PopSci columnist Theo Gray (who developed Wolfram's Mathematica software) comments on the new program
By Theodore GrayPosted 02.21.2008 at 1:45 pm 2 Comments
American math and science education is a mess. I know a guy who came to America after going to school in the basements of bombed out buildings during the Lebanese civil war. He was better prepared for college than American high school students of the same age.
Full destruction of the toxic hydrazine fuel tank remains unconfirmed. Videos of impact and launch inside
By John Mahoney and Seth FletcherPosted 02.21.2008 at 12:30 pm 2 Comments
Last night at approximately 10:26 EST, after a long buildup of preparations, the Navy took the controversial step of shooting down a dead U.S. reconnaissance satellite from its low-Earth orbit. The satellite, which is about the size of a school bus, was destroyed to prevent a potentially hazardous impact with Earth, the military has said. It was moving faster than 17,000 mph at an altitude of 133 nautical miles above the Pacific when a modified SM-3 anti-ballistic missile launched from the USS Lake Erie, a Ticonderoga-class AEGIS missile cruiser, reportedly made impact.
Colony collapse disorder has scientists as baffled as ever, and one food maker isn't going to stand for it
By Abby SeiffPosted 02.21.2008 at 12:29 pm 1 Comment
Scientists still are unsure what caused the massive decline in bee populations last year. It could be part of a natural cycle or the result of something more insidious—but one thing is clear, both food producers and consumers will suffer if the drop continues.
A judge's ruling to cut down trees that block solar panels is just the tip of the iceberg for a growing conflict in California
By Bjorn CareyPosted 02.21.2008 at 12:11 pm 5 Comments
Here's one for your "only in California" file: A judge has ordered a Sunnyvale couple to cut down two of the eight redwood trees on their property because they block sunlight access to their neighbor's solar panels.
About six years ago, Mark Vargas complained that eight redwood trees on Richard Treanor's and Carolyn Bissett's property were blocking sunlight to the $70,000 worth of solar panels he built to power his house in 2001. To protect his investment, Vargas cited the obscure Solar Shade Control Act that requires homeowners to keep their trees from shading more than 10 percent of a neighbor's solar panels between 10am and 2pm, peak hours for collecting sunlight. The judge ruled in favor of Vargas, although he decided against fining Treanor and Bissett the up to $1,000 a day in violations allowed by the law.
Start with water. Add chlorine, sweat and urine. What you get may be a soup of nasty byproducts
By Dawn StoverPosted 02.21.2008 at 11:29 am 4 Comments
Do you smell chlorine when you swim in an indoor pool? Maybe it's not chlorine after all.
Researchers at Purdue University have identified "volatile disinfection byproducts" that can form when chlorine in pool water reacts with sweat and urine. When enough of these byproducts form, they can cause problems for breathing, skin and eyes.
Cuba's future was meant to lie in its scientists; did it work out that way?
By Gregory MonePosted 02.21.2008 at 11:10 am 0 Comments
Not long after Fidel Castro took control of Cuba, he declared that the future of the country would rest with scientists"un futuro de hombres de ciencia." After Castro formally stepped down on Tuesday, Discovery News published a photo-based review of some of the best known Cuban scientific leaders of the Castro era; and the impact that high-level government decisions, and foreign relations, has had on research in the country. Among the featured few are the cosmonaut Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez, pictured above, who flew on the Russian Soyuz 38 mission in 1980, and Vicente Verez-Bencomo, who has helped develop low-cost vaccines for meningitis and pneumonia.
Create your own games or create a six-pack with Wii's newest offerings
By Gregory MonePosted 02.21.2008 at 11:01 am 4 Comments
Yesterday Nintendo announced that the WiiWare channel—which will offer a range of additional games, including an installment of the popular Final Fantasy, along with tools for developers to create new ones—will launch May 12. According to GameSpot, Nintendo of America says that there are already more than 100 projects in the works, and a healthy slate of those games will be ready to go on launch day. Giving a bigger pool of developers a chance to find new ways to use the Wii should prove interesting theres more room for creative applications.
Also, a week after the channel launch, Nintendos Wii Fit will go on sale.
Broadcasters expect to be ready, but your old faithful antenna might not be. Here's what you can do to avoid sitting in the dark next year
By Sean CaptainPosted 02.20.2008 at 5:59 pm 7 Comments
An article in last weeks New York Times must have struck terror into the hearts of readers whose old tube televisions sport rabbit-ear antennas. The punchline: Many of them will be staring at a black screen after next years transition from analog to digital television broadcasts—even if they purchased a government-subsidized converter box. And broadcasters are to blame.
The real story, though, is more complicated and harder to predict. So what will happen to your television on February 18, 2009?
If technology has its say, book publishing will grow into more and more of a solitary affair
By Abby SeiffPosted 02.20.2008 at 5:32 pm 1 Comment
Fancy yourself a writer? There's probably no better time in history for the connectionless (and even talentless!) to get their work into the hands of potentially adoring fans. While the traditional publishing industry is stagnating, self-publishing is booming—growing by some 30 percent each year. Though still just a fraction of the industry as a whole, if it continues to take cues from technological breakthroughs, there's no question its role will expand.
Also identifies his next area of activism: fighting the influence of lobbyists in government
By Seth FletcherPosted 02.20.2008 at 4:53 pm 0 Comments
Creative Commons founder, free information advocate and Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig announced today the formation of an exploratory committee looking in to a potential bid for a U.S. Congress seat. He announced his maybe-decision (with a more finalized announcement coming March 1) today on a new Web site, lessig08.org.