Saturday, September 4, 2010

Taking Cues From Medical Tech, Big Oil Could Use Nanoparticles to Hunt for Leftover Crude in Spent Wells

Using Nanotech to Reach Every Drop of Oil Flcelloguy via Wikimedia

From Popular Science:

You can't throw a rock in the realm of biotech right now without hitting some scheme or another for tapping the unique properties of nanoparticles to hunt tumors, target drug delivery, or monitor the body internally for specific biomarkers. But a perhaps unlikely field of scientific exploration is also tapping these nano-biotechnology applications to search for the elusive hydrocarbons that are its lifeblood: the oil industry.

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4 Big Losers From Apple's TV, iPod Announcement

From Popular Mechanics:

At today's music-themed keynote in San Francisco, Apple rolled out a lot of goodies as fanboys cheered each announcement. It was hard not to imagine entire industries turning red with fear. Apple is a powerful company, and their business decisions and product announcements have a tendency to radically reshape entire industries. Let's look at some of the biggest potential losers from today's announcements.

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Can Nanotechnology Save Lives?

Polymer fronds a few thousand nanometers long wrap around even tinier plymer spheres. Felice C. Frankel

From The Smithsonian:

Harvard professor and scientific genius George Whitesides believes that nanotechnology will change medicine as we know it

Finding George Whitesides is often tricky even for George Whitesides. So he keeps an envelope in his jacket pocket. “I don’t actually know where I am in general until I look at it,” he says, “and then I find that I’m in Terre Haute, and then the question really is, ‘What’s next?’” During a recent stretch, the envelope revealed that he was in Boston, Abu Dhabi, Mumbai, Delhi, Basel, Geneva, Boston, Copenhagen, Boston, Seattle, Boston, Los Angeles and Boston.

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Inception: 'The Most Resilient Parasite Is An Idea Planted In The Unconscious Mind'

From The Telegraph:

The movie 'Inception' raises interesting questions about the brain’s susceptibility to new ideas during dreaming, says Roger Highfield.

Are you dreaming as you read this sentence? I’m sure you’re confident that you’re wide awake – but if you’ve seen Inception, the new blockbuster movie, you may harbour a nagging doubt.

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5 Nanometer Computer Chips

From Future Pundit:

While Moore's Law for increasing computer chip transistor density won't go on for more than another 20 years it is still happening. Intel introduced 32 nanometer chips in 2009 and will introduce 22 nm chips in 2011. The New York Times reports on Rice University and Hewlett-Packard researchers who have developed 5 nanometer logic devices.

These chips store only 1,000 bits of data, but if the new technology fulfills the promise its inventors see, single chips that store as much as today’s highest capacity disk drives could be possible in five years. The new method involves filaments as thin as five nanometers in width — thinner than what the industry hopes to achieve by the end of the decade using standard techniques. The initial discovery was made by Jun Yao, a graduate researcher at Rice. Mr. Yao said he stumbled on the switch by accident.

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How To Make Money Developing Mobile Apps

iPad, iPhone, iPod


Do you want to make money developing applications for iPhones, iPads, and other mobile devices? I went from almost zero experience to earning a regular income from my apps in a few short months. Let me show you how I did it.

This is a long article (6,217 words). I will go through some important aspects of writing successful apps, from finding and choosing the right ideas to develop, to a very important money saving tip. Although I’m writing from the perspective of an iOS developer, the general ideas apply to other platforms like Android. Whether you develop for Apple’s devices or not, you can still benefit from the article.

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My Comment: A rather long article, but an interesting read.

This Is Weird

A game character from Love Plus is superimposed over a cellphone photo of Kanji Nagasawa, the owner of a Korean barbecue restaurant in Atami, Japan, holding a specialty dish created for the game's fans. Akiko Fujita

Only In Japan, Real Men Go To A Hotel With Virtual Girlfriends -- Wall Street Journal

Dating-Simulation Game a Last Resort For Honeymoon Town and Its Lonely Guests.

ATAMI, Japan—This resort town, once popular with honeymooners, is turning to a new breed of romance seekers—virtual sweethearts.

Since the marriage rate among Japan's shrinking population is falling and with many of the country's remaining lovebirds heading for Hawaii or Australia's Gold Coast, Atami had to do something. It is trying to attract single men—and their handheld devices.

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What Is Consciousness?

From Think Big:

What does it mean to be conscious? It's a question that philosophers and scientists have puzzled over perhaps since there have been philosophers and scientists.

In his book "Consciousness Explained," Tufts University philosopher Daniel Dennett calls human consciousness "just about the last surviving mystery," explaining that a mystery is something that people don't yet know how to think about. "We do not yet have all the answers to any of the questions of cosmology and particle physics, molecular genetics and evolutionary theory, but we do know how to think about them," writes Dennett. "With consciousness, however, we are still in a terrible muddle. Consciousness stands alone today as a topic that often leaves even the most sophisticated thinkers tongue-tied and confused. And, as with all of the earlier mysteries, there are many who insist—and hope—that there will never be a demystification of consciousness."

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Second Super-Fast Flip Of Earth's Poles Found

On the flip, in record time (Image: G.Glatzmaier/Los Alamos National Laboratory/P.Roberts/UCLA/SPL)

From The New Scientist:

SOME 16 million years ago, north became south in a matter of years. Such fast flips are impossible, according to models of the Earth's core, but this is now the second time that evidence has been found.

The magnetic poles swap every 300,000 years, a process that normally takes up to 5000 years. In 1995 an ancient lava flow with an unusual magnetic pattern was discovered in Oregon. It suggested that the field at the time was moving by 6 degrees a day - at least 10,000 times faster than usual. "Not many people believed it," says Scott Bogue of Occidental College in Los Angeles.

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They Crawl, They Bite, They Baffle Scientists

THE ICK FACTOR The lab of Stephen A. Kells, a University of Minnesota entomologist. Bedbugs are not known to transmit disease. Allen Brisson-Smith for The New York Times

From The New York Times:

Don’t be too quick to dismiss the common bedbug as merely a pestiferous six-legged blood-sucker.

Think of it, rather, as Cimex lectularius, international arthropod of mystery.

In comparison to other insects that bite man, or even only walk across man’s food, nibble man’s crops or bite man’s farm animals, very little is known about the creature whose Latin name means — go figure — “bug of the bed.” Only a handful of entomologists specialize in it, and until recently it has been low on the government’s research agenda because it does not transmit disease. Most study grants come from the pesticide industry and ask only one question: What kills it?

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What Created This Smooth, 200-Mile-Long Trench On Mars?

Orcus Patera ESA

From Popular Science:

The European Space Agency has released a series of new images of Orcus Patera, a long crater near Mars's Mons Olympus whose rim rises some 6,000 feet. But the images, taken by the Mars Express craft, only deepen the mystery of the crater's origin.

The ESA says "the most likely explanation is that it was made in an oblique impact, when a small body struck the surface at a very shallow angle." Sounds almost definitely like aliens.

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How the 105-mph Fastball Tests The Limits Of The Human Body

Pitcher Aroldis Chapman #51 of the Louisville Bats throws a pitch during a game on May 14, 2010 against the Rochester Red Wings at Frontier Field in Rochester, New York. Gregory Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images

From Popular Mechanics:

A Triple-A pitcher shocked the baseball world with a pitch clocked at an insanely fast 105 mph. Here's why we won't see pitchers throw it much faster than this—ever.

Last Friday was a mixed bag for fans of the fastball. Early in the day, the Washington Nationals announced that phenom Stephen Strasburg, who hurled a 101-mph pitch in his debut in June, would likely require Tommy John surgery for his injured elbow; a procedure that could sideline him for up to 18 months. But later that night Aroldis Chapman, a 22-year-old Cuban defector pitching for the Cincinnati Reds' triple-A affiliate in Louisville, captured baseball fans' attention when he threw a pitch clocked at 105 mph.

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Apple Ping Network Slammed With Spam

Apple Ping is having some spam problems. Lots of them. So is Ping finished? Probably not. Newscom

From Christian Science Monitor:

Earlier this week, Apple launched a platform called Ping, which is built into the latest iteration of iTunes. Ping is a sort of Facebook or MySpace for iTunes people: You can use the service to share your favorite songs and videos, suggest content to friends, and search for concerts and events in your area. But Ping has gotten off to a rocky start.

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Gadget Lab Podcast: iPods, Apple TV and Samsung's Galaxy Tab

India To Build World's Largest Solar Telescope

Photo: Currently, the world's largest solar telescope is the McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope, with a diameter of 1.6 metres in Kitt Peak National Observatory at Arizona in the US.

From Space Daily:

India is inching closer towards building the world's largest solar telescope in Ladakh on the foothills of the Himalayas that aims to study the sun's microscopic structure.

The National Large Solar Telescope (NLST) project has gathered momentum with a global tender floated for technical and financial bidding by the Bangalore-based Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA).

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Health Checkup: Who Needs Organic Food?

Foodpix / Getty Images
Organic food comes with real health benefits and significant costs. TIME looks at both sides of the debate

From Time Magazine:

Looking for a quick way to feel lousy about yourself? Then forget the idea of a healthy diet and just eat what your body wants you to eat. Your body wants meat; your body wants fat; your body wants salt and sugar. Your body will put up with fruits and vegetables if it must, but only after all the meat, fat, salt and sugar are gone. And as for the question of where your food comes from — whether it's locally grown, sustainably raised, grass-fed, free range or pesticide-free? Your body doesn't give a hoot.

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Yet Another Human Job Is Replaced By A Robot

EMILY To the Rescue: An Automated Lifeguard -- The Economist

Yet another human job is replaced by a robot.

BIG crowds, strong surf and powerful rip currents are only a few of the obstacles that lifeguards must overcome to keep swimmers safe. Strong winds can pull many bathers out to sea simultaneously, overwhelming the guards if there are only a few of them. And, since average swimming speed is about 3kph (2mph) even a single rescue mission can take more than half an hour.

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Stephen Hawking: Ten Pearls Of Wisdom

Professor Stephen Hawking Photo: DISCOVERY CHANNEL

From The Telegraph:

After Professor Stephen Hawking apparently rubbished the idea of a God, claiming the Big Bang was an inevitable result of physics, here are ten of our favourite quotes.

Stephen Hawking on why the universe exists:

"If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason – for then we would know the mind of God."

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Kepler Probe Ffinds Two Saturn-Sized Planets Orbiting A Single Star 2,000 Light Years Away

An artist's impression of the two Saturn-sized planets as they orbit the same star

From The Daily Mail:

Two giant Saturn-sized planets have been spotted passing in front of the same star, Nasa scientists announced today.

It is the first time more than one planet has ever been discovered 'transiting' a single star.

The two planets were discovered by the space telescope Kepler and will give scientists vital information about how planets were formed and how they interact with each other.

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Scientists Figure Out Magical 'Banana' Free Kick

From The CBC:

Thirteen years after Roberto Carlos stunned onlookers with his amazing "banana" free kick that seemed to defy the law of physics, scientists have finally worked out how he did it.

In what many people regard as the best free kick ever, the Brazil defender struck the ball with the outside of his left foot 35 yards out, bending it around the outside of France's three-man wall during a friendly tournament in Lyon in 1997.

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Friday, September 3, 2010

Water in Earth's Mantle Key To Survival Of Oldest Continents

This is an image of a sample of cratonic mantle root from Kimberley, South Africa. The rock consists of dark green olivine, whitish-green enstatite, emerald green diopside and purple garnet. (Credit: David R. Bell / ASU)

From Science Daily:

ScienceDaily (Sep. 2, 2010) — Earth today is one of the most active planets in the Solar System, and was probably even more so during the early stages of its life. Thanks to the plate tectonics that continue to shape our planet's surface, remnants of crust from Earth's formative years are rare, but not impossible to find. A paper published in Nature Sept. 2 examines how some ancient rocks have resisted being recycled into Earth's convecting interior.

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High-Tech Effort Underway to Protect Magna Carta

One of four existing copies of the 1297 Magna Carta. Credit: National Archives & Records Administration

From Live Science:

The Magna Carta helped form the foundation for modern English and U.S. law. Now one of two copies known to exist outside England is headed for a special new case to preserve it.

The very first Magna Carta dates to 1215, when English barons forced King John to write down the traditional rights and liberties of the country's free persons. A copy of the Magna Carta signed by King Edward I in 1297 currently resides within a helium-filled casement at the National Archives Building in Washington. But the medieval document is scheduled for a temporary removal in 2011 so it can be re-measured for a new case filled with argon.

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NASA Flies First Drone Over Hurricane

From Wired Science:

Hurricane Earl is waning as it moves northward up the east coast of the United States. Some of the first researchers to notice the weakening had front row seats, watching the eye of the hurricane via drone flights.

In addition to the usual cadre of satellites, NASA is using a small fleet of unmanned aircraft into, over and around the hurricane as it tracks north from the Caribbean. While flying into a hurricane is nothing new, Earl is the first hurricane that NASA has observed using their unmanned Global Hawk observation aircraft (pictured above).

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Canadian To Command Space Station In 2013

From Space Daily:

Astronaut Chris Hadfield in 2013 will become the first Canadian to command the International Space Station (ISS), the Canadian Space Agency announced Thursday.

Hadfield, 51, will rocket on his third trip into space aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft in December 2012 and assume command of the station during the second part of a six-month mission.

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Why Do Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers?

Jodi Cobb / National Geographic Creative / Getty Image

From Time Magazine:

One of the most contentious issues in the vast literature about alcohol consumption has been the consistent finding that those who don't drink tend to die sooner than those who do. The standard Alcoholics Anonymous explanation for this finding is that many of those who show up as abstainers in such research are actually former hard-core drunks who had already incurred health problems associated with drinking.

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My Comment: I am convinced .... and yes .... I need a drink.

One Reason Dieting Does Not Work

That’s The Way The Cookie Crumbles -- The Economist

One reason dieting does not work.

IF, BY chance, you are served an unusually large slice of pizza, compared with what others appear to be getting, would that experience incline you, some minutes later, to eat more cookies or fewer when platefuls came your way? That depends, it turns out, on whether you are on a diet. Those who are not eat fewer cookies, whereas those who are see the excessive pizza as a licence to pig out. It is a demonstration of what Janet Polivy, a psychologist at the University of Toronto, refers to as the “what the hell” effect—a phenomenon familiar from real life to which Dr Polivy has given scientific respectability, most recently in a paper published in the latest edition of Appetite.

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Why Food Is Costing Us The Earth

Coffee prices have risen sharply Photo: SIMON RAWLES

From The Telegraph:

The fight is on over how to solve our food crisis, but if we choose the wrong food policy at this juncture there could be no going back, says Rose Prince.

Hardly a morning passes without food making the headlines. This week has brought us the burger that thinks it's a pizza and news that eating asparagus makes you stay slim (fingers crossed it's the type covered in melted butter). And we heard that, if you eat pickled squid guts and single cream together, it tastes like strawberry shortcake.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab: Firm Joins Forces With Google By Launching Tablet to Take On Apple's iPad

iPad killer? People compare the performance of Apple's iPad (L) and Samsung's Galaxy Tab tablet devices at the IFA consumer electronics fair in Berlin today

From The Daily Mail:

Apple faces a killer blow to its iPad after Samsung unveiled its own device amid rumours it could could be just half the price.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab with its seven inch touchscreen is smaller than the iPad, however it matches the Apple device in virtually all other functions.

Initial details suggest some aspects of the Tablet are even more sophisticated than the Apple creation.

At the same time, Apple faces competition from other technology giants which are racing to get their own touchscreen tablets into the shops before Christmas.

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My Comment:
I prefer the size of the iPad, but others prefer something smaller. At last there is choice now, and that is a good thing.

Doctors Seek Way To Treat Muscle Loss

Participants in a University of Florida study use ankle weights to increase strength and balance. Researchers say muscle deterioration is a major reason some of the elderly lose mobility and cannot live independently. Steve Johnson for The New York Times

From The New York Times:

Bears emerge from months of hibernation with their muscles largely intact. Not so for people, who, if bedridden that long, would lose so much muscle they would have trouble standing.

Why muscles wither with age is captivating a growing number of scientists, drug and food companies, let alone aging baby boomers who, despite having spent years sweating in the gym, are confronting the body’s natural loss of muscle tone over time.

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Stephen Hawking Says There's No Theory Of Everything

From New Scientist:

Craig Callender, contributor

Three decades ago, Stephen Hawking famously declared that a "theory of everything" was on the horizon, with a 50 per cent chance of its completion by 2000. Now it is 2010, and Hawking has given up. But it is not his fault, he says: there may not be a final theory to discover after all. No matter; he can explain the riddles of existence without it.

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The Secret To The Immortality Of McDonald's Food


From Salon:

The chain's burgers can resist rot for years. Scientists explain why they have the shelf life of the undead.

Ever since Morgan Spurlock held up that jar of mysteriously well-preserved fries in "Super Size Me," the list of exhibits in the McDonald’s museum of food-that-refuses-go-bad has grown exponentially. The latest entrant is the Happy Meal Project, a burger and a packet of fries that have soldiered on undecayed for 143 days.

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My Comment: I have a confession .... I am addicted to sausage egg McMuffins. Don't know why .... just need a fix once in a while.

Hubble Observations of Supernova Reveal Composition Of 'Star Guts' Pouring Out

A team of astronomers led by the University of Colorado at Boulder is charting the interactions between Supernova 1987A and a glowing gas ring encircling the supernova remnant known as the "String of Pearls." (Credit: NASA)

From Science Daily:

ScienceDaily (Sep. 2, 2010) — Observations made with NASA's newly refurbished Hubble Space Telescope of a nearby supernova are allowing astronomers to measure the velocity and composition of "star guts" being ejected into space following the explosion, according to a new study led by the University of Colorado at Boulder.

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Mass Extinction Threat: Earth On Verge of Huge Reset Button?

From Live Science:

Mass extinctions have served as huge reset buttons that dramatically changed the diversity of species found in oceans all over the world, according to a comprehensive study of fossil records. The findings suggest humans will live in a very different future if they drive animals to extinction, because the loss of each species can alter entire ecosystems.

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China's Militarization of Space Continues

Chinese Satellite Test -- Inside The Ring, Washington Times

China recently conducted a space test involving two satellites that rendezvoused several hundred miles above Earth in a maneuver analysts say will likely boost Beijing's anti-satellite weapons program.

Read more ....

More News On China's Space Program

Two Chinese Satellites Have Close Encounter in Orbit -- Discovery News
Close Encounters of the Worrisome Kind? Chinese Satellites Meet in Space -- Discover Magazine
China’s Secret Satellite Rendezvous ‘Suggestive of a Military Program’ -- The Danger Room
Satellite pulls new manoeuvre in space -- Toronto Sun
Two Chinese Satellites Rendezvous in Orbit -- Universe Today
Chinese On-orbit Rendezvous Analyzed [The Space Review] -- Space News
Two Chinese satellites rendezvous in orbit -- New Scientist

Hurricane's Path Unfamiliar to U.S. Northeast

From CBS News:

Earl Heads Uncomfortably Close to Area Relatively Few Hurricanes Tend to Go.

(AP) Pushed by an ill-timed trough of low pressure, Hurricane Earl is heading uncomfortably close to an area relatively few hurricanes tend to go: the northeastern United States coastline.

Earl's path may in fact be foreshadowing more northerly big storms to come with global warming, two hurricane experts said Thursday.

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Counting Down To Commercial Space Launches

Image: Space pioneer: This image shows an artist’s rendering of SpaceX’s Dragon capsule. Credit: SpaceX

From Technology Review:

The next few years will see at least two new commercial spacecraft put into orbit.

A small fleet of privately developed spacecraft will head into orbit in the next few years--assuming that current levels of public and private funding can be sustained. If it happens, this will mark a new chapter in space exploration and research, as NASA comes to rely more on private companies for the technology to put manned and unmanned vehicles in space.

Read more

Global Energy Use In The 21st Century

World energy consumption by type in 2006 - Image: Wikimedia

From Watts Up With That?:

Guest Post by Thomas Fuller

This is a great time to talk about energy use worldwide. Not because it’s topical, or politically important, or anything like that. It’s a great time because the math is easier now than ever before, and easier than it ever will be again.

It’s similar to a time a few years ago when there were almost exactly 100 million households in the United States. It made a lot of calculations really easy to do. And this year, the United States Department of Energy calculates that the world used 500 quads of energy. Ah, the symmetry.

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DARPA's Cyber Insider Threat Program Is The Agency's Great Hope For Ending Leaks

Protecting Military Networks Thinking about WikiLeaking? Think again. U.S. Navy

From Popular Science:

The recent WikiLeaks exposure was a huge black eye for the U.S. Department of Defense, supposedly one of the more secure state organizations we have working for us. Its impact clearly wasn’t lost on the Pentagon, whose blue sky research arm has launched a new project designed to ferret out malicious behavior on DoD networks. Named CINDER – Cyber INsiDER Threat – the project is designed not to sniff out people, but adversarial actions as they happen.

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My Comment: I am skeptical that such a program will be successful .... but hey .... Darpa has surprised us on many occasions and should not be underestimated.

Charlie Bamforth Tells All About The Beer Industry

Charlie Bamforth
UC Davis, College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences

From Popular Mechanics:

In the forthcoming book, Beer Is Proof God Loves Us (to be published October 2010 by FT press), beer expert and master brewer Charlie Bamforth talks about the fast-changing world of beer. From the loss of the pub to the growth of homebrewing, corporate takeovers, and the rise of craft culture, Bamforth outlines the recent history of beer and helps beer-lovers, home brewers and aspiring brewmasters navigate the modern-day beerscape. We got Bamforth on the phone to talk about his views on Big Beer, home brewing and how to become a brewmaster.

Read more

A Traffic Cop For Satellites

As more and more spacecraft are put into orbit, the chance of a collision increases.
Click to enlarge this image. ESA

From Discovery News:

Satellite crashes may be rare, but when they happen, the impact can be long-lasting.

Collisions in space don't happen very often, but when they do the impact is long-lasting. A coalition of satellite traffic cops, however, aims to prevent these episodes from occurring at all.

In orbit, chunks and fragments from a crash won't settle down. They'll keep moving -- extremely rapidly -- upping the odds of additional crashes.

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Black Holes Formed Soon After Big Bang

Supermassive black holes are found at the centre of galaxies - including our galaxy, the Milky Way. Credit: NASA

From Cosmos/AFP:

PARIS: The first supermassive black holes formed just a billion years after the Big Bang, showing that big structures build up quickly in the universe, scientists said.

Ordinary black holes are entities of mass whose gravitational pull is so huge that not even light can escape them. But they are dwarfs compared to so-called supermassive black holes, which are many orders of magnitude bigger.

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Recipe For Water: Just Add Starlight

Giant star IRC+10216. (Credit: ESA/PACS/SPIRE/MESS Consortia)

From Science Daily:

ScienceDaily (Sep. 2, 2010) — ESA's Herschel infrared space observatory has discovered that ultraviolet starlight is the key ingredient for making water in space. It is the only explanation for why a dying star is surrounded by a gigantic cloud of hot water vapour.

Read more

Why Older People Repeat Stories

From Live Science:

There may be a reason grandparents repeat the same stories over and over again. According to a new study, older people are more likely than younger people to forget with whom they've shared information.

The study investigated two types of memory: source memory, or your recollection of who told you a piece of information; and destination memory, which is your recollection of which people you've informed. Not only were older people bad at remembering to whom they'd told information, they were very confident in their mistaken memories. [10 Ways to Keep Your Mind Sharp]

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My Comment: I am repeating stories .... and I am 50. Oh .... oh ....

NASA Planning Mission To Visit The Sun

Artist Representation of Solar Probe Plus
(Credit: NASA)

From The CBS:

We know it's hot up there but NASA wants to know a bit more about the Sun and its environs. And so sometime before 2018, the agency intends to send a spacecraft into the solar atmosphere.

This will mark the first time that a spacecraft from earth will actually visit a star.

The decision to chart a mission to the Sun also realizes a dream that astronomers almost realized a half century ago, when the National Academy of Science's "Simpson Committee" in 1958 recommended a probe to investigate. Several studies were subsequently carried out testing the feasibility of the project. But nothing came of them.

Read more ....

Robotic Storm Tracker Gets A Big Test With Earl

Bearing down: NASA'S Global Hawk flies over the eye of Hurricane Earl. Thus far it has made numerous passes over the eye and will continue to monitor the storm until Thursday evening. Credit: NASA/NOAA

From Technology Review:

The largest-ever storm monitoring mission is now gathering scientific data that was previously impossible to get.

As Hurricane Earl barrels toward the eastern seaboard of the United States, coastal residents don't know if they should evacuate in case the storm makes landfall. They rely on forecasters analyzing computer models, but those predictions differ. A new hurricane-monitoring mission that's now underway hopes to reduce this uncertainty by gathering atmospheric and environmental storm data never before obtained.

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My Comment: They must have spent a fortune on this system, but considering the damage that hurricanes can cause, any leg up on what they are about to do makes it all worth while.

Where Are The Solar Power Projects?

Electric towers and power lines cross the proposed site of a BrightSource Energy solar plant near Primm, Nev. The presence of existing towers make the area a prime site for solar development.

From Watts Up With That?:

From the Ventura County Star:

ROACH DRY LAKE, Nev. — Not a light bulb’s worth of solar electricity has been produced on the millions of acres of public desert set aside for it. Not one project to build glimmering solar farms has even broken ground.

Instead, five years after federal land managers opened up stretches of the Southwest to developers, vast tracts still sit idle.

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My Comment: A blunt and accurate assessment on the politics behind solar power.

Archive Gallery: 138 Years Of Architectural Landmarks

The Pentagon, 1943

From Popular Science:

PopSci's first looks at the Empire State Building, the Hoover Dam, the Golden Gate Bridge, and more.

We've heard it said that Rome wasn't built in a day. And while Popular Science isn't old enough to have witnessed the Colosseum going up, we have covered in our pages some of the 20th century's most important architectural achievements rise from nothing but a dream and a blueprint.

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Top 5 Ways The Universe Could Wipe Out Humankind

From Popular Mechanics:

The Universe looks like a pretty tranquil place to live, doesn't it? During the day the sun shines steadily, and at night the heavens are reassuring and unchanging.

Dream on. The Universe is filled to the brim with dangerous, nasty things, all jostling for position to be the one to wipe us off the face of the planet. Happily for us, they're all pretty unlikely—how many people do you know who have died by proton disintegration?—but if you wait long enough, one of them is bound to get us.

But which one?

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Highest-Paid Athlete Hailed From Ancient Rome

From Discovery News:

Ultra millionaire sponsorship deals such as those signed by sprinter Usain Bolt, motorcycle racer Valentino Rossi and tennis player Maria Sharapova, are just peanuts compared to the personal fortune amassed by a second century A.D. Roman racer, according to an estimate published in the historical magazine Lapham's Quarterly.

According to Peter Struck, associate professor of classical studies at the University of Pennsylvania, an illiterate charioteer named Gaius Appuleius Diocles earned “the staggering sum" of 35,863,120 sesterces (ancient Roman coins) in prize money.

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My Comment: I am just curious to know what happened to all of that money.

Web-Crawling Computers Will Soon Be Calling The Shots In Science

Computers may by programmed to generate hypotheses with little human intervention required. Photograph: Corbis

From The Guardian:

Within a decade, computers will be able to plough through scientific data looking for patterns and connections – then tell scientists what they should do next.

Move over scientists – computers will be asking the questions from now on. They will trawl the millions of scientific papers on the web and suggest new hypotheses for humans to test, according to an article in tomorrow's issue of Science.

Read more ....

Richest Planetary System Discovered

A close-up of the sky around the star HD 10180. Credit: ESO and Digitized Sky Survey 2. Acknowledgment: Davide De Martin

From Cosmos:

PARIS: A distant star orbited by at least five planets has been found, according to European astronomers, in the biggest discovery of so-called exoplanets since the first was logged 15 years ago.

The star is similar to our Sun and its planetary lineup has an intriguing parallel with own Solar System, although no clue has so far been found to suggest it could be a home from home, they said.

The star they studied, HD 10180, is located 127 light years away in the southern constellation of Hydrus, the male water snake, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) said.

Read more

Discovery Of Ancient Cave Paintings In Petra Stuns Art Scholars

Detail of a winged child playing the flute, before and after cleaning. Photograph: Courtesy of the Courtauld Institute

From The Guardian:

Exquisite artworks hidden under 2,000 years of soot and grime in a Jordanian cave have been restored by experts from the Courtauld Institute in London.

Spectacular 2,000-year-old Hellenistic-style wall paintings have been revealed at the world heritage site of Petra through the expertise of British conservation specialists. The paintings, in a cave complex, had been obscured by centuries of black soot, smoke and greasy substances, as well as graffiti.

Read more

Commercial Organic Farms Have Better Fruit and Soil, Lower Environmental Impact, Study Finds

A new study found that organic farms produced more flavorful and nutritious berries while leaving the soil healthier and more genetically diverse. (Credit: iStockphoto/Margarita Borodina)

From Science Daily:

ScienceDaily (Sep. 1, 2010) — Side-by-side comparisons of organic and conventional strawberry farms and their fruit found the organic farms produced more flavorful and nutritious berries while leaving the soil healthier and more genetically diverse.

"Our findings have global implications and advance what we know about the sustainability benefits of organic farming systems," said John Reganold, Washington State University Regents professor of soil science and lead author of a paper published in the peer-reviewed online journal, PLoS ONE. "We also show you can have high quality, healthy produce without resorting to an arsenal of pesticides."

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My Comment: This scientific study only reveals what every farmer knows .... stay away from pesticides and fertilizers and you will produce a better product.

Hurricane Alley Heats Up With Stormy Threesome

As Hurricane Earl nears the East Coast Thursday, two tropical systems linger behind: Tropical Storm Fiona, located north-northeast of San Juan, and Tropical Storm Gaston, located east of the Lesser Antilles. Credit: NOAA.

From Live Science:

Three swirling storms are roaring across the Atlantic with nervous East Coast residents keeping a close eye on the conveyor belt of tropical activity as hurricane season enters its busiest time.

Hurricane Earl is bearing down on the Carolinas and has strengthened into a Category 4 storm, with maximum winds of 145 mph (235 kph), according to the latest update from the National Hurricane Center (NHC). Category 3 storms or higher on the Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane strength are classified as major hurricanes. [In Images: Hurricane Hunters Flying into Earl.]

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Throat Cancer Rates Soar In Men

From The Telegraph:

Throat cancer cases have soared by 50 per cent in men in the last 25 years due to obesity and bad diet, researchers have found.

Back in the eighties around 2,600 men were diagnosed with oesophageal cancer every year but now the figure is more than 5,100.

The most dramatic rise was among men in their 50s, as rates increased by 67 per cent over the same period.

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When Drones Go Wild

When Drones Go Rogue In Friendly Skies, How Do We Bring Them Home? -- Popular Science

An advanced fly-by-wire system capable of landing grossly damaged unmanned aircraft—demonstrated on video saving a plane missing 80 percent of one wing—is key to solving one of unmanned flight’s biggest problems.

Word spread last week that a rogue MQ-8B Fire Scout copter drone entered restricted airspace just 40 miles shy of Washington D.C. after losing contact with its operators. The revelation occurred smack in the middle of AVUSI 2010, the world’s largest UAV tradeshow. And it served as a poignant reminder that all the game-changing technology on display here at the Denver Convention Center still has some innovating to do, especially when flight crews lose control of their unmanned craft.

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My Comment: The video is impressive .... watch it.

Shape-Shifting Robot Compensates For Damaged Limb

From New Scientist:

Think that shape-shifting robots, or ones that march on no matter how many limbs they lose, are just for Terminator films? Think again. A team of European roboticists have developed software that allows a modular robot to adapt when one part stops working.

David Johan Christensen at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense, working with Alexander Spröwitz and Auke Ijspeert at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, simulated a quadruped robot constructed from a dozen Roombots – identical rounded robots that have been developed in Lausanne and which can combine to form a variety of modular shapes (see picture).

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Astronaut’s Eye View: Time-Lapse Videos of Earth

From Wired Science:

A NASA astronaut on the Space Shuttle Endeavor brought space back down to Earth. Astronaut Don Pettit took over 85 time-lapsed videos of Earth from his stint on the International Space Station to highlight features of the changing planet.

"There is phenomenology that happens on a timescale that you can't see in real time," he said. "It occurred to me that making time-lapse movies on the space station would bring out things that you normally don't observe."

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Death Of The Couch Potato:

More users are watching TV on their laptops than ever before, according to a new study (picture posed by model)

Death Of The Couch Potato: Study Finds More Than A Third Of Viewers Now Watch Their Favourite TV Shows Online -- Daily Mail

An increasing number of viewers are watching their favourite TV shows online rather than on television, a new survey as found.

More than a third of users (34 per cent) now watch their favourite programmes online compared to only 29 per cent who watch them mostly on television.

The figures - from a joint survey by and Radio Times - show how the way we consume television is changing rapidly.

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My Comment: Count me as one of those who watches 90% of his shows and movies online.