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Mars

Next Mars Mission Selected For Funding 61

Posted by samzenpus
from the on-deck dept.
First time accepted submitter Dr Bip writes "Flush with the good news coming from Mars, NASA has announced that JPL has won funding for the next mission to Mars. It seems that the lander will be carrying a self-driving mole developed by the German space agency (DLR). Commiserations to the two other projects that were also in the selection finale (TiME and CHopper). Note the DLR mole's last attempt to get to Mars was with the Beagle 2 lander, fingers crossed for this second attempt."
Earth

Nature: Global Temperatures Are a Falling Trend 786

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the romney-declares-drill-baby-drill dept.
New submitter sosume writes "An article in Nature shows that temperatures in Roman times were actually higher than current temperatures. A team lead by Dr. Esper of the University of Mainz has researched tree rings and concluded that over the past 2,000 years, the forcing is up to four times as large as the 1.6W/m^2 net anthropogenic forcing since 1750 using evidence based on maximum latewood density data from northern Scandinavia, indicating that this cooling trend was stronger (0.31C per 1,000 years, ±0.03C) than previously reported, and demonstrated that this signature is missing in published tree-ring proxy records."
Math

The Math of Leap Days 225

Posted by samzenpus
from the extra-days-extra-credit dept.
The Bad Astronomer writes "We have leap days every four years because the Earth's day and year don't divide evenly. But there's more to it than that... a lot more. A year isn't exactly 365.25 days long, and that leads to needing more complicated math and rules for when we do and don't have a leap year. If you've ever wanted to see that math laid out, now's your chance, and it only comes along every four years. Except every hundred years. Except every four hundred years."
Transportation

What Scorpions Have To Teach Aircraft Designers 127

Posted by samzenpus
from the taking-the-sting-out dept.
First time accepted submitter elloGov writes "The north African desert scorpion, Androctonus australis, is a hardy creature. Most animals that live in deserts dig burrows to protect themselves from the sand-laden wind. Not Androctonus; it usually toughs things out at the surface. Yet when the sand whips by at speeds that would strip paint away from steel, the scorpion is able to scurry off without apparent damage thanks to the unique structure of its carapace. Dr Han Zhiwu of Jilin University and colleagues have found that surface irregularities based on the scorpion's exoskeleton could substantially minimize atmospheric dust damage to aircraft."
Entertainment

DC Comics Announces "Before Watchmen" 130

Posted by samzenpus
from the watchmen-kids dept.
eldavojohn writes "Currently DC Comics' site has a banner announcing a new series called "Before Watchmen." Unfortunately the blog pages for this new series appear to be experiencing high traffic and are unreachable. But a number of sites are breaking down these new endeavors that will be giving backstories to the seven characters and who will be creating each of those series. There's also speculation ranging from how much this must upset Alan Moore (egg frying on his forehead seems to be the popular guess) to the theory that this is simply for more movie material. There's an abundance of information from interviews released today."
The Military

Self-Guided Bullet Can Hit Targets a Mile Away 421

Posted by Soulskill
from the just-in-case-you're-too-lazy-to-walk-over-there dept.
New submitter jpwilliams writes "Gizmag reports that researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have tested a 10-centimeter bullet that can be fired from a smooth-bore rifle to hit a laser-marked target one mile away. The bullet 'includes an optical sensor in the nose to detect a laser beam on a target. The sensor sends information to guidance and control electronics that use an algorithm in an eight-bit central processing unit to command electromagnetic actuators. These actuators steer tiny fins that guide the bullet to the target.' Interestingly, accuracy improves with targets that are further away, because 'the bullet's motions settle the longer it is in flight.'"
Medicine

Fighting Mosquitoes With GM Mosquitoes 521

Posted by samzenpus
from the it's-a-bug-eat-bug-world dept.
doug141 writes "Scientists are releasing genetically modified male mosquitoes that produce flightless female offspring. The male offspring go on to wipe out another generation of females. This is similar to the way screwworms were eradicated in the U.S., except with nature itself making more of the modified males. Field trials are already underway."
Power

Scientists Create New Type of Superconductor Wires 96

Posted by samzenpus
from the greased-lightning dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Scientists in Israel have used technology created at a U.S.-funded national research lab to created a new kind of wire spun from sapphire crystals, that is a vastly better conductor than traditional copper wires. The research could have profound implications for renewable energy since much of the generation is in remote locations. It could help bring more electricity from renewable sources to cities."
Security

A Linux Distro From the US Department of Defense 210

Posted by timothy
from the buggy-whip-for-the-bandwagon dept.
donadony writes "The Lightweight Portable Security distribution was created by the Software Protection Initiative under the direction of the Air Force Research Laboratory and the U.S. Department Of Defense. The idea behind it is that government workers can use a CD-ROM or USB stick to boot into a tamper proof, pristine desktop when using insecure computers such as those available in hotels or a worker's own home. The environment that it offers should be largely resistant to Internet-borne security threats such as viruses and spyware, particularly when launched from read-only media such as a CDROM. The LPS system does not mount the hard drive of the host machine, so leaves no trace of the user's activities behind."
Graphics

Upscaling Retro 8-Bit Pixel Art To Vector Graphics 325

Posted by timothy
from the awesomeness-defined dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Two researchers — Johannes Kopf from Microsoft, and Dani Lischinski from The Hebrew University — have successfully created an algorithm that depixelizes and upscales low-resolution 8-bit 'pixel art' into lush vector graphics. The algorithm identifies pixel-level details (original paper — PDF) to accurately shade the new image — but more importantly, the algorithm can create smooth, curved contour lines from only-connected-on-the-diagonal single pixels. At long last, we might be able to play Super Mario Bros. on a big screen without stretching our beloved plumber's pixels to breaking point. You really must look at the sample images." Scroll down in the paper to see how their technique stacks up against some others, including Adobe's Live Trace.

Comment: 2/129? (Score 1) 193

by chennes (#30262548) Attached to: NASA Campaigns For Safer Launch Requirements

Interesting that we're not counting Columbia as a "launch" disaster. The foam that broke off and hit the orbiter wing happened on launch, so in my mind we're at 2/129, not 1/129. That particular failure mode is directly attributable to the questionable decision to mount the orbiter to the side of the stack, rather than on top: switching back to the "astronauts at the top of the stack" seems like a clear way to remove a bunch of that type of failure modes.

Social Networks

Facebook Scrambles To Contain ToS Fallout 409

Posted by kdawson
from the all-your-content dept.
Ian Lamont writes "Anger over Facebook's ToS update has forced the company to scramble. Yesterday, a spokesman released a statement that said Facebook has never 'claimed ownership of material that users upload,' and is trying to be more open to users about how their data is being handled. Mark Zuckerberg has also weighed in, stating 'we wouldn't share your information in a way you wouldn't want.' Facebook members are skeptical, however — protests have sprung up on blogs, message boards, and a new Facebook group called 'People Against the new Terms of Service' that has added more than 10,000 members today."
Windows

Windows 7 To Come In Multiple Versions 821

Posted by kdawson
from the win-7-ready dept.
Crazy Taco writes "Tom's Hardware reports on newly discovered screenshots that reveal Microsoft is planning to release their newest version of Windows in multiple confusing versions ... again. The information comes from the latest version of the Windows 7 beta, build 7025 (the public beta is build 7000), and shows a screen during installation that asks the user which version of the OS he or she would like to install. Who's up for guessing what the difference is between Windows 7 'Starter' and Windows 7 'Home Basic?'"

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