Futurology ~ Planets, watch Soviet sci-fi, tabletop particle accelerators, Blitz composites, lost Mayan city, Eric the robot, world’s oldest axe


You can now watch Soviet-era sic-fi movies online, in English (overdubbed) or with subtitles). This still is from a 1981 movie.
You can now watch Soviet-era sic-fi movies online for free, in English (overdubbed) or with subtitles). This still is from a 1981 movie called Through The Thorns To The Stars. It will be cool when Apple Watch can do this!

NASA’s Planet Hunter spots record 1284 new planets, 9 in a habitable zone — NASA’s planet hunting space telescope Kepler added a record 1284 confirmed planets to its already impressive discoveries of extraterrestrial worlds. Nine of these orbit in their sun’s habitable zones (the distance from a star where orbiting planets can have surface temperatures that allow liquid water to pool). With the addition of these nine, 21 exoplanets now are known to be members of this select group.
~ Maths was right.

Soviet sci-fi online — Free to watch, overdubbed into English and/or with English subtitles. There are some classics here including Takovski’s Stalker.
~ They range from hilarious to genius.

Better tabletop particle accelerators — A new generation of tabletop accelerators has the potential to accelerate electrons to near the speed of light, without the need for gigantic machines like the Large Hadron Collider. But that all-important energy beam is too spread out for optimal performance. An international team of physicists has figured out a way to address this shortcoming and described their method in a new paper in Physics of Plasmas.
~ Parse the salt.

British museum wants to rebuild Eric, the grandfather of robots — In 1928, only seven years after Czech writer Karel Capek first used the word ‘robot’, the United Kingdom built a working automaton of their own, unimaginatively named Eric. Now, almost 90 years later, a museum wants to rebuild him.
~ He could only sit down, stand up, jerk his limbs about and utter a few canned phrases. They should have called him John Key. 

In this digital composite image a comparison has been made between a London scene during the Blitz of 1940-1941 and present day, to remember the 75th anniversary of the end of the Blitz in London on May 11, 2016.  *** FILE PHOTO (#108634022) - A bus is left leaning against the side of a terrace in Harrington Square, Mornington Crescent, in the aftermath of a German bombing raid on London in the first days of the Blitz, 9th September 1940. The bus was empty at the time, but eleven people were killed in the houses. (Photo by H. F. Davis/Topical Press Agency/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)  *** (#528814632) LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 21:  A view of modern social housing near Mornington Crescent on April 21, 2016 in London, England. The Blitz aerial bombing offensive lasted for eight months during the early stages of the Second World War, including 57 consecutive nights of raids on the city of London. On the evening of Saturday May 10, 1941 the Luftwaffe mounted its last major bombing raid of the Blitz on London, known as 'The Longest Night', bringing to an end a deadly campaign that killed over 20,000 people in the capitol, left another 1.5 million Londoners homeless and changed the London landscape more than at any time since the Great Fire of 1666. The British fortitude and defiance amidst such chaos gave rise to the term 'Blitz spirit'.  (Photo by Jim Dyson/Getty Images)

Frightening composite photos retell the terror of the London Blitz — One of the main reasons the Nazi Germany finally lost World War II was Hitler’s failed strategic bombing campaign of the United Kingdom. The Blitz lasted for eight months from September 1940 to May 1941, and the Luftwaffe bombers attacked 16 British cities. Over 267 days, London was attacked 71 times, including a staggering 57 consecutive nights of raids on the capital. New digital composite images make a tragic yet heroic comparison between scenes of London in 1940 and 1941 and present day to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the Blitz in London on 11 May 2016.
~ But the Blitz did manage to kill my maternal grandfather Charles Wright – he was one of 20,000 dead; 1.5 million were made homeless.

Teen may have discovered a lost Mayan city using ancient star maps — Using an unprecedented technique of matching stars to the locations of temples on Earth, a 15-year-old Canadian student reckons he’s discovered a forgotten Maya city in Mexico. Images from space suggest he may actually be onto something — but experts say it’s something much simpler.
~ Well, I found a pub this way. It was down the road and around the corner.

The world’s oldest axe, dating back at least 46,000 years, has been uncovered in Australia — Already, there’s a mystery surrounding it. The axe was originally found in a dig during the 1990s, but researchers from Australian National University only recently managed to identify and date the object, the results of which they published in Australian Archaeology. It’s the first instance ever found of an axe with a handle attached. The next doesn’t show up in the archaeological record for over another 10,000 years.
~ The mystery is about what it it was used for. Well, chopping things, duh!

 

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