Fans of miniaturized electronic devices, national defense, and healthcare take notice: not recycling is reducing the amount of rare earth elements available for future devices. That new iPhone you just bought features some of these rare earth elements in the GPS, battery, and probably just about every other component in there.
As you can see in the infographic below, we're not exactly in a good place for mining these rare earth elements, and it's not the greenest thing to do, either. Nearly any technological device that you like requires some of these rare earth elements. So, just make sure to recycle them when they get old.
One of my greatest fears are injections - I don't fall onto the floor, ball up and cry - but I just hate them. I always expect they're going to bring me a world of hurt, and I can't wait for the day when this relatively primitive technology is replaced, well, my wishes are slowly coming true.
Scientists from the Seoul National University in South Korea are hoping to help people like myself, but replacing the sharp metal of an injection, with laser-powered injections - frickin' lasers! A paper published in the Optical Society's Optics Letters journal states that the new method uses laser pulses to create a precisely controlled stream, which is said to be around the width of a human hair - much more manageable.
The injections would then target the epidermal layer, which is a portion of the skin that has no nerve endings, which would create something researcher Jack Yoh calls a "completely pain-free" experience. The high-pressure steams are capable of delivering whatever the injection is being used for, without damaging skin tissue. Yoh spoke with the Optical Society, where he explains:
The impacting jet pressure is higher than the skin tensile strength and thus causes the jet to smoothly penetrate into the targeted depth underneath the skin, without any splashback of the drug.
Fermilab turns on their 570 megapixel dark energy camera, why couldn't they put this in the iPhone 5?
Fermilab has turned on their new dark energy camera and released some of the first pictures taken with the massive 570 megapixel device. To get that high of resolution, the device is actually constructed from 62 'individual' cameras that are linked together. To take a picture, each camera fires and the resulting images are stitched together.
The camera sits at the focal point of a 3-foot wide mirror on a telescope in Chile. The device will be taking pictures for the next five years. Over that time, it will only manage to capture one-eighth of the night sky. Even so, that much of the sky contains over 300 galaxy clusters and 4,000 supernova.
Well, this is quite the step in an amazing direction - NASA are currently funding research which would see a spacecraft construct itself using built-in 3D printers.
NASA have invested $100,000 in SpiderFab, a company that is looking at just how feasible it would be to launch a 3D printer with the associated materials into space, and getting it to construct the ship in the dark beyond.
There are of course enormous benefits to this, as construction would not have to be done here on Earth, and then jettisoned into space which is one of the most expensive parts about it. It can be constructed in the weightless of space, and wouldn't have to adhere to the space restrictions to fit into a rocket.
Scientists at Harvard University are working on rat cardiomyocytes, but slightly different than most scientists. They're snaking them through wires and transistors that peer into each cell's electrical impulses. In the future, these wires might actually control their behavior, too.
"Cyborg" tissues have been created for neurons, muscle and vessels, and could be used to test drugs, or used as the basis for biological versions of existing implants. If signals can eventually be sent to the cells, cyborg tissues could eventually be used to create tiny robots, or get used in prosthetics. Charles Lieber, who leads the cyborg tissue team, has said:
It allows one to effectively blur the boundary between electronic, inorganic systems and organic, biological ones.
Artificial cells can already be grown on three-dimensional scaffolds that are made up of biological materials, but are not electrically active. Electrical components need to be added to cultured tissue before, but not integrated into its structure, so they were only able to scrap information from the surface. Lieber's team combined these strands of work, and created an electrically active scaffold. 3D networks were then created using conductive nanowires studded with silicon sensors.
It looks as though NASA is wanting their Small Spacecraft Technology Program to see Android-powered devices go into space. The space agency wants to see if cheap consumer-based hardware can dependably survive a journey into space.
NASA believes that sending tiny satellites into space will pave the way for a low-cost delivery system, they also hope to improve upon, or evolve new propulsion techniques by working with much smaller devices, like smartphones. The first-gen, smartphone-powered satellites will be baked into a modular, cube-based chassis named 'CubeSat'.
The first PhoneSat will measure just 10x10x10cm, or roughly double the size of a Rubik's Cube. NASA will throw in Samsung's Nexus One smartphone, one external battery, radio equipment, and a watchdog circuit that will be used to reboot the device in case of a problem. NASA have already run stress tests on the Nexus One, which it passed without any modifications required. These tests were run to see if the smartphone could handle the launch and orbit into the dark beyond of space.
It's a sad day for the space community. Pioneer astronaut Neil Armstrong has passed away at age 82. For those of you who don't know who Neil Armstrong is, a little back-story is in order. Armstrong commanded the Apollo 11 mission, the first space mission of any country to land humans on the moon.
Once on the surface of the moon, he spoke the famous words that will forever be used to describe a great achievement that advances science for the better of the world: "That's one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind." Armstrong was one of only 12 Americans to ever set foot on the moon.
If you've ever been camping and sat around a campfire, you know how hot your face can get. While in war, many soldiers wear camouflage face paint. The issue with the current face paint is that it is a concoction of oil and wax which, when exposed to high temperatures such as a bomb blast, melts and burns the skin.
Furthermore, any face paint is required to have Deet, an insect repellent, included in the formula so that soldiers don't get bitten to death in jungles and other settings. The problem with Deet is that it is highly flammable, not exactly something you want exposed to high heat. This is where the scientists come in.
Scientists have invented a new face paint which "resists intense heat from bombs" and can resist temperatures of up to 600*C for up to 15 seconds. Considering bomb blasts last just two or three seconds, this face paint can protect soldiers' skin from the heat produced by the blast.
The new paint is produced using silicone, something that reflects heat rather than absorbing it. The Deet problem was solved by mixing it with a water-rich hydrogel substance to keep it from catching fire. Scientists are now working on producing a clear version for firefighters so they don't have to wear warpaint when running into a burning building.
Lithium Ion batteries are the best battery technology we currently have in mass production. It's used in everything from laptop computers to hybrid car batteries. Despite this wide spread use, it still has some major drawbacks. The biggest one that comes to mind is the fact that they take so darn long to charge.
Well, that could all be about to change. New research has shown that a modification in the way Lithium Ion batteries are constructed could reduce the charging time from hours to minutes. Current batteries charge from the outside in. This means the center part of the battery isn't receiving any current until the end of charging.
By putting "a dense network of conductors throughout the electrodes of the battery," researchers were able to charge the entire battery at once. This resulted in charging times that were 30 to 120 times faster than a standard Lithium Ion cell. The only issue is that filling the battery with conductors lowers the capacity or increases the size, albeit only slightly.
But if you can charge a cell phone in 5 minutes versus 2 hours, a slightly shorter battery life is not a problem.
Continuing with a theme of science and space Friday, we would like to give you something to do over the weekend. It's time for the yearly Perseid meteor shower in the northern hemisphere and it promises to be a good one. NASA has called it the "best meteor shower of the year" so you really don't want to miss it.
The shower will run from August 11 to 13, with the night of August 12 expected to be the best. NASA is predicting that at its peak rate people could be making 100 wishes an hour. In other words, NASA expects it to peak at 100 shooting stars an hour. "We expect to see meteor rates as high as a hundred per hour," NASA's Bill Cooke says.
Heading to the countryside away from city lights is usually advisable. According to NASA, "a visit to the countryside will typically triple the number of meteors you see." The best viewing time will be in the early morning darkness just before dawn. The show should start sometime after 10PM. I'll be heading to a remote location in the Northern California Sierra Nevadas to escape the Sacramento city light pollution.
I know we've got several space fanatics, myself included, so this video is quite the treat. Some people that are like us, people who enjoy space, actually do this for their job. Scientists at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have released a massive three-dimensional map of outer space.
The map is a result of its six-year study of the sky. They used the latest Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-III) to produce this map that encompasses four billion light-years cubed. Scientists hope to use this data and map to figure out the movements of the universe over the last six billion years.
The video, seen above, is an animated flight through over 400,000 charted galaxies. It's pretty cool, plain and simple. Even if you don't particularly like space, you have to be in awe of the sheer scale of the place.
Chinese researchers have achieved something quite grand, where they've overcome some challenges in regards to open-air quantum teleportation. The team developed a highly accurate laser pointing and tracking system, reports Ars Technica.
The team of researchers teleported a qubit (which is a standard unit of data in quantum computing) 97 kilometers (!) across a lake, all using a small set of photons without fiberoptic cables, or other such technology. Juan Yin and his team developed the laser targeting device, and the team were necessary to counteract the minute seismic and atmosphere shifts that would usually break the link between the two locations.
Point-to-point accuracy problems are solved by fibreoptic cables, compared to open-air systems, where the cables are used to carry entangled photons, which carry the data required for quantum teleportation. But, this can cause what's referred to as "quantum decoherence", or the corruption of the proton's entanglement data. It's incredibly exciting, and while it's not teleporting people around yet, the aim of it is to transport data, which would require quantum repeater satellites to build the network required.
Thanks to a dedicated robot fanatic, Wall-E, that crazy cute robot from a Disney movie, has been brought to life. The entire project started back in 2010 after Mike Senna finished his replica R2-D2 robot. His idea for Wall-E came from seeing how kids reacted to his R2-D2 robot at City of Hope hospital in California.
This build is no easy task. As a case modder myself, I understand how difficult it is to fabricate parts and how frustrating it can be if a detail part isn't exactly right. Adding the motion seen in the video above makes the build that much more complicated. There are no plans, no kits, no pre-built parts--everything had to be scratch built using the movie as the plans.
The project was almost scrapped after 18 months as the workload was so massive for this build. However, Senna persevered and some 3,800 hours of work later, the project was finished. The final result and Senna's return to the City of Hope hospital makes the entire project worth all of the work and love and blood and sweat that went into the project.
NASA has spent a lot of time looking upwards at the night sky. So much time that they have loads of pictures and data, so much that they can't really handle it all. This is where you come in. Yes, you, the person reading this. NASA would like you to take the data and pictures and turn them into pretty infographics.
Infographics, the Internet's favorite way of learning information anymore, are images that contain data and graphics, charts, and other visual aids in order to help present complex ideas or numbers in ways that most people can understand. Since space is quite massive and quite complex, an infographic is the perfect way to share the data NASA has collected.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California has put together a new initiative imaginatively called JPL Infographics. Once you register for an account at JPL's website, all the data and images are freely available for use. This includes pictures and graphs that can be used to build your infographic. Once done, they can be uploaded and viewed by JPL staff who will vote on accuracy and ability to inform.
China are set to settle for infinity now, and not beyond, with plans to land an exploratory craft on one and only naturally orbiting satellite, the Moon, for the first time. China's third lunar probe, Chang'e-3, is set for take off in the second half of next year, the state Xinhua news agency reported late yesterday. Chang'e-3 is named after the Chinese goddess of the Moon.
Other reports have stated that it would land, and transmit back a survey of the Moon's surface. If China are successful in landing the craft on the Moon, it will mark a very large milestone for its space development. Xinhua have said it is part of a project to orbit, land and return from the Moon. China have said on its last white paper on space that they are working toward landing a man on the Moon, but no time frame has been given.
Beijing sees its multi-billion-dollar space program as a symbol of its rising global importance, growing technical expertise, and the Communist Party's success in turning around the fortunes of the one poverty-stricken nation. If China are successful, it will be quite the media event for 2013.
The one downside to all of this? The United States used to be at the bleeding edge of this type of space exploration, considering all the technological advances we've seen in the past 50 years, it's quite sad to see that China are now looking to land on the Moon for a look around.
A cool science project has brought something that every person on earth has been waiting for. Think back to all those Sci-Fi movies. What do they all have in common? If you said moving trashcans that adjust their position to catch the trash you have just thrown towards it, you'd be correct.
And one would think with all of the technology we have some researcher would have been able to build this some time ago. Well, it turns out that people who are too lazy to get up and place trash in the can are too lazy to work on inventing a trashcan like this. However, an inventor by the name of FRP has managed to design and build one for himself.
FRP built everything from scratch from the wheeled base to the circuit boards and programming. He used a Kinect sensor that monitors the entire room and watches for trash to become airborne. It then tracks the trash and directs the trashcan to move to where it is likely to land. The video makes it look pretty darn accurate, but FRP admits the accuracy wouldn't win an MVP award quite yet.
If he manages to improve the accuracy, it's likely this invention will one day make him a very rich man.
The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) have done it, after more than 30 years of experimentation, and billions upon billions of dollars in research and the use and construction of the Large Hadron Collider, have found the Higgs boson, or "God particle".
Some might dismiss this as nothing, but this is considered an absolutely mind-blowing achievement for all scientists, researchers and everyone in between. The Higgs boson is a subatomic particle which is thought to give everything in our universe, mass. Mass is a physical property which gives matter its weight here on Earth, and other bodies which exert gravity.
But, you don't just stumble upon this, and when you do, you require some serious confirmation before you make these types of claims. Scientists are 99.99999999999-percent certain, and this is about as close as one can get. The scientists were able to calculate that the new particle is very near the "five-sigma" level of significance, meaning that there is less than a one in a million chance that their results are a statistical fluke.
New reality show to be based on Mars, $6 billion cost to establish permanent colony by 2023, Snooki will be too old by then
Ever wished there were a reality show that wasn't based on this planet? Well, just wait another decade and your wish might just come true. A Dutch company is determined to establish a permanent colony on Mars, and is looking to spend $6 billion doing so.
The plans for a reality show is grandiose, with the project dubbed 'Mars One', and will drop four astronauts on Mars in April 2023, with none of them ever returning to Earth. In order to pony up $6 billion for this venture, the project is set to stage a media spectacle like the world has never, ever seen previously. An interplanetary reality show, along the lines of Big Brother.
Theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate Gerard 't Hooft, an ambassador for Mars One, has said in an introductory video posted on the company's website:
This project seems to be the only way to fulfill humanity's dream to explore outer space. It is going to be an exciting experiment. Let's get started.
If you've ever imagined being a fly on the wall in an important meeting between companies, or corporations, this might be it. The heads of the space agencies for Europe, Canada, and Russia as well as senior representatives from the space agencies of India and Japan, were all together in a hotel in Washington, DC, where they were talking about the benefits of international collaboration at the Global Space Exploration Conference.
The leader of the space agency who's HQ is just a few blocks away, was not on the stage. NASA administrator, Charles Bolden, was in Florida where he was watching the attempt by SpaceX to launch a capsule to the International Space Station. But, it's not strange for NASA to not be involved with these talks, as the agency has had a hard time working with others in joint ventures, and Europe in particular has had to turn elsewhere for partners.
SpaceX, the space transport company out of California founded by former PayPal entrepreneur Elon Musk, were ready to launch their first private spacecraft on its voyage to the International Space Station on Saturday, but at T-minus 0.5 seconds, it was aborted.
Technicians pegged it on a faulty engine valve, which was responsible for aborting the first launch attempt within just half of a second remaining on the countdown, after all nine first-stage engines had ignited. Computers had detected high pressure in one engine's combustion chamber, triggering an automatic shutdown.
The countdown reached zero, but SpaceX holds its rockets on the launch pad for a few seconds after ignition in order to ensure everything is functioning. In this case, it could've been a very, very good thing that the lift-off was halted, and SpaceX's delayed launch for a few seconds definitely helped.
The Chinese have beamed up Scotty. Starting in 1997, researchers have been able to quantum teleport photons, where a record was set by researchers at the University of Science and Technology of China in Shanghai.
Two years ago, this team successfully transported a photon over 16km. This same team has just released some new findings, where they've claimed to have teleported photons nearly 100km, or over 60 miles. Incredible!
How the process works is when a photon is teleported, they aren't physically transporting the proton, but instead the information that is contained in it through quantum entanglement. The second photon at the end of the teleport then becomes the first one, or the identical qubit of information. This means that information is exchanged, all without any physical movement.
This would be perfect for information, instead of it travelling through cables or satellites, information would stay in a single place, shoot across the other side of the planet (or solar system?) and recreate itself in its intended position. This is because quantum teleportation has to be done in free space. Fiberoptics just don't work because once you go over a distance of around 1km, the fiber absorbs so much light that the information is lost.