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Tue, 27 Jun 2017
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Mathematically-based model for a viable time machine

© Wallpaper Safari
Truth or Fiction?
After some serious number crunching, a researcher says that he has come up with a mathematical model for a viable time machine: a Traversable Acausal Retrograde Domain in Space-time (TARDIS). He describes it as a bubble of space-time geometry which carries its contents backward and forwards through space and time as it tours a large circular path. The bubble moves through space-time at speeds greater than the speed of light at times, allowing it to move backward in time.

Ben Tippett, a mathematics and physics instructor at UBC's Okanagan campus, recently published a study about the feasibility of time travel. Tippett, whose field of expertise is Einstein's theory of general relativity, studies black holes and science fiction when he's not teaching. Using math and physics, he has created a formula that describes a method for time travel.
"People think of time travel as something as fiction," says Tippett. "And we tend to think it's not possible because we don't actually do it. But, mathematically, it is possible."

Comment: Dr. Who knows if this is true and can be done!


Turn car plastics into foam with coconut oil

© Dominican News Online
End-of-life vehicles, with their plastic, metal and rubber components, are responsible for millions of tons of waste around the world each year. Now, one team reports in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering that the plastic components in these vehicles can be recycled with coconut oil and re-used as foams for the construction, packaging and automotive industries.

Recycled polycarbonate (PC) and polyurethane (PUR) are ideal for building insulation, refrigerators, cushions and packaging products. But it can be challenging for plastic car components to get to that point. Some plastic wastes from vehicles can be easily reprocessed; however, PC and PUR materials require a more arduous chemical recycling method. In addition, paints and coatings on PC and PUR plastics from cars typically interfere with the process, causing the recycled product to deteriorate. And simply adding some types of recycled PC and PUR materials to existing insulation foams, for example, can make the foams too dense or brittle.

Although researchers have developed various chemical recycling techniques, very few have tried to make useable products with them. Hynek Beneš, Aleksander Prociak and colleagues wanted to take a new approach to converting PC and PUR into recycled materials, with the hopes of increasing their applications.

The researchers previously had shown that coconut oil could degrade PC. Here, the team developed a way to recover PC and PUR from waste car plastics with coconut oil and microwaves. This created a renewable and recycled product that did not degrade. This product can be combined with an existing foam and the integrity of the insulation foam is maintained. Furthermore, this new material was stable at high temperatures, making it ideal for incorporation into insulating materials for the construction industry.

Comment: Waste not. Repurpose.


Pilotless commercial jetliners coming soon

© AP Photo/Elaine Thompson
Worker maneuver the cover of a engine into place on a Boeing 777 jet at the company's manufacturing plant, Monday, Feb. 14, 2011, in Everett, Wash.
Aerospace company Boeing, the world's largest planemaker, wants to put pilotless jetliners to flight tests in 2018.

"The basic building blocks of the technology clearly are available," Boeing's vice president of product development Mike Sinnett said at a briefing ahead of the Paris Air Show later this month, pointing out that self-flying drones are already available for less than $1000.

The number of pilots helming a jetliner has dropped from three to two in recent years, and onboard flight computers already have the ability to take off, cruise and land without human operation.

According to the Aviation Safety Network, regulators still need to be sold on the idea, as certification for the technology doesn't yet exist. The planes would also need to meet air travel safety standards.

"I have no idea how we're going to do that," Sinnett, a pilot himself, said. "But we're studying it right now and we're developing those algorithms."


Babies are attracted to face-like images while still in the womb

© Ton Koene / Global Look Press
Fetuses are attracted to face-like images before they have encountered any real-life face, according to a groundbreaking study. The research found that they turn their heads towards such images more than other shapes while still in the womb.

The study, published in the journal Current Biology, projected light in the form of red dots through the uterine walls of 39 women who were 34 weeks pregnant.

The three dots were presented in both upright and inverted positions. The upright positions resembled face-like stimuli with the dots acting as two eyes and a mouth.

The scientists observed the fetuses' responses to the light by using a 4D ultrasound, and found that they turned their heads more often to look at the face-like stimuli.

Comment: See also: Babies learn to recognize words in the womb


US Air Force announces SpaceX to launch mysterious X-37B 'spaceplane'

X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle mission 4.
SpaceX will take over the launch of the US Air Force's secretive X-37B 'spaceplane' - a first for Elon Musk's aerospace company.

All four previous X-37B missions were overseen by United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin who launched the ship from atop one of its Atlas V rockets.

Director of the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office Randy Walden said of the announcement:
"We are excited about this new partnership on creating flexible and responsive launch options and are confident in SpaceX's ability to provide safe and assured access to space for the X-37B program."
The X-37B is boosted into space by a launch vehicle. It then re-enters the Earth's atmosphere and lands as a spaceplane.


China reveals moon mission landing site in quest to retrieve first soil samples since 1976

© Reuters
Chinese space officials have revealed details about the country's ambitious lunar mission, which would be the first to return soil samples to Earth since the Soviet Luna 24 expedition in 1976. Beijing is also planning to have a fully-functioning space station by 2022.

The China National Space Administration (CNSA) has chosen the Mons Rumker region of the moon as the landing site for the upcoming Chang'e 5 mission, Liu Jizhong, director of the Chinese agency's lunar exploration program, told an international conference.

The site, which was named in honor of German astronomer Karl Rumker, is a volcanic formation in the northwest part of the visible side of the satellite.


New study: Threat of asteroid collision on Earth higher than previously thought

© Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
The likelihood of an asteroid smashing into Earth is increasing, according to new research from a team of Czech scientists which discovered new asteroids traveling around our planet.

The team studied 144 large meteors from the Taurids, a meteor stream which appears in our skies twice a year. The group discovered a new branch of the phenomenon containing at least two asteroids measuring a whopping 200-300 meters (220-330 yards) in diameter.

This branch likely includes even larger undiscovered asteroids, according to a statement from the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.



Russian scientists conclude bears eat wood as vitamin supplement

The research revealed that the wood contains various anti-oxidants and probiotics

© Yuri Smetyuk/TASS
Vladivostok-based researchers unveiled ground-breaking discoveries about the composition of wood tissue, which bears inhabiting the Primorsky Region and the island of Sakhalin like to eat, the press office of Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) said. It turns out that the wood studied contains various anti-oxidants and probiotics, which the researchers believe is a nutritional supplement essential for carnivores which help sustain healthy gut bacteria (microflora).

In the future, such research might help contribute to creating new natural medications.


Two new moons discovered around Jupiter, bring total to 69

© Scott Sheppard
The great majority of Jupiter's 69 known moons travel in retrograde orbits, meaning they travel in the direction opposite the planet's spin.
The advent of monster telescopes equipped with super-sensitive, wide-field detectors has been a boon for astronomical discoveries, among them a bevy of tiny moonlets around the outer planets. For example, observations made from 2000 to 2003 yielded 46 moons around Jupiter — more than two-thirds of the planet's total!

Now astronomer Scott Sheppard (Carnegie Institution for Science) has added two more to the planet's extended family, bringing the total of known moons to 69. The announcements for S/2016 J 1 and S/2017 J 1 ("S" for satellite, "J" for Jupiter) came via Minor Planet Electronic Circulars issued on June 2nd and June 5th, respectively.

As Sheppard explains, "We were continuing our survey looking for very distant objects in the outer solar system, which includes looking for Planet X, and Jupiter just happened to be in the area we were looking in 2016 and 2017." So they took a minor detour to image some fields that were very close to Jupiter.


Company hopes to re-animate the brain dead with stem cells, peptides and lasers

The first attempts to bring people back from the dead are slated to start this year.

Bioquark, a Philadelphia-based company, announced in late 2016 that they believe brain death is not 'irreversible'.

And now, CEO Ira Pastor has revealed they will soon be testing an unprecedented stem cell method on patients in an unidentified country in Latin America, confirming the details in the next few months.

To be declared officially dead in the majority of countries, you have to experience complete and irreversible loss of brain function, or 'brain death'.

According to Pastor, Bioquark has developed a series of injections that can reboot the brain - and they plan to try it out on humans this year.

They have no plans to test on animals first.