May 01, 2023
Aliens Could Map Earth From its Mobile Phone Towers
Mobile phones are so ubiquitous that we typically don’t think about how they work. They just do, much to our benefit, and sometimes annoyance. But the key to their function is a vast array of radio transmission towers. These cell towers span a large percentage of Earth’s land surface, particularly in heavily populated areas, and they transmit microwave signals all the time. With all those cell towers emitting all those radio signals, a fun question to ask is whether those signals could be detected by an alien civilization. The answer to this question was recently published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, and it’s worth the read. The paper starts by noting how the radio signals streaming into space have changed. In the 20th century, the bulk of radio transmissions were those from commercial radio and television stations. Now those transmissions are dwarfed by those of mobile communications. MILITARY radar transmissions are still the most powerful source of Earth’s radio leakage, but cell towers now fill the second position. Each cell tower emits a radio signal with a power of 100 – 200 Watts. Given the number of towers and the amount of radio leakage, that amounts to a few gigawatts beamed into space. If we assume an alien civilization has sophisticated radio astronomy, similar to our Event Horizon Telescope, then our transmissions should be detectable within a dozen light-years or so. But that depends on where the aliens are in our sky. Cell towers emit most of their radio power parallel to the surface of the Earth, so a tower signal is strongest when it is rising or setting as seen from the alien star. And since the majority of towers are in the northern hemisphere, an alien star in the northern hemisphere will get a stronger signal than one in the southern hemisphere. One other complication is all the tower signals are different, and they overlap in such a way that an alien civilization wouldn’t be able to distinguish any specific messages. You don’t need to worry about aliens listening in on your personal phone calls. But they could still use the signals to find out some interesting things about Earth. Since the distribution of towers roughly corresponds to our population distribution, the aliens could get a measure of Earth’s rotation and axial tilt. They would also have a measure of Earth’s land distribution, and over time could study how our population distributions change. Calculated Earth signal as seen from HD 95735, about 8 light-years from Earth. Credit: Saide, et al As an example, the team modeled signals as seen from three nearby stars. Alpha Centauri is in the southern hemisphere, but just 4 light-years away, so it should get a measurable signal from us. Barnard’s Star (6 light-years away) and HD 95735 (8 light-years away) are in the northern hemisphere, and would likewise get good radio data from Earth. All three of these star systems are known to have planets, though none are known to have a potentially habitable world. As humanity transitions to more modern mobile technology such as 5G, tower signals will become even stronger, which means even more nearby stars would have a detectable signal from Earth. It may be just a matter of time before our phone signals reach out and touch alien minds. Reference: Saide, Ramiro C., M. A. Garrett, and N. Heeralall-Issur. “Simulation of the Earth’s radio-leakage from mobile towers as seen from selected nearby stellar systems.” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2023): stad378. The post Aliens Could Map Earth From its Mobile Phone Towers appeared first on Universe Today.
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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