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What does this Rorschach blot look like to you?

Alien owl.
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...is going to come back out to play.
Current Mood:
refreshed refreshed
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  • New software has enabled researchers to recreate a long-forgotten musical instrument called the Lituus, despite the fact that no one alive today has ever seen or heard one. The eight-and-a-half-foot instrument fell out of use some 300 years ago.
  • True muonium, a long-theorized but never-seen atom-like configuration of a muon and its anti-particle, might be observed in future experiments thanks to recent theoretical work by researchers. True muonium was first theorized more than 50 years ago, but until now no one had uncovered an unambiguous method by which it could be created and observed.
  • Researchers from the University of California at Berkeley have developed a new carbon nanotube-based technique that could potentially store data that lasts more than a billion years.
  • In nature, trees pull vast amounts of water from their roots up to their leaves hundreds of feet above the ground through capillary action, but now scientists have created a simple slab of metal that lifts liquid using the same principle -- but at much greater speed.
  • Olive waste obtained during the oil extraction process may be used to eliminate heavy metals from sewage or waste waters of productive activities. The olive industry produces great amounts of such sub-products in and their cost is very low or nothing.
  • Physicists have demonstrated entanglement -- a phenomenon peculiar to the atomic-scale quantum world -- in a mechanical system similar to those in the macroscopic everyday world. The work extends the boundaries of the arena where quantum behavior can be observed and shows how laboratory technology might be scaled up to build a functional quantum computer.
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    • The puzzling quadrupole moment measured in the cosmic microwave background may be due to a lens-like distortion caused by the terminal shock wave at the heliopause.
    • A giant balloon, taller than a football field, is now flying at the edge of space to collect data on cosmic rays -- the most super-charged particles in the universe.
    • In what could be a biomedical research milestone, scientists have genetically modified a line of marmosets so that they glow green — and they can pass the trait to their children.
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    • Portions of Alaska are rising relative to sea level as billions of tons of glaciers melt away.
    • A new study suggests for the first time that cytomegalovirus, a common viral infection affecting between 60 and 99 percent of adults worldwide, is a cause of high blood pressure, a leading risk factor for heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.
    • The inexpensive plastic now used to manufacture CDs and DVDs may soon be put to use in improving the integrity of electronics in aircraft, computers and iPhones. Researchers have demonstrated ultra-high electrical conductive properties in these plastics, when combined with carbon nano-tubes.
    • Of the 92 naturally occurring elements, add another to the list of those that are superconductors. Scientist have discovered that europium becomes superconducting at 1.8 K (-456 °F) and 80 GPa (790,000 atmospheres) of pressure, making it the 53rd known elemental superconductor and the 23rd at high pressure.
    • As a fast and efficient means of transport, jellyfish-like organisms could play a major role in the marine carbon cycle. Marine biologists report that dead bodies of the marine organism Pyrosoma atlanticum may be transporting much more carbon to the seafloor than phytoplankton or other jellyfish-like creatures.
    • Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have immunized monkeys against the simian immunodeficiency virus, the animal model that is closest to HIV. They did so by shuttling a gene into the monkeys' muscles, making the muscle cells produce antibody-like molecules that work against SIV.
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    • Periodical cicadas, insects best known for their 17-year long life cycle, are emerging four years early in several Atlantic states. The emergence was first noticed in Greensboro, NC, early in May and has since been reported in Maryland.
    • A new way of reading light will sharpen the view of exoplanets. Researchers have created an "astro-comb" to help astronomers detect lighter planets, more like Earth, around distant stars.
    • Scientists have developed an efficient method to detect entanglement shared among multiple parts of an optical system. They show how entanglement, in the form of beams of light simultaneously propagating along four distinct paths, can be detected with a small number of measurements. Entanglement is an essential resource in quantum information science, which is the study of advanced computation and communication based on the laws of quantum mechanics.
    • Scientists have found that global warming was inadvertently curbed in the past by atmospheric lead pollution. Apparently lead stimulates the production of ice clouds, which radiate atmospheric heat more efficiently.
    • Two physicists have used string theory to argue that all subatomic particles are in fact tiny black holes.
    • Researchers have successfully captured a single electron in a highly tunable carbon nanotube double quantum dot. This was made possible by a new approach for producing ultraclean nanotubes. Moreover, the researchers discovered a new sort of tunneling as a result of which electrons can fly straight through obstacles.
    • Applying innovative measurement techniques, researchers have directly measured the unusual energy spectrum of graphene, a technologically promising, two-dimensional form of carbon that has tantalized and puzzled scientists since its discovery in 2004.
    • Scientists have developed a new polymer that reduces the amount of radioactive waste produced during routine operation of nuclear reactors.
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    • Carpet cloaks make practical cloaking at visible wavelengths possible for the first time.
    • Using laser light, researchers can control neurons in the primate brain. This has been done in mice and fish, but the jump to primates opens the door for new therapies. The technique is very specific, affecting just the desired neurons and leaving the rest alone, which reduces side effects.
    • Astronomers suspect that hundreds of medium-sized black holes are roaming loose in the Milky Way. These rogues, according to a new study, are the orphaned central black holes of the many smaller galaxies that the Milky Way has swallowed over its billions of years of existence.
    • Ten years ago, Stanford University School of Medicine scientist Emmanuel Mignot, M.D., Ph.D., and his colleagues made headlines when they identified the culprit behind the sleep disorder narcolepsy. Now Mignot and his collaborators have shown for the first time that a specific immune cell is involved in the disorder -- confirming experts' long-held suspicion that narcolepsy is an autoimmune disease.
    • Biologists have discovered that zebra finches raised in isolation will, over several generations, produce a song similar to that sung by the species in the wild. The experiment provides new insights into how genetic background, learning abilities and environmental variation might influence how birds evolve "song culture" -- and provides some pointers to how human languages may evolve.
    • Pioneering mathematical engineers have discovered for the first time a rigid structure which exists within the center of turbulence, leading to hope that its chaotic movement could be controlled in the future.
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    • Engineers have discovered a way to use an ancient life form to create one of the newest technologies for solar energy, in systems that may be surprisingly simple to build compared to existing silicon-based solar cells. The secret: diatoms.
    • A Japanese company is preparing limited mass production of a cybernetic bodysuit which dramatically increases user strength up to ten times. The "Hybrid Assistive Limb" suit synchronizes movements of a mechanical exoskeleton to biological nerve signals detected by biopads on the body.
    • A reservoir of briny liquid buried deep beneath an Antarctic glacier supports hardy microbes that have lived in isolation for millions of years, researchers report in the journal Science. Chemical analysis of effluent from the inaccessible subglacial pool suggests that its inhabitants have eked out a living by breathing iron leached from bedrock with the help of a sulfur catalyst.
    • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York is developing flexible nanotubes inserted under the skin to create a handheld display — inside your hand. They wirelessly receive data and display reminders and text messages, and the concept has also been broadened to include programmable, customizable digital tattoos.
    • Scientists have found a way to add ferroelectric capability to silicon, the first step towards creating a transistor that would make instant-on computers a reality.
    • Monsanto, a US based multinational biotech company, is causing a stir by its plan to patent pig-breeding techniques including claim on animals birthed by the techniques.
    • Scientists from the UK and Germany are proposing a third kind of quantum tunneling. They propose that a quantum particle is capable of changing into a pair of "virtual particles" capable of passing through a potential barrier before changing back. The supposition also provides some interesting methods of possibly testing string theory.
    • Plants absorbed carbon dioxide more efficiently under the polluted skies of recent decades than they would have done in a cleaner atmosphere, according to new findings.
    • Astronomers have discovered a mysterious, giant object that existed when the universe was only 800 million years old. Dubbed an extended "Lyman-Alpha blob," it is a huge body of gas. It is named Himiko for a legendary Japanese queen and stretches for 55 thousand light years, a record for that early point in time. Its length is comparable to the radius of the Milky Way's disk.
    • The world's brightest X-ray source sprang to life last week at the U.S. Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. The Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) offers researchers the first-ever glimpse of high-energy or "hard" X-ray laser light produced in a laboratory.
    • Scientists have discovered that the brain manufactures proteins that act like marijuana at specific receptors in the brain itself. This discovery may lead to new marijuana-like drugs for managing pain, stimulating appetite and preventing marijuana abuse.
    • General Electric says it has achieved a breakthrough in digital storage technology that will allow standard-size discs to hold the equivalent of 100 DVDs.
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    • A US citizen who tried to board a domestic airplane while carrying $4700 in cash was detained by the TSA and subjected to abusive language and threats when he said that he would only answer the TSA's inquiries, such as, "Where do you work?" and,"Why are you carrying cash?" if he was required to by law.
    • New York City's Metropolitan Transit Authority is planning to roll out a
      new blog
      next month focusing on hipster central, the L line, which serves Williamsburg and Bushwick and is one of the fastest growing riderships in the system.
    • Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the creators of South Park, were given a very special gift by US marines: a signed photo of Saddam Hussein. During his captivity, the marines forced Saddam to repeatedly watch the movie South Park: Bigger, Longer And Uncut, which shows him as the boyfriend of Satan. Stone said, "We're very proud of our signed Saddam picture and what it means. It's one of our biggest highlights."
    • The Obama administration said Friday that it would appeal a district court ruling that granted some military prisoners in Afghanistan the right to file lawsuits seeking their release. The decision signaled that the administration was not backing down in its effort to maintain the power to imprison terrorism suspects for extended periods without judicial oversight.
    • Natalia Morar, one of the organizers of a recent anti-Communist flash mob in Moldova, has been officially charged with "calls for organizing and staging mass disturbances" over Twitter.
    • The Conficker worm has revealed its deadly purpose: hawking a phony anti-virus product and sending spam.
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    • Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are now using viruses to build cathodes for lithium-ion batteries.
    • Two patients who received double hand transplants regained motor control of their hands, suggesting it's possible to regenerate neuro-muscular control systems.
    • Australian scientists have made a discovery that may one day remove the need for a lifetime of toxic immunosuppressive drugs after organ transplantation.
    • A bad connection in the brains of schizophrenic patients seems to leave them unaffected by a common optical illusion that turns the concave backside of a mask into a convex face. The difference may be a disconnect in the schizophrenic brain between what it actually sees and what it expects to see based on past experience.
    • In a finding that may help speed the production of ultra-clean fuel cell vehicles powered by hydrogen, scientists in Michigan are reporting development of a sponge-like nanomaterial with a record-high surface area for holding gases. Just 1/30th of an ounce of the material has the approximate surface area of a football field.
    • Researchers have developed an entirely new method for starting chemical reactions. For the first time, they used mechanical forces to control catalytic activity -- one of the most fundamental concepts in chemistry. This allowed them to initiate chemical reactions with mechanical force. This discovery paves the way to developing materials capable of repairing themselves under the influence of mechanical tension.
    • Discovery of an efficient artificial catalyst for the sunlight-driven splitting of water into oxygen and hydrogen is a major goal of renewable clean energy research. Scientists have devised a unique new mechanism for the formation of hydrogen and oxygen from water, without the need for sacrificial chemical agents, through individual steps, using light.
    • Sunspot activity is on track to beat last year's near historical low. 2008 saw no sunspot activity on 266 out of 366, or 73 percent, of its days. To find a year with less sunspot activity, you'd have to go back to 1913, which had 311 spotless days. But sunspot counts for 2009 have dropped even lower. As of March 31st, there were no sunspots on 78 of the year's 90 days, or 87 percent.
    • Though greenhouse gases are invariably at the center of discussions about global climate change, new NASA research suggests that much of the atmospheric warming observed in the Arctic since 1976 may be due to changes in tiny airborne particles called aerosols.
    • Cancer researcher have shown that a common virus can infect and kill breast cancer stem cells. Cancer stem cells are difficult to kill as they respond poorly to chemotherapy and radiation.
    • Cannabinoids such as the main active component of marijuana have anticancer effects on human brain cancer cells, according to new research.
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