Science & Technology


New Silicon Valley in Crimea

General view from Ai-Petri peak in the Crimean mountains on Yalta
Crimea's authorities are looking at creating a kind of a Crimean Silicon Valley in the territory of the peninsula, acting head of republic Sergei Aksyonov said in an article that was published in the Rossiiskaya Gazeta on Wednesday.

He said such innovation hub would host advanced communications and microelectronics facilities. At the same time, he called to take into account experience and achievements of the Soviet-era periods. "We can recall the productions of Photon television sets, ship-repair plants and shipyards, canned foods industry, agro-industrial gardening and greenhouse facilities, unique production of essential oil plants, etc," the newspaper quoted him as saying.

He called to make more active use of advanced technologies in industrial and agrarian sectors. For these ends, he said it would be expedient to set up a Crimean branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

He said that the Crimean authorities were finalizing programmes of infrastructure development on the peninsula. A special council, in his words, was established to evaluate the quality and expediency of investment projects in Crimea.

"The most important thing for us is to see to it that an investor be registered in Crimea, pay taxes here and create jobs for locals," he said. He admitted that the current level of investments - of about 1.5 billion U.S. dollars - was not enough. "Investors are keeping a close eye on the development of the political situation linked with sanctions against Russia and Crimea.

Because existing methods of mass slaughter aren't efficient enough, US scientists working on mind-controlled drones for military use

University researchers in Texas say they are designing a new type of drone - one that could be controlled simply and only with a soldier's mind.

If successful, the project would allow soldiers to command future drones in ways beyond simple navigational commands. While troops would be able to order a drone to "move left" and "move right," it would potentially enable them to command the vehicles to travel over specific geographic installations and send critical data back to their operators.

According to My San Antonio, the project is currently underway at the University of Texas at San Antonio, where graduate students recently demonstrated a hovering drone operated via a cell phone app while one researcher sat - his head covered in sensors - and focused intently on the unnamed aerial vehicles' activity.

Comment: While the infrastructure is crumbling, a large percentage of the people are on food stamps, society is on the verge of collapse, the US government sees fit to spend huge amounts of money researching more efficient methods of mass killing. Those are all the signs of a collapsing empire, soulless, brutal and corrupted to the core. Those who learn from history know how it will end; those who do not, will perish.


Extinct underwater volcano discovered beneath Pacific Ocean

Underwater Volcano
© Image courtesy of the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping/Joint Hydrographic Center
The newly discovered seamount rises up some 3,600 feet (1,100 meters) from the seafloor near the Johnston Atoll, at a depth of about 16,730 feet (5,100 m) under the Pacific Ocean.
Lurking some 3.2 miles (5.1 kilometers) beneath the Pacific Ocean, a massive mountain rises up from the seafloor, say scientists who discovered the seamount using sonar technology.

The seamount is about two-thirds of a mile high (1.1 kilometers), researchers said. Seamounts, rocky leftovers from extinct, underwater volcanoes, are found on ocean floors around the world. The newly discovered seamount is about 186 miles (300 km) southeast of Jarvis Island, an uninhabited island in a relatively unexplored part of the South Pacific Ocean, experts said.

"These seamounts are very common, but we don't know about them, because most of the places that we go out and map have never been mapped before," James Gardner, a University of New Hampshire research professor who works at the university's NOAA Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping/Joint Hydrographic Center, said in a statement. [See Images of the Newfound Pacific Ocean Seamount]

Languages are being wiped out by economic growth

Chief Marie
© Natalie Fobes/Corbis Images
Chief Marie Smith Jones, the last speaker of the Eyak language in Alaska, died in 2008 at age 89.
The world's roughly 7000 known languages are disappearing faster than species, with a different tongue dying approximately every 2 weeks. Now, by borrowing methods used in ecology to track endangered species, researchers have identified the primary threat to linguistic diversity: economic development. Though such growth has been shown to wipe out language in the past on a case-by-case basis, this is the first study to demonstrate that it is a global phenomenon, researchers say.

Many people know about the threatened polar bear and extinct passenger pigeon, but few have heard of endangered and extinct languages such as Eyak in Alaska, whose last speaker died in 2008, or Ubykh in Turkey, whose last fluent speaker died in 1992, says Tatsuya Amano, a zoologist at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom and lead author of the new study.

It's well known that economic growth or the desire to achieve it can drive language loss, he notes - dominant languages such as Mandarin Chinese and English are often required for upward mobility in education and business, and economic assistance often encourages recipients to speak dominant languages.

Whereas specific case studies demonstrate such forces at work, such as the transition from Cornish to English in the United Kingdom and from Horom to English in Nigeria, this is the first study to examine losses worldwide and rank economic growth alongside other possible influences, he says.

Welcome to Laniakea, our new cosmic home

Laniakea Supercluster
© SDvision interactive visualization software by DP at CEA/Saclay, France
A slice of the Laniakea Supercluster in the supergalactic equatorial plane.
Using a new mapping technique that takes into account the motions -- and not just the distances -- of nearby galaxies, astronomers discovered that the Milky Way is located in the suburb of a massive, previously unknown super-cluster they named Laniakea, a term from Hawaiian words meaning "immeasurable heaven."

Actually, Laniakea's girth is measurable, though difficult to conceptualize. The super-cluster spans 520 million light-years in diameter, more than five times larger than the cluster previously believed to be the Milky Way's cosmic home.

A light-year is the distance that light, moving at a speed of 186,000 miles per second, travels in one year. One light-year is about 5.88 trillion miles.

Astronomers were able to identify the boundaries of Laniakea by charting the flow of more than 8,000 galaxies surrounding the Milky Way. By that yardstick, they discovered that the Milky Way, along 100,000 other galaxies, is sailing toward a region named the Shapley super-cluster.
Solar Flares

NASA imagery shows a late summer "flurry of flares" bursting from the sun

As summer is ending, NASA captures a series of solar flares, making for a fitting end to a sizzling season. Solar flares may affect communication signals but nothing major was reported during the event.
The sun produced a flurry of flares this week says NASA, unleashing over half a dozen in one day alone.

As summer draws to a close, the Sun decides to finish the season with a bang, releasing a number of solar flares as August winds down.

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured all the action which peaked on Aug. 24. A mid-level solar flare started the event and soon more than half a dozen solar flares happened on the Sun's left side.

Solar flares are highly powerful bursts of radiation. The Sun had been experiencing increased activity lately and this has manifested in more than a handful of solar flares taking place in the past few days.

The biggest solar flare was the first solar flare reported for the event, an M-class flare which is known to be about 10 times smaller than the largest flare ever recorded, an X-class flare.
2 + 2 = 4

Neurons in human skin perform advanced calculations

© Credit: Mattias Pettersson
Work performed in Andrew Pruszynski's lab.
Neurons in human skin perform advanced calculations, previously believed that only the brain could perform. This is according to a study from Umeå University in Sweden published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

A fundamental characteristic of neurons that extend into the skin and record touch, so-called first-order neurons in the tactile system, is that they branch in the skin so that each neuron reports touch from many highly-sensitive zones on the skin.

Comment: Not only does every cell in our body contain reams of information, our very neurons are capable of performing complex feats of information processing. And yet mainstream science tells us all this information and creativity is the result of bits of matter randomly bumping into other bits of matter. What is the source of information, if not intelligence?


Russia to begin building record-setting space rocket capable of lifting super heavy load into orbit

© RIA Novosti / Andrey Morgunov
Space booster Angara 1.2PP during launch
Vladimir Putin has given his preliminary approval for the development of a Russian-designed rocket capable of lifting a record 150 tons of cargo into orbit, to rival similar projects from NASA and Elon Musk's SpaceX.

"Today we heard the first concrete words about commencing work on the project. Previously, there was discussion and expert roundtables, but today President Putin gave the preliminary go-ahead for the new rocket," declared Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who curates the country's space industry, after touring the Vostochny cosmodrome in the east of the country with the Russian leader.

The news comes on the back of a successful test launch of the long-gestating Angara rocket earlier this summer. The rocket, which is capable of delivering up to 35 tons of cargo into the Low Earth Orbit in its most powerful modification, is the first launch vehicle developed entirely after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Rogozin said that work on the new super-heavy rocket would begin as soon as Angara is in regular use.

Comment: From a very low base due to widespread destruction of the country during the 1990s, Russia under Putin is fast catching up with the US in almost every key aspects while the US and its client states are in rapid decline. It is the result that counts and these results speak better than words ever could.


Big Brother: Google's Location History is still recording your every move

Google could be tracking and recording your every location on your Android device, and you may not even know it!

The culprit is a largely ignored feature in Android called Google Location history. The actual location service isn't unusual. It uses information like Cell IDs and Wi-Fi routers to locate and place your device. Other companies such as Apple and Microsoft use similar services for their devices.

The existence of Google's Location history is nothing new, in fact other sources have reported it previously, but it's still surprising how few people know or realize what it is and how it works. What isn't surprising are the reactions to it, which usually range from "creepy" to "scary" and a few others between.

Comment: How very interesting that Google make it so difficult for people to even know this facility exists as well as the serious ramifications for privacy. If you must use a mobile phone, turn off the location tracking and history service immediately.


Putin visits mammoth museum, openly wonders if preserved soft tissue would allow scientists to clone the extinct creature

© RIA Novosti / Alexey Nokolsky
September 1, 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin, second right, visits the P. Lazarev Mammoth Museum at the M. K. Ammosov North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk
Upon meeting a 28,000-year-old mammoth mummy in a museum in the Russian Far East, Russian President Vladimir Putin wondered if the preserved soft tissues of the ancient animal could help clone it.

The mammoth museum in Russia's Yakutia is a unique place, hosting the rarest findings of the ancient animals' remains discovered over the last decade.

But the main treasure of the museum is the so-called Mamolyakhovsky mammoth, which was found along the Kolyma River shores in 1977. The 28,000-year-old discovery is not only a full skeleton of a baby mammoth (which means over 75 percent of bones belong to the same animal), but also boasts soft tissues and even liquid blood preserved in the animal's mummy.

The mammoth was about seven or eight months old when it died, and the scientists named him Dima.

Upon seeing Dima on Monday, President Putin, who arrived in Yakutsk to participate in a meeting on regional development, became very interested in whether the mammoth's remains could pave way for its cloning.

"The soft tissues are preserved, so can it be cloned?" he asked.