Science & Technology

Biology, physics, geology, astronomy, ecology, chemistry, robotics, computers, artificial intelligence, and topics related to these fields.

Self-Driving Cars Are Just Around the Corner

— Filed under: Breaking News, Science & Technology
Congestion caused by a road accident, Algarve,...

Image via Wikipedia

Goodbye traffic jams?

Who among us hasn't daydreamed about cars that could drive themselves? Dream no more — that sort of technology is literally just around the corner, as Google has been test-driving these new cars on over 100,000 miles of California road. Not surprisingly, the computer-controlled vehicles are safer than human drivers, with only one accident in all that testing, and even that one was caused by human error.

Other benefits include better fuel efficiency, less-maddening traffic jams (computers aren't inclined to slow down to rubber-neck at accidents as they pass, which should be less frequent anyway), and the ability for the passengers to engage in other pursuits, like checking their Gmail accounts. Presumably Google would also attempt to harness the potential of its cloud computing endeavors, with these new vehicles collaborating and communicating with each other to improve performance even further.… Continues …

The Growing Threat From Alien Species

— Filed under: Science & Technology
The bullfrogs taking over Australia in the epi...

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In my life I have been unfortunate enough to witness many shocking things in relation to the state of earth's ecosystems. Shortly after moving to the town of Katherine in the northern territory the cane toads also arrived like a biblical plague. One could hardly even drive on the road without running them over. Their poisonous glands also spelt doom for many native predators such as the Goanna and northern Quoll. Now the Cane toad has reached the borders of Western Australia. Introduced to Queensland in 1935 in hopes it would control the cane beetle it has since steadily spread across the continent leaving a trail of destruction.… Continues …

China Makes a Play for Rare Earths

— Filed under: Breaking News, Politics & Government, Science & Technology

Everyone knows China is planning to take over the world. But with most of the focus centered on their booming economy, the Asian giant is quietly putting together an entirely different strategy, one which involves domination of natural resources. As the importance of oil dwindles over the next few decades, what will become the new scarcity? The answer is "rare earth".

Rare earth elements are perhaps not so much rare as they are expensive and difficult to extract. They're used in the manufacturing of computers, LCD screens, wind turbines, car parts, cellphones, missiles, light bulbs, solar panels, and countless other technological necessities. To call them essential would be an understatement. And China controls 97 percent of them.

Either we go into Space or we go extinct

— Filed under: Science & Technology, Opinion

Texas Tech alumnus Rick Husband was the final ...

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A couple of months ago world renowned Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking said "It is important for the human race to spread out into space for the survival of the species, Life on Earth is at the ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster, such as sudden global warming, nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus or other dangers we have not yet thought of."

This did get some media attention however it seems to me that people in general could not care less about looking at the long term future of man and space exploration. We have not even been to the moon since the 70's and now the Space shuttle program is closing down with nothing yet developed to replace it. Going to the moon and then losing the will to plant a colony will almost certainly be remembered as the moment our civilization failed. It would be like Moses leading his people to the Promised Land, them looking over the mountain and saying, "Nah, too hard we are going back to Egypt."… Continues …

Would you try e-cigarettes?

— Filed under: People & Culture, Science & Technology

World Won't Wait for E-Cigarettes, Spice

— Filed under: People & Culture, Science & Technology
Super-T Manufacturing's all mechanical, wirele...

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The e-cigarette, a new craze that is so strange it's almost comical, is sweeping the world and taking a lot of life-long smokers with it. It's essentially a vaporizer that "vapes" a nicotine-containing liquid called "juice". It gives the user the fix of nicotine without the harmful and carcinogenic side effects that burning brings.

For those wondering whether they could give up the real thing for an electronic alternative, the article linked above claims that many smokers have been able to make a total switch within days.… Continues …

Endangered Javan Leopard Killed By Police

— Filed under: Science & Technology

The extremely rare Javan leopardThe extremely rare Javan leopardBuried in an Indonesian newspaper's website, and certainly underreported by the international news media, was the story of the endangered Javan leopard that was shot by police on Saturday. It is estimated that there are less than 250 Javan leopards left in the world, and possibly as few as one hundred.

According to the article, the leopard entered a village and scared the residents, who called police. The leopard ran away, but "the residents ... kept on chasing it." The leopard was finally shot three times in a classroom of the Sukabumi Police Academy. How it ended up on the grounds of the police academy is not explained, and seems a bit fishy to say the least.

Discovery of 'Spacequakes' Demystifies Aurora Borealis

— Filed under: Breaking News, Science & Technology
Aurora Borealis

Image by zhengxu via Flickr

The source of the northern lights has finally been uncovered by a group of probes orbiting the Earth.

It appears that plasma jets shooting out from the sun cause temblors similar to earthquakes to occur in the Earth's magnetosphere. According to NASA, the effects of these so-called spacequakes "can reach all the way down to the surface of Earth itself." These effects include plasma vortices which "may funnel particles into Earth's atmosphere, sparking auroras."… Continues …

Is the Wikileaks Founder About to Be Assassinated?

— Filed under: Breaking News, Politics & Government, Science & Technology

Julian Assange: Soon-to-be-whacked?Julian Assange: Soon-to-be-whacked?

Julian Assange is making himself very inconvenient for the establishment right now. When his website Wikileaks recently released documents to the media regarding the war in Afghanistan, it caused a firestorm of debate and criticism at the worst possible time for the US military, which is trying desperately to drum up more support for their efforts in that part of the world. Some are now saying that the "hit list" of Task Force 373 could amount to war crimes.

The Pentagon has opened an inquiry aimed at finding the source of Wikileaks' information. But they may have bigger problems on the horizon: the whistleblowing site has three times as much classified information relating to the Iraq war, Newsweek has learned. When and how this cache of documents will ultimately be released has yet to be determined, but we can almost certainly assume that the US government is scrambling to learn everything they can in order to limit the political and intelligence fallout.

India's New $35 PC - Blessing or Curse?

— Filed under: Breaking News, Science & Technology
"America is a very powerful country,"...

Image by since1968 via Flickr

In a tremendous feat of modern engineering, India has developed a handheld tablet computer that costs just $35 and comes packed with features including a word processor, web browser, and solar power. PC World says that "in many ways the $35 tablet also makes the $500 iPad seem significantly over-priced."

The price is already a fraction of the $100 price proposed (but not yet achieved) by the One Laptop Per Child organization, yet India's government is planning to bring the cost of their new PC down to an unfathomably low $10 per unit.

This new tablet holds the promise of being a technological boon to millions of poorer households around the world, enabling many people to access the Web for the first time, provided they can find an Internet connection.… Continues …

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