Berkely hunts Alien Megastructure — Since it was first suggested that the flickering star known as KIC 8462852 might be a Dyson Sphere, telescope-toting astronomers associated with the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) have been scouring the system for signs of aliens. Now, the most well-funded SETI program on Earth, UC Berkeley’s Breakthrough Listen, is getting in on the hunt.
~ Tabby’s Star is ‘astonishingly weird …’
Sun tilt points at Planet 9 — Planet Nine, the undiscovered planet at the edge of the solar system that was predicted by the work of Caltech’s Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown in January 2016, appears to be responsible for the unusual tilt of the Sun, according to a new study.
~ The study has eclipsed others.
Software ruined the Mars landing — Researchers with the ExoMars mission are pointing to a potential software glitch as the cause of last week’s crash of the Schiaparelli lander. The challenge now will be to isolate and correct the error in hopes of preventing a repeat in 2020, when mission planners aim to land a much larger rover on the Red Planet.
~ Note to self: don’t dare say ‘Windows …’
Space travel is bad for your back — New research shows that astronauts who return from extended missions in space experience a significant weakening of their spinal muscles. Disturbingly, their back muscles don’t return to normal even after several weeks back on Earth.
~ At least space travel is good for the imagination.
Molten salt reactors could also power Mars stations — NASA has had concrete plans to send people to the Red Planet since 2010—with target dates in the 2030s. But whoever gets there first, the power problem remains. Astronomer Frank Shu has a great idea that could work: a type of nuclear reactor that’s cheaper, safer, and more efficient than the ones currently in wide use.
~ My condiments to that scientist.
Winter predictable a year in advance — Thanks to supercomputer technology granted by the UK Government in 2014, a £97 million high-performance computing facility has allowed researchers to increase the resolution of climate models and to test the retrospective skill of forecasts over a 35-year period starting from 1980… The forecasters claim that new supercomputer-powered techniques have helped them develop a system to accurately predict North Atlantic Oscillation: the climatic phenomenon which heavily impacts winters in the UK.
~ I really don’t think this is such a breakthrough. For thousands of years, the British winter has been utterly predictable as ‘very wet and incessantly miserable’.
All the stuff you can do with the MacBook Pro’s new Touch Bar — Apple’s first big update to the product line since 2012 is thin, light, and sports a giant trackpad, but the flashiest change by far is the Touch Bar.
~ Sorry, couldn’t resist. It’s high tech, though …
Survive climate change with a good community — The variable that best explained the pattern of mortality during the Chicago heat wave was what people in my discipline call social infrastructure, and this has implications for dystopia.
~ Yeah, yeah, yeah yeah.
Rich people don’t pay attention to other people — In a small recent study, researchers from New York University found that those who considered themselves in higher classes looked at people who walked past them less than those who said they were in a lower class did.
~ Certainly explains why I have so much time for people.