Nine Year Microwave Sky The detailed, all-sky picture of the infant universe created from nine years of WMAP data. The image reveals 13.77 billion year old temperature fluctuations (shown as color differences) that correspond to the seeds that grew to become the galaxies. The signal from our galaxy was subtracted using the multi-frequency data. This image shows a temperature range of ± 200 microKelvin. Credit: NASA / WMAP Science Team WMAP # 121238 Image Caption 9 year WMAP image of background cosmic radiation (2012)

Cosmology 101: The Big Bang Brouhaha


We’re only a few days into the Trump Administration and WC is already tired of the Liar-in-Chief’s antics. Wickersham’s Conscience will take a break from politics and presidential churlishness and revert to the magpie principle. At least until WC’s atrophied moral outrage recovers. For a sense of perspective, lets talk about cosmology instead. Let’s focus on…

stingray

Have You Been Stingrayed?


A few evenings ago, Mrs. WC noted that the cell service provider on her iPhone had changed from our usual vendor to “Boise PD.” It only appeared for a few moments, but it was clearly the operation of a Stingray – a poorly configured Stingray – in our neighborhood. You don’t know about Stingrays? They…

crispr_overview

CRSPR Critters


If you haven’t heard of CRISPR, you will, It’s a tool that, like the transistor in electronics, is utterly revolutionizing biology. Combined with gene drive, it has made alterations to genomes, including human genomes, within the means and skills of a bright high school biology student. Put on your horned-rim glasses and pocket protector; we’re going…

Lucy's Humerus

An Autopsy 3.2 Million Years in the Making


Lucy is the most famous Australopithecus afarensis in the world. And certainly the only one with a Facebook page. Lucy’s fossil was discovered in Ethiopia in 1974, and was a remarkable find because more than 40% of her skeleton was recovered. University of Texas at Austin paleoanthropologist John Kappelman arranged with the Ethiopian government and museum authorities…

Olympus Endoscope Schematic Drawing

Olympus Is in Yet Another Scandal


One of WC’s better decisions, after years fo frustration, back in April 2013 was to abandon Olympus cameras and switch to the Canon line. Not long after that, Olympus was mired in an accounting scandal that nearly killed the company and led to criminal convictions for several officers and former officers. The “re-focus” – heh –…

padcrypt

Malware: It’s Getting Pretty Bad


Malware is the generic term WC uses for all kinds of software intended to do things to your computer that you didn’t intend.  It includes computer viruses, worms, trojan horses, spyware, adware, scareware, and a staggering array of other malicious programs. But the specific kind of malware WC wants to talk about is ransomware. In its essence, ransomware denies you the use of…