Proxima d

Third planet discovered orbiting Proxima Centauri

In October 2012, I shared how astronomers had announced the discovery of an Earth-sized planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, the star closest to our Sun. Now a decade later, the planet count in Proxima Centauri system potentially has been raised to three with the discovery of what appears to be another smaller planet. …

Physicist Michio Kaku at Boswell Book Company

Michio Kaku explores the future of the mind

Michio Kaku speaks at Boswell Book Company.
Image Source: Kevin A. Barnes

On Wednesday, February 26, 2014 — one day after the release of his new book, The Future of the Mind — theoretical physicist Michio Kaku1 spoke to a standing room only audience at Milwaukee’s Boswell Book Company about the future of the human mind. …

  1. Dr. Michio Kaku is a professor of theoretical physics at the City College and City University of New York. He is one of the cofounders of string field theory and has written seven popular science books, including the New York Times Best Sellers Physics of the Impossible (2008) and Physics of the Future (2011). []
SOFIA with telescope door open

Two Milwaukee educators chosen as NASA Astronomy Ambassadors

Jean Creighton (left) and Kathy Gustavson
Jean Creighton (left) and Kathy Gustavson

Milwaukee area educators Jean Creighton (Director of the Manfred Olson Planetarium at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) and Kathy Gustavson (science teacher at Nicolet High School, Glendale) have been selected by NASA as one of 12 Airborne Astronomy Ambassador teams for 2014.

Historic Milwaukee

Where is underground Milwaukee?

Many U.S. cities have some sort of hidden underground.1 Seattle has its underground downtown,2 Portland has its Shanghai Tunnels,3 Kansas City has a 5 million square foot office and industrial complex inside a network of reclaimed limestone mines,4 and Cincinnati even has a sealed-off subway system (with six completed stations) that never opened for business.

Given the number of hidden urban undergrounds around the US, I had to wonder whether my hometown — Milwaukee — has its own secrets beneath street level. …

  1. In this article, I mean “underground” in a completely literal sense. I’m not talking about the black market, or hidden subcultures or anything like that. “Underground” means stuff below the surface of the city. []
  2. The Seattle Underground consists of original ground level building entrances, sidewalks, etc. which ended up underground when the city raised the downtown street level one to two stories following the 1889 Seattle Fire. []
  3. The Shanghai Tunnels run under Portland’s downtown and were used to supply hotels and businesses from ships docked on the Willamette River. Despite their name, historians continue to debate whether the tunnels actually were used for the practice of shanghaiing drunk sailors. []
  4. “SubTropolis, U.S.A.,” Steve Nadis, The Atlantic, April 13, 2010. []
NIAC 2014 Symposium

NASA symposium looks ahead

The NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Symposium took place this past Tuesday through Thursday (February 4–6, 2014) at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.

NIAC seeks innovative, technically credible advanced concepts that could one day change what is possible in aeronautics and space. The organization grants fellowships to individuals who are developing such concepts — NIAC Fellows represent academia, the private sector and government research labs.

The 2014 symposium featured progress presentations from current and new NIAC Fellows. Their updates addressed such diverse research as revolutionary approaches to exploration, novel methods of propulsion and ways to support humans in extreme environments. …