The Big Island
Everyone needs a home to return to. The next few days' photos will be from a place very near to an islander's heart, HAWAII. With telescopes atop Mauna Kea and active vulcanism, the Big Island is the perfect place for a cosmologist. Kilauea Volcano has been very active lately, and there has been volcanic activity in Indonesia and the Philippines. Hawaii is conveniently located in the middle of the Pacific Ring of Fire.
For a light-hearted look at the current world mess, Green Helmet Guy from propaganda photos now has a blog! His views on fooling the media are timely and very funny! My response to those who imprison women in burquas is to wear whatever we want.
Mahndisa has contributed some interesting posts on Loop Quantum Gravity. Christine Dantas also writes about Quantum Gravity theories. You may also see the August 12 cover story in New Scientist about Sundance Bilson and Lee Smolin's work. It is very promising to see LQG get wide airplay.
Some consider Loop Quantum Gravity as a rival to the string enterprise. A few theorists look down on those not enmeshed in strings. There is absolutely no reason for rivalry, except that strings have jealously dominated theoretical physics for years. LQG may end up describing entirely different phenomena.
Recent work by Sundance and Lee at the Perimeter Institute suggests that LQG may predict the configurations of light particles such as the electron and positron. If so, that is a big and promising achievement. The Holy Grail of theoretical physics is to predict physical parameters, such as the masses of fundamental particles. As for two important parameters, the speed of light c and the Planck value h, readers of this site already know how to predict those!
Below is an aerial shot I took of Mauna Kea in Winter, all covered in snow. Here one can snowboard and snorkel on the same island. What more could anyone ask for?