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Space

Astronomers Find Star-Within-a-Star, 40 Years After First Theorized 72

Posted by Soulskill
from the plot-a-course-and-engage-at-warp-six dept.
derekmead writes: After 40 years, astronomers have likely found a rather strange celestial body known as a Thorne–Zytkow object (TZO), in which a neutron star is absorbed by a red supergiant. Originally predicted in the 1970s, the first non-theoretical TZO was found earlier this year, based on calculations presented in a paper forthcoming in MNRAS.

TZOs were predicted by astronomer Kip Thorne and Anna Zytkow, who wasthen postdoctoral fellow at CalTech. The pair imagined what might happen if a neutron star in a binary system merged with its partner red supergiant. This wouldn't be like two average stars merging. Neutron stars are the ancient remnants of stars that grew too big and exploded. Their cores remain small — about 12.5 miles across — as they shed material out into space. Red supergiants are the largest stars in the galaxy, with radii up to 800 times that of our sun, but they aren't dense.
Input Devices

Enthusiast Opts For $2200 Laser Eye Surgery To Enhance Oculus Rift Experience 109

Posted by timothy
from the funny-I-might-want-it-for-regular-goggles dept.
An anonymous reader writes After 30 years of wearing glasses, one man says that the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset has prompted him to get laser eye surgery. With farsightedness and astigmatism, he says, "Never thought much about the laser surgery until the Rift, that's for sure." He has an appointment to get the $2200 surgery on the 13th of this month. "For me it is clear, my eyeglasses are like an obstacle for optimal VR experience," he said. He hopes the surgery will remove his need for glasses, which can be uncomfortable inside of the Rift, if they fit at all, and cause several issues such as scratched lenses and lower field of view. Oculus plans to make the consumer version of the Oculus Rift (aka CV1) more friendly to glasses wearers, "...we have a lot of great ideas for supporting glasses in the consumer version [of the Rift] (especially since a huge portion of the Oculus team wears glasses everyday!)" they noted in their Kickstarter.

Comment: Re:20 megawatts (Score 1) 195

by afxgrin (#47588111) Attached to: Inside BitFury's 20 Megawatt Bitcoin Mine

When the mining difficulty was low generating an appreciated $4000 worth of bitcoin cost a trivial amount of electricity. However, transaction processing than mining. Bitfury is just trying to squeeze the last little bit of lottery bitcoins from the mining algorithm. Comparing environmental impact on generating $4k of bitcoins vs mining gold is ridiculous, they don't compare at all.

The power consumption by modern banks processing fiat currency transactions (mostly imaginary money) compared to bitcoin transaction processing is a better comparison, and even then Bitfury won't last much longer as the mining difficulty will result in diminishing returns. The overall transaction processing will become far leaner when the payout is purely on the transaction fees.

Comment: Re:Finally! (Score 0) 474

by afxgrin (#47492713) Attached to: World Health Organization Calls For Decriminalization of Drug Use

" If you want to understand what removing legalization would result in, I recommend that you read "Diary of a Drug Fiend" by Aliestar Crowley."

You could also experiment with drugs yourself. Why read someone's opinion when you could just go and form your own.

Personally the injection route always made me a bit uneasy. It's probably the cleanest way to use these substances however, except for the poking a vein repeatedly part. All you need to do is form some sort of embolism by injecting regularly and you risk dying not even from the drug itself.

Crime

World Health Organization Calls For Decriminalization of Drug Use 474

Posted by Soulskill
from the WHO-already-dismissed-by-old-people-as-being-a-bunch-of-potheads dept.
An anonymous reader writes: We've known for a while: the War on Drugs isn't working. Scientists, journalists, economists, and politicians have all argued against continuing the expensive and ineffective fight. Now, the World Health Organization has said flat out that nations should work to decriminalize the use of drugs. The recommendations came as part of a report released this month focusing on the prevention and treatment of HIV. "The WHO's unambiguous recommendation is clearly grounded in concerns for public health and human rights. Whilst the call is made in the context of the policy response to HIV specifically, it clearly has broader ramifications, specifically including drug use other than injecting. In the report, the WHO says: 'Countries should work toward developing policies and laws that decriminalize injection and other use of drugs and, thereby, reduce incarceration. ...Countries should ban compulsory treatment for people who use and/or inject drugs." The bottom line is that the criminalization of drug use comes with substantial costs, while providing no substantial benefit.

Comment: Re:There's also the price... (Score 1) 448

by afxgrin (#47306403) Attached to: $500k "Energy-Harvesting" Kickstarter Scam Unfolding Right Now

Broadband rectifying antennas aren't anything new really, sure the background RF from towers, other sources is quite significant, and most experts would point out that you can't power a bluetooth chipset on a few microwatts of harvested power - but you could use it to charge a capacitor and periodically power the chipset. An update every 30 seconds instead of continuous monitoring of an item still works for me. The only problem with making the tag so small is you don't have much space to make an antenna for longer wavelengths.

Comment: Re:Bad move (Score 3, Informative) 280

Well this Mike Hopkins guy is mostly comparing neutron yields from the D-T reaction LPP were testing with. Lerner inevitably wants to use the p-B reaction which produces no neutrons (aside from residual gas sources), however to test his pinch device using D-T is much easier as the fusion temperature is lower. It also makes for a good comparison to other pinch devices. Since the p-B reaction yields mostly photons they seek to make a fusion device from the charged particles (a stream of electrons and ions) and the photon energy collected via photoelectric current. Some of those gammas are uncapturable but the energy still captured is supposedly a net gain once they can get a high enough plasma temperature.

Engineering the Photon Capture Sphere Thing (PCST) to capture photons and electrons while not activating all the material with a 100-year half-life used in its construction, nor having it rip itself apart from dissimilar metals and thermal gradients, not having an unacceptably high rate of particles sputter the crap out of inside, is all non-trivial and would require significant trial-and-error builds. This is of course assuming they manage to make a working p-B reaction with their pinch. Best of luck to Lerner, but I'm not counting on seeing any significant results unless some billionaire type takes a risk on him.

Don't steal; thou'lt never thus compete successfully in business. Cheat. -- Ambrose Bierce

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