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Feb 5, 2019

The Air Force’s ‘rods from god’ could hit with the force of a nuclear weapon — with no fallout

Posted by in categories: biological, geopolitics, military, treaties

The 107-country Outer Space Treaty signed in 1967 prohibits nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons from being placed in or used from Earth’s orbit.

What they didn’t count on was the US Air Force’s most simple weapon ever: a tungsten rod that could hit a city with the explosive power of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

During the Vietnam War, the US used what it called “Lazy Dog” bombs. These were simply solid-steel pieces, less than 2 inches long, fitted with fins.

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Feb 5, 2019

How easy will it be to build a Moon base?

Posted by in categories: materials, space

Musk has yet to make a definite announcement about a Moon base. He has said we may need one just to get people fired up about Mars, and he is going to shoot someone around the Moon and back. I point this out because the first part of this article makes it seem like Musk has drawn up plans and announced them.

How can astronauts build a lunar base if traditional building materials are too heavy to load into a rocket?

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Feb 5, 2019

A single transistor process that can create connections

Posted by in categories: computing, neuroscience

A single transistor process that can create connections, and encode short and long term memories. The transistor is based on organic versus inorganic technology. The project relies on a form of transistor that uses ion injection from an electrolyte solution, which changes the storage and connectivity of the transistor.

The end result, a simple learning circuit to replicate neuronal action.

News Article:

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Feb 5, 2019

What Happened to the 100,000-Hour LED Bulbs?

Posted by in categories: life extension, space

An excellent article on Hackaday addresses the lifetime of LED bulbs. To a certain degree, it also addresses the lifetime of LED’s themselves. However, the majority of the article investigates the various parts of the LED bulb, such as electronics and housings, and how they last. The article also addresses the issues of lumen depreciation and color change.

These issues are all important when thinking about long-term use in space applications.

Early adopters of LED lighting will remember 50,000 hour or even 100,000 hour lifetime ratings printed on the box. But during a recent trip to the hardware store the longest advertised lifetime I found was 25,000 hours. Others claimed only 7,500 or 15,000 hours. And yes, these are brand-name bulbs from Cree and GE.

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Feb 5, 2019

Fragile DNA Enables New Adaptations to Evolve Quickly

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

If highly repetitive gene-regulating sequences in DNA are easily lost, then that may explain why some adaptations evolve quickly and repeatedly.

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Feb 5, 2019

Autism spectrum disorders may stem from multiple factors

Posted by in categories: health, neuroscience

Diagnosed cases of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in California rose by 600 percent from 1990 to 2003. Irva Hertz-Picciotto, Ph.D., director of the Environmental Health Sciences Core Center at the University of California-Davis, published this statistic in the journal Epidemiology a decade ago.

The esteemed epidemiologist told the audience during the Jan. 8 NIEHS Distinguished Lecture that she and her colleagues have only been able to explain a third of the increase.

“No single factor accounts for all autism cases, nor is there one event or exposure that can be responsible for the rapid increase in diagnoses,” said Hertz-Picciotto. “Each child’s path to altered brain development may be different.” Her talk was hosted by NIEHS and National Toxicology Program (NTP) Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D.

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Feb 5, 2019

Fool’s Mate

Posted by in category: entertainment

When playing against Death, play the long game, and play to win.

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Feb 5, 2019

Why nonviolent resistance is more successful in effecting change than violent campaigns

Posted by in categories: government, terrorism

WCIA: A general strike seems like a personally costly way to protest, especially if you just stop working or stop buying things. Why are they effective?

Recent research suggests that nonviolent civil resistance is far more successful in creating broad-based change than violent campaigns are, a somewhat surprising finding with a story behind it.

When Erica Chenoweth started her predoctoral fellowship at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs in 2006, she believed in the strategic logic of armed resistance. She had studied terrorism, civil war, and major revolutions—Russian, French, Algerian, and American—and suspected that only violent force had achieved major social and political change. But then a workshop led her to consider proving that violent resistance was more successful than the nonviolent kind. Since the question had never been addressed systematically, she and colleague Maria J. Stephan began a research project.

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Feb 5, 2019

Earth’s magnetic north pole is hurtling toward Russia

Posted by in category: mobile phones

(CNN) — The north magnetic pole has been drifting so fast that it could be a problem for smartphone maps and navigation systems.

The pole has been the friend of navigators for millennia, beckoning compass needles from virtually every point on the planet. And unlike the geographic north pole, which is fixed, the north magnetic pole has been slowly migrating over time — moving across the Canadian Arctic toward Russia since 1831.

But its swift pace toward Siberia in recent years at a rate of around 34 miles per year has forced scientists to update the World Magnetic Model — used by civilian navigation systems, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and US and British militaries — a year ahead of schedule.

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Feb 5, 2019

CRISPR revolutionized gene editing. Now its toolbox is expanding

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, genetics

The scientists who developed the revolutionary gene-editing system known as CRISPR are improving it with new tools that make it work better.

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