Reanne

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The Year Ahead (And Behind) in Robotics

The biggest trends, good and bad, shaping robotics right now<p>2014 was light on cool new robots. Or, to be more accurate, robots that actually did anything. The studious sort might point out that automation powered some of the biggest technology stories of the year, including the Chinese “Foxbots” …

Watch Jumbo Asteroid Zip Past Earth

A passing space rock should offer a rare, bright viewing treat for sky-watchers.<p>A mountain-size space rock will sail past Earth on Monday, offering stargazers a close look at an interplanetary pinball. Luckily, NASA says there is no risk of collision, but it will be a rare astronomically close …

Astronomy

Put Down Your Phone, Give Your Brain a Break

Journeying to the Building Blocks of the Solar System

Scientists Engineer Bacteria With Genetic 'Kill Switch'

Behind the Scenes of the Explorers Club

Conserving Cuba’s Coral Reefs

Mass Death of Seabirds in Western U.S. Is 'Unprecedented'

Why are so many auklets, from California to Canada, starving?<p>In the storm debris littering a Washington State shoreline, Bonnie Wood saw something grisly: the mangled bodies of dozens of scraggly young seabirds.<p>Walking half a mile along the beach at Twin Harbors State Park on Wednesday, Wood …

Birds

APOD: Light from Cygnus A (2015 Jan 24) Image Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; Optical: NASA/STScI; Radio: NSF/NRAO/AUI/VLA http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap150124.html Explanation: Celebrating astronomy in this International Year of Light, the detailed image reveals spectacular active galaxy Cygnus A in light across the electromagnetic spectrum. Incorporating X-ray data ( blue) from the orbiting Chandra Observatory, Cygnus A is seen to be a prodigious source of high energy x-rays. But it is actually more famous at the low energy end of the electromagnetic spectrum. One of the brightest celestial sources visible to radio telescopes, at 600 million light-years distant Cygnus A is the closest powerful radio galaxy. Radio emission ( red) extends to either side along the same axis for nearly 300,000 light-years powered by jets of relativistic particles emanating from the galaxy's central supermassive black hole. Hot spots likely mark the ends of the jets impacting surrounding cool, dense material. Confined to yellow hues, optical wavelength data of the galaxy from Hubble and the surrounding field in the Digital Sky Survey complete a remarkable multiwavelength view. http://chandra.harvard.edu/ http://www.stsci.edu/ http://www.nrao.edu/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=150124 #APOD

Freshly Eaten Snake Makes Amazing Escape—Find Out How

Newly published photographs show a snake fleeing from the belly of another.<p>A snake remarkably escaped from a larger snake that swallowed it whole on the Greek island of Corfu, according to recently published photographs.<p>In 2011, the wild reptile, a Dahl's whip snake <i>(Platyceps najadum)</i>, wriggled its …

Zoology

Remembering the Moment Black Holes Went Mainstream

Chin-chin: US company toasts anti-fat drug to make double chins history

Experimental ATX-101 seeks to end curse of the double chin Company claims more than 90% success, non-serious side effects<p>There may soon be a way to get rid of an undesirable double chin, without going under the knife.<p>ATX-101, an experimental drug made by the California-based Kythera …

Stick-On Tattoo Measures Blood Sugar Without Needles

Sweet news for diabetics<p>Diabetics often prick their fingers up to eight times a day to check their blood sugar. Researchers have long looked for a solution that provides constant monitoring without being so invasive, and researchers at the University of California San Diego have come up with a new …

India's Tigers May Be Rebounding, in Rare Success for Endangered Species

New population numbers reflect better tracking and progress against poaching, say scientists.<p>More money has been spent on tiger conservation than on preserving any other species in the world, yet wildlife biologists have been seemingly unable to stop the decline of the iconic big cat in the face of …

Wildlife

Upside-Down Icebergs, Living Fossil Sharks, And Other Amazing Images Of The Week

APOD: A Twisted Solar Eruptive Prominence (2015 Jan 25) Video Credit: SOHO Consortium, EIT, ESA, NASA http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap150125.html http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/image/1501/proanim3_soho_640.mp4 Explanation: Ten Earths could easily fit in the "claw" of this seemingly solar monster. The monster, actually a huge eruptive prominence, is seen moving out from our Sun in this condensed half-hour time-lapse sequence. This large prominence, though, is significant not only for its size, but its shape. The twisted figure eight shape indicates that a complex magnetic field threads through the emerging solar particles. Differential rotation of gas just inside the surface of the Sun might help account for the surface explosion. The five frame sequence was taken in early 2000 by the Sun-orbiting SOHO satellite. Although large prominences and energetic Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) are relatively rare, they are again occurring more frequently now that we are near the Solar Maximum, a time of peak sunspot and solar activity in the eleven-year solar cycle. http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/ http://www.esa.int/ http://www.nasa.gov/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=150125 #APOD

Little solar halo observer

A big moment for a sky photographer and his son, in Sweden.<p>Göran Strand in Östersund, Sweden – who has contributed other wonderful sky photographs to …

Astronomy

Laser-Blasted Metal Forms A Self-Cleaning Non-Stick Surface

The technique could make faster vehicles and improve sanitation in the developing world<p>Water, the key to life on our planet, can sometimes be one of our greatest enemies – especially when it comes to its interactions with metals. Air moisture triggers the formation of rust and corrosion on metal …

What’s a safe distance between us and a supernova?

And how many potentially exploding stars are located within the unsafe distance?<p>A supernova is a star explosion – destructive on a scale almost …

Universe

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft zooms in on Pluto

Pluto, get ready for your close-up.<p>After traveling nine years across more than 3 billion miles of space, a spacecraft the size of a grand piano is about to give humanity its first high-resolution view of the dwarf planet that's about two-thirds the size of our moon.<p>Nobody knows what the rendezvous …

Astronomy

Obama Proposes New Protections For Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

The Obama administration is proposing new protections for large portions of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The U.S. Department of Interior says it's the first time it's recommended additional protections and that their new recommendations have the potential to be one of the largest …

Forests

Scientists Slow Down The Speed Of Light As It Travels Through Air

"Faster than the speed of light” might be more of a relative statement now<p>Light passes through air at about 299,000,000 meters per second, an accepted constant that hasn’t been challenged—until now. By manipulating a single particle of light as it passed through free space, researchers have found a …

APOD: The Milky Way over the Seven Strong Men Rock Formations (2015 Jan 26) Image Credit & Copyright: Sergei Makurin http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap150126.html Explanation: You may have heard of the Seven Sisters in the sky, but have you heard about the Seven Strong Men on the ground? Located just west of the Ural Mountains, the unusual Manpupuner rock formations are one of the Seven Wonders of Russia. How these ancient 40-meter high pillars formed is yet unknown. The persistent photographer of this featured image battled rough terrain and uncooperative weather to capture these rugged stone towers in winter at night, being finally successful in February of last year. Utilizing the camera's time delay feature, the photographer holds a flashlight in the foreground near one of the snow-covered pillars. High above, millions of stars shine down, while the band of our Milky Way Galaxy crosses diagonally down from the upper left. https://500px.com/makurin007 Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=150126 #APOD

Heavy snow spells end of early Spring

Snowfall could abruptly end the early arrival of snowdrops, hazel catkins and butterflies following the warmest year since records began<p>The early arrival of spring following the warmest year on record could be dramatically reversed when heavy snow arrives later this week.<p>Snowdrops and hazel catkins …

The official and unofficial stories of Google in space

Google have invested in SpaceX, a company founded on the idea of private space flights to Mars. But there are alternative narratives for the tech giant’s race into space<p>A week ago, Elon Musk launched his new SpaceX satellite lab in Seattle. He plans to provide satellite internet access via a …

Visualize the sun’s path through Milky Way

Sirius is easy to find. It’s the sky’s brightest star on the sky’s dome. When you look at it, you’re looking backwards along our solar system’s path …

Astronomy

A Robotic Water Snake To Sniff Out Pollution [Video]

Slithering snakebot will be let loose in Lake Geneva<p>As it glides through the pool, its resemblance to an eel is eerie--an eel, perhaps, that someone borrowed from a backyard tool shed.<p>This is the amphiBot -- a nearly meter-long black and yellow piece of plastic with the body of a machine and the …

Samsung-made chips tipped to power the majority of Apple's next iPhone

Samsung will reportedly power the majority of the next-generation iPhone according to Korea's <i>Maeil Business Newspaper</i>. The report says that the Korean company will claim 75 percent of processor chip production for Apple's next smartphone: Samsung one of a few companies that have the scale to …