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Space

Astronomers Solve the Mystery of 'Hanny's Voorwerp' 123

KentuckyFC writes "In 2007, a Dutch school teacher named Hanny van Arkel discovered a huge blob of green-glowing gas while combing though images to classify galaxies. Hanny's Voorwerp (meaning Hanny's object in Dutch) is astounding because astronomers have never seen anything like it. Although galactic in scale, it is clearly not a galaxy because it does not contain any stars. That raises an obvious question: what is causing the gas to glow? Now a new survey of the region of sky seems to have solved the problem. The Voorwerp lies close to a spiral galaxy which astronomers now say hides a massive black hole at its center. The infall of matter into the black hole generates a cone of radiation emitted in a specific direction. The great cloud of gas that is Hanny's Voorwerp just happens to be in the firing line, ionizing the gas and causing it to glow green. That lays to rest an earlier theory that the cloud was reflecting an echo of light from a short galactic flare up that occurred 10,000 years ago. It also explains why Voorwerps are so rare: these radiation cones are highly directional so only occasionally do unlucky gas clouds get caught in the crossfire."
Biotech

Submission + - Detection of Parkinson's by Voice Analysis 1

lee1 writes: "The early diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease can slow down or even stop
its progression, but established methods, such as brain
imaging, are expensive, and inappropriate for screening large
populations. Prof. Shimon Sapir at the University of Haifa has developed a new technique
for early diagnosis that is reliable, non-invasive, simple, and inexpensive.
The technique merely requires the patient to read a few simple
sentences, which are acoustically analyzed by a computer program.
The analysis detects subtle abnormalities in speech that are present
in the early stages of the disease but are not perceptible to listeners.
This appears to be an application of the author’s technique for
extracting vowel sounds from short phrases and analysing them to detect nervous system disorders."

Submission + - Murdoch says Amazon e-book prices kill paper books (wired.com)

hrimhari writes: The settlement between Amazon and Macmillian got the attention of a known dinossaur. Consistent to his views, Mr. Murdoch wants to defend his book editors by killing the cheaper solution.

"We don't like the Amazon model of selling everything at $9.99," Murdoch said. "They pay us the wholesale price of $14 or whatever we charge," he said. "But I think it really devalues books, and it hurts all the retailers of the hardcover books."


Submission + - Russia Says Apophis will Certainly Hit The Earth (usatoday.com) 3

rubycodez writes: USA Today reports that Russia wishes to start a new space project to deflect the asteroid 99942 Apophis, which instead of missing the earth as NASA claims, will certainly hit it by Russian calculations. They aren't going to let Bruce Willis blow it the hell up with nu-cu-lar weapons, instead planning on using "basic physics" to alter its trajectory.

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