How worried should you be of contracting COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated, spreading it to others, or being hospitalized with the disease? Is the new delta-variant going to evade our immunity from the vaccine? What about the theta-phi variant (yet to be detected) with a mortality rate 3 times greater than the delta variant?

COVID-19 Vaccines Image. KFL&A Public Health. 2021.

I recently read Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt’s Freakonomics, a book that examines the hidden side of human behaviour and economics. I particularly enjoyed their perspective on risk, hazard, and outrage. Dubner and Levitt argue that what we perceive to be a “risk’’ is a combination…

There is a sense in which science and religion seem incompatible; one seeks to reveal the laws of nature through observation and rigorous discovery while the other provides explanation of these rules without proof or evidence [1]. Despite the fact that the two disciplines operate according to such different principles, there is often a desire to apply the concepts of science to religion (or vice versa).

Science is the process of finding an anomaly, exploring the anomaly, and adjusting the relative paradigm to encompass the anomaly [2]. This results in an increase of our current bounty of knowledge and understanding…

The fastest spacecraft we have created is the New Horizons Probe, an interplanetary spacecraft that reached speeds of 16 km/s as it passed Pluto in July 2016 [1]. Travelling at less than 0.00005% of the speed of light, it would take this probe over 81000 years to reach the nearest star to the Sun. To travel to the nearest galaxy it would take over 47 billion years (the universe has existed for about 13.7 billion years) [2]. To put it simply, travelling interstellar distances will clearly require a much faster spacecraft. …

What is the sum of the reciprocal of the squares:

Also known as the Basel Problem, this sum converges to a finite value (approximately ~1.6449). This can be calculated using an infinite product and Taylor series expansion of the sine function.

To write the sine function as an infinite product, we will examine its zeros. As seen in its sinusoidal shape, sine has zeros at 0, 𝜋, -𝜋, 2𝜋, -2𝜋, etc. This can be written as the product:

Light travels at a speed of 299,792.458 kilometres per second. This number has been scientifically determined using stellar aberration, electromagnetic constants, cavity resonators, lasers, and radio interferometers. We are so certain that light travels exactly 299,792.458 kilometres every second. But why? Why does light travel at this speed and not 400,000 km/s, or 200,000 km/s?

The short answer is “we don’t know”. Science lets us make statements that represent our observed reality. Asking why the world operates according to certain regularities leads us to the possible limits to where science can take us and the unanswered questions about the universe…

The initial development and release of the internet in 1983 sparked a wide interest and fascination with its potential to make our lives more efficient. Since then, the internet has nested itself deeply into our daily routines. Billions of internet users have access to a nearly infinite number of applications that range from online banking all the way to movie libraries. Social media systems are now a dominating part of 21st century life and interaction.

After the dot-com bubble in the 1990s, the tech giants that dominate our world today — Amazon, Google, Facebook, began to invade our privacy and…

The risk of centralized networks seems to grow larger everyday. 40,000 accounts were just compromised in the latest hack on BMO and CIBC. Credit card fraud and identity theft are simply a fact of life.

A centralized network builds single points of control and failure. One glitch could simply shut down the entire network — which (in some cases) could be disastrous. Centralized networks can also act as honeypots for hackers as all their “secure” data is stored in just one place.

The concept of a bank storing all client data in one location attracts many malicious hackers. …

I’m sure by now you are familiar with Bitcoin — a confusing form of so-called “digital currency”. Bitcoin along with thousands of other cryptocurrencies — Ethereum, Ripple, Monero, Dash, Golem (the list goes on) exist in our world today. It is easy to be skeptical about these cryptocurrencies, especially if your understanding of their structure and function is limited.

A cryptocurrency can simply be defined as a form of digital currency that uses advanced forms of cryptography to work. Now I’m sure that you’re wondering what cryptography is, so I will break it down for you.

When a transaction is…

Will Assad

Astrophysics and Computer Science

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