CaroKann writes: Recently NASA has discovered another celestial object orbiting the earth. It probably can not be considered a moon because it is only about 300 feet wide.
The object is an asteroid called 2016 HO3 and orbits our planet in an elongated orbit. From the video the orbit looks to be perpendicular to the solar plane, but to my eyes it is hard to tell for sure.
It is believed that 2016 H03 has been orbiting the earth for only about 100 years.
The URL shows a short video of the asteroid and its orbit.
CaroKann writes: Wireless keyfobs, which enable you to unlock or start your car by pressing a button, are commonplace these days. Newer keyfobs work simply by being close to the vehicles. As it turns out, with a radio relay system setup, these proximity keyfobs make entering and stealing vehicles relatively easy. Researchers at ETH Zurich were able to beat the keyfob systems from 8 different manufacturers. In one possible scenario, crook number one follows a car owner into a store. Standing a few aisles away, he picks up the signal given off by the victims keyfob, transmitting it to crook number two, who is near the victim's car. Crook number two relays the signal to the car, which then unlocks. With push button startup, it's then a snap to drive away.
CaroKann writes: The NYT has an article exploring how presidential head profiles have changed throughout history. The article offers possible explanations for a few trends, such as the Civil War's influence on the popularity of presidential beards, beards being considered virile and militaristic I assume. Mustaches followed until the invention of the safety razor. For the past 100 years, the hair styles have remained almost the same.
One trend noticeable to me is the appearance of conforming news-anchorman style haircuts starting from the time of televisions widespread adoption.
What is the cause of the recent conformity? Is it the rise of media technology? Is it possible for someone with facial hair or a queue to be elected today?
The authors base their analysis on the assumption that humans are very bad at creating random numbers. They examined the last two digits of the official vote count from each province, looking for evidence of two human foibles concerning how people pick random numbers.
First, when picking random numbers, people tend to pick some digits more than others. For example, humans tend to pick the number 5 less often than the number 7. In the election results, the last digit is a 5 only 4% of the time, and 7 17% of the time. With completely random numbers, each 5 and 7 would appear as the last digit about 10% of the time.
Second, people have difficulty creating random numbers with non-consecutive digits. This pattern also shows up in the results.
They authors conclude that the chances of the election numbers being completely clean are 1 in 200.
CaroKann writes: Recently, scientists have been creating the first detailed maps of the Antarctic Gamburtsev mountains using radar and gravity sensors. As a result, scientists have discovered that the Gamburtsev mountains, which were originally discovered by Russian explorers fifty years ago, are similar in size and shape to the European Alps, with lofty peaks and valleys. This discovery suggests that the Antarctic ice sheet formed relatively quickly, covering the mountains before they could be ground down. In addition, liquid water has been discovered in valleys about 3 km below the ice surface. It is estimated that the Gamburtsev mountains are approximately 500 million years old. By comparison, the Alps are approximately 55 million years old. It is hoped that this new data can be used to better understand how the ice sheets work and how they may react to global warming.
CaroKann writes: In the middle of May 2008, Kenichi Horie, an adventurer known for such feats as paddling a pedal powered boat 4,660 miles from Hawaii to Okinawa in 1993, will be sailing a wave powered boat from Honolulu's Hawaii Yacht Club to the Kii Channel in Japan.
The boat, a 3-ton catamaran named the Suntory Mermaid II, works by virtual of the fins located at the front of the boat. These fins "generate thrust force by moving up and down like the tails of dolphins and whales and absorbing the energy of the waves." The system can propel the boat no matter which direction the waves come from. Because the wave propulsion system absorbs the energy from the waves, a passenger on the boat will experience a smooth ride.
With a top speed of about 5 knots, the journey is expected to take about 2 to 3 months. A regular diesel powered vessel can make the journey in about one month.
In addition to the wave propulsion system, the catamaran is outfitted with sails, solar cells to power its electronic equipment, and an outboard motor for emergencies.
The goal of this journey is to demonstrate that wave propulsion can work in the real world, possibly paving the way for its use in commercial shipping.
CaroKann writes: As USAToday reports, DARPA is hosting an autonomous ground vehicle competition in order to eventually choose a self-driving ground combat vehicle. Congress has declared that one third of all ground combat vehicles should be autonomous by 2015. The idea is to reduce the number of soldiers required to manage a convoy. The competition will test vehicles abilities to navigate in urban environments, including merging with traffic, handling intersections, navigating traffic circles, and avoiding obstacles. There are several dozen teams competing, including Oshkosh's TerraMax team.
CaroKann writes: The TimesOnline is reporting that six Middle Eastern nations have announced interest in developing nuclear technology. The nations involved are Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. The Middle East Economic Digest states that most of these nations are interested in developing nuclear technology for the purpose of powering desalination plants. However, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, suggests that the sudden interest in nuclear technology is driven by the desire of the six nations to create a "security hedge" in response to Iran's recent nuclear development program.
CaroKann writes: Variety is reporting that George Lucas is getting out of the movie business. Mr. Lucas laments that today's big budget franchise films are too expensive and too risky. He believes American audiences are deserting their movie going habits permanently. Instead of making major films, Lucasfilm will instead focus on television. Lucas states that for the price of one $200 million big feature movie, "I can make 50-60 two hour movies" that are "pay-per-view and downloadable". Notably, he does not plan on distributing movies online, calling online distribution a "rathole".
CaroKann writes: Geoplasma is planning to build a power plant in St. Lucie County, Florida that will generate electricity by vaporizing landfill trash and sewage treatment plant sludge with plasma arcs. It will be the first plant of its kind in the USA and the largest in the world. The power plant is expected to destroy 3000 tons of garbage, generating about 120 megawatts of electricity per day. The plant will also supply steam to a nearby Tropicana juice plant. The landfill is expected to be depleted in about 18 years. In addition, up to 600 tons of melted, hardened sludge will be produced each day and will be sold for road construction.