30 sept. 2004

Robot uses whiskers to get around

NewScientist.com

A robot with real mouse whiskers could represent an important step towards developing simple robots that navigate by mimicking rodents. Such whiskered machines could eventually be used to perform repairs in pipes.

The bristly bot, known as AMouse (Artificial Mouse) was built by researchers from the University of Tokyo in Japan and the University of Zurich in Switzerland. It uses real mouse whiskers because simulations have shown these to be the perfect size and shape for the task, but artificial whiskers will also be developed eventually.

29 sept. 2004

Optical technique promises terabyte disks

Newscientist.com

A novel method of optical data storage could soon be used to hold a terabyte of data on a disk the size of a normal DVD, say researchers at Imperial College London, UK.

Information is encoded on a normal DVD in the form of microscopic indents on the surface of the disk. The presence or absence of an indent corresponds to a binary piece of information - a ‘1’ or a ‘0’. Indents are detected by beaming light onto a disk with a laser and measuring the amount of light that bounces back.

Using tracks embedded at several depths within a disk, it is possible to store more data on the highest capacity disks. Multilayer DVDs hold about 16 gigabytes of data, which equals about 8 hours of high quality video.

But the researchers realised that the polarity of light might also be used to encode information. They developed a type of disk that incorporates angled ridges within the pits in order to subtly alter the polarity of the light that gets reflected. This can be used to store 10 times’ more data than is currently possible, they say.

27 sept. 2004

La NASA mandará una sonda a Plutón en el año 2006

IBLNews.com

La NASA ha puesto en marcha sus planes para iniciar la exploración de Plutón con el viaje de la sonda 'New Horizons', que tardará casi diez años en llegar al más distante y pequeño de los planetas del Sistema Solar. Según los plazos, la nave partirá de Cabo Cañaveral en enero de 2006

24 sept. 2004

La Agencia Espacial Europea descubre una colisión de galaxias

elmundo.es

Un grupo internacional de astrónomos ha utilizado datos del Observatorio XMM de la Agencia Espacial Europea para descubrir una enorme colisión de grupos galácticos, se informó oficialmente este viernes.

En una conferencia de prensa telefónica, los astrónomos dijeron que el choque estelar es como la colisión de dos grandes frentes meteorológicos en la Tierra y ocupa un espacio cósmico de unos tres millones de años luz, es decir de unos 283,5 billones de kilómetros.

Sin embargo, advirtieron de que no representa ningún peligro para la Tierra, pues está ocurriendo a unos 800 millones de años luz.

"El panorama del clima cósmico muestra una tormenta y el pronóstico de buen tiempo es bueno a largo plazo, es decir unos 7.000 millones de años", dijo Patrick Henry, astrónomo de la Universidad de Hawai.

Uno de los grupos galácticos está integrado por unas mil galaxias y el otro es de 300, similar al del conjunto estelar donde reside la Vía Láctea.

Los científicos señalaron que los datos proporcionados por el Observatorio de la Agencia Espacial Europea son los mejores que se tienen hasta ahora de la violenta fusión de galaxias.

Según señalaron, con esos datos podrán aprender cómo se formaron esas enormes constelaciones en las primeras etapas del desarrollo del Universo.

Ancient sea creature sucked in prey

newscientist.com

A bizarre marine reptile used a neck nearly twice the length of its body to capture its prey, 230 million years ago. Fish saw only its small head in murky waters and, when they came too close, the animal quickly expanded its formidable throat to suck in its dinner.

The astonishing length of the neck of Dinocephalosaurus was revealed when a near complete skeleton was unearthed in China by Chun Li of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, in Beijing. The length took researchers by surprise, since the reptile had previously been known from only a fossil skull.

21 sept. 2004

Marte: datos reveladores

BBC.co.uk

Nueva información obtenida sobre los patrones de distribución del vapor de agua y el gas metano en la atmósfera de Marte, puede tener importantes repercusiones en la hipótesis de la existencia de vida en el planeta rojo.

Estos datos fueron provistos por la sonda espacial de la Agencia Espacial Europea, Mars Express.

Si el gas metano existente en la atmósfera marciana es producido por microbios, estos a su vez dependen del agua para vivir.

Y es precisamente esta relación entre estas dos ideas, lo que ha despertado el interés de los científicos.

19 sept. 2004

Weight-Loss challenge

USATODAY.com

How much physical activity do you need to do to lose weight and improve your health? Most experts recommend at least 30 minutes a day of moderate-intensity activity for health benefits, but many say 45 to 60 minutes is necessary if you're trying to lose weight and keep it off.

18 sept. 2004

Code created for shape-shifting robots

Newscientist.com

Robots that change shape and even split into smaller parts to explore unfamiliar terrain could soon be feasible thanks to new algorithms designed to enable such metamorphic tricks.

Zack Butler and colleagues at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, US, developed algorithms to control robots made from identical components, each capable of moving on their own but also able to attach to one another. As this is beyond current hardware, they constructed virtual modular bots and used a software simulator to test them.

The modular robot can move along as a complete unit, built up of around 100 smaller parts. But when faced with an impassable obstacle, some of these modules can detach and proceed as a smaller unit, or even on their own.

Once the obstacle has been passed, however, the smaller units will automatically recombine into the larger whole, enabling them to travel over different terrain once more.

16 sept. 2004

Software bug raises spectre of 'JPEG of death'

Newscientist.com

Flawed software code used by numerous Microsoft applications to render images mean that a specially constructed image file could hijack a computer or spread a virus.

Ten years ago the idea of an image infecting a computer was the subject of a hoax email. But what was once a myth is now a genuine threat after Microsoft disclosed a flaw in the image processing code used in a range of its software programs on Tuesday.

Some experts blame the new threat on shoddy programming. "In a properly coded world, a graphic should not be able to infect your computer," says Graham Cluley, senior researcher with the UK-based anti-virus firm Sophos. "It should be impossible."

So far, no one is known to have exploited the flaw and Cluley says it is far from certain anyone will develop a computer virus based on it. But code designed to exploit the bug could appear on the internet soon, and this is often the first step towards the creation of a hacking tool or virus based on the flaw.

11 sept. 2004

Article: Self-sustaining killer robot creates a stink

NewScientist.com

It may eat flies and stink to high heaven, but if this robot works, it will be an important step towards making robots fully autonomous.

To survive without human help, a robot needs to be able to generate its own energy. So Chris Melhuish and his team of robotics experts at the University of the West of England in Bristol are developing a robot that catches flies and digests them in a special reactor cell that generates electricity.

9 sept. 2004

Hallan en Marte un antiguo mar de superficie superior al Báltico

elmundo.es

Los dos vehículos de exploración de la NASA que rastrean la superficie de Marte, el 'Opportunity' y el 'Spirit', han descubierto que en el Planeta Rojo pudo existir un gran mar con una superficie superior a la del mar Báltico o a la de los Grandes Lagos.

Según un artículo que publica el último número de la revista 'Nature', la región que rodea a la zona de aterrizaje de los vehículos pudo tener una masa de agua superior a los 330.000 kilómetros cuadrados.

8 sept. 2004

Proponen Arca de Noé lunar

bbc.co.uk

El jefe científico de la Agencia Espacial Europea, Bernard Foing, propuso la creación de una especie de Arca de Noé en la Luna en caso de que la Tierra sea destruida por un asteroide o un holocausto.

El científico sugirió crear un banco con el ADN de cada una de las especies de plantas y animales sobre el planeta.

Foing es el encargado de las misiones europeas a la Luna.

Su preocupación es que en caso de que la Tierra se enfrente con un cataclismo global quede poco o nada de la rica diversidad del planeta, lo cual se vería solventado mediante la construcción de un archivo de ADN en la Luna.

6 sept. 2004

5 sept. 2004

Encyclopedia Mythica: mythology, folklore, and religion.

pantheon.org

The Encyclopedia Mythica is an online encyclopedia on mythology, folklore, and legends. It currently contains over 6,100 entries on gods and goddesses, heroes, legendary creatures and beings from all over the world.

Medieval_Logistics

au.af.mil

Viewing military logistics of the Middle Ages by modern standards provides insight into today's Quartermaster functions. This study will compare some modern classes of supply - Class I (subsistence), Class II (clothing and individual equipment), Class III (petroleum, oils and lubricants), Class IV (construction materiel), Class V (ammunition), Class VI (personal demand items such as sundry packs), Class VII (major end items such as trucks and tanks), Class VIII (medical supplies) and Class IX (repair parts) - to the supply systems that dominated military campaigns in the Middle Ages, 1000 to 1400 AD. The logistical functions of manning, arming, fueling, fixing, sustaining and moving will overlay the comparisons.

3 sept. 2004

Mysterious signals from 1000 light years away

newscientist.com

In February 2003, astronomers involved in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) pointed the massive radio telescope in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, at around 200 sections of the sky.

The same telescope had previously detected unexplained radio signals at least twice from each of these regions, and the astronomers were trying to reconfirm the findings. The team has now finished analysing the data, and all the signals seem to have disappeared. Except one, which has got stronger.

This radio signal, now seen on three separate occasions, is an enigma. It could be generated by a previously unknown astronomical phenomenon. Or it could be something much more mundane, maybe an artefact of the telescope itself.

But it also happens to be the best candidate yet for a contact by intelligent aliens in the nearly six-year history of the SETI@home project, which uses programs running as screensavers on millions of personal computers worldwide to sift through signals picked up by the Arecibo telescope.

Exploded View's

okiegunsmithshop

Here are some exploded firearms drawings and parts lists. As time and space permit I will do more. If you would like to see a specific drawing here, that information to me. Thanks.

1 sept. 2004

Astrónomos estadounidenses descubren dos planetas del tamaño de la Tierra

elmundo.es

Una semana después de que astrónomos europeos anunciaran el descubrimiento del "planeta extrasolar más pequeño", la agencia espacial de Estados Unidos ha proclamado el hallazgo de otros dos planetas ajenos al Sistema Solar de menor tamaño. Los astros son de un tamaño similar a la Tierra y de una masa comparable a la de Neptuno.

"Estos son descubrimientos excitantes, muy importantes", dijo Anne Kinney, directora de ciencias de la agencia espacial estadounidense (NASA), en una conferencia de prensa en la que se presentaron los hallazgos de dos equipos de astrónomos.