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science

I can’t imagine Neil Tyson doesn’t regret to this day that he didn’t lie about the bus not being able to get through, ’cause uh, Carl Sagan slumber party ftw.

Sagan was a man much too great for this pale blue dot.

[ youtube ]

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Post image for Bionic Hand<strike>job?</strike> From The Future Is Here

Terminator tech seems to have begun seeping through cracks in time from the future as scientists in Britain have developed a cutting-edge Vader claw with fingers that move and react independently, based on interpreted muscle signals from the remains of the hand or stump:

It is the first of its kind, treating each multi-jointed finger as a unique functional unit.

Developed by Touch Bionics, based in Livingston, Scotland, the Terminator-style prosthetic is on show this week at a medical expo in Leipzig, Germany.

Its movements can even be fine-tuned by computer using Bluetooth technology.

ProDigits, which costs up to £40,000, follows the firm’s 2007 i-LIMB Hand, a prosthetic device with five individually powered fingers.

If I’m ever unfortunate enough to lose my hand, I am so getting one of these, and so shall the Darth Vader phase of my life begin:

See watching TV:
I have altered the channel, pray I don’t alter it any further.

[ fark | thesun ]

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Post image for Satellite Goes Into Zombie Mode, Heads In For Kill

Satellite Galaxy 15 has ignored attempts to shut down the electronics payload of the out-of-control communications, leaving the satellite, which ceased responding to ground commands last month, still in its “zombiesat” drift toward orbits occupied by other spacecraft, forcing Intelstat, the satellite’s fleet operator, to consider other options:

Galaxy 15 is closing in on the geostationary orbital slot occupied by another C-band satellite, the AMC-11 spacecraft operated by SES World Skies, and with its stuck-on communications payload will be in a position to cause potentially severe interference with the SES satellite during a two-week period starting around May 23, according to Intelsat and SES estimates.

What Intelsat might do to precipitate a shutdown remains unclear. Industry officials say the Galaxy 15 problem ? a satellite operating at full payload power that is no longer under control ? is unprecedented. Intelsat has said it is seeking advice from satellite operators and manufacturers ? not just the Galaxy 15 builder, Orbital Sciences of Dulles, Va., but also other companies with more experience with in-orbit problems ? on possible options to force a shutdown.

Once the satellite leaves the vicinity of the AMC-11 and passes through the relatively safe neighborhood of 129 degrees west, it will enter a new neighborhood where it poses an interference threat similar to what AMC-11 now faces. But this time, it is only Intelsat-owned satellites and their customers at risk.

Ah, if only I had the ability to mimic satellite communication lines. I could program it to respond with a digitalized voice that demands “Braaaaaiiinns!” repeatedly, then throw in a series of unintelligible groans, all problems solved. Except Intelstat’s. When it finally dies, it will continue it’s path of death and destruction by becoming one of 150+ other “zombiesats” that stumble around in the planet’s orbit searching for brains. How sad.

[ digg | csmonitor ]

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Post image for Man Dies After ‘Friends’ Shove Eel Up His Ass

Ah, the old ‘eel up the ass’ prank, a timeless classic. Shockingly this harmless prank went horribly wrong for a 59 year old Chinese man who got drunk and was the first person among his friends to pass out:

The 59 year-old chef?whose name has not been disclosed? was taken to a Sischuan hospital with severe anal bleeding, abdominal pain. Local doctors, unable to figure out what was causing the symptoms obtained permission from the family to conduct a laparotomy? a surgical incision into the abdominal wall done to examine the abdominal organs.

Once inside, the doctors found a 50cm long, dead Asian swamp eel stuck in the man?s rectal region. The slithery fish had bit it?s way through the intestine. The man was then taken to the intensive care unit, but died ten days later from internal bleeding and sepsis.

Terrible. If I ever happen to die after an eel is forcefully inserted into my anus, I respectfully ask that this song be played at my funeral, and by funeral, I mean after someone throws my ass in the garbage. Funerals are freaking expensive.

[ buzzfeed ]

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Post image for IBM Creates Absurdly Tiny Nanoscale Model of Earth

In a feat of nano science that makes every man on Earth subconsciously think “yeah, my wiener is way bigger than that“, and Ms. Frizzle from Magic School Bus say “Damn it, that’s too small!”, IBM researchers in Zurich have carved a 3D map of the world that’s 22 micrometers east to west by 11 micrometers north to south (a millimeter is 1000 micrometers wide):

They used a silicon needle with a tip about ten thousand times smaller than an ant to sculpt a polymer material known as polyphthalaldehyde. By heating the needle to between 300 and 500 degrees centigrade, they were able to melt and evaporate tiny segments of the material without disturbing those particles’ neighbors.

While that piezoelectric trick isn’t new, the researchers’ breakthrough was their choice of material. The polymer polyphthalaldehyde IBM used was designed to “unzip” its chemical bonds when exposed to heat, to allow for clean removal of the material in patterns.

The silicon needle technique isn’t just a novelty. IBM’s researchers hope that it could someday be used to craft circuit boards at smaller sizes than e-beam lithography is used to etch them today, or even build tiny nanobots or other tiny mechanical structures that could travel inside the human body or other nanoscale environments. “We’re not just here to carve models of mountains,” says Duerig. “We have technology that can actually do things on a time scale and a precision scale which is commercially interesting.”

[ geekosystem | forbes | more pics here ]

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Post image for Big Brother Can Now Melt A Monitor Implant Onto Your Freaking Brain

Better get all of your ridiculously perverted thoughtcrimes relating to waffles and other assorted breakfast items out of the way now, because researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia have developed silk based implants that melt onto the surface of your brain. Oh, they have medical benefits too:

The ultrathin flexible implants, made partly from silk, can record brain activity more accurately than thicker implants embedded with similar electronics, say the researchers.

The arrays could be used to detect when epileptic seizures first begin, and deliver pulses to shut the seizures down. In people with spinal cord injuries, the technology has promise for reading complex signals in the brain that direct movement, and routing those signals to healthy muscles or prosthetic devices.

“These implants have the potential to maximize the contact between electrodes and brain tissue, while minimizing damage to the brain,” says Walter Koroshetz, deputy director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

“They could provide a platform for a range of devices with applications in epilepsy, spinal cord injuries and other neurological disorders.”

The implants contain metal electrodes that are just 500 microns thick. The absence of sharp electrodes and rigid surfaces should improve safety, with less damage to brain tissue.

Also, the implants’ ability to mold to the brain’s surface could provide better stability; the brain sometimes shifts in the skull and the implant could move with it. Finally, by spreading across the brain, the implants have the potential to capture the activity of large networks of brain cells.

[ reuters | engadget ]

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Post image for Scientists Develop First Underwater Robot Powered Entirely By Oceanic Thermal Energy, Aquabot Apocalypse Imminent

Sure, you allow robots to be entirely powered by thermal energy now under the notion that they are serving us, but before you know it the robots will start fraternizing with crustaceans, learning from them, evolving accordingly, then prancing up behind you and scissoring your head off with a robotic crab claw.

A team of researchers recently developed Sounding Oceanographic Lagrangrian Observer Thermal RECharging (SOLO-TREC), the world?s first underwater robotic vehicle powered entirely by thermal energy, a completely renewable resource. The robot is poised to revolutionize ocean monitoring: Because it is not limited by a depleting energy source, it can stay underwater for unprecedented amounts of time.

A team of researchers from NASA?s Jet Propulsion Lab, Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the US Navy developed SOLO-TREC. The autonomous underwater robotic vehicle relies on a thermal recharging engine, which derives its power from the temperature differences found at varying ocean depths. The engine can produce about 1.7 watts of energy each dive, enough power to operate the robot?s science instruments, a GPS receiver, a communications device and a bouyancy control pump.

At least we’ll get some interesting data from places like the deepest volcanic vents ever discovered before it learns to kill.

[ inhabitat ]

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Post image for Huge Booger In Space: Hanny’s Voorwerp

Hanny’s Voorwerp, the mysterious object in space that’s made astronomers say “WTF is that?!” since it was discovered in 2007 by a Dutch teacher, Hanny Van Arkel. On April 4th, 2010, The Hubble Space Telescope finally tilted its magnificent ass toward the huge green blob:

The most famous telescope of all ? with its new and updated instruments ? will take a gander to see if the mysteries of the Voorwerp can be solved.

A team of astronomers secured time on the Hubble Space Telescope to observe Hanny’s Voorwerp. Hubble will be trained on the Voorwerp during three separate observing sessions, the first of which occurred on April 4, 2010. “The WFC3 (Wide Field Camera 3) images were obtained (Sunday),” said Principal Investigator Bill Keel from the University of Alabama in an email to Universe Today “and I was able to pull the calibrated files over last night for a quick look. Combining pairs of offset images to reject cosmic rays optimally will take some further work, but we’re happy to start working with the data and see what emerges at each step.”

“The next observations will probably be the most visually striking,” Keel continued. “Two orbits’ worth of ACS images in narrow bands including [O III] an H-alpha emission, and are scheduled for April 12. The final visit in the program has 2 orbits of STIS (Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph) spectroscopy around the nucleus of IC2497, and should be coming up by mid-June.”

[ universe today ]

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PODZILLA! Largest Giant Isopod Ever Discovered

Thumbnail image for PODZILLA! Largest Giant Isopod Ever Discovered

Redditor Gwynzer works for a Sub-sea Survey Company, who made a horrifying discovery when they found Podzilla latched onto one of the ROVs, and assuming the reported length of Podzilla (a wee bit over 2.5 feet head to tail) to be accurate, it would very easily be the largest Giant Isopod ever discovered. Now your [...]

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Breakin’ Hearts: With Liquid Nitrogen!

The guy from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom totally needs to see this. Onumshiba onumshiba onumshiba [ youtube ]

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