In sync atomic physicist Neils Bohr's famous comment about a colleagues crazy theory that "it's crazy, but maybe not crazy enough to be true," an eminent physicist has developed a theory that gamma ray bursts that occur at the fringes of the known universe and appear to be associated with supernovae, or star explosions, in faraway galaxies, are actually massive beams of high-energy photons from alternate universes that spray the galaxy in arcs, like cosmic death rays as black holes rotate.
The species that you and all other living human beings on this planet belong to is Homo sapiens. During a time of dramatic climate change 200,000 years ago, Homo sapiens (modern humans) evolved in Africa. Is the human species entering another evolutionary inflection point?
Stephen Hawking warned recently that contact with an advanced extraterrestrial civilization could have dire consequences for the human species. Arthur C Clarke once made the famous observation that any sufficiently advanced technology would be indistinguishable from magic. Following in their footsteps, world renowned experts from physicist Sir Martin Rees of Cambridge University to astrobiologist Paul Davis of Arizona State have asked if we were to encounter alien technology far superior to our own, would we even realize what it was. A technology a million or more years in advance of ours could appear miraculous.
This infrared-light photo taken by Gemini Observatory's adaptive optics system shows the star 1RSX J160929.1-210524 and its planet, which is about 8 times the size of Jupiter. The exoplanet, the dot at the upper left, is the first one to be directly photographed. Gemini Observatory
The adaptive optics system at the Gemini Observatory in Hawaii snapped this photo in the infrared part of the light spectrum. It shows a hot, large Jupiter-like planet near a smallish sun-like star. It was actually found two years ago, but astronomers couldn't be sure they were really looking at a planetary system and not some lucky alignment of objects. Now they're sure.
"Good morning, Dave." NASA uses "Pleiades," its petaflops supercomputer, to make blindingly fast and accurate measurements in the field of “higher fidelity” modeling and simulation. For instance, NASA already is using supercomputers to model black holes. It will also help NASA to design and develop such things as hypersonic airacraft and spacesuits, and simulate the landing of spacecraft on various celestial bodies such as the Moon, Mars, Titan, and asteroids. NASA's newest supercomputer at Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., has garnered the number six spot on the Top 500 list of the world's most powerful computers.
The Obama administration's move to significantly expand cooperation with other countries in space comes as likely foreign partners appear increasingly ready to embrace the same strategy. The White House, as expected, released revamped space-policy goals aimed at stepping up joint international efforts across a wide range of scientific, exploration and national-security projects. From weather satellites to robotic spacecraft to reducing hazards posed by orbital debris, the new U.S. posture aims to join with other nations "to the greatest extent practicable" in designing, executing and sharing data from future programs. Noting that priorities have changed because the U.S. is no longer "racing against an adversary" such as the former Soviet Union, President Barack Obama stressed that "one of our central goals is to promote peaceful cooperation and collaboration" as a way to prevent conflicts in space. As part of the administration's previously proposed changes to reorient manned space exploration and launch U.S. astronauts aboard privately operated rockets, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration already was moving to expand international ties.
hose rumors about Google's Facebook-rivaling social network just got a whole lot more interesting. A former Facebook exec has been quizzing contacts inside Google and discovered that it's all real, with large numbers of Google staff busy on task. The leak comes from Adam D'Angelo, cofounder of Quora (a cloud-sourced community question-answer forum), and it's interesting as he was formerly chief technology officer at Facebook. Given the size and complexity of Facebook's operations, this was no small job, and probably places D'Angelo on the contacts directory of a significant number of colleagues in competing high-tech businesses. In other words, when D'Angelo says he spoke to "reliable sources," we're inclined to believe him.
Electric-car company Tesla Motors launched its IPO today, becoming the first U.S. automaker to go public since Ford did so in 1956. Tesla is listed on the tech-heavy Nasdaq and priced at $17 per share, raising $226 million in its offering. Tesla trades under symbol TSLA. The Palo Alto, Calif., automaker sold 13.3 million shares and beat expectations of an opening bid of $11 to $13 per share. The company has never been profitable, having lost $290 million since it was founded in 2003. The company hopes to use its IPO money to build a more affordable $50,000 sedan, as the company's original two-seater sports car came in at $109,000. The IPO is expected to trigger a $50 million investment from Japanese auto giant Toyota. The Tesla sedan will be built at the New United Motor Manufacturing plant in California, which was the previous site of a joint venture between Toyota and General Motors.The Tesla already has some celebrity fans, including owners Brad Pitt and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome.
We've seen some extraordinary creations coming from the iPad Brushes app, but I think my favorite so far is David Kassan's portrait of a live model who sat still for three hours (all livestreamed, naturally) while Kassan fingerstroked his iPad. Certainly a lot more talented than David Hockney, I'm sure you'll agree. I wonder if there'll ever be an art gallery or museum opened for all these terrific iPad artworks?
Over the weekend, the Times ran a powerful op-ed piece that shed light on another dark link in the consumer electronics supply chain: the use of Congolese conflict minerals. In an email, Steve Jobs admitted "it's a very difficult problem." After reading the Times piece, a reader of Wired.com wrote the responsive CEO an email inquiring how Apple sources their products' minerals and asking if the company is making an effort to use ones with conflict-free origins. About an hour later, Jobs sent this reply: "Yes. We require all of our suppliers to certify in writing that they use conflict few materials. But honestly there is no way for them to be sure. Until someone invents a way to chemically trace minerals from the source mine, it's a very difficult problem." Sent from my iPhone. Presumably, Jobs' iPhone erroneously corrected "conflict free" to "conflict few." But basically what Jobs says here echoes what we know already: tech companies are insisting that their suppliers pledge to using conflict free minerals, but there's no guarantee that those pledges reflect the reality of the situation. Jobs suggests that there's no way for the suppliers to know where their minerals come from; activist groups like Project Enough insinuate that the suppliers could be deliberately misreporting the origins of their minerals. The group is pushing for tech companies to be more active in sourcing their minerals, instead of relying on the suppliers to do so themselves.