Radioactive Tree Sharks in Space

GeekSpeak for 2011-02-19

This is what happens when you don’t send the Sun a Valentine’s Day gift.


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HowStuffWorks "How GM's Hy-wire Works"

Cars are immensely complicated machines, but when you get down to it, they do an incredibly simple job. Most of the complex stuff in a car is dedicated to turning wheels, which grip the road to pull the car body and passengers along. The steering system tilts the wheels side to side to turn the car, and brake and acceleration systems control the speed of the wheels.

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GM Hy-Wire "Car of the Future"

BBC’s James May test drives the GM Hy-Wire concept car. The car uses hydrogen fuel cell propulsion and drive “by-wire” technology.  

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s of Technology: Electric Vehicles Attract Rats

Your Chevy Volt may draw adoring smiles from that cute, crunchy barista you’ve been eyeing at the coffee shop, but be advised: it may also draw rats. At least that was the experience of Cars.com correspondent Joe Wiesenfelder, who was forced to confront an unforeseen problem with the website’s Volt after a rodent made a cozy home among the car’s warm batteries.

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Ants Build Cheapest Networks

“An interdisciplinary study of ant colonies that live in several, connected nests has revealed a natural tendency toward [Steiner Trees|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steiner_tree_problem], networks that require the minimum amount of trail.”

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Speaking 2 languages may delay getting Alzheimer's

WASHINGTON – Mastering a second language can pump up your brain in ways that seem to delay getting Alzheimer’s disease later on, scientists said Friday.
Never learned to habla or parlez? While the new research focuses mostly on the truly long-term bilingual, scientists say even people who tackle a new language later in life stand to gain.
The more proficient you become, the better, but “every little bit helps,” said Ellen Bialystok, a psychology professor at York University in Toronto.

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IntoNow for iPhone

IntoNow, Free, iPhone. Shazam for your TV. That pretty much sums it up. Basically everything that’s been broadcast on TV in the last five years (on the top 130 stations or so, that is) has a unique soundprint that can ID the show. IntoNow listens for a few seconds, searches the soundprint database, and tells you which episode of which show you’re watching (or which movie, if it’s been broadcast in the last few years). Then it’ll spit out a bunch of relevant links and give you options to broadcast what you’re watching on Twitter, FB, etc. It even works on stuff you’re watching on Hulu or episodes of TV you downloaded off the internet. Impressive!

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Sun releases massive solar flare

The sun has produced its largest flare in four years, observers say, prompting warnings of potential interference with electrical power grids and communications on Earth.

Nasa’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) recorded the so-called X-flare, the strongest type, from a sunspot at 0156 GMT on 15 February.

In these images, the flare can be seen emanating from the bright spot just right of the centre.

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EmPower Eyeglasses Use Liquid Crystals for Reading - NYTimes.com

A NEW device may be joining smartphones, iPads and music players that you have to charge overnight: electronic eyeglasses. These glasses have tiny batteries, microchips and assorted electronics to turn reading power on when you need it and off when you don’t

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Super Rubber Withstands Extreme Temperatures

Japanese scientists have developed a new super rubber.
The material won’t melt or break under extremely hot or extremely cold temperatures, like normal rubber would.
Super rubber can also conduct electricity.

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The Mystery of the Missing Moon Trees

15 years after NASA astronomer David Williams started searching for them, hundreds of trees grown from space-faring seeds are still missing.

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Sharks in the Emergency Room

Sharklet Technologies is developing the world’s first surface pattern inspired by sharkskin. The surface resists the growth of organisms such as bacteria and could be used in hospitals to reduce disease.

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Why infertility will stop humans colonising space

Renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking once remarked that humankind would need to colonise space within the next century if it was to survive as a species. “It will be difficult enough to avoid disaster in the next 100 years, let alone the next thousand or million,” he said somewhat pessimistically last year. “Our only chance of long-term survival is not to remain inward-looking on planet Earth, but to spread out into space.”

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Smartphone threats imminent, security lacking

While smartphones are garnering more attention from the cybercriminal community, most users are not aware of the risks. However, the security industry is struggling to develop tools to defend these devices, a panel of experts said on Wednesday at RSA Conference in San Francisco.

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U.S. Government Shuts Down 84,000 Websites, ‘By Mistake’

The US Government has yet again shuttered several domain names this week. The Department of Justice and Homeland Security’s ICE office proudly announced that they had seized domains related to counterfeit goods and child pornography. What they failed to mention, however, is that one of the targeted domains belongs to a free DNS provider, and that 84,000 websites were wrongfully accused of links to child pornography crimes.

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Forget Diamonds, SSDs are Forever

“Sanitization is well-understood for traditional magnetic storage, such as hard drives and tapes. Newer Solid State Disks (SSDs), however, have a much different internal architecture, so it is unclear whether what has worked on magnetic media will work on SSDs as well.”