Tuesday, August 31, 2021

"How Distant Galaxies Mess with out Lives" (Veritasium)



Veritasium explains “How Distant Galaxies Mess With our Lives”, 22 minutes.

The answer is, cosmic rays, which break off elementary particles as they move through the upper atmosphere.  The animated film shows them as forked lightning bolts, like aliens. 

The documentary starts with the story of an election in Belgium, where a certain candidate’s votes were overcounted by a computer by 4096, which happens to be 2 **12.  An elementary particle hitting a transistor can cause a “bit flip”.

It can cause a “blue screen of death” on a Windows computer. Or maybe a spinning wheel on a Mac.

The problem has been known with early chips back in 1978 (remember the movie “Tron” from Disney appeared in 1979), if their casing contained trace radioactive elements, as did some manufactured in Colorado.

The “heliosphere” created by the Sun does protect the inner solar system somewhat from cosmic rays.

Picture: Silicon crystal, Wikipedia embed, click for attribution

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