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Browsing the archives for the Science category.

Mysterious “Star Gate” over Norway

Photo: Jan Petter Jørgensen

Photo: Jan Petter Jørgensen

Wednesday morning, Norwegians all along the northern part of the country could observe a strange light phenomenon. Although I didn’t see it myself, for those who were awake and had clear sky it could be seen from Trøndelag in the south (where I live) up to Finnmark (bordering Russia).

Thousands of awe-struck Norwegians bombarded the Meteorological Institute to ask what the incredible light — that could be seen in the pre-dawn sky for hundreds of miles — could possibly be.

The phenomenon has been dubbed ‘Star-Gate’ — as the world’s top scientists and the military lined up to admit they were baffled. (The Sun)

Now, what could this thing be? Alien activity (of course, that’s my first guess anyway)? A meteor? Or maybe a Russian missile gone rogue?
Strange behaviour for a meteor, so that’s unlikely. The Russians shows good sportsmanship and denies they’ve had a faulty banger over the Arctic sea. The aliens have still not made a statement.

The stunning photo above was taken with long exposure by a tripod mounted camera, while the video below lets you see the last seconds of the two-minute spectacular show.

EDIT: Of course, didn’t take long for someone to come up with a boring, although admittedly plausible explanation:

by Vetle 0 comments Category: Science

Man controls robotic hand by thought

Photo: Shadow Robot Company (not related to article)

Photo: Shadow Robot Company (not related to article)

The Bio-Medical Campus University of Rome announced wednesday that they “successfully connected a robotic hand to a man, Petruzziello, who had lost an arm in a car accident, allowing him to control the prosthetic with his thoughts and feel sensations in the artificial limb. The experiment lasted a month. But scientists say it marks the first time an amputee has been able to make complex movements using his mind to control a biomechanic hand connected to his nervous system.” ( AP )

The €2 million project, funded by the EU, took five years to complete. The Italian test subject Petruzziello had hair thin wires connected to his nervous system for a month, and underwent a good deal of tests. “It felt almost the same as a real hand. They stimulated me a lot, even with needles … you can’t imagine what they did to me,” he says.

Italians are known for their vivid body language, and in such matter Petruzziello makes for a good test subject. During the month he learned to wiggle the fingers independently, make a fist and grab objects. Also, a neurologist says that some of the hand movements Petruzziello learned to use could not be disclosed as “they were quite vulgar”.

Read more at Associated Press.

Thanks, @taotad!

by Vetle 0 comments Category: Health and medicine, Science

Sugru, the magic modelling clay

I like to at least try to fix stuff before throwing it away.
An old tool that’s undergone numerous repairs and hacks will always be favourite to a brand new shiny tool, even though the new one probably does a better job. For me, it’s got to do with saving money, environment and feeling good about myself for fixing stuff. Prolonging life, sort of. Which, as an EMT, is what I do for a living as well, although I’ll never view patients as neither objects nor tools.

This clay, named “Sugru”, promises to fix just about everything, through magic, no less! -“Sugru’s magical properties mean it can hack almost anything better”. The website explains more, and shows more uses.

It costs a mere £7 (€7.7, $11.6, NOK65), and that even includes international shipping! I’ve ordered the Multi Hack Pack for myself, and might make a post later on telling about my experience with it.

via Core77 via BoingBoing

by Vetle 0 comments Category: Science

Making deserts into forests

Foto: VG Nett

Foto: Bellona

These two photos were taken in Oman two years apart, and shows the effect of the Sahara Forest Project.

The project is a joint effort with four parts involved: Michael Pawlyn (also contributor to the award-winning Eden Project), Charlie Paton, Bill Watts and, joined recently, the Bellona Foundation, a Norwegian enviromentalist group.

By using solar power sea water is pumped on land, where 4″ thick cardboard filters turns the salt water into fresh water, in turn used for irrigation inside the green house complex. In addition to the obvious plant growth on the inside, humidity leaking out of the complex will see to it that the surroundings also flourish, as shown in the photo on the left. As the dry desert sand is turned potent, one expects to see considerable tree growth and a change of environment.

The plan is to build these complexes in a massive scale, many thousands times the size of the Oman trial, right in the middle of the desert of Sahara. The green houses can be set to produce plants for food or algae for bio fuel, which could kill save two birds with one stone.

This could very well be what’s needed. Hopefully, our elected officials will realise this as they are presented with the results during the 2009 Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen a week from now.

by Vetle 0 comments Category: Science

What Earth would look like with rings like Saturn

Most interesting. And I caught myself feeling envious of those living closer to Equator. Up here, we wouldn’t see much of the rings at all (video shows how people in Malmö would see the rings, and Malmö is way south of where I live). Still, I suppose you’d grow tired of the rings fast anyway, so yay! I suppose.

by Vetle 2 comments Category: Science

Douglas Adams: Parrots, the universe and everything

This is a hour-and-a-half long video of Douglas Adams talking at the University of California | Santa Barbara in 2001. The video was made shortly before Adams sadly died of a heart attack, and shows his genious as comedian as well as his dedication to saving endagered species worldwide. I enjoyed this video very much.

by Vetle 0 comments Category: Humour, Science, Uncategorized

Radical-and-vintage-looking eco friendly ATV

Image: Tristan Hipps

Image: Tristan Hipps

This is the KTM RC4 concept ATV. Sooo cool.
The artist is designer Tristan Hipps, who’s got a stunning portfolio well worth a look.
Pivoting through corners on slicks running on lithium battery power, this thing would be perfect for city life. Now, if someone would just make one…

via thedesignblog

by Vetle 0 comments Category: Art, Science

100 year old whiskey IN the rocks

Photo: The Freedom Factory

Photo: The Freedom Factory

Two cases of McKinlay scotch whiskey has been found buried under snow and ice in Antarctica. The site is a former base camp for British polar explorer Ernest Shackleton who attempted to reach the south pole in 1909. Shackleton eventually abandoned his mission, leaving his base camp behind, including the whiskey.

“Whyte & Mackay, the drinks group that now owns McKinlay and Co., has asked for a sample of the 100-year-old scotch for a series of tests that could decide whether to relaunch the now-defunct Scotch.

Workers from New Zealand’s Antarctic Heritage Trust will use special drills to reach the crates, frozen in Antarctic ice under the Nimrod Expedition hut near Cape Royds.”

Of course, as the whiskey was left behind a hundred years ago, and whiskey takes a while to become, well, whiskey, it’s probably a hundred-and-then-some years. According to Whyte and Mackay, it should still be as tasty as it was back then, and if they manage to obtain a sample from it  they just might start reproduction.

CBS via BoingBoing

by Vetle 0 comments Category: Science

Clever-arse at Yahoo! Answers is actually clever

via geekologie

by Vetle 1 comment Category: Humour, Science

NASA finds water on the Moon!

October 9th, the Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satelite, LCROSS, released its probe “Centaur”, which, according to its plan, crashed into the surface of the Moon. The crash site was the crater Cabeus near the south pole on the dark side of the Moon. Lunar dust whirled up, and samples were taken of the air surrounding the Centaur right after impact. After having analysed the samples for a good while, NASA now states that the samples collected contains water!
Colonisation suddenly seems closer.

Read more: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/LCROSS/main/index.html

Arrow shows the crater created by the Centaur probe in the Cabeus floorbed. - Photo: NASA.gov
Arrow shows the crater created by the Centaur probe in the Cabeus floorbed. – Photo: NASA.gov

by Vetle 0 comments Category: Science

Baffled at “Sixth Sense Technology”!

Over at TED.com there are tons of very interesting videos of brilliant people cutting the edge of technology. Now, TED stands for Technology – Entertainment – Design, so you’ll find more than just tech talks too. I’ve seen a good few of these video presentations, but I don’t think any of them has made me actually clap my hands before. Before this one here. Truly amazing, with potential for turning the world as we know it upside down, if done right. And this is where it gets even better! It would be very easy for the people behind this technological revolution, that is project named “Sixth Sense Technology”, to get incredibly rich by selling their idea to any major company.

However!! (and I never use more than one exclamation point, so this is heavy shit!) This week, Pranav Mistry the inventor announced his system will be released as OPEN SOURCE very soon!

I bow my head in respect.

by Vetle 0 comments Category: Computers, Science

NASA attempts to free Mars Rover from sand trap

The Mars Rover

The Mars Rover - Image: NASA.gov

The Mars Rover first spun its wheels on the surface of Mars in 2004, and has spent almost 3000 Martian days on the red planet since then. In 2006 its left front wheel broke, and it’s been driving in reverse since, dragging the wheel along as it goes. In April 2009 the Mars Rover found itself in the middle of  a sand pit, and has been stuck there since then. Now, NASA will attempt to free the rover from the trap, an operation thought to take weeks.

Since its arrival in 2004, the Mars Rover has travelled 7.7 km, close to 5 miles, and has given us many spectacular, wonderful images of our barren neighbouring planet. More information and images at the NASA Mars Rover website.

Photo taken by the Mars Rover

Taken by the Mars Rover - Photo: NASA.gov

by Vetle 0 comments Category: Science

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