redeyed gnome

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DARPA's XS-1 spacecraft could hit speeds of Mach 10

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” buzz has already kicked off, but in the real world, the US military has taken a step closer to making advanced spacecraft a reality.<p>The XS-1 is airplane-like space vehicle that can fly to space and rapidly launch small satellites, space weapons, and more into orbit at …

Space Exploration

Astronomers Want Your Vote to Help Name 32 Alien Worlds

A global contest to name 32 alien planets has entered the home stretch.<p>The public can now vote on a list of proposed common names for the 32 exoplanets, as well as most of their host stars, in the International Astronomical Union's "NameExoWorlds" competition. Voting is open through Oct. 31, and …

Universe

Voters to decide whether Ohio will become first Midwest state to legalize pot

Ohio will vote on a constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana in November, state officials announced Wednesday.<p>If the measure passes, Ohio would become the fifth state and the first in the Midwest to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, in addition to the District of Columbia.<p>A …

NATO and Russian war games could spur real conflict, analysts warn

Russia and NATO have been staging military exercises designed to confront a threat from the other, raising the danger of an accidental collision or misunderstanding that could provoke actual war, European security analysts warn.<p>Russia and the Western military alliance have increased the scope and …

Middle East

Afghan president in last-ditch attempt to repair ties with Pakistan

Ashraf Ghani sends top spy, diplomat and defence chief to Islamabad, but warns decisions made in coming weeks will affect bilateral ties for years<p>The Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, has sent his top spy, diplomat and defence chief to Pakistan for a last-ditch attempt to rescue a relationship which …

Alien-planet imager discovers the most Jupiter-like world ever found

A new instrument on Earth designed to image planets far outside the solar system has discovered its first planet, and it's the most Jupiter-like …

News, Sports, Weather, Entertainment, Local Lifestyle

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U.S.: Russian planes flew near California, Guam, in upped activity

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The head of U.S. air forces in the Pacific said on Monday that Russia’s intervention in Ukraine had been accompanied by a significant increase in Russian air activity in the Asia-Pacific region in a show of strength and to gather intelligence.<p>General Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle …

Security Insiders: NATO Unprepared to Counter Newly Aggressive Russia

A whop­ping three-quar­ters of <i>Na­tion­al Journ­al</i>‘s Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity In­siders said the NATO al­li­ance is not pre­pared to counter a newly …

Geopolitics

North Korea conducts 'live-fire drill'

North Korea has begun a live-fire drill near its maritime border with South Korea, one month after a similar exercise triggered the exchange of hundreds of artillery shells across the disputed boundary.<p>The firing began at about 2 PM local time (0500 GMT) and no rounds appeared to have landed south …

Major League Gaming is building an arena in China

Major League Gaming is teaming up with two other companies to build its first dedicated arena, in a tourist city near Hong Kong, to open in 2017, the eSports series announced this week.<p>MLG called the arena, to be built on Hengqin Island, "a true stadium and the first of its time," in an interview …

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Gabe Newell: Linux is the future of gaming, new hardware coming soon | Ars Technica

Valve chief blasts PC market, promises big news is coming next week.<p>Gabe Newell, the co-founder and managing director of Valve, said today that Linux …

How mercury poisons gold miners and enters the food chain

<b>About 15% of the world's gold is produced by artisanal and small-scale miners, most of whom use mercury to extract it from the earth. In Indonesia, the industry supports some three million people - but the miners risk poisoning themselves, their children and the land.</b><p>Fahrul Raji, a man in his early …

Pollution

American poverty figure edges up to 46.5 million

<b>The number of Americans in poverty rose slightly last year to 46.5 million, according to US Census data, despite a stock market recovery.</b><p>The figure edged up from 46.2 million in 2011, meaning the national poverty rate remains unchanged at 15%.<p>It is the sixth year in a row that the rate failed to …

Demographics

NASA's Newest Space Telescope Sends Back Its First Images of the Sun, and They're Gorgeous

Early evidence suggests that IRIS is going to be a feast for those who love pretty pictures of space.<p>Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics/NASA<p>Last month, NASA launched a new telescope, known as IRIS, into space to study the sun. Today we got our first glimpse of what IRIS is seeing, and ... …

Quake rattles New Zealand, but no deaths reported

New Zealand's capital was cleaning up Monday after a strong earthquake that shook the city and left authorities scrambling to make sure buildings were safe.<p>The quake struck about 35 miles (57 kilometers) south of Wellington in the channel between New Zealand's northern and southern islands. …

Cassini probe takes image of Earth from Saturn orbit

<b>Nasa has released photos of the Earth and Moon taken by a spacecraft orbiting Saturn - nearly a billion miles away.</b><p>Our planet and its only satellite appear only as dots in the picture, which was taken by the Cassini spacecraft on 19 July.<p>Scientists wanted to pay homage to the "Pale Blue Dot" image …

Astronomy

Scientists discover what’s killing the bees and it’s worse than you thought

As we’ve written before, the mysterious mass die-off of honey bees that pollinate $30 billion worth of crops in the US has so decimated America’s <i>apis mellifera</i> population that one bad winter could leave fields fallow. Now, a new study has pinpointed some of the probable causes of bee deaths and the …

Ecology

New For Space Tourists: A Light, Comfy Space Suit

Private space company Final Frontier Design shows off the latest orbital fashion.<p>Final Frontier Design, a Brooklyn, NY-based space company, unveiled their new "3G" space suit yesterday on Capitol Hill. The company's previous suit won a 2013 <i>Popular Science</i> invention award, and this third-generation …

Southern California's Ring of Fire - ImaGeo

By Tom Yulsman | July 23, 2013 8:50 pm<p>A false-color view of a portion of Southern California captured by the MODIS instrument on NASA’s Terra …

Black Hole in Our Galaxy's Center Tries to Swallow Massive Gas Cloud - D-brief

By Breanna Draxler | July 24, 2013 1:18 pm<p>Supermassive black hole Sagittarius A* depicted with G2 gas cloud. <i>Image courtesy of L. Calçada/ESO</i><p>What’s …