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Physicists on the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS) have announced the first results from their collaboration, revealing the most precise measurements ever made of the large-scale structure of the universe between five to seven billion years ago. They achieved this by observing the primordial sound waves that propagated through the cosmic medium a mere 30,000 years after the Big Bang. And so far, the data supports the theory that our universe as flat, comprised of roughly a quarter cold dark matter, and four percent ordinary matter, with the rest made up of a mysterious force dubbed “dark energy.” ANALYSIS: The Universe is Precisely 13.75 Billion Years Old A hundred years ago scientists believed the universe was steady and unchanging. Einstein invented the cosmological constant to expand the fabric of space-time after his own equations for general relativity wouldn’t allow for the cosmos to remain static as expected in a steady state universe.
Observers around the world (at least those who who were blessed with clear skies) were able to look up yesterday and view our neighboring planet Venus as it passed directly between us and the Sun. This rare event will not reoccur for another 105 years. Scientists used the six-hour transit as an opportunity to perform experiments, helping refine techniques to observe and measure distant exoplanets. Gathered here are images of yesterday's event, seen from from orbit and from here on Earth. [ 29 photos ]
This month, President Obama and members of NATO involved in Afghanistan formally agreed on a transition plan, preparing to hand over security responsibilities to Afghan forces by the summer of 2013. France's new president, François Hollande, restated an earlier pledge to remove all French combat forces from Afghanistan by the end of this year. Suicide bombings, IEDs, and a growing number of "green on blue" attacks (men in Afghan uniforms attacking coalition forces) continue to take a toll and limit security efforts. Gathered here are images of those involved in this conflict over the past month, as part of the ongoing series here on Afghanistan . [ 42 photos ] Use j/k keys or ←/→ to navigate Choose: Dust lights up the rotors of a CH-47 Chinook helicopter as paratroopers with 3rd Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment load for an air assault mission near Combat Outpost Ab Band in Ghazni province, Afghanistan, on May 23, 2012.
The headline sums it up nicely but really, those photographic acrobatics account for only part of the story. Starting from the beginning, a research team led by Louis DiMauro of Ohio State University used an "ultrafast" laser to knock an electron out of its orbit, which scattered off the molecule as it fell back toward its natural path. That ripple effect you see in that photo up there represents any changes the molecule went through during the quadrillionth of a second that transpired between laser pulses. Yes, that's the kind of rare, psychedelic shot that's sure to earn DiMauro and team bragging rights, but the scientists also say this technique could have practical implications for observing -- and ultimately manipulating -- chemical reactions at an atomic level.
<img src="http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/underwire/2012/06/Prometheus.jpg" alt="" title="Prometheus" width="660" height="400" class="size-full wp-image-108780" /> In Prometheus , David (Michael Fassbender) is an android who lives amongst his makers and is unimpressed. Photo courtesy 20th Century Fox It’s understood that Prometheus is a prequel of sorts to Alien , but it’s also an origin story of another kind, a thought-provoking tale about the quest for truth — both scientific and spiritual — about where humans come from. It’s an eternal question, and Ridley Scott’s sweeping new sci-fi movie about a ship full of seekers in search of the origins of life on Earth fully embraces the tension between science and religion, the clash of ideas among adherents to Darwinism, creationism, and intelligent design. If there is a quest for scientific facts about the origin of life, then can’t that also be considered a search for god, if “god” is understood to be “creator”?
Photograph by Markel Redondo for Greenpeace In fact, it was too good to last. In the wake of an overheated solar market and the global financial crisis, Spain has slashed its renewable energy subsidies. And the solar boom under the Mediterranean sun has gone bust—a stunning reversal of fortune: In 2008, 40 percent of the world's solar installations were in Spain. But it's hardly the end of the road for the technologies nurtured on the Iberian peninsula.
In celebration of 200,000 miles driven without an actual human driver, Google has provided us a glimpse of just how powerful this technology will be for people who are blind. A video produced by the company shows Steve Mahan drive from his house to a local Taco Bell. Mahan is 95 percent blind, or as he puts it "well past legally blind." As he turns into the driveway of Taco Bell, Mahan exclaims breathlessly, "How neat!" We couldn't agree more. A neat little postscript: Google has also provided a version of the video for those who can't see well.
The Mexican legislature today adopted a surveillance legislation that will grant the police warrantless access to real time user location data. The bill was adopted almost unanimously with 315 votes in favor, 6 against, and 7 abstentions. It has been sent to the President for his approval. There is significant potential for abuse of these new powers. The bill ignores the fact that most cellular phones today constantly transmit detailed location data about every individual to their carriers; as all this location data is housed in one place—with the telecommunications service provider—police will have access to more precise, more comprehensive and more pervasive data than would ever have been possible with the use of tracking devices. The Mexican government should be more sensitive to the fact that mobile companies are now recording detailed footprints of our daily lives.
Annie Tritt for The New York Times When my mother asked what I wanted for my 16th birthday, I said, “A new bicycle.” From her response — “How much longer are you going to be riding a bicycle?” — I knew I wasn’t going to get one. I muddled through on my aging Schwinn (bought secondhand when I was 10) for two more years, and then for my 18th birthday I bought myself a new bike.
MIT's Femtosecond Around-the-Corner Camera Back in late 2010, MIT Media Lab announced that it was working on technology that would allow a camera to see around corners and image objects that were never in its direct line of sight. Now, the lab has released a video explaining exactly how they do this and showing the technology in action. Briefly, the system works by firing rapid femtosecond laser pulses--pulses so short they are measured in quadrillionths of a second--at a surface opposite the obscured object it is trying to image, like the wall opposite a doorway for instance.
The so-called "retina" display for the new iPad is by far its most obvious — and technologically remarkable — feature. After all, the upgraded screen crams more than 3 million pixels in an area smaller than a piece of paper. How did Apple do it? A display analysis company has the answer. First, it's important to understand the challenge. Besides the added difficulty in miniaturizing smaller components, when you shrink pixels down to the size they are in the new iPad, the tiny little wires that send signals to the pixels start to get so close together that they can affect each other.