Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are helping scientists understand the link between air pollution and climate
By Gregory MonePosted 05.22.2008 at 9:06 am 1 Comment
A team of scientists led by V. Ramanathan of the University of California, San Diego have begun using autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles, or AUAVs, to study the link between air pollution and climate change. While some of today's top robot drones are operated via remote control, this new fleet of eight-foot-long, sub-50-pound Manta AUAVs fly all on their own.
The latest installment in the series promises to offer brilliant digitally-enhanced scenery and creatures
By Gregory MonePosted 05.22.2008 at 7:56 am 0 Comments
Remember those weird ghoulish souls coming out of the Arc of the Covenant in the first Indy flick? Well, Hollywood has come a long way since then. And while Indiana Jones himself may have lost a step since he last appeared on the big screen, the effects backing him up this time promise to be a vast improvement. In Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the fedora-wearing adventurer will encounter strange creatures, including an army of monkeys, race through some wild jungle scenery and face-down thousands of man-eating ants - thanks to Industrial Light & Magic.
The Monster Motorbike from Hell destroys everything in its path
By Gregory MonePosted 05.21.2008 at 5:32 pm 2 Comments
Stuntman Ray Baumann is accustomed to vehicles that soar through the air, vaulting over rows of cars. But the Australian’s latest ride makes its bones on the ground. It’s the Monster Motorbike from Hell, a 10-foot-tall, 15-ton beast that drags vans around racetracks and flattens sedans as if they were soda cans.
A scientist due to study the seismic activity near the Three Gorges Dam now turns to listening for the leftovers of the massive Sichuan earthquake
By Gregory MonePosted 05.21.2008 at 12:07 pm 0 Comments
Texas Tech geophysicist Hua-wei Zhou touched down in Beijing just 40 minutes before the devastating Sichuan province earthquake struck. He and his colleagues were planning to embark on a project to set up 60 seismometers designed to listen for mini-quakes at the Three Gorges reservoir.
A new college course intends to teach future Hollywood artists the basic science necessary to make virtual worlds look realistic
By Gregory MonePosted 05.21.2008 at 8:15 am 6 Comments
San Jose State University is soon going to start offering a class called "Physics of Animation," that aims to teach future animators the proper way to render a leaf falling to the ground or a person walking with a realistic gait. Or a kung-fu fighting panda getting launched into the air by a furry little creature.
Physics is a key element of realism, says the course's professor, physicist Alejandro Garcia. Any movie-viewer can spot bad physics, though they might not always recognize what's bothering them. And for all the progress that has been made in animation in the last decade, and all the science homework that effects experts say they do prior to creating scenes, most movies still let through a glitch or two that makes the attentive viewer wince.
New study suggests that workers developing some common forms of nanotechnology may be exposed to health risks
By Gregory MonePosted 05.21.2008 at 8:02 am 5 Comments
If inhaled, certain kinds of carbon nanotubes - the tiny technology used in a wide variety of applications - could increase an individual's risk of cancer, according to scientists. Researchers injected mice with nanotubes, and found that the super-strong fibers created the same sort of problems as asbestos.
With the discovery of a bright, long-lived supernova, scientists believe they have found a spectacular new way for stars to die
By Gregory MonePosted 05.20.2008 at 3:31 pm 4 Comments
Heavy elements in the star's core are ejected in all directions. Not even a black hole is left after the explosion.
Meet pair-instability supernova SN2006GY, the most extraordinary explosion in the cosmos. Unlike its smaller, regular supernova cousins, which blast off the outer layers of a star and pack what remains into a neutron core or a black hole, the pair-instability supernova is a much more violent celestial finale. These events happen only in stars that are at least 150 times as large as our sun and result in total annihilation of the star. Astrophysicists contend that this type of eruption helped seed the cosmos with heavy metals like iron, a process that ultimately allowed planets to form.
Tengion's replacement bladders could enter clinical trials as early as next year
By Gregory MonePosted 05.20.2008 at 2:20 pm 1 Comment
A company called Tengion announced recently that its full-size, neo-bladder replacements performed well in large animal models. Tengion's technology - the commercialized version of the work of Anthony Atala - is based around the idea that it's better to use the patient's own cells to try to grow replacement organs and tissues, since transplants from donors often lead to rejection.
The DVD subscription services debuts a device that lets subscribers watch sort-of free movies on the TV
By Gregory MonePosted 05.20.2008 at 1:14 pm 2 Comments
No, it's not free, but for Netflix fans, the new Roku set-top box should be a big hit. Netflix announced that it will begin selling a $99, hardcover-book-sized device from the California startup Roku that allows people to watch more than 10,000 titles on-demand, without waiting for those mail-order DVDs. That's about ten percent of the total Netflix library - way more than you'll get from Verizon or Comcast. The selection isn't fantastic, but there are plenty of good older movies on the list. The quasi-catch is that you must have an active Netflix account to maintain access to that library.
Physicists try to prove the hungry cosmic objects don't break the laws of quantum mechanics when they suck in particles
By Gregory MonePosted 05.20.2008 at 12:08 pm 9 Comments
For years, some scientists contended that black holes swallow everything, including the information associated with the particles they suck up, and that this information can never be recovered. The problem with this idea - the chief proponent of which was the legendary Stephen Hawking - is that it violated a law of quantum mechanics.