Scitacular: How does the internet work?

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Internet has become an integral part of our lives. You are viewing this blog and reading this article because of the internet. But did you ever think what exactly does internet mean, how it works? It sounds complicated but it’s not.

Lets understand the basic idea of how the internet works. Internet is nothing but interconnected computers. You are viewing this webpage on a computer. Your PC, mobile or tablet share the same architecture as a computer, so they are also computers. The webpage you are viewing sits on another computer or in a lot of computers otherwise called as servers which are situated all across the globe and even in space. In 1964 there were only 4 servers in the whole world. These servers are controlled by different companies and governments.

Now lets dig deeper into the world of internet. First, lets learn about some of the common acronyms related to internet. IP address means ‘Internet Protocol address’. IP address is the unique number assigned to every computer on the internet. To know your IP address click here. URL means ‘Uniform Resource Locator’ which is the name of the webpage to you and me. ISP means ‘Internet Service Provider’ who are the people that provide you with internet. DNS means ‘ Domain Name Server’ which is basically a server. A server is a computer which stores information about everything in the internet including websites, videos, Photos, your likes and shares of this blog in facebook and google+. These DNSs contains information about which IP address are connected to which URl.

Internet is nothing but cables and wireless signals connecting people and computers to each other all over the world. Here it goes, read this carefully. When you type a URl like www.kaboomed.wordpress.com or www.google.com in your browser it sends this request to ISP( Internet Service Provider) which will in turn send your request to a DNS(Domain Name Server) which has the information about the URLs IP address. This DNS searches for the IP address you requested and if it doesn’t have the information it transfers the request to another DNS and so on. Eventually your request is found and the DNS sends this information back to your ISP which will in turn send it to your browser and your computer decodes this stuff and displays it on the monitor. So this is basically translates to your computer connected to another computer.

When you are connected you can download text or videos or photos from the host DNS onto your computer. It downloads this stuff by another protocol called http( Hyper Text Transfer Protocol) or https( Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure). You can find this in the starting of every website URL in the address bar of your browser. So when u clicked the link of this blog or article your request has traveled all around the world and who knows maybe even went into space. All this processes are done at the speed of light as a result it doesn’t take ages for a website to load. From next time if a website takes about a second longer than usual, you know that it is travelling and visiting corners of the world at the speed of light.

Now you know what happens in the internet and how it works. Leave your thoughts in the comment section below and share this if u like what you just read. Know more about science and technology here.

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Awesome Minds: Leonardo da Vinci

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Leonardo da Vinci

Very few people in this world can compete with Leonardo da Vinci for the title of The Supreme Genius of all ages. He is a true polymath and is regarded as a renaissance man. He is one of the most famous and most talented artists the world has ever seen. His artworks include the very famous and most valuable Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, Vitruvian Man, Virgin Of The Rocks and many many more. He was not only an artist he was an engineer, an anatomist and a chronicler of science. His innovations were so advanced and so ahead of his time that even now, with this vast amount of technology at our hands we are still learning from his documentaries. Unfortunately, most of his scientific work documented in at least 7000 pages of notes remained lost or hidden around the world for centuries after his death. And he didn’t know Latin, so most of his work didn’t make an impact on the then scientific world as Latin was the main language used by the scientific community back then. So he couldn’t publish his works to the world even if he wanted to. As a result of this, despite his pioneering research he couldn’t make a considerable impact on the science and technology of that time.

Mona Lisa

The Last Supper

Leonardo was born on April 15, 1452 in Vinci, Italy. Yes, ‘da Vinci’ means ‘of Vinci’. Much against our expectations Leonardo did not receive any form of education from anyone except for normal reading, writing and basic math. He was very much interested in painting and hence became an apprentice of the famous artist Andrea del Verrocchio where he remained until his mid 20s. By that time he became a master in painting and sculpting. He then went on to painting the Mona Lisa, The Last Supper and many more famous artworks.

In late 1400’s when Leonardo was coming up as an artist most of the world was devoid of real science. All of the peoples believes were based on bible or from the ancient philosophers and a lot of which was often superstitious or completely untrue. Leonardo did not bother about those believes, he was all about experimentation, observation and reasoning. But the best ability of Leonardo was to observe and meticulously record his experiments and thoughts in words and graphic illustrations of artwork.

Parachute

Ornithopter

He was obsessed with flight. He observed various birds and analysed how their feathers and muscles worked together to make them fly. He thought if birds can fly then humans can too. He documented all of his observations and recordings in notebooks called codices. In early 1500s he put forward a notebook which contained all about flight of birds. It was called the ‘Codex on the Flight of Birds’. It has over 35,000 words and 500 sketches related to flight, balance, gravity, the properties of air and his famous flying machine ideas. He was the designer of the first parachute and he also designed a flying machine called Ornithopter which was proved to be working. All this happened 100s of years  before the world could ever see any kind of progress towards an actual flying machine.

Underwater breathing mask

He was also obsessed with all states of water. He drew plans for different kinds of water wheels, steam powered cannons, humidity measuring devices and various machines that could work on different states of water. He also designed an underwater breathing mask and a submarine.

He made a lot of war machines which were proven functioning and genius. Leonardo may be the best inventor the world has ever seen or will ever see, his ideas often were beyond the technology of his age or required a lot of money which he did not have. But none of these inventions ever combined his passion for art and science more than his interest in Anatomy, which is perhaps his greatest scientific contribution.

He dissected more than 30 human bodies. He sketched with great detail the renderings of muscles, nerves, bones, skulls and hearts. Every piece of muscle, cage of bone is a masterpiece in itself. He made wax structures of human organs in order to observe how they function and react. He was figuring out things that no one knew at that time. As his last crusade he studied about heart. He sent molten wax into the heart and made a glass model out of the wax moldings and pumped blood into it to observe the opening and closing of valves. His discovery about these valves and heart were revolutionary and are fundamental to the functioning of heart. But as his works were never published, not until the 20th century cardiologists started figuring this stuff out. They confirmed that Leonardo was absolutely right in his findings.

Even with today’s technology scientists are still learning from Leonardo’s observations. As many of the greatest scientist Leonardo’s contributions weren’t recognized until long after his death. He was a true inter disciplinary genius with his contributions ranging a vast range of scientific disciplines from Anatomy to Flight to War machines. But there is still a lot we can learn from him. His integration of various disciplines was mind blowing. Leonardo was a true genius as he knew all these things 500 years ago and we are still trying to figure these out. He is truly awesome-tacular.

What do you think of Leonardo da Vinci? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

 

Time Travel: Scitacular

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We have seen time travel in many sci-fi movies. Wouldn’t it be great if we just skip a bad day into the future or go back and redo our mistakes. If only it was possible. But can we rule out the possibility altogether? Lets look at the possibilities of accomplishing that dream.

First, lets learn what is time. All physical objects have 3 dimensions i.e; length, breadth and height. But there is another dimension called time. Space consists of the 3 commonly known dimensions and space and time combined makes our universe. Everything has a length in time. Higgs boson has about a thousandth of a billionth of a billionth of life time (1.56×10−22 sec), Humans have around 60 years of average life time, our sun has about 10 billion years of lifetime. When you think about it, this isn’t so hard to understand after all.

We saw in Star trek movies that they enter a portal and appear at another part of the universe for a mission. Can we do the same thing ? It appears we can, we can use wormholes. They are everywhere. But they are tinier than a molecule or even an atom, so we cant see them. Hundreds of millions of wormholes pass through our bodies every second. If we can concentrate the required energy to create a wormhole that can fit a human then we can possibly travel through space and time at the same time. We can Travel from the present Eiffel Tower in Paris to Taj Mahal when it was being built in 1648. But going into the past will result to the occurrence of paradoxes.

Imagine if u had a wormhole which can make you go back to the time when you were not born yet. You go and kill your mother. Then how did you kill your mother if she died before u were even born? This is a paradox. So these paradoxes restrict us from going to the past. And frankly speaking building a usable wormhole is practically impossible.

Lets look at other possible, more accessible alternatives. Einstein’s theory of relativity states that gravity can bend space and time. Gravity is the direct result of mass. Every object which has mass exerts gravity. Even you and me have our own gravitational field. We too bend space and time.

Our GPS network consists of 31 satellites orbiting our earth. Every satellite contains a very precise clock. It gains about 1/3rd of a billionth of a second every day. The system corrects this gain everyday to avoid catastrophe in our navigation systems. The problem is not of the clocks, they run fast because the time itself is faster there compared to here on earth. The reason for that time shift is the mass of the earth. The heavier the object the more time shift it causes. Even you and me cause time shift but it is negligible. So to make a difference and slow down time enough we need a bigger, more massive object. Black Holes serves this purpose. The nearest black hole is at the center of the milky way about 26,000 light years away. It is the heaviest object in our galaxy, it is about 4 million times the mass of our sun. It is 50 million miles in diameter and even light cant escape its gravitational pull. An object of this caliber has a dramatic effect on time. This is a natural time machine.

If we build a space ship and launch it in the orbit of this black hole at a safe distance like our satellites orbit our earth. We can stimulate the same time shift process and slow down time by about half that at the earth. If they had orbited for 2 years around the black hole and returned to earth, the people on earth would have aged 4 years rather than 2. That means the ship had traveled through time and accelerated time by 2 years. The ship has traveled through all the 4 dimensions. But being half as old is not enough. We need some other alternate which can take us into a farther future.

There is a more straight forward way of travelling through time. We just have to travel faster, a lot faster. Physics has a universal speed limit called the speed of light (3 x 10^8 m/s). No object can travel faster than that. But we will try to  challenge nature and test its limits. We will build a space craft with enough power to accelerate to the speed of light. The space craft starts its journey, lets say to another planet at the edge of the universe. The ship starts off accelerating at a tremendous rate. But just as it had reached the 99.99% of the speed of light, the laws of physics prevents it to go any faster. To compensate this, the time slows down at an extraordinary rate. The closer we are to the limit the slower the time. Hence, we can travel into the far ends of the universe and our future just by travelling fast. But building a space craft that can go that fast is quite impossible.

But we have built a similar machine as the craft. At the worlds largest particle collider at Cern Geneva, Switzerland. It has a 16 mile long tunnel. Here they accelerate tiny particles at the rate of 60,000 miles an hour in a fraction of a second. When we increase the power they travel faster and faster to almost the speed of light but not quite. These particles normally live for around 25th of a billionth of a second but when they are accelerated to near light speed, they last 30 times longer. These particles truly travel through time. They are real time travelers.

So time traveling is not impossible. Well not theoretically at least. If you want to go into the future just travel faster.

Leave your comments and opinions in the comment section below. Like and share if u feel like it. Know more about science here.