Gamma Ray Twitter

June 11, 2008

I have never really seen the point of Twitter. (“I’m eating a sandwich”. “Now I’m putting the plate in the dishwasher”. ) Likewise, on that FaceBook “Current Status” thing, I just can’t resist the feeling that the only logical thing to type in is “On Facebook wasting time”.

But today I have really enjoyed a Twitter site. I have been following the Bad Astronomer’s Twitter site on the launch of GLAST, and somehow it was all quite exciting …

We haven’t been short of gamma rays over the last few years – INTEGRAL and SWIFT have done fantastic stuff – but GLAST is much higher energy and really big. It is going to be exciting.

The BA has written several posts about GLAST recently, eg here, and here.

Here are some good gamma ray links :

The NASA GLAST site
The Stanford GLAST site
The ESA Integral site
The Integral Data Centre (Geneva)
The Southampton Integral pages
The NASA SWIFT site
The SWIFT Operations Centre at Penn State
The UK SWIFT Science Data Center (Leicester)


Russian Oil Scare

June 11, 2008

According to oil-price.net today’s oil price is $132/barrel. However, the head of Russia’s Gazprom says that we will hit $250/barrel within a year and a half. This is reported in several regular newspapers such as the Guardian and Times Online and also in webby-papers such as Buzzle. Surprisingly, the story doesn’t seem to be at the BBC, or The Oil Drum . However, the latter has as usual lots of reliable and excellent stuff – today’s article shows how gas prices have been going up too.

Coming from Gazprom of course the story looks as much like a threat as a prediction – you are hooked, get used to to it. The comment stream in Times Online reflects this worry – its mostly about the blackmail thing. For example “Mary in Atlanta” says

My prediction is in 8 years the US will no longer be using oil as a primary source for energy. The West will rise to the occasion, trust me. The US should no longer allow itself to be held hostage by oil. And the people who discover a cheaper source of energy will be the “new rich”.

Huh. Solar ain’t enough. Uranium as well as oil will run out. Fusion is not “cheap” – yet. Roger Angel reckons we can do it with mirrors in space, but that ain’t eaxctly “cheap” either. We are looking at three options.

  • Change lifestyle, less energy.
  • Spend huge amounts on fusion and crack the sucker.
  • Wait for Malthusian collapse following the struggle for resources – a.k.a. war and famine.