Category: Science
Happy 60th birthday, Sputnik! How USSR launched mankind’s first satellite (PHOTO, VIDEO)
worker | October 4, 2017 | 8:22 pm | Science, USSR | Comments closed

Happy 60th birthday, Sputnik! How USSR launched mankind’s first satellite (PHOTO, VIDEO)
Sixty years ago, an aluminum ball about the size of washing machine drum was attached to an R7 rocket at a launch site in Kazakhstan and shot into space. Known as Sputnik 1, the USSR-made craft entered low orbit in October 1957 and became the first artificial satellite in space.

The mission gave the Soviet Union bragging rights over the US, which would go on to launch its own first satellite, Explorer 1, four months later in January 1958.

To put the Sputnik 1 achievement in context, the satellite did not make use of a single electronic microchip – as the technology had yet to be invented.

Interestingly, the device is also regarded as acting as the starting whistle of the so-called “space race” that would result in the USSR sending the first man into space and the US following this up with a man on the moon by 1969.

So what else do we know about the 1957 spacecraft?

Space revolution

Sputnik 1 entered orbit and reached the maximum height of 947 kilometers on October 4, 1957.

It took 295 seconds for the craft to reach its destination, and it flew for a total of 92 days. The first Sputnik orbited the Earth 1,440 times and traveled over 60 million kilometers.

After around three weeks, an electrical fault made communication with the satellite impossible. The satellite was observed visually after that until its decay in January 1958.

Dimensions and kit

Around 58 centimeters in diameter and weighing 83 kilograms, Sputnik 1’s technical abilities were basic in comparison to today’s satellites.

It was equipped with four antennas by which the device could send radio signals from any direction toward Earth.

The electronics were housed inside its spherical shell. Its radio transmitted on 40.002 MHz.

The Soviet Union originally planned for the device to be much larger, with a weight of some 1,400 kilograms, yet as the development progressed more slowly than the scientists expected, the Soviet Union decided to go for a smaller model.

The development was kept top secret and researchers even worked in a separate room with soundproof walls and windows.

Rocky rocket liftoff

According to Roscosmos, Russia’s main space agency, problems with the thrust of the R7 rocket engine at the time threatened to scupper the project and the deadline for launch was at one point pushed back to 1958.

During the launch, a main engine of one of the Sputnik’s boosters reached its thrust level later than expected, which threatened the whole operation. Yet the engine then recovered power, so catastrophe was averted.

‘Father’ of Sputnik

Sputnik’s development was led by iconic Soviet rocket engineer Sergei Korolev, and constructed by rocket manufacturer OKB-1.

It was then launched at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

READ MORE: Spacewalk 360: RT releases first-ever panoramic video of man in outer space (VIDEO)

Korolev was also involved in Sputnik 2, which put the dog Laika into orbit in November 1957.

Spooked US intelligence

The Sputnik 1 mission was largely met with suspicion by some people who thought it could be sending out coded messages or weapons.

The satellite program concerned US intelligence to the point that it was mentioned in a CIA report on the Soviet Union’s potential to build “an extensive guided missile program.”

The 1957 report predicted that, after Sputnik, the USSR could have another satellite “possessing substantial reconnaissance capabilities” by 1963-65.

However, US physicist Lloyd Berkner congratulated the Soviet achievement in a Time magazine report back then.

‘The Space Age is here’

Following the launch of Sputnik 1, the Soviet and then international media reported widely on the key step forward in space exploration.

Headlines, such as those reading, “The Space Age is here” praised the landmark event.

The word Sputnik, in fact, was not even translated into foreign languages and was adopted worldwide as it was.

The launch even inspired some earthlings to show their creative side following the launch, as they had “Sputnik-style” haircuts.

‘Travelling companion’

The term Sputnik roughly translates from Russian into English as “travelling companion.”

Russian news agencies VOR and RIA Novosti later adopted the name, rebranding themselves as Sputnik News.

“It [Sputnik] transmitted a simple signal, but became known to the whole world. Back then, it was hard to imagine how much of a contribution to the development of society that engineering and scientific breakthrough would bring,” Roscosmos chief Igor Komarov said.

Did You Know? Soviet Scientists Developed Secret Plans to Control the Climate
worker | March 25, 2017 | 5:16 pm | Analysis, Science, USSR | Comments closed

Construction of Bratsk HPP in Irkutsk region.

Did You Know? Soviet Scientists Developed Secret Plans to Control the Climate

© Sputnik/ Morozov


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Researchers at a St. Petersburg archive have discovered never-before-seen and never-implemented plans by Soviet engineers to change the climate across vast areas of the Soviet Union.

The plans, found in the archive of Gosplan, the agency responsible for central economic planning in the Soviet Union, include proposals to divert the channels of the mighty Ob and Amur rivers, with the goal of transforming the climate of the Arctic and the Soviet Far East.

According to Pavel Filin, a representative of the Russian Military Historical Society, it was theorized that the river diversion efforts would mitigate the harsh climate in each region, warming the Kara Sea (north of Siberia) and reducing the ice flow, and warming the Chukotka region (the vast, sparsely populated territory in Russia’s northeast) through the diversion of the Amur River to its older, more southerly route.

Plans included the construction of a dam across the Gulf of Ob, a bay in the Arctic Ocean at the mouth of the Ob River, moving its estuary to neighboring Baydaratskaya Bay, 200 km to its west. The warm water flowing through the Ob would have the effect of improving ice conditions in the Kara Sea, thus making it more accessible for navigation by ship, or so engineers theorized.As for the Amur, its diversion was intended to bring water from the warm Kuroshio Current closer to the mainland, leading to the warming of Chukotka and the Soviet Far East in general.

These plans were developed in the 1930s and 1940s, while the Soviet Union was carrying out its vast industrialization campaign, and shortly before reconstruction efforts began after the Second World War.

At the time, planners and engineers imagined a variety of grand projects which would transform human life and the surrounding environment. The implementation of the ambitious river diversion plans was expected to lead to a change in the climate across vast areas of the USSR.

Legendary Soviet Cosmonaut Who Became First Woman in Space
© Sputnik/

Valentina Tereshkova, Legendary Soviet Cosmonaut Who Became First Woman in Space

Researchers also found a series of drafts on other inventions meant for Arctic use, including an all-terrain vehicle capable of maneuvering through ice drifts, mechanical walkers, and a project to generate energy from cold. They now intend to publish the recently discovered plans in a book, titled ‘The Arctic on the Verge of Fantasy’. The book will be released in time for the 80th anniversary of North Pole-1, the world’s first manned drifting station in the Arctic Ocean, established by the Soviet Union on May 21, 1937.Thankfully, the ambitious climate-altering plans were never realized. As Russia’s Rossiyskaya Gazeta pointed out, most scientists today agree that such vast attempts to redraw established climatic and environmental patterns would have had the effect of making entire regions unfit for human life, not to mention their environmental impact.
How Marx’s Crisis Theory Explains Growing Anti-Immigrant Hate

4 March 2017 – 06:00 PM

How Marx’s Crisis Theory Explains Growing Anti-Immigrant Hate


Karl Marx.
Donald Trump. Nigel Farage. Marine Le Pen. Geert Wilders.

The rise of these four politicians is emblematic of growing anti-immigrant hate sweeping the imperialist countries. Basing their campaigns on xenophobia, they’ve been able to convince millions of people in their respective countries that immigrants are the source of their problems.

Peck’s ‘The Young Karl Marx’ Set to Hit Theaters in 2017

And at a time when there are more international migrants than ever before in human history, anti-immigrant hate can’t get any more dangerous.

In public discourse, the dominant narrative explaining this phenomenon is largely based on race and religion. Many have correctly pointed out that Latino, Black and Muslim immigrants are being targeted because of white supremacy.

While this argument is certainly true, it doesn’t fully explain why there are more immigrants — and anti-immigrant hate — than ever before. This analysis recognizes an important symptom of the problem, but not its root cause.

People are looking for explanations that mainstream media and academia won’t give them. That’s probably why a growing number of people are turning to revolutionary philosophers like Karl Marx for answers. Sales of Marx’s “Capital,” which he wrote 150 years ago, have been on the rise since 2008, the Guardian reports.

Marx, who is primarily studied under the lens of critical theory and philosophy, dedicated most of his time writing about economics. He believed that by understanding the underlying economic system of a given society, all other phenomena, like immigration, could be better understood. Metaphorically speaking, economics determines society in the same way soil determines the outcome of vegetation. This is called economic determinism.

In accordance with economic determinism, Marx believed that capitalism, an economic system based on profit and private ownership, is responsible for most of society’s problems. While mass migration and anti-immigrant hate weren’t Marx’s main areas of investigation, his economic theories can still be used to examine them. After all, the global capitalist system that he wrote about in 1867 was the embryonic version of the advanced one we live under today.

Marx’s crisis theory is perhaps his most important in the realm of economics. It posits that capitalism creates constant crises within society because of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall. Profit is defined as financial gain accumulated from the difference between the amount earned and the amount spent in buying, operating or producing something.

Here’s an illustration of how the falling rate of profit and crisis theory works.

Suppose a shoe company in the United States spends US$50 on wages and raw materials every hour to produce one pair of shoes. If the company is able to sell the pair of shoes for US$80, they make a profit of US$30 an hour.

Given the rising cost of wages and raw materials in the U.S., the shoe company, like most capitalists, turns to developing nations for profit. Let’s say the company decides to move to Haiti and spends US$30 on wages and raw materials every hour. If they are able to sell the same pair of shoes for US$80, they make a profit of US$50 an hour.

Beyond the T-Shirt: What Che Actually Stood For

The owners of the shoe company walk away with more money, the U.S. worker is sent to the unemployment line and the Haitian worker is severely underpaid and super-exploited.

As workers around the world make less money because they are forced to compete with each other, they are unable to purchase the same products they produce as consumers. This creates a situation where the shoe company, for example, is unable to sell their products because no one has enough money to buy them. Thus, their profits steadily decline.

Because capitalism is based on this process, crisis becomes commonplace. Unemployment in the imperialist countries and mass migration from the developing world embark on a collision course. Politicians like Trump, Farage, Le Pen and Wilders convince millions that immigrants are the problem, while the capitalist system itself is responsible. This directly contributes to the growth of anti-immigrant hate in the most developed countries.

Understanding Marx’s crisis theory and the falling rate of profit is crucial to understanding this phenomenon. It explains why jobs are leaving the dominant capitalist countries, why people are leaving third world countries and why all workers have a shared interest in abolishing capitalism. It also debunks the myths that “immigrants are stealing jobs” and that workers in countries like Mexico are “getting a better deal.”

As capitalism reaches a crisis and decline that it can not overcome, as it reaches a dead end, it is more important than ever to unite the world’s working class.

As Marx said, “There is no royal road to science, and only those who do not dread the fatiguing climb of its steep paths have a chance of gaining its luminous summits.”

Where Nightmares Come From: Sputnik Takes a Look Inside a Nuclear Warhead
worker | June 12, 2016 | 9:56 am | Science | Comments closed
A nuclear test

Where Nightmares Come From: Sputnik Takes a Look Inside a Nuclear Warhead

© Flickr/ all_usernames_are_taken

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Intercontinental ballistic missiles may look huge, but the rockets and the sophisticated electronics systems they carry are designed to deliver relatively compact nuclear warheads: the “nuke” itself is a 1.5-meter cone with a fusion charge resembling an ordinary bucket.

Strange as it may seem, the most powerful weapon in the world is very compact given that a thermonuclear charge with a capacity of 300 kilotons is smaller in stature than most people, the Russian newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta reported.Apart from a fusion charge, the nuclear warhead contains a control unit which looks like water can and which performs several tasks.

Its main goal is to detonate the charge at a specific, strictly-determined. Nuclear weapons are not intended for use on the ground and typically explode at a height of 1,200 meters, which is believed to be optimal for creating a shock wave.

Shell, which is the replica of the biggest detonated Soviet nuclear bomb AN-602 (Tsar-Bomb), is on display in Moscow, Russia, August 31, 2015
© REUTERS/ Maxim Zmeyev
Shell, which is the replica of the biggest detonated Soviet nuclear bomb AN-602 (Tsar-Bomb), is on display in Moscow, Russia, August 31, 2015

A control unit monitors steering pneumatic or gunpowder engines and keeps an eye on the stabilization of the thermostatic charge’s   weapons-grade plutonium, which may heat up while in a quiet state.

The B-61, the oldest nuclear bomb in the US arsenal
Wikimedia Commons
The B-61, the oldest nuclear bomb in the US arsenal

In addition, the warhead’s cone contains an electricity supply network and electromagnetic pulse protection.

All this equipment is firmly installed on shock absorbers and is enclosed in a solid frame structure, topped with a thick layer of insulation.

The first A-bomb, 1949. The museum of all-Union Research Institute for Experimental Physics (present-day Russian Federal Nuclear Center All-Russian Research Institute for Experimental Physics). Reproduction
© Sputnik/
The first A-bomb, 1949. The museum of all-Union Research Institute for Experimental Physics (present-day Russian Federal Nuclear Center “All-Russian Research Institute for Experimental Physics”). Reproduction

The thermonuclear charge and a control unit continuously interact with each other, a “dialogue” that starts immediately after the warhead’s installation on a missile and ends when the warhead is detonated.

All this time, the control system prepares the fusion charge for detonation and at the right time gives the latest and most important order, according to the Rossiyaskaya Gazeta.

A thermonuclear bomb is displayed in the museum of nuclear weapons in the Russian Federal Nuclear Center in the Nizhny Novgorod Region
© RIA Novosti.
A thermonuclear bomb is displayed in the museum of nuclear weapons in the Russian Federal Nuclear Center in the Nizhny Novgorod Region

When put on combat alert, a missile’s warhead is equipped with a pulse neutron activator, detonators, and other equipment. Keeping such a missile in a silo or on a mobile launch pad is hazardous which is why the warhead is prepared for detonation only during the missile’s flight.

Military personnel observe a nuclear weapons test in Nevada, the United States, in 1951
© Flickr/
Military personnel observe a nuclear weapons test in Nevada, the United States, in 1951

This take place on a step-by-step basis, with the help of complicated algorithms based on two basic conditions: the reliability of the motion to the target and control over the process. Should any of these factors deviate from the calculated values, and pre-detonation process will be immediately terminated.

A Trident II nuclear missile underwater launch
A Trident II nuclear missile underwater launch

A nuclear explosion comes in the twinkling of an eye. Flying at a speed of a bullet, a warhead just passes only a few hundredths of a millimeter before the entire power of a thermonuclear charge is converted into light, fire, shock and radiation with terrifying force, the newspaper concludes.

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Genetically-Engineered HIV Cure May Come Within Years
worker | April 3, 2016 | 7:10 pm | Analysis, Health Care, Science | Comments closed

23:57 01.04.2016(updated 23:58 01.04.2016) Get short URL


According to reports from US health scientists, a newly developed method of genetic engineering may bring an HIV cure “within three years.”

Researchers from the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University in Philadelphia reported the successful application of a new genome editing technology, providing impressive results in the treatment of HIV.

Key to HIV Treatment Found in Human Blood

The technology involves modifying a protein called Cas9, in a manner that makes it recognize the viral code in the DNA of a target cell. The modified protein is then added to blood samples from an infected patient, where it seeks out HIV DNA in immune cells. Once the protein finds the viral DNA, it releases an enzyme which removes the sequence. The ends of the cut genome then reassemble using the cell’s native repair process. Cured cells are then transfused back to the patient.

According to the report, the transfusion of only 20 percent of modified immune cells could be enough to cure a patient.

“The findings are important on multiple levels. They demonstrate the effectiveness of our gene editing system in eliminating HIV from the DNA of immune cells and permanently inactivating its replication,” said lead researcher Professor Kamel Khalili.

“Further, they show that the system can protect cells from reinfection and that the technology is safe for the cells, with no toxic effects.”

Scientists suggest this treatment technique could and should be combined with existing antiviral medication, currently used to suppress the virus but not eliminate it.

Only currently observed in the laboratory environment, the method nonetheless received positive comments from scientists around the world.

Shaun Griffin, Executive Director of External Affairs at Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “This is a really exciting lab study that shows HIV can be eliminated from the DNA of human immune system cells.”

Professor Matthew Cobb, of Manchester University called the method “an important step forward,” noting that this technique can be used to not only “attack HIV in particular but also a number of other diseases.”
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Clinton loses it when Greenpeace activist asks about her fossil fuel donors (VIDEO)
worker | April 1, 2016 | 8:29 pm | Bernie Sanders, Climate Change, environmental crisis, Hillary Clinton, political struggle, Science | Comments closed

© Greenpeace USA
Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton was captured losing her cool Thursday when confronted by a Greenpeace activist about the millions of dollars in direct and indirect donations she receives from the fossil fuel industry.

“Regarding climate change, can we have your word that you’ll reject fossil fuel money in the future for your campaign?” Greenpeace “democracy organizer” Eva Resnick-Day asked.

“I don’t have money from people who work for fossil fuel companies,” Clinton claimed, before bizarrely blaming her surging opponent, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, who had nothing to do with the question. “I am so sick, I am so sick of the Sanders campaign lying about me. I’m sick of it.”

Responding to the former US Secretary of State’s accusations, Resnick-Day said Greenpeace USA along with 20 organizations had asked all presidential candidates to reject future contributions from fossil fuel companies.

Eva Resnick-day ‎@eresnickday

Let’s be clear. I do NOT work for the sanders campaign. I work at @greenpeaceusa & we asked all candidates to reject fossil fuel money.

Clinton’s campaign failed to sign the pledge while Sanders did immediately.

“I was genuinely shocked by her response,” the activist said. “But I want to make sure we are focused on the issue at hand: asking our candidates to take a stand to fix our democracy. Rejecting fossil fuel money sends a strong signal.”

The Clinton campaign accepted at least $160,000 in direct donations from the fossil fuel industry, according to the Annenberg Foundation, while Priorities USA Action, a “Pro-Hillary Clinton Super PAC” that raised $40 million in 2015, raised $3.25 million in contributions from employees of fossil fuel companies.

The PAC’s notable donors include controversial Israel financer Haim Saban, billionaire George Soros, and beloved Hollywood director Steven Spielberg, who all forked out $1 million each for Clinton’s campaign.

READ MORE: Clooneys mocked for hosting $353k-per-couple Hillary Clinton fundraiser

Despite her vow to “end” climate change if she wins the presidency, millions were also donated to The Clinton Foundation, the charity she set up with her husband Bill, by fossil fuel companies such as ExxonMobil, Duke Energy, and Anadarko Petroleum.

‘We proved Einstein right!’ 100 years on, gravitational waves confirmed in breakthrough research
worker | February 11, 2016 | 5:32 pm | Science | Comments closed
© Reuters
Scientists at Washington’s National Science Foundation and Moscow State University have confirmed the discovery of Albert Einstein’s gravitational waves. The breakthrough, possibly the biggest in physics in a century, could be the key to new understanding of the universe.

Recent rumors of the success in detecting gravitational waves, or as some scientists put it “very weak spacetime wiggles which propagate at the speed of light” were officially confirmed Thursday.

Ladies and gentlemen! We have detected gravitational waves, we did it!,” LIGO laboratory executive director David Reitze announced in Washington.

These gravitational waves were produced by two colliding black holes, [that] came together, merged and formed a single black hole about 1.3 billion years ago,” Reitze said.

These ripples in the fabric of spacetime are one of the most important variables in Einstein’s theory of relativity and it took astronomers decades to detect them, although they were pretty sure that gravitational waves existed.
The discovery has been made with the use of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) – a system of two detectors constructed to spot tiny vibrations from passing gravitational waves. Funded by the National Science Foundation, LIGO’s identical detectors are located in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington.

The observatories, which are “the most precise measuring device ever built,” recorded a signal on September 14, 2015, “nearly simultaneously,” and the signal “had a very specific characteristic,” the laboratories’ director said.

As time went forward, the frequency went up,” he explained, adding that it took scientists months of careful checking and analysis to confirm that what had been discovered was exactly gravitational waves.

Each of the two black holes before merging had about 30 times the mass of the Sun, were 150 kilometers (93 miles) in diameter and accelerated to about half the speed of light. The detected collision also proved that the merging of binary black holes does exist in the universe.

Let’s say this: The first discovery of gravitational waves is a Nobel Prize-winning venture,” said physicist Bruce Allen of the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Hannover, Germany.

But the prize will be most possibly given not to theorists, but those who are behind the mechanism that confirmed the existence of the waves, Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences Pavel Ivanov told RT.

Russian scientists have massively contributed to both of the advances, Ivanov explained, mentioning Soviet scientist Yakov Zeldovich and member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Vladimir Braginsky, who has been closely working with Kip Thorne, the American astrophysicist at the forefront of the discovery.

The idea to look for the waves was suggested and published in science magazines by Soviet physicists Mikhail Gertsenshtein and Vladislav Pustovoit in 1962, and then developed further by academic Zeldovich and his followers, who explored the theory of gravitational waves. Braginsky and his teams have been working on developing detectors for LIGO.

According to Einstein’s theory, published in 1916, the universe is made up of a “fabric of spacetime“: massive accelerating objects in the universe are believed to bend this fabric, causing ripples known as gravitational waves. The colliding of two black holes or merging of two pulsars are among the presumable causes of such waves’ formation.

The theory describes geometry of space and time. When gravitational wave propagates, it changes [this] geometry,” Ivanov told RT, adding that “in general relativity and all modern studies of gravity the gravitational field is considered as something that is similar to the electromagnetic field.”

The discovery of gravitational waves could open a new window in our universe, because before we studied it only using electromagnetic [knowledge], and now we can do it in almost all wave bands, from radio waves to gamma rays,” Ivanov said.

The ability to analyze the information carried on gravitational waves could potentially provide more insight into the Big Bang and other violent events in the history of the Universe, and help to explore if other universes exist, what is inside Black Holes and even potentially pave the way for time travel.

Although Einstein predicted that gravity travels in waves a century ago, detecting gravitational waves was not an easy task due to the fact that their effect is miniscule and easily confused with random noise.

Everything causes noise: a car passing by, a plane in the sky, or even tiny movements of the Earth’s crust. Detecting a signal amid all this noise is extremely difficult, although of course there are methods, both mathematical and technological – and it costs a lot of money,” Ivanov told RT.

The discovery might lead to creation of new chapter in physics – quantum gravity, scientists believe. It will bring together the knowledge in Einstein’s theory and wave mechanics.