Science & Technology


New DARPA prosthetic limbs grants 'near-natural' sense of touch through brain chips

© © Kevin Lamarque / Reuters
A new prosthetic hand which connects directly to the brain has been created by American scientists, providing a "near-natural" sense of touch. The developers claim their new invention could revolutionize the lives of people with missing or paralyzed limbs.

The prosthetic hand developed by scientists at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) could not only 'feel' things being touched but the scientists could also control the artificial limb with thoughts, the creators of the new device said in a press-release.

The invention is set to become the world's first prosthesis to be controlled directly via the brain as well as one of the few that could deliver tactile feedback.

The DARPA's prosthesis control system consists of two chips embedded in the wearer's brain, connecting it to the set of pressure-sensitive torque motors placed in the artificial hand, Engadget reports.

The chips, which are only 1mm wide, contain several electrodes and are placed in the person's motor cortex (the part of the brain controlling arm and hand movements), and sensory cortex (the brain area that receives and identifies signals resulting from different tactile sensations).

Fireball 2

Scientists use lasers to simulate shock effects of meteorite impact on silica

© National Map Seamless Server/USGS
Meteor Crater in Arizona, formed by a meteorite impact 50,000 years ago, contains bits of a hard, compressed form of silica called stishovite. Researchers precisely measured the rapid transformation of a fused silica glass into stishovite using SLAC's X-ray laser, the Linac Coherent Light Source.
Scientists used high-power laser beams at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory to simulate the shock effects of a meteorite impact in silica, one of the most abundant materials in the Earth's crust. They observed, for the first time, its shockingly fast transformation into the mineral stishovite - a rare, extremely hard and dense form of silica.

You can scoop up bits of stishovite at the scene of meteorite impacts, such as a 50,000-year-old meteor crater in Arizona that measures about 3/4-mile across and about 570 feet deep. A similar form also exists naturally at the extreme pressures of the Earth's mantle, hundreds of miles below ground.

The Speed of Stishovite

In the experiment at SLAC, researchers used lasers to create a shock wave in samples of silica glass. The heat and compression of this shock wave caused tiny crystals, or "grains," of stishovite to grow within just a few nanoseconds, or billionths of a second. This speed defies predictions that the changes take tens or even hundreds of times longer.

"The beauty here is that the quality of the data enabled us to make a measurement that gives us entirely new insight into the mechanism for this transformation," said Arianna Gleason, who led the experiment at SLAC's Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) X-ray laser, a DOE Office of Science User Facility. The work was published in the Sept. 4 issue of Nature Communications.

"Figuring out how atoms rearrange themselves in this material is important, and to our great surprise, what we expected to be a slower process is really rapid," said Gleason, who was a postdoctoral researcher at SLAC and Stanford University at the time of the 2012 experiment and is now a postdoctoral fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory. "That was not known before. LCLS gave us access to this ultrashort timescale combined with the capability to generate a shockwave, which is unique."

Solar Flares

Superheated plasma 'tornado' rages on the Sun (Video)

© Solar Dynamics Observatory, NASA
This image from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captures a "tornado" swirling on the sun in early September 2015.
A giant, swirling plume of superheated plasma churned above the surface of the sun for 40 hours last week while a NASA spacecraft looked on.

NASA's sun-studying Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured dramatic time-lapse video of the solar tornado, which raged from Sept. 1 through Sept. 3.

The mass of plasma "was stretched and pulled back and forth by powerful magnetic forces but [was] not ripped apart in this sequence," SDO team members wrote in a description of the video. "The temperature of the ionized iron particles observed in this extreme ultraviolet wavelength of light was about 2.8 million degrees C (or 5 million degrees F)."

Ice Cube

Mt. Baker glaciers melting? A response to the Seattle Times hysteria

The headline of the September 8, 2015 Seattle Times states:
'Disastrous': Low snow, heat eat away at Northwest glaciers

"Glaciers across the North Cascades could lose 5 to 10 percent of their volume this year, accelerating decades of steady decline. One scientist estimates the region's glaciers are smaller than they have been in at least 4,000 years." "The best word for it is disastrous," said Pelto"
This was a multi-page story with numerous photographs and many predictions that glaciers in the North Cascade Mts. will be gone in 50 years. Having just finished a major analysis of Mt. Baker's glaciers dating back thousands of years, I thought, what kind of nonsense is this? So I put together some of the data on Mt. Baker glaciers that will soon be published.

Photos and maps from a large collection dating back to 1909 document exactly what Mt. Baker glaciers have done in the past. What these photos and maps clearly show is the Mt. Baker glaciers reached their maximum extent of the past century in 1915 at the end of the 1880 to 1915 cold period. The glaciers then melted back strongly during the 1915 to 1950 warm period. The climate then turned cool again, and Mt. Baker glaciers advanced strongly for 30 years. In 1977, the climate turned warm again and since about 1980, glaciers have been retreating again. However, photos and maps prove that all Mt. Baker glaciers are more extensive today than they were in 1950. Here are a few examples.

Comment: Objective observation, respect for the data are the bedrock of good science. Something the anthropogenic global-warming, 'hockey stick' waving camp has been sadly lacking.
  • The Great Modelling Fraud
More good science:
  • Global Cooling - Methods and testable decadal predictions


Scientists discover world's first proven double meteor impact in Sweden

© NASA / Reuters
For the first time ever, Swedish scientists have discovered a double meteor impact from a fall that occurred hundreds of millions of years ago.

Two meteoritic craters were found in just 16 kilometers one from another near the Swedish city of Östersund by a group of researchers from the University of Gothenburg.

One of the craters is "enormous" with its diameter totaling 7.5 kilometers, while the second crater is 10 times smaller than its "neighbor."

The scientists believe the meteors, which formed the craters, hit the Earth simultaneously, 458 million years ago as part of a larger meteoritic rain. That's the first proven site of a double meteor impact so far.

"Around 470 million years ago, two large asteroids collided in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, and many fragments were thrown off in new orbits. Many of these crashed on Earth, such as these two in Jämtland," geophysicist Erik Sturkell, of the University of Gothenburg, explained in a statement.


NASA captures double eclipse of the sun

© Jhon Henry Osorio Orozco
This is simply too cool.

From SpaceWeather...
DOUBLE ECLIPSE OF THE SUN: On Sept. 13th, the sun was eclipsed - twice! No one on Earth has ever seen anything like it. Indeed, it was only visible from Earth orbit. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) recorded the event:
The double eclipse began around 06:30 UT when Earth passed directly between the sun and SDO. The observatory watched as the body of our planet moved slowly across the face of the sun, producing a near black-out. When the Earth finally moved aside about an hour later, another eclipse was in progress. This time, the Moon was in the way. A movie from the SDO science team explains the crazy-perfect alignment required for such a view.

Update: This picture shows the Moon and the Earth in front of the sun at the same time.

(In the snaphots above, note how the edge of the Earth looks so much fuzzier than the edge of the Moon. That's because our planet has a thick atmosphere and the Moon does not.)


Hidden superchain of volcanoes discovered in Australia

© Drew Whitehouse, NCI National Facility VizLab
Scientists recently realized that separate chains of volcanic activity in Australia were actually caused by a single hotsput lurking under the Earth's lithosphere. The new superchain, called the Cosgrove Volcanic Track, spans 1,240 miles (2,000 kilometers)
Scientists have just found the world's longest chain of volcanoes on a continent, hiding in plain sight.

The newly discovered Australian volcano chain isn't a complete surprise, though: Geologists have long known of small, separate chains of volcanic activity on the island continent. However, new research reveals a hidden hotspot once churned beneath regions with no signs of surface volcanism, connecting these separate strings of volcanoes into one megachain.

That 1,240-mile-long (2,000 kilometers) chain of fire spanned most of eastern Australia, from Hillsborough in the north, where rainforest meets the Great Barrier Reef, to the island of Tasmania in the south.

"The track is nearly three times the length of the famous Yellowstone hotspot track on the North American continent," Rhodri Davies, an earth scientist at Australian National University, said in a statement.


NASA probe New Horizons sends puzzling, unexpected photos from Pluto

New photos of Pluto and its moons are streaming in from NASA's deep-space probe New Horizons. Scientists are puzzled by the dwarf planet's complex surface, including nitrogen ice flows, mountains and ridges, and maybe even wind-swept dunes.
This synthetic perspective view of Pluto, based on the latest high-resolution images to be downlinked from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft.
"Seeing dunes on Pluto - if that is what they are - would be completely wild, because Pluto's atmosphere today is so thin," said William B. McKinnon, a researcher from Washington University in St. Louis working on the Geology, Geophysics and Imaging (GGI) team for New Horizons. "Either Pluto had a thicker atmosphere in the past, or some process we haven't figured out is at work. It's a head-scratcher."

As raw high-resolution photos from the probe trickle in, they are revealing a world of complex land forms and diverse surface features entirely unexpected at that distance from the sun.


DNA tuning and the militarization of music

GA=440Hz: Not Quite Music to My Ears
Humankind is the largely unwitting victim of a frequency war on our consciousness that has been waged for decades, if not millennia. The goal has clearly been to keep us as gullible and subservient as possible, through multifarious means.

In modern history in particular, there has been what Dr. Len Horowitz has referred to as the strategic "militarization" of music. This happened in 1939 when the tuning of the note 'A above Middle C' to 440 Hz was adopted in the world of music. In 1910 an earlier push to effect the same change was met with limited success. Three decades later, the British Standards Institute (BSI) adopted the A=440Hz standard following staunch promotion by the Rockefeller-Nazi consortium—"at the precise time WWII preparations were being finalized by the petrochemical-pharmaceutical war financiers."[i] This was the year that A=440 became the international standard.

Snowflake Cold

Nobel Laureate and physicist Ivar Giaever exposes the fraud of global warming

How do you get an average global temperature when there are only eight thermometers in Antarctica?

This is an extremely important video.

When the American Physical Society, of which he was a long-time member, announced that the evidence for global warming was "incontrovertible," Nobel Laureate Ivar Giaever resigned.

"The only answer to that," says Giaever, was that "I resigned."

"Global warming has really become a new religion, because you can't discuss it, " says Giaever "It's like the Catholic Church. There are a lot of incontrovertible truths in the Catholic Church, I'm sure."

Comment: It is too bad that all scientists don't have such common sense.