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Big nanotech: an unexpected future | Eric Drexler

How we deal with atomically precise manufacturing will reframe the future for human life and global society<p>In my initial post in this series, I asked, "What if nanotechnology could deliver on its original promise, not only new, useful, nanoscale products, but a new, transformative production …

Astronauts and cosmonauts call for global cooperation on asteroid threat

“Asteroid impacts have dramatically altered the course of life on Earth and a rogue asteroid will certainly strike Earth, posing a global threat to …

Internet of light: scientists achieve 10-gigabit data speeds using LEDs

A group of UK-based researchers just had a breakthrough in their attempt to develop "visual light communication," a way to transfer data wirelessly over the internet using light bulbs.<p>Scientists have announced data transfer speeds of more than 10 gigabits — about 10 times faster than a Google Fiber …

Comet Ison Challenge: Photo Contest Offers Cash Prizes

A Comet Ison photo challenge has been launched for astronomers and others interested in space.<p>The National Science Foundation is offering a $2,500 …

WIRED Space Photo of the Day 2013 | WIRED

Jan. 19, 2014: Solar X-Flare<p>The largest sunspot group of the solar cycle unleashed a large (X1.2 class) flare just when it was facing right towards …

Tiny Dragonfly Backpacks Reveal Mysteries of the Brain

Scientists are wiring the insects to better understand how motion is controlled.<p><b>In a windowless room in northern Virginia, neuroscientist Anthony Leonardo is about to open a door. Quickly. "There are thousands of fruit flies in there, and we don't want them all to escape," he says.</b><p>The fruit flies …

Halloween is a cross-quarter day

The 4 cross-quarter days fall between equinoxes and solstices. Halloween is the spookiest one – derived from a sacred festival of ancient Celts and …

Astronomy

Study suggests long-ago collisions among Pluto satellites

A new computer model suggests a series of Pluto satellites colliding, breaking to pieces, moving outward and then rebuilding.<p>A large impact four …

Shedding light on the moon’s dark side

Tonight – February 12, 2019 – the moon is at or near its first quarter phase, which means the portion of the moon we see from Earth is 50% …

Astronomy

Does our perception of the Universe match its reality?

Centuries of human thought created our concept of the Universe we live in. But artist and futurist David McConville thinks our perception of it may be wrong.<p>Mankind has created the idea of the Universe - and it’s an idea that has shaped the way we think of our place in reality. But it is only a …

Universe

A lonely planet without a star

An international team of astronomers has discovered an exotic young planet that is not orbiting a star.<p>This free-floating planet, dubbed PSO …

African Elephants Understand Human Gestures

African elephants correctly interpret human pointing cues to find hidden food, without being trained to do so.<p><b>It turns out African elephants really do get the point. New research suggests these gray pachyderms can follow human gestures—like pointing—just as dogs are able to follow when we point to</b> …

APOD: NGC 891 Edge-on (2013 Oct 11) Image Credit & Copyright: Adam Block, Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter, Univ. of Arizona http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap131011.html Explanation: This sharp cosmic portrait features NGC 891. The spiral galaxy spans about 100 thousand light-years and is seen almost exactly edge-on from our perspective. In fact, about 30 million light-years distant in the constellation Andromeda, NGC 891 looks a lot like our Milky Way. At first glance, it has a flat, thin, galactic disk and a central bulge cut along the middle by regions of dark obscuring dust. The combined image data also reveal the galaxy's young blue star clusters and telltale pinkish star forming regions. And remarkably apparent in NGC 891's edge-on presentation are filaments of dust that extend hundreds of light-years above and below the center line. The dust has likely been blown out of the disk by supernova explosions or intense star formation activity. Faint neighboring galaxies can also be seen near this galaxy's disk. http://www.caelumobservatory.com/ http://skycenter.arizona.edu/ http://www.as.arizona.edu/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=131011 #APOD

Raw images from Juno spacecraft’s Earth flyby

More images will be released soon, from Juno’s flyby of Earth on Wednesday. Plus check out a simulation of Juno’s unique perspective on Jupiter in …

How to Find a Rogue Planet

A team of astronomers used a wide-range survey telescope to look for failed stars. What they found instead appears to be the closest free-floating planet to Earth.<p><b>Approximately 80 light years from Earth</b>, a planet wanders alone. Without a star to tether it to a single orbit, the newly discovered PSO …

Element of the week: bohrium | video

This week's element is bohrium, which has the atomic symbol <b>Bh</b> and atomic number <b>107</b>. This element was named in honour of Nobel Prize winning Danish physicist Niels Bohr.<p>As with all the other super-heavy transactide elements we've been learning about these past few months, bohrium is a radioactive …

How A Black Hole Sleeps

It ate a bunch of stellar gas and now it needs a nap.<p>Think of black holes as bottomless devouring machines? Not so much, it turns out: the black hole at the center of the Sculptor galaxy, about 13 million light years away, is currently taking a wee little napsy.<p>We first spied this black hole about …

Are we on the brink of the first mile-high building?

Skyscrapers are getting bigger, as cities race to break the record for the tallest tower. But in the future, they may become cities themselves, helping mitigate urban sprawl.<p>You have just closed the door behind you and your dog is already jumping up your leg, demanding you take him for a walk. …

Absurd Creature of the Week: The Human-Sized Salamander That Smells Like Pepper

Author: Matt Simon. Matt Simon Science<p>Date of Publication: 10.11.13.<p>Time of Publication: 6:30 am. 6:30 am<p>Hugs! <i>Image: NGT / National Geographic</i> …

Otzi the ice man's relatives 'found' in Austria

Austrian scientists believe they have found the descendants of a human mummy, 5,300 years after he died and was preserved in ice high on a glacier in the Austrian Alps.<p>Experts from Innsbruck Medical University compared DNA samples taken from the mummy, nicknamed Otzi, with those taken from 3,700 …

Lack of rain can mean no new crabs

Dry conditions can delay or even cancel red crabs’ annual mating process on Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Island, both Australian …

Zoology

Big Pic: A Jumping Spider's Crazy, Hairy Legs

A little gross, and totally amazing.<p>The ground-dwelling jumping spider is a fearsome beast. It can scale vertical surfaces with ease and spring 25 times its body length to nab prey. Its legs are the eight crucial tools responsible for the pounce, but until recently, the evolutionary origin of some …

APOD: Cometary Globules (2013 Oct 12) Image Credit & Copyright: Subaru Telescope (NAOJ) & DSS; Assembly and Processing: Robert Gendler http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap131012.html Explanation: Bright-rimmed, flowing shapes gather near the center of this rich starfield toward the boarders of the nautical southern constellations Pupis and Vela. Composed of interstellar gas and dust, the grouping of light-year sized cometary globules is about 1300 light-years distant. Energetic ultraviolet light from nearby hot stars has molded the globules and ionized their bright rims. The globules also stream away from the Vela supernova remnant which may have influenced their swept-back shapes. Within them, cores of cold gas and dust are likely collapsing to form low mass stars, whose formation will ultimately cause the globules to disperse. In fact, cometary globule CG30 (upper right in the group) sports a small reddish glow near its head, a telltale sign of energetic jets from a star in the early stages of formation. http://www.robgendlerastropics.com/ http://www.naoj.org/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=131012 #APOD

Planet With No Sun Discovered Floating Through Space

A planet with no sun was spotted by astronomers, according to astronomers in Hawaii this week. The sun-less planet is reportedly six times the size …

Lasers 3-D Print A Home For Bacteria

Microscopic bacteria cages contain communities for study.<p>Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin are building a zoo. You can't visit its inhabitants, or look inside, but it's filled with cages where entire communities can thrive. Microscopic cages. Made out of what's basically Jell-O. Oh, …

Stellar Graveyard Shows Signs of Possible (Past) Life

The next time you gaze up at the night sky, remember that you’re looking at a graveyard. The Milky Way is studded with dead stars, from black holes …

Nanoribbon material keeps gases captive

An enhanced polymer could make vehicles that run on compressed natural gas more practical, and even prolong the shelf life of bottled beer and …

Natural Gas

Comet-chasing mission Rosetta: 100 days to wake-up

Rosetta will wake up soon from deep-space hibernation to reach the comet it has been cruising towards for a decade.<p>ESA’s comet-chasing mission …

Escape from LA: why is the US pathetically unprepared for an earthquake?

It's a countdown to catastrophe — but it doesn't have to be<p>According to some estimates, Californians face a 99 percent likelihood of experiencing a major earthquake within the next three decades — and odds are good that it'll strike in the vicinity of either Los Angeles or San Francisco. …

Thousands flee as Cyclone Phailin approaches India’s east coast

Cyclone Phailin is now officially the strongest storm ever measured in the Indian Ocean. It is striking India’s east coast today.<p><b>October 12, 2013,</b> …