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Jun 29, 2016

Clandestine black hole may represent new population

Posted by in category: cosmology

Astronomers have combined data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, the Hubble Space Telescope and the National Science Foundation’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) to conclude that a peculiar source of radio waves thought to be a distant galaxy is actually a nearby binary star system containing a low-mass star and a black hole. This identification suggests there may be a vast number of black holes in our Galaxy that have gone unnoticed until now.

For about two decades, astronomers have known about an object called VLA J213002.08+120904 (VLA J2130+12 for short). Although it is close to the line of sight to the globular cluster M15, most astronomers had thought that this source of bright radio waves was probably a distant galaxy.

Thanks to recent distance measurements with an international network of radio telescopes, including the EVN (European Very Long Baseline Interferometry Network) telescopes, the NSF’s Green Bank Telescope and Arecibo Observatory, astronomers realized that VLA J2130+12 is at a distance of 7,200 light years, showing that it is well within our own Milky Way galaxy and about five times closer than M15. A deep image from Chandra reveals it can only be giving off a very small amount of X-rays, while recent VLA data indicates the source remains bright in radio waves.

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Jun 29, 2016

Jeff Bezos provides a sneak peek at Blue Origin’s orbital rocket factory in Florida

Posted by in category: space travel

Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos today put a spotlight on the construction of a giant rocket production facility in Florida for his Blue Origin space venture – but he also gave a shout-out to the engine production team back in Kent, Wash.

In an email to Blue Origin’s fans, Bezos noted that ground has been broken for an orbital vehicle manufacturing site at Exploration Park, just south of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Ground-clearing actually began last month.)

“The 750,000-square-foot rocket factory is custom-built from the ground up to accommodate manufacturing, processing, integration and testing,” Bezos wrote. In comparison, the production facility in Kent where Blue Origin is building rocket engines and its New Shepard suborbital spaceships takes in about 300,000 square feet.

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Jun 29, 2016

This Chinese Robot is Said to Be ‘The Most Realistic Ever Made’

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Very fascinating!


A humanoid named Jia Jia has been attracting a lot of attention at the 2016 Summer Davos Forum in Tianjin, China.

tianjian_robotgirl_3

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Jun 29, 2016

Our lives in 2033

Posted by in categories: employment, robotics/AI

This is a nice story on the future. If you’re flying British Airways, give it a read in the print version:


Two very different versions of the near future, when robots have taken half our jobs.

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Jun 29, 2016

Penn State researchers announce major quantum computing breakthrough

Posted by in categories: computing, quantum physics

Nice.


Lasers and microwaves control the switching of individual qubits in a 3D array more precisely.

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Jun 29, 2016

Atomic-scale simulations predict how to use nanoparticles to increase hydrogen production

Posted by in categories: computing, particle physics, quantum physics

Awesome!


What if industrial waste water could become fuel? With affordable, long-lasting catalysts, water could be split to produce hydrogen that could be used to power fuel cells or combustion engines.

By conducting complex simulations, scientists showed that adding lithium to aluminum nanoparticles results in orders-of-magnitude faster water-splitting reactions and higher hydrogen production rates compared to pure aluminum nanoparticles. The lithium allowed all the aluminum atoms to react, which increased yields (Nano Letters, “Hydrogen-on-demand using metallic alloy nanoparticles in water”).

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Jun 29, 2016

Do you have a right to view an ISIS Kill List?

Posted by in categories: counterterrorism, ethics, geopolitics, rants, terrorism, transparency

According to The Clarion Project, a political information bureau that warns westerners of the growing threat from radical Islam, ISIS has published a ‘kill list’ that includes the names, addresses and emails of 15,000 Americans.

Clarion_300So far, this is interesting news, but it is not really new. I found ISIS, Hezbollah and Al-Qaida kill lists going back at least 8 years. This 2012 bulletin complains that NBC would not release the names contained on a kill list.

A kill list is newsworthy, and the Clarion article is interesting—but the article has more “facts” with which the publisher wishes to generate mob frenzy…

  • It explains that 4,000 of the names on the Kill List have been leaked by hackers
  • It echos a report by Circa News that the FBI has decided to not inform citizens that they are on the ISIS kill list.

In a clear effort to whip up and direct audience indignation, it asks readers to take a one-question poll. Which answer would you choose?

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Jun 29, 2016

This Tiny Camera Can Be Injected Into Your Body

Posted by in categories: electronics, physics

Get great shots of those hard to reach places.

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Jun 29, 2016

Injectable Computers

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, engineering

With a radio specifically designed to communicate through tissue, Professors David Blaauw (http://web.eecs.umich.edu/faculty/blaauw/) and David Wentzloff (http://web.eecs.umich.edu/~wentzlof/) from the University of Michigan’s Electrical and Computer Engineering Department (https://www.eecs.umich.edu/ece/) are adding another level to a computer platform small enough to fit inside a medical grade syringe.

With this enabling technology, real time information can be applied to devices monitoring heart fibrillation as well as glucose monitoring for diabetics.

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Jun 29, 2016

Scientists Want to Reprogram Human Cells to Stop Death

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Different species of animals either live a very long time or do not die of old age. Some cases are the tortoise & lobster species that live to be over 130 years old naturally and don’t usually die unless they get sick or are killed.

After we grow up our cells ultimately stop self-replicating. A researcher named Leonard Hayflick figured out that each of our cells divide around 50 times and then they stop. Once all of our cells stop duplicating we start to deteriorate and then ultimately die. This finding showed that we are in fact programmed to die biologically.

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