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A Hyper-Velocity Impact In the Asteroid Belt? 114

astroengine writes "Astronomers have spotted something rather odd in the asteroid belt. It looks like a comet, but it's got a circular orbit, similar to an asteroid. Whether it's an asteroid or a comet, it has a long, comet-like tail, suggesting something is being vented into space. Some experts think it could be a very rare comet/asteroid hybrid being heated by the sun, but there's an even more exciting possibility: It could be the first ever observation of two asteroids colliding in the asteroid belt."

Photovoltaic Eye Implant Could Give Sight To the Blind 15

MikeChino writes with this snippet from Inhabitat: "Researchers at Stanford University recently announced that they have developed a new artificial retina implant that uses photovoltaic power and could help the blind see. The problem with previous implants was that there was no way send power to the chip in order to process light and data inside the eye, so the new device uses miniature photovoltaic cells to provide power the chip as well as to transmit data through the eye to the brain. The new device has great promise to help people afflicted by the loss of photoreceptor cells by using the power of the sun."

Comment Obvious they don't watch movies (Score 1) 139

This functionality and resolution is easy to get and can be obtained from a normal single photo, not 1655. All you need is a standard "enhancement" filter found on any movie of TV show worth its salt. You zoom in, everything is blurry, enhance, it gets clear again and repeat ad nauseum, or at least until the scientists in your audience are nauseated.

Yellowstone Supervolcano Larger Than First Thought 451

drewtheman writes "New studies of the plumbing that feeds the Yellowstone supervolcano in Wyoming's Yellowstone National Park shows the plume and the magma chamber under the volcano are larger than first thought and contradicts claims that only shallow hot rock exists. University of Utah research professor of geophysics Robert Smith led four separate studies that verify a plume of hot and molten rock at least 410 miles deep that rises at an angle from the northwest."

Big Dipper "Star" Actually a Sextuplet System 88

Theosis sends word that an astronomer at the University of Rochester and his colleagues have made the surprise discovery that Alcor, one of the brightest stars in the Big Dipper, is actually two stars; and it is apparently gravitationally bound to the four-star Mizar system, making the whole group a sextuplet. This would make the Mizar-Alcor sextuplet the second-nearest such system known. The discovery is especially surprising because Alcor is one of the most studied stars in the sky. The Mizar-Alcor system has been involved in many "firsts" in the history of astronomy: "Benedetto Castelli, Galileo's protege and collaborator, first observed with a telescope that Mizar was not a single star in 1617, and Galileo observed it a week after hearing about this from Castelli, and noted it in his notebooks... Those two stars, called Mizar A and Mizar B, together with Alcor, in 1857 became the first binary stars ever photographed through a telescope. In 1890, Mizar A was discovered to itself be a binary, being the first binary to be discovered using spectroscopy. In 1908, spectroscopy revealed that Mizar B was also a pair of stars, making the group the first-known quintuple star system."

Submission + - Homeland Security Changes Laptop Search Policy ( 2

IronicToo writes: "The US Government has updated its policy on the search and seizure of laptops at border crossing.

The long-criticized practice of searching travelers' electronic devices will continue, but a supervisor now would need to approve holding a device for more than five days. Any copies of information taken from travelers' machines would be destroyed within days if there were no legal reason to hold the information.



Flapping NAV Performs Controlled Hovering Flight 128

An anonymous reader writes "AeroVironment, Inc. was awarded a Phase II contract extension in April from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to design and build a flying prototype for the Nano Air Vehicle (NAV) program. As part of this program AV has accomplished a technical milestone never before achieved: the controlled hovering flight of an air vehicle system with two flapping wings (video) that carries its own energy source and uses only the flapping wings for propulsion and control. Two wings for propulsion and control, nothing else."

Comment It even shows the steps (Score 1) 339

Many professors got around the graphing calculator problem by requiring students to show their work. WA can even do this for you, if you click on show steps it will walk you though how to solve the problem. This could be a very helpful tool to learn math, but more probably it will be used as a short cut on homework allowing the lazy to learn even less.

Submission + - Active glacier found on Mars ( 1

FireFury03 writes: "The European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft has spotted an icy feature which appears to be a young active glacier. Dr Gerhard Neukum (what a cool name :), chief scientist on the spacecraft's High Resolution Stereo Camera said "We have not yet been able to see the spectral signature of water. But we will fly over it in the coming months and take measurements. On the glacial ridges we can see white tips, which can only be freshly exposed ice". Estimates place the glacier at 10,000 — 100,000 years old."

Submission + - BBC reports an active glacier is found on Mars

ddelmonte writes: "Showing an image from the High Resolution Stereo Camera aboard the European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft, a new image shows a perspective view of a possible glacial feature located in Deuteronilus Mensae. The full story including quotes from the ESA scientists is here:"

Submission + - Rainfall patterns near major cities changed. (

Ant writes: "This ABC News article (one page print version) reports that two very different studies have found evidence that rainfall patterns near major cities have changed over the last few decades, and not because of greenhouse gases. But the changes have some things in common with the greenhouse effect: Both result from human activities that are having a significant impact on the entire planet. And both demonstrate that we are in for some major changes in the years ahead, many of which will probably catch us by surprise. Seen on Blue's News."
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Hotels equip mini-fridges with weight sensors ( 1

prostoalex writes: "Hotel mini-fridges, known for carrying mini-bottles of various beverages for non-mini-prices, are now getting weight sensors that charge the hotel customer as soon as any item is picked up: "...the fridges are now equipped with motion sensors, the helpful woman at registration told me. That is, if I move a drink to make room for something of my own, it'll charge me. If I accidentally knock something over, it'll charge me. If I put something of my own on top of something, it'll charge me.""

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