Thursday, June 30, 2011
On his way out the door at the Pentagon, Robert Gates leveled with the military. A staggering $700 billion in defense R&D and gear since 9/11 led to only "relatively modest gains in actual military capability," Gates said on June 2. No giant robots, jet packs or sharks with lasers. But in a way, that made Gates' job easier, since the arch-realist was never about military fantasies, anyway.
Footage of this incredible bubble-like burst of light in the night sky was captured by cameras at an astronomical observatory in Hawaii.
Sky watchers have been flooding internet forums with speculation about the burst, filmed by a webcam mounted on the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope on Mauna Kea.
Captured in time-lapse footage, the glowing sphere takes several minutes to expand until it virtually fills the frame - then it vanishes as mysteriously as it appeared.
Inter-dimensional time portal: The burst was captured on time-lapse video by a webcam mounted on an astronomical observatory in Hawaii
Theories as the cause of the mysterious luminous sphere have ranged from the opening of an inter-dimensional portal to the future to a battle between two alien starships.
But the most likely explanation is that is shows a U.S. Minuteman III inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM), ejecting fuel as it enters the upper reaches of the Earth's atmosphere.
The time-lapse footage shows the night horizon filled with stars, when suddenly an ethereal arc pops into view.
There’s a new paper out in the CDC’s journal Emerging Infectious Diseases that makes a provocative claim: There is enough similarity between drug-resistance genes in E. coli carried by chickens and E. coli infecting humans that the chickens may be the source of it.
If it is correct — and it seems plausible and is backed by past research — the claim provides another piece of evidence that antibiotic use in agriculture has a direct effect on human health.
An international team of researchers has now succeeded in generating a bacterium possessing a DNA in which thymine is replaced by the synthetic building block 5-chlorouracil (c), a substance toxic for other organisms. The genetic information of all living cells is stored in the DNA composed of the four canonical bases adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G) and thymine (T).
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Dropbox for files, Google for mail, iCloud for well, everything. Average citizens have all kinds of options for storing their information in the cloud. Now, spies want in. Soon, our nation’s secrets may take on a slightly more nebulous form.
In-Q-Tel, the investment arm of the CIA and U.S. intelligence community, recently sunk money into acloud-based storage company called Cleversafe. It says the platform is “ideal for storing mission critical data by addressing the core principles of data confidentiality, integrity and availability.” (Incidentally, those principles also spell out CIA).
This is only one of a series of new government initiatives to move into the cloud. Since last year, the administration has embraced a “cloud first” policy, which encourages cloud-based solutions “whenever a secure, reliable, cost-effective cloud option exists.” The Pentagon is already planning its migration, and the 2011 Cloud Computing Act, expected out in a few weeks, may put in place even more incentives for investing in cloud computing options.
Make any sort of mention of werewolves to most people and it will inevitably provoke imagery concerning – and commentary on – such movies as The Wolfman, Underworld, An American Werewolf in London; and The Howling. Entertaining on-screen fiction aside, however, what of werewolves in the real world? Most people are almost certainly content to brush aside such fantastic possibilities without even a second thought. But, not quite everyone…
Paradise, Texas is a small town, situated not too far from the sprawling city of Fort Worth, but one that is dominated by isolated homes, thick and somewhat mysterious woods, sprawling fields, numerous cows, and not much more at all. Aside from maybe a killer-werewolf, that is.
Dawn had just broken on a particular day in September 1996, and Walter, a rancher who had made Paradise his home, headed out to tend his cows, which had the run of a large field at the back of his property. Walter was not expecting to find the horrifying scene upon which he stumbled, however: one of his most valuable sources of income had been killed under cover of darkness. And, by the looks of what was left of the unfortunate animal, the killer had been some sort of vicious, powerful creature that surely had no place prowling the fields of Paradise. The cow had been summarily disemboweled, with its throat ripped out and both back legs completely gone.
The abilty of peacock mantis shrimp to see circularly polarized light has inspired engineers to develop technology that may improve CDs and DVDs.
The future of CD and DVD technology may be found in the eyes of peacock mantis shrimp, an international team of engineers recently reported.
The shrimp are one of the few animals in the world that are able to see circularly polarized light, the type of light used to make 3-D movies.
Walking robotic cameras have armed themselves, are seeking your destruction, and the guy from the Highlander TV series is the only one who can save humanity. I love bad movies, and Eyeborgs is a movie so bad it’s amazingly good. In the science fiction future of this film, ongoing terrorist attacks have led to the creation of mobile walking cameras, the eponymous Eyeborgs, that can spy on citizens wherever they go. Of course it’s only a matter of time before these voyeuristic bots pick up weapons and turn on their masters. Check out the amazingly hilarious trailer below to learn more. While Eyeborgs has the right blend of silly and stunning visuals to make it a cult classic, its underlying message may be even more potent. With concerns over physical and digital monitoring on the rise, this silly movie asks a serious question: is technology robbing us of our privacy?
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
According to the scientists, they were buried at least 500 years ago. At first, researchers thought that they came across the remains of ancient settlements, but no signs of human life have been found nearby.
The 40 communal graves had approximately 200 bodies in them, all perfectly preserved. The creatures were tall - approximately 7 feet. Their heads were disproportionately large and they had no mouth, nose or eyes.
The anthropologists believe that the creatures were members of an alien landing, possibly destroyed by some terrestrial virus to which they had no immunity. However, no traces of the landing of the spacecraft or its fragments were discovered."
Riot police fought running battles with hooded youths in Athens yesterday as tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets against tough austerity measures.
Parts of the Greek capital were ablaze and dozens were injured as youths hurled rocks, bricks and petrol bombs at police, who responded with baton charges and tear gas.
Last night protesters, taking part in a two-day national strike, were on the streets again.
For the first time, scientists have figured out how re-grow big chunks of human skeletal muscle by tricking the human body into accepting a biological matrix of pig proteins. If successful, this cellular regeneration method promises new life for injured war veterans and other trauma victims who are missing more than 25 percent of a limb and/or who face amputation.
Could ancient civilizations have harnessed the power of the atom? What about advanced aircraft capable of out-maneuvering our best jet-propelled planes? What if this civilization existed thousands of years ago? It doesn’t really sound possible, does it? But the truth is that, while we can’t be certain that any such civilization did ever exist, there are a startling number of references in documents dating back to ancient times, as well as the occasional appearance of artifacts that seem chronologically “out of place,” pointing to far more advanced engineering concepts that may have existed in our prehistory than most are willing to consider.
Monday, June 27, 2011
Residents in a Chinese city have been stunned after a giant mirage of a 'ghost city' towered across the skyline.
The apparition appeared earlier this month after heavy rainfall and humid conditions along the Xin'an River in Huanshan City in East China.
Tall buildings, mountains and trees appeared to rise up through the ghostly mist that had descended over the river at dusk. There is usually nothing buy sky across the horizon.
A terrifying asteroid's-eye-view of a cosmic near-miss: Ride the piece of rock the size of an office block as it hurtles within 7,600 miles of Earth
Flying through space this is the predicted journey of an asteroid as it comes within cosmic kissing distance of the earth today.
The huge rock - named 2011 MD - was expected to hurtle within 7,600 miles of our planet at around 6pm GMT.
And in the video below, you can follow the journey it is predicted to make as it travels across the sky.
More Here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2008391/Genetic-editing-breakthrough-lead-new-treatments-diseases.html?ITO=1490
Genetic Modification Gone Wild: 10 Signs That Our World May Be Destined To Resemble A Really Bad Science Fiction Movie
The following are 10 signs that our world may be destined to resemble a really bad science fiction movie….
#1 In China, scientists have inserted human genes into the DNA of dairy cow embryos. At this point, approximately 200 hybrid cows have been successfully produced. These cows can produce milk that is virtually identical to human breast milk. The scientists hope to have huge herds of these cows producing an alternative to human breast milk soon, and they hope to have this “milk” sold in global supermarkets within 3 years.
#2 In Canada, scientists at the University of Guelph in the province of Ontario have produced what they are calling “enviropigs“. These “enviropigs” have had genes from mice spliced into them, and according to the scientists they produce less phosphorous in their poop so they are being touted as environmentally friendly. Authorities in both the U.S. and Canada are evaluating whether or not to allow these “enviropigs” into the food supply.
#3 Scientists in Japan have created a genetically modified mouse that tweets like a bird.
#4 One U.S. corporation can now produce a very muscular “monster salmon”which can grow up to three times as fast as normal salmon do.
#5 Science can now produce cats that glow in the dark. A genetically modified cat created by scientists named Mr. Green Genes was the very first fluorescent cat in the United States. But Mr. Green Genes was not the first “glow in the dark cat” in the world. That honor went to a cat created by a team of scientists in South Korea.
#6 In Japan, scientists have discovered that they can grow rat organs inside of mice. The researchers hope to use the same technology to grow human organs inside of pigs.
#7 But Japan is not the only one doing this kind of research. In Missouri, entities that are part pig and part human are being grown with the goal of providing organs for human transplants.
#8 Scientists at Rockefeller University have injected human genes into mice. These “humanized mice” are being used to study the spread of the hepatitis C virus.
#9 U.S. scientists have discovered that they can actually “grow” new human organs from scratch. The following is a quote from a recent Newsweek article….
It might sound like science fiction, but growing new organs from scratch has already become reality. In addition to bladders, scientists have engineered new skin, bone, cartilage, corneas, windpipes, arteries, and urethras.
#10 Believe it or not, a company in Canada known as Nexia has actually taken goats and has genetically modified them to be part spider. The genetic modification process causes these “spider goats” to produce spider silk protein in their milk. This spider silk protein is collected, purified and spun into incredibly strong fibers. These fibers are apparently more durable than Kevlar, more flexible than nylon, and much stronger than steel.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
If UFO's are real and trying to get our attention perhaps they are getting a little more savvy about the way we humans work.
A new video has emerged purporting to show 'a mothership and its fleet' zipping around in the clouds above a BBC building in West London.
Perhaps the group of intergalactic travellers was hoping for some coverage from Auntie.
The first test-tube beef burger made of mince grown from stem cells is only a year away, scientists claim.
They believe their creation could pave the way for humans being able to eat meat without animals being slaughtered.
The Dutch scientists predict that over the next few decades the world’s population will increase so quickly that there will not be enough livestock to go round for people to eat.
The real thing: |In future beef burgers will be produced from stem cells made in laboratories
In future, they say it’s possible that the only meat available will have been grown in a lab so test-tube beef, chicken and lamb will be normality.
The third aspect of the Singularity that Charlie Stross deals with, and deals with rather briefly, is the Simulation aspect of it. There are a couple of varieties of thinking about simulations. There are Singulatarians and Transhumanists actively working towards, and arguing for, a future in which people can upload their consciousness into an elaborate computer simulation, where they can basically live forever. There’s a good novel around a society built on this in Dennis Danvers’ Circuit of Heaven. Of course, such a premise is contingent on the ability to actually upload consciousness, which, again, I wouldn’t hold my breath for.
There are a couple of other variants to a simulated world. The most popular is probably the idea that, rather than uploading your consciousness, you could simply hook your brain into a simulation, as seen in The Matrix and its terrible sequels, or a slightly different variant in Total Recall and the much better short story that it’s based on, “We Can Dream It For You Wholesale” by Phillip K. Dick.
The second aspect of the Singularity that Stross takes a look at in his anti-Singularity arguments is the prospect of uploading the brain into a computer,which is a popular means in speculative fiction for a type of immortality. For three excellent fictional examples, see Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse, John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War, or Richard K. Morgan’s Altered Carbon. For a very bad one, see the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Schizoid Man.” In essence, though, the idea is that your memories, personality and “soul” if you will can be uploaded into a computer, then transferred to a robot body, a cloned body, a simulated environment, or whatever.
The fiery depths of space: Astronomers capture dazzling rainbow nebula swirling around supergiant star
This is the incredible moment a supergiant star is transformed into a rainbow of dazzling colours as it fires gasses into space.
Red star Betelgeuse was captured by astronomers who used the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the Paranal Observatory in Chile.
Infa-red imaging recorded the star's nebula - clouds of gases - being spewed into outer space in immense flame-like patterns.
Colourful: The Betelgeuse supergiant star's rainbow nebula which is not usually visible is captured by infa-red imaging. The black disk is part of the bright nebula that was masked in order to see the red surface of the star
The incredible images were released by the European Southen Observatory as the enormous star enters the last stages of its life. It is the first time such detail has been shown around a star's nebula.
Betelgeuse is a red supergiant star that forms the shoulder of the hunter in the constellation of Orion. It is one of the brightest stars in the night sky and s also one of the biggest, being almost the size of the orbit of Jupiter - around four-and-a-half times the diameter of the Earth's orbit
NASA's Dawn probe is now just 96,000 miles (155,000 kilometers) from Vesta, the second-largest object in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, NASA officials announced today (June 23). The spacecraft should enter into orbit around the 330-mile-wide (530 km) space rock on July 16."
Critics have argued for decades that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup and other herbicides used around the globe, poses a serious threat to public health. Industry regulators, however, appear to have consistently overlooked their concerns."
Saturday, June 25, 2011
A newly discovered asteroid the size of an office block will narrowly miss the Earth on Monday - coming 23 times closer than the moon.
The space rock will reach within 11,000 miles of the surface and give off a light bright enough to be seen through a small telescope, experts said today.
It was only spotted on Wednesday by a robotic telescope in New Mexico that scans the skies for such hazards. An alert was then put out yesterday by the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center in Massachusetts.
The find was confirmed by Peter Birtwhistle, who has discovered dozens of asteroids from his own UK observatory, with a photo taken from Great Shefford in Berkshire.
It will be daylight in the UK when the asteroid, which has been named 2011 MD, makes its close encounter over the southern hemisphere.
But astronomers in other parts of the world, such as South America, will be able to watch it brighten and fade rapidly as it speeds through the starry background.
UFO sighting increase ongoing over six weeks in Kansas City, Missouri area - National ufo | Examiner.com
The best space images of the week, putting you in touch with the most distant parts of the heavens.
Friday, June 24, 2011
The Poirino 2011 contains some coded information. Among other things, the outer rim contains the names "Enki Ea", coded in ASCII. These are names of a Sumerian god: Lord of the earth, god of water, creator of mankind etc.
Read More: http://www.science20.com/thinking_about_complexity/so_what%E2%80%99s_deal_singularity_again-80267
Image via Wikipedia
Science Fiction author Charlie Stross offers three arguments against the Singularity, which are worth exploring. I’d like to comment on this as well as some of the backlash against Stross’s arguments. The three arguments revolve around human-level artificial intelligence, the ability to upload the mind into a computer and the ability to live in a simulation. For this post, I’ll focus on human-level intelligence. Over the next two days, I’ll cover the other two.
Before I begin, though, I’m going to repeat Stross’ caveat:
I’m going to take it as read that you’ve read Vernor Vinge’s essay on the coming technological singularity (1993), are familiar with Hans Moravec’s concept of mind uploading, and know about Nick Bostrom’s Simulation argument. If not, stop right now and read them before you continue with this piece. Otherwise you’re missing out on the fertilizer in which the whole field of singularitarian SF, not to mention posthuman thought, is rooted. It’s probably a good idea to also be familiar with Extropianism and to have read the posthumanism FAQ, because if you haven’t you’ll have missed out on the salient social point that posthumanism has a posse.
The first point that Stross makes is simple: one of the necessary steps for the Singularity to happen is the creation of human-level artificial intelligence, which he sees as unlikely.
But maybe we won’t have to.
Medical and computer innovations are re-combining in wondrous new ways to make new life-extension technologies possible just as the Baby Boomers start to retire. Proponents of the Singularity now claim that living well beyond age 100 is something that will be attainable for everyone within the next two decades. Just as the Baby Boomers have transformed popular culture at every stage of their lives, they are now on the cusp of transforming the way we think about medicine and human potential."
Recipe for a Resurrection -- Bringing extinct species back to life is no longer considered science fiction. But is it a good idea?
"I laughed when Steven Spielberg said that cloning extinct animals was inevitable," says Hendrik Poinar of McMaster University, an authority on ancient DNA who served as a scientific consultant for a film about the making of Jurassic Park. "But I'm not laughing anymore, at least about mammoths. This is going to happen. It's just a matter of working out the details."
Given reliable technology, could it ever be ethical to bring our prehistoric relatives back from the dead?
Cloning Neanderthals ... 'No one would want to be the only member of their species'. Photograph: Action Press /Rex Features
I am at a conference in Dubai on science, religion and modernity, and the best question to come up was "should we clone Neanderthals?" Let's assume the kind of technical progress which would make this look like a possibly ethical thing to do: the failure rate with mammalian cloning has been so high that it really would be rather dodgy to inflict the process on a human being. But for the sake of argument assume a reliable technology and a sufficiency of DNA to work with.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Waterworld: Ice spray shooting out of Saturn moon points to a giant ocean lurking beneath its surface
Scientists have collected the strongest evidence yet that Saturn moon Enceladus has a large saltwater ocean lurking beneath its surface.
Samples of ice spray shooting out of the moon have been collected by the Nasa's Cassini spacecraft during one of its frequent Saturn fly-bys.
The plumes shooting water vapor and tiny grains of ice into space were originally discovered emanating from Enceladus - one of 19 known moons of Saturn - by the Cassini spacecraft in 2005.
Samples of ice spray shooting out of Saturn moon Enceladus have been collected by Nasa's Cassini spacecraft. Scientists believe it is the strongest evidence yet that Enceladus has a large saltwater ocean lurking beneath its surface
They were originating from the so-called 'tiger stripe' surface fractures at the moon's south pole and apparently have created the material for the faint E Ring that traces the orbit of Enceladus around Saturn.
During three of Cassini's passes through the plume in 2008 and 2009, the Cosmic Dust Analyser (CDA) on board measured the composition of freshly ejected plume grains.
Interestingly, Demetriou’s new brand of metallic glass draws its strength from its main weakness. After melting and combining the precious metals palladium and silver with other ingredients, rapid cooling of the product freezes the atoms into a chaotic arrangement resembling that of glass. As in conventional glass, stress rearranges the atoms into deformations called shear bands. But instead of growing into destructive cracks, as happens in glass, the bands aggressively multiply and interlock, forming a shield against cracks."
People with type 2 diabetes don’t respond properly to insulin, a hormone that controls the levels of sugar in their blood. Many of them have to take tablets to keep their sugar levels down, while others rely on insulin injections. But in a Swiss laboratory, there are diabetic mice with a more convenient solution. If they need more insulin, all they need is to bathe under a blue light.
The mice are the work of Haifeng Ye from ETH Zurich, who has developed a way of turning on individual genes with bursts of light. Blue light in particular sets of a chemical chain reaction in the rodents’ bodies that eventually switches on a gene called GLP-1. It tells the pancreas to make more insulin, makes our cells more sensitive to this hormone, and makes us feel full.
Ye’s work is a fusion of two of the most exciting methods in biology: optogenetics, the ability to control events in a cell using bursts of light; and synthetic biology, the building of new biological circuits that don’t exist in nature. In a related editorial, Brian Chow and Ed Boyden (one of the founders of optogenetics) call the new technique “synthetic physiology”.
This bone fragment with the carved image of a mammoth or mastodon, at least 13,000 years old and found in Vero Beach, Fla. may be the first of its kind found in North America, a new study reports.
WASHINGTON – Some of the earliest Americans turn out to have been artists.
A bone fragment at least 13,000 years old, with the carved image of a mammoth or mastodon, has been discovered in Florida, a new study reports.
Sir Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal, physicist, Cambridge University
Our known Hubble length universe contains hundreds of millions of galaxies that have clumped together, forming super clusters and a series of massive walls of galaxies separated by vast voids of empty space.
Great Wall: The most vast structure ever is a collection of superclusters a billion light years away extending for 5% the length of the entire observable universe. It is theorized that such structures as the Great Wall form along and follow web-like strings of dark matter that dictates the structure of the Universe on the grandest of scales. Dark matter gravitationally attracts baryonic matter, and it is this normal matter that astronomers see forming long, thin walls of super-galactic clusters."
More Here: http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Getting_Ready_for_the_Next_Big_Solar_Storm_999.html
The next 50 years of spaceflight will carry many challenges and surprises for explorers hoping to extend their reach into the cosmos. But it will also likely hold untapped riches for space science and spinoff technology that could, one day, catapult human and robotic explores beyond our own solar system and outward to other stars.
A Pentagon effort to enable a human journey to the stars within 100 years aims to enlist the brainpower of science fiction writers, ethicists and researchers. This new call for ideas covers innovations such as faster than light travel and life-sustaining technologies as well as questions about who gets chosen for the starship crew and what happens if alien life turns up at the end of the journey.
This latest step for the $1 million 100-Year Starship Study would lead up to a space technology conference scheduled to take place in Orlando, Fla., from Sept. 30 through Oct. 2. The new call for papers differs from a past request for proposals about setting up the organization that would lead the charge into the future of interstellar travel.
But the joint project between the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and NASA still represents the earliest stages for considering how to create a starship. The required technologies may seem as distant now as the technologies needed to send humans to the moon seemed back in 1865, when science fiction writer Jules Verne wrote the book "From the Earth to the Moon." [10 Sci-Fi Predictions That Came True]
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Spider Sense -- Humans really DO have a sixth sense... that lets us detect magnetic fields (and we're not aware we have it)
It has long been known as ESP, Spider Sense, or the ability to see things before they happen.
But now scientists have proved that humans really do have a sixth sense - that lets them detect magnetic fields.
Tests have shown that mankind may have the same innate sense of Earth’s magnetic field that has long been proved to exist in animals.
Sixth sense: Scientists have proved that humans really do have a sixth sense - that lets them detect magnetic fields.
By putting a protein from the human retina into fruit flies, researchers noticed that the insect modified its flight path just as if its eye had not been altered.
This suggests that the 'sixth sense' does exist in humans but we might not be aware of it.
Animals use such sight to navigate long distances during migration or, in the case of birds, to ‘see’ where they are going.
Neurobiologist Steven Reppert, of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, told LiveScience: ‘It poses the question: "Maybe we should rethink about this sixth sense?"
‘It is thought to be very important for how animals migrate. Perhaps this protein is also fulfilling an important function for sensing magnetic fields in humans.
‘It may aid how animals perceive how objects are in time and space in a way we haven't thought about before.’
The complex tests involved examining the process by which light goes through a bird’s eye, which has intrigued the scientific community for more than 30 years.
"This is not simply an illusion," says the creator of one cloak. "Even scientific instruments will not be able to detect the object."
A crystal invisibility cloak hides part of a rolled up piece of pink paper. Courtesy Baile Zhang, George Barbastathis/Smart Certre, Singapore
Until recently, every invisibility cloak developed has operated at the microscopic scale, hiding objects that were already too small to see with the naked eye. If invisibility cloaks for invisible things seem disappointing, take heart: This year two separate teams stepped up with the first devices capable of concealing objects as big as a paper clip, bringing a practical invisibility cloak within reach.
In both cases, the researchers carved out a hiding place in a crystal of the mineral calcite. Physicist Shuang Zhang and colleagues at the University of Birmingham in England hid a paper clip, while MIT engineer George Barbastathis and his team chose a rolled-up piece of paper. Both objects appeared to vanish.
The real magic is an optical property of calcite called anisotropy. The mineral splits up light rays and reflects them in such a way that it renders the chamber invisible. Of course, there is a catch. Concealment depends on light waves oscillating in the same direction, an effect that spoils most practical applications. Zhang, however, is hopeful; he believes the technology might eventually be capable of hiding humans.
This dramatic story was leaked to Mark Ambinder, a contributing editor at The Atlantic, which published it three days later. The U.S. Air Force then quickly acknowledged the problem, saying that a back-up launch system could have performed the task and claiming that the breakdown had lasted a mere 59 minutes.
However, the latter statement was untrue, according to two missile technicians stationed at F.E. Warren, who say that the communications issue, while intermittent, actually persisted over several hours."
Nicknamed the ‘UFO capital of Scotland’, Bonnybridge is a hotspot for extra-terrestrial activity and people from around the world have come to the town to gaze at the skies above. Some reports state there are over 300 UFO sightings a year in the town alone."
The real job losses are greater than the estimate of 7.5 million. They are closer to 10.5 million, as 3 million people have stopped looking for work. Equally troublesome is the lower labor participation rate; some 5 million jobs have vanished from manufacturing, long America's greatest strength. Just think: Total payrolls today amount to 131 million, but this figure is lower than it was at the beginning of the year 2000, even though our population has grown by nearly 30 million."
Lasers that can take down an aircraft or zap a boat in roiling seas are certainly the weapons of the future. But smaller lasers that disrupt rather than destroy could be an even simpler defense system.
Raytheon, which built a laser that cooked a UAV in flight last year, is one of several defense firms working on lasers that take a somewhat more passive approach, such as disabling a missile's guidance system to prevent it from connecting with its target. Raytheon is developing common infrared countermeasures (CIRCM) systems to be installed on Army and Navy helicopters, and large-aircraft infrared countermeasures systems for the Air Force.
In radio astronomy, the bigger the telescope, the better. And in 2016, the Chinese are expected to blow the international radio telescope competition out of the water with the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST).
Construction has begun in the Guizhou Province in southern China where the world's largest single dish radio telescope will take up residency in a natural depression in the landscape, not dissimilar to the world-famous Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico. However, FAST will be bigger, faster and more sensitive than Arecibo.
Featuring a 500 meter diameter "dish," FAST will contain 4,400 triangular aluminum panels, suspended inside the dish, each of which can be adjusted to deform the dish's overall shape. This ability means FAST, although rooted into the Guizhou countryside, will have some generous maneuverability.
One huge factor in choosing the Guizhou Province is that it is a remote location, generally free of interfering radio transmissions from populated areas. As my Discovery News colleague and radio astronomer Nicole Gugliuccialways reminds us, (radio) silence is golden.
Arecibo's fixed-dish design means it can only use 221 meters of its 305-meter dish at any one time. FAST will have the collecting power of the entire 305 meter Arecibo dish, and will be able to scan more of the sky in doing so -- it will be able to "tilt" its viewing angle 40 degrees from the vertical in all directions, a luxury Arecibo never had.
The large-scale structure of the Universe appears to be dominated by vast "hyperclusters" of galaxies, according to the new the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, compiled with a telescope at Apache Point, New Mexico. The survey plots the 2D positions of galaxies across a quarter of the sky. The science team
has concluded that it could mean that gravity or dark energy – or something completely unknown – is behaving very strangely.
Only 15 seconds in the limelight and she’d already created an overnight buzz. She was the newest member of the very popular all-girl Japanese idol group AKB 48. Upon seeing the new face appear on a candy commercial, the band’s faithful took to the message boards: Who is Aimi Eguchi?
This past Sunday, Ezaki Glico, the candy company which aired the commercial, confirmed what many of AKB 48’s fans had come to suspect: Aimi Eguchi wasn’t real. The new group member, it turns out, was a computer-generated composite of the real band members. Her pretty face was actually made up of the “best features” of six other members: her eyes, nose, mouth, hair/body, face outline and eyebrows were not flesh-and-blood, but cut-and-paste.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Ever since Doug Bower and Dave Chorley took credit for staging the UK’s crop circle hoaxes 20 years ago, the media pretty much went away and left it for roadkill. But the science continued. At least for awhile. And no one is more frustrated by the impasse than Nancy Talbot of Cambridge, Mass.
Talbot is the director of the BLT Research Team, or rather, what’s left of it. Beginning in the Nineties, scientists led by biophysicist W.C. Levengood attempted to look beyond the sprawling geometric patterns and into what was happening to the targeted flora themselves. BLT got decent financing, most notably from philanthropist Laurance Rockefeller, whose interest in UFOs was no secret.
The U.S. Navy wants to put powerful lasers on its ships to shoot down artillery shells and even cruise missiles at the speed of light (and really, who wouldn't). But there are a few scientific details to sort out before sailors can deploy the beams. "First we want to make sure the physics is right before throwing buckets of salt water over the thing," says Ed Pogue.
Pogue is the program manager for Boeing's free electron laser (FEL) program, potentially the most ambitious laser weapons program since the Pentagon's controversial airborne laser. In that program, the Missile Defense Agency spent billions of dollars and over a decade to get a laser-rigged jumbo jet to destroy a ballistic missile in its boost phase of flight. They eventually succeeded in February 2010, but the Obama administration nixed plans to develop the experiment into a battle-ready weapon.
Maybe the Navy's project will meet a better fate. In 5 years, at a cost of $163 million, Boeing hopes to get the physics right and demonstrate an extremely powerful--and hopefully seaworthy--giant laser. It's no small task, in part because the laser they're using is powered by several particle accelerators.
Here's an overview of how the Navy's free electron laser works. (You may notice that the pictures are not on a boat; for now, researchers are working with a landlubbing laser based at Jefferson Lab in Newport News, Virginia.)
Iridium's constellation of telecom satellites covers the globe.
Cloud computing isn't just for your music player anymore. The satellite-telecom company Iridium is working with partners on satellite-based systems that can uplink data on a regular basis to its orbiting "cloud" of 66 satellites, just in case a wayward airplane or hiker needs assistance in the remote regions of the world where cell phones and radios don't work.
If such a system had been in place when an Air France jet crashed into the Atlantic in 2009, investigators might have been able to study near-real-time information about the plane's troubles, rather than waiting or the recovery of the jet's black boxes from the ocean bottom.
"They wouldn't have had to spend two years and $40 million," said Matt Desch, Iridium's chief executive officer.
But such systems can do more than untangle air disasters: As more and more companies rely on cloud computing, satellite communications can facilitate links to the Internet in wide regions of the world where there are no good alternatives.
"The cloud is great," Desch told me, "but the cloud says that we have to depend on the Internet more and more. If the Internet is still on only 78 percent of the planet, where's the cloud when you're someplace else? Your device becomes useless. I look at us as the ultimate cloud, the space cloud, if you will."
An end to traditional crime dramas? New DNA technology could reveal who committed a crime in less than an HOUR
The portable, high-speed equipment uses specially developed rapid profiling techniques to identify DNA from blood or tissue samples at the scene of a crime in a matter of minutes.
Currently, DNA samples have to be carefully lifted from any crime scene and transferred to a laboratory. The National DNA Database can then take several days to match a sample with a suspect."
Precurser to the "Rise of the Replicators"? Cheap, Swarming Kilobots Bring Us Closer to a Bot-Filled World
Robert Dean, a long-time figure within the field of research into all things flying and saucer-shaped, maintains that while working with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in the 1960s, he learned that NATO had conducted a secret study of the UFO issue. More controversially, Dean says that part of the study demonstrated that, at the time in question, NATO had come to the conclusion that we had four different civilizations – cultures, intelligences, if you will – that were present here on Earth and that were secretly visiting us and even interacting with us.
One of the most interesting conclusions of the report, and which struck a particularly strong chord with Dean, was that one of the groups – of the civilizations or cultures that were here on this planet – was identical with us; or rather, that we were identical with them. And that startling revelation, added Dean, made a vast and profound impression on the people involved in the investigations.
In 1994, Dean gave a lecture before an audience at the Civic Theater, Leeds, England, during which he elaborated upon his knowledge of the human-like aliens said to be present in our very own environment. Dean revealed that so similar to us was at least one race of extraterrestrial that “they could sit next to you in an airplane or in a restaurant in a coat and tie or a dress and you would never know. They could be sitting next to you in a theater like this.”
Most alarming of all, however, were the ramifications that all of the above reportedly caused amongst the highest echelons of NATO. “Back in 1964,” stated Dean, “this was a matter of great concern to the admirals and generals at SHAPE Headquarters in Paris. Some of the discussions which went on in the War Room were kind of frightening and some of them were rather amusing. One officer said: ‘My God, man, do you realize that these [aliens] could be walking up and down the corridors of SHAPE Headquarters and we wouldn’t even know who the hell they were?’”
Robert Dean is not alone in making such amazing claims; and neither are they confined to the heart of NATO.
Read More: http://singularityhub.com/2011/06/22/researchers-develop-neural-prosthesis-that-improves-memory-in-rats/
Read More: http://singularityhub.com/2011/06/22/researchers-develop-neural-prosthesis-that-improves-memory-in-rats/
Monday, June 20, 2011
That’s what Raytheon’s going to announce at the Paris Air Show on Tuesday. So-called directed energy warheads are the defense giant’s new initiative, reports David A. Fulgham at Ares, part of an effort to avoid civilian deaths while forcing the U.S. military’s way into places its adversaries don’t want it to operate."
London to Tokyo in two hours: Blueprints for 3,000mph hypersonic plane are unveiled... but it will take 40 years to build
It will take only two hours to fly from London to Tokyo, be virtually pollution free, and promises to be no louder than today’s modern planes.
There’s only one catch for prospective commuters – it will be another 40 years before commercial flights take place.
Plans were yesterday unveiled for the first hypersonic passenger jet, which would use three sets of engines to reach 3,125mph, more than four times the speed of sound, known as Mach 4.
A computer-generated handout image of the 'Zero Emission Hypersonic Transportation'
Hailed as the heir to Concorde, the aircraft would be propelled by a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen, meaning its only emissions would be water.
The project, developed by Airbus’s parent company EADS, was unveiled before the official opening of the Paris Air Show today.
Carrying up to 100 passengers, a set of conventional jet engines would help launch the aircraft from a normal airport runway, meaning the aircraft would not produce the noisy ‘sonic boom’ that Concorde did.
Once at a suitable height, the pilot would engage a pair of rocket engines which would propel the aircraft to much higher speeds and soar above the atmosphere, allowing a final set of engines known as ramjets to be utilised.
Currently used in missiles, these are highly efficient at speeds above 1,000mph, but cannot work from a standing start. They will help take the plane up to altitudes of 20 miles as it cruises at speeds beyond Mach 4. Cruising altitude for conventional passenger jets is around six miles.
Once at cruising speed, the plane – dubbed ZEHST, for Zero Emission Hypersonic Transportation – could fly from London to Malaga in southern Spain in just 20 minutes. A flight to Istanbul would take 30 minutes, and the plane could reach the east coast of the U.S. in around one hour.