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A Quick Primer On America's Spaceports

Everything you need to know about U.S. portals to space<p>Going to space is getting easier all the time. For anyone willing to trade giant piles of ephemeral cash for a few short minutes outside the atmosphere, here is a handy map of all American spaceports, released in February by the Federal …

The Week In Numbers: A 3-D Printed Invisibility Cloak, Skyscrapers That Attack, And More

<b>£946</b>: the money the developers of a curved glass building in London paid to Martin Lindsay after reflected light from the skyscraper melted his Jaguar XJ<p><b>18 to 27 degrees Fahrenheit</b>: the average increase in surface temperature when moving from a rural area to a city<p><b>244 meters</b>: the height of the …

The Next Space Shuttle: Hybrid Engines Make Runway-To-Orbit Missions A Reality

A new type of engine could usher in an era of affordable spaceplanes<p>A disembodied jet engine, attached to a hulking air vent, sits in an outdoor test facility at the Culham Science Center in Oxfordshire, England. When the engine screams to life, columns of steam billow from the vent, giving the …

In Australian Mines, 50-Foot Robot Trucks Take Dangerous Work From Humans

How long until there's a Pixar movie?<p>This Autonomous Hauling System, in use by the British-Australian metals and mining company Rio Tinto Iron Ore, is a series of robotic trucks that load, haul, and dump ore and waste rock at open pit mines. Imagine Google's self-driving cars, except gigantic: each …

Hippies and libertarians have become unlikely allies in a war against solar power

A weird thing is happening with solar power. For years derided as a sideshow energy source that was only for environmentalists, solar is now being seen as an imminent threat to both the mainline energy industry and at least one national economy. As a result, those harmless people with the shiny …

Scientists discover key to normal memory lapses in seniors

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Scientists have good news for all the older adults who occasionally forget why they walked into a room - and panic that they are getting Alzheimer’s disease.<p>Not only is age-related memory loss a syndrome in its own right and completely unrelated to that dread disease, but …

Scientists grow miniature human brain in a lab

'Cerebral organoids' model development of the mind in human embryo<p>Scientists have long been taunted by the human brain. After all, the very organ that gives us knowledge remains largely unmastered — something President Obama has set to rectify, in part, with an ambitious effort to map the brain. An …

Surgeon livestreams operation using Google Glass

Google Glass has made its way to the OR. A surgeon from Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center donned the new headset during a routine surgery last week, and streamed point-of-view footage live to a group of students on the other side of town. "I can start to appreciate the connectivity it …

Google Glass: Surgery Tool Of The Future?

A surgeon transmitted the first Google Glass video of a live surgery to colleagues and med students across town.<p>We've been waiting for a while to figure out what practical uses will come out of Google Glass, besides, of course, making dudes look silly. And aha! A surgeon at The Ohio State …

Whoa! Scientists Grow A Brain In A Dish

It may not be same shape as a 9-week-old embryonic human brain, but it's got a lot of the same functional organization.<p>Researchers from the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology in Vienna, Austria, have grown a three-dimensional, self-organizing model of a developing human brain in the lab using …

NASA Tests Largest 3-D Printed Rocket Part Ever

3-D printed engines could support human missions to deep space.<p>In NASA's latest exploration of combining 3-D printing and space travel, the agency ran tests on the largest ever 3-D printed rocket engine component at the Marshall Space Flight Center.<p>The engine part was a complex subscale injector, …

Brain-to-brain communication is not a conversation killer

It's a milestone breakthrough you would think came straight from science fiction, but a recent study conducted by the University of Washington claims to have demonstrated direct brain-to-brain communication between humans. Via an elaborate internet setup between two labs, scientist Rajesh Rao sent …

Gel-Based Super-Roomba Concept Is Improbable And Amazing

I would like to live in the future where a sticky Roomba army is doing all the dusting.<p>Let's just say this up front: this design concept, for a Roomba-like vacuum army, is pretty out-there. But, man, I want to believe.<p>The idea, from Korean designer Juan Lee, is for a set of eight remote-controlled …

Age-related memory loss and the protein that may reverse it

Memories are just about the most precious piece of intangible property that we have — they contain a person's history, personality, and most deeply held beliefs — but there's an inevitable decline in our ability to retain them as we age. That's the problem being addressed by scientists at the …

Exoplanets: New missions hunting for alien worlds

Efforts like Kepler to find Earth-like planets outside our galaxy may have ended recently, but astronomers say a wave of bigger and better missions is on its way.<p>As mountains go, Cerro Armazones may not be much to look at. Standing 3,000 metres (9,800 feet) tall, it is a shapeless reddish dust heap …

Exoplanets

Are We Martians? Scientist Says We Just Might Be

As Adam Frank has said over on the 13.7 blog, "Earth and Mars have been swapping spit (astrobiologically speaking) for eons ... [and] it is entirely possible we were Earth's first alien invasion."<p>Thursday at a conference in Italy, chemist Steven Benner from the Westheimer Institute of Science and …

Artificial intelligence 'will take the place of humans within five years’

Salespeople, call centre staff and customer service personnel could all be replaced by computers within the next few years, claims one technology entrepreneur.<p>Robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) specialist Dmitry Aksenov has been working on building computers that “think like human beings” …

A Single Protein May Help Explain Memory Loss In Old Age

If you're finding it harder to remember where you put the car keys, the culprit could be a brain protein with a name that's easy to forget: RbAp48.<p>A shortage of this protein appears to impair our ability to remember things as we age, researchers report in the current issue of Science <i>Translational</i> …

Scientists create mini human brains in lab

Researchers have developed complex human brain tissue in a 3-D culture system that allows pluripotent stem cells to develop into cerebral organoids – …

GB3D Type Fossils | High resolution photographs and digital models of British type fossils

The GB3D Type Fossils Online project, funded by JISC, aims to develop a single database of the type specimens, held in British collections, of …

Fossils

APOD: NGC 5195: The Dot Under the Question Mark (2013 Aug 31) Image Credit: Hubble Legacy Archive, NASA, ESA Processing: José Jiménez Priego http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap130831.html Explanation: Dwarf galaxy NGC 5195 is best known as the smaller companion of spiral M51, the Whirlpool galaxy. Seen together they seem to trace the curve and dot of a cosmic question mark, recorded in Lord Rosse's 19th century drawings as one of the original spiral nebulae. Dwarfed by enormous M51 (aka NGC 5194), NGC 5195 spans about 20,000 light-years. A close encounter with M51 has likely triggered star formation and enhanced that galaxy's prominent spiral arms. Processed from image data available in the Hubble Legacy Archive, this majestic close-up of NGC 5195 makes it clear that the dwarf galaxy now lies behind M51. A tidal bridge of dark dust clouds and young blue star clusters stretches from the outskirts of M51 on the right, appearing in silhouette against the dwarf galaxy's yellowish glow. The famous pair of interacting galaxies lie some 30 million light-years away, toward the handle of the Big Dipper, and the constellation of the Hunting Dogs. http://astromet.webnode.es/inicio/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=130831 #APOD