norman carr

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APOD: A Laser Strike at the Galactic Center (2013 Dec 01) Image Credit: Yuri Beletsky (ESO) Explanation: Why are these people shooting a powerful laser into the center of our Galaxy? Fortunately, this is not meant to be the first step in a Galactic war. Rather, astronomers at the Very Large Telescope (VLT) site in Chile are trying to measure the distortions of Earth's ever changing atmosphere. Constant imaging of high-altitude atoms excited by the laser -- which appear like an artificial star -- allow astronomers to instantly measure atmospheric blurring. This information is fed back to a VLT telescope mirror which is then slightly deformed to minimize this blurring. In this case, a VLT was observing our Galaxy's center, and so Earth's atmospheric blurring in that direction was needed. As for inter-galaxy warfare, when viewed from our Galaxy's center, no casualties are expected. In fact, the light from this powerful laser would combine with light from our Sun to together appear only as bright as a faint and distant star. Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page #APOD


From Paper, A Stylus That’s Like A Pencil

By the team behind Paper, this isn’t any old stylus. If the Pencil takes off, the iPad may never be the same.<p>The iPad never came with a stylus. Steve Jobs’s famous quip was, “God gave us 10 styluses–let’s not invent another.” In some ways the quote epitomizes Apple’s legacy of design simplicity, …

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