Salmon have serious swimming skills—some travel thousands of miles to return to their original homes to breed. But even though they can jump as high as 12 feet in the air, they can’t manage to get over massive concrete dams that we have built to block their journeys back to their homes. Now one new idea could give them a boost. The plan involves whisking the fish through a long vacuum tube at speeds up to 22 miles per hour and then shooting them out the other end like a cannon.
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"Test results indicate that the RF resonant cavity thruster design, which is unique as an electric propulsion device, is producing a force that is not attributable to any classical electromagnetic phenomenon and therefore is potentially demonstrating an interaction with the quantum vacuum virtual plasma."
This last line implies that the drive may work by pushing against the ghostly cloud of particles and anti-particles that are constantly popping into being and disappearing again in empty space. But the Nasa team has avoided trying to explain its results in favour of simply reporting what it found: “This paper will not address the physics of the quantum vacuum plasma thruster, but instead will describe the test integration, test operations, and the results obtained from the test campaign.”
A working microwave thruster would radically cut the cost of satellites and space stations and extend their working life, drive deep-space missions, and take astronauts to Mars in weeks rather than months.
This is actually pretty big newsSource: fuckyeahdarkextropian
- 1 year ago
Source: futurescopeNeuroscientist Henry Markram says he can build a supercomputer replica of a human brain, down to the individual ion channel. Now he has a billion euros to prove it
// Excellent feature by Jonathon Keats
For 12 years, Harvard engineering professor Robert Wood has been trying to get a fly-sized drone off the ground. He and his colleagues have had to overcome issues of weight, aerodynamics of wing flapping, power supply, and figuring out how to manufacture a robot smaller than a quarter. Finally, the little robo-fly is airborne.
- 1 year ago
Remember in Super Mario Brothers, how the music and time would speed up when you started running low on the clock? Well, here’s a new level of video game time-freakiness, all about relativity.
Strange things happen to our perception of the universe when we travel close to the speed of light (you know, if we could travel close to the speed of light). Special relativity, as worked out by Einstein and others, gives us plenty of weirdness when it comes to our perception of time and distance at those extreme speeds. MIT’s Game Lab has developed a game that simulates that experience. It’s called A Slower Speed of Light.
The closer we get to the speed of light, time slows down for us relative to someone watching us (“time dilation”), light shifts to red and blue, and the lengths of things contract in the direction we are moving. Weirded out yet? Ethan Siegel has a pretty good explanation of all those strange effects.
In the game, the object is to collect these orbs. As you grab each one, the speed of light slows down a bit. That means that you get closer and closer to traveling at the speed of light, and the game shifts the visuals and your movement to give you an idea of what that might feel like. It is not unlike a relativistic drug trip.
The game is available for Mac and PC. Pause the Halo and give relativity a whirl. It’s a video game that Einstein would have approved of!
(via Discovery News)
- 1 year ago
The mask conveys a variety of facial expressions using LEDs that light up to form different emoticons. The default setting is a completely blank or expressionless face. But when someone shakes hands with the wearer, the mask smiles in response to the greeting.
“The project was designed to hide personal emotions by eliciting a different set of public facial expressions that could be used to generate conversation and response in public spaces.”
This mask might be just the ticket for those of us who spend so much time texting and chatting online that the urge to emote using keyboard characters arises even when interacting with someone in person.
Today is Posts That Relate to Product Categories on Archie McPhee Day on Geyser of Awesome!
- 1 year ago
Majority of Biofuels Are Not Green
First tops, then flops. That is one way of summing up the history of biofuels so far. A new study led by Empa gives an up-to-date picture of the ecobalance of various biofuels and their production processes. Only a few are more environmentally friendly than gasoline.
In recent years, the demand for supposedly environmentally friendly biofuels has increased significantly worldwide; on the one hand, this has resulted in the increased cultivation of so-called energy plants and, on the other hand, innovative production methods for the second generation of biofuels have been developed. Parallel to this, ecobalance experts have refined and developed methods for environmental assessment. Since biofuels stem predominantly from agricultural products, the, in part, controversial discussion about their environmental sustainability revolves principally around whether the production of biofuels is defensible from an ecological viewpoint or whether there are possible negative effects, for example on the supply of foodstuff in times of drought, or whether eutrophication of arable land occurs.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2012/09/majority-biofuels-are-not-green
- 1 year ago
The idea for an eternal clock that would continue to keep time even after the universe ceased to exist has intrigued physicists. However, no one has figured out how one might be built, until now.
Researchers have now proposed an experimental design for a “space-time crystal” that would be able to keep time forever. This four-dimensional crystal would be similar to conventional 3D crystals, which are structures, like snowflakes and diamonds, whose atoms are arranged in repeating patterns. Whereas a diamond has a periodic structure in three dimensions, the space-time crystal would be periodic in time as well as space.
The idea of a 4D space-time crystal was first proposed earlier this year by MIT physicist Frank Wilczek, though the concept was purely theoretical. Now a team of researchers led by Xiang Zhang of California’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has conceived of how to make one a reality.
“The idea of creating a crystal with dimensions higher than that of conventional 3D crystals is an important conceptual breakthrough in physics, and it is very exciting for us to be the first to devise a way to realize a space-time crystal,” Berkeley Lab physicist Tongcang Li, a member of the research group, said in a statement.
Zhang and his colleagues suggest that a space-time crystal could be constructed using an electric field to trap charged atoms (called ions), and taking advantage of the natural repulsion between two like-charged particles (positive and positive, or negative and negative), which is called Coulomb repulsion.
Image: This proposed space-time crystal shows (a) periodic structures in both space and time with (b) ultracold ions rotating in one direction even at the lowest energy state. Credit: Courtesy of Xiang Zhang group