Categories
Science Series Space

Space – A Series

Space. It’s a big old space.

Insert awesome picture of space to keep people interested. Check.

The Carina Nebula - Space
The Carina Nebula – Picture taken by The European Southern Observatory (ESO).

What happens here on Earth is insignificant in the universe. That doesn’t mean things that happen here are unimportant – far from it – but in reality, we are tiny. Nothing we have done or can do has much of an impact on the universe. Nothing that happens here on Earth affects the marvellous enormity, complexity and vastness of space.

Our lives, this entire planet, our solar system and even galaxy are tiny. Nobody really knows how tiny – relatively – because nobody knows how big the universe is. Or at least how big it is it a specific point in time – given its changing and expanding nature.

I really enjoy learning about space, so I have decided to write a series about space.

In this series I plan to cover some of space’s big topics; including:

  • How big (or indeed small) are we really?
  • Information on the International Space Station
  • Will humans ever live on other planets?
  • Black holes
  • The future of space exploration
  • How has our knowledge of space changed things on Earth?

Key Terms

There are a few terms I will be using a lot during the course of this series. To help keep us all on the same page, here is how I am going to define them.

Space
Everything everywhere! Anything that exists, exists in space. Space can be a completely empty vacuum or it can be full of matter, or waves such as light and sound. If there is something, or the potential for something to be there, it is space.

Matter
Stuff. Things made of atoms. Tangible objects. Not including electromagnetic waves; like light.

The Universe
The zone of activity in space which contains all known matter.

A Galaxy
A collection of billions of solar systems.

A Solar System
A collection of matter, orbiting a star. That matter includes planets and smaller structures like asteroids.

A Planet
A large body which orbits a star.

Next Week

I have already written next weeks post, so I can tell you with all certainty that I will be exploring the size of the universe. See you then.

Categories
Blogging Updates

One blog, two perspectives

Technology Bloggers has two types of community members, those who read and those who write – some people do both.

For a long time now, those who contribute articles to the blog, and those who read those contributions, have seen the blog in the same way.

Not anymore.

Thanks to a clever bit of coding and a plugin or two, logged in users, now see a different blog to those who are logged out.

One of the major differences is advertisements. As you know we sometimes host advertisements on the sidebar or in the footer of the blog, in order to help fund the maintenance of the blog – someone has to pay the bills!

Logged in users still see sponsored editorials and writers personal AdSense units, however they no longer see sidebar/footer promotions. Also, logged in users get ‘behind the scenes’ information an updates that normal users don’t need to see.

For an example, see the image below.

Logged in vs standard users footer view
What Technology Bloggers homepage footer currently looks like for normal readers and logged in users.

For search engine optimisation reasons, I have been trying to remove links from the blog’s design (specifically sidebar and footer) as too many links can look spammy, and throw PageRank in all directions. Fewer links means those pages that are linked to (both internal and external) carry greater authority.

So, if you are a writer, check out your sidebar and footer, as it is different to when you are not logged in. Even if you don’t have an account, take a look at the sidebar and footer, as there is some really interesting stuff which you might find useful there!

On a slightly different note, our prodigy (well he did win the 2012 ‘Rising Star’ community award) Jonny Hankins is currently learning more about our commenting systems, via Technology Bloggers Progression Academy – a new initiative I am developing – with the aim to have him modifying comments, and therefore being promoted to the status of Editor (Level 1), in the very near future.

Hopefully we can get more writers moderating their own comments too soon. Technology Bloggers Progression Academy material is currently being tested on our guinea pig – also Mr Hankins!

Categories
Updates

Technology Bloggers community awards

At the end of 2011, here at Technology Bloggers we are going to celebrate with an award ceremony. We are a community blog, and thought the year, loads of fantastic people have been working on continuously improving the blog, taking it to new heights!

Now, at the end of the year, we shall celebrate the people who have helped make this blog the huge success it is today.

This year the awards have all been awarded by me (Christopher Roberts) as a member of the admin team. However next year I hope that we can vote on the awards, so that the community decide who in the community deserves the award.

So, without further ado, the awards!

This year we have 6 awards up for grabs:

  • Top Commenter – The person who posts valuable comments which help to create the fantastic community we have on the blog
  • Top Writer (Contributor) – The contributor who has made the most valuable contribution to the blog – in terms of the quantity and quality of articles published – this year
  • Top Writer (Author and Admin) – The author – or higher rank – who has made the greatest contribution in terms of the quantity and quality of articles published this year
  • Rising Star – Who is really going places? Who is helping to improve the blog and has great potential?
  • Most Friendly Member of the Community – Who has been the most pleasant and kind person on the blog this year?
  • Top All Rounder – The big one! Technology Bloggers ultimate award, who is the best example of a fantastic member of the community?

So, to the awards!

Top Commenter

The Nominations:

  • Alan Tay – Always among the first to add his view, Alan almost always adds interesting information to an article, and he also likes to interact with other commenters – the characteristic of a really good commenter
  • Diana Studer – Diana has taught me many lessons about respect in blogging and always writes very interesting and thought provoking comments!
  • David (from TheOnlyCog) – David speaks his mind, asks questions, adds information, therefore contributing a great deal to the commenting community
  • Chadrack Irobogo – Although Chadrack does not comment very often, when he does, he makes very valuable points, has very good grammar and is always full of support

And the winner is…

Chadrack's AvatarChadrack Irobogo! Pleasant mannered and well written, Chadrack’s comments often bring new information and ideas to the table, which help to improve the community.

Top Writer (Contributor)

The Nominations:

  • Marc Madrigal – Marc likes writing about technology and the web, and he does it very well – useful articles which can be both constructive and thought provoking
  • Alan Tay – Alan’s articles are always popular, probably due to them being well written, interesting and helpful
  • Andrew Doyle – Andrew writes well written articles, which often attract attention from the community

And the winner is…

Alan's AvatarAlan Tay! Alan is a really big member of the Technology Bloggers community, commenting, reading and writing, his articles make great reading and really do add value to the blog 🙂

Top Writer (Author and Admin)

The Nominations:

  • Ron Fletcher – Ron’s articles are among some of the most popular on the blog, he focuses mainly on apps, and always writes good, interesting articles, and then often replies to the comments that arise from what he has written
  • Jonny Hankins – Jonny is new to WordPress, but is making giant steps towards becoming a really good author, he wrights interesting and insightful posts, which usually fire up a debate
  • Christopher Roberts (Admin Team) – Okay, I can’t give an award to myself, but the category was looking a bit empty, since we only have two authors, so I chucked myself in too 🙂

And the winner is…

Jonny's AvatarJonny Hankins! With 8 articles in his inventory, Jonny is quickly gaining experience and becoming a very good writer, who is liked by the community.

Rising Star

Nominations:

  • Jonny Hankins
  • Alan Tay
  • Ron Fletcher

And the winner is…

Ron's AvatarRon Fletcher! Ron has been a great contributor to the blog since he joined us in July, he is getting really good at replying to his commenters, is writing more and more, and what he is writing is getting better as time goes on.

Most Friendly Member of the Community

The Nominations:

  • Chadrack Irobogo – Always giving support, Chadrack is a very friendly character
  • Marc Madrigal – Marc grins from ear to ear in his profile pick, and that happiness seems to come across in the friendliness of his comments
  • Goodwin A I Manson – A very new member of the community with just a handful of comments (3 I think!) Goodwin writes pleasant and friendly comments
  • Lillie Ammann – Lillie is always full of support and always writes in a kind way

And the winner is…

Marc’s AvatarMarc Madrigal! Marc has been with the blog almost since the beginning, and he has contributed many helpful articles as well as interesting comments, the pleasant manner in which he conducts his writing and replying, makes the experience all the better 🙂

Top All Rounder

Nominations:

  • Alan Tay
  • Jonny Hankins

And the winner is…

Jonny's AvatarJonny Hankins! I felt I had to choose someone who writes for us and comments for this award, and I didn’t want to nominate myself, so I had the choice of Jonny and Alan, both fantastic candidates, however I feel that because of the outstanding progress he has made, Jonny deserves this award 🙂

Winners of Technology Bloggers Community Awards - 2011

The Nominees

Here are the 2011 nominees who didn’t get an award. They are also very deserving individuals, and I urge you to check out their sites!

To Conclude

There we have it, we had 6 awards, and 11 different people were nominated for those awards. Of those 11 people 5 of them now have one (or more – Jonny!) of Technology Bloggers first ever awards! Well done all 🙂

I know I have only mentioned a few people, but it is all of us that make this blog what it is, so thank you everyone!

And finally…

A big big thank you to everyone for a fantastic year! 2011 has been great, so lets have have an even better 2012 🙂

Happy New Year!

Categories
News Science Space Technology

The existence of dark energy is confirmed

The universe is too light. What?! Well, scientists have worked out how much the universe should weigh and how much substance it should contain, given the weight of matter, the size (height, length and breadth) of the universe and the time of it’s existence.

But, there is a problem. It is too light, and doesn’t have nearly enough substance. It is thought that ordinary matter such as stars, planets and gases only make up around 4% of the total weight of the universe. So where is the rest of it coming from?


That’s what scientists very recently think they have discovered. For a long time now there have been theories about so called ‘dark matter’ and ‘dark energy’ making up the difference, but until now, no actual proof.

However, the results from a major astronomical survey, which used the latest in hi-tech scientific technology and research methods to observe over 200,000 galaxies, appear to have confirmed the existence of dark energy.

The existence of dark energy appears to explain why the universe is expanding at an increasing rate. From what I understand, this is because the energy to some extent almost defies gravity, so if you were to throw a tennis ball, instead of eventually slowing down to a stop, dark energy would continue to increase the speed of the ball.

Scientists now believe that normal matter makes up around 4% of the universes weight, dark matter makes up around 22% and dark energy makes up the other 74%.

The matter that makes up the universe
A pie chart showing the percentages of the substances that make up the universe

We now have some proof of the existence of dark matter and dark energy, however there is still a very long way to go yet, before we discover the true secrets of our universe…

That is if we ever do!