Graphene Oxide Absorbs Radioactive Waste in Water

#Science

Sat, Apr 18th, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Researchers at Rice University and Lomonosov Moscow State University have discovered that Graphene Oxide, a water-soluble easily-produced compound, is capable of quickly binding to radionuclides and condense them into solids.

The discovery, Tour said, could be a boon in the cleanup of contaminated sites like the Fukushima nuclear plants damaged by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. It could also cut the cost of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) for oil and gas recovery and help reboot American mining of rare earth metals, he said.

Graphene oxide’s large surface area defines its capacity to adsorb toxins, Kalmykov said. “So the high retention properties are not surprising to us,” he said. “What is astonishing is the very fast kinetics of sorption, which is key.”

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"The Sun is the most inaccessible destination in our entire solar system."

Why using the sun as a nuclear dump won't work

#Space

Sat, Apr 18th, 2015 10:00 by capnasty NEWS

On the Commitee for Skeptical Inquiry, Tom Napier explains why sending our nuclear waste into the sun just won't work. It's not just an issue of the dangers involved: shipping a pound of nuclear waste would cost in the millions of dollars.

The bad news is that to hit the Sun requires reducing the spacecraft’s velocity by nearly all of Earth’s orbital velocity. That is, we have to slow it by 30 km/sec. This is an enormous change in velocity; space probes to the nearer planets make velocity changes of only the order of 4 km/sec.

Since we also have to apply 11.2 km/sec just to get into space, it might seem that we need an acceleration of 41 km/sec to get to the Sun. The good news is that velocities can’t be combined; in space energies are combined. To get from the surface of Earth to the…

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First Volunteer for Head Transplant Surgery

#Health

Fri, Apr 17th, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Suffering from Werdnig-Hoffman muscle wasting disease, 30-year-old Valeri Spiridonov has offered himself to be the first head-transplant recipient. The controversial procedure would involve cutting off his head and placing it on a healthy donor body.

Canavero calls the procedure ‘HEAVEN’ – an acronym for head anastomosis venture. Anastomosis is the term used to describe the surgical connecting of two body parts. He explained that modern science already has all the necessary techniques to transplant a head on to a donor body. It involves severing the heads of both the donor and the patient at the same time, using an ultra-sharp blade for a clean cut. The patient’s head would then be placed on the donor’s body and attached using a ‘magic ingredient’ – a glue-like substance called polyethylene glycol. This glue is expected to fuse the two ends of the spinal cord together.

Later, the muscles and blood…

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"In recent years, there has been a considerable decline in the percentage of teenagers with a driver’s license."

Teenagers opting for an account with Uber rather than owning their own car

#Driving

Thu, Apr 16th, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Citing the hassle and costs of owning a car, many teenagers are opting for the far more economical alternative of having an Uber account if they need to get around.

“Having the convenience of Lyft and Uber probably outweighs the money and cost of owning a vehicle,” Mr. Schoettle said in a phone interview. “The cellphone also makes it so much more convenient to get a ride from a friend or taxi service.”

There are also financial considerations. While AAA estimates that the cost of owning a car has fallen in recent years, maintenance, registration fees, insurance and gas quickly add up to thousands of dollars. (And if you’re like me, there are also parking tickets to pay.)

Enter the ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, which are often cheaper and more efficient than owning a car.

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The Fourth Industrial Revolution Explained

#Future

Wed, Apr 15th, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

The fourth industrial revolution (James Watt's steam engine being the first, electricity and division of labour the second, and I.T. the third) will involve transforming the industrial process so that, rather than for the masses, it works around the individual user. The idea is to build a system which can quickly and easily alter its production based on demand while still remaining highly efficient, completely automated, and cost effective.

The potentials enabled by this mode of production are enormous. For example, the communication between smart products on the Internet of Things and the smart machines manufacturing them on what GE calls the “Industrial Internet” means that objects will be able to monitor their own use and determine when they are going to give out.

If your phone knows that it is going to “die” in the near future, it can…

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Browse the World's Passports

Passport Index

#Data

Tue, Apr 14th, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

The Passport Index website lets you sort the world's passports by country, location, and colour. As well, it also has a power rank column based on their Visa Free Score. Canada ranks #7.

Passport Power Rank
Passports are ranked based on their Visa Free Score. The higher the Visa Free Score, the better the Passport Power Rank.

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The Cure for Colour Blindness

Virus used to deliver genes to replace missing colour-producing proteins

#Health

Mon, Apr 13th, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

According to the Seattle Times, researchers Jay and Maureen Neitz from the University of Washington may have found a one-time treatment that cures colour blindness. The technique would use a modified virus in order to deliver a payload of DNA, allowing the missing proteins necessary for full colour vision to be produced.

“For 10 years, we have been trying to figure out a way to get the genes to go to the back of the eye with a simple shot,” said Neitz.

Now, with the help of Avalanche, the researchers say they’ve developed a technique that does just that. It uses a safe vector, called an adeno-associated virus, to house the pigment gene, which is injected directly into the vitreous, the jellylike center of the eye. Once, there, it targets cells on the back of the retina, said Thomas W. Chalberg Jr., the co-founder and chief executive of the…

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The Worlds First Crowd Sourced UFO-Investigation Online

Ghost Rockets

#Space

Mon, Apr 13th, 2015 10:00 by capnasty NEWS

Ghost Rockets is a documentary that looks into the work being done by UFO-Sweden, an organisation investigating the multitude of UFO reports seen over the country.

For the last 65 years people have been seeing strange objects crashing and landing in lakes over Sweden. What they are or where they come from remains unknown. UFO-Sweden have conducted extensive investigation into the latest Ghost Rockets sighting at a lake in the far north of Sweden both in 2012 and 2014. During their search they have located a crater and in 2015 they are going back a third and final time, this time with a ground penetrating radar.

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End of the Fighter Jet

The future of air superiority will be dominated by large autonomous stealth bombers

#War

Sun, Apr 12th, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

With the rising costs to keep ahead of new missile technology, combined with their limited range, Breaking Defense argues that the future of air superiority could belong to large autonomous stealth bombers, capable of supporting a wide range of missions anywhere in the world.

“What I find most compelling,” the industry source says, “is the idea that we could develop a single, large, long-range, big payload, stealthy aircraft that would comprise the future United States Air Force’s combat arm. You would have a common airframe that could be outfitted with different payloads to do different missions.”

One airframe, the industry source speculates, could provide a strike version, an air-to-air missile version for self defense, a nuclear aircraft, an air superiority version fitted with directed energy weapons, and planes for airborne early warning and ground surveillance missions.

Meanwhile, a counter-argument on pilot-free planes:

Such wishful thinking is perhaps symptomatic…

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Canadian Logos, Preserved

#History

Sat, Apr 11th, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

On the Northern Army Preservation Society of Canada website, by-gone logos from banks, hockey teams, even railways. An unusual heritage museum of Canadian design.

We built upon the bold, no-bullshit European aesthetic and made it our own. Clean, tasteful design where it isn’t even required – the numbering on the sides of our trains; signs for national parks; our government letterhead. Even our wheat. Wheat doesn’t need good design, does it? We did it anyway, because it’s part of our culture.

On this site, you’ll find our favourite Canadian logos, preserved in the moment in time we felt they were at their best. Some of them are no longer in use, or have been updated, for better or worse.

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"Advances in sensor technology, computing and artificial intelligence are making human pilots less necessary than ever in the cockpit."

-- John Markoff, New York Times

#Robots

Fri, Apr 10th, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Citing the crash of the Germanwings plane, the need for pilots in commercial planes is being questioned. Particularly, experts note that with commercial aviation already heavily automated, planes could easily be flown using robots or remote operators.

In a recent survey of airline pilots, those operating Boeing 777s reported that they spent just seven minutes manually piloting their planes in a typical flight. Pilots operating Airbus planes spent half that time.

And commercial planes are becoming smarter all the time. “An Airbus airliner knows enough not to fly into a mountain,” said David Mindell, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology aeronautics and astronautics professor. “It has a warning system that tells a pilot. But it doesn’t take over.”

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"We're going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth within a decade."

-- NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan

#Space

Thu, Apr 9th, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

With the Milky Way teeming with planets capable of supporting life, NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan believes that the discovery of alien life is only a matter of time.

Farther afield, observations by NASA's Kepler space telescope suggest that nearly every star in the sky hosts planets — and many of these worlds may be habitable. Indeed, Kepler's work has shown that rocky worlds like Earth and Mars are probably more common throughout the galaxy than gas giants such as Saturn and Jupiter.

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Social Comparison on Facebook Can Lead to Depression

#Internet

Wed, Apr 8th, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

According to Science Daily, extensive use of Facebook has been linked to depression. While Facebook itself doesn't cause the symptoms, depression arises when "people afflicted with emotional difficulties" compare their lives to those of their friends.

[...] For already distressed individuals, this distorted view of their friends' lives may make them feel alone in their internal struggles, which may compound their feelings of loneliness and isolation.

"This research and previous research indicates the act of socially comparing oneself to others is related to long-term destructive emotions. Any benefit gained from making social comparisons is temporary and engaging in frequent social comparison of any kind may be linked to lower well-being," said Steers.

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NSA Spying Explained With Dick Pics

John Oliver interviews Edward Snowden

#Privacy

Tue, Apr 7th, 2015 21:00 by capnasty NEWS

On Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Edward Snowden explains the surveillance state using dick pics.

Snowden's answers were hilarious and horrifying at once. He described how the NSA can see your private photos, even if they're sent domestically. Citing PRISM and Google's Gmail, for instance, he said, "When your junk was passed by Gmail (to a foreign server), the NSA caught a copy of that." In the end, however, it was Oliver who gave a Journalism 101 lesson in making complicated things easy to grasp. Snowden said, "I guess I never thought about putting (the NSA leaks) in the context of your junk."

And speaking of junk, pulling it out for porn sites implies that, at some point, "your porn viewing history will be publicly released and attached to your name."

So, for example, when you click…

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Scientists Seeking to Ban a Particular Genome-Editing Technique

"A technique invented in 2012 makes it possible to edit the genome precisely and with much greater ease."

#Science

Tue, Apr 7th, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Citing not only the ease in which it can be done, but that the mutations are permanent and inheritable, a leading group of biologists has called for the ban on a new genome-editing technique. The procedure, which works on mice and primates, not only can be used to cure genetic diseases, it can also be used to make people prettier and smarter. Ethicists don't think that's a good idea.

Though highly efficient, the technique occasionally cuts the genome at unintended sites. The issue of how much mistargeting could be tolerated in a clinical setting is one that Dr. Doudna’s group wants to see thoroughly explored before any human genome is edited.

Scientists also say that replacing a defective gene with a normal one may seem entirely harmless but perhaps would not be.

“We worry about people making changes without the knowledge of what those changes mean in terms of…

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The 24 Carrot Cake

#Food

Mon, Mar 23rd, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Instructables really covers every kind of topic, including baking: with the 24 Carrot Cake you'll learn how to make a delicious carrot cake that looks like a very realistic gold ingot.

This is the MOST EXPENSIVE CAKE IN THE WORLD! Well ok, not really, but my 24 Carrot Cake is definitely the most expensive LOOKING cake and it tastes like a million bucks, so I count that as close.

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"The on-demand world isn't about sharing at all. It's about being served. This is an economy of shut-ins."

-- Lauren Smiley, Matter Magazine

#Internet

Tue, Mar 31st, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

The problem with the on-demand economy is that it is creating a society of shut-in individuals which puts to question the social in social media. There is also the issue of a whole new social class system being created as a result.

In 1998, Carnegie Mellon researchers warned that the internet could make us into hermits. They released a study monitoring the social behavior of 169 people making their first forays online. The web-surfers started talking less with family and friends, and grew more isolated and depressed. “We were surprised to find that what is a social technology has such anti-social consequences,” said one of the researchers at the time. “And these are the same people who, when asked, describe the Internet as a positive thing.”

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"If current usage trends don’t change, the world will have only 60 per cent of the water it needs in 2030."

UN warns of upcoming water crisis

#Environment

Sat, Mar 21st, 2015 10:00 by capnasty NEWS

The UN warns that, unless the world acts now, the predicted shortage of water could mean a collapse of industries and ecosystems, an increase in poverty, and the rise of violent conflicts for access to the resource.

In many countries, including India, water use is largely unregulated and often wasteful. Pollution of water is often ignored and unpunished. At least 80 per cent of India’s population relies on groundwater for drinking to avoid bacteria-infested surface waters.

In agriculture-intense India, where studies show some aquifers are being depleted at the world’s fastest rates, the shortfall has been forecast at 50 per cent or even higher. Climate change is expected to make the situation worse, as higher temperatures and more erratic weather patterns could disrupt rainfall.

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"It's like an atomic bomb: cool to have, but can not be applied."

USB drive that fries your computer

#Computers

Wed, Mar 11th, 2015 10:00 by capnasty NEWS

By filling a USB key with capacitors, having them charge up and then release the power back into the computer, you can burn half a laptop down. Will make you think twice about using random USB keys you may find...

Since I work in the company engaged in the development and manufacture of electronics, my colleagues and I are began to discuss options for creating a USB flash drive, that «would burn half a laptop down.» We had plenty of hardcore, fantastic, as well as quite real, options. This fun discussion could have been the end of the story, if I was not going to order the production of printed circuit boards for other projects.

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"How the world will look in just a few years, once our cell phones become the keepers of both our money and identity."

Disney's Magic Band

#Future

Wed, Mar 11th, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Disney's Magic Band is a good example of where the future of smartphones is headed. The unassuming-looking wristband appears to be just a fancy way to select your rides, but the reality is that the device — coupled with computers and sensors scattered throughout the park — ensure visitors have a smooth, enjoyable experience, free of unnecessary delays. In a way, everything appears to works "just like magic."

Part of the trick lies in the clever way Disney teaches you to use them—and, by extension, how to use the park. It begins when you book your ticket online and pick your favorite rides. Disney’s servers crunch your preferences, then neatly package them into an itinerary calculated to keep the route between stops from being a slog—or a frustrating zig-zag back and forth across the park. Then, in the weeks before your trip, the wristband arrives in the mail, etched…

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Simulating Voices by 3D-Printing Vocal Tracts and Larynx Through DNA-Based Predictions

#Science

Sun, Mar 22nd, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

By collecting DNA samples belonging to philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), researchers were able to create a 3D printed "vocal tract and larynx" using DNA-based prediction, allowing for the simulation of his voice.

The application of 3D printing in tissue engineering has enabled new methods for the fabrication of organs and body parts using inkjet techniques. Synthetic biopolymers have been developed and combined with nanofibers and nano-structured particles to fabricate materials with selective bioactivity, as well as physical and chemical properties. Since 2014, the synthesis of biopolymers can be computer-tailored to spatially encode gene properties.

Bio-measures inferred from Nietzsche’s voice profile data were used to build a 3D model of a vocal tract and larynx through which artificial voiced sounds were organically computed. The M-shaped model was 3D-printed with biopolymer-based composites (collagen, chondroitin sulphate, chitin) at subcellular resolution. Tissue-engineered constructs integrated phonatory aerodynamics, muscle contractions, viscoelastic properties, thermal agitation, glottal…

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Star Wars Done 80s-style Japanimation

"Tie Fighter"

#StarWars

Thu, Mar 26th, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Currently making the rounds on the interwebs, this video by the very talented Mighty Otaking takes Star Wars from the perspective of the Empire and draws it in a style reminiscent of old-school Japanimation. Above, the poster. More info here.

Don't support me on Patreon, because I don't have one! And don't donate to my Kickstarter, because I don't have one of those either. Instead, if you enjoyed this, give someone at your workplace, uni, school or whatever a random bar of chocolate or can or Coke or something. Seriously, it'll probably make their day.
That would totally make my day.

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Weapon of Mass Instruction

A free tank-shaped bookstore

#Art

Tue, Mar 10th, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Argentinian artist Raul Lemesoff has built the Arma De Instruccion Masiva — a weapon of mass instruction — a tank-shaped sculpture designed to transport and donate books.

The ADIM accepts donations of all kinds of books. from novels, essays, scientific and literary, to textbooks, children's books, dictionaries and encyclopedias.

When a large donation is the classification of books and separate texts for institutions, schools, community centers, cultural centers and texts directly allocated ADIM in poor neighborhoods, towns and places of the country or other countries, etc. .

Donations of a few copies go directly to the library of ADIM, leaving room for surprise to the same driver.

The ADIM never refuse a book, only aims to generate awareness that if one takes a book to read it should take and invite commitment to donate books.

While many institutions…

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IKEA's Humanitarian Shelter Enters Production

"Better Shelter"

#Technology

Mon, Mar 30th, 2015 10:00 by capnasty NEWS

After extensive testing in Ethiopia, IKEA's Better Shelter has entered production, with 10,000 units ordered by the UN refugee agency. The aptly-named shelter is designed to last three years, which is two and a half years longer than current shelters, and is packed much like you would expect out of regular IKEA furniture.

The crisis has put considerable strain on refugee camps, but the Ikea Foundation, Ikea's philanthropic arm, hopes the Better Shelter could make life a little easier for those staying there. Measuring about 188 square feet, each shelter accommodates five people and includes a rooftop solar panel that powers a built-in lamp and USB outlet. The structure ships just like any other piece of Ikea furniture, with insulated, lightweight polymer panels, pipes, and wires packed into a cardboard box. According to Ikea, it only takes about four…

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"Kids using 'Hello Barbie' won't only be talking to a doll, they'll be talking directly to a toy conglomerate whose only interest in them is financial."

Privacy concerns about WiFi-enabled Siri-like Barbie

#Privacy

Wed, Mar 18th, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Privacy advocates are worried about Hello Barbie, a Wi-Fi-enabled Barbie doll with Siri-like functions capable of recording and responding to children's conversations.

Hello Barbie, which is still in prototype form, can initiate storytelling and listen, learn and adapt according to a child's playtime preferences.

Asked, "What should I be when I grow up?" during a demo, the doll responded: "Well, you told me you like being on stage. So how about a dancer? Or a politician? Or a dancing politician?"

Its listening function is activated only when a button on Barbie's belt buckle is pressed.

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"The Apple Watch will shortly be the primary way you access your iPhone during the day."

Apple's Watch could change how much smartphones are used

#Telephone

Sat, Mar 14th, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

While not everyone is impressed with Apple's Watch, TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino explains the unusual discovery made by those who have been using the device for some time: they've nearly stopped using their smartphone. While a digital watch won't replace a handheld, the way it handles notifications causes users to drastically reduce the amount of time spent staring at a screen.

People that have worn the Watch say that they take their phones out of their pockets far, far less than they used to. A simple tap to reply or glance on the wrist or dictation is a massively different interaction model than pulling out an iPhone, unlocking it and being pulled into its merciless vortex of attention suck.

If you're curious, here is how the watch is made.

665 More

"We may now treat space as, along with so much else, a form of entertainment."

The mannequin that got the Russians in space first

#Space

Thu, Mar 12th, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

The Atlantic introduces Ivan Ivanovich, a mannequin who "beta tested space." He was used as proof by Russian engineers that their spacecraft was capable of safely sending a man into space and then bring him back — sort of.

Not long ago, though, when space travel was still one of humanity's most epic and frantic goals, the concept itself -- sending a man into space! -- alarmed people. Particularly those people who were responsible for making the travel happen in the first place. Space was tantalizingly, terrifyingly new -- and we simply did not know what would happen to an earthly body when it was shot outside of the Earth itself. There were legitimate fears of radiation poisoning. There were less-legitimate fears of "space madness." There were concerns about the considerable psychic and political consequences should something go wrong. The Soviets, like their American counterparts, wanted to be…

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"What happens when you type google.com into your browser's address box and press enter?"

Step-by-step explanation

#Computers

Thu, Mar 12th, 2015 10:00 by capnasty NEWS

If you want to impress your local nerd, Github has the complete explanation of what happens from the moment you type google.com in your browser and press enter, to when the page actually loads. And I mean complete.

This repository is an attempt to answer the age old interview question "What happens when you type google.com into your browser's address box and press enter?"

Except instead of the usual story, we're going to try to answer this question in as much detail as possible. No skipping out on anything.

This is a collaborative process, so dig in and try to help out! There's tons of details missing, just waiting for you to add them! So send us a pull request, please!

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San Francisco's Luxury Bus Service

#Travel

Mon, Mar 23rd, 2015 10:00 by capnasty NEWS

Showcasing just how ridiculous things have become in San Francisco, The Atlantic introduces Leap Transit, a private bus service for commuters that provides a greeter, WiFi and fancy coffees for $6 per trip.

After a couple years of testing, the private line opened this week for service between the Marina District and downtown. It's sort of the anti-Muni for the young tech crowd. It looks chic and spacious, but taking a $6 ride means downloading the Leap app, creating an account, uploading a photo (required), entering credit-card information ... and that's as far as I got, because I'm fine taking Muni.

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"We should discuss why the problem of what to wear in space has become so pressing."

Designing a fashionable space suit

#Space

Fri, Mar 20th, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

According to Quartz, the appropriately called Brooklyn-based company Final Frontier Design is creating stylish space-suits for the predicted upcoming surge of civilian space travellers.

We are, perhaps, on the cusp of a significant increase in the number of humans in space. The International Space Station has maintained an average population of about six since it was first inhabited in 2000, with fluctuations during crew change-overs or when China’s space station, Tiangong-1, is occupied. But in 2017, if all goes to plan, SpaceX and Boeing will become the first private companies to put people in space, and the US, China and India are all mooting more manned missions in orbit and beyond. The dream of Martian colonists and asteroid miners has never seemed so close to reality.

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