Should you find yourself inside a black hole, you will die. Should you find yourself near a black hole, you will also die. Aside from the fact that these massive, light-trapping monsters are impossible to reach on human timescales, there are simply not many ways measure the plasma surrounding them without dying or destroying the experiment. Scientists have to make do by recreating some of the features in the lab.
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Video:Yowza. Here's a crazy rigged contraption that uses microwave energy from cavity magnetron to generate plasma and burn the heck out of things faster than you can cook a piece of toast. We see it squeeze out plasma in a lightbulb, shatter glass and make basically anything burn. It's a neat exercise to show how powerful microwaves are.
A NASA-led study of the Van Allen radiation belts has uncovered new information about the invisible "shield" that keeps harmful ultrarelativistic electrons from the Earth. Just last year, the probes reported the existence of a new, previously-unknown third belt thousands of kilometres above the Earth.
Today I found out about a man who saved over two million lives just by donating his somewhat unique blood plasma. Australian James Harrison is called "the man with the golden arm" due to the unusual composition of his blood. Harrison's blood contains an antibody called Rho(D) Immune Globulin that is used to treat Rhesus disease, a severe form of anemia where antibodies in a pregnant woman's blood destroy her baby's blood cells.
The pink glow you see above is coming from the world's smallest plasma transistor, an unfathomably minuscule device 100 times smaller than the width of a human hair. It's not just tiny, it's tough, and theoretically able to withstand brutal environments. And it could massively change consumer electronics.
According to Reuters, Panasonic is going to stop production of its fantastic plasma TV sets by March 2014. That sucks, but it's also not surprising since previous reports had hinted at Panasonic planning to cut its TV production and that the TV market has been overtaken by seemingly every other technology not named plasma.
I know, I know. We all want to enjoy a gorgeous OLED TV or eat 4K visual deliciousness in our living room but those sets are ridiculously expensive and going to be pretty unrealistic for a long while. The best TV at the moment is the Panasonic VT50, a plasma screen, but we all know people's eyeballs have their own preferences.
Well, we're about done with the ol' plasma set. Figure it's time to take 'er off to the dump. Or maybe we could sell it? Naw, let's destroy it with arcing electricity bolts for fifteen minutes straight.