Tag Archives | Science & Technology

15 Ongoing Space Missions You Should Know About

Akatsuki via Nasa.

Akatsuki via Nasa.

via Mental Floss:

Last month, the European Space Agency (ESA) landed a robot on a comet. While the exciting news seemed to come out of nowhere, you can be forgiven for sleeping through the initial launch—it happened in 2004. Scientists and engineers at space agencies around the world play very long games. Rosetta traveled 6.4 billion kilometers before rendezvousing with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Even on the starship Enterprise, that’s well over an hour away at warp speed. This raises the question: what else is going on up there? Here are 15 ongoing space missions you might not know about.

1. AKATSUKI

2. JUNO

3. DAWN

4. NEW HORIZONS

5. ROSETTA

6. CASSINI

7. HAYABUSA 2

8. PIONEER 10 & PIONEER 11

9. VOYAGER 1

10. VOYAGER 2

11. KEPLER

12. STEREO

13. MARS ORBITER MISSION

14. VENUS EXPRESS

15. INTERNATIONAL COMET EXPLORER

To read an in-depth overview of each mission, head over to Mental Floss.… Read the rest

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13 real technologies Woody Allen (of all people) predicted in the ’70s

ecodallaluna (CC BY-SA 2.0)

ecodallaluna (CC BY-SA 2.0)

via DVice:

Back in 1973, eternally eccentric filmmaker Woody Allen made Sleeper. Set in the year 2173, Sleeper is, to date, Allen’s sole venture into overt sci-fi. A slapstick comedy, Sleeper pokes fun at other sci-fi classics, notable amongst them Fahrenheit 451 and 2001: A Space Odyssey. The political and social aspects of the film are thinly veiled 1970s sentiment, set in a dystopic inept police state.

What is truly interesting is Sleeper’s perspective on the progress of technology, 200 years from its production. While Woody Allen did not predict technological miniaturization, he did get a lot of things right. Was Woody Allen a tech prophet? Here’s a list of technologies predicted in Sleeper that already exist, 161 years ahead of schedule.

1. Sleeping Pods Not once, but twice in Sleeper are we given glimpses of long-term sleeping devices. I guess that’s appropriate, given the title.

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Simulations back up theory that Universe is a hologram

Kenneth Lu (CC BY 2.0)

Kenneth Lu (CC BY 2.0)

via Nature.com

A team of physicists has provided some of the clearest evidence yet that our Universe could be just one big projection.

In 1997, theoretical physicist Juan Maldacena proposed1 that an audacious model of the Universe in which gravity arises from infinitesimally thin, vibrating strings could be reinterpreted in terms of well-established physics. The mathematically intricate world of strings, which exist in nine dimensions of space plus one of time, would be merely a hologram: the real action would play out in a simpler, flatter cosmos where there is no gravity.

Maldacena’s idea thrilled physicists because it offered a way to put the popular but still unproven theory of strings on solid footing — and because it solved apparent inconsistencies between quantum physics and Einstein’s theory of gravity. It provided physicists with a mathematical Rosetta stone, a ‘duality’, that allowed them to translate back and forth between the two languages, and solve problems in one model that seemed intractable in the other and vice versa (see ‘Collaborative physics: String theory finds a bench mate‘).

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Verizon Offers Encrypted Calling With NSA Backdoor At No Additional Charge

via Tech Dirt:

As a string of whistle blowers like former AT&T employee Mark Klein have made clear abundantly clear, the line purportedly separating intelligence operations from the nation’s incumbent phone companies was all-but obliterated long ago. As such, it’s relatively amusing to see Verizon announce this week that the company is offering up a new encrypted wireless voice service named Voice Cypher. Voice Cypher, Verizon states, offers “end-to-end” encryption for voice calls on iOS, Android, or BlackBerry devices equipped with a special app made by Cellcrypt.

Verizon’s marketing materials for the service feature young, hip, privacy-conscious users enjoying the “industry’s most secure voice communication” platform:

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Read More: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20141214/06590429436/verizon-offers-encrypted-calling-with-nsa-backdoor-no-additional-charge.shtml

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Eric “You Have No Privacy Get Over It” Schmidt says Store Your Data on Our Servers

Guillaume Paumier  (CC BY 3.0)

Guillaume Paumier (CC BY 3.0)

You heard that right.

Google chairman Eric “NSA” Schmidt once said quite proudly: You Have No Privacy – Get Over It.”

Eric Schmidt Dismisses Privacy: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/12/google-ceo-eric-schmidt-dismisses-privacy

Secrets Are for Filthy People: http://gawker.com/5419271/google-ceo-secrets-are-for-filthy-people

Now Eric wants you to be sure and use Google’s secure servers for your data storage needs.

I’ll respond to that directly: FQ Eric. Sincerely, Chaos_Dynamics

Here’s the story from IT World:

Google has worked hard to lock down the personal data it collects since revelations in the last year and a half about mass surveillance programs at the U.S. National Security Agency, company Chairman Eric Schmidt said.

The news of surveillance by the NSA and intelligence agency counterparts at allied nations has damaged the U.S. tech industry on “many levels,” with many Europeans now distrusting U.S. tech companies to hold on to their personal data, Schmidt said Friday at a surveillance conference at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank.

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How One Woman’s Discovery Shook the Foundations of Geology

marie tharp maps (CC BY 2.0)

marie tharp maps (CC BY 2.0)

via Mental Floss:

Marie Tharp spent the fall of 1952 hunched over a drafting table, surrounded by charts, graphs, and jars of India ink. Nearby, spread across several additional tables, lay her project—the largest and most detailed map ever produced of a part of the world no one had ever seen.

For centuries, scientists had believed that the ocean floor was basically flat and featureless—it was too far beyond reach to know otherwise. But the advent of sonar had changed everything. For the first time, ships could “sound out” the precise depths of the ocean below them. For five years, Tharp’s colleagues at Columbia University had been crisscrossing the Atlantic, recording its depths. Women weren’t allowed on these research trips—the lab director considered them bad luck at sea—so Tharp wasn’t on board. Instead, she stayed in the lab, meticulously checking and plotting the ships’ raw findings, a mass of data so large it was printed on a 5,000-foot scroll.

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3D Printed Male Chastity Device Prototype: Personal toy for men

hhaasa

via 3D Print:

For those couples seeking to spice up their personal lives with a bit of power play, leaving the woman in charge of the action (as it were), some inventive makers are hard at work prototyping new devices. We’ve looked recently at Dame Products’ 3D printed prototype for the female-use Eva product; now it seems to be the men’s turn for their own toy.

One of the latest prototypes out there, comes from Shapeways user pedro69, and has been tested out by a friend of his who runs the Become Her Slave blog, which focuses on men who want their female partners to dominate them. This new prototype — the Keyholder Dream (KHD) X3 Espresso Short — is a “male chastity device” that keeps a man’s bits securely in place and puts him at the (playful) mercy of his partner, who quite literally holds the key.… Read the rest

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Researchers use real data rather than theory to measure the cosmos

Incase (CC BY 2.0)

Incase (CC BY 2.0)

via Phys.org:

For the first time researchers have measured large distances in the Universe using data, rather than calculations related to general relativity.

A research team from Imperial College London and the University of Barcelona has used data from astronomical surveys to measure a standard distance that is central to our understanding of the expansion of the .

Previously the size of this ‘standard ruler’ has only been predicted from theoretical models that rely on general relativity to explain gravity at large scales. The new study is the first to measure it using observed data. A standard ruler is an object which consistently has the same physical size so that a comparison of its actual size to its size in the sky will provide a measurement of its distance to earth.

“Our research suggests that current methods for measuring distance in the Universe are more complicated than they need to be,” said Professor Alan Heavens from the Department of Physics, Imperial College London who led the study.

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Death Should be Optional

Max von Sydow and Bengt Ekerot in “The Seventh Seal”

Max von Sydow and Bengt Ekerot in “The Seventh Seal”

via H+ Magazine:

Now more than ever, the topic of death is marked by no shortage of diverging opinions.

On the one hand, there are serious thinkers — Ray Kurzweil, Hans Moravec, Michio Kaku, Marshall Brain, Aubrey de Grey and others — who foresee that technology may enable humans to defeat death. There are also dissenters who argue that this is exceedingly unlikely. And there are those like Bill Joy who think that such technologies are technologically feasible but morally reprehensible.

As a non-scientist I am not qualified to evaluate scientific claims about what science can and cannot do. What I can say is that plausible scenarios for overcoming death have now appeared. This leads to the following questions: If individuals could choose immortality, should they? Should societies fund and promote research to defeat death?

The question regarding individuals has a straightforward answer: We should respect the right of autonomous individuals to choose for themselves.

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The epigenetics of The X-Files

X chromosome inactivation can definitely be explained by epigenetics. X-Files? Less certain. Image from Reinius et al., BMC Genomics 2010, 11, 614.

X chromosome inactivation can definitely be explained by epigenetics. X-Files? Less certain. Image from Reinius et al., BMC Genomics 2010, 11, 614.

via The Guardian:

The X-Files was my absolute favourite television show in the 1990s. My flatmates and I would tune in every week to watch intrepid FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully track down assorted aliens, psychics, vampires, ghosts, and government conspiracies. We bought the soundtrack CD; we even had a poster on our living room wall. It was A Big Deal, for all seven seasons (some people think there were nine seasons, but I refuse to admit that seasons eight and nine – or the second movie – ever happened).

Dana Scully was a scientist, always looking for a perfectly rational explanation for the strange phenomena encountered each week. Many of these explanations were based on genetics, especially in the “monster-of-the-week” episodes featuring assorted freaks and other abominations not part of the main alien conspiracy storyline.

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