Posts

July 24, 2014

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3:20 AM | Week 9: Of Nukes and Travel Nuances
Cue spaceship… it’s Devil’s Tower! Terror is laying awake in a tent the middle of the night in a South Dakota summer thunderstorm, listening to the tree limbs crack in the distance and waiting for the “half-dollar – do they still make half dollars? – sized hail” that the weather radio promises to arrive. Luckily, [...]
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12:01 AM | Week 9: Of Nukes and Travel Nuances
Cue spaceship… it’s Devil’s Tower! Terror is laying awake in a tent the middle of the night in a South Dakota summer thunderstorm, listening to the tree limbs crack in the distance and waiting for the “half-dollar – do they still make half dollars? – sized hail” that the weather radio promises to arrive. Luckily, [...]

July 23, 2014

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9:55 PM | Astronaut Sees 'Explosions and Rockets' Over Gaza and Israel
In a Twitter update posted by European Space Agency astronaut Alex Gerst the conflict in Gaza and Israel has taken an orbital twist. Continue reading →
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8:02 PM | LightSail-A Has a Blown Radio Amplifier. Now What?
LightSail-A's blown radio amplifier doesn't affect the 2016 SpaceX Falcon Heavy mission, but it adds an unwelcome obstacle to the 2015 test mission's ever-shortening timetable.
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5:00 PM | Rocketcam Video of the SpaceX Falcon Booster Splashing Down in the Atlantic
The private company SpaceX has been making amazing strides in making it easier and cheaper to access space. Besides three missions to resupply the space station under its belt, it’s also looking for ways to reuse the first stage booster of the Falcon 9 rocket. Engineers there have been testing hardware and software to do a soft vertical landing of the booster after it’s used to loft a payload into orbit. Their last vertical take off and landing test earlier this year was a success, […]
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4:57 PM | Un sistema laser avrebbe potuto salvare il volo MH17?
Sono ancora molti i misteri che avvolgono il disastro aereo del volo MH17 della Malaysia Airlines. Quello che si sa è che l’aereo è stato colpito da un missile S-300 o da un Buk, anche se non si hanno ancora certezze sugli autori dell’attacco. Per ora la compagnia ha deciso di evitare lo spazio aereo ucraino, spostando i suoi voli sulla Siria (una scelta che suscita non poche perplessità), ma sono in molti a chiedersi cosa si può fare oggi per migliorare […]
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4:10 PM | Ecco l'idrogeno ecologico ed efficiente
Come si produce idrogeno in maniera pulita e sicura? Partendo da alcoli rinnovabili estratti da biomasse (ad esempio gli scarti agricoli). A scoprirlo è stato un team di ricercatori dell’Istituto di chimica dei composti organometallici del Consiglio nazionale delle ricerche (Iccom-Cnr) di Firenze, in uno studio pubblicato su Nature Communications. “Comunemente l’idrogeno si ottiene dal metano, un metodo che produce CO2 e quindi inquina”, spiega Francesco Vizza, […]
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4:00 PM | Nessuna concordanza cosmologica con i neutrini ‘massicci’
Secondo il modello standard della fisica fondamentale, è noto che i neutrini, detti anche “particelle fantasma” per il fatto che essi interagiscono a mala pena con la materia, non hanno massa. Nonostante esistano tutta una serie di evidenze sul fatto che la loro massa non sia esattamente zero, essa rimane incerta non essendo stata misurata definitivamente. Si […]
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3:40 PM | Transiting Alien World with Longest Year Discovered
A newfound alien planet is one for the record books.
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3:00 PM | My 2014 Comic-Con Schedule
Starting tomorrow is the madhouse that is San Diego Comic-Con, and I’ll be there. I’m moderating two panels and participating in a third, and it’s always way more fun than I remember it being (and I remember it being a lot of fun). Just in case any BABloggees are going, here’s my schedule for your edification: Thursday, July 24 at 12:45 p.m.: Behind the Scenes of Sci Fi in Movies and on TV (Room 6DE) I’m moderating this panel of four incredible people: Nicky […]
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2:33 PM | Il segreto della felicità nei geni dei danesi
Stando al World Happiness Report del 2013 delle Nazioni unite, la Danimarca è la nazione con i cittadini più felici del mondo. Sarà per il clima? Sembra difficile. Il merito, in effetti, potrebbe essere tutto della genetica. A sostenerlo sono i ricercatori del Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy della University of Warwick, in uno studio apparso tra i discussion paper del tedesco Institute for the Study of Labor (Iza). I risultati dimostrerebbero […]
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2:32 PM | White House and Congress mark the 45th anniversary of Apollo 11
On Tuesday, the White House hosted a private event with the two surviving members of the Apollo 11 crew, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, along with Neil Armstrong’s widow, Carol, and NASA administrator Charles Bolden. The White House has traditionally hosted the Apollo 11 crew on five-year anniversaries like this; previously, President Obama met with [...]
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2:13 PM | Nature’s roadblock to hurricane prediction
The quiet Atlantic hurricane season of 2013 came as a surprise to many, as seasonal forecasts had consistently predicted an unusually large crop of named storms. A new study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, finds that internal variability—processes that unfold without being dictated by larger-scale features—can make one season twice as active as another, even when El Niño and other large-scale […]
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2:12 PM | Are geniuses like Einstein superhuman?
In the fine (?) tradition of headlines like this, the answer is “no”: Einstein was not superhuman. However, no single figure is more associated with the word “genius” in popular culture, and there’s no denying he contributed a great deal to 20th century physics. Therein lies the paradox of dealing with Einstein: as with Richard […]
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11:55 AM | July 23rd: A Journey to the Edge of the Universe
Podcaster: Richard Drumm
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11:49 AM | Anche gli aerei seguono l'evoluzione
I costruttori e i designer di aeroplani di tutto il mondo sono avvisati: niente code enormi, tripla fusoliera o altre stranezze. Gli aerei di linea del futuro dovranno mantenere, sostanzialmente, il design attuale. A sostenerlo è Adrian Bejan, che in uno studio pubblicato sul Journal of Applied Physics analizza come l'industria aeronautica abbia ormai trovato una forma “vincente” che, seppur con qualche modifica, dovrebbe continuare a dettare il design del futuro. Bejan, […]
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11:30 AM | The Longest Year
I don’t usually write about newly discovered record-breaking objects found by astronomers, because in general it’s not long before that record falls. But in this case, I’ll make an exception for Kepler-421b. It has the longest year—that is, it has the longest orbital period around its star—for any exoplanet yet seen. That by itself is enough to make this an interesting object, but even cooler (literally) is where that puts this planet: Far enough from its star that […]
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8:00 AM | The Ritual of Red Ochre
Sarah dipped her fingers in mineral paint and lifted them to her face. Standing on the bold, white surface of the Harding Icefield in south-central Alaska, she painted brown-red stride-marks across wind-dried skin. We were several days into a trek by skis, ropes, sleds and backpacks, and were as far out as we’d get. She […]
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7:08 AM | Come verrà smantellata la Costa Concordia
Finite le operazioni di rigalleggiamento, il relitto della Costa Concordia è (finalmente) pronto a ripartire. Destinazione: il porto di Genova Voltri (no Piombino o la Turchia come si era vociferato prima della designazione ufficiale) dove dovrebbe arrivare domenica prossima. Modalità di trasferimento: rimorchio (con due rimorchiatori a prua e due ausiliari a poppa). Velocità media: due nodi. Spazio da percorrere: circa 200 miglia nautiche […]
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6:55 AM | I 128 geni legati alla schizofrenia
La più grande ricerca sulle basi genetiche di un disturbo psichiatrico, con la tecnica del genome-wide association study, o Gwas, ha portato di recente all’identificazione di 128 varianti geniche coinvolte nella schizofrenia. Si tratta di variazioni localizzate in 108 specifiche posizioni dei cromosomi dei pazienti, 83 delle quali non erano mai state associate prima alla malattia. Lo studio, pubblicato su Nature, è stato condotto dallo Schizophrenia Working Group dello […]
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5:19 AM | Cosmic Minute: Watch Your Cork!
Did you know where wine corks come from? Spoiler Alert –yes, pun intended- as Neil deGrasse Tyson, host of StarTalk Radio talks about where wine corks come from and the chemical effect they may have on the next glass of wine you have in your hand. If you like this track, be sure to check out the whole “Wit and Wisdom about Wine” episode at http://www.startalkradio.net/show/wit-and-wisdom-about-wine/.
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4:00 AM | Girocronologia delle stelle simili al Sole
Definire una stella di tipo solare è alquanto complicato analogamente al caso dei pianeti di tipo terrestre. Un gemello del Sole dovrebbe avere una temperatura, massa e spettro simile alla nostra stella. Inoltre, anche in termini di età ci aspettiamo che esso abbia almeno 4,5 miliardi di anni. Ad ogni modo, determinare l’età di una […]
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2:45 AM | What happens when the largest objects meet their twins? (Synopsis)
“Art has a double face, of expression and illusion, just like science has a double face: the reality of error and the phantom of truth.” -Publilius Syrus Out in the depths of space, objects range from the incredibly small and low mass to the huge and super-heavy, shrinking down again for the most ultra-massive objects…

July 22, 2014

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11:11 PM | Why Has the Sun Gone So Quiet?
Although the sun is our nearest star, we certainly don't have it all figured out. Continue reading →
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8:53 PM | Watch the Falcon 9 make a soft landing in the ocean!
After heavy seas swamped out a previous attempt to record video of a Falcon 9 test-landing in the Atlantic Ocean, SpaceX today released video of this month's trial.  After launching a series of satellites for ORBCOMM, the first stage of the rocket turned its engines back on for a controlled descent back to the surface.  The video, seen below, picks up partway through this return.  Once reaching the surface, the Falcon 9 gently touches down before tipping over into the sea. […]
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7:00 PM | 'Transformer' Pulsar is More Than Meets the Eye
Astronomers may have not yet found Cybertron but this "transforming" pulsar definitely has a shape-shifting double personality. Continue reading →
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6:28 PM | Apollo 11 Touches Down in the Oval Office: Big Pic
Apollo 11 astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins met with President President Barack Obama today to commemorate the 45th anniversary since mankind first set foot on the moon. Continue reading →
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4:55 PM | Oso disaster had its roots in earlier landslides
The disastrous March 22 landslide that killed 43 people in the rural Washington state community of Oso involved the "remobilization" of a 2006 landslide on the same hillside, a new federally sponsored geological study concludes.
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4:07 PM | Planetary science review to be released soon
The long-awaited—apprehensively, in some quarters—senior review of NASA planetary science missions is effectively complete and will be publicly released in the next week or two, a NASA official said Monday. “The planetary senior review, from a scientific report standpoint, has just been completed,” said Jim Green, director of NASA’s planetary science division, in a presentation [...]
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3:57 PM | Women Working on Mars: Curiosity Women's Day
Just after completing the primary mission of 669 sols on Mars, Curiosity's managers planned a special day -- June 26, 2014 -- in which mostly women were assigned to the more than 100 different operational roles.
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