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Space

Herschel Spectroscopy of Future Supernova 21

Posted by Soulskill
from the that's-a-big-star dept.
davecl writes "ESA's Herschel Space Telescope has released its first spectroscopic results. These include observations of VYCMa, a star 50 times as massive as the sun and soon to become a supernova, as well as a nearby galaxy, more distant colliding starburst galaxies and a comet in our own solar system. The spectra show more lines than have ever been seen in these objects in the far-infrared and will allow astronomers to work out the detailed chemistry and physics behind star and planet formation as well as the last stages of stellar evolution before VYCMa's eventual collapse into a supernova. More coverage is available at the Herschel Mission Blog, which I run."
Government

"Smart" Parking Meters Considered Dumb 863

Posted by kdawson
from the sometimes-a-coin-is-just-a-coin dept.
theodp writes "The jury's still out on whether Chicago taxpayers were taken to the cleaners by a rushed 75-year lease of the city's metered parking to a Morgan Stanley consortium. But most would probably agree that the new shared Pay Boxes that replaced the city's old parking meters don't exactly live up to their 'Smart' billing. Here's what the redesigned 'user-friendly' parking solution looks like: 1. Park your car. 2. Walk up to 1/2 block to a Pay Box. 3. Wait in line to use it. 4. Use coins or credit cards to purchase parking time — up to $84 for 24-hours (add $50 if you run out of time). 5. Wait for a paper receipt to be printed. 6. Walk up to 1/2 block back to your car. 7. Place the receipt on your dashboard. 8. Head off to your destination, perhaps passing the Pay Box a second time. So before other cities suffer the same fate as Chicago, Portland, and others, is there a 'smarter' way? Some suggest the ParkMagic In-Car Meter, but no new orders are being taken in Chicago. Any other ideas?"
Image

Solar Machine Spins Sunlight-Shaped Furniture 71

Posted by samzenpus
from the just-because-you-can-do-something dept.
Mike writes "Austrian designers mischer'traxler have created a solar powered machine that makes an incredible array of furnishings that vary based on how much sunlight it receives over the course of a day. Titled 'The Idea of a Tree,' the machine spins spools of thread into stools, benches, containers, and lamp shades that wax and wane as the available sunlight shifts. Furniture created during cloudy winter days will be wrapped more slowly, causing it to be darker in color, thicker, and smaller than pieces created during the sun-soaked summer months."

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