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Old 11-13-2012, 08:38 AM   #151
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I wonder who leaked this story? You can't spell power without P

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three of the four inventors

Urine-powered generator unveiled at international exhibition

Four African girls have created a generator that produces electricity for six hours using a single liter of urine as fuel.

The generator was unveiled at last week's Maker Faire in Lagos, Nigeria, by the four teens Duro-Aina Adebola, Akindele Abiola, and Faleke Oluwatoyin, all age 14, and Bello Eniola, 15.

So how exactly does the urine-powered generator work?

Urine is put into an electrolytic cell, which separates out the hydrogen.
The hydrogen goes into a water filter for purification, which then gets pushed into the gas cylinder.
The gas cylinder pushes hydrogen into a cylinder of liquid borax, which is used to remove the moisture from the hydrogen gas.
This purified hydrogen gas is pushed into the generator.

And as for delivering the fuel itself? Well, we'll leave that up to the consumer.

The Maker Faire is a popular event across the African continent, drawing thousands of participants who travel to Lagos to show their inventions and other practical creations.

As the Next Web describes it, the Maker Faire is intended to highlight creations "that solve immediate challenges and problems, and then works to support and propagate them. Put another way, this isn't just a bunch of rich people talking about how their apps are going to change the world."
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Old 11-21-2012, 07:54 AM   #152
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Dark matter detector nearing activation in SD mine

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Scientists hoping to detect dark matter deep in a former South Dakota gold mine have taken the last major step before flipping the switch on their delicate experiment and say they may be ready to begin collecting data as early as February.

What's regarded as the world's most sensitive dark matter detector was lowered earlier this month into a 70,000-gallon water tank nearly a mile beneath the earth's surface, shrouding it in enough insulation to hopefully isolate dark matter from the cosmic radiation that makes it impossible to detect above ground.

And if all goes as planned, the data that begins flowing could answer age-old questions about the universe and its origins, scientists said Monday.

"We might well uncover something fantastic," said Harry Nelson, a professor of physics at University of California, Santa Barbara and a principal investigator on the Large Underground Xenon experiment. "One thing about our field is that it's kind of brutal in that we know it's expensive and we work hard to only do experiments that are really important."

This one hasn't been cheap, at about $10 million, but like the discovery of the Higgs boson — dubbed the "God particle" by some — earlier this year in Switzerland, the detection of dark matter would be a seismic occurrence in the scientific community.

Scientists know dark matter exists by its gravitational pull but, unlike regular matter and antimatter, it's so far been undetectable. Regular matter accounts for about 4 percent of the universe's mass, and dark matter makes up about 25 percent. The rest is dark energy, which is also a mystery.

The search in South Dakota began in 2003 after the Homestake Gold Mine in the Black Hills' Lead, S.D., shuttered for good. Scientists called dibs on the site, and in July, after years of fundraising and planning, the LUX detector moved into the Sanford Underground Research Facility, 4,850 feet below the earth's surface. It took two days to ease the phone booth-sized detector down the once-filthy shaft and walkways that originally opened for mining in 1876 during the Black Hills Gold Rush.

There, the device was further insulated from cosmic radiation by being submerged in water that's run through reverse osmosis filters to deionize and clean it.

"The construction phase is winding down, and now we're starting the commissioning phase, meaning we start to operate the systems underground," said Jeremy Mock, a graduate student at the University of California, Davis who has worked on the LUX experiment for five years.

Carefully submerging the delicate detector into its final home — a water-filled vat that's 20 feet tall and 25 feet in diameter — took more than two months, Mock said.

Scientists are currently working to finish the plumbing needed to keep the xenon as clean as possible. The xenon, in both liquid and gas form, will fill the detector and be continuously circulated through a purifier that works much like a dialysis machine, pulling the substance out to remove impurities before pushing it back into the detector.

Keeping the water and xenon pristine will help remove what Nelson called "fake sources" — or stuff that scientists have seen before, such as radiation, that could serve as false alarms in their efforts to detect dark matter.

Nelson likens the experiment to Sherlock Holmes' approach to discovering the unknown by eliminating the known.

Once the data start to flow, it'll take a month or two before the detector is sensitive enough to claim the "most-sensitive" title, Nelson said.

After that, the scientists involved hope to start seeing what they covet most: something they've never seen before.
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Old 11-25-2012, 03:52 PM   #153
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3-D Figures of People

http://abcnews.go.com/International/...igure-17793072
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Old 11-29-2012, 03:40 PM   #154
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Super-Giant Black Hole Baffles Scientists


http://news.yahoo.com/super-giant-bl...news-tech.html
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Old 11-29-2012, 04:01 PM   #155
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How NASA Is planning it's first Warp Drive!

http://io9.com/5963263/how-nasa-will...rst-warp-drive



How NASA might build its very first warp drive
George Dvorsky

A few months ago, physicist Harold White stunned the aeronautics world when he announced that he and his team at NASA had begun work on the development of a faster-than-light warp drive. His proposed design, an ingenious re-imagining of an Alcubierre Drive, may eventually result in an engine that can transport a spacecraft to the nearest star in a matter of weeks and all without violating Einstein's law of relativity. We contacted White at NASA and asked him to explain how this real life warp drive could actually work.

The above image of a Vulcan command ship features a warp engine similar to an Alcubierre Drive. Image courtesy CBS.
The Alcubierre Drive

The idea came to White while he was considering a rather remarkable equation formulated by physicist Miguel Alcubierre. In his 1994 paper titled, "The Warp Drive: Hyper-Fast Travel Within General Relativity," Alcubierre suggested a mechanism by which space-time could be "warped" both in front of and behind a spacecraft.

How NASA might build its very first warp drive Michio Kaku dubbed Alcubierre's notion a "passport to the universe." It takes advantage of a quirk in the cosmological code that allows for the expansion and contraction of space-time, and could allow for hyper-fast travel between interstellar destinations. Essentially, the empty space behind a starship would be made to expand rapidly, pushing the craft in a forward direction passengers would perceive it as movement despite the complete lack of acceleration.

White speculates that such a drive could result in "speeds" that could take a spacecraft to Alpha Centauri in a mere two weeks even though the system is 4.3 light-years away.

Full size
In terms of the engine's mechanics, a spheroid object would be placed between two regions of space-time (one expanding and one contracting). A "warp bubble" would then be generated that moves space-time around the object, effectively repositioning it the end result being faster-than-light travel without the spheroid (or spacecraft) having to move with respect to its local frame of reference.

"Remember, nothing locally exceeds the speed of light, but space can expand and contract at any speed," White told io9. "However, space-time is really stiff, so to create the expansion and contraction effect in a useful manner in order for us to reach interstellar destinations in reasonable time periods would require a lot of energy."

And indeed, early assessments published in the ensuing scientific literature suggested horrific amounts of energy basically equal to the mass-energy of the planet Jupiter (what is 1.9 1027 kilograms or 317 Earth masses). As a result, the idea was brushed aside as being far too impractical. Even though nature allowed for a warp drive, it looked like we would never be able to build one ourselves.

"However," said White, "based on the analysis I did the last 18 months, there may be hope." The key, says White, may be in altering the geometry of the warp drive itself.
A new design

In October of last year, White was preparing for a talk he was to give for the kickoff to the 100 Year Starship project in Orlando, Florida. As he was pulling together his overview on space warp, he performed a sensitivity analysis for the field equations, more out of curiosity than anything else.

Full size
"My early results suggested I had discovered something that was in the math all along," he recalled. "I suddenly realized that if you made the thickness of the negative vacuum energy ring larger like shifting from a belt shape to a donut shape and oscillate the warp bubble, you can greatly reduce the energy required perhaps making the idea plausible." White had adjusted the shape of Alcubierre's ring which surrounded the spheroid from something that was a flat halo to something that was thicker and curvier.

He presented the results of his Alcubierre Drive rethink a year later at the 100 Year Starship conference in Atlanta where he highlighted his new optimization approaches a new design that could significantly reduce the amount of exotic matter required. And in fact, White says that the warp drive could be powered by a mass that's even less than that of the Voyager 1 spacecraft.

That's a significant change in calculations to say the least. The reduction in mass from a Jupiter-sized planet to an object that weighs a mere 1,600 pounds has completely reset White's sense of plausibility and NASA's.
Hitting the lab

Theoretical plausibility is all fine and well, of course. What White needs now is a real-world proof-of-concept. So he's hit the lab and begun work on actual experiments.

"We're utilizing a modified Michelson-Morley interferometer that allows us to measure microscopic perturbations in space time," he said. "In our case, we're attempting to make one of the legs of the interferometer appear to be a different length when we energize our test devices." White and his colleagues are trying to simulate the tweaked Alcubierre drive in miniature by using lasers to perturb space-time by one part in 10 million.

Of course, the interferometer isn't something that NASA would bolt onto a spaceship. Rather, it's part of a larger scientific pursuit.

"Our initial test device is implementing a ring of large potential energy what we observe as blue shifted relative to the lab frame by utilizing a ring of ceramic capacitors that are charged to tens of thousands of volts," he told us. "We will increase the fidelity of our test devices and continue to enhance the sensitivity of the warp field interferometer eventually using devices to directly generate negative vacuum energy."

He points out that Casimir cavities, physical forces that arise from a quantized field, may represent a viable approach.

And it's through these experiments, hopes White, that NASA can go from the theoretical to the practical.
Waiting for that "Chicago Pile" moment

Given just how fantastic this all appears, we asked White if he truly thinks a warp-generating spacecraft might someday be constructed.

"Mathematically, the field equations predict that this is possible, but it remains to be seen if we could ever reduce this to practice."

Full size
What White is waiting for is existence of proof what he's calling a "Chicago Pile" moment a reference to a great practical example.

"In late 1942, humanity activated the first nuclear reactor in Chicago generating a whopping half Watt not enough to power a light bulb," he said. "However, just under one year later, we activated a ~4MW reactor which is enough to power a small town. Existence proof is important."

His cautious approach notwithstanding, White did admit that a real-world warp drive could create some fascinating possibilities for space travel and would certainly reset our sense of the vastness of the cosmos.

"This loophole in general relativity would allow us to go places really fast as measured by both Earth observers, and observers on the ship trips measured in weeks or months as opposed to decades and centuries," he said.

But for now, pursuit of this idea is very much in science mode. "I'm not ready to discuss much beyond the math and very controlled modest approaches in the lab," he said.

Which makes complete sense to us, as well. But thanks to these preliminary efforts, White has already done much to instill a renewed sense of hope and excitement over the possibilities. Faster-than-light travel may await us yet.
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Dark Knights Rises has its problems but its not garbage. **** like Scary Movie is garbage. Cheaply made with little artistic merit.

All those others had ambition poured into them. That alone makes them worthy of at least considering their strengths and weaknesses.

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Old 11-29-2012, 04:02 PM   #156
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Talk about Star Trek becoming a reality...
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Dark Knights Rises has its problems but its not garbage. **** like Scary Movie is garbage. Cheaply made with little artistic merit.

All those others had ambition poured into them. That alone makes them worthy of at least considering their strengths and weaknesses.

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Old 11-29-2012, 04:34 PM   #157
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It's about time!

I just wish people could talk about this stuff with out bringing up Star Trek every time.
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Old 11-29-2012, 08:28 PM   #158
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MESSENGER Finds New Evidence for Water Ice at Mercury's Poles


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New observations by the MESSENGER spacecraft provide compelling support for the long-held hypothesis that Mercury harbors abundant water ice and other frozen volatile materials in its permanently shadowed polar craters.

Three independent lines of evidence support this conclusion: the first measurements of excess hydrogen at Mercury's north pole with MESSENGER's Neutron Spectrometer, the first measurements of the reflectance of Mercury's polar deposits at near-infrared wavelengths with the Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA), and the first detailed models of the surface and near-surface temperatures of Mercury's north polar regions that utilize the actual topography of Mercury's surface measured by the MLA. These findings are presented in three papers published online today in Science Express.

Given its proximity to the Sun, Mercury would seem to be an unlikely place to find ice. But the tilt of Mercury's rotational axis is almost zero less than one degree so there are pockets at the planet's poles that never see sunlight. Scientists suggested decades ago that there might be water ice and other frozen volatiles trapped at Mercury's poles.

The idea received a boost in 1991, when the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico detected unusually radar-bright patches at Mercury's poles, spots that reflected radio waves in the way one would expect if there were water ice. Many of these patches corresponded to the location of large impact craters mapped by the Mariner 10 spacecraft in the 1970s. But because Mariner saw less than 50 percent of the planet, planetary scientists lacked a complete diagram of the poles to compare with the images.

MESSENGER's arrival at Mercury last year changed that. Images from the spacecraft's Mercury Dual Imaging System taken in 2011 and earlier this year confirmed that radar-bright features at Mercury's north and south poles are within shadowed regions on Mercury's surface, findings that are consistent with the water-ice hypothesis.

Now the newest data from MESSENGER strongly indicate that water ice is the major constituent of Mercury's north polar deposits, that ice is exposed at the surface in the coldest of those deposits, but that the ice is buried beneath an unusually dark material across most of the deposits, areas where temperatures are a bit too warm for ice to be stable at the surface itself.

MESSENGER uses neutron spectroscopy to measure average hydrogen concentrations within Mercury's radar-bright regions. Water-ice concentrations are derived from the hydrogen measurements. "The neutron data indicate that Mercury's radar-bright polar deposits contain, on average, a hydrogen-rich layer more than tens of centimeters thick beneath a surficial layer 10 to 20 centimeters thick that is less rich in hydrogen," writes David Lawrence, a MESSENGER Participating Scientist based at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and the lead author of one of the papers. "The buried layer has a hydrogen content consistent with nearly pure water ice."

Data from MESSENGER's Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) which has fired more than 10 million laser pulses at Mercury to make detailed maps of the planet's topography corroborate the radar results and Neutron Spectrometer measurements of Mercury's polar region, writes Gregory Neumann of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. In a second paper, Neumann and his colleagues report that the first MLA measurements of the shadowed north polar regions reveal irregular dark and bright deposits at near-infrared wavelength near Mercury's north pole.

"These reflectance anomalies are concentrated on poleward-facing slopes and are spatially collocated with areas of high radar backscatter postulated to be the result of near-surface water ice," Neumann writes. "Correlation of observed reflectance with modeled temperatures indicates that the optically bright regions are consistent with surface water ice."
The MLA also recorded dark patches with diminished reflectance, consistent with the theory that the ice in those areas is covered by a thermally insulating layer. Neumann suggests that impacts of comets or volatile-rich asteroids could have provided both the dark and bright deposits, a finding corroborated in a third paper led by David Paige of the University of California, Los Angeles.

Paige and his colleagues provided the first detailed models of the surface and near-surface temperatures of Mercury's north polar regions that utilize the actual topography of Mercury's surface measured by the MLA. The measurements "show that the spatial distribution of regions of high radar backscatter is well matched by the predicted distribution of thermally stable water ice," he writes.

According to Paige, the dark material is likely a mix of complex organic compounds delivered to Mercury by the impacts of comets and volatile-rich asteroids, the same objects that likely delivered water to the innermost planet.The organic material may have been darkened further by exposure to the harsh radiation at Mercury's surface, even in permanently shadowed areas.

This dark insulating material is a new wrinkle to the story, says Sean Solomon of the Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, principal investigator of the MESSENGER mission. "For more than 20 years the jury has been deliberating on whether the planet closest to the Sun hosts abundant water ice in its permanently shadowed polar regions. MESSENGER has now supplied a unanimous affirmative verdict."

"But the new observations have also raised new questions," adds Solomon. "Do the dark materials in the polar deposits consist mostly of organic compounds? What kind of chemical reactions has that material experienced? Are there any regions on or within Mercury that might have both liquid water and organic compounds? Only with the continued exploration of Mercury can we hope to make progress on these new questions."


For more information about the MESSENGER mission, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/me...ain/index.html and http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/
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Old 12-01-2012, 07:16 AM   #159
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Study contends Grand Canyon as old as dinosaur era

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The awe-inspiring Grand Canyon was probably carved about 70 million years ago, much earlier than thought, a provocative new study suggests — so early that dinosaurs might have roamed near this natural wonder.

Using a new dating tool, a team of scientists came up with a different age for the gorge's western section, challenging conventional wisdom that much of the canyon was scoured by the mighty Colorado River in the last 5 million to 6 million years.

Not everyone is convinced with the latest viewpoint published online Thursday in the journal Science. Critics contend the study ignores a mountain of evidence pointing to a geologically young landscape and they have doubts about the technique used to date it.

The notion that the Grand Canyon existed during the dinosaur era is "ludicrous," said geologist Karl Karlstrom of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.

How the Grand Canyon became grand — with its vertical cliffs and flat plateaus — has been debated since John Wesley Powell navigated the whitewater rapids and scouted the sheer walls during his famous 1869 expedition.

Some 5 million tourists flock to Arizona each year to marvel at the 277-mile-long chasm, which plunges a mile deep in some places. It's a geologic layer cake with the most recent rock formations near the rim stacked on top of older rocks that date back 2 billion years.

Though the exposed rocks are ancient, most scientists believe the Grand Canyon itself was forged in the recent geologic past, created when tectonic forces uplifted the land that the Colorado River later carved through.

The new work by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder and California Institute of Technology argued that canyon-cutting occurred long before that. They focused on the western end of the Grand Canyon occupied today by the Hualapai Reservation, which owns the Skywalk attraction, a horseshoe-shaped glass bridge that extends from the canyon's edge.

To come up with the age, the team crushed rocks collected from the bottom of the canyon to analyze a rare type of mineral called apatite. The mineral contains traces of radioactive elements that release helium during decay, allowing researchers to calculate the passage of time since the canyon eroded.

Their interpretation: The western Grand Canyon is 70 million years old and was likely shaped by an ancient river that coursed in the opposite direction of the west-flowing Colorado.

Lead researcher Rebecca Flowers of the University of Colorado Boulder realizes not everyone will accept this alternative view, which minimizes the role of the Colorado River.

"Arguments will continue over the age of Grand Canyon, and I hope our study will stimulate more work to decipher the mysteries," Flowers said in an email.

It's not the first time that Flowers has dug up evidence for an older Grand Canyon. In 2008, she authored a study that suggested part of the eastern Grand Canyon, where most tourists go, formed 55 million years ago. Another study published that same year by a different group of researchers put the age of the western section at 17 million years old.

If the Grand Canyon truly existed before dinosaurs became extinct, it would have looked vastly different because the climate back then was more tropical. Dinosaurs that patrolled the American West then included smaller tyrannosaurs, horned and dome-headed dinosaurs and duckbills.

If they peered over the rim, it would not look like "the starkly beautiful desert of today, but an environment with more lush vegetation," said University of Maryland paleontologist Thomas Holtz.

Many scientists find it hard to imagine an ancient Grand Canyon since the oldest gravel and sediment that washed downstream date to about 6 million years ago and there are no signs of older deposits. And while they welcome advanced dating methods to decipher the canyon's age, Karlstrom of the University of New Mexico does not think the latest effort is very accurate.

Karlstrom said it also defies logic that a fully formed canyon would sit unchanged for tens of millions of years without undergoing further erosion.

Geologist Richard Young of the State University of New York at Geneseo said his own work suggests there was a cliff in the place of the ancient Grand Canyon.

Flowers "wants to have a canyon there. I want to have a cliff there. Obviously, one of us can't be right," he said.

Whatever the age, there may be a middle ground, said Utah State University geologist Joel Pederson.

Researchers have long known about older canyons in the region cut by rivers that flow in a different direction than the Colorado River. It's possible that a good portion of the Grand Canyon was chiseled long ago by these smaller rivers and then the Colorado came along and finished the job, he said.

___
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Old 12-03-2012, 05:43 PM   #160
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Interesting stuff...

http://www.damninteresting.com/quant...d-immortality/

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Quantum Mechanics and Immortality

Article #67 • written by Alan Bellows

Quantum Mechanics is a curious area of study which began in the early 20th century when scientists began to discover that the theories of electromagnetism and Newtonian mechanics, which so elegantly describe the movements of normal objects, completely fell apart at extremely tiny atomic and subatomic scales. It soon became clear that a separate theory would be necessary to describe subatomic interactions, and thus Quantum Mechanics was born.

The theory of quantum mechanics describes a tiny realm completely foreign to the one we observe normally. At quantum levels, matter exists simultaneously as particles and as waves (wave-particle duality), a particle's position and momentum cannot be precisely known at the same time (Heisenberg uncertainty principle), and the state of two objects can be intertwined, regardless of the physical distance between them (quantum entanglement). Niels Bohr, one of the fathers of quantum mechanics, once said, "Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it."

The predictions of quantum mechanics have never been disproved in any experiments in over a century of development. It has been studied by brilliant minds including Albert Einstein and Richard Feynman, and though there is much disagreement about what it all means, there is little doubt that it is true. Some even think it provides us with a means to live forever.

Quantum mechanics is not in the business of exact predictions, rather it deals in probabilities when describing the position or momentum of a given particle at a certain time. This inexactness is not because the theory is incomplete, but because those qualities of a particle are inherently unpredictable with any precision; or to put it another way, because there seems to be some degree of randomness at play in the universe. Einstein was famously uncomfortable with this facet of quantum physics, asserting that "God does not play dice!" But despite spending a good deal of his life after 1925 trying to back up his assertion, he was never able to.

In 1957, a student named Hugh Everett suggested that perhaps the reason that a particle's outcome can't be predicted is not because of randomness, but because every possible outcome does occur. This idea led to the "many-worlds interpretation" (MWI) which postulates that at the quantum level, everything that can happen does happen, and that each possible outcome branches the universe into another which is at first identical aside from the alternate outcome. So the seemingly "random" outcome is actually just representative of the one possible outcome one's current universe happens to be based upon. The overlapping universes, between which no information can pass, would then continue to develop individually, each of them branching endlessly as well. Among physicists worldwide, this "multiverse" idea has become one of the most widely accepted interpretations of quantum physics.



On a larger scale, MWI would mean that everything which can happen will happen in at least one universe. Based on this, Max Tegmark at Princeton University suggested an experiment to prove that the many-worlds interpretation is correct, where one points a loaded gun at one's head, and pulls the trigger. If you were to try this test, it is highly unlikely that you would survive... but if the gun failed to go off, and continued to do so in subsequent tests, you could eventually become reasonably confident that you're in one of the branched universes where something caused the gun to misfire each time. Of course only the "you" in those "miraculous survival" universes would know this, the others would all be dead from gunshot wounds to the head.

Obviously this ridiculous test is not recommended, but if MWI is true, wouldn't that mean that there are universes where I decided to try this for myself, and in at least one of those universes I survived miraculously? This article is probably much more exciting in those universes. Incidentally, in this branch, my brain is currently trying to gnaw its way out of my skull in self-defense.

In such a way is the argument for Quantum Immortality made. Some say that regardless of the cause of death, if the many-worlds interpretation is true, then there will always be at least one branch where the "miraculous survival" scenario is realized, and that version of "you" will never die. Of course the odds are overwhelmingly against the possibility that anyone in this universe is a perpetual miraculous survivor. Although the whole idea is wildly speculative, quantum immortality violates no known laws of physics.
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Old 12-04-2012, 06:53 PM   #161
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Voyager 1 probe leaving solar system reaches "magnetic highway" exit

Gallery http://news.yahoo.com/photos/nasa-s-...085821548.html

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - NASA's long-lived Voyager 1 spacecraft, which is heading out of the solar system, has reached a "magnetic highway" leading to interstellar space, scientists said on Monday.

The probe, launched 35 years ago to study the outer planets, is now about 11 billion miles (18 billion km) from Earth. At that distance, it takes radio signals traveling at the speed of light 17 hours to reach Earth. Light moves at 186,000 miles per second).

Voyager 1 will be the first manmade object to leave the solar system.

Scientists believe Voyager 1 is in an area where the magnetic field lines from the sun are connecting with magnetic field lines from interstellar space. The phenomenon is causing highly energetic particles from distant supernova explosions and other cosmic events to zoom inside the solar system, while less-energetic solar particles exit.

"It's like a highway, letting particles in and out," lead Voyager scientist Ed Stone told reporters at an American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco.

Scientists don't know how long it will take for the probe to cross the so-called "magnetic highway," but they believe it is the last layer of a complex boundary between the region of space under the sun's influence and interstellar space.

"Our best guess is it's likely just a few months to a couple years away," Stone said.

Voyager 1 hit the outer sphere of the solar system, a region called the heliosphere, in 2004 and passed into the heliosheath, where the supersonic stream of particles from the sun - the so-called "solar wind" - slowed down and became turbulent.

That phase of the journey lasted for 5.5 years. Then the solar wind stopped moving and the magnetic field strengthened.

Based on an instrument that measures charged particles, Voyager entered the magnetic highway on July 28, 2012. The region was in flux for about a month and stabilized on August 25.

Each time Voyager re-entered the highway, the magnetic field strengthened, but its direction remained unchanged. Scientists believe the direction of the magnetic field lines will shift when the probe finally enters interstellar space.

Other clues that Voyager has reached interstellar space could be the detection of low-energy cosmic rays and a dramatic tapering of the number of solar particles, Stone said.

Voyager 1 and a sister spacecraft, Voyager 2, were launched 16 days apart in 1977 for the first flybys of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

Voyager 2, traveling on a different path out of the solar system, has experienced similar, though more gradual changes in its environment than Voyager 1. Scientists do not believe Voyager 2, which is about 9 billion miles (14.5 billion km) from Earth, has reached the magnetic highway.
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Old 12-04-2012, 09:37 PM   #162
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I'm worried Voyager 1 is going to be killed by something soon.

And then the conspiracies come.
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Old 12-05-2012, 03:59 AM   #163
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It will spin into a black hole, get flung across the galaxies, be repaired, become V'ger and come back to bite us in the ass.

Hasn't Star Trek taught you anything?
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Old 12-07-2012, 07:15 AM   #164
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To the moon? Firm hopes to sell $1.5 billion trips



WASHINGTON (AP) — Attention wealthy nations and billionaires: A team of former NASA executives will fly you to the moon in an out-of-this-world commercial venture combining the wizardry of Apollo and the marketing of Apple.

For a mere $1.5 billion, the business is offering countries the chance to send two people to the moon and back, either for research or national prestige. And if you are an individual with that kind of money to spare, you too can go the moon for a couple days.

Some space experts, though, are skeptical of the firm's financial ability to get to the moon. The venture called Golden Spike Co. was announced Thursday.

Dozens of private space companies have started up recently, but few if any will make it — just like in other fields — said Harvard astronomer Jonathan McDowell, who tracks launches worldwide.

"This is unlikely to be the one that will pan out," McDowell said.

NASA's last trip to the moon launched 40 years ago Friday. The United States is the only country that has landed people there, beating the Soviet Union in a space race to the moon that transfixed the world. But once the race ended, there has been only sporadic interest in the moon.

President Barack Obama cancelled NASA's planned return to the moon, saying America had already been there. On Wednesday, a National Academy of Sciences said the nation's space agency has no clear goal or direction for future human exploration.

But the ex-NASA officials behind Golden Spike do. It's that old moon again.

The firm has talked to other countries, which are showing interest, said former NASA associate administrator Alan Stern, Golden Spike's president. Stern said he's looking at countries like South Africa, South Korea, and Japan. One very rich individual — he won't give a name — has also been talking with them, but the company's main market is foreign nations, he said.

"It's not about being first. It's about joining the club," Stern said. "We're kind of cleaning up what NASA did in the 1960s. We're going to make a commodity of it in the 2020s."

The selling point: "the sex appeal of flying your own astronauts," Stern said.

Many countries did pony up millions of dollars to fly their astronauts on the Russian space station Mir and American space shuttles in the 1990s, but a billion dollar price tag seems a bit steep, Harvard's McDowell said.

NASA chief spokesman David Weaver said the new company "is further evidence of the timeliness and wisdom of the Obama administration's overall space policy" which tries to foster commercial space companies.

Getting to the moon would involve several steps: Two astronauts would launch to Earth orbit, connect with another engine that would send them to lunar orbit. Around the moon, the crew would link up with a lunar orbiter and take a moon landing ship down to the surface.

The company will buy existing rockets and capsules for the launches, Stern said, only needing to develop new spacesuits and a lunar lander.

Stern said he's aiming for a first launch before the end of the decade and then up 15 or 20 launches total. Just getting to the first launch will cost the company between $7 billion and $8 billion, he said.

Besides the ticket price, Stern said there are other revenue sources, such as NASCAR-like advertising, football stadium-like naming rights, and Olympic style video rights.

It may be technically feasible, but it's harder to see how it is financially doable, said former NASA associate administrator Scott Pace, space policy director at George Washington University. Just dealing with the issue of risk and the required test launches is inordinately expensive, he said.

Company board chairman Gerry Griffin, an Apollo flight director who once headed the Johnson Space Center, said that's a correct assessment: "I don't think there's any technological stumble here. It's going to be financial."

The company is full of space veterans; American University space policy professor Howard McCurdy called them "heavy hitters" in the field. Advisers include space shuttle veterans, Hollywood directors, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former U.N. Ambassador Bill Richardson and engineer-author Homer Hickam.
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Old 12-07-2012, 05:48 PM   #165
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Catfish Have Learned How To Hunt Pigeons

(video)
http://www.businessinsider.com/catfi...igeons-2012-12
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Old 12-07-2012, 06:24 PM   #166
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Looks like they were named properly.
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Old 12-08-2012, 06:37 AM   #167
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Haha - still, they're not very good at it - something like 28%
I wonder how many of them get stranded doing it?
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Old 12-08-2012, 01:36 PM   #168
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Bizarre Creature Found in 200-Million-Year-Old Cocoon


About 200 million years ago, a leech released a slimy mucous cocoon that unwittingly encased and trapped a bizarre animal with a springy tail, preserving it until researchers discovered the teardrop-shaped creature in Antarctica recently.

The cocoon looks like those produced by living leeches, such as the medicinal leech Hirudo medicinalis. Encased inside was a bell animal that looked similar to species in the genus Vorticella; its body extends 25 microns (about the width of some human hairs) with a tightly coiled stalk about twice that long. And like all eurkaryotes, the organism was equipped with a nucleus — in this case, a large horseshoe-shaped nucleus inside the main body. (A micron is one-millionth of a meter.)

This bell animal lived during the Late Triassic Period, when the Earth was much warmer, with dense rain forests flourishing along what is today the Transantarctic Mountain Range where it was found. At the time, Antarctica was part of the supercontinent Gondwana, though it was still located at high latitudes.

Past research has suggested this coiled stalk, which is used to attach to substrates, may be one of the fastest cellular engines known, changing from a telephone wirelike structure to a tight coil at a speed of about 8 centimeters (3.1 inches) per second — the equivalent of a human being walking the across more than three football fields in one second. [See Photos of the Bizarre Vorticella Creature]

Preserving soft tissue

Possibly even more amazing is the fact that this soft-bodied, microscopic creature survived the vagaries of time. Preserving a soft-bodied organism like this one for so long is tricky and requires some outside intervention to keep the tissues from degrading. In this case, rather than tree resin (called amber when hardened) that preserved dino DNA in the bellies of amber-trapped mosquitoes in "Jurassic Park," a mucous cocoon did the trick.

"This preservation is quite bizarre, but soft-bodied organisms cannot usually become fossilized unless they are rapidly entombed in a medium that prevents further decay," study researcher and paleobotanist Benjamin Bomfleur, of the Biodiversity Institute at the University of Kansas, told LiveScience.

Here's how the researchers think the hasty preservation took place: "A leech secreted a mucous cocoon that was deposited under water or in wet leaf litter, somewhere in a river system which lay in present-day Antarctica," Bomfleur said. This bell animal must have used its long, rapidly contracting stalk to attach itself to the cocoon soon after, becoming trapped and completely encased by the still-slimy cocoon, which hardened over hours to days.

"The cocoon with the such-enclosed bell animal then was deposited in mud that over time turned into the sedimentary layer where we found it some 200 million years later," Bomfleur explained.

The only other example of this type of preservation comes from a 125-million-year-old cocoon encasing a nematode worm and discovered in Svalbard.

Identifying the bizarre creature

When Bomfleur first noticed the tiny animal in samples he'd collected from Antarctica, he didn't know what he was looking at and didn't have time to consult with an expert in such microfossils, as he was working on his doctoral degree.

"Later this year, however, I finally found the time to look for someone with an expertise on freshwater microorganisms in order to get an expert opinion on the thing," Bomfleur said, adding he contacted Ojvind Moestrup of the University of Copenhagen.

Bomfleur recalled Moestrup looking at the fossil and saying, "It is often very hard or impossible to identify microfossils, but this one was easy. It is the ciliate Vorticella and the helical structure is the stalk."

Bomfleur and his colleagues detailed their research this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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Old 12-08-2012, 03:41 PM   #169
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I just finished that article on Quantum Mechanics. Fascinating stuff.

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Carl Sagan's "Pale Blue Dot"

http://vimeo.com/51960515#at=1
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Old 12-08-2012, 04:08 PM   #170
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I love how Carl Sagan seems to be getting a new audience these days.
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Old 12-09-2012, 06:29 AM   #171
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Beelions and Beelions of people have been interested in his work
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Old 12-09-2012, 10:22 AM   #172
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I just finished that article on Quantum Mechanics. Fascinating stuff.

----

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http://vimeo.com/51960515#at=1
Need to revisit this when I can actually sit down focus. Looks incredibly fascinating though.
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:12 AM   #173
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Scientists create brain cells from human urine

A new scientific study claims that human urine can be converted into brain cells. And the surprising discovery may extend beyond practical applications, allowing a way to circumvent the controversial debate over stem cell research.

The study, published online in Nature Methods and conducted by a team led by Chinese stem-cell biologist Duanqing Pei, found that cells generated from human waste might someday be used to study disease and even in therapeutic treatments for neurodegenerative diseases.

Plus, there's a potential added bonus to the discovery: Embryonic stem cells possess a high risk of developing tumors, which reportedly would not be an issue with cells taken from the urine samples.

The process works by transforming cells present in the urine into precursors of brain cells, known as neural progenitor cells. The study says the cells found in urine are a "much more accessible source" than cells found in skin and blood samples.

"This could definitely speed things up," James Ellis, a medical geneticist at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children in Ontario, Canada, told Nature.
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Old 12-11-2012, 03:25 PM   #174
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"Pee brain."
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Old 12-11-2012, 06:45 PM   #175
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lol
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