Just over ten years ago, NASA-affiliated researchers set out to observe cosmic rays showering down on Earth from above. During the experiments in Antarctica, physicists found something unexplainable, something that could change everything we think we know about physics.
The Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA) balloon experiment began in 2006 when the balloon spent a month hovering over Antarctica’s ice. Using sensors, ANITA began detecting high energy neutrinos interacting with the ice sheet below.
Neutrinos are unique in that they don’t lose energy as they disseminate throughout the universe. Because of this, neutrinos are capable of providing humans with a peek into the vast expanse of the universe that would otherwise be unavailable.
According to Motherboard, the Soviet physicist Gurgen Askaryan once theorized that “when a high energy particle interacted with a dense dielectric medium—a type of insulating material that doesn’t conduct electricity—it would produce a shower of secondary charged particles whose radiation can be detected by standard radio antennas. This interaction, now known as the Askaryan effect, allows physicists to detect particles that hardly interact with normal matter (like neutrinos) by observing their secondary effects.”
During ANITA’s time in the Antarctic, it detected never before seen “upward-pointing cosmic-ray-like events.” The rays detected had horizontal planes of polarization, which may suggest they didn’t originate in space. The detection of these events means a new type of particle may have been evading detection by sophisticated particle accelerators since we began using sophisticated particle accelerators.
Thanks to the Standard Model, physicists have known that cosmic rays are capable of reaching and penetrating Earth. However, according to the model, those rays shouldn’t be able to pass all the way through our planet. So are the anomalous high energy particles measured by ANITA originating from Earth, or are they actually passing through it?
Some existing physics models that exist beyond the Standard Model involve theories that the interactions between cosmic rays and ice actually produce micro black holes that open into small dimensions. ANITA’s first mission didn’t detect the black holes, but it did detect the Askaryan effect.
Last week, a group of researchers posted a new theory about the rays measured by ANITA. The group, led by Pennsylvania State University physicist Derek Fox, suggests ANITA may have found evidence of a particle that lies completely outside of the Standard Model of physics.
The Standard Model has been successful as long as we’ve been using it, but it hasn’t been able to explain everything. For example, things like gravity and the accelerating expansion of the universe are not adequately explained by the model. That’s where the physics beyond the Standard Model (BSM). Some of those theories include string theory and extra dimensions.
Fox’s theory relies on a type of BSM called supersymmetry. “We argue that if the ANITA events are correctly interpreted then they require some beyond the Standard Model particle,” Fox told Motherboard. “The likely properties of the particle seem consistent in at least some ways with the predicted properties of the stau in some supersymmetric models.”
In order to delve further into the unknown when it comes to these upward-pointing cosmic rays, they must also be observed at other locations. Fox and his colleagues took the first step when analyzing data from the IceCube Neutrino Observatory in the Arctic. Despite the difference in detection systems, three events were identified in the data that were analogous to the cosmic rays observed by ANITA in Antarctica.
Fox’s theory is only one interpretation of the ANITA data. The fourth ANITA mission was launched in 2016 and researchers are hopeful that its data, once completely analyzed, will reveal additional examples of these unusual cosmic rays.
Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter
The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.
However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.
In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.
It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.
The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.
Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.
The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.
The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.
The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.