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Showing posts from December 20, 2012

New Kind of Magnetism Discovered: Experiments Demonstrate ‘quantum Spin Liquid'

Dec. 20, 2012 — Following up on earlier theoretical predictions, MIT researchers have now demonstrated experimentally the existence of a fundamentally new kind of magnetic behavior, adding to the two previously known states of magnetism. Ferromagnetism -- the simple magnetism of a bar magnet or compass needle -- has been known for centuries. In a second type of magnetism, antiferromagnetism, the magnetic fields of the ions within a metal or alloy cancel each other out. In both cases, the materials become magnetic only when cooled below a certain critical temperature. The prediction and discovery of antiferromagnetism -- the basis for the read heads in today's computer hard disks -- won Nobel Prizes in physics for Louis Neel in 1970 and for MIT professor emeritus Clifford Shull in 1994. "We're showing that there is a third fundamental state for magnetism," says MIT professor of physics Young Lee. The experimental work showing the existence of this new state, called a qu…

In Pakistan, Mixed Results From a Peshawar Attack Read more: In Pakistan, Mixed Results From a Peshawar Attack | Stratfor

By Ben West The Pakistani Taliban continue to undermine Pakistan's government and military establishment, and in doing so, they continue to raise questions over the security of the country's nuclear arsenal. On Dec. 15, 10 militants armed with suicide vests and grenades attacked Peshawar Air Force Base, the site of a third major operation by the Pakistani Taliban since May 2011. Tactically, the attack was relatively unsuccessful -- all the militants were killed, and the perimeter of the air base was not breached -- but the Pakistani Taliban nonetheless achieved their objective.  The attack began the night of Dec. 15 with a volley of three to five mortar shells. As the shells were fired, militants detonated a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device near the perimeter wall of the air base. Reports indicate that all five militants inside the vehicle were killed. The other five militants engaged security forces in a nearby residential area and eventually were driven back before …

IS THE SUN EMITTING A MYSTERY PARTICLE?

When probing the deepest reaches of the Cosmos or magnifying our understanding of the quantum world, a whole host of mysteries present themselves. This is to be expected when pushing our knowledge of the Universe to the limit. But what if a well-known -- and apparently constant -- characteristic of matter starts behaving mysteriously? This is exactly what has been noticed in recent years; the decay rates of radioactive elements are changing. This is especially mysterious as we are talking about elements with "constant" decay rates -- these valuesaren't supposed to change. School textbooks teach us this from an early age.
WATCH VIDEO: A solar eruption sends a wave of plasma hurtling towards Earth on Aug. 1, 2010. The event was captured by NASA satellites. This is the conclusion that researchers from Stanford and Purdue University have arrived at, but the only explanation they have is even weirder than the phenomenon itself: The sun might be emitting a previously unknown parti…

The Geopolitics of Shale

By Robert D. Kaplan
Chief Geopolitical Analyst
According to the elite newspapers and journals of opinion, the future of foreign affairs mainly rests on ideas: the moral impetus for humanitarian intervention, the various theories governing exchange rates and debt rebalancing necessary to fix Europe, the rise of cosmopolitanism alongside the stubborn vibrancy of nationalism in East Asia and so on. In other words, the world of the future can be engineered and defined based on doctoral theses. And to a certain extent this may be true. As the 20th century showed us, ideologies -- whether communism, fascism or humanism -- matter and matter greatly.
But there is another truth: The reality of large, impersonal forces like geography and the environment that also help to determine the future of human events. Africa has historically been poor largely because of few good natural harbors and few navigable rivers from the interior to the coast. Russia is paranoid because its land mass is exposed to …