Stormy star negates aliens — A red dwarf about 35 light-years from here is spewing powerful, life crushing solar flares. These commonality of these types of stellar objects lead to speculation that our galaxy is less habitable than we thought. A new study published in The Astrophysical Journal suggests planets in orbit around red dwarfs may be subject to tremendously powerful and frequent solar flares, making it difficult — if not impossible — for life to emerge in such systems.
~ So be careful, everyone! We’re still the biggest threat to ourselves.
Photogenic ice moons — The two Saturnian moons are night and day when you put them side by side, yet they’re made from the same material. Both moons are largely ice, with a dense, rocky core composed of silicate minerals.
But while Enceladus (in the background) is a smooth white snowball from afar (up closer, you’d see craters on its north pole and cracks across its southern ice sheet), Dione’s surface is darker, and distinctly battered. [Main picture, above.]
~ OK, I admit I only posted this story coz I like the picture.
Identifying satellites in real time for your location — Line of Sight is an extraordinary map created by Patricio Gonzalez, an artist and engineer at the open-source mapping startup Mapzen. Using metadata about the thousands of orbiting satellites is available through sources like SatNOGS, Gonzalez’s map monitors satellites as they criss-cross the globe, allowing you to track specific spacecraft or learn when and where you should look to see those passing over your house. You just click on the lines to see what the satellites (or space junks) are.
~ Short comment: ‘cool!’ Long comment: ‘c-o-o-o-o-o-o-l-!!’
Life as information — Michigan State University Professor Cristop Adami takes the analytical perspective provided by information theory and transplants it into a great range of disciplines, including microbiology, genetics, physics, astronomy and neuroscience. Lately, he’s been using it to pry open a statistical window onto the circumstances that might have existed at the moment life first clicked into place.
~ I get it: 1+1 equals kids (sometimes).
Digestible health centre — Developed by researchers at MIT, a pill-sized sensor uses a tiny microphone to measure acoustic waves produced by the beat of your heart and the rise and fall of your lungs. From there, the sensor calculates your heart rate and breathing rate, wirelessly beaming data to an external receiver. Your doc can download the vitals and immediately analyse them for signs of trouble — without calling you into his office and making you don a paper muumuu.
~ Hope its sugar-coated.
Growing vocal cord tissue — Engineers have for the first time grown vocal cords from human cells. Science reports: “For the first time, scientists have created vocal cord tissue starting with cells from human vocal cords. When tested in the lab, the bioengineered tissue vibrated – and even sounded – similar to the natural thing.”
Speedy micro-submarines — The new Unimolecular Submersible Nanomachines (USNs) consist of 244 atoms that, when bound together in a particular formation, comprise a single-molecule device that’s powered by ultraviolet light. With each full revolution of the sub’s tail-like propeller, the device moves forward 18 nanometres. The motors run at more than a million RPMs, allowing for a top speed of slightly less than one inch per second.
~ But so far, no torpedoes.
Microbial animal threw the evolutionary rulebook out the window — One organism seems to have thrown the rulebook out the window: a microbial animal that offers a striking example of evolution run “backwards.” The myxozoa is a microscopic, twelve-celled parasite whose cousins include decidedly macroscopic jellyfish and corals.
~ No intelligent designer, anyway.