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An anonymous reader writes "HELSTF, the High Energy Laser Systems Test Facility at White Sands, New Mexico, USA, is facing a grim future due to proposed cuts in the 2008 fiscal year budget. Some of you may know that HELSTF is home to the MIRACL, or Mid-Infrared Advanced Chemical Laser, dubbed the most powerful laser in the free world. The MIRACL was used extensively in the mid 1980's as a testbed in support of America's Star Wars laser weapons program. The proposed cuts would bring an end to a distinguished 25-year career for the site, with no replacement capability on the horizon. Worse yet, aside from over 130 potential jobs lost, countless sharks would be looking for a new gig. . ."
SoyChemist (1015349) writes "On the most recent edition of his new show, Dan Rather reported that the new 787 Dreamliner aircraft may be unsafe. Since then, dozens of news agencies have jumped on the bandwagon. Most of them are reporting that the carbon fiber frame may not be as sturdy as aluminum. Few have bothered to question Rather's claims that the composite materials are brittle, more likely to shatter on impact, and prone to emit poisonous chemicals when ignited. While there is a lot of weight behind the argument that composite materials are not as well-studied as aircraft aluminum, the reasoning behind the flurry of recent articles may be faulty. The very title of Rather's story, Plastic Planes, indicates a lack of grounding in science. Perhaps the greatest concern should be how well the plane will hold up to water. Because they are vulnerable to slow and steady degradation by moisture, the new materials may not last as long as aluminum. Testing them for wear and tear will be more difficult too." Link to Original Source
samzenpus from the scrub-that-global-warming-away dept.
An anonymous coward writes "Global Research Technologies, LLC (GRT), a technology research and development company, and Klaus Lackner from Columbia University have achieved the
successful demonstration of a bold new technology to capture carbon from the air. The "air extraction" prototype has successfully demonstrated that indeed carbon dioxide (CO2) can be captured from the atmosphere. This is GRT's first step toward a commercially viable air capture device."
Zonk from the still-waiting-for-a-eyeball-based-hud-thanks dept.
zdude255 writes "Wired is running an article exploring several studies of giving the human brain 'new input devices.' From seeing with your sense of touch to entirely new senses such as sensing direction intuitively, the human brain seems to be capable of interpreting and using new data on the fly. This offers many applications from pilots being able to sense the plane's orientation to the potential recovery of patients with blindness or ear damage. (which helps balance).'It turns out that the tricky bit isn't the sensing. The world is full of gadgets that detect things humans cannot. The hard part is processing the input. Neuroscientists don't know enough about how the brain interprets data. The science of plugging things directly into the brain -- artificial retinas or cochlear implants -- remains primitive. So here's the solution: Figure out how to change the sensory data you want -- the electromagnetic fields, the ultrasound, the infrared -- into something that the human brain is already wired to accept, like touch or sight.'"
An anonymous reader writes "The BBC is reporting that Tony Blair's outgoing chief strategy adviser fears the internet could be fueling a crisis in the relationship between politicians and voters. 'Mr Taylor said Mr Blair's online grilling from voters — and other initiatives such as environment secretary David Miliband's blog and Downing Street's new online petition service — showed the government was making good progress in using the Internet to become more open and accountable. But he said more needed to be done by the web community in general to encourage people to use the internet to "solve problems" rather than simply abuse politicians or make "incommensurate" demands on them.' 'But rather than work out these dilemmas in partnership with their elected leaders, they were encouraged to regard all politicians as corrupt or mendacious by the media, which he described as "a conspiracy to maintain the population in a perpetual state of self-righteous rage." Whether media was left wing or right wing, the message was always that 'leaders are out there to shaft you.'" Some credit was given to the Internet for high voter turnout in this month's elections ... how is that a bad thing?