconnect nearly 10,000 utility plants, that’s well over a million mega watts of generating capacity. About half it comes from burning coal. At least one third of the United States carbon output, maybe more, comes from power generation. Almost one fifth of our power steams onto the grid from the boiling water, heated by the nation’s 104 nuclear reactors. Nearly six percent of the electricity used in the US comes from flowing or falling water, hydroelectric power generated at river dams.
But the same six percent of all the electric power that’s produced gets lost before it gets where it’s supposed to go. It either melts away as heat as it travels long more than a quarter million miles of metallic wire, or it simply shorts to grid, undetected somewhere within the constant maintenance headache of the decaying patchwork of cable towers and poles.
Reclaiming just that six percent would be the equivalent of taking 55 million cars off the world in terms of the petroleum saved and green house gases prevented. For the past quarter century, the peak demand for power has been outpacing investment in new transmission line and power regulation systems that can only react when something goes wrong. They are not good at spotting problems before they happen. The old grid flies perilously close to the breaking point, every hot day in sunlight cities.
According the Department of Energy, US businesses use over a hundred billion dollars a year to blackouts and brownouts. The power that does arrive has to be used as soon as it gets there. But up till now, there hasn’t been a good way for consumers to tell the power company how much power they might want to purchase. To keep our electric grid from grinding to a halt, the new InterGrid will work on a principle known as prices to devices.
If you knew the electric rates were going to spike very high this afternoon, you might decide to leave your home air conditioner off while you are out of the house. Well, suppose your air conditioner, in fact your entire home, knew it before you. What if those device, your thermostats, washers, driers, refrigerators, Jacuzzis could make decisions about how much energy to purchase according to your preset preference and tell the utility company what you are willing to pay. And that’s truly speaking truth to power.
To see exactly how the InterGrid will listen to your demands and how it will keep us healthy and secure, please play Part Two of the electric InterGrid.
In Part I of the Electric InterGrid , we saw how consumers and utility companies could both save money and liberate much less carbon into the Atmosphere, if our power network became intelligent and self-aware.
But for this idea to work, every team that makes electricity and most things that use it, must interact with one another. Like the Internet, devices on the InterGrid must be plugged in play, so that any device can hear or speak to any other. And like the Internet, the InterGrid will grow a little with each clever new gadget.
Now, the downside of the power grid that works just like a web, is that it takes close to hacker attacks, launched by pranksters, but also from organized and well-funded terrorists. Soon, every smart meter in every home and business will be something akin to computer virus protection.
The InterGrid must also defend against assaults from Planet Earth itself. Let’s say one day, maybe 10 years from now, a monster hurricane comes ashore, knocking off power. The intelligent InterGrid instantly begins matching energy sources to critical needs, places like hospitals and fire stations must be back online first.
But this InterGrid isn’t depending only on utility power from power plants far away. After all, lines may be down over a large area. It’s also intelligently hunting a whole local energy sources. The solar panels are on your neighbor’s roof, lock logging a hybrid car in your drive lane. Refuels in your daughter’s school – every little bit helps.
Smartly switching power to vital local services like a phone system or a police station is called Ilingding. And it can keep whole communities afloat in times of trouble.
To keep powers flowing, operators must know what the grid is doing, at every level from local streets to international transition lines, to keep small failures from cascading out of control. This is a prototype for a systme to do just that. It’s called VERDY – Visual Energy resources Dynamically on Earth. It overlays different kinds of realtime information on googleearth, bringing weather data, showing which specific power lines are out, and who owns what wires, and how much of the population is affected. It can even pull up web cans of trafic, and evacuation routes.
Believing where everything is completely normal, utility managers still want to know as much as they possibly can, because, frankly, they prefer to produce only as much power as customers are willing to pay for.
Electricity moves essentially at the speed of light. If it is not used, as soon as it’s generated, it goes to waste. But the alternative of black-out is obviously quite inevitable. So, the current grid, depends on what the utility companies call “Peaker Plants.” Nobody likes them. Peakers cost money to build and maintain. They run on fuel that isn’t bought at the best market prices. So “Peak Power” becomes expensive power. Yet “Peaker Plants” sit idle most of the time.
This new intelligent InterGrid could eliminate most “Peakers” by anticipating consumers’ demands through interactive price signals. As engineers say, “If you can measure it, you can manage it.” But ultimately the InterGrid will be judged on how well it does 4 things:
Keeping money in consumer’s pockets;
Making communities safer, more secure and icreasingly self-reliant;
Supporting stable power utilities running on sustainable domestic resources;
Protecting and improving earth environment.
So, what will it cost to do all this? Estimate for the total investment needed here in the United States at about 1.5 trillion dollars over 20 years beginning 2010. What amazingly, that’s just about the amount of money needed anyway, just to keep the lights on, whether we make the grid smarter, cleaner and safer, or just simply keep it working alone.