Welcome to Sott.net
Sat, 30 Jul 2016
The World for People who Think

Science & Technology
Map


Jupiter

Jupiter's Great Red Spot is a heat pump

© www.davidreneke.com
The atmosphere above the gas giant's famous storm is hundreds of degrees hotter than anywhere else on the planet and scientists are on the case. Temperatures 500 miles above Jupiter's famed Great Red Spot are far warmer than anywhere else on the planet, raising suspicions that the massive storm is the mysterious energy source that is heating the giant planet's upper atmosphere.

Scientists have yet to understand why Jupiter's upper atmosphere is about the same temperature as Earth's though the planet is five times farther away from the sun. A new study points to the Great Red Spot, a gargantuan storm that astronomers have been watching with telescopes on Earth for more than 300 years, as the heat source.

Scientists used NASA's NASA Infrared Telescope Facility at the Mauna Kea Observatory in Hawaii to study Jupiter for nine hours in December 2012. They found a spike in temperatures over the Great Red Spot, a storm big enough to swallow three Earths that is the largest storm in the solar system.


Moon

Apollo astronauts experiencing higher rates of cardiovascular-related deaths from space radiation

Members of the successful Apollo space program are experiencing higher rates of cardiovascular problems that are thought to be caused by their exposure to deep space radiation, according to a Florida State University researcher.

In a new paper in Scientific Reports, FSU Dean of the College of Human Sciences and Professor Michael Delp explains that the men who traveled into deep space as part of the lunar missions were exposed to levels of galactic cosmic radiation that have not been experienced by any other astronauts or cosmonauts. That exposure is now manifesting itself as cardiovascular problems.

"We know very little about the effects of deep space radiation on human health, particularly on the cardiovascular system," Delp said. "This gives us the first glimpse into its adverse effects on humans."

Bulb

Microbes can now be used to turn sewage into clean water while generating enough electricity to power the process

© Jupiterimages/Getty
The usual way is a bit of a grind
A self-powered waste water treatment plant using microbes has just passed its biggest test, bringing household-level water recycling a step closer

They're miraculous in their own way, even if they don't quite turn water into wine. Personal water treatment plants could soon be recycling our waste water and producing energy on the side.

Last month, Boston-based Cambrian Innovation began field tests of what's known as a microbial fuel cell at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Maryland. Called BioVolt, in one day it can convert 2250 litres of sewage into enough clean water for at least 15 people. Not only that, it generates the electricity to power itself - plus a bit left over.

This is a big deal, as conventional treatment plants guzzle energy - typically consuming 1.5 kilowatt-hours for every kilogram of pollutants removed. In the US, this amounts to a whopping 3 per cent of the total energy demand. If the plants could be self-powered, recycling our own waste water could become as commonplace as putting a solar panel on a roof.

Existing treatment plants use bacteria to metabolise the organic material in waste water. "There's lots of food for them, so they reproduce fast," says Cambrian chief technology officer Justin Buck. At the end of the process, the microbes can make up a third by weight of the leftovers to be disposed of. Before being put in landfill, this "microbe cake" itself needs to be heat-sterilised and chemically treated, which uses a lot of energy.

Info

One-third of American adults say they'd be 'enthusiastic' about having a microchip implanted in their brain to 'enhance their thinking power'

Over one-third of Americans would not only accept a microchip implant in their brain, but would be "enthusiastic" about the receiving the device to 'enhance their thinking power.'

Once the subject of dystopian science fiction novels, three emerging technologies served as a focal point for a new survey to glean the public's willingness to accept what many would call exceedingly invasive biomedical 'enhancements.'

Pew Research Center surveyed 4,726 adults — 47 of whom additionally agreed to participate in focus groups — to discern not only how well putative biomedical advancements might be received, but where the public stands on inherent ethical and moral questions arising from their use.

Given previous trepidations and warnings from government whistleblowers such technology could easily be employed for less than benevolent purposes, results proved a startling level of both acceptance and eagerness.

Powertool

Norway to build world's first ever floating tunnel underwater

© NPRA
The Norwegian coast may be beautiful but with more than a thousand fjords cutting into it, getting from one place to another often requires lengthy journeys.

Norway's Public Roads Administration (NPRA) has an ambitious plan to solve the problem by building the world's first floating submerged tunnel system about 30 meters (100ft) underwater.

The $25 billion project will allow vehicles to travel under the Norwegian Sea avoiding a 21-hour drive along the coastline.

Sherlock

New research finds dinosaurs may have suffered one-two punch of cometary impact and widespread volcanic eruptions

© Shutterstock/Esteban De Armas
By this point, it was already too late.
What killed the dinosaurs?

That was a mystery for decades; when I was a kid, there were tons of ideas but precious little evidence for any of them, making them little more than speculation. In the late 1970s and early '80s, though, the hypothesis was put forward that a giant asteroid or comet impact did the deed, and over the years evidence mounted.

The impact idea gained wide acceptance, but some details remained stubbornly difficult to explain with a single catastrophic event. Another idea that started gaining traction was that a series of huge and sustained volcanic eruptions occurred for a couple of hundred thousand years before the impact. These were no ordinary eruptions; they formed the Deccan Traps, a soul-crushingly huge region in India consisting of igneous rock layers more than two kilometers deep and covering an area of 500,000 square kilometers.

Half a million square kilometers. Yeah: huge.

This long-lasting eruption did ecological damage across the planet, weakening life and killing species. The clock was ticking on the dinosaurs and so many other species. When the impact came, their time was up.

Question

Mysterious purple blob discovered on ocean floor off Californian coast

© Screen Capture
Mystery purple blob discovered on ocean floor.
We're not saying it's aliens, but a team of researchers has just discovered a glowing purple orb at the bottom of the ocean, and if you've ever seen The Abyss, I think you know how this will end.

While researching previously unmapped regions of the Channel Islands off the California coast, the research vessel Nautilus came across an unusual purple mass peeking out of a coral crevice. As the scientists zoomed in on the beautiful creature, they began wondering aloud what it could possibly be.

After guesses of everything from a species of plankton to a colorful egg sack, the team decided to use their deep sea rover's vacuum tube to grab the mystery species and bring it to the surface.

"This unidentified purple orb stumped our scientists onboard," Nautilus posted to its website. "After sampling, it began to unfold to reveal two distinct lobes. This could possibly be a new species of nudibranch."

Info

White dwarf blasts its red dwarf companion with mystery ray beam

Astronomers using ESO's Very Large Telescope, along with other telescopes on the ground and in space, have discovered a new type of exotic binary star. In the system AR Scorpii a rapidly spinning white dwarf star powers electrons up to almost the speed of light. These high energy particles release blasts of radiation that lash the companion red dwarf star, and cause the entire system to pulse dramatically every 1.97 minutes with radiation ranging from the ultraviolet to radio. The research will be published in the journal Nature on 28 July 2016.
© M. Garlick/University of Warwick/ESO
This artist’s impression shows the strange object AR Scorpii. In this unique double star a rapidly spinning white dwarf star (right) powers electrons up to almost the speed of light. These high energy particles release blasts of radiation that lash the companion red dwarf star (left) and cause the entire system to pulse dramatically every 1.97 minutes with radiation ranging from the ultraviolet to radio.
In May 2015, a group of amateur astronomers from Germany, Belgium and the UK came across a star system that was exhibiting behaviour unlike anything they had ever encountered. Follow-up observations led by the University of Warwick and using a multitude of telescopes on the ground and in space [1], have now revealed the true nature of this previously misidentified system.

The star system AR Scorpii, or AR Sco for short, lies in the constellation of Scorpius, 380 light-years from Earth. It comprises a rapidly spinning white dwarf [2], the size of Earth but containing 200 000 times more mass, and a cool red dwarf companion one third the mass of the Sun [3], orbiting one another every 3.6 hours in a cosmic dance as regular as clockwork.

In a unique twist, this binary star system is exhibiting some brutal behaviour. Highly magnetic and spinning rapidly, AR Sco's white dwarf accelerates electrons up to almost the speed of light. As these high energy particles whip through space, they release radiation in a lighthouse-like beam which lashes across the face of the cool red dwarf star, causing the entire system to brighten and fade dramatically every 1.97 minutes. These powerful pulses include radiation at radio frequencies, which has never been detected before from a white dwarf system.

Robot

Mass mind control: Human trials set to begin for brain implantation of DARPA microchips

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is in the process of making a neural-coding device capable of controlling artificial limbs when seeded in the brain. The device has had success in animal studies and the first human trials are set for 2017. The Pentagon has subsidized the institution $62 million to help foster this mind-control technology. Meanwhile, the mainstream media is pushing for the micochipping of children sooner rather than later.

During a recent televised report by NBC News, the news station purported the micro-chipping of children by the state was as normal as bar codes for consumers: "When barcodes first came out in the late 1960s, people were appalled. They were wary of them and did not understand the concept. Today, it is so commonplace, we don't even notice it. A microchip would work much in the same way."

This declaration is a reflection of the mentality of the mainstream media, which sees people as objects fit for labeling rather than persons with intrinsic moral value. Although DARPA touts the brain chips as a way to protect children, in actuality, this sort of technology has more to do with control than it does public safety.

Comment: Further reading:


Satellite

China to build secret 'orbital internet' using experimental quantum satellite network

© PA:Press Association
A Long March-2FT1 carrier rocket loaded with the unmanned Tiangong-1 blasts off from the launch pad at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China's Gansu in 2011.
China is preparing to begin building a super-secure version of the internet that's broadcast from up in SPACE.

Beijing is set to launch the world's first "quantum satellite" which is specifically designed to test out experimental communications technology.

Experts from the People's Republic believe their work will spark a second space race as Russia, Europe and America compete to master the technology.

"Definitely, I think there will be a race," said Chaoyang Lu, a physicist from the University of Science and Technology of China.

"If the first satellite goes well, China will definitely launch more."