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
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla.--The crew of the shuttle Discovery, given a "Star Trek" send off by actor William Shatner, undocked from the International Space Station early today to close out an extended assembly and resupply mission, the shuttle's 13th and final visit to the orbital outpost.
With pilot Eric Boe at the controls, Discovery's docking system disengaged from the station's forward port at 7 a.m. ET as the two spacecraft sailed through orbital darkness above the western Pacific Ocean northeast of Australia.
"Houston and station, physical separation," commander Steven Lindsey called … Read more
Here's a nifty way to preserve your youth and popularity: get Japanese entertainment company Kokoro to make an ageless robot clone of yourself.
Danish academic Henrik Scharfe did just that and his clone looks ready to get out and party. Or perhaps play the villain in a reboot of "Die Hard."
Aalborg University's Scharfe (no relation to Alan Rickman) has been working with Kokoro and Japan's Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (ATR) to create Geminoid DK, a lifelike android copy of himself. DK follows in the silicon footsteps of Geminoids HI-1 and F1, developed in collaboration with Osaka University roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro, father of the Telenoid robo-fetus.
Scharfe plans to test his clone at ATR and then ship it back to the new Geminoid Lab in Denmark, where he presides over Aalborg University's Center for Computer-mediated Epistemology.
Geminoids are basically remote-controlled slave robots powered by a quiet air servo system. They mimic the facial expressions, lip movements, and body motions of a human user through motion-tracking gear and an Internet link. As the vid below shows, Scharfe's clone is already quite lifelike. So when it starts projecting his voice and mimicking his idiosyncrasies, students may freak a bit. See more videos and pics here. I love its evil sideways glance. … Read more
A second mysterious, robotic space plane was launched into orbit by the U.S. Air Force today, after the first craft safely returned to Earth late last year following a secretive months-long mission and speculation about its potential military or intelligence uses.
The second Boeing-built X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, or OTV, left Cape Canaveral, Fla., at 2:46 p.m. PT, atop an Atlas V rocket, Boeing said.