Beagle 2 Still Lost, But Beagle 1 Found

first_imgExplorers have found partial remains of Darwin’s lost ship, the HMS Beagle, in a swamp near Kent, reports BBC News (see also Science Now).  The ill-fated Beagle 2 on Mars, however, may take another 168 years to find.  And it has no water to float in; results from the twin Mars Exploration Rovers are inconclusive about the presence of water on the red planet.Let’s hope the Charlie’s boat doesn’t become a religious shrine (see 02/13/2004 entry).(Visited 6 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img

Things in Space that Shouldn’t Be

first_imgA history of astronomy and a history of surprise discoveries in space would track pretty well.  Recent stories show that the trend continues even today.Wet moon:  The moon was thought to be depleted of volatiles – until now.  According to PhysOrg, “Researchers discover water on the moon is widespread, similar to Earth’s.”  Shouldn’t all this have been known since the Apollo astronauts brought back rocks from the moon?  Well, researchers at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville have re-analyzed some samples and are “once again turning what scientists thought they knew about the moon on its head,” the article exclaimed.    They don’t mean they found lakes and oceans there (despite the Latin root for Mare, ocean).  Instead, they detected molecular water elements or “lunar dew” in apatite similar to amounts in Earth basalts.  Their paper, published in Nature,1 said, “Here we report quantitative ion microprobe measurements of late-stage apatite from lunar basalt 14053 that document concentrations of H, Cl and S that are indistinguishable from apatites in common terrestrial igneous rocks.”    What does this mean?  “One possible implication,” the abstract stated, “is that portions of the lunar mantle or crust are more volatile-rich than previously thought.”  And if volatiles are rich, the leading theory for the moon’s formation becomes poor.  PhysOrg explained:The finding of volatiles on the moon has deep implications for how it, and the Earth, formed.  It is generally believed that the moon was created when the early Earth was hit by a Mars-sized proto-planet called Theia, melting and vaporizing itself and a large chunk of the Earth.  The cloud of particles created by the impact later congealed to form the moon, which supposedly was devoid of highly volatile elements such as hydrogen and chlorine.  However, the researchers’ discovery of these volatiles challenges this theory.    “If water in the Moon was residue water kept during the giant impact, it is surprising that water survived the impact at all because less volatile elements, such as sodium and potassium, are strongly depleted.  The details of the impact theory need to be re-examined,’ [Yang] Liu [U Tennessee] said.Theia appears poised to join Nemesis in the arsenal of imaginary terrorists (see 07/21/2010).Mercurial sleeper awakes:  “Every time we’ve encountered Mercury, we’ve discovered new phenomena.”  That’s PhysOrg quoting says MESSENGER principal investigator Sean Solomon [Carnegie Institution].  “We’re learning that Mercury is an extremely dynamic planet, and it has been so throughout its history.”    That’s a very different picture than a few years ago, when Mercury was supposed to be a dead world, long ago frozen into silence.  Solomon was remarking about Mercury’s young volcanism, magnetic substorms and ionic emissions from its thin atmosphere, discovered during two previous flybys.  The spacecraft will go into orbit around Mercury next March: “we’ll be in for a terrific show,” remarked Solomon.    See the pictures on BBC News about the youngest volcano found on Mercury so far.  Science Daily surveyed the most surprising finds, and National Geographic News focused on huge “curious” power surges detected in the planet’s atmosphere.  “There’re some things here we clearly do not understand,” said one scientist.Quakers in space:  Ever heard of spacequakes?  Those are impacts of plasma blobs from the sun on the Earth’s magnetic field.  Big ones can push the field all the way down to Earth’s surface, Space.com said, then they bounce like a tennis ball with decreasing amplitude.  The THEMIS spacecraft “discovered something new and surprising” in this “long suspected” phenomenon, the article said: “The surprise is plasma vortices, huge whirls of magnetized gas as wide as Earth itself, spinning on the verge of the quaking magnetic field.”    There are other quakers that have been discovered in space, too.  “Spacequakes aren’t the only unearthly temblors around,” Space.com said.  “Scientists have also discovered starquakes (violent trembling inside stars), moonquakes and asteroid quakes (seismic tremors on the surface of the moon and asteroids, respectively).”  Whole lot of shaking going on out there.Rings and hexagons:  Scientists from the Cassini mission orbiting Saturn shared a 6th anniversary CHARM teleconference this week (Cassini-Huygens Analysis and Results from the Mission).  Two Powerpoint presentations about the rings and atmosphere are available for download in PDF form (audio files may be posted later on).  An account of the number of surprises and phenomena not understood in the 100+ slides is left as an exercise; as teasers, they admitted that the B-ring edge is more dynamic and complex than can be understood (ditto for the F-ring), the rings may be much younger than Saturn, and the hexagon-shaped cloud pattern at Saturn’s north pole can only partially be modeled in the lab (audio is needed for full discussion).Super star:  According to theory, stars can only grow to about 150 times the mass of the sun, partly because they would burn out too quickly to be seen, partly because the winds would tear them apart, and partly because there is not enough gas and dust in most locales to gravitationally contract into a star much bigger than 150 solar masses.    Doubters, behold R136a1: a blue giant almost twice the theoretical size limit.  It is currently 265 times the sun’s mass, but astronomers estimate at birth it was a whopping 320 solar masses.  And talk about sunburn: its luminosity has been estimated at 10 million times brighter than our sun.  The BBC News said its radius is 30 times greater than our sun.  A diagram on National Geographic News illustrates the size difference.    Science Daily described the puzzle of this star: “Understanding how high mass stars form is puzzling enough, due to their very short lives and powerful winds, so that the identification of such extreme cases as R136a1 raises the challenge to theorists still further.”  Was it born big, or did it collect smaller stars into its household?  Astronomers were “really taken aback” by the discovery, National Geographic said, adding: “The discovery could rewrite the laws of stellar physics, since it’s long been thought that stars beyond a certain mass would be too unstable to survive.”The big burst:  Gamma ray bursts have been known since 1967, but an “extraordinary” one detected on June 21 was off the charts.  National Geographic News said that “Until now, scientists thought the brightest gamma-ray bursts sent out a maximum of 10,000 x-ray photons a second.”  Here’s the measured flux from this one: “145,000 photons a second… making this gamma-ray burst 10 to 15 times brighter than anything previously seen by Swift’s x-ray telescope.  It was so bright it “blinded” the Swift orbiting space telescope temporarily, saturating its detectors: the “rush of light from a minute-long gamma-ray burst proved so overwhelming that Swift’s data processing software temporarily shut down.”    Swift normally catches light from about two gamma ray bursts per week.  Space.com said this super-bright one is stirring theories: “Just when we were beginning to think that we had seen everything that gamma-ray bursts could throw at us, this burst came along to challenge our assumptions about how powerful their X-ray emissions can be,” said Neil Gehrels, principal investigator for Swift.    A new mission named Xenia is being planned to watch for these cosmic beacons.  “The newfound burst, he said, means that Xenia mission designers will have to go back to the drawing board to make sure the probe will be able to handle the brightest flashes the universe can dish out.”  And speaking of explosions, Science Daily reported earlier this month that among the best-understood ones, Type 1a supernovae, the “Origin of Key Cosmic Explosions [Is] Still a Mystery.”There’s no indication that the number of surprising discoveries will decrease over the next few years.  Quite the contrary; an article on PhysOrg about early results from the Herschel Space Observatory with its SPIRE camera quoted Ian Smail of Durham University, who analyzes results from the mission: “It is already clear that we live in a changing Universe and, thanks to Herschel and SPIRE, few things are changing faster than our perception of it.”    Looking back over 400 years of astronomy since Galileo and Kepler, Joseph Burns of Cornell University surveyed the many surprising discoveries made in space, especially in the last 5 decades of the space program: the Van Allen belts; Venus’s young surface; old, cold moons that proved surprisingly active; old, cold comets that showed evidence of hot formation; asteroids thought to be hard rock that turn out to be rubble piles; remarkable dynamism in Saturn’s rings; chaotic motions of moons; and more.  “Few scientists envisaged that the neighbouring worlds explored by space missions would be so diverse, nor how entrancing many are.”  Publishing his account in Nature,2 (see also summary on Space.com), using the word “surprising” a number of times, he quoted a character from Tom Stoppard’s novel Arcadia in his conclusion talking about scientific revolutions: “It’s the best possible time to be alive, when almost everything you thought you knew is wrong.”1.  Boyce, Liu et al, “Lunar apatite with terrestrial volatile abundances,” Nature 466, pp 466�469, 2 July 2010, doi:10.1038/nature09274.2.  Joseph Burns, “The four hundred years of planetary science since Galileo and Kepler,” Nature 466, pp 575�584, 29 July 2010, doi:10.1038/nature09215.If some scientists want to celebrate their ignorance, some of us will be happy to supply the conical hats and party blowers.  To Joe’s list we can add many more surprises that, within the living memory of many of us, hit the astronomers broadside: quasars, pulsars, blazars, gamma-ray bursts, the cosmic microwave background radiation (partly predicted, but not to the expected values; see 06/12/2008), mature galaxies at the farthest distances (04/02/2009), gravitational lenses (partly predicted), silence from SETI, transient lunar phenomena, Io’s volcanoes, the Enceladus geysers, the inhospitable surfaces of Venus and Mars (civilizations were expected there into the 1960s), Ganymede’s magnetic field, the Kuiper belt, minor planets beyond Pluto, the lack of organics and carbonates (and life) on Mars, the tilted magnetic fields of Uranus and Neptune, the rings of Jupiter and Uranus and Neptune, the F-ring of Saturn, the geysers of Triton, binary asteroids… where could we stop?  It’s hard to find any object in space that closely matched what astronomers expected.  While we share the thrill of surprising discoveries with the astronomers, we should not treat them as prophets.  They have a lot of whiz at math (01/08/2010) and access to great equipment (12/08/2009), but are as fallible as the rest of us – though occasionally, the luck of discovery comes to the prepared minds.    Astronomy proceeds along two tracks: the theory track, and the data track.  Physicists at chalkboards derive equations that predict what might be found or try to explain what is found (03/28/2010, 01/20/2010, 01/13/2010).  Observational astronomers gather the raw data with telescopes.  Sometimes these tracks intersect.  Sometimes one precedes the other.  One might expect that observation would lead theory, trying to make sense of new observations.  Often, though, theory leads to discoveries.  Theory can even determine what observations get made, and what an astronomer “sees” with the senses – as when today’s astronomers pursue their mad quest (08/03/2009) for dark matter (02/28/2008) and dark energy (07/17/2010, 10/08/2009).  If the observations in the past 5 decades have been surprising, the theories have been even more so (06/30/2008): inflation (02/24/2009, 04/18/2008), black holes with universes inside them (04/10/2010), parallel universes, and the multiverse (02/22/2010, 12/05/2008).  While one would hope observations would constrain theory (08/26/2009), some of the latest theoretical speculations seem like acts of desperation to maintain beliefs in spite of the observations (03/19/2010, 10/28/2009, 09/28/2009, 11/17/2008; cf. 10/29/2007).    We’re all together for the ride on our planetary spaceship.  We have been given a phenomenal platform for scientific discovery (watch The Privileged Planet on YouTube).  Fallible as we all are, it should not be surprising to be surprised by what we find, as we peer farther into the unknown with better instruments.  What is surprising is for any of us to grant prophetic powers (both in terms of prediction and understanding) to a class of fellow mortals (06/23/2009, 10/16/2008), just because they label themselves scientists (03/10/2010, 01/15/2008).  The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.  As new data comes rolling in from Kepler, MESSENGER, Herschel, Planck and future missions, let’s keep the marketplace open and a lively place for debate and critical thinking.(Visited 19 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Cold, wet weather can lead to purple corn

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, product manager, Seed Consultants, Inc.For much of the eastern Corn Belt, it has been too wet to plant this spring. However, in some areas corn has been planted is emerging or in the early growth stages of development. One phenomenon that commonly occurs at the early stages of the growing season is the appearance of purple corn plants. Corn plants can turn purple for several reasons related to environmental factors such as:Sunny days and cool nights (temps in the 40s to 50s F)Soil pH lower than 5.5Cool temperaturesWet soilStresses that hinder the uptake of phosphorusHerbicide injurySoil compaction.Because many fields have saturated soils and the forecast includes cooler nights and continued wet weather, producers may see some purple plants in their fields. Purpling in corn due to cooler weather most often occurs when plants are in the V2 to V5 growth stages. Because of diverse genetics, hybrids react differently to early stress and some will exhibit purpling while others will not. Anyone who has walked a test plot to observe early plant vigor or has split their planter between two hybrids has probably seen a side-by-side comparison where one hybrid turned purple while the other did not.The biggest concern for corn growers is usually about whether or not plants that turn purple will diminish corn yields. If the purpling is caused by a temporary stress (sunny days and cool nights, cool temperatures, wet soil, etc.) it will disappear when soils dry out and temperatures increase allowing for normal corn development. Temporary stresses generally do not affect yield. However, if the purpling is symptom caused by a problem that doesn’t go away with a change in the weather (soil compaction, herbicide injury, etc.) yield could be negatively affected.last_img read more

DIY Democracy: Civic Participation for the iPhone

first_imgHave you ever heard someone proclaim that if you don’t vote, then you shouldn’t complain? Well, whether or not you vote, we have the perfect iPhone app to make your complaints heard by whatever government official, agency or otherwise – DIY Democracy.This handy little government 2.0 app will let you make that wheel squeak even louder, all while informing you of your rights. And for the true civic participant on the go, you can even petition to run for office without interrupting your day.DIY Democracy is a location enabled app that, although currently only fully-functional for California residents, connects its users with all the various levels of government. The app is a project of the Prometheus Institute, a public policy non-profit organization.The app is divided into four primary categories: Rights & Laws, Representatives, Take Action and Public Forum. Each of the first three are separated into the various levels of government, whether local, state or federal.The “Rights & Laws” section is a pocket reference to laws concerning all sorts of handy things, like due process or search and seizure. The app not only quotes the law directly, but offers a layman’s interpretation. Of course, this is accompanied by a standard caveat that the information is for education only, but they seem to do a decent job of explaining “how it’s generally applied in real life.” In many ways, it’s like having a pocket constitution, but broken down for easy access. “Representatives” offers a full listing of government officials, from Barack Obama to your local alderman, and each with contact information such as phone number, email address and website. The “Public Forums” are just that and, while we imagine the types of people that use this app to be the vocal sorts, we’re not so sure a message forum is quite tailored to the iPhone. That said, the forums are also available on the web, but we question their true utility in this instance.Moving on, the final section, “Take Action”, is the one that really caught our attention. We reviewed an app yesterday called GoRequest, that offered similar capabilities, but this one seems to take it a step further. DIY Democracy brings the various levels and offices of government to you with pre-formatted, well-written letters for the on-the-go complaint. Whether you want to run for office, contest the validity of a law, or simply report a pothole or road hazard, DIY Democracy is set to connect you with the proper authorities. It does all of this, of course, with your exact location in mind, so when you report that pothole, or dangerously dangling tree limb, the local department of public works will get exact GPS coordinates in addition to whatever other description you offer. In addition to GPS coordinates and pre-formatted letter templates, you can of course directly attach both photos and video, making options like “Contact Mayor” seem a little less silly. If an issue is urgent enough, get the evidence and send it off to the officials. We can only hope to see this app come out for more locations than California. While it’s nifty that it goes all the way to the top, we find that being able to directly interact with your local government and report issues as seen on the ground is probably the more likely use for this app. DIY Democracy is available for download in the App Store. Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Related Posts mike melansoncenter_img Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Tags:#Government#Location#mobile#NYT#web The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

Filmmaking Tips: The Basics of Shooting A Dialogue Scene

first_imgPlanning a two-person dialogue scene in your next film or video project? Here’s everything you need to know to pull off the shoot.Cover image by guruXOX.Dialogue is just as important in film and video as it is in real life. Even during the early days of silent cinema, dialogue was a necessary aspect of storytelling — through dialogue cards and captions. In modern film and video, dialogue scenes are the crux of narrative development.If you’re working on conversational scenes in your own project, follow these steps to get good coverage, a good audio recording, and proper editing.Shots to ConsiderImage by IxMaster.Let’s start with the basics. Say you’re shooting a two-person conversation. The situation is the same in everything from cinema classics to modern sitcoms: you have two stationary actors talking back and forth. As a filmmaker, you want to maximize and stylize your coverage for a mix of wide and close-up shots. Here are a few shots to consider:A wide two-shot.OTS of each subject (over-the-shoulder).Close-ups of each person talking.Close-ups of each person listening and reacting.Cutaways (aspects of the scene for cutaways in the edit). Lighting SetupsImage by gnepphoto.Lighting becomes tricky when shooting your dialogue scenes — especially if you’re not using a single-camera setup. With a single camera, it’s common practice to shoot from wide to close-ups. Once you’re not in a two-shot anymore (and have moved beyond over-the-shoulder framing), you only need a lighting setup for one individual. To help your actors, the other participant in the conversation can still say his or her lines — or you can use a stand-in.If you are shooting multiple cameras, you’ll have to plan accordingly to light both characters equally for all angles of coverage. Here’s a great article about how and why sitcoms use three-camera setups (and the lighting problems filmmakers have had to solve over the years) to get complete coverage of dialogue-heavy content.Recording Audio OptionsImage by guruXOX.After setting your shots, audio becomes your next biggest concern. Working with two people in a static position doesn’t present too many challenges, though, so your traditional options are definitely still on the table. The real challenge is when you add more people (especially when they start talking over one another) and movement. Here are some basic approaches:Boom overhead.Boom under.Lapel mics on each person.Audio recorder hidden between both.The decision comes down to getting quality audio from both subjects. If you’re booming both, you’ll need to be positioned perfectly or quick to pivot to catch each person’s dialogue. If you’re mic-ing both, be wary of cross chat and picking up too much of the other person.Editing a Dialogue SceneImage by Tero Vesalainen.When editing a dialogue scene, your main goal is to clearly present who is speaking and what they’re saying. If your shots were captured well and your audio recorded clearly, you’ll have an easier time and some flexibility for experimentation. However, if you need to cover mistakes from the shoot, you’ll be need to be creative to fill in missing information.Some basic tips for editing a dialogue scene:Start with the two-shot to establish the characters and their environment.Alternate close-ups of each person when they talk.Use reaction shots only when needed.Use cutaways as elements in the environment are mentioned. More Advanced TipsImage by gnepphoto.Once you’ve got the basics down, you can begin adding other elements, like additional characters, outside noises, and movement. Even keeping your camera stationary and letting your characters move around a little bit can create new problems you’ll have to solve. (It gets even tricker when your camera is in motion.) For more advanced tips and tricks when shooting dialogue-heavy scenes, check out some of these resources:How To Capture Smooth Walk-and-Talk Shots Without A Movi Or SteadicamTips For Keeping A Long Dialogue Scene Visually InterestingHow to Light an Exterior Day Scene Without LightingPremiere Pro Tips for Editing and Mixing Audio, Music, and SFXHow to Direct Scenes Containing Minimal Dialoguelast_img read more

10 months agoMan Utd blocked Mourinho buying Aldeweireld

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Man Utd blocked Mourinho buying Aldeweireldby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United blocked former manager Jose Mourinho from signing Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld.The Mirror says United’s board ‘vetoed’ Mourinho’s move for Alderweireld for tactical reasons.Mourinho was axed by United in December after the club recorded their worst ever start to a Premier League campaign.The Portuguese was vocal throughout his final months, however, that the club needed to sign a new centre-half.Belgium international Alderweireld fit the bill with his contract nearing expiry at Tottenham. last_img

After arrest radio host quits Boomer and Carton show

first_imgNEW YORK, N.Y. – New York sports radio personality Craig Carton has quit his show on WFAN following his arrest on fraud charges.Carton co-hosted “Boomer and Carton” with former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason (eh-SY’-uh-suhn). He announced Wednesday he had submitted his resignation and it was accepted.Federal authorities charged Carton with fraud last week, saying he used a Ponzi scheme to fool investors into giving him millions of dollars to pay off gambling debts to casinos and elsewhere.On Tuesday he had vowed to fight the charges, saying his fans would see he was not guilty and he’d be back “stronger than ever.” On Wednesday he said the “unfounded legal issues” would be a distraction to everyone at WFAN and the show he helped build.CBS owns WFAN and says it’s co-operating with authorities. It says it’s searching for Carton’s replacement.last_img read more

BC Government looking to make amendments to the Forest Act

first_imgVICTORIA, B.C. – The Provincial Government is looking to introduce amendments to the B.C. Forest Act.The Government says the amendments to the Forest Act will enhance public trust and ensure public forests are managed in the best interests of British Columbians.According to the Province, some of the changes to the Act will improve the Government’s ability to exert more control over the disposition of Crown tenures, ensure that public interest is considered in the disposition of Forest Act agreements, and ensure the Government has the necessary information when needed from companies to inform policy and legislative changes to address emerging forestry issues. Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, Doug Donaldson, says these amendments will help support a vibrant and diverse forest sector.“We want all British Columbians to benefit from the forest industry, including companies, large and small, First Nations, workers and communities. These amendments will help support a vibrant and diverse forest sector by preventing further concentration of harvesting rights.”For more information on the proposed amendments, you can visit the B.C. Legislative Assembly’s website.last_img read more

DGCA asks airlines to increase number of flights to stabilise rising airfares

first_imgNew Delhi: India’s aviation regulator has asked all airlines to come out with individual medium-term plan by Wednesday on enhancing availability of domestic flights, in a move aimed at curbing rising airfares, government officials said.Airfares have been on an upswing across India for last few weeks due to sharp decline in number of flights primarily caused by grounding of three-fourths of cash-strapped Jet Airways’ 119-aircraft fleet. The availability of flights was also hit by pulling out of Spice Jet’s 12 “737 Max” aircraft in March following safety concerns in the wake of crash of an Ethiopian Airlines jet on March 10. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM'”The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has been meeting with the airlines continuously so that they augment their additional capacity, which would be over and above the flights approved for the summer schedule,” a senior government official said. According to officials, the each of the airlines was “requested to bring an immediate and medium-term plan to augment the additional capacity in the market”, and ways to increase the overall availability of flights will be discussed at a meeting on Wednesday. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KThe DGCA last month approved a nearly seven-month-long summer schedule beginning March 31 for SpiceJet, Vistara, IndiGo, Air India and GoAir. However, for Jet Airways, the DGCA approved the summer schedule for nearly a month only due to its financial crisis. The DGCA approves winter as well as summer schedules every year in order to ensure smooth flights operations. The airlines were asked to come out with immediate and medium-term plan over and above the summer action plan to make available additional flights so that airfares remain in control. During the last few weeks, the Jet Airways has been grounding its aircraft in tranches due to non-payment of dues to its lessors. While the airline has a fleet of about 119 aircraft, civil aviation secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola said on April 4 that only 26 aircraft of Jet Airways are flying “currently”. After Jet withdrew some of its flights from several routes, budget carrier IndiGo on April 8 announced rolling out new flights on both international and domestic networks.last_img read more