andrew@dawson.net.nz

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Welcome To The Inflatable Space Age

Up close with Robert Bigelow and his dream of habitable bubbles in space<p>This morning Robert Bigelow—budget hotel billionaire; paranormal investigator; space entrepreneur—unveiled the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), which will soon ship to Kennedy Space Center, stowed in a SpaceX rocket. …

APOD: The Potsdam Gravity Potato (2014 Dec 15) Image Credit: CHAMP, GRACE, GFZ, NASA, DLR http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap141215.html Explanation: Why do some places on Earth have higher gravity than others? Sometimes the reason is unknown. To help better understand the Earth's surface, sensitive measurments by the orbiting satellites GRACE and CHAMP were used to create a map of Earth's gravitational field. Since a center for studying this data is in Potsdam, Germany, and since the result makes the Earth look somewhat like a potato, the resulting geoid has been referred to as the Potsdam Gravity Potato. High areas on this map, colored red, indicate areas where gravity is slightly stronger than usual, while in blue areas gravity is slightly weaker. Many bumps and valleys on the Potsdam Gravity Potato can be attributed to surface features, such as the North Mid-Atlantic Ridge and the Himalayan Mountains, but others cannot, and so might relate to unusually high or low sub-surface densities. Maps like this also help calibrate changes in the Earth's surface including variable ocean currents and the melting of glaciers. The above map was made in 2005, but more recent and more sensitive gravity maps of Earth was produced in 2011. http://science.nasa.gov/missions/champ/ http://science.nasa.gov/missions/grace/ http://www.gfz-potsdam.de/en/home/ http://www.nasa.gov/ http://www.dlr.de/ Now Available: APOD 2015 Wall Calendars http://friendsofapod.org/?page_id=42 http://www.facebook.com/FoAPoD Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=141215 #APOD

How Iron Man's Arc Reactor (Probably) Works

Since the <i>Iron Man</i> arc reactor is a fictitious device, and it has no <i>official</i> scientific explanation in the Iron Man canon that I'm aware of, we might …

Adorable Blind Rescued Owl Has Eyes That Look Like Twinkling Stars

Meet Zeus, a blind Western screech owl with eyes that look like windows to another galaxy glittering with stars. The adorable little owl was found lying on a porch one morning after he flew into the side of the house because he was unable to see where he was going. After a visit to the vet, the …

Cute Animals

Superheroes Reimagined as 16th Century Paintings

What would it look like if Superman was born in the 16th century? What if the Hulk was a Duke? These are the questions photographer Sacha Goldberger asked himself when he created this playful new series <i>Super Flemish</i>. Some of our favorite pop culture characters like Darth Vader and Snow White got …

Art

Google wants to define a healthy human with its new baseline genetic study

Google's got a big new project and it's you. Well, not just you, but a genetic and molecular study of humanity that aims to grasp at what a healthy human should be. It's in its early days, collecting anonymous data from 175 people, but it plans to expand to thousands later. The project is headed up …

Planet Labs’ mini-satellites take flight toward the International Space Station

Advertisement<p>3 Comments<p>Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls<p>The Antares rocket that launched today to journey to the International Space Station contained 2,780 …

Google frees Chromecast from Wi-Fi bonds, adds screen mirroring, ‘Backdrop’ and more

At Google I/O 2014 today, Google announced some forthcoming updates to its popular Chromecast streaming dongle for televisions. In addition to a new …

Google

Solving ‘the violence equation’ in Lichdom: Battlemage

<i>Read our full Lichdom: Battlemage review.</i><p>Most role-playing games let players define their roles with endless choices and customizations. <i>Lichdom:</i> …

RPGs

Unearthed 1992 MTV News Nirvana Footage Features Kurt Cobain's Mom's Doubts About Fame, Plus Teenage Phil Elverum (Microphones/Mt. Eerie)

Back on September 11, 1992, Nirvana was deep in the aftermath of the one-year-old <i>Nevermind</i>. When they headed back to their native Seattle for a homecoming gig, MTV News showed up to interview some ecstatic fans, as well as members of Kurt Cobain's family. As Stereogum points out (via Noisey/Washed …

Automatic launches on Android, dismisses your friends when you drive

If you're a car fan making do with a slightly older ride, Automatic's $99 Link dongle is a neat thing to have around: it tracks your trips, monitors your fuel consumption, and lets you know when you're being a leadfoot. It used to be that only Apple acolytes could get their Automatic dongles …

This machine uses molecular gastronomy to make 3D-printed ‘fruit’

3D printers can pump out a wide variety of different foods these days — everything from candy and chocolates to pizza and pancakes. But now, thanks …

Amazing

Earth's Radiation Belts May Hold Secret To Speedy Electrons

Huge electric fields in the radiation belts around Earth may help explain how electrons surrounding the planet can be accelerated to speeds near that of light, researchers have found in a new study.<p>These findings, detailed Dec. 2 in the journal Physical Review Letters, could help shed light on the …

5 Bar Tricks You Can Do With Science

Courtesy of Tim Shaw, whose television show launches tonight<p>As Kurt Vonnegut wrote in his classic <i>Cat's Cradle</i>, "science is magic that works." The same can be applied to these seemingly magical bar tricks, which are not really tricks but based in simple physics and science. They were shown to me by …

Neil DeGrasse Tyson Likes The Video That Makes Him Sound Stoned

So he showed it at a lecture<p>Astrophysicist and new <i>Cosmos</i> host Neil deGrasse Tyson speaks quickly, efficiently, and entertainingly about the biggest ideas in the universe. But slow down his speech and he sounds absolutely stoned out of his gourd, as a recent video proved. ("How does that work?" he …

Colossal ‘Hole’ in Space Could Be Link to Universe Beyond Our Own

<b>Colossal ‘Hole’ in Space Could Be Link to Universe Beyond Our Own</b><p>So, three cosmologists, an engineer, and a banker are speaking at a conference. The …

Astrophysics

Facebook Unveils Hack, A New Programming Language For More Reliable Code

Facebook wants to make it easy for developers to write and ship code quickly. To that end, on Thursday, it released Hack, an open-source language that it claims will allow developers to build bug-free code fast.<p>Ten years ago, Facebook started out as a website coded in PHP, a scripting language …

Does the Chromecast have what it takes to convert HTPC diehards?

Late last month, Google stunned us all when it released the Chromecast HDMI dongle, a $35 streaming stick that’s capable of bringing Netflix, …

Smart TV

Caramelized Onion, Gruyere + Pepper Bacon Whole Wheat Pizza

In a large bowl, combine water, yeast, honey and olive oil. Mix with a spoon, then let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add in 2 cups flour and …

Recipes

Plans to make H7N9 bird flu virus more virulent in high-security tests

Scientists say genetically modifying the H7N9 virus in the lab will help drive efforts to develop pandemic drugs and vaccines<p>Scientists have unveiled plans to genetically engineer a lethal strain of bird flu to understand how it could mutate in nature and trigger a catastrophic pandemic.<p>The H7N9 …

Google's 'Looney' Internet Balloons Invade New Zealand

Google has launched — quite literally — a new idea to bring the Internet to some of the world's remotest places.<p>The tech giant's engineering hothouse, Google X, is testing the use of 12-mile-high helium balloons to get coverage in areas where it's impractical to put in conventional …

Water Landscapes Around the World Showcase Nature's Beauty

<b>This post is brought to you by Poland Spring Brand 100% Natural Spring Water.</b><p>When you first hear the word landscape, what comes to mind? Do you think of mountains, hills or the general countryside? In fact, landscape is more broadly defined as “all the visible features of an area of land” which …

Siberia

Fire in the Night – review

Anthony Wonke's Fire in the Night tells the gripping and heartwrenching story of the 1988 Piper Alpha disaster in the North Sea: the explosion and …

Periodic Table of THE MUPPETS

More data storage: how to fit 1000 terabytes on a DVD

We live in a world where digital information is exploding. Some 90 per cent of the world's data was generated in the past two years. The obvious …

Nanotech

Chinese Supercomputer Is Now The World's Fastest - By A Lot

Every six months, the Top500 organization reveals its list of the world’s fastest supercomputers. And for the past few lists, there’s been a lot of movement. In June 2011, it was Japan’s “K” supercomputer. In June 2012, it was IBM‘s Sequoia. In November 2012, Cray took the lead with its Titan …

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