Saturday, December 27, 2014
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Saturday, December 20, 2014
The bedrock, nicknamed "Cumberland," is Curiosity's second drilling site on the Red Planet. After drilling into the rock, NASA tested what's called the "D-to-H" ratio in the water, which compares the amounts of deuterium (heavy hydrogen) and normal hydrogen in the compound. Compared to the water vapor present in Mars' atmosphere, the water within Cumberland has roughly twice as much hydrogen. NASA says the tests confirm that most of the water present on the surface of Mars disappeared at least 3.9 billion years ago.
Also present in the water? Organic molecules, which are the first found by Curiosity. Hydrogen was present (as it's a part of water), but carbon was also found in the same drilling sample. The findings, "...shed light on a chemically active modern Mars and on favorable conditions for life on ancient Mars."
"This first confirmation of organic carbon in a rock on Mars holds much promise," said MIT's Roger Summons, who works on the Curiosity team as a Participating Scientist. "The challenge now is to find other rocks on Mount Sharp that might have different and more extensive inventories of organic compounds."'
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Speed. That's key to ending the Ebola epidemic, says the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dr. Thomas Frieden is visiting West Africa this week to figure out how to reduce the time it takes to find new Ebola cases and isolate them.
Otherwise, Ebola could become a permanent disease in West Africa.
The computing giant launched a preview of is Skype Translator project today, with the first iteration supporting English and Spanish.
A video demonstration showed two students -- one in the United States, one in Mexico, using the software to have a conversation in their native languages.
Sunday, December 14, 2014
"Today's Mars is dry and probably has been that way for 2 billion years, but at one time Mars was shaped by water," said Ashwin Vasavada, NASA's deputy project scientist for the Mars rover Curiosity. "Rivers, lakes and ground water were present for millions of years. The atmosphere must have been thicker. Mars must have been warmer... and the climate system must have been loaded with water."
Mars at one time had the right ingredients and the right environment to support life, even if only in microbial form.
Friday, December 12, 2014
The Office of Naval Research reported Wednesday that its laser weapons system -- dubbed LaWS -- had performed flawlessly in tests aboard the amphibious transport dock USS Ponce in the Arabian Gulf from September to November.
"Laser weapons are powerful, affordable and will play a vital role in the future of naval combat operations," Rear Adm. Matthew L. Klunder, chief of naval research, said in a statement. "We ran this particular weapon, a prototype, through some extremely tough paces, and it locked on and destroyed the targets we designated with near-instantaneous lethality."
Klunder said the laser performed so well that the commander of the Ponce is now authorized to use it in defense of the vessel, according to a report from the U.S. Naval Institute.
"The captain of that ship has all of the authorities necessary if there was a threat inbound to that ship to protect our sailors and Marines (and) we would defend that ship with that laser system," Klunder is quoted as saying in a USNI report.
The laser could be used to stop threats ranging from drones and helicopters to small patrol boats, Klunder said, according to the USNI report.
Navy video released Wednesday shows the LaWS hitting exactly those types of targets. Watching the video, you can't see any light beam as you might expect from watching science fiction movies. Instead, the targets just burn up.
The Navy says the laser weapon is safer than conventional arms that use propellants and explosive warheads, and more cost-effective.
"At less than a dollar per shot, there's no question about the value LaWS provides,
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
On Dec 9, 2014, at 8:52 AM, <larry.r.trout> wrote:
'Scientists have found a way to accelerate subatomic particles to an energy gradient 1,000 times that of the massive Large Hadron Collider at CERN — all with a device that would fit on a tabletop.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkely National Lab used a specialized petawatt laser and plasma to speed up the particles. Known as a laser-plasma accelerator, it allows physicists to shrink the standard accelerator, which in the case of CERN is miles long, to much more compact machines, according to Gizmag.
Scientists shot plasma with a laser and produced energy of 4.25 giga-electron volts. The Large Hadron Collider, which is 17 miles in circumference and uses a series of modulated electromagnetic fields, can only achieve 100 mega-electron volts per meter before the energy starts to threaten the metal structure that holds it together.
The device put together by the Berkeley Lab is just a plasma tube that is 3.5 inches long, achieving a speed that would typically take many miles for a standard particle accelerator.
There is a catch, however: The approach of laser-plasma accelerators is entirely different, and used one of the most powerful lasers in the world, the Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator (BELLA), which produced a beam of light that equates to a quadrillion watts of power, or a petawatt. Researchers focused the laser on the small tube that contained the plasma.
The team was able to focus the laser beam into a 500 micro hole from a distance of 14 meters, which produced huge waves of rolling energy that accelerated free electrons in the plasma, similar to how a surfer increases its speed while going down the face of a wave, according to the report.'
At a stroke, this device removes the pain of learning one's mother tongue, and explains how a child can pick up a native language in such a short time. It's brilliant. Chomsky's idea dominated the science of language for four decades. And yet it turns out to be a myth. A welter of new evidence has emerged over the past few years, demonstrating that Chomsky is plain wrong…'