Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Lightsaber-Inspired Weapon in the Works

A non-lethal weapon inspired by the lightsaber of Star Wars is being developed in the U.S. Unlike the one seen in the science-fiction movie series, it won't really have a laser blade that slices. Instead, it will be like a pulsing powerful flashlight that causes disorientation and nausea. It is thought to be useful for crowd control and other anti-personnel purposes. Human rights groups have expressed fear that it will be sold in the black market and used illicitly. In spite of this, research on the weapon continues.

On the left is a diagram of the fictional lightsaber of the Star Wars universe. Jedis can make these themselves, just like what Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) did.
There's more about this new weapon on i-Mash.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Glowing Rings of Uranus Pictured

This is the planet Uranus in pictures taken with it's rings on edge from the Earth's point of view. These were taken from the Keck observatory in Hawaii. The series of images show how the rings have changed in the past few years.

In related astronomy news, Queen guitarist Brian May finishes thesis for astronomy doctorate after 30 years.

For more news on entertainment and movies, go to Hots Up.

Mean Monster Shrimp Found in Mid Atlantic Ridge

This is one of the strange deep sea creatures found by a team of scientists in a recent underwater expedition to the deep sea mountain range of the Mid Atlantic Ridge. It is called a Phronima---transparent with its insides visible---in order to be practically invisible to predators. Still, it looks pretty mean by itself. It's head is reminiscent of a baboon's.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Google Earth Takes Off to Google Sky

Google is taking it's online services to extremes. If you think Google Earth is unbelievable, well, prepare to suspend your disbelief once more because now there's Google Sky! With it, you can go to any part of the sky and zoom in, just like what you can do on Google Earth. This will be a special treat for the armchair astronomer!

Read more and see a video demonstration of Google Sky in i-Mash.

Astronomers Find Nothing in Space

Astronomers have found an unbelievably vast region of space where there's nothing, as in there's no matter or even evidence of dark energy. It's like an abscess in space---a very big one!

Lawrence Rudnick, together with Shea Brown and Liliya R. Williams, all from the University of Minnesota, have reported the find. The researchers came to their conclusion using data from the NRAO VLA Sky Survey (NVSS), which imaged the whole of the sky visible to the Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope.

The empty region has been called the WMAP Cold Spot since it stood out like a sore thumb in the map of the Cosmic Background (CMB) radiation of the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotopy Probe (WMAP) satellite. It is some six to ten billion light years from Earth and a billion light years across. The nearest void to us is only 2 million light years away and it is thousands of times smaller.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Batteries that Draw on Body Heat for Power Coming for Cell Phones

Remember the movie trilogy of The Matrix, where people are used by machines as betteries? The idea of the body used as a source of power may not be only found in the realm of science-fiction. German scientists are already devising ways to enable small circuits to work with just enough electricity generated by heat from the body. They say that what's important is the difference between the temperature of the body and the environment. This way, a cellphone may be charged by just keeping it close to the body or warming it with the hands. For movie news, go to Hots Up.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

China Moves in on the Moon

The Moon is a favorite place to go to for countries who gain the economy, technology, and will to do so. It happened to the United States and Russia. Now, China plans to survey the whole of the Moon, land a rover on it, bring back samples, and then send taikonauts there and back all within 20 years. India and Japan have their own plans as well. It seems competition will keep the hands of the United States space program full again.