You've built your own carbonator; now start mineralizing
By Peter SmithPosted 06.15.2012 at 3:38 pm 3 Comments
The mineral composition of water varies subtly, almost imperceptibly, from place to place. Variation in bedrock makes the effervescent springs at Vergeze, France, where Hannibal allegedly found a refreshing drink after crossing the Alps, different from the sulfuric liquid bubbling up out of the ground at Saratoga Springs, New York. Sulfates near Burton, England impart a distinctive minerality to the region’s pale ales. And connoisseurs pay top dollar for these differences.
Until recently, radio astronomers have concentrated almost exclusively on the high-energy radiation streaming in towards Earth from exotic stellar bodies like pulsars, quasars, and super-massive black holes. But now, a new European observatory called the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) has begun releasing data on the low-energy radiation that permeates the Universe.
In an effort to increase efficiency, cut carbon emissions, and reduce costs, Finland has begun a pilot program wherein snail-mail letters are converted into PDFs and made viewable online by their addressees, in advance or in lieu of physical delivery. So far, the effort is volunteer-only, but it has already sparked concerns in Finland about privacy and government overreach.
Counterfeiting is as old as money itself, with the history of currency including a millennia-long arms race between mints and the forgers that copy them. While governments have finally crafted paper money so intricate that counterfeiting isn't a major problem, detecting counterfeit coins remains a challenge. Now, Spanish scientists have modified a regular optical computer mouse to create a cheap and easy device for sniffing out phony Euro coins.
The media generally portrays hacker as criminals going after law-abiding computer users, but one Dutch hacker has turned his sights on more fertile prey: other less-skilled, or even aspirational hackers. Like a digital stickup boy, he has remotely kidnapped illegally (according to Apple) jailbroken iPhones in the Netherlands, holding them hostage for five Euros.
While it lacks the subtle charm of Alberto Tomba, this robot is just as much at ease flying down a slalom course. Designed by Bojan Nemec of the the Jozef Stefan Institute in Slovenia, the robot utilizes two computers to stay upright and pointed downhill.
Any Mars rover worth its wheels must prove itself capable of navigating safely on Earth, never mind millions of miles away on the red planet. British scientists took a prototype of Europe's ExoMars rover out for a spin around a quarry in Southern England last week.
The rover design by EADS Astrium has two front-mounted navigation cameras and four cameras at each corner to avoid close scrapes. A pair of scientific cameras also provides stereoscopic vision and depth perception, and lends the rover a bit of a WALL-E or Short Circuit appearance. Check out the robot's wanderings below: