Author Archive | vulcan

No Intelligent Aliens Detected on the SETI-Targeted “Earth Condition” Gliese 581 System

Yet that is. As Ian O’Neill desribes on Discovery News:

SETI astronomers have eavesdropped on an alien star system thought to contain two “habitable” worlds in the hope of hearing a radio transmission from an extraterrestrial intelligence.

Sadly, there appears to be no chatty aliens living around the red dwarf star Gliese 581.

In results announced last week by Australian SETI astronomers, of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research at Curtin University in Perth, Gliese 581 was precisely targeted by Australian Long Baseline Array using three radio telescope facilities across Australia. This is the first time the technique of very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) has been used to target a specific star in the hunt for extraterrestrials, so although it didn’t turn up any aliens, it is a proof of concept that may prove invaluable for future SETI projects…

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Teenager Beats Riddle That Baffled Issac Newton

Newton By William BlakeNot bad. How about showing Americans kids how dumb they are? Via the Herald Sun:

Shouryya Ray is the first person to work out how to calculate exactly the path of a projectile under gravity and subject to air resistance, The (London) Sunday Times reported.

The Indian-born teen said he solved the problem that had stumped mathematicians for centuries while working on a school project.

Shouryya won a research award for his efforts and has been labeled a genius by the German media, but he put it down to “curiosity and schoolboy naivety.”

“When it was explained to us that the problems had no solutions, I thought to myself, ‘well, there’s no harm in trying,’” he said. Shouryya’s family moved to Germany when he was 12 after his engineer father got a job at a technical college. He said his father instilled in him a “hunger for mathematics” and taught him calculus at the age of six.

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What Could Possibly Go Wrong? Deep-Drilling an Italian Supervolcano

Campi Flegrei

Photo: Donar Reiskoffer (CC)

Edwin Cartlidge writes on Science:

A project to drill deep into the heart of a “supervolcano” in southern Italy has finally received the green light, despite claims that the drilling would put the population of Naples at risk of small earthquakes or an explosion. Italian news agency ANSA quoted project coordinator Giuseppe De Natale of Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology as saying that the office of Naples mayor Luigi de Magistris has approved the drilling of a pilot hole 500 meters deep.

The Campi Flegrei Deep Drilling Project was set up by an international collaboration of scientists to assess the risks posed by the Campi Flegrei caldera, a geological formation just a few kilometers to the west of Naples that formed over thousands of years following the collapse of several volcanoes. Researchers believe that if it erupted, Campi Flegrei could have global repercussions, potentially killing millions of people and having a major effect on the climate, but that such massive eruptions are extremely rare…

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The Danger of Facebook/Twitter Politics

Web PoliticsWesley Donehue writes on CNN:

I make a living encouraging politicians and candidates to use social media.

And now I’m going to tell them why it’s a bad idea.

Not always, mind you — social media will, and should, continue to play an important role in our political discourse. But the trend has grown so quickly; I don’t know that anyone has really stopped to consider the implications of moment-by-moment, real-time transparency.

I would argue that what we’ve gotten is a trade-off, and the jury is still out on whether what we’ve lost is worth more than what we’ve gained in the process.

So before I go about the process of destroying my company’s business model, let’s talk about what we’ve gained with social media.

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Newark Mayor Cory Booker Saves Neighbor From Burning Building

Cory BookerHow is this guy a politician? Via the New Jersey Star Ledger:

Newark Mayor Cory Booker was taken to a hospital Thursday night for treatment of smoke inhalation he suffered trying to rescue his next-door neighbors from their burning house.

“I just grabbed her and whipped her out of the bed,” Booker said in recounting the fire. Booker told the Star-Ledger he also suffered second-degree burns on his hand.

The fire started in a two-story building on Hawthorne Avenue in the Upper Clinton Hill neighborhood, shortly before the mayor arrived home after a television interview with News 12 New Jersey.

Five people were taken to the hospital for treatment: the mayor, a woman from the house and three members of his security detail. The woman was listed in stable condition at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston with burns to her back and neck.

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Before the Internet, The VCR Was Terrorizing Your Children (Video)

VCR HorrorsVia Freddy In Space:

It’s the 1980s. Young horror fans are in their glory, while their parents are outraged over the tapes that are easily accessible to them at the local video store. ABC News runs a news piece on their show 20/20, aimed to demonize horror films and the kids who enjoy them with all kinds of wild and salacious accusations. Three decades later, the news piece serves as a 15 minute journey back in time, reminding us horror fans of our early years spent ingesting horror VHS tapes, so voraciously that it’s almost as if we knew they were going out of style.

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U.S. Coast Guard Sinks Japanese ‘Ghost Ship’

Ghost ShipVia Voice of America:

The U.S. Coast Guard has sunk an abandoned Japanese fishing boat off the coast of Alaska, more than a year after a tsunami sent it drifting aimlessly across the Pacific Ocean.

The 50-meter long Ryou-Un Mara went down Thursday in the Gulf of Alaska, hours after a Coast Guard vessel started shooting at it, setting fire to the so-called “ghost ship,” which had no lights, crew or communications system.

The Coast Guard decided to sink the Ryou-Un Mara because it posed a significant danger to ships sailing in the area. Officials say sinking the ship poses no risk to the environment and that any fuel on board would be evaporated by now. The sinking operation was delayed when a Canadian fishing boat expressed interest in salvaging the Japanese boat. The Canadian ship eventually determined it could not tow the crippled vessel…

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Burning Man Has (Literally) Sold Out

Burning ManAnyone going this year? If not, ever been? If not … Andrew Averill writes on SF Gate:

Many Burning Man festival participants climb a huge butterfly art structure to watch the sunrise over the playa. This year, the festival’s permit limits participants to 50,000 at one time.

When the first Burning Man event took place on San Francisco’s Baker Beach in 1986, it was such a lawless free-for-all that when it came time to burn The Man, a woman ran toward the engulfed 20-foot-tall humanoid structure and held its hand while wind blew the flames away from her.

Twenty-five years later, the annual event has become a mass sojourn into the Nevada Black Rock desert — one that some of its most loyal followers complain is becoming increasingly rigid and commercial.

And now it has come to this: For the first time ever, Burning Man has literally sold out. Organizers were forced to cap the number of attendees to the weeklong event, an art-focused, community-centric festival that starts Aug.

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