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By Daily Mail Reporter UPDATED: 20:10 GMT, 17 November 2010 It may look like any average building but behind closed doors could lie the answer to safe renewable energy of the future. Here at the National Ignition Facility in Livermore California, scientists are aiming to build the world's first sustainable fusion reactor by 'creating a miniature star on Earth'.
Street lights are an important part of our urban infrastructure — they light our way home and make the roads safe at night. But what if we could create natural street lights that don’t need electricity to power them? A group of scientists in Taiwan recently discovered that placing gold nanoparticles within the leaves of trees, causes them to give off a luminous reddish glow. The idea of using trees to replace street lights is an ingenious one – not only would it save on electricity costs and cut CO2 emissions, but it could also greatly reduce light pollution in major cities.
Two massive and mysterious newly discovered structures in the centre of the Milky Way could be the product of a belching black hole. NASA researchers found the huge gamma-ray bubbles when processing images from the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, a device that takes detailed pictures of the sky every three hours. Together, the awe-inspiring structures span roughly 50,000 light years across, or about the same distance from the sun to the centre of the galaxy. If they were visible to the human eye they would stretch about halfway across the sky.
1. Aerogel Aerogel holds 15 entries in the Guinness Book of Records, including “best insulator”, and “lowest-density solid”. Sometimes called “frozen smoke”, aerogel is made by the supercritical drying of liquid gels of alumina, chromia, tin oxide, or carbon. It’s 99.8% empty space, which makes it look semi-transparent.
<img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-41649" title="Flu virus" src="http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/wiredscience/2010/11/Flu-virus.jpg" alt="" width="660" height="564" /> Life on Earth could have grown from the broken remains of alien viruses that, although dead, still contained enough information to give rise to new life. Scientists have speculated that life could have come to Earth from space — a notion called panspermia — since the 1870s, when Lord Kelvin suggested microbes could have ridden here on a comet or meteor. Others have suggested tiny organisms could cross the galaxy embedded in dust grains, which could be nudged from one planetary system to another by the slight pressure of stars’ radiation.
The universe can be a very strange place. While groundbreaking ideas such as quantum theory, relativity and even the Earth going around the Sun might be commonly accepted now, science still continues to show that the universe contains things you might find it difficult to believe, and even more difficult to get your head around. Theoretically, the lowest temperature that can be achieved is absolute zero, exactly ?273.15°C, where the motion of all particles stops completely. However, you can never actually cool something to this temperature because, in quantum mechanics, every particle has a minimum energy, called “zero-point energy,” which you cannot get below.
SPAWAR Systems developed this sea water antenna that uses a jet of water and current probe instead of a metal pole as a transmitting element. I don’t doubt that it works, howver I’m skeptical about how practical the idea is — you’ll need to have a beefy energy source to run a pump, and turbulent weather seems like it would be an issue. Still, the idea of a fluid-based antenna seems great, and might provide for lots of other interesting applications.
If you think FaceTime on the new iPhone is cool, you probably can't wait for the age of holo-chat. A new holographic technology being developed at the University of Arizona could eventually let us interact with lifelike images of friends living across the globe. Arizona researchers have made their first demonstration of a holographic display that projects 3-D images from another location in near-real time. The images are static, but they are refreshed every two seconds, creating a strobe-like effect of movement.The researchers hope to improve the new technology over the next few years to bring higher resolution and faster image streaming. “What we have come up with is a new technique to build three-dimensional telepresence, which means that we can take objects from one location and show them in another location in 3-D in near-real time,” said Nasser Peyghambarian, a professor of optical sciences who co-authored the report on the Arizona team's findings.
<img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-40944" title="lake-el-gygtgyn-nasa" src="http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/wiredscience/2010/11/lake-el-gygtgyn-nasa.jpg" alt="" width="660" height="420" /> DENVER — It took the better part of a decade, $10 million, and help from the guys who build ice roads for Canadian truckers. But scientists now have the most continuous record of ancient climate ever extracted from the terrestrial Arctic. <img class="size-full wp-image-11123 alignright" title="sciencenews" src="http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/wiredscience/2009/09/sciencenews.gif" alt="sciencenews" width="200" height="40" /> What’s more, the record — cored through sediment layers at the bottom of a lake in northeastern Siberia — also illuminates what happened when a big meteorite smashed into the spot 3.6 million years ago, when the ground was warmer and forested as opposed to the barren tundra it is today.
Have you ever wished that your life was actually a hologram, like Keanu Reeves’s in the The Matrix ? Craig Hogan , a particle astrophysicist at the University of Chicago and Fermilab (dedicated to the study of the science of matter, space and time), is testing an interesting theory: whether our world is really two-dimensional and only appears three-dimensional, like a hologram on a credit card. “There are a lot of mathematical ideas about how reality works, but we need experiments to guide us about what is really happening,” says Hogan in an interview with the Star .
Oct. 29, 2010 — The fear that global temperature can change very quickly and cause dramatic climate changes that may have a disastrous impact on many countries and populations is great around the world. But what causes climate change and is it possible to predict future climate change? New research from the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen shows that it may be due to an accumulation of different chaotic influences and as a result would be difficult to predict. The results have just been published in Geophysical Research Letters . For millions of years the Earth's climate has alternated between about 100,000 years of ice age and approximately 10-15,000 years of a warm climate like we have today.