Capuchin by faboarts
|7:19:04 PM, Friday, January 07, 2011|
|5:52:05 PM, Friday, January 07, 2011|
-- This past Christmas Eve, December 24th, Spanair flight from Barcelona to Las Palmas arrived close to midnight. 190 people were flying while everyone else celebrated Christmas Eve, so Spanair decided to surprise the full flight of people with unexpected luggage at the carousel.
Giant Cave Pictures: World's Biggest Found in Vietnam
|4:43:38 AM, Friday, January 07, 2011|
“Cavers' headlamps light up the towering walls of Vietnam's Son Doong cave, the largest single cave passage yet found. First explored earlier this year by a joint British-Vietnamese team, the cave measures at least 262-by-262 feet (80-by-80 meters) in most places and is at least 2.8 miles (4.5 kilometers) long.
"For a couple of kilometers it is more than 140 meters [460 feet] wide and 140 meters [460 feet] high," said Adam Spillane, a member of the British Cave Research Association expedition that explored the massive cavern.
Son Doong beats out the previous world record holder, Deer Cave in theMalaysian section of the island of Borneo, conceded Andy Eavis, president of the International Union of Speleology and discoverer of the now demoted Deer Cave.”
Astronomy Picture of the Day: Eclipsing the Sun
|4:21:38 AM, Friday, January 07, 2011|
“Skywatchers throughout much of Europe, North Africa, and Central Asia, were treated to the first eclipse of the new year on January 4, a partial eclipse of the Sun.
But traveling to the area around Muscat, capital city of Oman, photographer Thierry Legault planned to simultaneously record two eclipses on that date, calculating from that position, for a brief moment, both the Moon and the International Space Station could be seen in silhouette, crossing the Sun. His sharp, 1/5000th second exposure is shown here, capturing planet Earth's two largest satellites against the bright solar disk. As the partial solar eclipse unfolded, the space station (above and left of center) zipped across the scene in less than 1 second, about 500 kilometers from the photographer's telescope and camera. Of course, the Moon was 400 thousand kilometers away. Complete with sunspots, the Sun was 150 million kilometers distant.”
Food: A Taste of Things to Come?
|3:36:40 AM, Friday, January 07, 2011|
“Researchers are sure that they can put lab-grown meat on the menu — if they can just get cultured muscle cells to bulk up.
Mark Post has never been tempted to taste the 'fake' pork that he grows in his lab. As far as he knows, the only person who has swallowed a strip of the pale, limp muscle tissue is a Russian TV journalist who visited the lab this year to film its work. "He just took it with tweezers out of the culture dish and stuffed it in his mouth before I could say anything," says Post. "He said it was chewy and tasteless."
Post, who works at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, is at the leading edge of efforts to make in vitro meat by growing animal muscle cells in a dish. His ultimate goal is to help rid the world of the wasteful production of farm animals for food by helping to develop life-like steaks. In the near term, he hopes to make a single palatable sausage of ground pork, showcased next to the living pig that donated its starter cells — if he can secure funds for his research.
Post started out as a tissue engineer interested in turning stem cells into human muscle for use in reconstructive surgery, but switched to meat a few years ago. "I realized this could have much greater impact than any of the medical work I'd been doing over 20 years — in terms of environmental benefits, health benefits, benefits against world starvation," he says. Largely because of the inefficiency of growing crops to feed livestock, a vegetarian diet requires only 35% as much water and 40% as much energy as that of a meat-eater1. Future 'in-vitrotarians' should be able to claim similar savings…”
China: Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing Technology Has Been Mastered
|3:23:31 AM, Friday, January 07, 2011|
“BEIJING — Chinese scientists have mastered the technology for reprocessing fuel from nuclear power plants, potentially boosting the supplies of carbon-free electricity to keep the country's economy booming, state television reported Monday.
The breakthrough will extend by many times the amount of power that can be generated from China's nuclear plants as fissile and fertile materials are recovered to be new fuel, CCTV said.
Several European countries, Russia, India and Japan already reprocess nuclear fuel – the actual materials used to make nuclear energy – to separate and recover the unused uranium and plutonium, reduce waste and safely close the nuclear cycle.
The CCTV report gave no details on whether or when China would begin reprocessing on an industrial scale.
China overtook the United States as the world's largest energy consumer in 2009, years before it was expected to do so, according to the Paris-based International Energy Agency.
But it is heavily dependent on coal, a major pollutant. It has 13 nuclear power plants in use now and ambitiously plans to add potentially hundreds more.
Reprocessing nuclear fuel costs significantly more than using it once and storing it as waste. It is also controversial because extracted plutonium can be used in nuclear weapons, although China has long had a nuclear arsenal.
U.S. commercial reprocessing of plutonium was halted by then-President Jimmy Carter because of nuclear proliferation worries. Then-President George W. Bush proposed a resumption, but the National Research Council found it not economically justifiable. President Barack Obama scrapped the Bush effort…”
-- China, China, China...
Dana Carvey - Cat on the Piano & Choppin' Broccoli
|11:30:21 PM, Thursday, January 06, 2011|
The AI Revolution Is On
|9:49:14 PM, Thursday, January 06, 2011|
“The computers are in control. We just live in their world.Diapers.com warehouses are a bit of a jumble. Boxes of pacifiers sit above crates of onesies, which rest next to cartons of baby food. In a seeming abdication of logic, similar items are placed across the room from one another. A person trying to figure out how the products were shelved could well conclude that no form of intelligence—except maybe a random number generator—had a hand in determining what went where.But the warehouses aren’t meant to be understood by humans; they were built for bots. Every day, hundreds of robots course nimbly through the aisles, instantly identifying items and delivering them to flesh-and-blood packers on the periphery. Instead of organizing the warehouse as a human might—by placing like products next to one another, for instance—Diapers.com’s robots stick the items in various aisles throughout the facility. Then, to fill an order, the first available robot simply finds the closest requested item. The storeroom is an ever-shifting mass that adjusts to constantly changing data, like the size and popularity of merchandise, the geography of the warehouse, and the location of each robot. Set up by Kiva Systems, which has outfitted similar facilities for Gap, Staples, and Office Depot, the system can deliver items to packers at the rate of one every six seconds.The Kiva bots may not seem very smart. They don’t possess anything like human intelligence and certainly couldn’t pass a Turing test. But they represent a new forefront in the field of artificial intelligence. Today’s AI doesn’t try to re-create the brain. Instead, it uses machine learning, massive data sets, sophisticated sensors, and clever algorithms to master discrete tasks. Examples can be found everywhere: The Google global machine uses AI to interpret cryptic human queries. Credit card companies use it to track fraud. Netflix uses it to recommend movies to subscribers. And the financial system uses it to handle billions of trades (with only the occasional meltdown)…”
Transparent Cement Lets in Light
|8:23:32 PM, Thursday, January 06, 2011|
"Not many people would use the word "transparent" to describe cement. But transparent cement made its debut at the Italian Pavilion during the World Expo last year in Shanghai, and its qualities are pretty remarkable.
The complete process has not been revealed by manufacturer Italcementi, but the technology is based on a matrix of cement embedded with resins that are designed to allow a certain amount of light through without compromising the material's integrity..."
WTF of the Day: Funky Forest - After School Club
|5:04:27 PM, Wednesday, January 05, 2011|
-- Best movie ever. Watch this gem at your own risk! I forgot I've added this to to my YouTube faves awhile back. Might cause recurring nightmares! Hmm... I guess it's safe for work?!?
A Typical Day of Air Traffic - Each Dot Represents an Airplane
|1:15:40 PM, Wednesday, January 05, 2011|
'Liquid Biopsy' Blood Test Could Revolutionise Cancer Treatment
|8:02:59 PM, Tuesday, January 04, 2011|
"A new “liquid biopsy” blood test that could revolutionize the way doctors monitor and tackle the spread of cancer is being developed by scientists.
The test is sensitive enough to detect a stray cancer cell among a billion blood cells, which would indicate that an existing tumour has spread elsewhere in the body or is likely to.
It also shows if the level of blood-borne cancer cells falls in response to treatment, giving doctors a clearer gauge of success, and analyses the cells’ biological makeup to inform predictions of their next move.
The test could replace the painful tissue sampling currently used to monitor the growth of tumours, and could eventually be used instead of procedures like mammograms or colonoscopies to screen for new cancers.
Four large cancer hospitals across the US will begin testing the procedure this year. They will use the test to discover more promptly whether their treatments of patients’ existing cancers are proving effective.
Dr Daniel Haber, one of the test’s inventors, said: “If you could find out quickly, ‘this drug is working, stay on it,’ or ‘this drug is not working, try something else,’ that would be huge..."”
Penguin Takes a Risky Path, Uses Seal as Stepping Stone
|7:56:52 PM, Tuesday, January 04, 2011|
-- Like a BOSS!
Landart Trigram by Otik Skalicky
|7:47:54 PM, Tuesday, January 04, 2011|
Astronomers Find First Evidence Of Other Universes
|2:06:53 PM, Tuesday, January 04, 2011|
“Our cosmos was "bruised" in collisions with other universes. Now astronomers have found the first evidence of these impacts in the cosmic microwave background.
There's something exciting afoot in the world of cosmology. Last month, Roger Penrose at the University of Oxford and Vahe Gurzadyan at Yerevan State University in Armenia announced that they had found patterns of concentric circles in the cosmic microwave background, the echo of the Big Bang.This, they say, is exactly what you'd expect if the universe were eternally cyclical. By that, they mean that each cycle ends with a big bang that starts the next cycle. In this model, the universe is a kind of cosmic Russian Doll, with all previous universes contained within the current one.
That's an extraordinary discovery: evidence of something that occurred before the (conventional) Big Bang.
Today, another group says they've found something else in the echo of the Big Bang. These guys start with a different model of the universe called eternal inflation. In this way of thinking, the universe we see is merely a bubble in a much larger cosmos. This cosmos is filled with other bubbles, all of which are other universes where the laws of physics may be dramatically different to ours.
These bubbles probably had a violent past, jostling together and leaving "cosmic bruises" where they touched. If so, these bruises ought to be visible today in the cosmic microwave background…”
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