Sunday, January 4, 2009


LOS ANGELES, Sept. 30 (Xinhua)-- Using a microwave probe of U.S. space agency NASA, scientists said they have evidence that the universe has a shape somewhat akin to an egg, rather than the expected round.

This would explain some curious anomalies over the universe's expanse, the scientists reported in the journal Physical Review Letters.

The researchers reached the conclusion by observing the universe with the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, which was launched by NASA in 2001 to measure fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background radiation.

The measurements of the probe agreed with a conventional spherical model of the observable universe, said the researchers. But when the data were measured on the largest scale, for instance taking in the entire night sky, the radiation was too low.

The Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe data have confirmed the anomaly concerning the low quadrupole amplitude compared to the best-fit Lambda-cold dark matter prediction, the researchers wrote in their paper.

"We show that by allowing the large-scale spatial geometry of our universe to be plane symmetric with eccentricity at decouplingor order 10-2," they added.

"The quadrupole amplitude can be drastically reduced without affecting higher multipoles of the angular power spectrum of the temperature anisotropy."

These anomalies may signal "a nontrivial cosmic topology" that is different from the sphere, indicated the researchers led by Leonardo Campanelli of the University of Ferrara in Italy.

They found that the radiation discrepancies disappeared if the universe was shaped like an ellipsoid, with an eccentricity of about one per cent. Enditem

The egg on the right is my brain on scientific terminology.

Not every egg that emerges from the oviduct is perfect. I just thought I'd point out what would otherwise be common sense were it not for those store bought things that barely pass as eggs. (The shape is accurate; the interior goes lacking. If you've had pasture-fed chicken or duck eggs, you know what I'm talking about. ) Granted, most eggs we retrieve each morning look like your typical egg, even if some are greenish blue (Indian Runner eggs). Occasionally, something goes afowl (sic), and we see something like the above, or like a soft little marble, or a perfect-looking egg the size of a nickel. Sometimes the shell is so soft that the egg breaks upon hitting the ground. The ducks are quick to gobble up the remains. Chickens do the same.

Our ducks are not laying many eggs right now. The cold temperatures and short days keep production low. Plus, some of the ladies are pushing six and seven years, a long time for a bird to be popping eggs. We're down to one or two eggs a day. An egg farm would be culling old birds at this point, and if we were such a facility, we would be doing the same. Instead, we'll keep the old girls and let them live out their days in the paddocks. It's the least we can do for them. When they're gone, we're done with livestock. We will, however, miss the eggs. We will have to find a local farm that has birds and buy eggs from them. (You might consider doing the same.)

In the meantime, one question remains: Will we eat the odd egg? You betcha!

Our birds. The six tall, skinny ones are Indian Runners. The three to the far right are magpies. The little one behind them is an Ancona. The Guinea Fowl is the flock's built-in alarm system.

1 comment:

Forrest Gump said...

You own ducks called Magpies?

Magpies are one of the more common birds we have here. And if you haven't been swooped by the Magpie, you're not really an Aussie. ;)