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 The only science news thread you'll ever need

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PostSubject: Re: The only science news thread you'll ever need   Thu Aug 14, 2008 1:24 am

And how much of that food supply comes from Britain? I feel that this is a local problem, we shouldn't be too worried about the species becoming extinct. And it can always be re-introduced.

I suspect we've had wetter periods than this in the past, with no extinction of bees. Is there something else that's contributinmg to their demise?
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PostSubject: Re: The only science news thread you'll ever need   Thu Aug 14, 2008 1:30 am

I don't think it's just in the UK - there's a phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder which is around only a few years and is hardly understood according to that article and this thing from wiki

Quote :
Colony Collapse Disorder (or CCD) is a poorly understood phenomenon in which worker bees from a beehive or Western honey bee colony abruptly disappear. While such disappearances have occurred throughout the history of apiculture, the term Colony Collapse Disorder was first applied to a drastic rise in the number of disappearances of Western honey bee colonies in North America in late 2006.[1]

European beekeepers observed a similar phenomenon in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain,[2] and initial reports have also come in from Switzerland and Germany, albeit to a lesser degree.[3] Possible cases of CCD have also been reported in Taiwan since April 2007.[4]

The cause or causes of the syndrome are not yet understood. Some of the proposed causes include environmental change-related stresses,[5] malnutrition, pathogens (i.e., disease[6] including Israel acute paralysis virus[7][8]), mites, pesticides such as neonicotinoids or imidacloprid, genetically modified (GM) crops with pest control characteristics such as transgenic maize,[9][10], and migratory beekeeping.

Could be GM crops are partially responsible ...
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PostSubject: Re: The only science news thread you'll ever need   Thu Aug 14, 2008 1:37 am

But we don't grow gm stuff here.
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PostSubject: Re: The only science news thread you'll ever need   Thu Aug 14, 2008 1:45 am

905 wrote:
But we don't grow gm stuff here.
Is there not some stuff we import that has GM food in it at all? Thankfully we're an island too but if there is a bee virus or pathogen or some bug that kills them off ... What a Face

Anyway, once there are manufactured genes in the environment I think it's impossible to keep away from bees here given how the ecosystem is knit together. DDT is an example of something manufactured ending up where it shouldn't.
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PostSubject: Re: The only science news thread you'll ever need   Thu Aug 14, 2008 1:47 am

Right, animal feed has gm products.
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PostSubject: Re: The only science news thread you'll ever need   Thu Aug 14, 2008 1:54 am

Auditor #9 wrote:
I don't think it's just in the UK - there's a phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder which is around only a few years and is hardly understood according to that article and this thing from wiki

Quote :
Colony Collapse Disorder (or CCD) is a poorly understood phenomenon in which worker bees from a beehive or Western honey bee colony abruptly disappear. While such disappearances have occurred throughout the history of apiculture, the term Colony Collapse Disorder was first applied to a drastic rise in the number of disappearances of Western honey bee colonies in North America in late 2006.[1]

European beekeepers observed a similar phenomenon in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain,[2] and initial reports have also come in from Switzerland and Germany, albeit to a lesser degree.[3] Possible cases of CCD have also been reported in Taiwan since April 2007.[4]

The cause or causes of the syndrome are not yet understood. Some of the proposed causes include environmental change-related stresses,[5] malnutrition, pathogens (i.e., disease[6] including Israel acute paralysis virus[7][8]), mites, pesticides such as neonicotinoids or imidacloprid, genetically modified (GM) crops with pest control characteristics such as transgenic maize,[9][10], and migratory beekeeping.

Could be GM crops are partially responsible ...
I'll tell Mujaahid those feckin zionists are at it again Smile
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PostSubject: Re: The only science news thread you'll ever need   Thu Aug 14, 2008 1:58 am

Funny, I spotted that too. Maybe anti-Semetism is innate? If so, there has to be a reason...
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PostSubject: Re: The only science news thread you'll ever need   Thu Aug 14, 2008 3:44 am

This is what genetic engineering is doing (and it's not too bad)

Quote :
A Massachusetts based company, Metabolix, just figured out how to grow plastic inside a plant.

By mixing the genes of a few different species Metabolix was able to coax switch grass into growing it's proprietary bioplastic in significant amounts right it's leaves! The new plastic, which we'll just call PHA (because we don't want to write polyhydroxybutyrate a bunch of times,) can be used in manufacturing everything from credit cards to packaging materials.

The advantage here over other bioplastics is that all of the chemical processes occur within the plant. There is no need for polymerization or complex chemistry after harvesting. Just cut the grass, get rid of the plant matter, and you've got plastic.

And, of course, the advantage over traditional plastics is that it doesn't come from petroleum, which we're starting to run out of.

Their aiming to get the plastic into commercial production by 2012.
Credit Cards don't grow on trees my a* .
http://www.ecogeek.org/content/view/1996/64/
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PostSubject: Re: The only science news thread you'll ever need   Thu Aug 14, 2008 11:48 am

I hope the f'n thing doesn't spread everywhere like that weed in "Collapse" Shocked

Anyone hear poor old P. Charles going bananas about GM ?
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PostSubject: Re: The only science news thread you'll ever need   Thu Aug 14, 2008 12:40 pm

cactus flower wrote:
I hope the f'n thing doesn't spread everywhere like that weed in "Collapse" Shocked

Anyone hear poor old P. Charles going bananas about GM ?

Have you tried his Duchy Originals biscuits? mmmmmmm! You know they taste better because he talks to them during the production process as well.
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PostSubject: Re: The only science news thread you'll ever need   Fri Aug 15, 2008 9:25 pm

johnfás wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
I hope the f'n thing doesn't spread everywhere like that weed in "Collapse" Shocked

Anyone hear poor old P. Charles going bananas about GM ?

Have you tried his Duchy Originals biscuits? mmmmmmm! You know they taste better because he talks to them during the production process as well.
Had tea with Royalty, another Protestant stereotypes to add to the list. Actually my great-uncle's gardens were visited by Himself when he came over in '94.
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PostSubject: Quantun Entanglement   Sun Aug 17, 2008 12:16 pm

Did someone mention quantum entanglement?

For rakes and rakes of years, physicists have been wondering and debating what is light. For Newton in the 1700s it was a stream of particles or "corpuscles" then in 1801 Thomas Young shone some light at a double-split contraption and made out that light behaved like a wave.... 100 years after him the great Einstein felt that it was necessary to explain light again as a unit of some kind instead of a wave because it was found that that was the best explanation they had at the time for how their rudimentary solar panels worked - light struck a surface and knocked electrons out so Einstein's reasoning was that the light was in some kind of quantity or packet rather than being extended like a wave ... hence "quanta" and "quantum". Some quick reading through the whole subject

After that I'm sure it was presented in a more and more complex fashion up until the QED theory which I won't pretend to understand but all the time one legacy of Einstein remains - the upper limit on the speed of light.

This is one of nature's natural limits and many of Einstein's theories depend on this absolute figure. Sorry, it's not the speed of light that is important for Einstein, it's the speed itself. Light moves at 186,000 miles per second - for Einstein this was the fastest anything in the universe could travel at.

Until Quantum Entanglement.

Quote :
A spooky effect that could in theory connect particles at the opposite ends of the universe has been measured and found to exert its unsettling influence more than 10,000 times faster than the speed of light.
# Send me by parcel post, Scottie
# Future of science: 'We will have the power of the gods'
# We could make you a quantum computer

The effect, once described by Albert Einstein as 'spooky action at a distance' underpins quantum teleportation, a Star Trek like ability, and the next generation of encryption methods and superfast quantum computers too

Sounds bizarre and Star Trekky but someone has claimed they've done experiments that prove it.


Quote :
Now, by making measurements in two Swiss villages separated by 11 miles, Daniel Salart, a doctoral student working with the team of Prof Nocolas Gisin at the University of Geneva, has run detailed measurements and concluded that if this spooky action really exists, it must act faster than light.

The new work lays down a lower speed limit of 10,000 times the speed of light. Quantum weirdness still rules OK.

This study in the journal Nature suggests that a physical signalling mechanism that connects the villages is deeply implausible, because of the well known limit of the speed of light.

So what's going on here? Could we learn how to teleport things and people around the world and universe like in all sorts of bizarre sci-fi and in one scene of Willy Wonka? Could we have a new form of communications network based on the above ... Quantum Entangled Telephones? Using signals not based on micro or radio waves but on properties of the universe that no one as yet understands? Here's how they thought it might work back in Einstein's day when he was debating using thought-experiments on the strange stuff that happens in the quantum realm and how his own "laws" can somehow get violated, in this case the maximum speed of nature being the speed of light
Quote :
In 1935, Einstein outlined one such perplexing feature in a thought experiment with his colleagues Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen.

They first noted that quantum theory applied not only to single atoms but also to molecules made of many atoms. So, for example, a molecule containing two atoms could be described by a single mathematical expression called a wave function.

Einstein realised that if you separated these atoms, even by a vast distance, they would still be described by the same wave function. In the jargon, they were "entangled", as if their fate was connected in some way.

This may not sound so special: after all, anyone with a cell phone can achieve something similar, talking to someone on the other side of the planet with ease. The difference is that even if entangled particles are separated by billions of light-years, the fate of one instantly affects the fate of all its partners.

It's the instant nature of the action that is most curious - would a lot of former theory have to be re-written if it was shown that such a law was violable? We don't research Gravity anymore because it's all based on Einstein's General Theory where he describes gravity not as a magnetic-like force but as a geometry in space. cyclops Somewhere, I'm sure, in among that great equation is his law of the speed of light being an absolute so a lot of our institutionalised physical picture of the world might rest on this hitherto inviolable foundation - that light has an absolute speed....

Quote :
But the reality of entanglement was first demonstrated by French scientists in 1982, notably by Alain Aspect, using light emitted by atoms driven by lasers to create pairs of entangled photons.

In the experiment, each pair was split up and the two photons sent off in opposite directions towards devices that measured their properties.

According to standard physics, the devices should show a certain degree of similarity in the properties of the two entangled photons. The precise amount should, however, be limited by the finite speed of light: roughly speaking, the photons should not have enough time to "compare notes" with each other.

The French team found, however, that the entangled photons were far more similar than expected on the basis of communication at the speed of light. In fact, the results showed that the photons were somehow communicating instantaneously - as if they were not really separated at all.

And straight away none other than IBM were on for the commercial potential ... but they get disappointed in the end though the physics, if true, is so contrary to what we have now that we could be seeing a paradigm shift sometime soon, incorporating the views of Einstein (which were rubbished at the time by Tesla but who had no evidence) as a special case of a much deeper theory.

Quote :
Then Dr Charles Bennett of IBM and others theorised that entanglement can make a "quantum phoneline" that could "teleport" the details (quantum state) of one particle to another over an arbitrary distance without knowing its state. This opened up the possibility that a transporter could transmit atomic data - even people and also opened up new opportunities for computing.

Tests have all but ruled out a classical (that is a non-quantum) explanation for these correlations between entangled photons, by waves and particles moving between them, but the lingering possibility remains that a first event could influence a second one, if the means of influence act faster than the speed of light.

To look for this, Mr Salart entangled their photon pairs using a source in Geneva, then passed them through fibre-optical cables of exactly equal length to the villages of Jussy and Satigny, which lie respectively east and west of Lake Geneva.

Here, the photons' entanglement was checked by an identical pair of instruments to reveal consistent entanglement of their photons, and the effects of the Earth's rotation taken into account, so they conclude that any signal passing between the entangled photons is, if not instantaneous, travelling at least ten thousand times faster than light.

So the effect is real but, if one wanted to explain it by a transmission mechanism with waves and particles, therein lies madness. Dr Terence Rudolph of Imperial College, London, remarks that "any theory that tries to explain quantum entanglement... will need to be very spooky - spookier, perhaps, than quantum mechanics itself".

Note that Einstein's ban on faster-than-light communication remains intact: while the photons compare notes instantaneously, the contents of those notes are beyond our control, and so can't be used to transmit any useful messages.
Telegraph

World is crazier and more of it than we think -

Quote :

Snow
May 13, 2008

The room was suddenly rich and the great bay-window was
Spawning snow and pink roses against it
Soundlessly collateral and incompatible:
World is suddener than we fancy it.

World is crazier and more of it than we think,
Incorrigibly plural. I peel and portion
A tangerine and spit the pips and feel
The drunkenness of things being various.

And the fire flames with a bubbling sound for world
Is more spiteful and gay than one supposes -
On the tongue on the eyes on the ears in the palms of one’s hands -
There is more than glass between the snow and the huge roses.

- Louis MacNeice
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PostSubject: Re: The only science news thread you'll ever need   Tue Aug 19, 2008 10:05 pm



A fascinating post by WbS on that most wonderful of places, the cedarlounge where he refers to a site that does the most amazing things with graphs and excel.

Now if I'd come across this in school, I'd have enjoyed maths far more than I did... at a time when this would have made a lot of sense in more ways than one.
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PostSubject: Re: The only science news thread you'll ever need   Tue Aug 19, 2008 10:07 pm

Now why would you avoid people who don't dance? That's a form of segregation, fascism, racism, prejudice etc. isn't it?
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PostSubject: Re: The only science news thread you'll ever need   Tue Aug 19, 2008 10:34 pm



Audi, you're old enough to know that one above...

What about this one? I think this site has a really clever mix of mathsy stuff and pop culture. Kids should be trying to outdo each other at this at breaktime to have the best answers after break in class.
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PostSubject: Re: The only science news thread you'll ever need   Sun Aug 24, 2008 1:32 am

That's interesting Kate .. speaking of elephants according to the Telegraph today, they can count ...

Moreover, Dr Irie-Sugimoto found that as well as summing small numbers with almost 90 per cent accuracy, elephants can discriminate between small numbers. They can tell similar quantities apart, when most species are best when there is a big difference. Why though?

Another article says dogs know the difference between right and wrong ..
Although still controversial, recent research is beginning to support the view that an owner is perfectly correct when they pat their pet and coo "who's a clever boy then?" Because of the way owners have selected smarter and more empathic dogs down the generations, these pets now appear to have a limited "theory of mind", the capacity that enables us to understand the desires, motivations and intentions of others, New Scientist reports today.

And stuff about magpies ...


Magpies can recognise themselves in a mirror, marking the first time "self-recognition" has been seen in a non-mammal.

# Mirror makes elephants reflect
# Scientists discover what puts you in the mood for dancing
# Crows are the Einsteins of the avian world
(links)


Until relatively recently, humans were thought to be uniquely self-aware. Now scientists know that most chimpanzees and orang-utans can recognise their own reflections. There have also been reports that dolphins and elephants share the same ability. All these animals live in a complex social world, as do humans, which experts believe may be linked to self-recognition.


And much much more on the science RSS feed of the Telegraph
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PostSubject: Longevity   Fri Aug 29, 2008 1:05 am

Scientists find cure for Death

Wouldn't that be a good headline? Eggheads are of course researching it. They believe they're coming close to producing a pill which might add 40% of your life onto your life.

Apparently it's based on research with worms who live longer when their calorie intake is reduced. Therefore, eating less makes you live longer. This makes sense in the sense that you are reducing your chances of diabetes, heart disease, cancers etc. but the Eggheads believe they have found a gene which is "a crucial clue as to why persistent hunger promotes long life." Someone somewhere wants to create a pill to simulate this.

So you can live longer as long as you are under a constant state of hunger ... .

The Telegraph
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PostSubject: Re: The only science news thread you'll ever need   Fri Aug 29, 2008 1:21 am

Auditor #9 wrote:
That's interesting Kate .. speaking of elephants according to the Telegraph today, they can count ...

Moreover, Dr Irie-Sugimoto found that as well as summing small numbers with almost 90 per cent accuracy, elephants can discriminate between small numbers. They can tell similar quantities apart, when most species are best when there is a big difference. Why though?

Another article says dogs know the difference between right and wrong ..
Although still controversial, recent research is beginning to support the view that an owner is perfectly correct when they pat their pet and coo "who's a clever boy then?" Because of the way owners have selected smarter and more empathic dogs down the generations, these pets now appear to have a limited "theory of mind", the capacity that enables us to understand the desires, motivations and intentions of others, New Scientist reports today.

And stuff about magpies ...


Magpies can recognise themselves in a mirror, marking the first time "self-recognition" has been seen in a non-mammal.

# Mirror makes elephants reflect
# Scientists discover what puts you in the mood for dancing
# Crows are the Einsteins of the avian world
(links)


Until relatively recently, humans were thought to be uniquely self-aware. Now scientists know that most chimpanzees and orang-utans can recognise their own reflections. There have also been reports that dolphins and elephants share the same ability. All these animals live in a complex social world, as do humans, which experts believe may be linked to self-recognition.


And much much more on the science RSS feed of the Telegraph

Going by facial expression, when confronted by someone's unprotected dinner and the dilemma of whether or not to eat it, my dog experienced temptation, a stiffening of will and determination to be good, followed by collapse of will, and finally, mingled satisfaction and guilt. I don't think she could count though.

Elephants can communicate at low frequencies over many miles and recognise each other after being separated for decades.
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PostSubject: Re: The only science news thread you'll ever need   Fri Aug 29, 2008 10:47 pm

cactus flower wrote:
Going by facial expression, when confronted by someone's unprotected dinner and the dilemma of whether or not to eat it, my dog experienced temptation, a stiffening of will and determination to be good, followed by collapse of will, and finally, mingled satisfaction and guilt. I don't think she could count though.

Elephants can communicate at low frequencies over many miles and recognise each other after being separated for decades.
Dogs are amazing. There was a french labrador who new nearly two hundred words - probably for his toys and people and stuff. Still, it's not a lot of memory for such an intelligent animal to be extending himself by. But the dog understanding the accent ... that's the mysterié.

I was just remembering today that we had two big dogs when I was growing up and they really had their own personalities and one was very intelligent indeed. They had their very own habits and places in the house too - what's that with animals? These fellas would sleep on the floor in our kitchen on a blanket and they would always sleep one in one out like an old couple... It was a gay, unrequited relationship on the part of one, the other had other interests ... speaking of animals and such things, this below is fascinating !

Quote :
A NEW scientific study showing that grazing cattle and sleeping deer tend to align their bodies along the north/south axis of the earth's magnetic field will be of major interest to farmers and scientists, an Irish expert said yesterday.

Dr James Dunne of the Zoology Department of University College Galway said the study, which used satellite imagery, was fascinating...
Animal Magnetism Study Welcomed - Irish Times

Why ?
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PostSubject: Pamela spots Wino in Outer Space   Mon Sep 01, 2008 10:50 pm

Pamela spots Wino in Outer Space
http://arxivblog.com/?p=599

Quote :
The world of cosmology is abuzz with rumours that an orbiting observatory called PAMELA has discovered dark matter. Last month, the PAMELA team gave a few selected physicists a sneak preview of their results at a conference in Stockholm.

Here’s the deal. The PAMELA people say their experiment has seen more positrons than can be explained by known physics and that this excess exactly matches what dark matter particles would produce if they were annihilating each other at the center of the galaxy.

What makes this particularly exciting is that other orbiting observatories have also seen similar, but less clear cut, evidence of dark matter annihilations.

Since then, the shutters have come down. With the prospect of a major discovery on their hands and with publication in a major journal at stake, the team has closed ranks to re-analyse their data and prepare it for exclusive publication. Not a word has leaked from the PAMELA team since their preliminary announcement.

That hasn’t stopped physicists speculating for themselves. Today Marco Cirelli from the CEA near Paris in France and Alessandro Strumia from the Università di Pisa in Italy present their own analysis of the PAMELA data.

Cosmologists have long speculated on the nature of dark matter and dreamt up all manner of models and particles to explain it. The big question is which type of particle does the PAMELA data point towards.

Today, Cirelli and Strumia stake their own claim. They say the data agrees with their own model called Minimal Dark Matter in which the particle responsible is called the “Wino” (no, it really is called the wino).

But given the PAMELA team’s reluctance to publish just yet, where did Cirelli and Strumia get the data? The answer is buried in a footnote in their paper.

“The preliminary data points for positron and antiproton fluxes plotted in our figures have been extracted from a photo of the slides taken during the talk, and can thereby slightly differ from the data that the PAMELA collaboration will officially publish.”

Can’t fault them for initiative.


Some other really interesting things from the same blog ...

Do nuclear decay rates depend on our distance from the sun?

First superheavy element found in nature

The black hole at the center of our galaxy
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PostSubject: Re: The only science news thread you'll ever need   Mon Sep 01, 2008 11:38 pm

Why is gravity weaK?
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PostSubject: Re: The only science news thread you'll ever need   Tue Sep 02, 2008 12:22 am

cactus flower wrote:
Why is gravity weaK?

It isn't
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_system

There is a yoke called Makemake out beyond Pluto and it's 52 AU from the Sun and is under the Sun's gravitational influence. 1 AU is the distance from Earth to the Sun being about 93 million miles. Distances inside the solar system are generally measured in AUs.

Mars 1.3 AU
Asteroid Belt 2.7 AU
Jupiter 5 AU
Saturn 10 AU
Uranus 20 AU
Neptune 30 AU
Pluto 40 AU

Interesting doubling there at the beginning, getting stronger as it goes out.

Gravity is a total mystery. We know a few characteristics and effects of it but little or nothing about how it works except Einstein described it as a curvature is space, didn't he, and this was severely accurately described in his great equation which he got out in 1915. It's remarkably accurate with observations etc. but it is like a description of how a car might function under certain circumstances and a description of the outline of the car etc. but says little about what's under the bonnet except it's related to mass, pressure, such things.

For the moment Einstein's theory works for loads of observations as great theories should. Eventually some observation comes along that gets people questioning the theory just as an observation about the orbit of Mercury got Einstein questioning Newton's description of gravity.

Could the one that's going to pull out the foundations of Einstein's theory be the Pioneer 10 and 11 anomalies observed in the early nineties?

The Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 deep space probes are not where they are supposed to be
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PostSubject: Re: The only science news thread you'll ever need   Tue Sep 02, 2008 12:24 am

cactus flower wrote:
Why is gravity weaK?

Gravity mightn't even exist at all and simply exist as a function of the distortion in the spacetime continuum.
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PostSubject: Re: The only science news thread you'll ever need   Mon Sep 22, 2008 7:14 pm

One way of defying gravity - build that damn space elevator!

It could be the world's biggest peacetime project if it ever gets off the ground - Japan is reported to be hard at it trying to develop the materials which will make the cable difficult to cut, able to withstand all the elevating and long enough and light enough to sneak out through earth's gravity and get attached to an artificial satellite travelling in geosynchronous orbit ... from Slashdot/Timesonline:

Quote :
Now the finest scientific minds of Japan are devoting themselves to cracking the greatest sci-fi vision of all: the space elevator. Man has so far conquered space by painfully and inefficiently blasting himself out of the atmosphere but the 21st century should bring a more leisurely ride to the final frontier.

For chemists, physicists, material scientists, astronauts and dreamers across the globe, the space elevator represents the most tantalising of concepts: cables stronger and lighter than any fibre yet woven, tethered to the ground and disappearing beyond the atmosphere to a satellite docking station in geosynchronous orbit above Earth.

Up and down the 22,000 mile-long (36,000km) cables — or flat ribbons — will run the elevator carriages, themselves requiring huge breakthroughs in engineering to which the biggest Japanese companies and universities have turned their collective attention.
..
The point is that breaking free of Earth's gravity will no longer require so much energy — perhaps 100 times less than launching the space shuttle.

..

Japan is increasingly confident that its sprawling academic and industrial base can solve those issues, and has even put the astonishingly low price tag of a trillion yen (£5 billion) on building the elevator. Japan is renowned as a global leader in the precision engineering and high-quality material production without which the idea could never be possible.

The biggest obstacle lies in the cables. To extend the elevator to a stationary satellite from the Earth's surface would require twice that length of cable to reach a counterweight, ensuring that the cable maintains its tension.

The cable must be exceptionally light, staggeringly strong and able to withstand all projectiles thrown at it inside and outside the atmosphere. The answer, according to the groups working on designs, will lie in carbon nanotubes - microscopic particles that can be formed into fibres and whose mass production is now a focus of Japan's big textile companies. TimesOnline

It would have to be very light and a well-protected, world peacetime effort because if cut, depending where it was cut, that cable would fall and wrap itself around the planet at least once.

Smashing eh?
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PostSubject: Re: The only science news thread you'll ever need   Mon Sep 22, 2008 7:19 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
Pamela spots Wino in Outer Space
http://arxivblog.com/?p=599

Quote :
The world of cosmology is abuzz with rumours that an orbiting observatory called PAMELA has discovered dark matter. Last month, the PAMELA team gave a few selected physicists a sneak preview of their results at a conference in Stockholm.

Here’s the deal. The PAMELA people say their experiment has seen more positrons than can be explained by known physics and that this excess exactly matches what dark matter particles would produce if they were annihilating each other at the center of the galaxy.

What makes this particularly exciting is that other orbiting observatories have also seen similar, but less clear cut, evidence of dark matter annihilations.

Since then, the shutters have come down. With the prospect of a major discovery on their hands and with publication in a major journal at stake, the team has closed ranks to re-analyse their data and prepare it for exclusive publication. Not a word has leaked from the PAMELA team since their preliminary announcement.

That hasn’t stopped physicists speculating for themselves. Today Marco Cirelli from the CEA near Paris in France and Alessandro Strumia from the Università di Pisa in Italy present their own analysis of the PAMELA data.

Cosmologists have long speculated on the nature of dark matter and dreamt up all manner of models and particles to explain it. The big question is which type of particle does the PAMELA data point towards.

Today, Cirelli and Strumia stake their own claim. They say the data agrees with their own model called Minimal Dark Matter in which the particle responsible is called the “Wino” (no, it really is called the wino).

But given the PAMELA team’s reluctance to publish just yet, where did Cirelli and Strumia get the data? The answer is buried in a footnote in their paper.

“The preliminary data points for positron and antiproton fluxes plotted in our figures have been extracted from a photo of the slides taken during the talk, and can thereby slightly differ from the data that the PAMELA collaboration will officially publish.”

Can’t fault them for initiative.


Some other really interesting things from the same blog ...

Do nuclear decay rates depend on our distance from the sun?

First superheavy element found in nature

The black hole at the center of our galaxy


Any more news of the Wino?
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The only science news thread you'll ever need
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