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Interesting Reading #330

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Coldest, driest, calmest place on Earth found – “It’s at bottom of the world, more than 13,000 feet high on Antarctic Plateau …”

A One-Way Ticket to Mars – “NOW that the hype surrounding the 40th anniversary of the Moon landings has come and gone, we are faced with the grim reality that if we want to send humans back to the Moon the investment is likely to run in excess of $150 billion. The cost to get to Mars could easily be two to four times that, if it is possible at all…”

British plan to tackle asteroids – “A team of British scientists and engineers is developing plans for a spacecraft that could stop large asteroids from hitting the Earth…”

Time now for the space station to deliver – “A panel of experts led by former Lockheed Martin chairman and chief executive Norm Augustine is in the process of giving President Obama its assessment of the different options for getting future US astronauts into space…”

Time travel in popular TV and film

Augmented Reality in a Contact Lens – “A new generation of contact lenses built with very small circuits and LEDs promises bionic eyesight…”

13 more things that don’t make sense – “Strive as we might to make sense of the world, there are mysteries that still confound us. Here are thirteen of the most perplexing. Cracking any one of them could yield profound truths. “

In pictures: Icy jellies – “Scientists have published descriptions of a range of jelly-like animals encountered during submersible dives into the deep oceans of the arctic…”

Breathalyzer test detects lung cancer: study – “Scientists in Israel have devised a portable breath tester that detects lung cancer with 86 percent accuracy, according to a study released Sunday…”

New solar-cell efficiency record set – “Yesterday, Spectrolab announced that its newest triple-junction solar cells had achieved the world record in efficiency, converting 41.6 percent of specially concentrated sunlight into electricity. All told, a tiny cell just 0.3174 square centimeters turned the sunlight equivalent of nearly 364 suns into 4.805 watts. That kind of efficiency is why 60 percent of satellites in orbit today bear earlier iterations of the technology; that’s a total of roughly 640 kilowatts of Spectrolab cells circling Earth…”

If Hollywood Taught Science Class – “Those of us who have tested the out-runnable fireball law of thermodynamics know that Hollywood blockbusters aren’t exactly realistic. That got us wondering, what do the science classrooms look like in the schools that Marty McFly and James T. Kirk attended? How about the computer science labs where the kids from Hackers went to school? We asked you to show us with photoshop. The winners are below, but first the runners up … “

How Science Can Create Millions of New Jobs – “Reigniting basic research can repair the broken U.S. business model and put Americans back to work…”

High-tech once upon a time – “Yesterday’s gadgets look primitive – and yet look very familiar…”

Geekend technology conference coming to Savannah in November – “The first Geekend conference is Nov. 6-8 at the Hyatt Regency downtown. The Hodeshes hope the three-day event attracts 500 or so of the “brightest geeks, designers, developers, techies and social media mavericks” from around the country to exchange ideas – and no doubt come up with several cool iPhone apps.”

Is Hulu Watched More Than Time Warner Cable? – “According to a new survey, Hulu, the online video TV channel, just beat the viewing statistics of Time Warner Cable for July. Does that mean Hulu’s now the second most important TV “channel” in the U.S.? Nearly…but not quite…”

The Four-Day Workweek Is Winning Fans – “In an era when most of us seem to be working more hours than ever (provided we’re still lucky enough to have jobs), 17,000 people in Utah have embarked on an unusual experiment. A year ago, the Beehive State became the first in the U.S. to mandate a four-day workweek for most state employees, closing offices on Fridays in an effort to reduce energy costs. The move is different from a furlough in that salaries were not cut; nor was the total amount of time employees work. They pack in 40 hours by starting earlier and staying later four days a week. But on that fifth (glorious) day, they don’t have to commute, and their offices don’t need to be heated, cooled or lit…”

Tevatron tightens up the race for the Higgs – “WITH the Large Hadron Collider still in the repair shop, the race to find the Higgs boson has become a lot tighter, thanks to the older and less powerful – but working – Tevatron collider near Chicago…”

Mobile towers threatening honey bees in Kerala – “In one of his experiments he found that when a mobile phone was kept near a beehive it resulted in collapse of the colony in five to 10 days…”

Five Best Disk Defragmenters – “Your computer’s a busy beaver, rapidly accessing and utilizing files all in the name of bringing you what you want, when you want it. Sometimes it needs a little help tidying up, and that’s where these five disk defragmenters come in…”

Aspirin does more harm than good in healthy people – “Healthy people who take aspirin to prevent a heart attack are doing themselves more harm than good, researchers have said…”

Microsoft Bing cashback: ‘splendid commercial bribery’ – “Microsoft Bing’s “decision engine” might aspire to higher things than a simple search, but if you buy a product using its search engine — such as a digital camera or a running shoe — the company says you’ll get some of that money back…”

Finding Smells That Repel – “Insects have very keen powers of smell that direct them to their targets. But for researchers trying to figure out what attracts or repels the pests, sorting through the 300 to 400 distinct chemical odors that the human body produces has proved daunting…”

IBM’s 8-core POWER7: twice the muscle, half the transistors – “POWER7 will come in 4-, 6-, and 8-core varieties, with the default presumably being the 8-core and the lower-core variants being offered to improve yields. Each core features 4-way simultaneous multithreading, which means that the 8-core will support a total of 32 simultaneous threads per socket. POWER7 is designed for multisocket systems that scale up to 32 sockets, which means that a full 32-socket system of 8-core parts would support 1024 threads…”

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