Tuesday, November 29, 2011

NASA: "Lightning-made Waves in Earth's Atmosphere Leak Into Space"

Full story at http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sunearth/news/lightning-waves.html

"Now, NASA's Vector Electric Field Instrument (VEFI) aboard the U.S. Air Force's Communications/Navigation Outage Forecast System (C/NOFS) satellite has detected Schumann resonance from space. This comes as a surprise, since current models of Schumann resonance predict these waves should be caged at lower altitude, between the ground and a layer of Earth's atmosphere called the ionosphere."

For more information on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schumann_resonances

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Spiders vs Ants, sort of like Ninjas vs Pirates

As many of the readers here probably already know from personal study, Spiders tend to have problems with Ants, researchers have discovered that Golden Orb Spinner Spiders use a chemical irritant in their webs to deter Ants.

Article is from the Australian Geographic.

Friday, November 25, 2011

MIT discovery could lead to all-optical chips!

From Mass High Tech:
Ross, along with fellow materials science and engineering professor Lionel Kimerling and former students Lei Bi ’11 and Juejun Hu Ph.D. ’09, figured out that the fairly common gemstone garnet had the properties they needed to make the optical “diode for light” as it is both transparent and magnetic. The release cites Ross saying, “The whole system could be made using standard microchip manufacturing machinery.”

This is an impressive discovery in my opinion.  Here is Journal Nature Abstract.

This is deserving of Nobel Prize consideration in my opinion. Considering the fact that the system can be made with standard microchip manufacturing, it is an elegant and efficient solution as well.

Open Source Physics receives SPORE Award

Science Prize for Online Resources in Education (SPORE)

Open Source Physics (OPS) wins SPORE award.

Links to OPS summary and full article at Science.

Open Source Physics in their own words:
Computational Resources for Teaching
The OSP Collection provides curriculum resources that engage students in physics, computation, and computer modeling. Computational physics and computer modeling provide students with new ways to understand, describe, explain, and predict physical phenomena.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Kilobots, am I the only one who thinks Daleks?

From http://www.eecs.harvard.edu/ssr/projects/progSA/kilobot.html :

To enable the possibility of large Kilobot collectives where the number of robots is an order of magnitude larger than the largest that exist today, each robot is made with only $14 worth of parts and takes 5 minutes to assemble. Furthermore, the robot design allows a single user to easily oversee the operation of a large Kilobot collective, such as programming, powering on, and charging all robots

Friday, November 11, 2011

Jawbone's Jambox, Cool Bluetooth speaker & speakerphone!

If you hate headsets like I do, or just want a good speaker that doesn't require wires, take a look at the Jambox, it is a high end Speaker and Speakerphone. 

You can use Bluetooth for wireless operation, since it uses a rechargeable battery, or the standard 3.5mm jack to connect it to your laptop, iPad, Cell phone, etc.

Supposedly a NASA engineer/scientist was involved in the design of the Jambox.  So it appeals to the Gadget Geek in me!

Got my girlfriend a Blue Jambox for her Birthday last month, she really likes it, no problem using it via Bluetooth for her Ipad or Blackberry phone, also worked fine with the 3.5mm headphone jack hooked to her TV. 

She has used it with her iPad near daily for 12 days on the first charge.  So the battery life is really good, she was using it to listen to streaming music off the iPad most evenings afterwork.  Plus watching movies a few times a week.  Not sure how many total hours, but even people that use it day long should be satisfied I think.

It also works good as a speaker phone, I will be borrowing it this weekend for some Skype calls (I hate headsets), hopefully she gets the hint that I want one for Xmas.

It also includes good, perhaps even great accessories, it comes with two different length USB/powercords, a AC adapter, 3.5mm cord, & a neat padded carrying case.  The case is padded has magnetic flap closures, it compresses flat and the flaps secure it on the flat empty position or the closed position when protecting the Jambox.

Comes charged and ready to use out of the box!  Any questions?  Post them below.

The Jambox is really cool.  More information available at Jawbone Official site.

EDC Innovation from Exotac, Pocket Candle



I have been trying to design a usable pocket candle for some time now, if you have a mini Bic lighter and a candle you are pretty well set for starting fires in most situations.

I have been EDC an Exotac Nano striker for almost a year now, it rides on my keychain easily.  But I like the Two is One, One is None rule for disaster preparation gear. So I usually have a Mini Bic lighter as well, now I have a candle to add to the equation.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NASA in Final Preparations for Nov. 8 Asteroid Flyby, inside Moon's orbit

Details at NASA

Here is snippet from NASA:
The trajectory of asteroid 2005 YU55 is well understood. At the point of closest approach, it will be no closer than 201,700 miles (324,600 kilometers) or 0.85 the distance from the moon to Earth.

"Our galaxy's gas" from ars


Interesting article about the diffuse gas bands astronomers have found, the most recent one in the galactic center.

Unknown chemistry composition so far, sounds interesting.  Perhaps there is a connection to abiogenesis?