Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Sony unveils world's first 3D head-mounted display that is as immersive as 'sitting in a cinema' | Mail Online
The HMZ personal 3D viewer is being targetted at people who prefer solitary entertainment rather than sitting in front of a television with family or friends.
Resembling a futuristic visor, the £480 ($800) device is worn like a pair of chunky goggles and earphones in one."
Just months after killing Osama bin Laden, the U.S. may have just taken out al-Qaida’s newly anointed second in command — a terrorist that experts consider “irreplaceable” to the organization.
U.S. officials are confident that a drone strike in Pakistan last week killed Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, the new deputy to al-Qaida leader Ayman Zawahiri. Unlike some terror leaders felled by the drone program, observers consider the loss of Atiyah — a prominent mouthpiece, ideologue and operations chief for al-Qaida — to represent a major blow to the terrorist group.
“Atiyah is irreplaceable because he combined the skills of a diplomat, an operator, and a strategist–a rare combination in any organization,” Will McCants, an al-Qaida expert at the Center for Naval Analysis, told Danger Room. “For that reason, he was one of Bin Laden’s closest confidants at the end of his life, even though he was less popular in the wider jihadi community than some of his more bellicose colleagues.”
DNA taken from the skeletons of plague victims in medieval London has unearthed a shocking revelation – the Black Death is still present today.
Bodies of victims, who were buried in a mass ‘plague graves’ in the capital, show that part of the same sequence of genes still exists, hundreds of years later.
The Black Death claimed the lives of one-third of Europe's population in just five years from 1348 to 1353.
Killer: The Yersinia pestis bacteria which caused the Black Death is still present today
THE KILLER PLAGUE
Filthy living conditions in 14th Britain have been blamed for allowing the Black Death to spread.
It remains one of the most destructive pandemics in history which peaked in Europe between 1348 and 1350.
Experts say it reduced the world's population from an estimated 450 million to almost 350 million in 1400.
In 1603 the killer plague returned and killed 38,000 Londoners.
Scientists have now confirmed that Yersinia pestis which is known to cause cases of the plague today was also responsible for the brutally damaging bubonic plague which almost wiped out Europe.
Staged from Black Point Lava Flow in the northern Arizona desert, the project is an opportunity to flesh-out plans, test equipment and practice techniques for a variety of proposed human space exploration missions. This year's campaign includes four asteroid mission scenarios, reflecting NASA's shift from lunar exploration to a planned asteroid visit, targeted for the mid-2020s."
New 'Hitchhiker's Guide' to the Milky Way --Map Reveals Large-Scale Magnetic Field & Two Supernova Remnants
It may not be much use to hitchhikers through the galaxy, but it is extremely valuable to astronomers: the new radio atlas of the Milky Way. After almost ten years of work, researchers at the Max Planck Society and the Chinese Academy of Sciences have completed their investigation into the polarised radio emission in the galactic plane. The atlas is based on observations undertaken with the 25-metre radio telescope in the Chinese city of Urumqi and shows an area of 2,200 square degrees of the sky.
New observations using ESO’s Very Large Telescope have been used to solve an important astrophysical puzzle concerning the oldest stars in our galactic neighborhood hidden until recently in dwarf galaxies orbiting the Milky Way. In comparison to the Milky Way, most dwarf galaxies are blob-like, 85% smaller (around 6700 vs 100,000 light-years across), containing around 30 billion stars.
A Glasgow-based company has installed its first commercial "alkaline hydrolysis" unit at a Florida funeral home.
The unit by Resomation Ltd is billed as a green alternative to cremation and works by dissolving the body in heated alkaline water.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Designer is working with defense contractor on 150-foot model
The Ghost is designed to move very quickly and stealthily through water by generating a layer of gas around its underwater surfaces. Handout photo provided by Juliet Marine Systems Inc.
A stealth boat that moves through water at high speeds and with near invisibility could revolutionize the Navy's ability to carry out special operations on water.
The craft, called The Ghost, moves by generating a layer of gas around submerged surfaces, greatly reducing friction. It's unique design makes it ideal for special operations, according to Discovery News. The ship can reach speeds of 60 miles per hour and has a shape designed to reduce its visibility to radar, similar to the Navy's "Sea Shadow" project of the 1980s.
Sound far-fetched? The reality of test-tube burgers in supermarkets may be close to becoming a reality. Scientists at laboratories around the world are currently working to make meat in labs that will eventually look and taste like the real thing, without any animal parts."
Now scientists have made a breakthrough with a new approach enabling them to study molecules within their natural environment.
The research, led by a team of biochemists, microbiologists and physicists at the University of Bristol, provides an unprecedented level of detail of the consequences of a bacterium approaching another cell."
Clue to the crucifixion? 2,000-year-old biblical burial box is new 'link to the death of Jesus Christ'
A 2,000-year-old burial box which was rescued from antiquities looters could provide a new link to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, scientists claim.
The ancient limestone box - or ossuary - is believed to reveal the location of the family of Caiaphas, the high priest involved in Christ's crucifixion.
Researchers in Israel say it could reveal the biblical figure's family home before their exodus to Galilee.
Secrets of the Bible: This is the ossuary thought to reveal the home of Caiaphas' family
Big deal, right? Hadn’t they already created the computer that delivered a smackdown of those two “Jeopardy” whizzes turned hapless humans?
Actually, this latest creation is something very different and potentially more momentous. Watson, the “Jeopardy” god, is a ridiculously powerful computer that, nonetheless, operated in a fairly conventional way—except it was retrieving info from a database of more than 200 million pages of content.
But the new invention, the “cognitive” computer chip, is a leap into uncharted territory. The chips, as they become more sophisticated, could eventually copy the brain’s ability to sense surroundings, recognize patterns, and—dare I say it—learn on their own."
Miracle cures: The Florida conference showcased some 'miracle' products
Orlando in Florida, home of Disneyland’s Magic Kingdom, this year hosted a fantastical event, although there wasn’t a Mickey Mouse in sight.
The city was the location for the 19th Annual World Congress on Anti-Ageing and Aesthetic Medicine, which, if the futuristic treatments on show were to be believed, heralded a new era in anti-ageing technology.
Here is a selection of the most remarkable age-reversal treatments on offer at the conference.
Anticipation and fervor continue to increase in the months leading up to December 2012, when it is widely believed that the world as we know it will end. Okay, that statement could have been be just a little exaggerated: though there has been some concern over cataclysmic world changes that would coincide with the end of the Mayan Calendar in 2012, perhaps it’s a bit silly to assume that we’re really facing Doomsday on Friday, December 21st, 2012.
Monday, August 29, 2011
A one-eyed documentary filmmaker has revealed how he has turned his prosthetic eye into a miniature video camera.
Rob Spence, from Toronto, is able to record what he sees through his other eye. It is not linked to his brain and hasn't restored his vision.
Here's looking at you: Mr Spence's revolutionary eye camera in action
He is working with the makers of a new video game - Deus Ex: Human Revolution - that imagines a world in 2027 when cyborgs roam the streets. They asked him to look at whether this fictional world was actually so far away.
'If you think about it, all this technology is moving towards the body,' he told the Metro.
'I've already started.'
Agricultural life on Mars: Farmers and chefs likely to join astronauts on first trip to the Red Planet
Supplying enough food for a round trip to the Red Planet is one of the greatest challenges facing mission planners, experts were told yesterday.
One solution under consideration is for astronauts to grow their own food in a hi-tech 'kitchen garden'."
Carolyn Porco and CICLOPS; NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI
An image of Saturn taken by the Cassini spacecraft shows a storm with a latitudinal and longitudinal extent of 10,000 km and 17,000 km, respectively. The latitudinal extent of the storm’s head is approximately the distance from London to Cape Town. A "tail" emerging from its southern edge extends further eastward.
By Earth standards, Hurricane Irene is a monster storm. But it's just a baby compared to the massive cyclones of Jupiter and Saturn.
Our planet is not the only one in the solar system that boasts huge, hurricane-like storms. The gas giants Jupiter and Saturn, for example, churn out spinning squalls that can be bigger than the entire Earth. While these storms aren't fed by warm ocean water the way terrestrial hurricanes are, they're similar in a lot of ways, scientists say.
The first nuclear power plant being considered for production of electricity for manned or unmanned bases on the Moon, Mars and other planets may really look like it came from outer space. "The main point is that nuclear power has the ability to provide a power-rich environment to the astronauts or science packages anywhere in our solar system and that this technology is mature, affordable and safe to use," says James E. Werner of the Idaho National Laboratory
While numerous UAVs operate over Libya (such as the Predator, Fire Scout and ScanEagle), these are all NATO assets, leaving rebels without their own platform. However, Aeryon Labs earlier this week revealed that rebels have been using its Scout to acquire intelligence on enemy positions and to coordinate resistance efforts.
The company said that representatives from the Transitional National Council (TNC) were looking for an imagery solution to provide to the troops on the ground and chose the Scout after evaluating a series of micro UAVs."
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Archaeologists searching for King Arthur's round table have found a "circular feature" beneath the historic King's Knot in Stirling.
The King's Knot, a geometrical earthwork in the former royal gardens below Stirling Castle, has been shrouded in mystery for hundreds of years.
Though the Knot as it appears today dates from the 1620s, its flat-topped central mound is thought to be much older.
Writers going back more than six centuries have linked the landmark to the legend of King Arthur.
Archaeologists from Glasgow University, working with the Stirling Local History Society and Stirling Field and Archaeological Society, conducted the first ever non-invasive survey of the site in May and June in a bid to uncover some of its secrets.
Their findings were show there was indeed a round feature on the site that pre-dates the visible earthworks.
"Essentially, we have expanded the genetic code of E. coli, which allows us synthesize special forms of proteins that can mimic natural or disease states," said Jesse Rinehart of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology and co-corresponding author of the research published in the August 26 issue of the journal Science."
That's the problem with a story earlier this week in WND about something called "trans-humanism."
It sounds like science fiction, but tragically it is science fact.
You've heard of bio-engineering or genetic engineering. Well, it doesn't just involve crops and animals any more. Now there are active efforts under way to "improve" mankind – even to achieve immortality through science.
If you want to get a glimpse of the experiments taking place that will remind you of "The Island of Dr. Moreau," I suggest you get a copy of a new video that introduces the brave new world of trans-humanism."
Digging through the FBI’s declassified, multi-volumed, UFO files at its Vault site can be a rewarding task. Even though the files in question were declassified decades ago, there are a few stand-out nuggets of data that, perhaps years later, still shed more light on the early days of Ufology than many have realized or recognized.
For the most part, when the Flying Saucer era began in the summer of 1947 with the famous sighting of Kenneth Arnold - of a veritable squadron of craft near Mount Rainier, Washington State, USA – people were reporting encounters with strange objects in the sky, a few landings, and even the occasional, alleged UFO crash. But, interaction with the intelligences behind the craft wasn’t that commonplace. There is, however, one early report in the FBI’s files that is suggestive (to me, anyway!) of some sort of immediate post-Arnold interaction of the human/non-human variety.
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Man may have landed on the moon 42 years ago, but we don't yet know what it's made of or how exactly it was formed.
Nasa hopes to change this with the launch of two spacecraft towards are nearest cosmic neighbour.
The GRAIL mission (Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory) will place the probes in the same orbit around our natural satellite.
The Grail spacecraft will fly in tandem around the moon. They will send measurements back to Earth that will map the satellite's gravitational field
The payload (made up of two spacecraft) is added to the GRAIL booster. It is slated to launch on September 8
The dynamic duo will orbit the moon to determine the structure of the lunar interior from crust to core and to advance understanding of the thermal evolution of the moon.
They will do this by mapping the moon's gravitational field.
As two probes fly over areas of greater and lesser gravity - caused by features like mountains and craters - they will move a little towards and away from each other.
The distance will be calculated by the Lunar Gravity Ranging System, which will measure changes down to a few microns - about the diameter of a red blood cell.
An instrument aboard each craft will then measure the changes in their relative velocity very precisely.
The aliens have landed: Amazing footage shows 'little green men walking about after UFO touchdown'... but why does it always happen in Siberia?
For an alien looking to explore Earth, the frozen wastes of Siberia may not be the most attractive of landing locations.
But if this film footage is to be believed, that's exactly where these 'little green men' chose to land their UFO.
The clip, filmed in the remote Irkutsk region of Siberia, appears to show a strange glowing craft and five aliens walking about in the snow.
Proof at last? This screen grab shows an apparent UFO on the ground with what appears to be an unearthly being to its right and four other beings directly in front of the glowing craft
It shows what seems to be an alien about four feet tall, standing 15 feet away from its glowing craft, with four other similar figures nearby.
The short clip was taken two days after mysterious lights illuminated the Siberian night skies above Bayanday, also in Irkutsk.
Friday, August 26, 2011
Reports describe how Capt William Schaffner was never seen again after his Lightning plane merged with a UFO over the North Sea on September 8, 1970. A second later the UFO is said to have sped off travelling at more than 20,000mph.
The Ministry of Defence files released by the National Archives cover reported sightings of UFOs from 1985 to 2007 – it includes claims Capt Schaffner spotted a dazzling blue cone-shaped object minutes before his plane disappeared off the radar."
The tipping point science fiction writers have long warned about is technological singularity, when humanity as we know it is eclipsed by artificial intelligence. Some say it's as close as 2040. In clubs and pop videos, it seems closer."
U.S. soldiers seeking to root out al-Qaeda and Taliban forces raid a dwelling near the villages of Sherkhankheyl, Marzak and Bobelkiel, in Afghanistan in March 2002. (Joe Raedle - REUTERS)
Rapid advances in robotics technology, combined with the need for innovative new technologies to combat insurgents on the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan, are turning robots and unmanned drones into the next hot area of military innovation. The most sophisticated of the new military bots weigh less than five pounds. Then there are others that can fit into your pocket, and be connected via a mesh network. That network gives them the ability to coordinate activities, such as detonating improvised explosive devices (IEDs) or scouting out locations, in real-time as part of a robot swarm.
Not surprisingly, the U.S. Army is now seeking to deploy thousands of these tiny military bots.
Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi spent decade piling up a huge stash of weapons like a crazy old lady hoarding cats. Ironically, rebel forces looted his arms depots to turn Gadhafi’s missiles and guns on their old master. But the ease with which the rebels were able to arm themselves points to their next massive problem: securing those weapons before they fuel a lethal insurgency or flood the global arms bazaar.
It’s a concern familiar to those who watched Iraq’s insurgency evolve. Saddam Hussein, like Gadhafi, amassed a vast array of conventional weaponry for defense against enemies both foreign and domestic. In the aftermath of the U.S. invasion in 2003, looters made off with tons of explosives from unprotected military arsenals, making arms available to a brewing insurgency. With the end of Gadhafi’s rule seeming nigh, arms control and human rights experts are paying close attention to the security of the country’s weapons stockpiles, fearing they could end up in the hands of a pro-regime insurgency or other militants outside the country.
The Amazon river is known to be the second longest in the world, shorter only than the Nile but, remarkably, scientists have discovered another river flowing thousands of feet beneath it.
Researchers from Brazil's National Observatory believe the subterranean river is 3,700 miles long, about the same length as the Amazon on the surface.
The great Amazon: Now scientists say another river is flowing 13,000ft beneath it
Dr Valiya Hamza, from the BNO, said the discovery of the underground river came from studying temperature variations at 241 inactive oil wells drilled in the 1970s and 1980s by Brazil's state-run oil company, Petrobras.
In the seconds before the quake struck Tuesday afternoon, several gorillas and orangutans abandoned their food and climbed to the top of a tree-like structure in the National Zoo, part of the Smithsonian Institution.
One orangutan named Iris began "belch vocalizing," which the zoo described as "an unhappy/upset noise normally reserved for extreme irritation," just before the tremor and continued the call after"
To paraphrase Mark Twain, there are crazy ideas, damn crazy ideas, . . . and soothsayers.
If you have never heard of Nibiru here's the skinny: a rogue planet is supposedly barreling toward Earth. When does it arrive? You guessed it, in 2012, the doomsday year some folks say they have derived from the Mayan calendar. Nibiru has also been blamed for the great Japan earthquake that happened on March 11 this year."
High in the darkening sky, a flock of enormous ravens swoop and swirl - narrow black wings stretched wide, heads protruding forward and huge hairy beaks scything through the air.
Every few minutes they let out deep, throaty, honking calls as they soar effortlessly, circling around until, finally, they spot their prey and swoop.
But forget dormice, voles or even small furry rabbits; these sinister looking birds are feasting on something far larger - newborn lambs.
Raven attack: Farmers report a rise in the number of calves, lambs and sheep pecked to death
And instead of hanging around for a few discarded bones or a forgotten carcass to pick and claw at, they've started killing live farm animals - by pecking them to death, in horrific scenes reminiscent of Daphne du Maurier's The Birds, turned by Alfred Hitchcock into one of the most chilling movies of all time.
Throughout Britain, traumatised farmers have reported a sudden and disturbing rise in the number of livestock being attacked by ravens.
Farmer John Kirk, 50, from Nethybridge, near Aviemore, has lost more than 40 animals in the past few weeks.
"It's like something out of a horror film. They are horrible, horrible birds. They see the young lambs and just fly down and help themselves," he said.
"Sometimes you find a carcass with the eyes and tongue pecked out, but sometimes all you find is the skin. They peck away until nothing is left." And while some animals have been pecked to death, others have been left to die in agony after birds have feasted on their eyes, tongues and the soft flesh of their underbellies.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
(Reuters) - Astronomers have spotted an exotic planet that seems to be made of diamond racing around a tiny star in our galactic backyard.
The new planet is far denser than any other known so far and consists largely of carbon. Because it is so dense, scientists calculate the carbon must be crystalline, so a large part of this strange world will effectively be diamond.
If you have a spare £33,000 and are in the market for the ultimate boy's toy, then this might be the treat for you.
A motorbike painstakingly engineered to replicate the computer-generated bike in science fiction film Tron: Legacy is now on sale.
In the film, the bike was created using state-of-the-art CGI graphics and is controlled by computer programs and gamers.
The real version, created by Parker Brothers Choppers, is 8ft long, 23 inches wide and weighs 474lbs. It can also reach a cool 120mph.
The incredible £33,000 pounds motorbike is inspired by the science fiction movie, Tron: Legacy
A still from the new Tron: Legacy film which shows computer programmes and humans racing on Lightcycles
Its hubless wheels are produced using former truck tyres that have been custom-shaped to fit and decorated with electro-luminescent strips.
A fibreglass cover encases a steel frame and, unusually, riders have to lie at a near-horizontal position just as in the film.
The bike is powered by a fuel-injected Suzuki 996cc, four-stroke engine and is spring-loaded at the front and back.
Every bike is custom-built and are available to buy online from Hammacher Schlemmer.
A stunning cosmic jet from a super-massive black hole which shredded then swallowed a star has been observed by astronomers for the first time.
The extremely rare phenomenon caused by stellar debris being consumed by the hole has never been observed before.
Known as 'relativistic jets', they can reach hundreds of thousands of light years in length.
Stunning: This illustration shows plasma shooting out of the black hole after it devours a star. Such an event took place four billion light years from Earth
The Libyan rebels are winning. But nobody knows who has control of Libya's massive stockpile of chemical weapons and nuclear material. Wait, what?
The AP has an extremely troubling report this morning. In areas that are still being contested, we have no idea what's going on or who has control over what weapons. 30,000 shoulder-fired rockets. 11 metric tons of mustard gas. Raw uranium yellowcake. And we're not entirely sure who they belong to right now.
It started with a curious noise outside… I actually thought there may have been an explosion. I stepped outside, with Eik, a trusty Rottweiler I’ve been watching for the past few days courtesy of some friends who are out of town, following directly behind me. Scanning the sky, as well as the rest of the neighborhood for anything strange, we couldn’t seem to find the source of this strange “explosion.” But this would hardly be the end to our strange day… in fact, it was only the beginning!
I went back to work, answering emails and trying to crank out a few more articles (like this one) before a mid-day radio interview promoting the newest book in the Exposed, Uncovered and Declassified series that I’ve contributed to, titled Ghosts and Hauntings: Am I being Haunted? There had been phone calls coming in all day too, in addition to everything else going on, and at the moment in question my father had called to check in about a rendezvous time for an engagement we were attending together later that day. That’s when the sudden, blood-curdling howling began…
The "white ball" was spotted about 9pm above Shanghai by pilots who reported the sightings to the East China Air Traffic Control Bureau. At almost the same time, residents in Beijing, Shanxi and Anhui provinces and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region also witnessed and photographed the similar, round bubble-like object rapidly expanding in the sky."
• In 1986, a Japan Airlines pilot saw what he described as an unidentified flying object over Alaska closely tailing his 747. He made an evasive move. His career was thrown into turmoil, but he never recanted what he claimed he saw.
• In 1987, a Federal Aviation Administration executive says the CIA warned him not to talk about UFOs because the public would panic.
• In 1997, former Arizona Gov. Fife Symington mocked thousands of people who said they saw mysterious lights over Phoenix, calling out a staffer dressed in a cheesy ET costume at a press conference. Ten years later, he apologized for lying to the media and the public.
What these events have in common is that they are unveiled on a new two-hour History Channel special, "Secret Access: UFOs On The Record," that features in-depth accounts from people who have been willing to risk their jobs and reputations to speak out about their remarkable experiences with UFOs.
"The theme of the program is that UFOs exist, but there's a small percentage of sightings that are significant and haven't been explained," said Leslie Kean, author of The New York Times bestseller UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go On The Record, which forms the basis of the History Channel special.
Of all UFO sightings reported, most can be explained as ordinary phenomena, and therefore discarded. However, there are some spectacular, well-documented UFO events have been officially investigated by government agencies, witnessed by pilots and confirmed by Air Force generals. No conventional explanations were found despite extensive efforts by experts to do so. These are the cases explored in "UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go On the Record" and in the History Channel special, "Secret Access: UFOs On The Record."
Obama has done it again, he appointed this man to be senior advisor to the commissioner of the FDA. That means the same company that produces the world’s most deadly substance (Round-up) and the man that is behind getting GMO foods on the market shelves is now in charge of the US’s food production. You will be eating this man’s creation instead of nature’s creation. Think obesity, food allergens, allergies, incurable diseases, sugar diabetes, cancer and unheard of diseases are bad now?"
The Obama administration love affair with GMOs is selling America down the river to agricultural ruin
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
You’d think the Pentagon would be chewing its nails down to the nub over China’s military buildup. After all, in the past few months, China unveiled its first stealth jet, reached the early operating phase of a “carrier-killer” missile, and took its first-ever aircraft carrier out for a stroll. Instead, the Defense Department’s Asia hands don’t seem any more freaked by the Chinese military than they were last year. In fact, the Pentagon’s annual report on its Chinese counterpart reads a lot like the previous edition.
Yes, Beijing is rapidly modernizing its forces, as it has for years, upping its military spending by 12.7 percent last year while the Pentagon prepares for deep cuts. Yes, China’s pursuing an “expanded regional maritime strategy and presence.” And yes, in the eyes of the Pentagon’s top Asia wonk, that modernization is “potentially destabilizing.”
Wake Up America! 10 Very Obvious Reasons Why The Devastating U.S. Jobs Famine Is Going To Suck The Hope Right Out Of America
In May, the federal government simulated an earthquake so massive, it killed 100,000 Midwesterners instantly, and forced more than 7 million people out of their homes. At the time, National Level Exercise 11 went largely unnoticed; the scenario seemed too far-fetched — states like Illinois and Missouri are in the middle of a tectonic plate, not at the edge of one. A major quake happens there once every several generations.
But Tuesday’s earthquake along the East Coast is a reminder that disasters can hit where they’re least expected. And if the nightmare scenario comes, government officials worry that state and federal authorities won’t be able to handle the “cascading failures” that follow. The results of May’s disaster exercise won’t be released to the public. But privately, these government officials say they’re glad that this earthquake was just a drill — and not the big one. Especially because there are so many nuclear power plants in the fault zone.
“A couple of things keep me up at night,” Paul Stockton, the Defense Department’s senior homeland security official, told the Aspen Security Forum last month. A quake, like the one simulated in National Level Exercise 11, is chief among the sleep-takers. “It’s so much bigger than anything we’ve faced — way beyond Hurricane Katrina.”
The ultimate hot air balloon: Capsule that can take brave (and wealthy) explorers into Earth's stratosphere to launch in two years
A helium balloon that will take enterprising travellers into Earth's stratosphere is due to take off in just two years.
The 'Bloon' will climb to a height of 22miles thanks to a huge balloon measuring 420ft in diameter.
The five-hour experience would cost an astronomical £90,000 per person but would offer 'space tourists' the chance to glimpse the curvature of the Earth.
Pod with a view: Space tourists will be able to see the curvature of the Earth during their five-hour trip
Conditions on the 'near-spaceship' should be fairly comfortable as the pressurised pod, which is 13ft in diameter, would offer plenty of space for the two pilots and up to four guests. The room temperature would allow visitors to be in 'shirt sleeves.'
On 'their trip of a lifetime' visitors would experience a three-hour cruise at an altitude where they could watch the Sun dawning over our planet.
Then the sail would be vented and descend until the sail separated from the pod. A parachute would then deploy to fly the pod back to Earth.
The pod, due to fly its first mission in 2013, is the brainchild of Spanish company Zero 2 Infinity.
They claim is can be flown 25miles in any direction to safely guide it to a predetermined landing site.
Entrepreneur and CEO Jose Mariano Lopez-Urdiales said he was inspired to do the project while having a conversation with his astronomer father.
Going up: The pod holding two pilots and up to four guests will ascend thanks to a helium balloon 420ft in diameter
Scientists claim to have worked out how many species there are on Earth - 8.7million.
They reached the figure using an advanced mathematical model which they believe is the most accurate ever.
Previous estimates ranged from three million to 100million.
New find: This new species of monitor lizard was discovered in Papua New Guinea recently
The Canadian researchers hope their ‘telephone book’ for the planet will help find undiscovered species and quantify how many are being lost.
Zoologists and botanists have been cataloguing species for 250 years, but so far only 1.2million have been logged. Each year 6,000 are discovered, but even at that rate, it would take another 1,200 years to find them all.
The authors reached their total using a model based on known species groups. Each was divided into categories, then re-divided again and again into theoretical sub-categories.
A proton-proton collision at the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator at CERN laboratory in Geneva that produced more than 100 charged particles.
Scientists chasing a particle they believe may have played a vital role in creation of the universe indicated on Monday they were coming to accept it might not exist after all.
But they stressed that if the so-called Higgs boson turns out to have been a mirage, the way would be open for advances into territory dubbed "new physics" to try to answer one of the great mysteries of the cosmos.
The CERN research center, whose giant Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has been the focus of the search, said it had reported to a conference in Mumbai that possible signs of the Higgs noted last month were now seen as less significant.
A number of scientists from the center went on to make comments that raised the possibility that the mystery particle might not exist.
Black holes and pulsars could reveal extra dimensions, solving that thorny problem of testing string theory, which attempts to unify all the known forces. String theory calls for extra spatial dimensions beyond the three we experience. Testing the theory has proved difficult, however.
But that hasn't stopped John Simonetti of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg and colleagues who say black holes orbited by neutron stars called pulsars could do just that – if cosmic surveys can locate such pairings. “The universe contains ‘experimental’ setups we cannot produce on Earth,” he says.
Black holes are predicted to cast off their mass over time by emitting particles, a phenomenon called Hawking radiation. Without extra dimensions, this process is predicted to be incredibly slow for run-of-the-mill black holes weighing a few times as much as the sun, making it impossible to measure.
Extra dimensions would give the particles more ways to escape, speeding up the process. This rapid weight loss would loosen a black hole's gravitational grip on any orbiting objects, causing them to spiral outwards by a few metres per year, the team calculates.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
One of the bigger challenges in designing a computer that works like a brain is that computers are not very bright. They can do math faster than humans, and they can run through thousands of data points in a fraction of a second. But ask a computer to read the bad handwriting on your prescription, or recognize an object based on seeing just a fraction of it, and it stumbles.
On top of that, the fastest and most sophisticated computers are power hogs. A typical human brain may not compute very fast, but it uses only about a watt or so of power. A late-model Cray supercomputer uses about 45,000 watts per cabinet; such computers can eaily consume megawatt levels of energy in some configurations.
NASA has selected three proposals to transform space communications, deep space navigation and in-space propulsion capabilities. The projects will develop and fly a Mission-Capable Solar Sail, Deep Space Atomic Clock, and space-based Laser Communications Relay optical communications system. Launches are anticipated in 2015 and 2016.
"These technology missions will improve our communications, navigation and in-space propulsion capabilities, enable future missions that could not otherwise be performed, and build the technological capability of America's space industry," said NASA Chief Technologist Bobby Braun at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
According to the British physicist Stephen Wolfram, intelligent life is inevitable. But there is a hitch. Although intelligent life is inevitable, we will never find it -at least not by looking out in the Milky Way. As evidence Wolfram points out In order to compress more and more information into our communication signals - be they mobile phone conversations or computer- we remove all redundancy or pattern. If anything in a signal repeats, then clearly it can be excised. But this process of removing any pattern from a signal make it look more and more random - in fact, pretty much like the random radio "noise" that rains down on Earth coming from stars and interstellar gas clouds.
According to Wolfram, if someone beamed our own 21st-century communication signals at us from space we would be hard pressed determining whether they were artificial or natural. So what chance do we have of distinguishing an ET communication from the general background radio static of the cosmos?
An artist's illustration of a potential alien attack as depicted in the science television series "Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking."
If or when intelligent extraterrestrials discover us, it's anybody's guess what they'll do. They might befriend us. They might eat us. As Carl Sagan once noted, they might find amusement in some talent we have that they lack and use us as entertainment, just as we keep sea lions in captivity because of their remarkable ability to balance rubber balls on their noses.
All of these scenarios and more are fleshed out in a new article in the journal Acta Astronautica by researchers at Pennsylvania State University. One possibility they've raised has garnered more attention than any other: An extraterrestrial civilization might notice our planet by detecting changes in the spectral signature of Earth — the light radiated by our planet and atmosphere — caused by greenhouse gas emissions. And they might frown upon our behavior.
The group's thinking goes like this: From the rate of change of the chemical composition in our atmosphere, the aliens will deduce our rapid expansion and, because of that, possibly view us as a threat, thinking we'll soon pursue resources on other worlds. [Look! Up in the Sky! A Recent History of UFOs]
"If [they] doubt that our course can be changed, then they may seek to preemptively destroy our civilization in order to protect other civilizations from us," the researchers write. (Several media outlets have inaccurately reported that NASA is behind the new report. One of its authors, astrobiologist Shawn Domagal-Goldman, recently began working at NASA, but wrote the paper with former colleague Seth Baum and others at Penn State, whose institution was solely responsible for funding their research.)
Monday, August 22, 2011
'It's the destruction of humanity and introduction of 'its' and 'things' that will make war against God'
Is mankind's quest for knowledge, power and longer life about to backfire and wipe human beings off the face of the Earth?
Secret experiments now underway in the U.S. and elsewhere are sparking fears of a potential extinction-level event hastening the 2nd Coming of Jesus.
For decades now, there have been science-fiction stories portraying a future filled with spectacular abilities for people, where the definition of what makes someone a human being is blurred by blending high technology and even animal traits into the humanbody.
In the 1970s, TV's "Six Million Dollar Man" featured Lee Majors as a critically injured astronaut rebuilt by the government to "make him better than he was – better, stronger, faster."
In 1982's classic film "Blade Runner," Harrison Ford portrayed a futuristic cop who falls in love with a genetically engineered female "Replicant" while he looked to kill renegade androids seeking immortality.
And with major advances in technology in recent years, science fiction of the past could become science fact of our immediate future, with human minds connected wirelessly to computers and bionic bodies outperforming top athletes by leaps and bounds. That prospect has some sounding alarm bells about the fulfillment of End-times Bible prophecy and the possible vanishing of mankind through global warfare, disease, starvation or even – as strange as it sounds – replacement by other entities.
Read more: http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=334589
The North Icelandic Jet feeds a giant pattern known as the 'great ocean conveyor belt', which regulates North American and European climates
A newly-discovered deep, cold current flowing off Iceland's coast may mean the North Atlantic is less sensitive to climate change than previously thought.
The North Icelandic Jet feeds the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation - or AMOC - a giant pattern known as the 'great ocean conveyor belt', which regulates North American and European climates.
Scientists had previously believed that most of the cold water that formed that deep south-flowing stream came from off the Greenland coast and was made up of fresh glacier-melt water.
Hit movie The Day After Tomorrow showed how a new ice age overtakes America and Europe in the wake of a catastrophic climatic shift
However, the North Icelandic Jet appears to contribute more to the deeper part of the AMOC than the Greenland current does, according to scientists.
The 'conveyor belt' current was introduced in the Al Gore environmental film An Inconvenient Truth, and carries warm surface water from the tropical Atlantic toward the Arctic.
In the process, the water warms the air in high latitudes, then cools, sinks and returns towards the equator, flowing as a deep stream at lower ocean depths.
Because fresh water freezes at a higher temperature than salt water, these specialists suggested that this fresh water from glaciers and other warming-related phenomena would get into the North Atlantic, where it could freeze and prevent the water from sinking to make up the bottom of the conveyor belt.
Robonaut, the humanoid robot delivered to the International Space Station in February, is finally getting to work -- and tweeting about the experience.
So far, the droid's commentary is pretty dry -- "My power cable is plugged in and my status LEDs on my power backpack are on," Robonaut tweeted this morning.
"Around 56 minutes left in my power soak test," it added an hour later.
But Robonaut is responding to questions and even sent birthday greetings to one of its 35,000 followers.
Saucedo, who earns $9.70 an hour for about 26 hours a week and lives with her mother, is one of the many Americans who survive because of government handouts in what has rapidly become a food stamp nation.
Altogether, there are now almost 46 million people in the United States on food stamps, roughly 15 percent of the population. That's an increase of 74 percent since 2007, just before the financial crisis and a deep recession led to mass job losses.
We like to think our superior brainpower means we survived while they perished. But we may not have been alive today, if it were not for the Neanderthals.
Studies show that we owe much of the power of our immune system to genes we picked up from our caveman cousins.
Interbreeding with Neanderthals gave our ancestors a ready-made cocktail of DNA invaluable in fighting diseases common in northern climates, research by immunologist Peter Parham suggests.
Ideal partner: Scientists believe interbreeding with Neanderthals boosted human beings' brainpower
This, in turn, vastly sped up our evolution, and gave us the strength and resilience needed to populate the world.
Research released last year revealed that our ancestors couldn’t resist the charms of the Neanderthals tens of thousands of years ago.
As a result, there is a little bit of Neanderthal in all of us. In some parts of the world, up to 4 per cent of people’s DNA comes from the short, stocky cavemen.
"Life has been using a standard set of 20 amino acids to build proteins for more than 3 billion years," said Stephen J. Freeland of the NASA Astrobiology Institute at the University of Hawaii. "It's becoming increasingly clear that many other amino acids were plausible candidates, and although there's been speculation and even assumptions about what life was doing, there's been very little in the way of testable hypotheses."
"To the best of our knowledge, the original chemicals chosen by known life do not constitute a unique set; other choices could have been made, and maybe were made if life started elsewhere many times," said Paul Davies -leading authority in astrobiology, director of BEYOND: Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science and co-director of the ASU Cosmology Initiative.