There are those who believe that a full moon puts them in a strange mood and even causes them to behave in a peculiar manner.
Some, though, want to credit the moon with even greater powers.
A week before the earthquake in Japan, there was already consternation in some quarters about the so-called supermoon. This will occur on March 19 when the moon comes extremely close to the earth. That's 221,567 miles, to be a little more precise.
As Japan staggers in the aftermath of the devastating quake that pummeled the northern half of the archipelago Friday, killing at least 200 and causing a nuclear emergency, the tech powerhouse's quake and tsunami warning systems predicted that the devastation would continue.
The stunning tsunami warning map above, issued by the Japan Meteorological Agency Saturday, shows the country's entire coastline under threat, with many areas on the Pacific side facing possible waves more than 3 meters (10 feet) tall.
The tsunami warning system worked Friday, with the agency alerting people to imminent tsunamis within three minutes of the quake, and the first waves struck 10 to 15 minutes later. The alert may have saved hundreds of lives, as some residents were able to flee to higher ground.
Japanese broadcasters issued automatic earthquake alerts by the agency predicting more aftershocks for Tokyo, and new, unrelated temblors for the Niigata and Nagano on the other side of the country by the Sea of Japan.
Japan straddles several tectonic plates and is one of the world's most quake-prone countries, with hundreds of tremors every year. The agency has had an Earthquake Early Warning service in place since 2007, issuing alerts to media outlets. … Read more
Those who survive will think to themselves that it could have been worse.
Awful though some images of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami truly are, other images taken during the quake appear to show that things could have been even worse.
Even though the quake--U.S. Geological Survey Seismologist Lucy Jones told CBS News--was 30 times stronger than the devastating 1906 quake in San Francisco and 3.000 times more powerful that the Northridge quake, many buildings seem to have remained intact.
Pay attention students; here's yet another reason to do your advanced math homework. Mathematicians have conducted a new analysis that could have a profound impact on future St. Patrick's Days--by building a better beer widget.
If you've enjoyed a Guinness or one of several other stout beers from a can in the last few years, you've probably encountered a beer widget. It's the hollow plastic ball that's left rattling around in the can or bottle after all the thick, creamy goodness has been poured out; it's also largely responsible for the foamy head on that just-poured brew.
William Lee, a university mathematician from Limerick in Ireland (disclosure: also the ancestral home of this writer) has set out to improve one of the most treasured modern inventions of pub-goers, and his findings seem to indicate a way to create a more efficient, less expensive widget. Drinkers rejoice!
But before getting to the toasting and celebrating, a little background on the fluid dynamics of stout beers. A tall can of Guinness has nitrogen added to keep it pressurized, rather than just the carbon dioxide found in most other canned beers. This is because nitrogen produces smaller bubbles, creating that distinctively smooth, creamy stout foam.
The downside of nitrogen is that just cracking open and pouring the can doesn't create enough bubbles for a truly satisfying head. Enter the widget--the hollow ball is filled with nitrogen that shoots out into the stout when the can is cracked, creating millions of bubbles and giving a little turbo-boost to the foam creation process. Problem solved, right? Sure, but there's always a way to build a better widget.
Enter Lee's research (PDF), conducted with a few colleagues from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Limerick. … Read more
The phrase "fill 'er up" is being redefined for the age of robotic aircraft.
Northrop Grumman said yesterday that in a flight test earlier this year, it took a big step closer to an eventual autonomous aerial refueling between unmanned aerial vehicles as part of the $33 million DARPA KQ-X program.
In the "risk reduction flight test," which took place January 21, a Global Hawk UAV from NASA played the role of the aerial tanker, and Northrop Grumman's Proteus test aircraft--a manned UAV surrogate, we should point out--was the one in search of the refueling … Read more
There's nothing the world likes more than a good radiation scare. Mobile phone health panics are quiet at the moment--which could be permanent, like the microwave oven cancer flap that went into spontaneous remission and stayed there. Instead, the burgeoning world of in-flight entertainment beckons as the next fear factory.
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--Move over, Twitter. Drop dead, Angry Birds. There's a new mobile app that does more than let people play around on their smartphones--it allows them to join the quest for signs of intelligent life in the universe.
The SETI Institute is launching a private beta test beginning today of SetiQuest Explorer in the hopes that hobby astronomers will help with tasks that can't be done well by computers. The app runs on Android 2.2 but will be available on the iPhone this summer. There is also a desktop version for any computer running Flash … Read more
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla.--Enduring the heat of re-entry one last time, the shuttle Discovery dropped out of orbit and returned to Earth today to wrap up a near-flawless 39th and final mission, marking the beginning of the end for NASA's winged rocket ships.
After firing its twin braking rockets for a computer-controlled descent halfway around the planet, commander Steven Lindsey took over manual control and guided Discovery through a 250-degree left turn to line up on runway 15.
Pilot Eric Boe then deployed the ship's landing gear and the 204,000-pound shuttle swooped to a tire-smoking touchdown … Read more
Remember those X-ray glasses advertised in the back of comic books? Imagine a handheld camera that can reveal the unseen, inner structures of everything from concrete bridges to body parts.
Researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology under engineering professor Reza Zoughi have developed a patented device that can show the inner structures of objects in real time by using millimeter and microwave signals.
Potential applications include the detection of cancerous skin cells, termite damage to buildings, or concealed weapons at secure zones like airports.
The tech could also be used for finding "defects in thermal insulating materials that are found in spacecraft heat insulating foam and tiles, space habitat structures, aircraft radomes and composite-strengthened concrete bridge members," Zoughi was quoted as saying in a release.
The prototype camera has been in development for several years--check out the vid below, from 2009.
In its current form, objects have to be placed between a transmitter for the microwave radiation and a collector. It can run for several hours on a laptop-size battery. … Read more