Drones are enabling filmmakers experiment with aerial cinematography in ways not possible before. From action sports to music videos, check out footage captured with the help of drones.
It’s easy to forget that there is an endless, unexplored space beyond our tiny planet Earth.
This new video from All Time 10s is packed with tons of fun facts about outer space, touching on some the of strangest objects humans have discovered there — like zombie stars and metal worlds.
Who knows what’s still out there?
The same high-end appliance Starbucks uses to fine-tune brews
Silicon Valley types know how to optimize their lives.
Molly Mulshine reports: They monitor workouts with high-tech armbands and step-counters and control their homes’ temperatures from the comfort of their iPhones. The hard-core have even removed the guesswork from their diets, ingesting nutrients in the form of a few fine-tuned daily protein shakes and vitamins from IV drips. Don’t you just hate them?
So it is not surprising that the tech world’s top brass put their heads together to create the perfect coffee machine, the Blossom Brewer. Made specifically for cafes and restaurants, of course, the tech elite have snaffled them up for their homes.
A study based on 151 multi-planetary systems found by NASA’s Kepler space telescope shows that most have a planet — or two or three — at the right distance for liquid surface water, a condition believed to be necessary for life.
“If they are found, it is an indication that the theory stands up.”
Scientists combined data collected by the Kepler telescope with computer models replicating preferential structures of planetary systems to calculate the likelihood that planets would end up in life-friendly orbits — those properly distanced from their parent stars for liquid surface water.
The results of the study, published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, indicate that billions of stars in the Milky Way have planets in so-called “habital zones” suitable for liquid water – and possibly life. Read the rest of this entry »
The human self has five components. Machines now have three of them. How far away is artificial consciousness – and what does it tell us about ourselves?
Cervantes died one year after his magnum opus, The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha, was published in 1615.
MADRID— Jeannette Neumann reports: Researchers announced Tuesday they believe they have identified some of the 400-year-old remains of Miguel de Cervantes, the author of “The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha,” considered the first modern novel.
“We are convinced that among these fragments, we have something of Cervantes. However, I can’t say that with absolutely certainty.”
– Francisco Etxeberria, a lead researcher on the project
Researchers said they weren’t able to individually or categorically identify Cervantes’ remains in a Madrid convent after four centuries of deterioration that have left many of the bones as fragments.
But based on a combination of historic documentation that details where Cervantes was buried and anthropological evidence about the age of the bones and clothing, researchers said they were mostly convinced they had found remains of Spain’s prince of prose.
“Between 1698 and 1730, researchers said construction to expand that church lead to the removal of 17 bodies nearby to what is now the crypt of the Convent of the Barefoot Trinitarians in central Madrid. Cervantes and his wife were among the 17 bodies that were moved.”
“We are convinced that among these fragments, we have something of Cervantes,” Francisco Etxeberria, a lead researcher on the project, said at a news conference Tuesday at Madrid’s city hall. “However, I can’t say that with absolutely certainty.”
Cervantes died one year after his magnum opus, which follows the adventures of the knight errant Don Quixote and his sidekick, was published in 1615. But only in the last 12 months has a serious hunt for his remains been launched. Read the rest of this entry »
How people are using U.S. cloud providers to sidestep China’s Internet censors
The Irrelevance of Renewables and the Virtues of Fossil Fuels
Matt Ridley writes: The environmental movement has advanced three arguments in recent years for giving up fossil fuels: (1) that we will soon run out of them anyway; (2) that alternative sources of energy will price them out of the marketplace; and (3) that we cannot afford the climate consequences of burning them.
These days, not one of the three arguments is looking very healthy. In fact, a more realistic assessment of our energy and environmental situation suggests that, for decades to come, we will continue to rely overwhelmingly on the fossil fuels that have contributed so dramatically to the world’s prosperity and progress.
“Wind power, for all the public money spent on its expansion, has inched up to—wait for it—1% of world energy consumption in 2013. Solar, for all the hype, has not even managed that: If we round to the nearest whole number, it accounts for 0% of world energy consumption.”
In 2013, about 87% of the energy that the world consumed came from fossil fuels, a figure that—remarkably—was unchanged from 10 years before. This roughly divides into three categories of fuel and three categories of use: oil used mainly for transport, gas used mainly for heating, and coal used mainly for electricity.
Over this period, the overall volume of fossil-fuel consumption has increased dramatically, but with an encouraging environmental trend: a diminishing amount of carbon-dioxide emissions per unit of energy produced. The biggest contribution to decarbonizing the energy system has been the switch from high-carbon coal to lower-carbon gas in electricity generation.
“Both wind and solar are entirely reliant on subsidies for such economic viability as they have. World-wide, the subsidies given to renewable energy currently amount to roughly $10 per gigajoule.”
On a global level, renewable energy sources such as wind and solar have contributed hardly at all to the drop in carbon emissions, and their modest growth has merely made up for a decline in the fortunes of zero-carbon nuclear energy. (The reader should know that I have an indirect interest in coal through the ownership of land in Northern England on which it is mined, but I nonetheless applaud the displacement of coal by gas in recent years.)
The argument that fossil fuels will soon run out is dead, at least for a while. The collapse of the price of oil over the past six months is the result of abundance: an inevitable consequence of the high oil prices of recent years, which stimulated innovation in hydraulic fracturing, horizontal drilling, seismology and information technology. The U.S.—the country with the oldest and most developed hydrocarbon fields—has found itself once again, surprisingly, at the top of the energy-producing league, rivaling Saudi Arabia in oil and Russia in gas.
“The second argument for giving up fossil fuels is that new rivals will shortly price them out of the market. But it is not happening. The great hope has long been nuclear energy, but even if there is a rush to build new nuclear power stations over the next few years, most will simply replace old ones due to close.”
The shale genie is now out of the bottle. Even if the current low price drives out some high-cost oil producers—in the North Sea, Canada, Russia, Iran and offshore, as well as in America—shale drillers can step back in whenever the price rebounds. As Mark Hill of Allegro Development Corporation argued last week, the frackers are currently experiencing their own version of Moore’s law: a rapid fall in the cost and time it takes to drill a well, along with a rapid rise in the volume of hydrocarbons they are able to extract.
And the shale revolution has yet to go global. When it does, oil and gas in tight rock formations will give the world ample supplies of hydrocarbons for decades, if not centuries. Lurking in the wings for later technological breakthroughs is methane hydrate, a seafloor source of gas that exceeds in quantity all the world’s coal, oil and gas put together.
“The world’s nuclear output is down from 6% of world energy consumption in 2003 to 4% today. It is forecast to inch back up to just 6.7% by 2035, according the Energy Information Administration.”
So those who predict the imminent exhaustion of fossil fuels are merely repeating the mistakes of the U.S. presidential commission that opined in 1922 that “already the output of gas has begun to wane. Production of oil cannot long maintain its present rate.” Or President Jimmy Carter when he announced on television in 1977 that “we could use up all the proven reserves of oil in the entire world by the end of the next decade.”
That fossil fuels are finite is a red herring. The Atlantic Ocean is finite, but that does not mean that you risk bumping into France if you row out of a harbor in Maine. The buffalo of the American West were infinite, in the sense that they could breed, yet they came close to extinction. It is an ironic truth that no nonrenewable resource has ever run dry, while renewable resources—whales, cod, forests, passenger pigeons—have frequently done so. Read the rest of this entry »
(CNN) — Marine biologists at the South Carolina Aquarium are treating a rare, 475-pound leatherback sea turtle that washed up Saturday on a nearby beach.
The episode marks the first rescue of a leatherback sea turtle in South Carolina and is believed to be only the fifth live rescue of this species in the United States, according to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
The endangered turtle was found stranded on the Yawkey-South Island Preserve, a wildlife refuge near Georgetown, South Carolina. Rescuers named it Yawkey.
Because the turtle is believed to be a juvenile — rescuers say it’s probably less than 10 years old — and has not reached sexual maturity, biologists can’t yet determine its sex.
Rescuers found no external signs of trauma to the reptile, although it was hypoglycemic. Staffers with the aquarium’s sea turtle rescue program gave it antibiotics, vitamins and some time to recover at their facilities. Read the rest of this entry »
Undocking coverage lasts from 6:15 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. EDT, while landing coverage is scheduled to run from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. EDT
Mike Wall reports: NASA will test-fire the booster of its Space Launch System (SLS) megarocket today at 11:30 a.m. EDT (1530 GMT), and three astronauts will return to Earth from the International Space Station in the evening. You can watch the space action live on Space.com, courtesy of NASA TV.
“What’s impressive about this test is, when ignited, the booster will be operating at about 3.6 million pounds of thrust, or 22 million horsepower. This test firing is critical to enable validation of our design.”
– Alex Priskos, manager of the SLS Boosters Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama
The SLS rocket booster test takes place at the facilities of aerospace firm Orbital ATK in Promontory, Utah, with webcast coverage beginning at 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT). There will be no spaceflight involved: Engineers will fire the 177-foot-long (54 meters) booster for two minutes on the ground, in a horizontal configuration.
“What’s impressive about this test is, when ignited, the booster will be operating at about 3.6 million pounds of thrust, or 22 million horsepower,” Alex Priskos, manager of the SLS Boosters Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, said in a statement. “This test firing is critical to enable validation of our design.”
Another booster test is planned for early 2016, NASA officials said.
The SLS will incorporate two of the five-segment boosters, as well as four RS-25 engines, on its first two flights, which will be capable of lofting 70 metric tons of payload to low-Earth orbit (LEO). NASA intends to scale the rocket up to deliver 130 metric tons to LEO, to enable manned missions to faraway destinations such as Mars. The first SLS flight is currently scheduled for 2018.
This evening, NASA astronaut Barry “Butch” Wilmore and Russian cosmonauts Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova will wrap up their nearly six-month-long mission aboard the International Space Station and come back down to Earth. Read the rest of this entry »
CHICAGO (CBS) — For generations, moms and dads across America have tried to dazzle their kids on the weekends, creating silly designs out of pancakes.
Typically, it would involve creating some sort of animal out of the batter. (Think, Mickey Mouse.)
Miguel Valenzuela aims to change that game, with the Pancake Bot–which is essentially a device that prints flapjacks. Read the rest of this entry »
Lockheed-Martin‘s prototype laser weapon is called the Advanced Test High Energy Asset, or ATHENA, and this is what it can do. The 30-kilowatt laser fired at this pickup truck from more than a mile away during a recent test.
This was the first full field test of the weapon. Lockheed says the poor pickup was mounted on a platform with its engine running to simulate real-world conditions.
Laser weapons—once pure fantasy, and then a pie-in-the-sky tech that couldn’t perform in the real world—are coming into their own. The U.S. Navy is testing its own 30-kw death laser at sea. Enemy boats, beware the red dot.
Marcus Woo writes: On February 28, 1998, the eminent medical journal The Lancet published an observational study of 12 children: Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive development disorder in children. It might not sound sexy, but once the media read beyond the title, into the study’s descriptions of how those nasty-sounding symptoms appeared just after the kids got vaccinated, the impact was clear: The measles-mumps-rubella vaccine can cause autism.
“All of the incentives in science are aligned against publishing negative results or failures to replicate.”
This was the famous study by Andrew Wakefield, the one that many credit with launching the current hyper-virulent form of anti-vaccination sentiment. Wakefield is maybe the most prominent modern scientist who got it wrong—majorly wrong, dangerously wrong, barred-from-medical-practice wrong.
“People are forced to claim significance, or something new, extravagant, unusual, and positive.”
But scientists are wrong all the time, in far more innocuous ways. And that’s OK. In fact, it’s great.
When a researcher gets proved wrong, that means the scientific method is working. Scientists make progress by re-doing each other’s experiments—replicating them to see if they can get the same result. More often than not, they can’t. “Failure to reproduce is a good thing,” says Ivan Oransky, co-founder of Retraction Watch. “It happens a lot more than we know about.” That could be because the research was outright fraudulent, like Wakefield’s. But there are plenty of other ways to get a bum result—as the Public Libary of Science’s new collection of negative results, launched this week, will highlight in excruciating detail.
You might have a particularly loosey-goosey postdoc doing your pipetting. You might have picked a weird patient population that shows a one-time spike in drug efficacy. Or you might have just gotten a weird statistical fluke. No matter how an experiment got screwed up, “negative results can be extremely exciting and useful—sometimes even more useful than positive results,” says John Ioannidis, a biologist at Stanford who published a now-famous papersuggesting that most scientific studies are wrong.
The problem with science isn’t that scientists can be wrong: It’s that when they’re proven wrong, it’s way too hard for people to find out. Read the rest of this entry »
This isn’t a stained-glass sculpture or piece of delicate jewelry – it’s a real live spider. These spiders, called mirror or sequined spiders, are all members of several different species of the thwaitesia genus, which features spiders with reflective silvery patches on their abdomen.
The scales look like solid pieces of mirror glued to the spider’s back, but they can actually change size depending on how threatened the spider feels. The reflective scales are composed of reflective guanine, which these and other spiders use to give themselves color.
Not much information is available about these wonderful spiders, but the dazzling specimens in these photos were photographed primarily in Australia and Singapore…(read more)