motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
51KIJDGyirL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_Have you read "The Age of Miracles" by Karen Thompson Walker?  It's pretty good.  It's a coming-of-age (I hate that phrase, but what other will do?) story of an 11-year-old girl dealing with a first crush, mean girls, parents, and a possibly demented grandfather.  It teeters on the edge of being a YA novel, but what tips it slightly into the adult literature realm is the backdrop with Earth's rotation inexorably slowing and the world possibly coming to an end.  Walker does such a good job of incorporating the normal-ness of changing life in the teen years into the desolation of the changing external world, that I had to remind myself as I was going about my days the world wasn't actually slowing down.  And I was actually feeling a little tense about it until I finished it.

Aaaand then I go to catch up on podcasts from over the holidays only to find Radiolab talking about... THE EARTH'S ROTATION SLOWING! Aaaahhh! 
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
If any of you listen to Radiolab, you will have heard this already. If you haven't heard the latest episode, and want to be surprised, stop reading. Go listen to it - your mind will be blown. And I'm not using that term in the way that everyone over-uses the word "awesome" now-a-days.

There's a scientist - Lene Vestergaard Hau - at Harvard who has found a way to isolate really slow atoms by ... encouraging the faster atoms, with lasers, to go away. I'm sure there's a much more technical way to say that.  When you shine light though these slow atoms, it slows down to about 15 miles per hour! Yes, you can actually ride a bike faster than this light. 

And then they dropped the fact that she can actually stop light. STOP. LIGHT. Say, if you had a box with these super slow atoms in it, you could shine light into this box, and stop the light inside it.

And then... and then she mentioned that the stopped light leaves an impression on the atoms, which you could then transport somewhere else in said box, and then recreate the light from the impressions on the atoms. What the what the what?!?  So... light, to matter, to light?


Of course, they're talking about mundane real world applications like more security on the internet, but holycrapsmackers TRANSPORTERS!!!

You can listen and read more about it at Radiolabs "Behind the Scenes" for this segment.


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