Tag Archives: archaeology

Futurology ~ Pulsar nav, Magnetohydrodynamic Drive, air power, cancer test, snow Jandals, 3D printed drugs, NZ burrowing bat, iridescent dino


We used to think of dinosaurs in beige …

Pulsars to navigate space — Last week, Keith Gendreau and a team of NASA researchers announced they had finally proven that pulsars can function as a cosmic positioning system. Gendreau and his team performed the demonstration quietly last November, when the Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (a pulsar-measuring instrument the size of a washing machine, currently aboard the International Space Station) spent a weekend observing the electromagnetic emissions of five pulsars. With the help of an enhancement known as the Station Explorer for X-ray Timing and Navigation Technology (aka Sextant), Nicer was able to determine the station’s position in Earth’s orbit to within roughly three miles – while it was traveling in excess of 27,358kph (17,000mph).
~ Space is quite big, so not an unreasonable margin of error. 

The Magnetohydrodynamic Drive is real and you can build one — In the old movie The Hunt for Red October, the Russians built a so-called ‘caterpillar drive’ using hydro-magneto power instead of the traditional propeller. This new drive is way quieter than the traditional type, so quiet it could sneak up on the United States and blow it up. Here is the cool part: this magnetohydrodynamic drive, which turns water into a sort of rotor, is real. In fact, it’s pretty simple to build. All you really need is a battery, a magnet and some wires. Oh, also this will have to operate in salt water, so you might need some salt. Here is the basic setup.
~ Sure, the water gets pushed, but you can do it much better with a propeller.

Battery sucks power from the air — The Cota Forever Battery has the same size, form factor and power output of a traditional AA battery, but it can be inserted into a battery-powered device to instantly and easily make it compatible with Cota wireless power transmitters. Imagine never have to change the batteries in your TV remotes ever again, or not having to stay on top of countless IOT devices in your home that are constantly demanding a charge.
~ Yes, imagine all the strenuous effort this will save. An sucks power from the air? That’s how I’ve always thought about Coronation Street.

Blood test for cancer — The new test, developed at Johns Hopkins University, looks for signs of eight common types of cancer in just a blood sample and may prove inexpensive enough for doctors to give during a routine physical. Although the test isn’t commercially available yet, it will be used to screen 50,000 retirement-age women with no history of cancer as part of a $50 million, five-year study with the Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania, a spokesperson with the insurer said.
~ Gadzooks, let’s hope it works. 

Snow Jandals — Snowshoes have been around for 5700 years, but this year Boulder, Colorado–based Crescent Moon has made the world’s first all-foam version (left – click it for a bigger view). Velcro bindings keep your shoes strapped to a teardrop-­shaped platform made from two layers of ethylene-vinyl acetate, or EVA, the same stuff used to fashion flip-flops. The snowshoes might look low-tech, but the combination of cleats and tire-like treads provide ample traction, especially on hardpack trails.
~ No more sinking feeling.  

3D print your own drugs — Someday soon, you might be making your own medicines at home. That’s because researchers have tailored a 3D printer to synthesize pharmaceuticals and other chemicals from simple, widely available starting compounds fed into a series of water bottle-size reactors. The work, they say, could digitize chemistry, allowing users to synthesize almost any compound anywhere in the world.
~ Yeah, can’t see any problems emerging from that. Grand plan. 

New Zealand’s burrowing bat — All but three land mammal species living on New Zealand were brought by modern humans, beginning around 800 years ago – and all three of those native mammal species are bats. But a newly discovered bat fossil suggests there may be more species hiding in the isle’s ancient rock. A team of researchers from Australia, New Zealand and the US announced that they have discovered evidence of an extinct bat species called Vulcanops jennyworthyae. The bat itself is weird: it was big and probably burrowed in the ground. But it also reveals a stranger evolutionary history of mammals on the island.
~ The 20 million-year-old bat teeth were pretty large, suggesting the bat was omnivorous and weighed around 40 grams.

English fossil palace — Turns out building blocks of Buckingham Palace (and a whole bunch of other buildings around the world) are made of 200 million year old microbes. Oolitic limestone is almost completely made of millimetre-sized spheres of carbonate called ooids, made from concentric layers of mineralised microbes.
~ Apt, since it houses fossilised royalty. 

Dino-bird had iridescent plumage — Caihong juji, a tiny, Jurassic-era dinosaur that lived 161 million years ago in what is now China was feathered theropod with an iridescent, rainbow coloured ring of feathers around its neck.
A nearly complete skeleton of Caihong juji – a name that means “rainbow with the big crest” in Mandarin – was discovered by a farmer in China’s Hebei Province in 2014. Researchers from the University of Texas at Austin and Shenyang Normal University have been taking a close look at it, releasing their findings in Nature Communications. Palaeontologist Dongyu Hu, the lead author of the new study, says the newly discovered dinosaur contained a curious mix of ancient and modern features, including iridescent plumage seen in some living ʻbirds.
~ But scientists speculating on what that plumage may have been for is wildly speculative, imo. 

Futurology 15 ~ Mars comet, inhabitants, tractor beam, gamer tanks, engineering cells, high Ice age, tattooed cannabis smoker mummy


You can fit all the planets in the Solar System back to back into the distance from the Earth to the moon — about 384,400kms
You can fit all the planets in the Solar System back to back into the distance from the Earth to the moon

Good fit— All the planets in the Solar System can fit back to back into the distance from the Earth to the moon — about 384,400km — with 8030kms to spare. Seeing it visualised (above) really gives you a good idea of how much empty space is out there.
~ And with another million kms, the sun fits too. 

Mars Orbiters survive unprecedented encounter with comet Siding Spring— Last week, comet Siding Spring hurled past Mars at half the distance between the Earth and moon, bringing a massive cloud of dust along with it. To protect its space-based assets, space agencies employed precautionary measures, and they appear to have worked.
~ They did this by tweaking their orbits.

Mission to Mars suits women — A mission to Mars should have an all-female crew, says Kate Green, who participated in a simulated expedition. Over five weeks, the female crew members expended less than half the calories of the men and at mealtimes, the women ate smaller portions. Less food means a lighter spacecraft payload and reduced fuel.
~ And how about the food for the rest of their lonely and stranded lives?

Aussie tractor beam — Laser physicists from Australia built a reversible tractor beam capable of retrieving tiny particles. It’s nowhere near as strong as the beams portrayed in scifi, but it’s the first long-distance optical tractor beam capable of moving particles one fifth of a millimetre in diameter a distance of up to 20cm.
~ Scale it up a few thousand times and it might be useful. Or you could just pick something up with your hands.

Old paper may have had clues to Dark Matter — A paper from an experiment conducted 32 years ago may shed light on the nature of dark matter, the mysterious stuff whose gravity appears to keep the galaxies from flying apart.
~ I am happy or the subject to remain Dark.

British military seeking gamers to pilot tanks — The British branch of the global defense firm General Dynamics is working on a futuristic state-of-the-art smart-tank to replace the British Army’s ageing armoured vehicles, for 2020. The Scout SV will be the first fully-digitised armored fighting vehicle built for the British Army, and is far bigger and more durable than any of its existing tanks, now at least 20 years old. So they’re looking for the type of people who play Xbox games: “tech-savvy people who are able to take in a lot of information and process it in the proper way”.
~ The gamer’s ultimate justification has arrived.

Engineered cells to fight cancer — Researchers from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital have successfully cultivated stem cells that will kill brain cancer cells in mice without damaging healthy cells.
~ Mice get all the breaks.

Buildings to sweat for cooling — Our reliance on air conditioning, however magical an innovation, has become a serious environmental burden. So researchers in Barcelona have designed a material they say can naturally cool rooms by about 5C using a moisture-absorbing polymer that “sweats” much like our own bodies.
~ Welcome to my hydroceramic home.That smell is deodorant.

ATLAS getting faster and faster at simple human tasks — ATLAS Is Getting Faster and Faster At Simple Human Tasks
Oh, sure, we all pointed and laughed at ATLAS when it was first revealed, stumbling over simple obstacles. But deep down we knew that, like our original iPods, it would quickly evolve into something far more capable. Just over a year later, ATLAS is already tackling simple obstacles with ease.
~ Ah, the fascination with making things do what we do easily. 

Highest Ice Age settlement — Researchers working in the Peruvian Andes have found an ice age camp located 14,760 feet (4,500 meters) above sea level. It’s so high the archaeologists were surprised ancient humans could survive up there.
~ I’m even surprised archaeologists can survive up there.

2500 year old mummy smoked dope and was covered in tattoos — In 1993, Russian scientist Natalia Polosmak discovered the remains of a 25-year-old woman covered in tattoos who came to be known as the Ukok Princess. An MRI has now revealed the young woman was suffering from breast cancer, a bone marrow infection at the time of her death, and scientists have stated she most likely used cannabis to treat herself.
~ Somehow I suspect the tats weren’t a rose, and anchor and ‘Mum’.