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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 98329 times)
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« Reply #8760 on: Jul 2nd, 2013, 1:10pm »









Published on Jul 1, 2013

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« Reply #8761 on: Jul 2nd, 2013, 1:13pm »

Wired

Rockets, Rovers, and Planetary Probes: History’s Most Badass Space Machines

By Adam Mann
07.02.13
6:30 AM


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As any 6-year-old boy will tell you, the coolest things in life are giant machines and outer space.

Even for the rest of us, the giant machines that travel through space are fascinating if we stop to think about it. There is a certain thrill in knowing that some craft has been propelled beyond the confines of our planet. For the last 70 or so years, we've shot many machines into the vast and final frontier, carrying scientific instruments, Earth-observing satellites, and extraordinary men and women to inspect, explore, and redefine our world and the universe beyond.

Most of these machines never return home. But those that do come back always find their way to a museum to be a source of amazement and inspiration for the public.

Here, Wired takes a look at some of the biggest, farthest-traveling, and most impressive machines designed and launched during the Space Age. As usual, we can only highlight a few of the great ones and are sure you'll let us know what we missed in the comments.

Above:
V-2 sounding rockets

When aliens finally show up and ask humans how we got into the whole spaceflight business, expect there to be some shoe-gazing and uncomfortable shuffling as we cough out something about the Germans. Truth is, the first man-made object to get to space, the V-2 rocket, was created by the Nazi regime and used to kill innocent civilians in Belgium, England, France and elsewhere.

gallery and more after the jump:
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/07/badass-space-machines/

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« Reply #8762 on: Jul 2nd, 2013, 1:16pm »

New Scientist

Telescopic contact lens lets you zoom in on the world

13:12 02 July 2013
by Paul Marks

Who wouldn't want to have vision like the Terminator? The possibility is coming into sight thanks to the development of a contact lens that would allow wearers to zoom in on points of interest.

Just over a millimetre thick, the telescopic lens works by having a central unmagnified optical path that is surrounded by a ring of optics that magnify the view 2.8 times. Liquid crystal shutters then block one or the other of these optical paths – allowing the user to switch between regular and magnified vision.

Developed by Eric Tremblay and colleagues at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Lausanne, Switzerland, and at the University of California, San Diego, the lens has been tested on a life-sized model of the human eye. The work has been funded by DARPA, the US defence research agency.

The team built the LCD shutter mechanism into a modified pair of Samsung 3D TV glasses, placed over the eyeball, to simulate that effect. But the groups is confident that the LCD technology can be built into the lens easily – but how it will be switched on and off has yet to be revealed.

Results so far are promising, the team says. "Although the magnified images were clearly visible in our tests, acuity fell short of the design specification," the researchers report. But they believe they know how to fix the diffraction-related issues with improved refractive optics.

Getting soft

In addition to improving the image, the team also needs to move from the current experimental hard lens – made from hard, clear plastic – to a rigid but gas-permeable material that lets fresh air get to the eyeball, just as in modern soft contact lenses.

The technology could be especially useful for people with age-related macular degeneration. They lose vision in the central area of the retina, and telescopic lenses could replace the clunky "bioptic telescopes" that are currently fitted to their spectacles, to magnify areas of interest.

Elsewhere, however, the ability to magnify a scene without appearing to be wearing any equipment could raise privacy concerns similar to those raised over Google Glass.

There's a definite need for a zoomable contact lens, says Chris Hull, head of optometry and visual science at City University in London – but it has to be affordable. "Devices that help those with visual impairment are very important, particularly with the ageing population," he says. "The switchable telescopic contact lens is fascinating technology – but it will need to compete with existing low vision rehabilitation technologies in terms of clinical performance and cost."

Journal: Optics Express: DOI: 10.1364/OE.21.015980

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn23793-telescopic-contact-lens-lets-you-zoom-in-on-the-world.html#.UdMYhJDn-1u

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« Reply #8763 on: Jul 2nd, 2013, 1:23pm »

200-Year-Old Fish Caught Off Alaska

By Marc Lallanilla, Assistant Editor
Date: 02 July 2013

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The shortraker rockfish (Sebastes borealis) is found in deep waters of the North Pacific. CREDIT: NOAA

In 1813, President James Madison occupied the White House, Americans occupied Fort George in Canada (a result of the War of 1812) and a rockfish was born somewhere in the North Pacific.

Two hundred years later, that same rockfish was caught off the coast of Alaska by Seattle resident Henry Liebman — possibly setting a record for the oldest rockfish ever landed.

Troy Tydingco of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game told the Daily Sitka Sentinel that the longevity record for the shortraker rockfish (Sebastes borealis) is 175 years, but that fish "was quite a bit smaller than the one Henry caught."

"That fish was 32-and-a-half inches [83 centimeters] long, where Henry's was almost 41 inches [104 cm] — so his could be substantially older," Tydingco said.

Samples of the rockfish have been sent to a lab in Juneau, where the actual age of Liebman's fish will be determined, according to the Sentinel.

Scientists can estimate the age of a fish by examining an ear bone known as the otolith, which contains growth rings similar to the annual age rings found in a tree trunk.

Animal longevity remains a puzzle to biologists. Some researchers have found that smaller individuals within a species tend to live longer than their bigger brethren. This may be due to the abnormal cell growth that accompanies both larger body size and the risk of cancer.

The longest-lived animal ever found was a quahog clam scooped from the waters off Iceland. The tiny mollusk was estimated to be 400 years old.

At 39.08 pounds (17.73 kilograms), Liebman's fish may also set a record for the largest rockfish ever caught.

"I knew it was abnormally big, [but I] didn't know it was a record until on the way back — we looked in the Alaska guidebook that was on the boat," Liebman told the Sentinel.

He plans to have the fish mounted, so he can continue to tell the fish story that he's already been "getting a lot of mileage" out of, according to the Sentinel.

http://www.livescience.com/37902-200-year-old-rockfish-oldest-rockfish.html
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« Reply #8764 on: Jul 3rd, 2013, 2:21pm »

"Two hundred years later, that same rockfish was caught off the coast of Alaska by Seattle resident Henry Liebman — possibly setting a record for the oldest rockfish ever landed.

Troy Tydingco of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game told the Daily Sitka Sentinel that the longevity record for the shortraker rockfish (Sebastes borealis) is 175 years, but that fish "was quite a bit smaller than the one Henry caught."

"That fish was 32-and-a-half inches [83 centimeters] long, where Henry's was almost 41 inches [104 cm] — so his could be substantially older," Tydingco said.

Samples of the rockfish have been sent to a lab in Juneau, where the actual age of Liebman's fish will be determined, according to the Sentinel."



Holy Cow!

Hi Swamprat cheesy

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« Reply #8765 on: Jul 3rd, 2013, 2:23pm »

Associated Press

Egypt army suspends constitution, calls early vote

By HAMZA HENDAWI, MAGGIE MICHAEL and SARAH EL DEEB
July 3 3:14 PM EDT

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's military has suspended the Islamist-backed constitution and called early elections.

The military also announced that embattled President Mohammed Morsi will be replaced.

Cheers erupted among millions of protesters nationwide who were demanding Morsi's ouster.

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/egypt-turmoil-grows-army-deadline-expire

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« Reply #8766 on: Jul 3rd, 2013, 2:26pm »

Telegraph

Syria a 'game changer' for UK terror threat, warns Home Office intelligence chief

The Syrian conflict has become a “profound game changer” and poses the biggest terror threat to the UK and Europe for a decade, the Home Office’s terror chief has warned.

By Tom Whitehead, Security Editor
5:30PM BST 03 July 2013

Charles Farr said there are thousands of al-Qaeda-inspired fighters now operating in the war torn country with many wanting to attack the UK and other Western nations.

He said there has never been so many groups and fanatics linked to the terror organisation so close to Europe.

Britons are among them and the fear is they have already or will return to the UK intent on organising atrocities here.

The warning reinforces the changing nature of the terror threat following the weakening of al-Qaeda’s traditional strongholds in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

New threats are now coming from a number of volatile regions around the world which are being exploited by the terror group or extremists inspired by them.

Mr Farr, director general of the Office for Security and Counter Terrorism, told the National Security Conference in London: “Syria is a very profound game changer and the significance of it is still emerging.

“The blunt truth is there are more people associated with al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda associated organisations now operating in Syria then there have ever been before and are that close to Europe and operating with an intensity that is unparalleled since events in Iraq in 2006.

“They are much closer to us, in much greater numbers and fighting with an intensity that we have not seen before.”

He said foreign fighters are “flocking” to the country in numbers last seen in Iraq and warned they are likely to exceed such levels.

He later said there are hundreds and probably thousands of foreign fighters in Syria, although some may be legitimately fighting with the rebels to overthrow the regime of President Bashar al – Assad.

He told the audience: “Groups in Syria aspire to attack Europe and have both the capability and means to do so, including returning foreign fighters coming back to Europe.

“I think it is the most profound shift in the threat we have seen in at least five years and I think since 2003.”

Intelligence officials believe at least 100 British jihadists are either fighting in Syria or have returned to the UK.

Many are said to have joined the fight with Jabhat al – Nusra, one of the country's most militant groups, which has been linked to al – Qaeda.

James Brokenshire, the security minister, told the conference the trade off between national security and civil liberties was under the greatest pressure in the country’s history.

He signalled that leaks such as the Edward Snowden exposes, could put lives at risk by revealing sensitive techniques and methods.

However, the minister stopped short of commenting directly on the case or criticising the Guardian newspaper, which published the leaks.

The scandal has raised concerns over the level of snooping on individuals and friendly states by the US National Security Agency and the UK’s GCHQ.

Mr Brokenshire said the public would be forgiven for thinking the main threat to freedoms came from those tasked with protecting them but insisted that was not true.

He said it was right that people were able to challenge the activities of the security and intelligence services.

But given that so much of people’s lives are now online he said the balance between protecting their security and their liberty was “more pressing than at any moment in our history”.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/10157825/Syria-a-game-changer-for-UK-terror-threat-warns-Home-Office-intelligence-chief.html

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« Reply #8767 on: Jul 3rd, 2013, 2:29pm »

Science Daily

New Knowledge About Early Galaxies

July 3, 2013

The early galaxies of the universe were very different from today's galaxies. Using new detailed studies carried out with the ESO Very Large Telescope and the Hubble Space Telescope, researchers, including members from the Niels Bohr Institute, have studied an early galaxy in unprecedented detail and determined a number of important properties such as size, mass, content of elements and have determined how quickly the galaxy forms new stars.

The results are published in the scientific journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

"Galaxies are deeply fascinating objects. The seeds of galaxies are quantum fluctuations in the very early universe and thus, understanding of galaxies links the largest scales in the universe with the smallest. It is only within galaxies that gas can become cold and dense enough to form stars and galaxies are therefore the cradles of starsbirths," explains Johan Fynbo, professor at the Dark Cosmology Centre at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen.

Early in the universe, galaxies were formed from large clouds of gas and dark matter. Gas is the universe's raw material for the formation of stars. Inside galaxies the gas can cool down from the many thousands of degrees it has outside galaxies. When gas is cooled it becomes very dense. Finally, the gas is so compact that it collapses into a ball of gas where the gravitational compresion heats up the matter, creating a glowing ball of gas -- a star is born.

Cycle of stars

In the red-hot interior of massive stars, hydrogen and helium melt together and form the first heavier elements like carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, which go on to form magnesium, silicon and iron. When the entire core has been converted into iron, no more energy can be extracted and the star dies as a supernova explosion. Every time a massive star burns out and dies, it hence flings clouds of gas and newly formed elements out into space, where they form gas clouds that get denser and denser and eventually collapse to form new stars. The early stars contained only a thousandth of the elements found in the Sun today. In this way, each generation of stars becomes richer and richer in heavy elements.

In today's galaxies, we have a lot of stars and less gas. In the early galaxies, there was a lot of gas and fewer stars.

"We want to understand this cosmic evolutionary history better by studying very early galaxies. We want to measure how large they are, what they weigh and how quickly stars and heavy elements are formed," explains Johan Fynbo, who has lead the research together with Jens-Kristian Krogager, PhD student at the Dark Cosmology Centre at the Niels Bohr Institute.

Early potential for planet formation

The research team has studied a galaxy located approx. 11 billion years back in time in great detail. Behind the galaxy is a quasar, which is an active black hole that is brighter than a galaxy. Using the light from the quasar, they found the galaxy using the giant telescopes, VLT in Chile. The large amount of gas in the young galaxy simply absorbed a massive amount of the light from the quasar lying behind it. Here they could 'see' (i.e. via absorption) the outer parts of the galaxy. Furthermore, active star formation causes some of the gas to light up, so it could be observed directly.

With the Hubble Space Telescope they could also see the recently formed stars in the galaxy and they could calculate how many stars there were in relation to the total mass, which is comprised of both stars and gas. They could now see that the relative proportion of heavier elements is the same in the centre of the galaxy as in the outer parts and it shows that the stars that are formed earlier in the centre of the galaxy enrich the stars in the outer parts with heavier elements.

"By combining the observations from both methods -- absorption and emission -- we have discovered that the stars have an oxygen content equivalent to approx. 1/3 of the Sun's oxygen content. This means that earlier generations of stars in the galaxy had already built up elements that made it possible to form planets like Earth 11 billion years ago," conclude Johan Fynbo and Jens-Kristian Krogager.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130703101431.htm

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« Reply #8768 on: Jul 3rd, 2013, 2:34pm »






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« Reply #8769 on: Jul 4th, 2013, 08:42am »




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Happy Birthday America!



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« Reply #8770 on: Jul 5th, 2013, 08:43am »

Associated Press

Islamists protest in Egypt demanding Morsi return

By MAGGIE MICHAEL and TONY G. GABRIEL
— Jul. 5 9:32 AM EDT

CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian troops have opened fire on supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi marching on Republican Guard facility. Several are wounded, at least one severely with a shot to the head.

An Associated Press photographer at the scene Friday says the Republic Guard forces opened fire when protesters approached a barbed wire barrier around the facility and hung a picture of Morsi on it.

Several protesters fell wounded, including at least one severely with a bloody wound to the head.

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/egypts-brotherhood-calls-protests-friday

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« Reply #8771 on: Jul 5th, 2013, 08:47am »

Reuters

Russia increasingly impatient over Snowden's airport stay

By Timothy Heritage and Steve Gutterman
MOSCOW
Thu Jul 4, 2013 2:27pm EDT

(Reuters) - Edward Snowden should find another country to seek refuge in, a Russian official said on Thursday, signaling Moscow's growing impatience over the former U.S. spy agency contractor's stay at a Moscow airport.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Russia had received no request for political asylum from Snowden and he had to solve his problems himself after 11 days in the transit area of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport.

President Vladimir Putin has refused to extradite the American and Russian officials have delighted in his success in staying out of the United States' clutches since revealing details of secret U.S. government surveillance programs.

But Moscow also has made clear that Snowden is an increasingly unwelcome guest because the longer he stays, the greater the risk of the diplomatic standoff causing lasting damage to relations with Washington.

"He needs to choose a place to go," Ryabkov told Reuters. "As of this moment, we do not have a formal application from Mr Snowden asking for asylum in the Russian Federation."

Ryabkov told Itar-Tass news agency separately that Russia "cannot solve anything for him" and the situation should now be resolved "one way or the other".

His remarks echoed comments by Putin, who has urged Snowden, 30, to leave as soon as he can.

France and Italy, both U.S. allies, said they had rejected asylum requests from Snowden.

"Like many countries France has received, via its ambassador in Moscow, an asylum request from Edward Snowden. For legal reasons and given the applicant's situation, it will not be processed," Interior Minister Manuel Valls said in a statement.

Valls had said earlier that France's relations with the United States would not allow it to harbor Snowden.

Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino said any asylum request would have to be presented in person at the border or on Italian territory, which Snowden had not done.

"As a result there do not exist the legal conditions to accept such a request, which in the government's view would not be acceptable on a political level either," she told parliament.

On Monday, Putin said Snowden could only be granted asylum by Moscow if he agreed to stop actions that could harm the United States.

Putin's press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, said on Tuesday that Snowden had withdrawn his interest in asylum in Russia after Putin spelled out the terms. His options have narrowed further since then as no country has agreed to grant him asylum.

INDEPENDENCE DAY

Russian officials have kept Snowden at arm's length since he landed from Hong Kong on June 23, saying the transit area where passengers stay between flights is neutral territory and he will be on Russian soil only if he goes through passport control.

Moscow has also done nothing to trumpet his presence or parade him before cameras and Putin has avoided the temptation to mock Obama when asked about the affair in public. He said last week he would prefer not to deal with it at all.

Relations with Washington have been strained since Putin's return to the presidency last year. He has accused the United States of backing protesters demanding his removal and Washington is concerned that he is cracking down on dissent.

But there have been signs of an improvement as the sides try to cooperate more on security since the April 15 Boston marathon bombings, in which two ethnic Chechens are the main suspects. The United States has also shown some restraint in its remarks.

"We continue to talk with the Russian government every day (about Snowden), absolutely every day, including myself," U.S. ambassador Michael McFaul told reporters. "We hope to resolve this ... in a way that we want to have it ended and so far we're very happy with our interactions with the Russian government."

In a message to Obama on U.S. Independence Day, Putin said the United States and Russia shared a special responsibility for global security and counter-terrorism and that he is certain they can agree on key issues despite differences, the Kremlin said.

Russia's Interfax news agency underlined Washington's own determination to keep ties on an even keel, quoting an unnamed source as saying Snowden's case had not been raised by U.S. Justice Department officials at recent talks in Moscow.

Russia has, however, reveled in the diplomatic fallout since Bolivian President Evo Morales, a Putin ally, was held up on his way home from an energy meeting in Moscow because a number of European countries refused initially to let his plane into their airspace over suspicions that Snowden was on board.

Bolivia blamed the delays on Washington and the Russian Foreign Ministry criticized three European Union member states.

"The actions of the authorities of France, Spain and Portugal could hardly be considered friendly actions towards Bolivia," it said. "Russia calls on the international community to comply strictly with international legal principles."

(Additional reporting by Natalie Huet in Paris; Writing by Timothy Heritage; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/04/us-usa-security-russia-idUSBRE9630IV20130704

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« Reply #8772 on: Jul 5th, 2013, 08:49am »

MSN

Has the Loch Ness Monster mystery finally been solved?
4 July 2013

The Loch Ness Monster may never be found, but it may finally have been explained. Italian geologist Luigi Piccardi has posited that the mysterious appearances of the mythical Scottish beast, said to be accompanied by tremors, swirls and bubbles, can actually be attributed to an active fault underneath its namesake lake. "There are various effects on the surface of the water that can be related to the activity of the fault," Piccardi told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, adding that Nessie sightings have coincided with periods of increased seismic activity in the Great Glen fault system. Who knew underwater earthquakes looked like shadowy long-necked aquatic reptiles?

http://now.msn.com/loch-ness-monster-sightings-may-be-explained-by-geology?ocid=ansnowex

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« Reply #8773 on: Jul 5th, 2013, 08:54am »

Telegraph

A 12-year-old boy had miraculous escape when he became impaled on a metal spike which missed his vital organs by inches.

By Hayley Dixon and agencies
1:50PM BST 05 Jul 2013

Josh Hassan tried to jump over a wall next to a wrought iron gate topped with arrow heads to fetch a football when he slipped and the 12-inch spike pierced his chest.

Residents rushed to help and held his body up to prevent any further damage to his organs while a step ladder was brought for him to stand on.

He was later rushed to hospital in an ambulance with the spike still in his body after a fire crew cut him free.

His mother Dawn said today: "I can't thank the people who helped him enough. They are our heroes. If it wasn't for them, Josh might not be here now.

"The doctors said the spike was only two and a half inches away from his heart.



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"I still can't believe he climbed over the fence in the first place. He's not a daring child.

"He was just trying to get his ball -- for that to happen."

Ms Hassan, who lives with Josh in Chadwell Heath, Essex, added: "He won't be climbing over any fences in the future."

Josh, who was released after spending two days in hospital, remains in a lot of pain but aims to keep the spike as a souvenir.

One of the fire crew said after the incident: "The metal had gone though the bottom of his chest and out the top but amazingly it had not punctured any organs. He was a very lucky boy."

Gus Singer, 40, who lives near the scene of the accident, said: "He is lucky to be alive. He could have died - especially if the spike had punctured a lung."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/10162239/Boy-12-has-lucky-escape-after-becoming-impaled-on-metal-spike.html

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« Reply #8774 on: Jul 5th, 2013, 08:57am »




Please be an angel



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