Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
This week in New York, the American Museum of Natural History unveiled something never before seen: an 11-by-4-foot tapestry made completely of spider silk.
"The spiders are harnessed ... held down in a delicate way," Godley says, "so you need people to do this who are very tactile so the spiders are not harmed. So there's a chain of about 80 people who go out every morning at four o'clock, collect spiders, we get them in by 10 o'clock. They're in boxes, they're numbered, and then as they get silked, about 20 minutes later, they get released back into nature."
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Wiki: A cube of 9×9×9 (729 in total) spherical balls are suspended on cables that run the full 32 metres height of the main atrium of the newly designed building. These spheres, controlled by a computer running Python scripts, can move themselves independently of each other, forming dynamic shapes, characters and fluid-like motions that reflects the nature of the stock market itself. The sculpture opens the market each morning at 8am, with the spheres breaking free from their default cube arrangement to form elegant patterns and shapes.Video
Friday, September 25, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
"A large portion of the moon's surface may be covered with water. That is the surprising finding of a trio of spacecraft that have turned up evidence of trace amounts of the substance in the lunar soil. ... The first detection was made by India's Chandrayaan-1 probe. The spacecraft, which failed in August after less than 10 months in orbit, was the first lunar orbiter to carry an instrument capable of measuring how much light is absorbed by water-bearing minerals.
"There's nothing else it could be," says Carle Pieters of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, leader of the Chandrayaan-1 instrument team that made the detection. ... But seemingly not in great quantities. Harvesting water from a baseball-field-sized swathe of soil might field "a nice glass of water", Pieters told New Scientist. Nonetheless, it might provide a resource for future lunar explorers."
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
The BBC wildlife expert Chris Packham has questioned the millions spent trying to save the giant panda from extinction and suggested that the bamboo-eating bear should be allowed to die out "with a degree of dignity". The zoologist, who has replaced Bill Oddie as a presenter on BBC's Springwatch, risked criticism from wildlife conservationists in an interview with the Radio Times in which he describes the giant panda as a "T-shirt animal" on which too much conservation money is wasted. "Here is a species that, of its own accord, has gone down an evolutionary cul-de-sac. It's not a strong species," he said. "Unfortunately, it's big and cute and a symbol of the World Wide Fund for Nature and we pour millions of pounds into into panda conservation "I reckon we should pull the plug. Let them go, with a degree of dignity." More...
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
The Music Animation Machine displays a score without any measures or clefs, in which information about the music's structure is conveyed with bars of color representing the notes. These bars scroll across the screen as the music plays. Their position on the screen tells you their pitch and their timing in relation to each other. Different colors denote different instruments or voices, thematic material, or tonality. And each note lights up at the exact moment it sounds, so you can't lose your place.Some examples:
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
The booster rocket that is to push U.S. manned space flight back on track, to the moon and beyond, passed its first real test firing Thursday (sept 10) in front of the engineers who built it and NASA officials who say it's the only way to fly. More...
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
Norman Borlaug, who died on September 12 aged 95, won the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize for his achievement in promoting the use of more productive cereal strains in order to feed the world’s vast population of the starving; his efforts to introduce hybrid cereal varieties into agricultural production in Pakistan, India, Mexico and other developing countries are estimated to have saved about a thousand million people from dying of hunger. Borlaug spent his life on the borders of traditional agriculture and biotechnology and stood at the centre of the greatest and most dramatic success stories in world farming — the so-called “Green Revolution” of the 1960s. Perhaps more than anyone else, he was responsible for the fact that throughout the postwar era, except in sub-Saharan Africa, global food production has expanded faster than the human population, averting the mass starvations that were once widely predicted. But Borlaug’s “Green Revolution” was not “green” in the modern sense. High yields demanded artificial fertiliser, chemical pesticides and new soil technology. As a result of this he was vilified by many in the environmental movement in the securely affluent West, some of whom argued that higher food production sustains more people and thus poses a threat to the natural environment. More...Norman Borlaug @ wiki What bothers me most is the criticism this man has received from rich naive misanthropic ecotards in the west. They've always argued that saving the population of the developing countries was a bad thing, because it would destroy the environment with all the extra people and scary chemicals. This is just ridiculous, firstly from a humanitarian standpoint. How can any compassionate person argue that letting people starve and die in inevitable wars that follow hunger is a good thing? But even from a rational ecological standpoint feeding the developing world was and is a good idea. If these people were starving, do you really think that they would have preserved their forests? No, they would cut them down for extra agricultural lands. High yielding agriculture puts less pressure on the environment because it concentrates farming to a smaller area. Furthermore, the only way for these countries to develop is by having a stable food supply. Once there is enough food, less people have to farm, and more people move to the city. Development has always led to reductions in fertility. Just look at the west where some countries even have negative population growth. Once the developing countries are sufficiently developed, then they can start worrying about the environment.