Futurology 18 ~ Comet mania and other interesting new from the future


The satellite Giotto got to a mere 600 meters of the famous fiery Halley's comet
The satellite Giotto got to a mere 600 meters of the famous fiery Halley’s comet

Can these seven words really define all life in the Universe? We might not know the meaning of life, but a group of scientists working for NASA came up with a definition for it that’s just seven words long: Self-sustaining chemical system capable of Darwinian evolution. But does this truly encompass all life, including the types we have yet to discover?
~ I doubt it. 

A 30-year history of getting closer to comets — How close have we come to comets before? i09 has a roundup. (Main picture: Halley’s comet from just 600 metres away.)

Photographs from the comet — Boulders seem to defy gravity in the view below, apparently clinging to the steep sides of the larger lobe of the comet — although, of course, it is all a matter of the orientation of the image and the local gravity vector.
~ If you ask me, the comet seems to defy gravity too. And what would you eat there? I reckon ‘Philae gumbo.’

Dark Magma — The magma fueling the volcanoes of Hawaii and Yellowstone National Park pipes from deep inside the planet. Scientists have struggled to understand why there are hot spots there, so distant from the grinding tectonic plate boundaries at which volcanoes normally appear. New research chalks the mystery up to ‘dark magma’: deep underground pockets of red-hot molten rock that siphon energy from Earth’s core.
The way heat flows from the core to the mantle could potentially affect the way Earth’s magnetic field evolves over time.
~ My advice it so leave it alone. 

Made of mushrooms, the drone decomposes when you lose it
Made of mushrooms, this drone just decomposes when you lose it (apart from the rotors, wires and battery)

Mushroom drones decompose when the crash land — It may not look much different to a regular drone, but that’s a good thing — because this little UAV is made from biological materials that allow it to biodegrade and simply melt into its surroundings.
~ Hopefully it’s not for military use – imagine the ignominy of being assassinated by a mushroom.

Wikipedia disease forecasting — Scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratory have used Wikipedia logs as a data source for forecasting disease spread. The team was able to successfully monitor influenza in the United States, Poland, Japan, and Thailand, dengue fever in Brazil and Thailand, and tuberculosis in China and Thailand. The team was also able to forecast all but one of these (tuberculosis in China) at least 28 days in advance.
~ Do tell, then. What’s next and where?

The rise of a vaccine-resistant strain of Polio — Globally, Polio has been eradicated in countless countries. It should only be a matter of time before it goes the way of Smallpox, but there are a few hold-outs where the virus is stubbornly hanging on. This story is about a virus’s last ditch effort to survive.
~ Ah, yeah, Congo again.