A very hot solution to solar power when the sun goes down!
Molten salt (such as the kind that can be found near Mount Doom), is simply a good conductor of heat. A new power plant will use nearly 20,000 heliostats—basically very focused mirrors—aimed at a focal point in a tower, which will heat up salt to a steamy 1,050 degrees Fahrenheit. Pump that salt near some water and you get enough steam to run a turbine. Hold that salt at that high temperature and then put it near water later and (BAM!) you get power when the sun isn’t out!
Scientists have developed an implant that will let nerves re-grow onto terminals. And now we bring you: A Phantom Recorder, that stores and plays back physical sensations for amputees.
Cohen’s concept is based on the increasingly un-out-there idea of brain/machine interfaces, in which the human nervous system is directly linked in a feedback loop with an electronic device. The scientists who inspired Cohen developed an implant that will let nerves associated with a missing limb re-grow onto terminals which can register their electrical activity and control assistive devices or prosthetics.
The Human Genome Project—a $3.8-billion international human genome mapping project that ran from 1988 to 2003—wasn’t just a money-sucking vanity initiative that only reaped profits for personal genetic testing companies like 23andMe. The project has, in fact, driven $796 billion in economic impact and generated $244 billion in total personal income, according to a new report from Battelle. Sometimes, pricey long-term science projects are well worth it.
“Universe Sandbox” knows that even the most beautiful space simulator isn’t going to keep a kid’s attention very long unless she can break the rules with it. So it goes for broke right from the get-go, urging players to “smash moons in orbit around a fictional planet,” “watch moons collapse into one another,” and “collide galaxies for fun.” Talk about good user-experience design.
But of course, all that diabolically destructive fun is grounded in a rock-solid scientific fact. Yes, you can break the rules of how the universe actually looks in real life, but not how it fundamentally functions. Which means that when you bash the Milky Way into the Andromeda Galaxy, the resulting spray of star-stuff is a faithful representation of what such a cosmic apocalypse would actually look like.
Click through to see a video of what it lets you do. You’re going to wanna watch this EPIC teaser in full screen!
NERD ALERT! Okay, admittedly I shouldn’t be so excited about this, but just watch this video of a new iPad app that displays your iTunes music library as a 3D galaxy! This blows any previously created iTunes visualizer out of the water, ocean, and planet— literally. If you were to project this at a party, your friends might even stop dancing just to look at it. It’s Friday. Get your geek on!
Planetary, a free iPad app from the data-artists at Bloom, is jaw-droppingly, eye-poppingly gorgeous. It analyzes your iTunes music library and visualizes it as a 3D galaxy, where artists become stars that form constellations, albums are planets orbiting those stars, and individual tracks are moons that spin around the planets. It’s “music of the spheres” made stunningly literal. But according to Bloom, it’s so much more than that.
Meanwhile, in other non-Osama bin Laden related news today, Lasers have come a long way. From vision correction surgery to now saving the disappearing forests of the world.
The destruction of forests ranks as the second leading cause of climate change – after the burning of fossil fuels — accounting for up to 20 percent of global carbon pollution. Until recently, measuring carbon has been too complicated, too costly and altogether inaccurate. An unlikely solution: lasers being shot from planes at 200,000 photons per second. In a nutshell, that’s LiDAR—Light Detection and Ranging.
Would you believe that highly purified water is like acid to your body? Of all the crazy things I have heard about water, this tops my list as the most insane:
FACT: Water can be too clean to drink—so clean that it’s actually not safe to drink.
That’s the kind of claim about water that people scoff at—it seems ridiculous on the face of it.
Water too clean to drink?
Give me a break. It’s water. Cleaner is better.
But this is one wild water story that’s true.
Every day, around the world, tens of millions of gallons of the cleanest water possible are created, water so clean that it is regarded as an industrial solvent, absolutely central to high-tech manufacturing but not safe for human consumption.
The clean water—it’s called ultra-pure water (UPW)—is a central part of making semiconductors, the wafers from which computer microchips are cut for everything from MRI scanners to greeting cards.
China is launching its very own space station. Countries have achieved such a feet absent international cooperation only twice before—Russia’s Salyut, in 1971, and the United States’ Skylab, in 1973. After successful manned space flights and a robotic lunar lander, a space station would be a potent political symbol in an era when the U.S. has no means to get astronauts into space other than paying the Russians.
The thing about China—a nation led by engineers—is that through the vehicle of its 5-year plans, its government methodically pursues its stated goals. It’s happened before in microchips, leading the Chinese government to develop a home-grown processor that may some day challenge Intel. And it’s happening in space.
Nerds everywhere today are in mourning. Funding for the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif., has dried up, meaning the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence lost one of its champions. In an letter dated April 22nd, reports the San Jose Mercury News, SETI Institute’s CEO, Tom Pierson, reported that the array had to be put into “hibernation.” The equipment will be maintained, but won’t be able to operate—the government funding simply isn’t there.
After choking back our tears and shaking our heads in remembrance of Carl Sagan, we began to wonder what the implications were for technology. Would the SETI@home project, which we’ve covered numeroustimes in the past, be disrupted, and if so, what of the general project of distributed computing?
Continue reading to see why the business community and private donors should pony up to keep the SETI Institute going.
Scot Osterweil, research director of MIT’s Education Arcade, is one of the masterminds behind a new science game made for the Smithsonian Institution. The game is a National Science Foundation-funded experiment in “alternative science education.”
See how this grand experiment in “alternative science education” is planned to unfold over the next two months, right here.