Archive for March 22, 2012

Effective World Government Will Be Needed to Stave Off Climate Catastrophe

March 22, 2012 Comments off

Receding Himalayan glaciers

Almost six years ago, I was the editor of a single-topic issue on energy for Scientific American that included an article by Princeton University’s Robert Socolow that set out a well-reasoned plan for how to keep atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations below a planet-livable threshold of 560 ppm. The issue came replete with technical solutions that ranged from a hydrogen economy to space-based solar.

If I had it to do over, I’d approach the issue planning differently, my fellow editors permitting. I would scale back on the nuclear fusion and clean coal, instead devoting at least half of the Read more…

Mysterious Noises Baffle Residents in Clintonville – Wisconsin !!

March 22, 2012 Comments off

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CNN – Mysterious Noises baffle residents in Clintonville – Wisconsin !!
CLINTONVILLE – Update as of 6:30 a.m. from Angela Kelly:

The Clintonville City Administrator, Lisa Kuss just talked to Angela. She says booms were felt and heard throughout the night in parts of the city. The problem is broadening to areas south and west of the northeast part of the city.

Scientists baffled to discover that Venus’ spin is slowing down

March 22, 2012 Comments off

Why is Venus rotating 6.5 minutes slower than it was just 16 years ago?

Venus underneath its clouds Photo: Forsetius/Flickr
Scientists mapping Venus‘s surface with the European Space Agency’s Venus Express orbiter recently received a shock when features on the planet’s surface appeared to have moved up to 12.4 miles from where they were expected to be, reports National Geographic.
The measurements, if correct, would seem to indicate that Venus’ rotation has slowed by 6.5 minutes — a dramatic decrease on a planetary level — compared to when it was last measured just 16 years ago.
That last measurement was taken during NASA’s Magellan mission in the 1990s, when a single rotation of Venus was Read more…
Categories: astronomy Tags: , ,

Surviving the cashless cataclysm

March 22, 2012 Comments off

Square: The epitome of the cashless economy

InSweden, just 3% of the economy is powered by coins and paper money. Public buses don’t accept cash, churches have installed card readers to take donations, and there are even some bank branches that refuse to take your money, opting instead to deal with electronic transfers only.

The European average is 9%, and in theUS, the credit card motherland, the percentage is still more than twice that ofSweden: 7%. If you stop and think about it, though, none of these figures are particularly surprising. With the rise of credit cards and Read more…

NYPD Forces Retina Scan on Occupy Wall Street Activists

March 22, 2012 Comments off


It remains unclear whether there is compelling state interest in forcing retina scans on peaceful protesters exercising their right to free speech in a public place, but that’s just what the New York Police Department is doing to the Occupy Wall Street activists.

Over 90 Occupy Wall Street protesters were arrested Saturday afternoon, and some were arraigned yesterday in Manhattan Criminal Court, but not before learning that the cost of their bail would spike exponentially — or that the opportunity to post bail would be denied arbitrarily – if protesters did not submit to retina scans.

Activists and lawyers alike were surprised yesterday to learn that Read more…

Camera Sees Around Corners

March 22, 2012 Comments off


A new imaging system could use opaque walls, doors or floors as ‘mirrors’ to gather information about scenes outside its line of sight. 

In December, MIT Media Lab researchers caused a stir by releasing a slow-motion videoof a burst of light traveling the length of a plastic bottle. But the experimental setup that enabled that video was designed for a much different application: a camera that can see around corners.

A camera that peers around corners Credit: MIT

In a paper appearing this week in the journal Nature Communications, the researchers describe using their system to produce recognizable 3-D images of a wooden figurine and of foam cutouts outside their camera’s line of sight. The research could ultimately lead to imaging systems that allow emergency responders to evaluate dangerous environments or vehicle navigation systems that can negotiate blind turns, among other applications.

The principle behind the system is essentially that of the periscope. But instead of using angled mirrors to redirect light, the system uses ordinary walls, doors or floors — surfaces that aren’t generally thought of as reflective.

The system exploits a Read more…

Categories: Technology Tags: ,