Welcome to Sott.net
Mon, 19 Aug 2019
The World for People who Think

Science & Technology


It's a wrap: Russian satellites to become invisible from Earth

Cloaked satellites
© screenshot
Do you see them? Are they there? How would you know?
Russia's space agency claims to have found an unconventional way of equipping its satellites with stealth features, effectively making them hard to spot from Earth. A special wrap may be the solution, they say.

Roscosmos has invented top-notch technology which involves covering satellites with a unique air-bubble wrap that scatters light, Russian media reported. The method is said to reduce the satellite's visibility by 10 times or more when observed by telescopes from Earth.

The agency says the technology - which seems to be of dual use - could be employed to 'hide' satellites traveling at 10,000km to 20,000km above Earth's surface.

Russia, the first country to have sent a satellite into orbit, recently unveiled new technology involving the unmanned spacecraft. Just this month, Roscosmos presented a solution to the growing problem of space debris - a satellite that would destroy itself at the end of its lifetime.

The new type of satellite would feature materials that sublimate, meaning they transition directly from solid to gas without becoming liquid.

Car Black

UPS has secretly used self-driving freight trucks for months

Self-driving truck
© tusimple
For the last few months, UPS has been using autonomous trucks to haul loads on a 115-mile route between Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona.

The company announced that its venture capital arm had made a minority investment in San Diego-based autonomous software company TuSimple, as confirmed with the company by Gizmodo. Their system uses nine cameras and two LIDAR sensors.

TuSimple claims it can cut the average cost of shipping in a tractor-trailer by 30 percent. In an announcement about the new partnership, UPS Ventures managing partner, Todd Lewis, said the venture arm "collaborates with startups to explore new technologies and tailor them to help meet our specific needs." -Gizmodo

And according to Verge, TuSimple has implemented its autonomous technology in Navistar vehicles.

While the current system requires a backup human driver and an engineer, TuSimple has been working with UPS to achieve full, "Level 4" human-less autonomy.

Comet 2

Jupiter's puzzling core suggests it was smacked head-on by massive newborn planet

© Shang-Fei Liu/Sun Yat-sen University
A rendering shows the effect of a major impact on the core of a young Jupiter, as suggested by scientists at Rice and Sun Yat-sen universities. They say the collision about 4.5 billion years ago could explain surprising readings from NASA's Juno spacecraft.
A colossal, head-on collision between Jupiter and a still-forming planet in the early solar system, about 4.5 billion years ago, could explain surprising readings from NASA's Juno spacecraft, according to a study this week in the journal Nature.

Astronomers from Rice University and China's Sun Yat-sen University say their head-on impact scenario can explain Juno's previously puzzling gravitational readings, which suggest that Jupiter's core is less dense and more extended that expected.

"This is puzzling," said Rice astronomer and study co-author Andrea Isella. "It suggests that something happened that stirred up the core, and that's where the giant impact comes into play."

Comment: In related news, you can see footage of the asteroid that struck Jupiter just 2 weeks ago.

See also: NASA's Juno mission spots dramatic volcano eruption on Jupiter moon Io


NASA flying lab captures image of rare 'fire cloud'

fire cloud
A fire cloud over eastern Washington state as seen by scientists aboard NASA's flying laboratory jet. The flight was part of a joint NOAA and NASA field campaign called FIREX-AQ.
You've seen billowy cumulus clouds and wispy cirrus clouds, but odds are you're not too familiar with fire clouds. Even scientists know less than what they'd like to about so-called pyrocumulonimbus (pyroCb) clouds, which form when wildfires and agricultural fires unleash enough heat and moisture into the atmosphere to produce storms.

That changed on Aug. 8, when NASA's airliner-turned-flying laboratory took to the skies over Washington state and flew a team of scientists straight into a pyrocumulonimbus cloud that had formed high over a wildfire in the eastern part of the state.

Comet 2

Another doomed comet just fell into the Sun

soho comet sundiver august 2019
The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) observed a comet dive directly into the sun on Aug. 15, 2019.
Comet's death dive Into Sun snapped by SOHO spacecraft

Yesterday (Aug. 15), the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) watched a comet meet its demise as the dirty snowball dove directly into the sun, according to Space Weather astronomer Tony Phillips.

In the video captured by SOHO, you can see a number of objects zooming around the sun, which is blocked by an opaque disk to reduce glare. Seemingly right on top of the sun is Venus, which is bright and easy to spot. Left of center and not quite as bright as Venus, you can also see Mars. Just about 10 seconds into the video, the sun-bound comet suddenly becomes obvious and easy to detect.


New state of matter discovered by scientist

New State of Matter
© sakkmesterke/Getty Images
Breakthrough Offers Promise for Enhanced Storage and Computation Capabilities

A team of physicists has uncovered a new state of matter — a breakthrough that offers promise for increasing storage capabilities in electronic devices and enhancing quantum computing.

"Our research has succeeded in revealing experimental evidence for a new state of matter — topological superconductivity," says Javad Shabani, an assistant professor of physics at New York University. "This new topological state can be manipulated in ways that could both speed calculation in quantum computing and boost storage."

The discovery, reported in a paper on arXiv, was conducted with Igor Zutic at the University of Buffalo and Alex Matos-Abiague at Wayne State University.

The work centers on quantum computing — a method that can make calculations at significantly faster rates than can conventional computing. This is because conventional computers process digital bits in the form of 0s and 1s while quantum computers deploy quantum bits (qubits) to tabulate any value between 0 and 1, exponentially lifting the capacity and speed of data processing.


Erik Verlinde: A radical theory of gravity

Erik Verlinde
© phys.org
Erik Verlinde
Erik Verlinde has been compared to Einstein for completely rethinking the nature of gravity.
  • The Dutch physicist Erik Verlinde's hypothesis describes gravity as an "emergent" force not fundamental.
  • The scientist thinks his ideas describe the universe better than existing models, without resorting to "dark matter".
  • While some question his previous papers, Verlinde is reworking his ideas as a full-fledged theory.
The Dutch theoretical physicist Erik Verlinde is no stranger to big ideas. His 2009 hypothesis about gravity earned him comparisons to Einstein for its complete rethinking of what gravity could be. Verlinde proposed that gravity was not a fundamental force of nature but rather emerged out of the interactions of information that fills the universe. He also didn't think there was such a thing as "dark matter" - a useful construct which is supposedly taking up 27% of the known universe (but is yet to be observed). Now, in a new interview, Verlinde reveals he is taking steps towards conceptualizing his groundbreaking ideas in a full-fledged theory.


See also:


LIGO and Virgo likely spotted the first black hole swallowing up a neutron star

Black hole/neutron star
© Dana Berry/NASA
Gravitational waves may have revealed a black hole in the process of swallowing up a neutron star (illustrated). If confirmed, the event would be the first of its kind ever seen.
Shudders in the cosmos have revealed what's likely the sad end of a neutron star — getting swallowed by a black hole.

If confirmed, it would be the first solid detection of this source of gravitational waves, revealing a type of cataclysm never before spotted. Researchers from the LIGO and Virgo gravitational wave observatories reported the candidate event, which was detected August 14, in a public database used by astronomers.

Scientists are still analyzing the data to verify what created the gravitational waves, which are tiny vibrations in spacetime caused by massive, accelerating objects. But one thing seems fairly certain: "Something has occurred out there in the sky," says physicist Daniel Holz of the University of Chicago, a member of LIGO. "So far, it doesn't obviously look like anything we've detected with high confidence before."


Counterintuitive physics property found to be widespread in living organisms

negative differential response
© Khopkins2010, Wikimedia Commons
A negative differential response occurs in substrate inhibition, a process that occurs in about 20% of all known enzymes.
Ever since the late 19th century, physicists have known about a counterintuitive property of some electric circuits called negative resistance. Typically, increasing the voltage in a circuit causes the electric current to increase as well. But under some conditions, increasing the voltage can cause the current to decrease instead. This basically means that pushing harder on the electric charges actually slows them down.

Due to the relationship between current, voltage, and resistance, in these situations the resistance produces power rather than consuming it, resulting in a "negative resistance." Today, negative resistance devices have a wide variety of applications, such as in fluorescent lights and Gunn diodes, which are used in radar guns and automatic door openers, among other devices.

Most known examples of negative resistance occur in human-engineered devices rather than in nature. However, in a new study published in the New Journal of Physics, Gianmaria Falasco and coauthors from the University of Luxembourg have shown that an analogous property called negative differential response is actually a widespread phenomenon that is found in many biochemical reactions that occur in living organisms. They identify the property in several vital biochemical processes, such as enzyme activity, DNA replication, and ATP production. It seems that nature has used this property to optimize these processes and make living things operate more efficiently at the molecular scale.

Comment: The materialist assumptions goes unstated: "by accident" and "for no actual purpose".

Microscope 2

Newly discovered organ that senses pain may be lurking under your skin

© Reprinted with permission from Hind Abdo et al.,
A colorized microscope image shows the structure of a newly described organ called the nociceptive glio-neural complex, highlighted here in green. Nerve cells in this image are depicted in red, while cells in the outer part of the skin are shown in blue.
Identified in mice, the simple organ most likely exists in humans, too, offering fresh insight into how we experience painful pressure and pricks.

Most people who've been jabbed by a needle know the drill: First the pierce, then the sharp, searing pain and an urge to pull away, or at least wince. While the exact circuitry behind this nearly universal reaction is not fully understood, scientists may have just found an important piece of the puzzle: a previously unknown sensory organ inside the skin.

Dubbed the nociceptive glio-neural complex, this structure is not quite like the typical picture of a complex organ like the heart or the spleen. Instead, it's a simple organ made up of a network of cells called glial cells, which are already known to surround and support the body's nerve cells. In this case, the glial cells form a mesh-like structure between the skin's outer and inner layers, with filament-like protrusions that extend into the skin's outer layer.

Comment: Only a decade or so ago, parts of the human body that were once considered disposable, like our appendix or tonsils, have actually been discovered to play critical roles in maintaining optimal health. The finding above is just one of a number of recent discoveries that show just how much we've yet to learn: Also check out SOTT radio's: Objective:Health #25 - Fascia - The Body's "Fiber Optic" Crystalline Matrix