Saturday, August 6, 2011

Is Music A Powerful Antidepressant?

Making Music Proves To Be Powerful Antidepressant -- Live Science

Making music might help lift more depressed people out of the dumps than common antidepressant medications do, the results of a new study suggest.

That's not to say the people with depression should toss out their meds and pick up a guitar. The music therapy administered to patients in the new study was in addition to regular therapy, and the patients continued their regular medication routines. But about one out of four depression sufferers is likely to respond to music therapy, Finnish researchers reported in August in the British Journal of Psychiatry. In comparison, a 2009 review of research published in the journal Cochrane Database Systemic Review found that doctors must treat between seven and 16 people with tricyclic antidepressant drugs for one person to see improvement.

Read more ....

Nigeria's Oil Pollution Will Take Decades To Clean-Up

Nigeria Ogoniland Oil Clean-Up 'Could Take 30 Years -- BBC

Nigeria's Ogoniland region could take 30 years to recover fully from the damage caused by years of oil spills, a long-awaited UN report says.

The study says complete restoration could entail the world's "most wide-ranging and long-term oil clean-up".

Communities faced a severe health risk, with some families drinking water with high levels of carcinogens, it said.

Oil giant Shell has accepted liability for two spills and said all oil spills were bad for Nigeria and the company.

Where Did Man Learn To Walk

Giraffes roam in a wooded grassland savanna in Kenya's Nakuru National Park. The savanna grades into the woodland in the background. Credit: Naomi Levin, Johns Hopkins University

Where Did Humans Learn To Walk? -- Cosmos/AFP

PARIS: Grasslands dominated the cradle of humanity in east Africa longer and more broadly than thought, a new study has said, bolstering the idea that the rise of such landscapes shaped human evolution.

According to the so-called 'savannah hypothesis', the gradual transition from dense forests into grasslands helped drive the shift toward bipedalism, increased brain size and other distinctively human traits.

Read more ....

The U.S. Military Wants To Reach The Stars

Space Travel: Finding The Technology To Traverse The Stars -- L.A. Times

The research-and-development arm of the U.S. military is launching a 100-Year Starship Study to find the technologies necessary for interstellar travel.

What will it take to build a spaceship capable of traveling to the stars? And what if you wanted it to be ready to launch in just 100 years?

It may sound like the premise of a science fiction show or reality TV series. But these are serious questions being asked by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the research-and-development arm of the U.S. military.

Read more ....

My Comment: This is $500,000 that we will never see again.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Juno Explorer Launches On Five-Year Journey To Jupiter

NASA's Juno Explorer Launches On Five-Year Journey To Jupiter -- L.A. Times

The Juno spacecraft, which NASA hopes will unlock key mysteries about Jupiter and the origin of the solar system, lifts off from Florida's Cape Canaveral. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is managing the $1.1-billion mission.

NASA's spacecraft Juno lifted off Friday in an incandescent arc over the Atlantic Ocean, the start of a five-year, 1.7-billion mile trip to Jupiter that scientists believe will unlock some of the secrets behind the origin of the solar system.

NASA's spacecraft Juno lifted off Friday in an incandescent arc over the Atlantic Ocean, the start of a five-year, 1.7-billion mile trip to Jupiter that scientists believe will unlock some of the secrets behind the origin of the solar system.

Read more ....

How The Brain Remembers What Happens And When

Neuroscientists Identify How the Brain Remembers What Happens and When -- Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Aug. 4, 2011) — New York University neuroscientists have identified the parts of the brain we use to remember the timing of events within an episode. The study, which appears in the latest issue of the journal Science, enhances our understanding of how memories are processed and provides a potential roadmap for addressing memory-related afflictions.

Read more ....

Next Generation of Computer Chips

Caltech engineers have developed a new way to isolate light on a photonic chip, allowing light to travel in only one direction. This finding can lead to the next generation of computer-chip technology: photonic chips that allow for faster computers and less data loss. (Credit: Caltech/Liang Feng)

Engineers Solve Longstanding Problem in Photonic Chip Technology: Findings Help Pave Way for Next Generation of Computer Chips -- Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Aug. 5, 2011) — Stretching for thousands of miles beneath oceans, optical fibers now connect every continent except for Antarctica. With less data loss and higher bandwidth, optical-fiber technology allows information to zip around the world, bringing pictures, video, and other data from every corner of the globe to your computer in a split second. But although optical fibers are increasingly replacing copper wires, carrying information via photons instead of electrons, today's computer technology still relies on electronic chips.

Read more ....

Warfare Started With The Creation Of Man's First Nation States

PLUNDER Ruins at Monte Alban in Oaxaca, Mexico. A wave of new research holds that early states arose from warring chiefdoms as populations grew. Beth Greenfield for The New York Times

Sign of Advancing Society? An Organized War Effort -- New York Times

Some archaeologists have painted primitive societies as relatively peaceful, implying that war is a reprehensible modern deviation. Others have seen war as the midwife of the first states that arose as human population increased and more complex social structures emerged to coordinate activities.

A wave of new research is supporting this second view. Charles Stanish and Abigail Levine, archaeologists at the University of California, Los Angeles, have traced the rise of the pristine states that preceded the Inca empire. The first villages in the region were formed some 3,500 years ago. Over the next 1,000 years, some developed into larger regional centers, spaced about 12 to 15 miles apart. Then, starting around 500 B.C., signs of warfare emerged in the form of trophy heads and depictions of warriors, the two archaeologists report in last week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Read more ....

My Comment: Economic cooperation or warfare .... the two underlying mechanisms that has always dictated how nation states behaved. It seems we have not changed much in 5,000+ years.

Atlantic Cod Recovering

Photo: Cod and similar species on the Scotian Shelf have been eight to 18 per cent more massive for their age between 2006 and 2010 compared with 1992 to 2005. (Associated Press)

East Coast Cod Found To Be Recovering -- CBC

New evidence shows that Atlantic cod off Nova Scotia are recovering from their dramatic collapse two decades ago — and that the ecosystem is recovering with them.

That suggests major changes to marine ecosystems can be reversed with time, says a Canadian study published Wednesday in the scientific journal Nature.

It also "bodes well" for other cod populations further north along the East Coast that have yet to recover, says the study, led by researcher Kenneth Frank at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Dartmouth, N.S.

Read more ....

A New Type Of Airship

New Type Of Flying Vehicle In Development -- Voice Of America

A California company is developing a new type of airship for transporting cargo and, possibly, passengers. It is not an airplane and not a blimp, but has elements of both. The vehicle uses new technology and has commercial and military applications.

The new flying ship from the Aeros Corporation is called an Aeroscraft, and is designed to carry more than 50 tons of cargo and make deliveries thousands of kilometers away.

Read more ....

Human Body Vulnerable To Cyberattack

Credit: Dreamstime

Human Body Vulnerable To Cyberattack -- Live Science

LAS VEGAS — The next frontier of cybercrime could be the human body, a researcher at the Black Hat Security Conference demonstrated.

In his presentation, "Hacking Medical Devices for Fun and Insulin: Breaking the Human SCADA System," Jay Radcliffe showed how a hacker could remotely hack two medical devices used to treat diabetes and trigger them to malfunction — with potentially disastrous results.

Read more ....

Remote Control Toy Trucks Save Lives In Afghanistan

Afghanistan War: Hobbyists' Toy Truck Saves 6 Soldiers' Lives -- ABC News

Staff Sgt. Christopher Fessenden is on duty in Afghanistan now after tours with the Army in Iraq. He has traveled with standard-issue equipment -- weapons, helmet, uniform, boots and so forth -- plus a radio-controlled model truck his brother sent.

The truck is not a toy to him. He says it just saved six soldiers' lives.

"We cannot thank you enough," said Sgt. Fessenden in an email from the front that his brother Ernie, a software engineer in Rochester, Minn., shared with ABC News.

Read more

More News On How Remote Vehicles Save Lives In Afghanistan

Remote-controlled toy truck saves the lives of six U.S. soldiers after it finds bomb in Afghanistan -- Daily Mail
Hobbyists' toy truck saves 6 soldiers' lives in Afghanistan -- Stars and Stripes
Remote-control truck gift saves soldiers’ lives -- Yahoo News/Lookout
Toy truck saves soldiers from bomb -- UPI
A Toy Truck Saved the Lives of Six Soldiers in Afghanistan -- Gizmodo
This Toy Remote Controlled Truck Saved The Lives Of 6 U.S. Soldiers -- Business Insider

Boeing Is Looking For Astronauts

An artist's conception shows Boeing's CST-100 crew-carrying spaceship atop an Atlas 5 rocket on a launch pad. Such a craft could fly to the International Space Station as early as 2015. Boeing

Boeing Chooses A Rocket, Looks For Astronauts To Fly On It -- MSNBC

Atlas 5 to be used for tests of new spaceship for NASA's use; pilots wanted.

Test flights of The Boeing Co.'s future crew-carrying spaceship would be conducted starting as early as 2015 on United Launch Alliance's Atlas 5 rocket, executives announced Thursday.

Whether Boeing's CST-100 capsule actually flies in that timeframe depends on whether NASA provides the necessary development funding, said John Elbon, the aerospace company's manager for the commercial crew project. But just in case, Boeing is already looking for pilots who could help with the design and testing of the craft.

Read more ....

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Negative Side Of Solar And Wind Power Projects

The Dark Side Of Solar And Wind Power Projects -- L.A. Times

Building and maintaining solar and wind power projects can be hazardous, and industry watchdogs worry that the push for more green energy places more workers and bystanders in harm's way.

They can look benign from a distance — solar panels glistening in the sun or turbines gently churning with the breeze to produce electricity for hundreds of thousands of homes. But building and maintaining them can be hazardous.

Accidents involving wind turbines alone have tripled in the last decade, and watchdog groups fear incidents could skyrocket further — placing more workers and even bystanders in harm's way — because a surge in projects requires hiring hordes of new and often inexperienced workers.

Read more ....

Dieting Forces Brain To Eat Itself

A cross-section of the human brain

Dieting Forces Brain To Eat Itself, Scientists Claim -- The Telegraph

Dieters struggle to lose weight because a lack of nutrition forces their brain cells to eat themselves, making the feeling of hunger even stronger, scientists claim.

Like other parts of the body, brain cells begin to eat themselves as a last-ditch source of energy to ward off starvation, a study found.

The body responds by producing fatty acids, which turn up the hunger signal in the brain and increase our impulse to eat.

Researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University in New York said the findings could lead to new scientifically proven weight loss treatments.

Read more ....

Water On Mars?

Dark Streaks On Mars Could Be Water -- The Telegraph

Dark finger-like channels stretching across the surface of Mars could be streams of salty water running down the sides of craters, scientists have claimed.

The clusters of trails, which fade during winter and reappear in warmer months, could prove to be the first solid evidence of liquid water currently existing on the red planet.

Scientists are convinced water probably flowed across the surface of the planet at some distant point in history, but have only been able to detect samples of frozen water near the surface.

Read more ....

The U.S. Army Kills The Robotic Vehicle MULE Program

XM1219 Armed Robotic Vehicle, an unmanned ground combat vehicle based on the MULE Platform.

Why The Army Killed The Robotic Vehicle MULE -- Popular Mechanics

Over the weekend, the U.S. Army killed a Lockheed Martin program to build a heavy six-wheeled robot capable of hauling gear and countering improvised explosive devices. Here's why they did it, and what it says about the future of Army bots.

Late last Friday, July 29, the Army formally canceled the Multi-Function Utility/Logistics and Equipment Vehicle, a heavyweight, six-wheeled robot known as the MULE, which was built by Lockheed Martin. The MULE program was meant to produce three variants of combat robots: One to haul gear, another to counter improvised explosives and a heavily armed version. According to the Army, however, other programs had equaled or bettered the autonomous navigation research at MULE—yet there are plenty of other reasons that Lockheed's program got the ax. Here's what MULE's demise tells us about the Army's future:

Read more ....

My Comment: Fortunately, there are scores of more 'robot' programs out there .... but this is a sign that a shake-up in the industry is going to occur.

Cleanup of Space Shuttle Launch Zone Chemicals Will Take Decades and Millions of Dollars

Atlantis Launch 1 Clearing the tower John Mahoney

With Shuttle Launches Over, Cleanup of Launch Zone Chemicals Will Take Decades and Millions of Dollars -- Popular Science

With every ending comes a new beginning, as they say — so with the ending of the space shuttle program comes the beginning of a long environmental remediation at NASA’s Florida facilities.

Five decades of spacecraft launches have taken a toll on the sandy soils beneath the Kennedy Space Center, according to a report by Florida Today. Plumes of chemicals will cost $96 million to clean up in the next 30 years, including $6 million this year.

Read more ....

Meet The Man Who Is Trying To Cure Aging

Bill Andrews. Photograph by John B. Carnett, illustration by Alberto Seveso

The Man Who Would Stop Time -- PopSci

Bill Andrews has spent two decades unlocking the molecular mechanisms of aging. His mission: to extend the human life span to 150 years--or die trying

Bill Andrews’s feet are so large, he tells me, that back when he was 20 he was able to break the Southern California barefoot-waterskiing distance record the first time he put skin to water. Then he got ambitious and went for the world speed record. When the towrope broke at 80 mph, he says, “they pulled me out of the water on a stretcher.”

Read more ....

Inside China's Hacker World

70% Of British Men Are 'Related' To The Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun

Offer: iGENEA's website advertises its service matching customers to King Tut to see if they are ancestors

We've Got The Same Mummy! Up To 70% Of British Men Are 'Related' To The Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun -- The Daily Mail

Swiss company reconstructs King Tut's DNA profile from Discovery Channel documentary
Results show he belonged to 'haplogroup' common to half of Western European men
Claims disputed by fellow geneticists

A Swiss genetics company has claimed that up to 70 per cent of British men are related to the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun.

Scientists at Zurich-based DNA genealogy centre, iGENEA, say they have reconstructed the DNA profile of the boy Pharaoh based on a film that was made for the Discovery Channel.

The results showed that 'King Tut' belonged to a genetic profile group, known as haplogroup R1b1a2, to which more than 50 per cent of all men in Western Europe belong, indicating that they share a common ancestor.

Read more ....

World's Oldest Living Animal Is 178-Year-Old Tortoise

Photo: This rare picture of a Boer war prisoner snapped on the remote island of St Helena, has shed light on one of the planets oldest living inhabitants.

World's Oldest Living Animal Is 178-Year-Old Tortoise Called Jonathan -- The Telegraph

As a photograph it looks fairly unremarkable - a tortoise nibbles at the grass in front of a Boer War prisoner and guard.

But the pictures helps to mark the reptile as the oldest animal on the planet.

Jonathan, the tortoise, is believed to be 178-years-old and was about 70 at the time the black and white picture was taken.

He was photographed during the Boer War around 1900, and his life has spanned eight British monarchs from George IV to Elizabeth II, and 50 prime ministers.

Read more ....

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Artist's illustration of a quasar similar to APM 08279+5255, where astronomers discovered huge amounts of water vapour. While this figure shows the quasar's torus approximately edge-on, the torus around APM 08279+5255 is likely positioned face-on from our point of view. Credit: NASA/ESA

Universe's Largest, Earliest Water Mass Found -- Cosmos

PASADENA: The largest and farthest reservoir of water in the known universe has been located. The water, equivalent to 140 trillion times all the water in the world's ocean, surrounds a distant quasar more than 12 billion light-years away.

The quasar is one of the most powerful known objects in the universe and has an energy output of 1,000 trillion suns - about 65,000 times that of the Milky Way galaxy.

Read more ....

Yesterday's Internet Explorer Story Was Bogus

Internet Explorer Story Was Bogus -- BBC

A story which suggested that users of Internet Explorer have a lower IQ than people who chose other browsers appears to have been an elaborate hoax.

A number of media organisations, including the BBC, reported on the research, put out by Canadian firm ApTiquant.

It later emerged that the company's website was only recently set up and staff images were copied from a legitimate business in Paris.

It is unclear who was behind the stunt.

Read more

My Comment: It fooled me.

The Earth Once Had Two Moons

This artist's rendering shows a simulation of a collision between the moon and a companion moon about 4 billion years ago. (Martin Jutzi and Erik Asphaug)

Two Moons Above Earth May Have Collided To Create One, Study Says -- L.A. Times

Scientists say such a collision could explain why the moon is lopsided and why its far side is covered with mountains.

Once upon a time, the sky above Earth may have held two moons — until they smashed into each other to create the lunar body we know today. Such a collision early in the solar system's history could explain why the moon is lopsided, and why its far side looks so different from the face we can see, according to a report in Thursday's edition of the journal Nature.

Read more

The Robot That Learns Functions It Was Not Programmed To Do

Thinking For Itself: The Robot That Learns Functions It Was Not Programmed To Do -- Daily Mail

It is not quite Skynet, but robots that can learn have finally arrived.
Japanese researchers have developed a robot that can perform functions it was not programmed to do.

The machine uses past experience and its own knowledge to make a judgement about the best way to proceed.

Read more ....

Bionic Microrobot Walks On Water

The water strider robot in action. (Credit: Image courtesy of American Chemical Society)

Bionic Microrobot Mimics the 'Water Strider' and Walks On Water -- Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Aug. 2, 2011) — Scientists are reporting development of a new aquatic microrobot that mimics the amazing water-walking abilities of the water strider -- the long-legged insect that scoots across the surface of ponds, lakes and other waterways. The bionic microrobot incorporates improvements over previous devices of this kind that position it as a prime candidate for military spy missions, water pollution monitoring, and other applications, the scientists say.

Their study appears in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces

Read more ....

The World's Next Tallest Building

Architectural rendering of Kingdom Tower, a building designed by Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill that is set to become the world's tallest building in 2016. CREDIT: Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

New World's Tallest Building To Continue Modern Trend -- Live Science

Construction will soon go forward of Kingdom Tower, a giant skyscraper planned for the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah. When complete, the sleek, kilometer-tall building will be the world's tallest.

An investment firm headed by Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal will pay the Binladen Group, a construction firm, 4.6 billion riyals ($1.2 billion) to erect the tower over the next five years. Housing offices, a hotel, luxury condos and the world's highest observation tower, it will stand as the centerpiece of a 100-billion-riyal development planned for the area called "Kingdom City."

Read more ....

My Comment: Looks impressive .... if they build it.

End Of The Shuttle Program Could Lead To A Brain Drain Of Space Knowledge

Could U.S. Manned Spaceflight Suffer 'Memory Loss'? -- Discovery News

Astronaut Mark Kelly voices his concerns for the end of the shuttle program and the loss of NASA talent.

* Mark Kelly, commander of shuttle Endeavour's final mission, is concerned about a drain of NASA talent once the US shuttle program ends.
* Thousands of highly skilled people will be lost, and no replacement NASA rocket is planned.
* After the shuttle, NASA will depend on Russia for rides into space for over $51 million per seat.

US astronaut Mark Kelly, who commanded shuttle Endeavour's final space flight, said Tuesday he is concerned about a drain of NASA talent once the US shuttle program ends later this year

Read more ....

Apollo Astronaut Recommends Ending NASA And Starting From Scratch

Photo: Schmitt (NASA)

Apollo Astronaut: End NASA, Start From Scratch -- Houston Chronicle

Not everyone is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s decision to go to the moon with best wishes for another century of NASA.

Harrison Schmitt, the 12th astronaut to walk on the moon and a former U.S. senator, has called for dismantling NASA and replacing it with a new agency devoted solely to deep-space exploration.

Its charter, he believes, should simply be:

Provide the People of the United States of America, as national security and economic interests demand, with the necessary infrastructure, entrepreneurial partnerships, and human and robotic operational capability to settle the Moon, utilize lunar resources, scientifically explore and settle Mars and other deep space destinations, and, if necessary, divert significant Earth-impacting objects.

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My Comment: He makes some salient points. What is my take .... a new start and direction is definitely need (both psychologically and structurally) for the U.S. space program.

Searching For Cleopatra

The Search for Cleopatra Continues -- Past Horizons

A radar survey of the temple of Taposiris Magna, west of Alexandria in Egypt, was completed last month as part of the ongoing search for the tomb of Cleopatra and Mark Anthony. The expedition excavating the temple and its surrounding area is headed by Dr. Zahi Hawass and Dr. Kathleen Martinez from the Dominican Republic.

The recent radar survey is a significant step forward and was carried out by an Egyptian team, with American expert Dr. Roger Vickers serving as a consultant. The radar revealed three possible areas of interest where a tomb may be located. These locations have been passed to the archaeological team who received the results of the survey with great interest, and will begin excavation of the targets next week.

Read more ....

Tsunamis Buried Greece's Ancient Olympics Site

The ruined Temple of Zeus at Olympia. Photo: Karta24/Wikimedia Commons

Tsunamis Buried Ancient Olympics Site -- Discovery News

A series of devastating tsunamis -- not an earthquake -- might have swept away the birthplace of the Olympic Games in ancient Greece nearly 1500 years ago, according to new findings.

Scholars have long assumed that Olympia, located at the confluence of the Kladeos and Alpheios rivers in the western Peloponnese, was destroyed by an earthquake in 551 AD and later covered by flood deposits of the Kladeos river.

Indeed the site where the first Olympic Games took place in 776 BC, was rediscovered only some 250 years ago, buried under 26 feet of sand and debris.

Read more ....

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Picture 1 Million Robots

Foxconn Facility. Wikimedia Commons

Foxconn Plans To Replace Its Gadget-Building Unhappy Human Workforce With 1 Million Robots -- Popular Science

For some people, this story about robot workers taking human jobs may be good news.
Foxconn, the Taiwan-based factory firm that makes nearly half the world’s electronics, aims to replace 1 million of its workers with robots within in the next three years, the company announced over the weekend. The factory bots will reduce labor costs and improve efficiencies, the company’s founder, Terry Gou, told the Xinhua news agency. And they will be unable to take their own lives.

Read more ....

Are Internet Explorer Users Stupid?

Internet Explorer Users Are Stupid And Have An Average IQ Of Just 80, Aptitude Study Claims -- Daily Mail

Survey claims average IQ of browser's users is just 80

They have long had to grapple with a catalogue of bugs and viruses.
But now users of Internet Explorer have another reason to feel humiliated - they are more stupid too.

A study has found that those with Internet Explorer 6 installed on their computer typically have an IQ barely higher than 80 - which by some rankings makes them almost retarded.

This compares to those who used Firefox or Google’s Chrome who came in at around 110.

Read more ....

My Comment: I prefer Firefox.

Will We One Day Be Able To Treat Aging?

Middle-aged and elderly people exercise during “Respect for the Aged Day” in Tokyo in 2005. Japan’s population is aging particularly quickly. The ratio of people younger than 20 compared to those older than 65 is shifting, from 9.3 in 1950 to a predicted 0.59 in 2025. If scientists succeed at slowing aging, this trend may well accelerate. Issei Kato/Reuters/Corbis

Aging: To Treat, Or Not To Treat? -- American Scientist

The possibility of treating aging is not just an idle fantasy.

The 20th century brought both profound suffering and profound relief to people around the world. On the one hand, it produced political lunacy, war and mass murder on an unprecedented scale. But there were also extraordinary gains—not least in public health, medicine and food production. In the developed world, we no longer live in constant fear of infectious disease. Furthermore, a Malthusian catastrophe of global population growth exceeding food production—a terrifying prospect predicted first in the 18th century—did not materialize. This is largely due to a steep decline in birth rates, for which we can thank the education, emancipation and rationality of women. Most people in the developed world can now expect to live long lives.

Read more .... Goes Live (But Only For Developers)

iCloud is Apple's new "sync" service. The website is only available to developers right now Goes Live, Prices Revealed -- CNN

(WIRED) -- Apple's website has gone live, allowing developers to test out the online version of MobileMe's replacement.
At the same time, beta versions of the iWork suite for iOS and iPhoto have also been made available. And inevitably, many details have already leaked to the web.
iCloud is Apple's new "sync" service. When you create or edit a photo or document on your iPhone, iPad, Mac or Windows PC, it is automatically pushed to any other device you have chosen.

Thus, you can snap photos on your iPhone and have them ready to edit on your iPad in seconds, along with a safe backup on your home Mac.

Read more ....

What Makes Guinness A Great Beer To Drink

The Fizzics Of Guinness -- The Guardian

Look closely at a pint of Guinness and tell me: do the bubbles go up, or do the bubbles go down? Why is the head coloured the way it is? Is foam a gas, liquid or solid? An Irish physicist discusses.

Last Friday, Andy Connelly published the wonderful guest blog essay, "The science and magic of beer". His piece reminds me of some of the discussions I had with my beer-brewing physicist and engineer friends when I was a grad student. For example, look closely at a pint of Guinness and tell me: do the bubbles go up, or do the bubbles go down? Why is the head coloured the way it is? Is beer foam a gas, liquid or solid? I thought you might enjoy this little video as a follow up, where an Irish physicist discusses the "fizzics" of bubble formation in Guinness beer:

Read more ....

Skype Now On The iPad

Skype For iPad Makes Its Debut -- Mashable

Skype has released its official iPad app to the iOS App Store, bringing its live video service to both 3G and Wi-Fi data connections.

Skype for iPad expands upon the iPhone app’s features, thanks to the iPad’s larger screen real estate. The iPad app includes all of the features you’d expect: video chat, instant messaging, phone calls and quick access to your contacts. Unlike the iPhone app, instant messaging can be used during video calls.

The Skype app works with both the iPad 1 and the iPad 2, although the iPad 1 only can receive video. The Skype iPad app can call anybody using Skype, whether it’s on the desktop or an iOS device. It requires iOS 4.0 or above.

Read more ....

Oxygen Spotted In Space

"Hidden" oxygen may be released from dust grains and ice in star-forming regions

Oxygen Finally Spotted In Space -- BBC

One of astronomy's longest-running "missing persons" investigations has concluded: astronomers have found molecular oxygen in space.

While single atoms of oxygen have been found alone or incorporated into other molecules, the oxygen molecule - the one we breathe - had never been seen.

The Herschel space telescope spotted the molecules in a star-forming region in the constellation of Orion.

Read more ....

iPhone To Be Released In September Or October

When will the follow-up to the iPhone 4 actually debut? (Credit: Apple)

iPhone 5 slated for September or October? -- CNET News

Dueling rumors about the iPhone 5 now point to a new edition of Apple's flagship as launching either in late September or in October, take your pick.

Rumor No. 1 is calling for the iPhone's debut in late September, according to Gizmodo, which cited an e-mail allegedly from an AT&T employee.

Read more ....

New Information About Sony Tablets

New information has emerged about Sony's S1 tablet. (Credit: Sony)

Exclusive: New Information About Sony Tablets -- CNET

CNET has learned some new details on Sony's upcoming S1 and S2 tablets.
A source familiar with the company's plans for the Android devices tells us that four versions of the S1 will be available at launch: 16GB Wi-Fi only; 16GB Wi-Fi and 3G; 32GB Wi-Fi; and 32GB Wi-Fi and 3G. The S2 will come in 16GB and 32GB models that have both Wi-Fi and 3G, but no separate Wi-Fi-only variant like the S1, the source says. Those desiring more capacity will be pleased to know that the S1 tablet has a full-size SD memory card reader onboard for additional storage.

Read more ....

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Big Bang In Pictures

Explosions in the sky: These images track the movement of particles during experiments at CERN, and could give some idea of how the Big Bang may have looked

The Big Bang In Pictures: Scientists Produce Computer Images Of Particle Explosions Similar to The Greatest Ever Galactic Light Show -- Daily Mail

It may look like a firework display in the night sky but these explosive images could be the closest we have yet come to snapshot from the birth of the universe itself.
The computer generated images are the result of the 'big bang' experiments performed by scientists at CERN, home of the Large Hadron Collider, in Geneva, Switzerland.
In trying to determine exactly how the universe came into existence, scientists have been recreating sub-atomic explosions - like the one that may have happened around the time of the big bang - using atom-sized particles of lead.

Read more ....

Magnetic Waves Help Make Sun’s Atmosphere Hotter

Powerful Magnetic Waves Help Make Sun’s Atmosphere Hotter Than Sun Itself -- Discover Magazine

What’s the News: An international team of researchers, led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research, has learned that large magnetic waves are partly to blame for the Sun’s immensely hot corona. The study, published in the journal Nature, also suggests that the waves could be the driving force behind the solar wind.

Read more ....

James Webb Space Telescope To be Scrapped

Revolutionary, yet costly - will NASA budget cuts kill the James Webb Space Telescope - already funded to the tune of US$3 billion but expected to cost double the amount by the time it is launched? Credit: NASA

Will Cost Kill Hubble’s Successor? -- Cosmos

A plan to scrap the James Webb Space Telescope, the long-awaited and costly heir to NASA’s Hubble telescope.

TOUTED AS NASA'S replacement for the ageing Hubble Space Telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope, if deployed, would be 100 times more powerful than its iconic predecessor.

"It will have incredible sensitivity and spatial resolution, making it able to look back to the very earliest times in the universe," says Warrick Couch, an astronomer at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne.

Yet funding cuts now seriously threaten the telescope's future, already over budget and years behind schedule, with bleak implications for future U.S. investment in astronomy projects of this scale.

Read more ....

Tasting Scotch Whisky

Dave Arnold and his Rotary Evaporator. Courtesy The Glenlivet

Tasting Scotch Whisky, Note By Vacuum-Distilled Note -- Popular Science

Laboratory separation techniques pull out the various flavors in a single glass of whisky for individual study and/or enjoyment.

As I write this, I'm sipping three aged Scotches that have been fractionated into some nine glasses. It's mid-afternoon. Yes, I am at the Tales of the Cocktail convention in New Orleans again -- one part learning and one part drinking, served straight up. Some people prefer to vary the proportions slightly.

Read more ....

My Comment: Hmmm ... I feel thirsty.

Sitting Is Deadly

Sititng. CREDIT: Dreamstime

Sitting Is Deadly, Mounting Research Reveals -- Live Science

Did you hit the gym today? If so, you probably feel like you deserve a pat on the back. But your efforts may be in vain if you spend the rest of the day sitting down.

A growing body of research suggests sitting down for most of the day can be lethal. It has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and death from any cause. And a daily jog may do little to negate the deleterious effects of too much time in a chair.

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'Brain Cap' Technology Turns Thought Into Motion

University of Maryland associate professor of kinesiology Jose "Pepe" Contreras-Vidal wears his Brain Cap, a noninvasive, sensor-lined cap with neural interface software that soon could be used to control computers, robotic prosthetic limbs, motorized wheelchairs and even digital avatars. (Credit: John Consoli, University of Maryland)

'Brain Cap' Technology Turns Thought Into Motion; Mind-Machine Interface Could Lead to New Life-Changing Technologies for Millions of People

"Brain cap" technology being developed at the University of Maryland allows users to turn their thoughts into motion. Associate Professor of Kinesiology José 'Pepe' L. Contreras-Vidal and his team have created a non-invasive, sensor-lined cap with neural interface software that soon could be used to control computers, robotic prosthetic limbs, motorized wheelchairs and even digital avatars.

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Fall Of The Neanderthals

Map of the migration of modern man out of Africa. Triangles represent Aurignacian (considered the first modern humans) split-base points. (Credit: Dora Kemp, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research)

Fall of the Neanderthals: Volume of Modern Humans Infiltrating Europe Cited as Critical Factor -- Science Daily

ScienceDaily (July 29, 2011) — New research sheds light on why, after 300,000 years of domination, European Neanderthals abruptly disappeared. Researchers from the University of Cambridge have discovered that modern humans coming from Africa swarmed the region, arriving with over ten times the population as the Neanderthal inhabitants.

The reasons for the relatively sudden disappearance of the European Neanderthal populations across the continent around 40,000 years ago has for long remained one of the great mysteries of human evolution.

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Rate Of Species Disappearance Is Accelerating

History's Normal Rate Of Species Disappearance Is Accelerating, Scientists Say -- McClatchy News

PHILADELPHIA — Biologist E.O. Wilson once pondered whether many of our fellow living things were doomed once evolution gave rise to an intelligent, technological creature that also happened to be a rapacious carnivore, fiercely territorial and prone to short-term thinking.

We humans can be so destructive that some scientists believe we've now triggered a mass extinction - one that in several hundred years will rival the asteroid impact that killed the dinosaurs.

In some places, a mass extinction is already under way. Haiti, a "hotspot" for plant and animal diversity, may be closest to ecological collapse.

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