Friday, December 31, 2010

Daily Game Dec 31 - Kamikaze blocks

Feed the monsters that live in the clouds some blocks, by shooting kamikaze creatures to push the blocks to them.

Kamikaze blocks is powered by dailygame.org

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Daily science


The Bumblebee bat competes with the Etruscan pygmy shrew for the title of world’s smallest mammal. These bats are so-named since they’re about the size of a bumblebee, weigh about as much as a dime, and have the ability to hover like hummingbirds. Their roosting habitat consists of the hot upper chambers of caves in limestone hills. Bumblebee bats are are now considered one of the twelve most endangered species on the planet.

Daily Game Dec 31 - Paranormal Shark Activity

Flee from the giant shark for as long as possible, before turning into his next snack.

Paranormal Shark Activity is powered by dailygame.org

Daily science


Cassini Celebrates 10 Years Since Jupiter Encounter



Ten years ago, on Dec. 30, 2000, NASA's Cassini spacecraft made its closest approach to Jupiter on its way to orbiting Saturn. The main purpose was to use the gravity of the largest planet in our solar system to slingshot Cassini towards Saturn, its ultimate destination. But the encounter with Jupiter, Saturn's gas-giant big brother, also gave the Cassini project a perfect lab for testing its instruments and evaluating its operations plans for its tour of the ringed planet, which began in 2004.

"The Jupiter flyby allowed the Cassini spacecraft to stretch its wings, rehearsing for its prime time show, orbiting Saturn," said Linda Spilker, Cassini project scientist based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "Ten years later, findings from the Jupiter flyby still continue to shape our understanding of similar processes in the Saturn system."

Cassini spent about six months - from October 2000 to March 2001 - exploring the Jupiter system. The closest approach brought Cassini to within about 9.7 million kilometers (6 million miles) of Jupiter's cloud tops at 2:05 a.m. Pacific Time, or 10:05 a.m. UTC, on Dec. 30, 2000.

Cassini captured some 26,000 images of Jupiter and its moons over six months of continual viewing, creating the most detailed global portrait of Jupiter yet.

While Cassini's images of Jupiter did not have higher resolution than the best from NASA's Voyager mission during its two 1979 flybys, Cassini's cameras had a wider color spectrum than those aboard Voyager, capturing wavelengths of radiation that could probe different heights in Jupiter's atmosphere. The images enabled scientists to watch convective lightning storms evolve over time and helped them understand the heights and composition of these storms and the many clouds, hazes and other types of storms that blanket Jupiter.

The Cassini images also revealed a never-before-seen large, dark oval around 60 degrees north latitude that rivaled Jupiter's Great Red Spot in size. Like the Great Red Spot, the large oval was a giant storm on Jupiter. But, unlike the Great Red Spot, which has been stable for hundreds of years, the large oval showed itself to be quite transient, growing, moving sideways, developing a bright inner core, rotating and thinning over six months. The oval was at high altitude and high latitude, so scientists think the oval may have been associated with Jupiter's powerful auroras.

The imaging team was also able to amass 70-day movies of storms forming, merging and moving near Jupiter's north pole. They showed how larger storms gained energy from swallowing smaller storms, the way big fish eat small fish. The movies also showed how the ordered flow of the eastward and westward jet streams in low latitudes gives way to a more disordered flow at high latitudes.

Meanwhile, Cassini's composite infrared spectrometer was able to do the first thorough mapping of Jupiter's temperature and atmospheric composition. The temperature maps enabled winds to be determined above the cloud tops, so scientists no longer had to rely on tracking features to measure winds. The spectrometer data showed the unexpected presence of an intense equatorial eastward jet (roughly 140 meters per second, or 310 mph) high in the stratosphere, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) above the visible clouds. Data from this instrument also led to the highest-resolution map so far of acetylene on Jupiter and the first detection of organic methyl radical and diacetylene in the auroral hot spots near Jupiter's north and south poles. These molecules are important to understanding the chemical interactions between sunlight and molecules in Jupiter's stratosphere.

As Cassini approached Jupiter, its radio and plasma wave instrument also recorded naturally occurring chirps created by electrons coming from a cosmic sonic boom. The boom occurs when supersonic solar wind - charged particles that fly off the sun - is slowed and deflected around the magnetic bubble surroun ding Jupiter.

Because Cassini arrived at Jupiter while NASA's Galileo spacecraft was still orbiting the planet, scientists were also able to take advantage of near-simultaneous measurements from two different spacecraft. This coincidence enabled scientists to make giant strides in understanding the interaction of the solar wind with Jupiter. Cassini and Galileo provided the first two-point measurement of the boundary of Jupiter's magnetic bubble and showed that it was in the act of contracting as a region of higher solar wind pressure blew on it.

"The Jupiter flyby benefited us in two ways, one being the unique science data we collected and the other the knowledge we gained about how to effectively operate this complex machine," said Bob Mitchell, Cassini program manager based at JPL. "Today, 10 years later, our operations are still heavily influenced by that experience and it is serving us very well."

In celebrating the anniversary of Cassini's visit 10 years ago, scientists are also excited about the upcoming and proposed missions to the Jupiter system, including NASA's Juno spacecraft, to be launched next August, and the Europa Jupiter System Mission, which has been given a priority by NASA.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo. The composite infrared spectrometer team is based at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., where the instrument was built. The radio and plasma wave science team is based at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, where the instrument was built.

cell phone pistol

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Daily science

NEXI - Robot with facial expressions 

A latest invention by MIT Media Lab is a new robot that is able to show various facial expressions such as 'slanting its eyebrows in anger', or 'raise them in surprise', and show a wide assortment of facial expressions while communicating with people.

This latest achievement in the field of Robotics is named NEXI as it is framed as the next generation robots which is aimed for a range of applications for personal robots and human-robot teamwork.

DESIGNING

The head and face of NEXI were designed by Xitome Design which is a innovative designing and development company that specializes in robotic design and development. The expressive robotics started with a neck mechanism sporting 4 degrees of freedom (DoF) at the base, plus pan-tilt-yaw of the head itself. The mechanism has been constructed to time the movements so they mimic human speed. The face of NEXI has been specially designed to use gaze, eyebrows, eyelids and an articulate mandible which helps in expressing a wide range of different emotions.

The chassis of NEXI is also advanced. It has been developed by the Laboratory for Perceptual Robotics UMASS (University of Massachusetts), Amherst. This chassis is based on the uBot5 mobile manipulator. The mobile base can balance dynamically on two wheels. The arms of NEXI can pick up a weight of up to 10 pounds and the plastic covering of the chassis can detect any kind of human touch.

CYNTHIA BREAZEAL: HEAD OF THE PROJECT

This project was headed by Media Lab's Cynthia Breazeal, a well known robotics expert famous for earlier expressive robots such as Kismet. She is an Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at the MIT. She named her new product as an MDS (mobile, dextrous, social) robot.


Nexi Robot

FEATURES OF NEXI

Except a wide range of facial expressions, Nexi has many other features. It has self-balancing wheels like the Segway transporter, to ultimately ride on. Currently it uses an additional set of supportive wheels to operate as a statically stable platform in its early stage of development. It has hands which can be used to manipulate objects, eyes (video cameras), ears (an array of microphones), and a 3-D infrared camera and laser rangefinder which support real-time tracking of objects, people and voices as well as indoor navigation.

Daily science


Fourth Generation (4G) mobiles

4G also called as Fourth-Generation Communications System, is a term used to describe the next step in wireless communications. A 4G system can provide a comprehensive IP solution where voice, data and streamed multimedia can be provided to users on an "Anytime, Anywhere" basis. The data transfer rates are also much higher than previous generations.

The main objectives of 4G are:

1)4G will be a fully IP-based integrated system.

2)This will be capable of providing 100 Mbit/s and 1 Gbit/s speeds both indoors and outdoors.

3)It can provide premium quality and high security.

4)4G offer all types of services at an affordable cost.

4G is developed to provide high quality of service (QoS) and rate requirements set by forthcoming applications such as wireless broadband access, Multimedia Messaging, Video Chat, Mobile TV, High definition TV content, DVB, minimal service like voice and data, and other streaming services.

4G technology allow high-quality smooth video transmission. It will enable fast downloading of full-length songs or music pieces in real time.

The business and popularity of 4Gmobiles is predicted to be very vast. On an average, by 2009, this 4Gmobile market will be over $400B and it will dominate the wireless communications, and its converged system will replace most conventional wireless infrastructure.

Data Rates For 4G:

The downloading speed for mobile Internet connections is from 9.6 kbit/s for 2G cellular at present. However, in actual use the data rates are usually slower, especially in crowded areas, or when there is congestion in network.

4G mobile data transmission rates are planned to be up to 20 megabits per second which means that it will be about 10-20 times faster than standard ASDL services.

In terms of connection seeds, 4G will be about 200 times faster than present 2G mobile data rates, and about 10 times faster than 3G broadband mobile. 3G data rates are currently 2Mbit/sec, which is very fast compared to 2G's 9.6Kbit/sec.

Daily science


Gamma-ray bursts are among the most energetic events in the Universe, but some appear curiously faint in visible light. The biggest study to date of these so-called dark gamma-ray bursts, using the 2.2-meter MPG/ESO telescope at La Silla in Chile, has found that these explosions don't require exotic explanations. Their faintness is now explained by a combination of causes, the most important of which is the presence of dust between the Earth and the explosion.

Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), fleeting events that last from less than a second to several minutes, are detected by orbiting observatories that can pick up their high energy radiation. Thirteen years ago, however, astronomers discovered a longer-lasting stream of less energetic radiation coming from these violent outbursts, which can last for weeks or even years after the initial explosion. Astronomers call this the burst's afterglow.
While all gamma-ray bursts [1] have afterglows that give off X-rays, only about half of them were found to give off visible light, with the rest remaining mysteriously dark. Some astronomers suspected that these dark afterglows could be examples of a whole new class of gamma-ray bursts, while others thought that they might all be at very great distances. Previous studies had suggested that obscuring dust between the burst and us might also explain why they were so dim.
"Studying afterglows is vital to further our understanding of the objects that become gamma-ray bursts and what they tell us about star formation in the early Universe," says the study's lead author Jochen Greiner from the Max-Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching bei M√ľnchen, Germany.
NASA launched the Swift satellite at the end of 2004. From its orbit above the Earth's atmosphere it can detect gamma-ray bursts and immediately relay their positions to other observatories so that the afterglows could be studied. In the new study, astronomers combined Swift data with new observations made using GROND [2] -- a dedicated gamma-ray burst follow-up observation instrument, which is attached to the 2.2-metre MPG/ESO telescope at La Silla in Chile. In doing so, astronomers have conclusively solved the puzzle of the missing optical afterglow.
What makes GROND exciting for the study of afterglows is its very fast response time -- it can observe a burst within minutes of an alert coming from Swift using a special system called the Rapid Response Mode -- and its ability to observe simultaneously through seven filters covering both the visible and near-infrared parts of the spectrum.
By combining GROND data taken through these seven filters with Swift observations, astronomers were able to accurately determine the amount of light emitted by the afterglow at widely differing wavelengths, all the way from high energy X-rays to the near-infrared. The astronomers used this information to directly measure the amount of obscuring dust that the light passed through en route to Earth. Previously, astronomers had to rely on rough estimates of the dust content [3].
The team used a range of data, including their own measurements from GROND, in addition to observations made by other large telescopes including the ESO Very Large Telescope, to estimate the distances to nearly all of the bursts in their sample. While they found that a significant proportion of bursts are dimmed to about 60-80 percent of the original intensity by obscuring dust, this effect is exaggerated for the very distant bursts, letting the observer see only 30-50 percent of the light [4]. The astronomers conclude that most dark gamma-ray bursts are therefore simply those that have had their small amount of visible light completely stripped away before it reaches us.
"Compared to many instruments on large telescopes, GROND is a low cost and relatively simple instrument, yet it has been able to conclusively resolve the mystery surrounding dark gamma-ray bursts," says Greiner.

Bux

 
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