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Stories You Shouldn’t Miss — May 15-21

May 22, 2015 11:56 am | by Suzanne Tracy, Editor-in-Chief, Scientific Computing and HPC Source | News | Comments

In case you haven’t caught them yet, here's a recap of this week's most popular stories. Looking at the universe as a hologram; diesel fuel from carbon dioxide and water; first observations of a rare subatomic process; a big data history of music charts; secrets of colossal, invisible waves; perceptions of dress colors; and more are among the top hits.

Recap: The Week's Top Stories — May 8-14

May 15, 2015 2:34 pm | by Suzanne Tracy, Editor-in-Chief, Scientific Computing and HPC Source | News | Comments

In case you missed it, here's another chance to catch this week's biggest hits. Writing like a...

Underwater Turbines Tap Moon’s Gravity to Generate Power

February 11, 2014 10:07 pm | by General Electric | News | Comments

When Mark Baker looks up at the moon at night, he does not see magic or mystery. He ponders...

Source of 'Moon Curse' Revealed by Eclipse

February 11, 2014 2:32 pm | by University of California - San Diego | News | Comments

Strange events have long been linked to nights of a full moon, though careful scrutiny dispels...

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Astronomers Discover Oldest Known Star in the Universe

February 11, 2014 8:54 am | by Australian National University | News | Comments

A team led by astronomers at The Australian National University has discovered the oldest known star in the Universe, which formed shortly after the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago. The discovery has allowed astronomers for the first time to study the chemistry of the first stars, giving scientists a clearer idea of what the Universe was like in its infancy.

Scientist’s 1956 Message in a Bottle Found

February 10, 2014 4:43 pm | by Denise Lavoie, Associated Press | News | Comments

It was April 1956, and the No. 1 song was Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel." At the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod, scientist Dean Bumpus was busy releasing glass bottles in a large stretch of the Atlantic Ocean. Nearly 58 years later, a biologist studying grey seals off Nova Scotia found one of the bottles in a pile of debris on a beach, 300 miles from where it was released.

800,000-year-old Footprints Discovered in England

February 10, 2014 4:33 pm | by Jill Lawless, Associated Press | News | Comments

They were a British family on a day out — almost a million years ago. Archaeologists announced February 7, 2014, that they have discovered human footprints in England that are between 800,000 and 1 million years old — the most ancient found outside Africa, and the earliest evidence of human life in northern Europe.


First Close-Up Photo of Venus Reveals Cloudy Atmosphere

February 6, 2014 9:39 am | News | Comments

On February 5, 1974, NASA's Mariner 10 mission took this first close-up photo of Venus. Made using an ultraviolet filter in its imaging system, the photo has been color-enhanced to bring out Venus's cloudy atmosphere as the human eye would see it.

Greenland’s Fastest Glacier Reaches Record Speeds

February 4, 2014 10:47 am | by European Geosciences Union (EGU) | News | Comments

Jakobshavn Isbræ (Jakobshavn Glacier) is moving ice from the Greenland ice sheet into the ocean at a speed that appears to be the fastest ever recorded. Researchers from the University of Washington and the German Space Agency (DLR) measured the dramatic speeds of the fast-flowing glacier in 2012 and 2013. The results are published January 31, 2014, in The Cryosphere, an open access journal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU).

Robots with Insect Brains: Learning to Navigate Guided by External Stimuli

February 4, 2014 5:32 am | by Freie Universitaet Berlin | News | Comments

Researchers of Freie Universität Berlin, of the Bernstein Fokus Neuronal Basis of Learning, and of the Bernstein Center Berlin and have developed a robot that perceives environmental stimuli and learns to react to them. The scientists used the relatively simple nervous system of the honeybee as a model for its working principles. To this end, they installed a camera on a small robotic vehicle and connected it to a computer.

Headless Chicken Brigade: Prince Charles Slams Climate-Change Deniers

January 31, 2014 2:41 pm | by AP | News | Comments

Prince Charles has called people who deny human-made climate change a "headless chicken brigade" who are ignoring overwhelming scientific evidence. The heir to the British throne, a dedicated environmentalist, accused "powerful groups of deniers" of mounting "a barrage of sheer intimidation" against opponents.

Revolutionary Approach Enables Important Advance toward Quantum Computer

January 31, 2014 1:56 pm | by University of Bristol | News | Comments

A research group of scientists and engineers led by the University of Bristol, UK, has made an important advance toward a quantum computer by shrinking down key components and integrating them onto a silicon microchip. Scientists have, for the first time, generated and manipulated single particles of light (photons) on a silicon chip — a major step forward in the race to build a quantum computer.


Bioinspiration: Natural Forms Inspire Glass that Bends but Doesn’t Break

January 29, 2014 11:06 am | by McGill University | News | Comments

Normally when you drop a drinking glass on the floor it shatters. But, in future, thanks to a technique developed in McGill’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, when the same thing happens the glass is likely to simply bend and become slightly deformed. That’s because Prof. François Barthelat and his team have successfully taken inspiration from the mechanics of natural structures like...

Sorry to Make you All Sad: Yutu Lunar Rover has Mechanical Trouble

January 27, 2014 12:28 pm | by AP | News | Comments

China says its first lunar rover is experiencing mechanical problems, a rare setback for its burgeoning space program that in recent years has conducted space walks and placed a space station in orbit. The six-wheeled Yutu vehicle began operating last month after making the first soft landing on the moon by a space probe in 37 years.

Older Brains Slow Due to Greater Experience, Rather Than Cognitive Decline

January 21, 2014 2:30 pm | by Wiley | News | Comments

What happens to our cognitive abilities as we age? Traditionally it is thought that age leads to a steady deterioration of brain function, but new research in Topics in Cognitive Science argues that older brains may take longer to process ever increasing amounts of knowledge, and this has often been misidentified as declining capacity.

Peeking into Schrödinger's Box: Direct Quantum State Measurements

January 20, 2014 2:28 pm | by University of Rochester | News | Comments

Until recently, measuring a 27-dimensional quantum state would have been a time-consuming, multistage process using a technique called quantum tomography, which is similar to creating a 3-D image from many 2-D ones. Researchers at the University of Rochester have been able to apply a recently developed, alternative method called direct measurement to do this in a single experiment with no post-processing.

Old Mathematical Puzzle may Soon be Unraveled

January 16, 2014 2:53 pm | by University of Montreal | News | Comments

It is one the oldest mathematical problems in the world. Several centuries ago, the twin primes conjecture was formulated. As its name indicates, this hypothesis deals with prime numbers, those divisible only by themselves and by one. Under this assumption, there exists an infinite number of pairs of prime numbers whose difference is two, called twin primes, but nobody has been able to confirm this so far.


Earthrise Image Forty-fifth Anniversary

January 16, 2014 12:46 pm | by NASA | News | Comments

Just over forty-five years ago, in December of 1968, the Apollo 8 crew flew from the Earth to the Moon and back again. Frank Borman, James Lovell and William Anders were launched atop a Saturn V rocket on December 21, circled the Moon 10 times in their command module. Their famous picture of a distant blue Earth above the Moon's limb was a marvelous gift to the world.

Kiss my Turbine: What Electronics Firms Can Learn from the Doomed Airline Industry

January 13, 2014 4:39 pm | by Randy C. Hice | Blogs | Comments

Ah, 30,000 feet and some old Dire Straits on the headphones, and waiting for my warm Heineken. Perfect. Though I enjoy lambasting companies that get it wrong, I’m also quick to stomp my feet and clap my hands when companies get it right. And I’ll do that, I promise, but allow me my fun first.

Plane Cleared to Land at Most Extreme Commercial Airport in the World

January 13, 2014 4:45 am | by General Electric | News | Comments

Lukla’s Tenzing-Hillary airport in Nepal could be the most extreme commercial airport in the world. Perched 9,382 feet high, in a valley filled with wicked wind shear, it has a fearsome uphill runway just four football fields long that ends in a rock wall. Usually, Lukla is a destination for intrepid climbers and trekkers trying to reach the Mt. Everest Base Camp, a nine days’ hike away. But in...

IBM Watson Group Unveils Cloud Services to Visualize Big Data Insights, Fuel Analytics Exploration

January 10, 2014 8:49 am | by IBM | News | Comments

IBM has unveiled three new Watson services delivered over the cloud. The first, Watson Discovery Advisor, is designed to accelerate and strengthen R&D projects in industries such as pharmaceutical, publishing and biotech. The second, Watson Analytics, delivers visualized Big Data insights, based on questions posed in natural language. The third, Watson Explorer, helps users across an enterprise uncover and share data-driven insights

Three-Star System Challenges Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity

January 9, 2014 3:29 pm | by University of British Columbia | News | Comments

A newly discovered system of two white dwarf stars and a superdense pulsar — all packed within a space smaller than the Earth’s orbit around the sun — is enabling astronomers to probe a range of cosmic mysteries, including the very nature of gravity itself.

Global Map Predicts Giant Earthquakes

January 9, 2014 2:58 pm | by Monash University | News | Comments

A team of international researchers, led by Monash University’s Associate Professor Wouter Schellart, have developed a new global map of subduction zones — which occur at the edge of tectonic plates — to predict which ones are capable of generating giant earthquakes.

Striking New Observations of Supernova Super Dust Factory

January 7, 2014 9:55 am | by National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) | News | Comments

Galaxies can be remarkably dusty places and supernovas are thought to be a primary source of that dust, especially in the early Universe. Direct evidence of a supernova’s dust-making capabilities, however, has been slim and cannot account for the copious amount of dust detected in young, distant galaxies.

Text Mining: The Next Data Frontier

January 6, 2014 2:04 pm | by Mark A. Anawis | Blogs | Comments

Josiah Stamp said: “The individual source of the statistics may easily be the weakest link.” Nowhere is this more true than in the new field of text mining, given the wide variety of textual information. By some estimates, 80 percent of the information available occurs as free-form text which, prior to the development of text mining, needed to be read in its entirety in order for information to be obtained from it.

Five of the Best Science and Technology Films

January 3, 2014 12:22 pm | by Liam Burke, Swinburne University of Technology | News | Comments

Cinema did not emerge from a eureka moment, but rather through the incremental innovations of pioneers such as the Lumière brothers, Étienne-Jules Marey and Thomas Edison. So it is unsurprising that filmmakers regularly return to science and technology for inspiration. Here are some of the greatest triumphs of cinema’s fertile engagement with science and technology.

Luminous Phenomena: Earthquake Lights Linked to Subvertical Faults

January 3, 2014 10:36 am | by Seismological Society of America | News | Comments

Rare earthquake lights are more likely to occur on or near rift environments, where subvertical faults allow stress-induced electrical currents to flow rapidly to the surface, according to a new study published in Seismological Research Letters. From the early days of seismology, the luminous phenomena associated with some earthquakes have intrigued scholars. Earthquake lights (EQL) appear before or during earthquakes, but rarely after.

Computer Scientist Turns Hobby into Weather Web Site

January 2, 2014 2:06 pm | by Dale Neal, Asheville Citizen-Times | News | Comments

"Everyone talks about the weather, but nobody ever does anything about it." Ray Russell, a computer science professor at Appalachian State University, didn't set out to prove Mark Twain's wisecrack wrong. He just wanted to get a better forecast for snowstorms across the High Country of Western North Carolina.

Report: NSA Intercepts Computer Deliveries

January 2, 2014 1:57 pm | by Raphael Satter, Associated Press | News | Comments

A German magazine lifted the lid on the operations of the National Security Agency's hacking unit on December 29, 2013, reporting that American spies intercept computer deliveries, exploit hardware vulnerabilities, and even hijack Microsoft's internal reporting system to spy on their targets.

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