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Programmable Quantum Computer Created 132

An anonymous reader writes "A team at NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technology) used berylium ions, lasers and electrodes to develop a quantum system that performed 160 randomly chosen routines. Other quantum systems to date have only been able to perform single, prescribed tasks. Other researchers say the system could be scaled up. 'The researchers ran each program 900 times. On average, the quantum computer operated accurately 79 percent of the time, the team reported in their paper.'"

Submission + - NASA Confirms Jupiter Impact (

An anonymous reader writes: "Following up on a tip by an amateur astronomer that a new dark "scar" had suddenly appeared on Jupiter, this morning between 3 and 9 a.m. PDT (6 a.m. and noon EDT) scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., using NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility at the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii, gathered evidence indicating an impact. New infrared images show the likely impact point was near the south polar region, with a visibly dark "scar" and bright upwelling particles in the upper atmosphere detected in near-infrared wavelengths, and a warming of the upper troposphere with possible extra emission from ammonia gas detected at mid-infrared wavelengths." GD — Follow the link to Nasa for a lovely shot of the scar -

Submission + - Wife Exposes chief spy's personal life on Facebook (

Dr_Ken writes: "From a news story in the (U.K.) Daily Mail: "The new head of MI6 has been left exposed by a major personal security breach after his wife published intimate photographs and family details on the Facebook website. Sir John Sawers is due to take over as chief of the Secret Intelligence Service in November, putting him in charge of all Britain's spying operations abroad. But his wife's entries on the social networking site have exposed potentially compromising details about where they live and work, who their friends are and where they spend their holidays.""

Submission + - Texas A&M Twittering Satellite

KE5YIM writes: Howdy! Texas A&M University has recently completed a cube satellite as part of NASA's ARD campaign. Design and construction of the satellite was conducted by a student organization called AggieSat Lab, which is supported by Texas A&M's Aerospace Department. Our satellite currently resides inside the Space Shuttle Endeavour and waits for an anticipated launch on Wednesday. AggieSat Lab's software development team has taken the initiative and integrated interactive features into our mission control network. Through these features, you'll have an opportunity to become a follower of Texas A&M's AggieSat2 throughout its mission this summer. One feature involves software incorporated into our ground support software, Client, which allows Texas A&M's AggieSat2 satellite to tweet using the on-line social network Twitter. Every time we receive a health status update or a confirmation from the satellite for a new communication window, our Client application will update the AggieSat2 twitter feed. Everyone following that feed will instantly receive a text message on their phone with the current health of our satellite. Also, AggieSat2 has a Facebook. account which may be followed throughout the mission as we update its content, photos, and status. Additionally, the Facebook profile will be updated anytime AggieSat2 twitter feed is updated, thereby providing two options to remain updated instantaneously upon contact with our satellite. Furthermore, check us out at Thanks and GIG' EM!

Submission + - Baby Stars Found in Galactic Center 1

astrofrog writes: 'Astronomers have at last uncovered newborn stars at the frenzied center of our Milky Way galaxy. The discovery was made using the infrared vision of NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The heart of our spiral galaxy is cluttered with stars, dust and gas, and at its very center, a supermassive black hole. Conditions there are harsh, with fierce stellar winds, powerful shock waves and other factors that make it difficult for stars to form. Astronomers have known that stars can form in this chaotic place, but they're baffled as to how this occurs. Confounding the problem is all the dust standing between us and the center of our galaxy. Until now, nobody had been able to definitively locate any baby stars.'

What Bird Feathers and Beer Foam Have In Common 36

Rational Egoist writes "Researchers at Yale University have found that some of the brightest colors in bird feathers are created through structures similar in origin and composition to that of beer foam. Unlike with most colors in nature — which are produced by pigments — the bright blue colors of Bluebirds and Blue Jays are actually produced by sponge-like nanostructures. These structures are formed in quite the same way as beer foam. From the article: '[Researchers] compared the nanostructures to examples of materials undergoing phase separation, in which mixtures of different substances become unstable and separate from one another, such as the carbon-dioxide bubbles that form when the top is popped off a bubbly drink. They found that the color-producing structures in feathers appear to self-assemble in much the same manner. Bubbles of water form in a protein-rich soup inside the living cell and are replaced with air as the feather grows.'"

What Would It Look Like To Fall Into a Black Hole? 154

CNETNate writes "A new video simulation developed by Andrew Hamilton and Gavin Polhemus of the University of Colorado, Boulder, on New Scientist today, shows what you might see on your way towards a black hole's crushing central singularity. Hamilton and Polhemus built a computer code based on the equations of Einstein's general theory of relativity, and the video produced allows the viewer to follow the fate of an imaginary observer on an orbit that swoops down into a giant black hole weighing 5 million times the mass of the sun, about the same size as the hole in the centre of our galaxy. The research could help physicists understand the apparently paradoxical fate of matter and energy in a black hole."

Submission + - Evolution of Squeaker Catfishes in Lake Tanganyika (

GrrlScientist writes: "Because of its isolation, Lake Tanganyika is one of several aquatic islands in the Great Rift Valley, and is home to numerous groups of closely related species, known as "species flocks". These species flocks evolved rapidly and in genetic isolation from their close relatives through a process known as adaptive radiation and thus, they are important for helping scientists further understand the process of speciation. Some examples of especially famous species flocks include Darwin's Finches, the Hawaiian Honeycreepers, and of course, the cichlid fishes found in Lake Tanganyika and several other Great Rift Valley lakes. Squeaker catfishes share several similarities with the cichlids, including their geographic distribution and their overall species richness, so it is logical to conclude that they are a useful comparative model system for studying speciation in cichlids. But surprisingly, the evolution of these catfish remains controversial and poorly known. This new paper reveals analyzes the evolutionary relationships of Squeaker catfishes and finds that their biogeographic history is more complex than previously thought. Includes data figures, maps and pics of the fishes!"

Submission + - Did You See That Woman...Wait...She's A Robot! ( 4

Singularity Hub writes: "Check out the HRP-4C robot, one of the first humanoid robots to boldly sidestep the typical transformer look, instead posing as an attractive manga style woman. Is anyone else having flashbacks of the movie Blade Runner where robots are indistinguishable from humans? The HRP-4c robot is slated to strut down the catwalk March 23 (tomorrow) as a model in a Tokyo fashion show."

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