astroengine writes: After nine years of hard Mars roving, Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Opportunity has broken a 40-year-old extraterrestrial distance record. On Thursday, the tenacious six-wheeled robot drove 80 meters (263 feet), nudging the total distance traveled since landing on the red planet in 2004 to 35.760 kilometers (22.220 miles). NASA’s previous distance record was held by Apollo 17 astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt when, in December 1972, they drove their Lunar Roving Vehicle 35.744 kilometers (22.210 miles) over the lunar surface. Although it's broken the NASA distance record, it hasn't surpassed the international record, yet. The Soviet Lunokhod 2 remote-controlled moon rover roved 37 kilometers (23 miles) across the lunar surface and, so far, remains the undisputed champion of distance driving on an extraterrestrial surface.
ewolfson writes: Dinner is over, and the waiter is handing over the bills to everyone when the collective tension sets in... how much do we tip? Math can trigger anxiety in adults and kids, but now scientists at Oxford University have developed a way to flip a switch and turn a normal person's brain into a math machine. They found painless, electrical brain stimulation in combination with easy number exercises can significantly improve math ability.
skade88 writes: Do you remember those large TI-8X line of calculators with a BW display from when you were growing up and learning all about math? Yeah well, you can still get them because TI has yet to update or change their line of TI-8X calculators from their 96x64 display, processors designed in the 1980s with just a few kilobytes of user accessible memory. They still cost in the $100.00 to $150.00 range.
That is all about to change now that the TI-8X line of calculators is 22 years old. Their new TI-84+C-Silver edition will come with a 320x240 16-bit color display, 3.5MB of flash ROM, and 21KB of RAM. I am going to dust off my graphics programming skills from 1994 and see what fun stuff I can make on this puppy!
Ars has a good preview of the device along with speculation on why it took so so so very long for TI to finally bring calculators up to a level of technology that could have been delivered a decade ago.
thomst writes: Space.com is just now getting around to reporting a story that Spaceref.com reported on January 5 (and Universe Today reported on the 6th) about papers presented at the 215th meeting of the American Astronomical Society on a new model explaining the beam emissions from pulsars as products of superluminal currents within the spinning neutron stars' atmospheres. (The actual papers are here, here, and, especially here — all from Cornell University's arXiv.org open archive of half a million or so "eprints" in physics, mathematics, computer science, quantitative biology, quantitative finance and statistics.)
According to the authors' model, the current generated is, itself, faster than light, although the particles that compose it never individually exceed the universal speed limit, thereby preventing Einsteinian post-mortem rotation. The new model is a general explanation of the phenomenon of pulsar beam emissions that explains emissions at all observed frequencies (and different pulsars emit everything from radio waves to x-rays), which no previous model has done.
MojoKid writes: "Ostendo is primarily a technology-based development company with a focus on design though they productized their CRVD Curved Display technology, initially as proof of concept vehicle. Today they also manufacturer the panels for general sale and other applications in the simulation, training, broadcast, medical and financial markets to name just a few. In the upper press briefing rooms of AMD's spread at CES, Ostendo had married not one but three of their CRVD Curved Displays up with a proverbial bad-ass gaming system built in a Thermaltake Level 10 case. Employing AMD Eyefinity technology with a Radeon HD 5870 graphics card pushing the pixels, the effect was very "immersive" in the words of Ostendo Director of Marketing, Erhan Ercan. Watching the demo, we'd have to agree."
unknown_gamer writes: A hidden gem from this year’s CES; the RCA Airnergy Charger, a product sent straight from the future that convert air to electricity. Or rather, it somehow picks up on Wi-Fi signals and uses them to charge batteries. Apparently it does this surprisingly well, charging a Blackberry from 30% to full battery in 90 minutes. If this sounds like magic then prepare to stare disbelievingly at the proposed price: $40.
Hodejo1 writes: Steve Jobs vowed weeks ago that when iTunes shifted to a tiered price structure in April older tracks priced at $0.69 would outnumber the contemporary hits that are rising to $1.29. Today, several weeks later, iTunes made the transition. While the $1.29 tracks are immediately visible, locating cheaper tracks are proving to be an exercise in futility. With the exception of 48 songs that Apple has placed on the iTunes main page, $0.69 downloads are proving to b a scarce commodity. MP3 Newswire tried to methodically drill down to unearth more of them only to find: 1) A download like Heart's thirty-four year-old song Barracuda went up to $1.29, not down. 2) Obscure 90s Brit pop and 50's Rockabilly artists — artists most likely to benefit from a price drop — remained at $0.99. 3) Collected tracks from a cross-section of 1920s, 30s, and 40s artists all remained at $0.99. Finally, MP3 Newswire called up tracks in the public domain from an artists named Ada Jones who first recorded in 1893 on Edison cylinder technology. The price on all the century-old tracks remained at $0.99 (Since they are in the public domain the same tracks are available for free on the Archive.org). Wonder where the price savings on deeper catalog cuts went? The problem may reflect the fact that the labels themselves decide which price tier they want to pursue for a given artist and they are mostly ignoring the lower tier. Meanwhile, Amazon's UK site has decided to counter promote their service by dropping prices on select tracks to 29 pence ($0.42).