Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hubble Back Online

Nice image of one of Halton Arp's galaxies.

HubbleSite - NewsCenter - Hubble Scores a Perfect Ten (10/30/2008) - Release Images
Just a couple of days after the orbiting observatory was brought back online, Hubble aimed its prime working camera, the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2), at a particularly intriguing target, a pair of gravitationally interacting galaxies called Arp 147.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

8tracks avoids the muxtape scenario

They have started adding typical social features, but the really interesting part is how they avoid the RIAA muxtape treatment.  If you don't recall the muxtape quandary, this sums it up.  The trick will be what they do when they grow to "large online radio" status. 

8tracks: The “Legal Muxtape” That Continues To Thrive
8tracks keeps on the right side of the law by making use of a DMCA loophole that allows it to operate as a small online radio station, which have lower licensing fees for the music they stream. Each playlist mimics a miniature radio station: while users are free to share their playlists with friends, the site doesn’t actually show what songs are in the playlist - you have to listen to find out.

Temple at the Dawn of Civilization.

Predating Stonehenge by 6000 years makes the similarities even more remarkable.

Gobekli Tepe: The World’s First Temple? | History & Archaeology | Smithsonian Magazine
Six miles from Urfa, an ancient city in southeastern Turkey, Klaus Schmidt has made one of the most startling archaeological discoveries of our time: massive carved stones about 11,000 years old, crafted and arranged by prehistoric people who had not yet developed metal tools or even pottery. The megaliths predate Stonehenge by some 6,000 years. The place is called Gobekli Tepe, and Schmidt, a German archaeologist who has been working here more than a decade, is convinced it's the site of the world's oldest temple.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Memory Lane

Well, you've probably already seen this.  And we don't do politics here.  But this is the most important TV footage since... well... since this:

Ron Howard's Call To Action from Ron Howard and Henry Winkler

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

Friday, October 24, 2008

Music of the Spheres

This article has sound clips of stellar seismology readings from the COROT telescope for several stars, including the Sun.

BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Team records 'music' from stars
If you listen closely to the sounds of each star - by clicking on the media in this page - you'll hear a regular repeating pattern.

These indicate that the entire star is pulsating.

You'll also note that the sound of one star is very slightly different to the other. That's because the sound they make depends on their age, size and chemical composition.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Evolution's other big driver

Sometimes its no survival of the fittest ... its just survival that matters.

'Space invader' DNA infiltrated mammalian genomes - life - 20 October 2008 - New Scientist
The team thinks that the hAT transposon invasion occurred about 30 million years ago and spread across at least two continents. "It's like a pandemic, and one that can infect species that weren't genetically or geographically close. It's puzzling, scary almost," Feschotte says.

It may not be a coincidence that the time of the invasion coincides with a period in evolutionary history that saw mass mammal extinctions. This is usually attributed to climate change, Feschotte says, but it is not crazy to suppose that this type of invasion could contribute to species extinction.

The hAT transposon does not occur in humans, but some 45% of our genome is of transposon origin.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ridley Scott to adapt Haldeman's Forever War

Will it stack up to Bladerunner and Alien?  Could be a classic in the making.

Ridley Scott to adapt Haldeman's Forever War - Boing Boing
Ridley Scott has acquired the film-rights to Joe Haldeman's magnificent, Hugo-award-winning classic science fiction novel, The Forever War. This is one of the great anti-war novels of all time

McCain in DMCA smackdown.

Call it karma, call it irony, call it poetic justice.  Or just call it hypocritical.  

McCain begs for YouTube DMCA takedown immunity • The Register
After having several campaign videos removed from YouTube for alleged copyright violations, Republican presidential candidate John McCain wants the video-sharing web site to consider special takedown privileges for politicians and their ilk.

McCain '08 general counsel Trevor Potter yesterday sent a letter to YouTube execs claiming the site is too quick to remove their campaign videos based on "overreaching copyright claims." He wrote that on numerous occasions that the material in question was "clearly" privileged under the US fair use doctrine.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Thursday, October 2, 2008

How to Age Wine (or Scotch)

Here's another way to stretch your beverage dollar.   The machine itself is sort of pricey, but I figure you could rent it out to your friends so they could enjoy their plonk, too.

Lest you forget, we covered dressing up cheap vodka here.

Ultrasound machine turns cheap plonk into fine wine in 30 minutes, says inventor - Telegraph
Mr Jones, 53, said: "This machine can take your run-of-the-mill £3.99 bottle of plonk and turn it into a finest bottle of vintage tasting like it costs hundreds.

"It works on any alcohol that tastes better aged, even a bottle of paintstripper whisky can taste like an 8-year-aged single malt.