An Electric Air about them

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Flying hybrid: This two-seater electric-gas airplane may be the first of many to take to the skies

Read more at MIT TR :Once a Joke, Battery-Powered Airplanes Are Nearing Reality20130709-183958.jpg

UVa’s Sustinere design for a 50-seat jet eschews batteries in favor of a turboelectric distributed propulsion (TeDP) concept – two 2,500shp turboshaft engines under the wing generating electrical power to drive six 3,300lb-thrust fans arrayed in a duct that wraps around the upper fuselage.

Read more at AWST: Battery or Superconductor – FAA Picks Hybrid Winners20130709-184659.jpg

The EADS IW concept uses a single large turbine engine to generate electricity to power six ducted fans that provide thrust. This allows propulsive and thermal efficiency to be optimized separately. The turbine engine can be optimized for thermal efficiency (turning fuel into shaft power) while the ducted fans increase effective bypass ratio and therefore propulsion efficient (turning shaft power into thrust).

Read more at AWST : eConcept – EADS’s Hybrid-Electric Airliner20130709-185351.jpg

Two years after Honeywell and Safran announced plans to develop an electric-drive system, the team is preparing to demonstrate a proof-of-concept system on an Airbus A320 at this year’s Paris air show.

Read more at AWST : Electric Taxi Puts On A Show At Paris By Guy Norris20130709-190343.jpg

The result of close collaborations with Finmeccanica companies – Selex ES, Ansaldo Breda, and Ansaldo Energia – and partner companies from Italy, UK, U.S. and Japan, the aircraft embeds some unuque features: aesthetically pleasing styling and aerodynamically unique tiltrotor configuration; carbon graphite exterior surfaces; High-Integrity Flight Control Computer and Actuator Control Unit; custom produced electric motor inverter and motor control algorithm; axial flux permanent magnet electric motors.

Read more at : http://theaviationist.com/2013/03/21/project-zero-images/

What is and isn’t happening with the NSA phone surveillance

Read more at: http://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2013/06/27/the-science-of-what-is-and-isnt-happening-with-the-nsas-phone-surveillance/
Excellent, readable medium length piece on what the NSA ‘thing’ is all about and why it matters.

So, there’s this NSA thing. Since the stories about the NSA, Edward Snowden, PRISM, and so on have broken, there has been more misinformation, disinformation, bad information, speculation, ignorant commentary and flat out nonsense going around than any topic in recent memory. And to tell you the truth, I’ve been working on this article for two weeks and never finishing because there is always one more howler. Let’s see if we can clear some of this up.

Ten thousandth near-Earth object unearthed in space

20130625-180902.jpgAsteroid 2013 MZ5 as seen in this University of Hawaii picture from the PanSTARR-1 telescope. The Asteroid is in the right of the image, towards the top, moving diagonally left/down. Credit: PS-1/UH
Read more at:Ten thousandth near-Earth object unearthed in space

“Finding 10,000 near-Earth objects is a significant milestone,” said Lindley Johnson, program executive for NASA’s Near-Earth Object Observations Program at NASA Headquarters, Washington. “But there are at least 10 times that many more to be found before we can be assured we will have found any and all that could impact and do significant harm to the citizens of Earth.” During Johnson’s decade-long tenure, 76 percent of the NEO discoveries have been made.

Near-Earth objects (NEOs) are asteroids and comets that can approach the Earth’s orbital distance to within about 28 million miles (45 million kilometers). They range in size from as small as a few feet to as large as 25 miles (41 kilometers) for the largest near-Earth asteroid, 1036 Ganymed.

Asteroid 2013 MZ5 is approximately 1,000 feet (300 meters) across. Its orbit is well understood and will not approach close enough to Earth to be considered potentially hazardous.

Lots of resources to be developed for the expansion of humanity in space and the reduction of our impact on Earth, in a half century or so, when we will really understand we need it.

For Hubble, a long healthy life possible, could it be extended further?

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Read more at:

Healthy Hubble telescope raises hopes of longer life BY WILLIAM HARWOOD FOR CBS NEWS “SPACE PLACE”

We can hope that it lasts long enough for a new manned or unmanned service mission. Hubble would seem to be an ideal target for a robotic repair mission demonstrating sophisticated, heavy weight-complex repair mission/capability.

Certain elements are going to blow head gaskets on this one!

Global warming caused by chlorofluorocarbons, not carbon dioxide, new study says

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Chlorofluorocarbons are to blame for global warming since the 1970s and not carbon dioxide, according to new research from the University of Waterloo published in the International Journal of Modern Physics B this week. This graph shows the predicted path of global temperatures is set to continue their decline as a result of depletion of CFC’s in the atmosphere. Credit: Qing-Bin Lu, University of Waterloo

More at: http://phys.org/news/2013-05-global-chlorofluorocarbons-carbon-dioxide.html

I always knew you were a Hologram!

Professor Skenderis has developed a mathematic model which finds striking similarities between flat space-time and negatively curved space-time, with the latter however formulated in a negative number of dimensions, beyond our realm of physical perception.
He comments: “According to holography, at a fundamental level the universe has one less dimension than we perceive in everyday life and is governed by laws similar to electromagnetism. The idea is similar to that of ordinary holograms where a three-dimensional image is encoded in a two-dimensional surface, such as in the hologram on a credit card, but now it is the entire Universe that is encoded in such a fashion.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-05-mathematical-links-space-time-theories.html
This sounds cool and provides my SciFi writing persona just oodles of rope.20130530-212049.jpg

Wired BotW // Einstein Tower, Potsdam, Germany

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Einstein Tower, Potsdam, Germany
The 1920s-era Einstein Tower was built to prove one of general relativity’s predictions — that gravity would cause a shift in the sun’s spectrum. Although it never succeeded, it was one of Germany’s most important observatories for many years, up until its partial destruction during WWII. A fan of Einstein, architect Erich Mendelsohn molded concrete into graceful curves to evoke Einstein’s theories. Located at the Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam, the observatory is still in use as a solar observatory, though it splits time as a tourist attraction as well. The tower is skewered by a 1.5-meter solar telescope that visualizes solar magnetic fields and their location within sunspots.

Amazing what you can do with concrete, this sort of thing ought to be easier with 3D printing tech….

MIT TR | Synthetic Biology Could Speed Flu Vaccine Production

Read more at: http://www.technologyreview.com/news/514661/synthetic-biology-could-speed-flu-vaccine-production/

….researchers are hoping to engineer entirely new circuits into cells to help diabetes patients. Martin Fussenegger, a bioengineer at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, described a molecular system in which cells are modified with genes that can detect low pH levels in the blood, a sign of a diabetic state. In response, he says, the engineered cells will produce insulin to better regulate blood sugar levels and calm the diabetic state.
This kind of engineering typically depends on viruses to modify genes so that cells will perform useful tasks. But that method is risky: the introduced DNA could integrate into the genome at an unfortunate location that might lead to cancer. Harvey Lodish, a cell biologist at MIT, is working on a technology that could avoid that problem: lab-made red blood cells. After these cells are modified, they will kick out the virus in the course of their natural development process.
“The beauty of red blood cells is they are pretty much the only cell in body without a nucleus,” says Lodish. “By the time they get into circulation, they have lost their DNA and are stable for 120 days with no risk of tumors.”
In Lodish’s method, a retrovirus carries a new gene into the genome of progenitor cells that will eventually produce red blood cells. The cell uses that new gene to produce a modified version of proteins that sit on the surface of the mature red blood cell even after the cell has lost its DNA. The modified surface protein has been engineered so that other compounds can easily be attached to it—antibodies that could mop up toxic substances in the blood, or small-molecule drugs to attack cancers or other diseased cells. Lodish believes the technology is a safer approach to putting synthetic biology to use in the human body.

As Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit says, “faster please”

Titan, Cassini still exploring the moons of Saturn

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To create the first global, topographic map of Saturn’s moon Titan, scientists analyzed data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft and a mathematical process called splining. This method effectively uses smooth curved surfaces to “join” the areas between grids of existing topography profiles obtained by Cassini’s radar instrument. In the upper panel of this graphic, gold colors show where radar images have been obtained over almost half of Titan’s surface. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI/JHUAPL/Cornell/Weizmann

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-05-cassini-global-topographic-titan.html#jCp

Planet hunting techniques expand

Planet hunting techniques expand:http://phys.org/news/2013-05-method-planets-scores-discovery.html
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The new method looks for three small effects that occur simultaneously as a planet orbits the star. Einstein’s “beaming” effect causes the star to brighten as it moves toward us, tugged by the planet, and dim as it moves away. The brightening results from photons “piling up” in energy, as well as light getting focused in the direction of the star’s motion due to relativistic effects.
“This is the first time that this aspect of Einstein’s theory of relativity has been used to discover a planet,” said co-author Tsevi Mazeh of Tel Aviv University.
The team also looked for signs that the star was stretched into a football shape by gravitational tides from the orbiting planet. The star would appear brighter when we observe the “football” from the side, due to more visible surface area, and fainter when viewed end-on. The third small effect was due to starlight reflected by the planet itself.