Thursday, August 11, 2011

Jodie Foster Helps Revive SETI Search

A look at the SETI Institute's Allen Telescope Array at Hat Creek Observatory about 290 miles northeast of San Francisco, Calif. CREDIT: SETI Institute

Jodie Foster Helps Revive SETI Search For Aliens -- Live Science

E.T., the phone line is open and SETI is waiting for your call. And apparently Jodie Foster, too.

The nonprofit Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute, which was forced earlier this year to shutter its Allen Telescope Array, used to listen for alien signals, due to budget issues, has raised enough money to resume the search for life beyond planet Earth.

The institute reached its goal last week of raising $200,000 to operate the telescope through the end of this year. The funds came from over 2,000 private donors, including the actress Jodie Foster, who played fictional SETI scientist Ellie Arroway in the 1997 movie "Contact."

Read more ....

U.S. Science Funding Will Soon Be Cut Because Of The Debt Deal

U.S. Debt Deal Could Dramatically Slash Science Funding In 2013 -- Scientific American

US science agencies avoid immediate pain but could be devastated by automatic cuts in 2013.

Scalpel or guillotine? Those are the possible fates in store for US science funding after Congress and the White House reached a deal to cut federal spending and raise the nation's self-imposed debt limit before a 2 August deadline.

The product of tumultuous negotiations, the deal largely spares science in the short term but puts a day of reckoning on the horizon: 2 January 2013. If politicians cannot agree on how to improve the government's fiscal outlook by then through targeted cuts and other means--the scalpel option--their failure will automatically trigger the guillotine: a deep cut applied across a range of expenditures, including research. In the worst case, the automatic cuts could mean shuttered laboratories and mass lay-offs at universities.

Read more ....

My Comment: The cutting has already happened .... look at NASA

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mars Rover Nears End Of Road

An artist's impression of one of the two Mars rovers, which have been studying geological samples on the planet. Reuters

Eight Years And 34 Million Miles On, Mars Rover Nears End Of Road -- The Independent

It travelled at an average speed of 60cm an hour and it has arrived a year late. But the Mars rover Opportunity is finally approaching its destination, the rim of the vast Endeavour crater.

Nasa hailed the six-wheel Opportunity's approach to the 22.5km-wide crater last night as a "tremendous scientific success".

The ageing robotic field geologist has logged more than 32km since it was first parachuted on to the planet's surface in 2003, along with its twin rover Spirit, for a planned three-month mission after their 34 million-mile journey from Earth. Spirit emitted its last signal a year ago after becoming trapped in sand. Opportunity crawled out from a crater in 2008 and headed south to the Endeavour, a two-year journey in theory, which has taken longer because Opportunity had to drive backwards to prevent its front wheel from wearing out.

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Sun Unleashes Largest Solar Flare In Five Years

Sun Unleashes Largest Solar Flare In Five Years, Sending 10Billion Ton Storm Cloud Hurtling Through Space At 5Million MPH -- Daily Mail

The sun unleashed an unusually powerful solar flare yesterday, the largest in nearly five years.

The eruption launched a ten billion ton storm cloud hurtling through space at five million miles per hour.

Scientists said the event took place on the side of the sun that was not facing Earth, so there will be little impact to satellites and communication systems.

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My Comment
: 10 billion tons .... that certainly makes one feel very small.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Image: The antiprotons lie sandwiched between the inner and outer Van Allen belts (in red) around the Earth.

Antimatter Belt Around Earth Discovered By Pamela Craft -- BBC

A thin band of antimatter particles called antiprotons enveloping the Earth has been spotted for the first time.

The find, described in Astrophysical Journal Letters, confirms theoretical work that predicted the Earth's magnetic field could trap antimatter.

The team says a small number of antiprotons lie between the Van Allen belts of trapped "normal" matter.

The researchers say there may be enough to implement a scheme using antimatter to fuel future spacecraft.

Read more ....

How Wine Pollutes

Vineyards in Napa Valley, Calif. Many winemakers use sulfur on their vines and the chemical poses environmental problems. Getty Images

How Wine Production Pollutes -- Discovery

Sulfur applied to vineyards washes into nearby water -- and there's no way to know which vineyards use the chemical.

* Virtually all of the fungicidal sulfur applied to vineyards washes off into nearby bays and river basins.
* Sulfur has a number of potentially concerning consequences for plants, animals and ecosystems.
* For now, there is no good way to know what the environmental impact of your wine might be.

Read more ....

Three Solar Flares Spark Power Grid Concerns

Solar Flare Aug. 4 This still from a video shows the CME lifting off from sunspot 1261. NASA/SDO

Video: Three Solar Flares Spark Power Grid Concerns And Ignite Auroras In The Upper United States -- Popular Science

A trifecta of sunsplosions over the past few days has prompted government agencies to once again warn of possible power and communications disruptions. The coronal mass ejections could produce a strong aurora as far south as Minnesota and Wisconsin, according to space weather forecasters at NOAA.

Read more ....

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Are Office Environment's Bad For Your Brain?

Working in an office is bad for your brain researchers say Photo: ALAMY

Working In An Office Is Bad For Your Brain -- The Telegraph

Working in an office is bad for your brain and can make you less productive, according to researchers.

A study has found that the hustle and bustle of modern offices can lead to a 32% drop in workers well being and reduce their productivity by 15%.

They have found that open plan offices create unwanted activity in the brains of workers that can get in the way of them doing the task at hand.

Open plan offices were first introduced in the 1950s and quickly became a popular as a way of laying out offices.

Having a clean and sterile desk can also leave employees with smaller brains, scientists claim.

Read more ....

My Comment: I have to agree .... I was always more productive when I was not faced with distractions .... which an open plan office will provide.

World Wide Web Celebrates Its 20th Birthday

Basic: Sir Tim Berners-Lee's first web site was simply a page of links to allow scientists to share data and news

Many Happy Returns! World Wide Web Celebrates Its 20th Birthday -- The Daily Mail

* First web page born on August 6, 1991
* Now there are more than 19.68billion pages

It began as a simple page of links that allowed a group of scientists to share data in the confines of their laboratories.

But in the 20 years since, it has become an inextricable part of the lives of billions of people.

The World Wide Web (WWW) was born on August 6, 1991, when the first web page was launched on the internet by Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

Read more ....

My Comment: I suspect that the web will be around for a little longer.