10 apps that are the next best thing to being in space — Most of us won’t ever visit space. But space has been brought to us, in the form of images and data collected for years by spacecraft, satellites and telescopes. Here are the 10 best online, interactive apps that allow you to explore space from your computer. Grab your mouse, Ensign — you have the helm.
~ And all without the vacuum.
Political hot air helps ozone — Finally, some good news about our troubled atmosphere: A UN study shows that the ozone layer is displaying early signs of thickening after years of depletion. It’s on the road to recovery — an achievement scientists say is due to political will.
~ Someone tell National.
Scientists capture the sound made by a single atom — Researchers at Columbia University and Sweden’s Chalmers University of Technology say that they have, for the first time, “captured” the sound a single atom makes when it is excited — a single “phonon,” as it were.
~ And there’s me thinking ‘Kanyé West for some reason’.
CERN tests first artificial retina capable of looking for high energy particles — Pattern recognition is one of the few areas where humans regularly outperform even the most powerful computers. But surprisingly, our brains only do part of the work. The most basic pattern recognition — edge detection, line detection and the detection of certain shapes — is performed by the complex circuitry of neurones in the retina. Now a team at CERN has built and tested an artificial retina capable of identifying particle tracks in the debris from particle collisions.
~ Every home should have one.
Information Theory places new limits on origin of life — Most research into the origin of life focuses on the messy business of chemistry, on the nature of self-replicating molecules and on the behavior of autocatalytic reactions. Now one theorist says the properties of information also place important limits on how life must have evolved, without getting bogged down in the biochemical details.
~ I always figured death was a fairly incontrovertible limit.
Bike lanes speed New York traffic — Although narrower streets can slow traffic, that doesn’t seem to have happened here — perhaps because traffic in this area was crawling at around 20kph to begin with. Just one major improvement to intersection design helped them handle more, while also letting bikes travel more safely: a pocket lane for left-hand turns: a devoted turning lane at most intersections that takes the place of the parking lane, which gets cars out of the way of moving traffic when they’re making a left.
~ Left turn helps society. Now there’s a surprise.
Rural areas in the US may soon get high-speed wi-fi over unused tv bands —If you live out in the less densely inhabited regions, chances are good that high-speed internet in your area is pretty hard — if not impossible — to come by. That could soon change thanks to a team from Rice University who hacked currently unused, Ultra High Frequency (UHF) TV spectrum into a high-speed, wireless internet pipeline.
~ Listen up, Kiwi farmers, there is hope.
Australians design smart rescue boat — A new ‘smart’ search and rescue boat could soon be patrolling your local shores, all by itself. ‘Bruce’ was developed by a team of six students from Australia’s Queensland University of Technology for Google’s upcoming Maritime RobotX Challenge, which will be held in Singapore late next month.
~ That is smart.
US Army’s laser war truck can now see (and shoot) through fog — The problem with the current iterations of combat laser prototypes is they can easily be foiled by suspended condensation: smoke, fog and other obscurants deflect and diffract the beam as it’s en-route to its target. The HEL MD, however, proved earlier this year that the solution is simple: Just increase the power of the laser enough to burn through everything — including incoming mortar rounds.
~ That’s progress, right?
Bone armour — Archaeologists working near Omsk in Siberia have discovered a complete suit of bone armour. Found in near perfect condition, the unique armour dates back to the Bronze Age.
A suit of armour like this, which was buried at a depth of 1.5 meters and found without its unknown owner, has never been seen before in the Omsk region. Further analysis is required, but preliminary estimates place it between 3500 to 3900 years old. The artefact was found near the Irtysh River at a site of a sanatorium where there are plans to build a five star hotel.
~ That’s rather GoT.
Unreal Stonehenge finds — Using powerful ground-penetrating radar, investigators working around Stonehenge have detected a trove of previously unknown burial mounds, chapels, shrines, pits — and most remarkable of all — a massive megalithic monument made up of more than 50 giant stones buried along a 1082-foot-long c-shaped enclosure by using a magnetometer, a ground-penetrating radar (GPR), and a 3D laser scanner (main picture).
~ And guess what they were used for? You may as well, that’s what everyone else is doing.