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+ - Lowell Observatory pushes to name an asteroid "Travyon"->

Submitted by Flash Modin
Flash Modin (1828190) writes "The observatory where Pluto was discovered is pushing to name an asteroid after a black teenager killed in a controversial confrontation in Florida last year.

William Lowell Putnam III says his family is identified with the cause of African American rights, and thus an asteroid named after Trayvon Martin is perfectly appropriate. Putnam is the sole trustee of the observatory, which was founded by Percival Lowell during his search for canals on Mars.

Astronomers at the observatory discovered the asteroid in 2000, but it has not been formally named.

Putnam has already asked the Minor Planet Center once to designate the asteroid "Trayvon," but they told him the designation was "premature." Now that there's been a verdict, the observatory is reapplying in hopes the naming body will see things different."

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+ - BASE jumper dies in 1,000 foot Grand Canyon fall->

Submitted by Flash Modin
Flash Modin (1828190) writes "A Norwegian BASE jumper plummeted to his death Tuesday afternoon after a 1,000-foot fall near the confluence with Grand Canyon National Park. Authorities say the victim was 37-year-old Eiliv Ruud, a highly-experienced wingsuit BASE jumper and alpine climber. Two other BASE jumpers, a Norwegian man and woman, watched Ruud leap off the cliff and fall about halfway into the gorge, officials said. About 500 feet from canyon bottom, the pair said they saw a gust of wind catch Ruud and slam him into the cliff face. His main parachute didn't deploy afterward and he spiraled to his death. Ruud is often featured in pro BASE jumping videos wearing a wingsuit as he skims above rivers, treetops and cliff faces. While hundreds jump illegally in Yosemite each year, the park service has banned the practice and the Grand Canyon typically doesn't have to deal with BASE jumpers."
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Science

+ - Breaking into the Supercollider->

Submitted by
BuzzSkyline
BuzzSkyline writes "A group of physicists went AWOL from the American Physical Society conference in Dallas this week to explore the ruins of the nearby Superconducting Super Collider. The SSC was to be the world's largest and most ambitious physics experiment. It would have been bigger than the LHC and run at triple the energy. But the budget ran out of control and the project was scrapped in 1993."
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Science

+ - MESSENGER Mission Set to Arrive at Mercury->

Submitted by Flash Modin
Flash Modin (1828190) writes "In one month, NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft will become the first to orbit the planet Mercury. After it's seven year journey across the solar system, the spacecraft will park in orbit and begin a one year mission to study the innermost planet. Until MESSENGER, nearly half of the planet had never been imaged and large blank spots still exist on its maps. Sean Solomon, the mission's head, says NASA hopes to solve long-standing mysteries about Mercury's formation, composition and its dynamic atmosphere."
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Science

+ - New ice volcanoes on Saturn's moon Titan (w/video) 1

Submitted by Flash Modin
Flash Modin (1828190) writes "Astronomers have announced the discovery of a potential new ice volcano on Saturn's moon Titan. Named Sotra, the volcano is more than 3,000 feet tall and has a one mile deep pit along-side it. Surrounded by giant sand dunes, it is thought to be the largest in a string of several volcanoes that once spewed molten ice from deep beneath the moon's surface. The team can't be certain if the chain is active, but described the find as the best evidence found so far for a cryovolcano — the scientific term for an ice volcano. Previously, bright spots seen in low-resolution satellite images have been interpreted as volcanic flows and craters. However, once those areas were mapped in 3-D, it became obvious they weren't volcanoes. "Ice at outer solar system temperatures is very rigid," said Randy Kirk, a geophysicist with the USGS. "oeIce at close to its melting point is soft. What would be a glacier on Earth would be a volcano on a body that's made of that same material. It's the difference between the cake and the frosting." NASA has released a video of a simulated aerial flyover of the volcano. "
Science

+ - One billion US parking spaces have huge eco-impact-> 2

Submitted by Flash Modin
Flash Modin (1828190) writes "Next time you're searching for a parking space and someone grabs a spot from right in front of you, it might seem like the last space left on Earth, but ponder this: there are at least 500 million empty spaces in the United States at any given time. Environmental engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have conducted the first ever nation-wide count of parking spaces and shown that the nearly one billion parking spaces in the United States have a significant impact on the environment. After completing their parking estimates, the researchers calculated the energy requirements as well as the emissions from creating asphalt and other things associated with constructing and maintaining parking spaces. The group found that parking contributes to greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. In fact, the environmental cost of so many parking spaces raises the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per mile by as much as 10 percent for an average car. And, when calculated over the lifetime of a vehicle, the amount of other gases like sulfur dioxide can rise by as much as 25 percent and the amount of soot as much as 90 percent. Sulfur dioxide and soot are both harmful to humans and are associated with things like acid rain and respiratory illnesses."
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Science

+ - 3-D holographic telepresence created (w/video)->

Submitted by Flash Modin
Flash Modin (1828190) writes "Eventually you'll be able to project a holograph of Princess Leia into your own living room, thanks to a device announced today by the journal Nature. The physicists who created the device claim that their holographic 3-D display can refresh color images every two seconds without the need for glasses and say it's the closest thing to a real time holographic projection ever created. The breakthrough was possible because of a material called a photorefractive polymer film, on which a 3-D image can be recorded and erased, and then replaced with a new image. The holograph still exists inside of a flat frame rather than being projected into thin air, but like a sheet of magical glass it allows you to see all sides of an image as the frame is rotated. This sets it apart from seemingly 3-D projections like those used by CNN in its election night coverage, which still only show one perspective. The group plans to make a much improved version that they expect to have marketable applications in the entertainment industry, telemedicine, manufacturing and the military."
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Science

+ - Hawking: No 'theory of everything'->

Submitted by Flash Modin
Flash Modin (1828190) writes "In a Scientific American essay based on their new book "A Grand Design", Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow are now claiming physicists may never find a theory of everything. Instead, they propose a "family of interconnected theories" might emerge, with each describing a certain reality under specific conditions. The claim is a reversal for Hawking, who claimed in 1980 that there would be a unified theory by the turn of the century."
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Science

+ - Physicists confirm Hawking radiation in lab->

Submitted by Flash Modin
Flash Modin (1828190) writes "A team of physicists from the University of Milan have observed Hawking radiation with a clever lab analogy using a so-called white hole, which they created by firing ultrashort infrared laser pulses through fused silica glass. Hawking radiation is theorized to rob black holes of their mass and if confirmed, would have serious implications for the evolution of the universe. They claim the measurements they made in their lab confirm the properties of black holes Stephen Hawking predicted decades ago."
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Comment: Re:Press release (Score 2, Informative) 53

by Flash Modin (#33707776) Attached to: NASA Creates an Alien's Eye View of Solar System
Solar system orbits form based on the dynamics of how the cloud of supernovae dust they form from "collapses." The cloud can be set in motion from coming into contact with another cloud or another supernova interacting with it. The rotation (and hence what we might consider up and down) is based on how that interaction occurs. Once it starts rotating it's governed by Newton's second law, aka the figure skater effect (a skater spins faster as they pull their arms in). So, no. There's no reason to assume that they would orient themselves in a so called up/down direction.

Comment: Re:Press release (Score 2, Informative) 53

by Flash Modin (#33703524) Attached to: NASA Creates an Alien's Eye View of Solar System
Commodore, We only find "side view," or what astronomers refer to as edge on, systems because of our limited detection techniques. The two methods to regularly find planets so far are photometry and radial velocity. One relies on a faint dip in light when a planet passes in front of its star and the other relies on a planet pulling its star slightly towards it. There's no reason to think that a universal preference would exist for solar systems facing us edge on. So, by simply taking an infrared photo of the star - similar to what Hubble did with Fomalhaut and NASA did here- we might determine the presence of a planet based on a dust cloud around it.

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