For 17 years, the Parkes radio telescope in Australia has been receiving strange, intermittent signals dubbed "perytons". A PhD student finally figured out where they were coming from: Nearby microwaves.
For years, the "perytons" had been a confusing riddle. They had a frequency signature extremely similar to "fast radio bursts", signals that come from outside the galaxy, possibly produced by neutron stars getting sucked into black holes. In contrast, the perytons weren't coming from outer space. They were coming from something on Earth; the scientists could figure that much out. But what force on the planet was producing them? Lightning? Cosmic rays hitting the atmosphere?
PhD student Emily Petroff did some detective work and finally located the real source: A couple of 27-year-old microwave ovens that the scientists used to heat up their meals:
It turns out that event was caused by impatient astronomers and other staff opening microwave oven doors before the timer ended. While the ovens operate at the higher frequency during normal operation, opening the doors early causes the oven's magnetrons to issue a very brief burst at the lower 1.4GHz frequency as they power down.
The researchers concluded: "Radio emission escaping from microwave ovens during the magnetron shut-down phase neatly explain all of the observed properties of the peryton signals."
If you want to read Petroff's white paper describing her results, it's here, and is a pretty fun read.
(That CC-2.0-licensed cat/microwave pic via the Flickr stream of David Shane!)
A judge in Canada today granted $10 million bail for Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of China electronics giant Huawei. She has to remain in the Vancouver area, where she has a home. The United States has requested her extradition. China is not happy. Huawai’s response follows. .
That massive data breach that hit hotel group Marriott? Now there are clues the hackers behind it were working for a Chinese government intelligence gathering operation.
Tumblr will ban ‘female-presenting nipples’ and other content beginning December 17, 2018. Photographer and writer Nate ‘Igor’ Smith is a longtime Tumblr user whose work straddles the boundaries of art, editorial, and adult. Here, Nate explains why Tumblr’s decision to censor is devastating for the Tumblr’s longtime users, and the rest of us. — XJ […]
Digital or analog, there’s a path of least resistance for any project. Finding that path is what the Agile methodology is all about, which is why proficiency in it is a must for any project management position – and the paycheck that comes with it. And the quickest path to learning Agile? The Agile Project […]
Everybody’s flown a paper airplane. But what if you could fly on a paper airplane? Until we invent shrink-ray technology, the PowerUp X FPV Video Paper Airplane Kit will have to do – but it’s as fun as that sounds and more. The original version of this creative toy added drone tech to the old, […]
Adobe’s design software catalog is essential to any graphics program, as much for their simplicity as their versatility. Anyone can be an effective graphic designer with tools like Illustrator and InDesign – and the right training in their potential. That’s where the Adobe CC A-Z Lifetime Bundle comes in. Whether you’re getting your feet wet […]