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In theoretical math, the term "moonshine" refers to an idea so seemingly impossible that it seems like lunacy.

Mathematicians prove Umbral Moonshine Conjecture

December 17, 2014 | by Carol Clark, Emory University | News | Comments

Monstrous moonshine, a quirky pattern of the monster group in theoretical math, has a shadow — umbral moonshine. Mathematicians have proved this insight, known as the Umbral Moonshine Conjecture, offering a formula with potential applications for everything from number theory to geometry to quantum physics.

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ONET FT-NIR Networking Software

ONET FT-NIR Networking Software

December 18, 2014 12:45 pm | Bruker Optics Inc. | Product Releases | Comments

ONET networking software is for the setup, administration and control of large FT-NIR spectrometer networks. It is a server application accessed via a browser-based Web interface (WebUI), allowing users to set up, administrate and control a network of FT-NIR instruments from a central remote location anywhere in the world.

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Sponge Spicules Found in Sand -- Courtesy of Nikon Small World

Sponge Spicules Found in Sand

December 18, 2014 12:31 pm | News | Comments

This 10x photo shows sponge spicules that once had stabilizing and predator deterring functions in sponges and can frequently be found in the sand from Raja Ampat, Indonesia. It received an Image of Distinction designation in the 2013 Nikon Small World Photomicrophotography Competition, which recognizes excellence in photography with the optical microscope.

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As the first humanoid robot to pay for a seat on a commercial flight, Athena travelled in style, dressed in a white T-shirt and fetching red shoes. © MPI for Intelligent Systems, Tübingen

Robotics in Disaster Response: Athena begins Autonomous Perception Training

December 18, 2014 12:23 pm | by Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems | News | Comments

Travelling from Los Angeles to Frankfurt onboard Lufthansa flight 457, the passenger arrived on December 16 with no signs of jet lag: this was no ordinary holidaymaker, but the first humanoid robot to take up a seat on a commercial flight. Athena made her way from LA to Tübingen in order to acquire many new skills: standing, balancing, walking — and various other meaningful activities, which she can use to assist people in daily life.

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The species used in a Rice University genetic study of mice were collected from 15 locations in Europe and Africa. The green region indicates the range of Mus spretus, the Algerian mouse, while the blue region indicates the range of Mus musculus domesticu

Big Data Analysis Reveals Shared Genetic Code between Species

December 18, 2014 11:32 am | by Mike Williams, Rice University | News | Comments

Researchers have detected at least three instances of cross-species mating that likely influenced the evolutionary paths of “old world” mice, two in recent times and one in the distant past. They think these instances of introgressive hybridization are only the first of many needles waiting to be found in a very large genetic haystack. The finding suggests that hybridization in mammals may not be an evolutionary dead end.

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This image illustrates possible ways methane might be added to Mars' atmosphere (sources) and removed from the atmosphere (sinks). NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has detected fluctuations in methane concentration in the atmosphere, implying both types of act

Rover Finds Active, Ancient Organic Chemistry on Mars

December 18, 2014 10:48 am | by NASA | News | Comments

NASA's Mars Curiosity rover has measured a tenfold spike in methane, an organic chemical, in the atmosphere around it and detected other organic molecules in a rock-powder sample collected by the robotic laboratory’s drill. Researchers used Curiosity’s onboard Sample Analysis at Mars laboratory a dozen times in a 20-month period to sniff methane in the atmosphere. During two of those months, four measurements averaged seven ppb.

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Open Ethernet Switch Abstraction Interface

Open Ethernet Switch Abstraction Interface

December 17, 2014 3:51 pm | Mellanox Technologies, Inc. | Product Releases | Comments

The Switch Abstraction Interface (SAI) to Open Ethernet switch systems is designed for open management and control of Ethernet Switches. SAI is the common software application programming interface (API), which is in specification by the Open Compute Project (OCP), and is targeted at forming a common, hardware-agnostic, unified API for Ethernet switches.

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Geranium Seed -- Courtesy of Nikon Small World

Close-up: Geranium Seed

December 17, 2014 3:23 pm | News | Comments

This 10x photo of a Geranium (Geranium bohemica) seed received an Image of Distinction designation in the 2013 Nikon Small World Photomicrophotography Competition, which recognizes excellence in photography with the optical microscope. It was taken using a darkfield technique.

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This artist's concept shows NASA's Voyager spacecraft against a backdrop of stars. The Voyager spacecraft were built and continue to be operated by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Interstellar Space: NASA Voyager in Midst of Tsunami Wave

December 17, 2014 2:43 pm | by NASA | News | Comments

A "tsunami wave" that NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft began experiencing earlier this year is still propagating outward. It is the longest-lasting shock wave that researchers have seen in interstellar space. A tsunami wave occurs when the sun emits a coronal mass ejection, throwing out a magnetic cloud of plasma from its surface. This generates a wave of pressure. When the wave runs into the interstellar plasma, a shock wave results.

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For customers sending a package by MoonMail, there's no need for a return address. The items will remain on the moon in a pod that will be attached to the moon rover. Courtesy of Gregory H. Revera

Bang, Zoom ... Going Straight to the Moon!

December 16, 2014 12:47 pm | by AP | News | Comments

An outer-space delivery firm that is working with Carnegie Mellon University to put a privately-owned lunar rover on the moon is offering to "mail" personal keepsakes to the moon as a way to help fund the partnership's rocket launch. Astrobotic has launched a Web site where people can sign up to send their keepsakes in tiny MoonMail packages to the moon.

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ISC has announced the ISC Cloud & Big Data conference, which has merged into a three-day event to take place in Frankfurt, Germany, on September 28 to 30, 2015.

ISC Cloud & Big Data Conferences to Merge in 2015

December 16, 2014 12:11 pm | by Suzanne Tracy, Editor-in-Chief, Scientific Computing and HPC Source | Blogs | Comments

ISC has announced the ISC Cloud & Big Data conference, which has merged into a three-day event to take place in Frankfurt, Germany, on September 28 to 30, 2015. The new format offers attendees two full days of multi-track sessions, highlighting current and future technologies, and applications most relevant in the cloud and big data fields. In addition, there will be one full day of workshops.

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Silicon Nanocrystals in Silicon Dioxide -- Courtesy of Nikon Small World

Silicon Nanocrystals in Silicon Dioxide

December 16, 2014 11:49 am | News | Comments

This 20x photo of silicon nanocrystals in silicon dioxide received an Image of Distinction designation in the 2013 Nikon Small World Photomicrophotography Competition, which recognizes excellence in photography with the optical microscope. It was taken using widefield reflection and false colors.

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The NORAD Tracks Santa Web site features a mobile version, a holiday countdown, and new games and daily activities.

NORAD Ready to Track Santa’s Flight

December 16, 2014 11:19 am | by North American Aerospace Defense Command | News | Comments

The North American Aerospace Defense Command is once again ready to track Santa’s yuletide journey. It all started in 1955 when a local media advertisement directed children to call Santa direct — only the number was misprinted. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone rang through to the Crew Commander on duty at the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center. Thus began the tradition, which NORAD has carried on since 1958.

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SFU computer scientist Richard Zhang holds a Christmas tree, left, that was 3D-printed in the traditional manner, and the same tree, right, printed with assistance from a new algorithm he developed with Ph.D. student Ruizhen Hu. The Christmas tree on the

New Algorithm Prints with Zero Material Waste

December 16, 2014 11:09 am | by Diane Luckow, Simon Fraser University | News | Comments

Just in time for Christmas, Richard Zhang reveals how to print a 3-D Christmas tree efficiently and with zero material waste, using the world’s first algorithm for automatically decomposing a 3-D object into what are called pyramidal parts. The algorithm promises to become a big deal in the world of 3-D printing, and also has applications for designing molds and for casting.

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NASA flight engineer Roy Roper (left) reviews laptop displays showing the ASTAR data with Boeing principal investigator Gabe Brewer during a ground simulation. Courtesy of Boeing

NASA Software May Help Increase Flight Efficiency, Decrease Aircraft Noise

December 16, 2014 11:03 am | by NASA | News | Comments

NASA researchers began flight tests of computer software that shows promise in improving flight efficiency and reducing environmental impacts of aircraft, especially on communities around airports. Known as ASTAR, or Airborne Spacing for Terminal Arrival Routes, the software is designed to give pilots specific speed information and guidance so that planes can be more precisely spaced, enabling pilots to fly a "follow the leader" approach.

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Illustration of the concept of Baryonic Acoustic Oscillations. Courtesy of Chris Blake & Sam Moorfield

Real Data used for First Time to Measure Cosmos

December 15, 2014 4:21 pm | by Francesca Davenport, Imperial College London | News | Comments

For the first time, researchers have measured large distances in the Universe using data, rather than calculations related to general relativity. The team used data from astronomical surveys to measure a standard distance that is central to our understanding of the expansion of the universe. Previously the size of this standard ruler has only been predicted from theoretical models that rely on general relativity to explain gravity.

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