If you've ever thought that planetariums would make really good nightclubs--and not just because you're nostalgic for the days of Dark Side of the Moon laser shows--you're not alone. Digital-hipster hub Flavorpill is throwing monthly parties this summer at the Rose Center for Earth and Space at New York's American Museum of Natural History, and CNET News.com was there to capture the action at the June edition (which took place last Friday). There was plenty of DJ music, dancing, and fun people--and plus, I can now tell you that it is really, really awkward to … Read more
Maybe we're missing something, but we can't quite figure out why gadget makers seem obsessed with lightning these days. In recent weeks, we've seen everything from a "Personal Lightning Detector" to a planned Nokia phone that warns of approaching electrical storms.
And now we have yet another lightning finder, the "75-Mile Range Thunderstorm Detector." How does it work? Here's just one excerpt from Hammacher Schlemmer's description: "Its built-in microprocessor and software analyzes the waveform and voltage the antenna detects to tell you how far away a lightning strike was, which … Read more
I've always regarded the Airbus A380 with both awe and anxiety. I'm in awe of the technological achievement of producing the world's biggest airliner, even if it lacks the graceful lines of a 747. And though I'd fly on it if I had to sit on a cardboard box, I'm still anxious about spending 14 hours crammed into a coach seat hurtling through the air with the population of a small town. But according to an Airbus exec, 500 passengers is just a drop in the bucket compared with what the behemoth place could really … Read more
IBM announced Friday that it's making available as open-source the software it developed for modeling the movement of infectious diseases.
The Spatiotemporal Epidemiological Modeler (STEM), which can run on any operating system, will be available through a project run by Eclipse, the open-source development foundation, called the Eclipse Open Healthcare Framework Project.
The mapping software has customizable tools, and epidemiologists can apply their own algorithms to fit the needs of specific projects and various outbreak scenarios. Among the variables the software can include are air travel, road systems, borders and animal interaction with a disease.
It can also be … Read more
In dangerous places like Iraq and Afghanistan, robots help to save soldiers' lives and limbs by ferreting out hidden explosives. In return, the soldiers help put the robots back together after a rough day of bomb-sniffing.
One of the main places that fix-up work takes place is the Joint Robotics Repair Facility at Camp Victory in Baghdad. The U.S. Army describes the JRRF as an "all-volunteer workshop" where the goal is quick turnaround--the shop adheres to a four-hour turnaround standard for repairs. If a given robot can't be rebuilt that fast, the soldiers who brought it … Read more
BERKELEY, Calif.-- Michael Jones, chief technology officer of Google's geography software, on Tuesday counted Google Earth as fifth among the most populous nations, by a measure of how many people have installed the mapping application that lets people see their house from space.
More than 200 million people have downloaded Google Earth, according to Jones, who spoke here at the Fifth International Symposium on Digital Earth. That's just under the population of Indonesia at roughly 233 million and the United States at just more than 301 million. Brazil's population falls short of Google Earth users with … Read more
Time to re-write one little section in my Webster's Dictionary. That's an old-time thing, ink on paper, you remember? It gives the fifth definition of "glacial" as "as slow as the movement of a glacier." Need to change that to read "fast" in the future.
British researchers have found the movement of Antarctic's glaciers is speeding up. During the decade ending in 2003, these southern glaciers speed up by 12 percent. That means these huge rivers of ice are speeding toward the ocean. There three things can happen: the ice melts, … Read more
Researchers at the University of Illinois got a bright idea. They developed a form of lighting that's more efficient than standard incandescent bulbs. And it's lighter and thinner than current fluorescent lights, which require a ballast and glass tubes. The diagram above shows how the researchers' aluminum foil-based "microcavity" plasma system works to produce light.
The researchers say their lighting system would look like a luminous, flat screen that could hang on walls in residential and commercial locations. The technology would even allow for curved and flexible versions of the lights, which could fit a wide … Read more
We're not going to be the first generation of humans to cope with severe climate change. We may simply be the first to know just what's happening.
An international research team traced the growth of farming in Mexico's Iguala Valley. Their new report charts the rise of agriculture as the climate became warmer and wetter. Farming began after the last Ice Age. New lakes formed. Corn and squash were being regularly farmed 8,000 years ago. Then farming spread. Agricultural burning was used. Sixty-three hundred years ago domestic crops were plentiful. Forest clearing increased.
Then, around 1,… Read more
Global warming likely will shorten the length of the day by about 120 millionths of a second during the next 200 years, according to scientists Felix Landerer, Johann Jungclaus and Jochem Marotzke from the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany.
According to an article summary, warming water will transfer ocean mass from deep areas to shallower areas around continental shelves, a change that will mean more of the ocean's mass will be near the Earth's axis of rotation. And, because of the wonder that is conservation of angular momentum, that would speed up rotation--as in the … Read more