Remove your rose-colored glasses and take a cold, hard look at your potential Valentine. Brittanie Loren Pendleton, CC BY-NC-ND
“Will you be my Valentine?”
People all across the country say those words in the run-up to February 14 and the Valentine’s Day holiday. Whether you’re asking a brand new paramour or a long-term partner, the question can evoke feelings both of romantic uncertainty and possibility.
But for the well-being of ourselves and our relationships, “Will you be my Valentine?” is the wrong question. Instead, the more important question to ask yourself is “Should you be my Valentine?”
Two black holes collide. University of Glasgow
One hundred years ago Albert Einstein in his general theory of relativity predicted the existence of a dark side to the cosmos. He thought there were invisible “gravitational waves”, ripples in space-time produced by some of the most violent events in the cosmos – exploding stars, colliding black holes, perhaps even the Big Bang itself. For decades, astronomers have gathered strong corroborative evidence of the existence of these waves, but they have never been detected directly – until now.
The 4km long arms of the LIGO experiment at Hanford. LIGO lab: www.ligo.caltech.edu, Author provided
Gravitational waves are mysterious ripples in the fabric of space and time that travel across our universe at the speed of light. Predicted by Einstein exactly 100 years ago, a number of experiments have been searching for them. One of these experiments, LIGO, has now found them. But how did it actually work?
Oh hey, I heard ripples in space and time, generated as two black holes merged. Call me back. SXS, CC BY-ND
The best thing about a day in my life on the lookout for gravitational waves is that I never know when it will begin.
Like many of my colleagues working for the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), the morning of Monday, September 14, 2015 caught me completely off-guard. For years, we’ve been joking that Advanced LIGO would be so sensitive we might just detect one the very first day it turns on. In retrospect, it’s remarkable how close to reality that joke turned out to be.
In 2002 the number of Iberian lynx is thought to have dropped to fewer than 100 individuals. Juan Aunion/Shutterstock
They once numbered in their tens of thousands, stalking the grasslands and hunting down rabbits in south-western Europe. But by 2002, after extensive persecution from farmers and a massive reduction in their prey, only 100 Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) were thought to survive in a few isolated populations in southern Spain. But since then, after concerted conservation efforts and breeding programs, their numbers have been steadily climbing.