Science & Technology


Drones that 'perch' on power lines to recharge, never have to land

© AP/Eric Gay
Imagine a world where drones never have to touch the ground after takeoff. That's what MIT PhD. candidate Joseph Moore did, and now he's on the cusp of creating a drone that can "perch" on power lines just like birds to recharge its batteries.

Mr. Moore gave Business Insider a demonstration of the technology he's perfecting by using a glider as proof of concept.

In short, if a drone is equipped with the a magnetometer it should be possible to make the aircraft capable of identifying magnetic fields given off by power lines, home in on the signal they emit, and then maneuver in such a way that would allow the drone to perch until fully charged.
Comet 2

New Comet: C/2014 G1 (PanSTARRS)

Discovery Date: April 5, 2014

Magnitude: 20.5 mag

Discoverer: Pan-STARRS 1 telescope (Haleakala)

C/2014 G1 (PanSTARRS)
© Aerith Net
Magnitudes Graph
The orbital elements are published on M.P.E.C. 2014-G42.

New Comet: C/2014 F2 (Tenagra)

Discovery Date: March 31, 2014

Magnitude: 19.8 mag

Discoverer: M. Schwartz and P. R. Holvorcem (Tenagra III, near Nogales, AZ, U.S.A.)

C/2014 F2 (Tenagra)
© Aerith Net
Magnitudes Graph
The orbital elements are published on M.P.E.C. 2014-G32.
Bizarro Earth

Symbolic universe: World War II helmets, grenades and guns swallowed by tree trunks in Russia

Remember the fallen: According to some estimates, more than 14million Soviet solders and officers perished in the Great Patriotic War.
Long after the dust from the last battle has settled, the dead have been laid to rest and the confetti from the victory parade has been swept into the gutter, the nature continues to bear the scars of human conflicts.

A remarkable series of photos taken in a Russian forest have been making the rounds on social media sites, showing what happens over time to instruments of carnage discarded in the woods.

The striking images depict rifles, artillery shells, grenades and sapper shovels embedded in tree trunks - essentially swallowed up by the natural surroundings in a silent act of protest against human folly.

Brain '15-second delay' apparently shields us from hallucinogenic experience

Scientists have revealed the human brain has a 15-second lag that helps stabilize incoming visual information, which we don't notice bombarding us in the course of our everyday lives.
© Reuters / Eddie Keogh
Eyes tend to receive an enormous information load from dusk till dawn, and as one opens his or her eyes in the morning, the brain starts its intensive work, processing incoming pictures from the surroundings, including imagery from TV screens and computer monitors.

A team of vision scientists at the University of California, Berkeley and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) revealed this secret of the human brain: To save us from insanity induced by a constantly changing torrent of pictures, shapes and colors - both virtual and real world - the brain filters out information, failing in most cases to notice small changes in a 15-second period of time.

'Mysterious light' on Mars causes wild speculation about aliens

A new photograph from NASA's Mars Curiosity rover appears to showcase a strong artificial light emanating from the planet's surface, igniting speculation that the beacon suggests there is intelligent life on the Red Planet.

The photo in question was taken on April 3 by Curiosity's right-hand navigation camera, and shows what looks an awful lot like a bright, shining light off in the distance. NASA itself has not commented on the nature of the light, but UFO watchers have wasted no time suggesting it's not natural and, therefore, a sign of alien life.

"This could indicate there there is intelligent life below the ground and uses light as we do," Scott Waring wrote on his UFO Sightings Daily website. "This is not a glare from the sun, nor is it an artifact of the photo process. Look closely at the bottom of the light. It has a very flat surface giving us 100% indication it is from the surface."
Bizarro Earth

Northern Europe hit by most bee deaths - EU study

There is much concern about the widespread collapse of bee colonies
A new study covering 17 EU countries says that far more honeybees are dying in the UK and other parts of northern Europe than in Mediterranean countries.

The European Commission says it is Europe's most comprehensive study so far of bee colony deaths.

Winter mortality was especially high for bees in Belgium (33.6%) and the UK (29%) in 2012-13. But in spring-summer 2013 France was highest with 13.6%.

Bumblebees and other wild bees were not studied, nor were pesticide impacts.
Heart - Black

NSA knew about and USED Heartbleed encryption flaw for TWO YEARS - report

NSA heartbleed
Agency forgets that it exists to protect communications, not just spy on them

Updated The tech world is aflutter over the Heartbleed encryption flaw in OpenSSL, but it seems that the bug was no surprise to the analysts of the NSA, since they have reportedly been using it for two years to spy on data traffic.

Two sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that NSA staff picked up on the fatal flaw shortly after the code was published, and added it into the agencies box of hacking tricks. One source said Heartbleed was used regularly for years, and that the agency decided not to warn US citizens and companies that their data was at risk.

Nuclearageddon: The use of U.S.-made fuel in Ukrainian reactors may lead to 15 Chernobyl disasters at a time

Nuclear power stations
© RIA Novosti/Фалин
Kiev is reducing cooperation with Russia in the field of nuclear power production and is going to sign a contract with the Westinghouse Electric Corporation of the United States for nuclear fuel supplies. Flaws have been repeatedly detected in Westinghouse-made fuel assemblies. Experts believe that the use of such assemblies will make Ukrainian nuclear reactors less reliable and may pose a threat to Ukraine's nuclear safety. Ukraine's new authorities have clearly decided to ratchet down Kiev's dependence on Russian nuclear fuel supplies and sign a contract to that end with the Westinghouse Corporation. But the move may result in a manmade disaster in Ukraine, since the nuclear power plants in Ukraine have been built from Soviet design an can safely operate only on the fuel made in the Russian city Elektrostal, says Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee for Natural Resources, Maxim Shingarkin, and elaborates.

"Every single reactor is normally built on the assumption that it will consume the nuclear fuel with specific characteristics, such as the amount of highly enriched uranium and certain thermal response. Any deviation may result in a nuclear accident. We can get as many as 15 Chernobyl disasters at a time, with a danger of such a scale to Ukraine, Russia and Europe that the entire world's civilization will fail to cope with them".

Supernova shock wave blows-away huge clumps of cosmic clutter

© NASA/CXC/A. Hobart
Supernova Remnant G352.7-0.1
A supernova remnant called G352.7-0.1 has swept away about 45 times the Sun's mass worth of material during its expansion. This is an unusual occurrence, leading researchers to believe that remnant interacted with a massive amount of dense material. A Chandra X-ray telescope study of the remnant (that is about 24,000 lights years from Earth) was used to make the find.

This may indicate that a special type of stellar evolution has occurred, involving a giant star that ran into unusually dense material before exploding to form a supernova remnant. This supernova - G352.7-0.1 -- has other interesting traits that scientists are still looking to explain. G352.7-0.1 is found in the Milky Way galaxy.