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Image

Beaver Dam Visible From Space Screenshot-sm 286

ygslash writes "The Hoover Dam no longer holds the title of the world's widest dam. Satellite photos of northern Alberta, Canada, show that several families of beavers have apparently joined forces to build a dam 850 meters wide, more than twice as wide as the Hoover Dam."
Earth

Life's Building Blocks Found On Asteroid 24 Themis 135

Hugh Pickens writes "The LA Times reports that scientists analyzing infrared light reflected by 24 Themis, one of the largest asteroids in the solar system, have discovered evidence of water ice as well as organic compounds — findings that bolster a leading theory for the origins of life on Earth that the essential building blocks of life came from asteroids. 'Up until now there was no sign that asteroids had any abundant organics or ice on them,' says Joshua P. Emery, a planetary astronomer at the University of Tennessee. Typically, ice on the surface of an object such as 24 Themis would quickly vaporize and vanish, says planetary scientist Richard Binzel. 'Seeing freshly exposed ice on the surface, now that's a surprise. It has to be replenished from below, somehow.' The possibility that water could have come from asteroids adds weight to the theory that water and organic molecules may not have originated on Earth because the Earth did not become conducive to water or organic molecules until relatively recently."
The Internet

All of Gopherspace Available For Download 200

An anonymous reader writes "Cory Doctorow tells us that '[i]n 2007, John Goerzen scraped every gopher site he could find (gopher was a menu-driven text-only precursor to the Web; I got my first online gig programming gopher sites). He saved 780,000 documents, totalling 40GB. Today, most of this is offline, so he's making the entire archive available as a .torrent file; the compressed data is only 15GB. Wanna host the entire history of a medium? Here's your chance!' Get yourself a piece of pre-Internet history (torrent)." Update: 04/30 00:16 GMT by T: As several readers have pointed out below, our anonymous friend probably meant to say "pre-Web," rather than "pre-Internet."
Space

Hubble Builds 3D Dark Matter Map 177

astroengine writes "Dark matter can't be spotted directly because it doesn't interact with electromagnetic radiation (i.e. it doesn't emit any radiation and reflects no light). However, its gravitational influence on space-time can bend light from its otherwise straight path (a phenomenon known as 'lensing'). Using a sophisticated algorithm to scan a comprehensive Hubble Space Telescope survey of the cosmos, astronomers have plotted a map of 'weak lensing' events. Combining this with red shift measurements from ground-based observatories, they've produced a strikingly colorful 3D map of the structure of dark matter."
Networking

Researchers Beam 230Mb/sec Wireless Internet WIth LEDs 218

MikeChino writes "A group of scientists from Germany's Fraunhofer Institute have devised a way to encode a visible-frequency wireless signal in light emitted by plain old desklamps and other light fixtures. The team was able to achieve a record-setting data download rate of 230 megabits per second, and they expect to be able to double that speed in the near future. While the regular radio-frequency Wi-Fi most of us use currently is perfectly fine, it does have its flaws — it has a limited bandwidth that confines it to a certain spectrum and if you've ever had someone leech off of your connection, you know that it also leaks through walls. LED wireless signals would theoretically have none of these downsides."

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