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Comment Re:If you like the sound of that... (Score 1) 192

TFA mentions use of a traveling wave tube, basically an inverse klystron tube, to reclaim some of the energy from the emitted alpha particles and convert it into electricity to power other vehicle systems. It does this using condensers out of your accelerator circuits, solenoids from your gyro stabilizers, and the Lavallois technique.

Are Fake Geeks Dooming Real Ones? 492

mattnyc99 writes "In the wake of the Best Buy 'geek' trademarking and Miss USA calling herself 'a huge history geek,' writer (and self-proclaimed geek) Eryn Green has an interesting piece for Esquire on how so-called 'geek chic' is pervading the culture so much that no one appreciates an actual geek anymore. From the article: 'The difference between brains and beauty is that you're more or less born into good looks — entitled, if you will. Intelligence? That takes work. If the hallmark of real geekiness — of America — is determination, then we seem too determined to have an entitlement problem.'"

Lasers Approach Their Ultimate Intensity Limit 384

Flash Modin writes "Death Star style superlasers? Don't bet on it. High-power lasers currently in development appear to be nearing the theoretical laser intensity limit, according to new research set to be published in the journal Physical Review Letters. Ultra-high-energy laser fields can actually convert their light into matter as shown in the late '90s at the Stanford Linear Accelerator (SLAC). This process creates an 'avalanche-like electromagnetic cascade' (also known as sparking the vacuum) capable of destroying a laser field. Physicists thought it might be a problem for lasers eventually, but this work indicates the technology is much closer to its limit than researchers believed. A preprint is available here."

Comment Celebrate. (Score 1) 437

Most people can't even give it away if they try and try they do. Giving it away is what CC is all about. If someone is stealing what you are doing that is very encouraging news and cause for celebration. You might consider producing as much of what people like to steal from you as you can while they still want to steal it from you. I wish I was in your shoes.

Saturn's Moon Prometheus Spawning Moonlets 47

astroengine writes "For the first time ever, astronomers have witnessed the formation of celestial objects... in Saturn's rings. As the Saturnian moon Prometheus dashes through the gas giant's rings, it leaves large formations of ice behind, some as large as 12 kilometers in diameter. When the small moon makes another pass, it is not known whether these giant 'snowballs' remain or get destroyed, but according to Linda Spilker, from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory: 'You can think of Saturn's rings as miniature versions of the disks where planets form. The same physical processes are occurring.'" The Planetary Society blog has further explanation, as well as pictures and a movie of Prometheus' interaction with Saturn's rings. The Cassini team has released some fantastic images of the fans and clumps in the F ring, as well as a simulation showing how the ring's particles are affected by the moon's passing.

NASA Creates First Global Forest Map Using Lasers 55

MikeCapone writes "Scientists, using three NASA satellites, have created a first-of-its-kind map that details the height of the world's forests. The data was collected from NASA's ICESat, Terra and Aqua satellites. The latter two satellites are responsible for most of NASA's Gulf spill imagery. The data collected will help scientists understand how the world's forests both store and process carbon. While there are many local and regional canopy maps, this is the very first global map using a uniform method for measure."

Comment Re:Why humanoid? (Score 1) 108

Two things. First, the humanoid is the result of millions of years of recent evolution. It's a solid design. Sure, you probably can come up with a better design, but why throw away what already works? That's wasteful. Second, we have millennia of human technology designed for the humanoid form. Why throw that away either? Same argument about waste applies.

Third, you don't want to waste the opportunity to make your robot look like frickin' Boba Fett. Same argument about waste applies yet again.

Nonsense. Space is blue and birds fly through it. -- Heisenberg