NASA is hosting a news teleconference at 10 a.m. PST (1 p.m. EST), Wednesday, Feb. 27, to announce black hole observations from its newest X-ray telescope, the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR), and the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton X-ray telescope.
I recently flew interstate for work and decided to do a bit of science on the way. Taking along my handy-dandy geiger counter (which in addition to having a 10yr battery is also blessed by the FCC for flight use), a notebook and a pen, I sketched down the raw counts from the meter every minute of the flight.
Why did I do this? Well, if you haven’t noticed, the universe is trying to kill us. Cosmic radiation comes in from space, but is attenuated from earth’s atmosphere. When you start moving outside the earth’s atomosphere, the level goes up. Not quite enough to be worrisome, but pretty interesting if you happen to be able to monitor it.
Detect particles and/or make a cool random number generator with this handsome Geiger counter kit. This easy-to-make pack of parts turns a simple Geiger-Muller tube (included) into a portable blink, beeping radiation detector. You can also connect an FTDI friend to the header, to get serial output for datalogging on your computer. Also be sure to check out our glow-in-the-dark radiation skill badge!
Check out these fascinating algae-powered public lamps, sent to us as a blogtip sent in from Tony Sherwood: a reminder that solutions to one problem often emerge from an understanding of the fuel, product, and waste from complementary processes.
Here’s a post about these lamps with some links to supplementary articles from Treehugger.com:
It seems to me that this is a pretty amazing idea that could really work and clean the air pollution from urban areas (like parking lots, tested in the video above) and at the same time look good. That said, reducing is still better than restoring, but in the meantime- let’s get this lamp working!
Fascinating post about using a RasPi to explore Diffusion MRI analysis, shared over at RaspberryPi.org:
I wanted to try the same sort of analysis that a researcher working in my field might want to use. The simplest and most widely used technique in Diffusion MRI is called Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI). The brain is partly made up of a thing called white matter, which is a lot like cabling that connects various bits of it together. DTI can tell us which way the cables are pointing at each point along their length. We can use the information it gives us to make new images which are more useful than the originals.
To my great delight, the Raspi ran a DTI analysis in a little over 5 minutes and produced some really nice images. All these images were generated and displayed by the Raspi. (Liz: you can enlarge all these images by clicking on them.) I used scrot for screen captures, so aside from a little cropping this all is pure Pi….
Inside laboratories slime molds have effectively re-created Tokyo’s railway network in miniature as well as the highways of Canada, the U.K. and Spain. When researchers placed oat flakes or other bits of food in the same positions as big cities and urban areas, slime molds first engulfed the entirety of the edible maps. Within a matter of days, however, the protists thinned themselves away, leaving behind interconnected branches of slime that linked the pieces of food in almost exactly the same way that man-made roads and rail lines connect major hubs in Tokyo, Europe and Canada.
In other words, the single-celled brainless amoebae did not grow living branches between pieces of food in a random manner; rather, they behaved like a team of human engineers, growing the most efficient networks possible.
The latest fish tag design is streamlined and looks different from earlier tag designs.
CSIRO scientists are using 3D printing to build a new generation of hi-tech fish tags made of titanium. The aim is to use the tags to track big fish such as marlin, tuna, swordfish, trevally and sharks for longer periods.
CSIRO is printing the tags at its 3D printing facility, Lab 22, in Melbourne. The tags are printed overnight and then shipped to Tasmania where marine scientists are trialing them.
Tags are made of titanium for several reasons: the metal is strong, resists the salty corrosiveness of the marine environment, and is biocompatible (non-toxic to living tissues).
One of the advantages of 3D printing is that it enables rapid manufacture of multiple design variations which can then be tested simultaneously. “Using our Arcam 3D printing machine, we’ve been able to re-design and make a series of modified tags within a week,” says John Barnes, who leads CSIRO’s research in titanium technologies.
“When our marine science colleagues asked us to help build a better fish tag, we were able to send them new prototypes before their next trip to sea,” he adds.
CSIRO’s 3D printing facility prints metal items layer by layer out of fused metal powder. Had the scientists been using conventional tags which are machined out of metal blocks, it would have taken a couple of months to design, manufacture and receive the new designs for testing.
“Our early trials showed that the textured surface worked well in improving retention of the tag, but we need to fine-tune the design of the tag tip to make sure that it pierces the fish skin as easily as possible,” says John.
“The fast turnaround speeds up the design process – it’s very easy to incorporate amendments to designs. 3D printing enables very fast testing of new product designs, which why it’s so attractive to manufacturers wanting to trial new products.”
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!
NASA will host its first Google+ Hangout live with the International Space Station from 11 a.m. to noon EST, Friday, Feb. 22. This event will connect NASA’s social media followers with astronauts on the ground and living and working aboard the laboratory orbiting 240 miles above Earth.
Google+ Hangouts allow as many as 10 people to chat face-to-face, while thousands more can tune in to watch the conversation live on Google+ or YouTube.
NASA’s social media followers may submit video questions prior to the Hangout. During the event, several video questions will be selected and answered by the station crew and astronauts on the ground. Unique and original questions are more likely to be selected. Additionally, NASA also will take real-time questions submitted by fans on Google+, Twitter and Facebook.
The deadline to submit video questions is Feb. 12. To be considered, video clips must be no longer than 30 seconds and must be uploaded to YouTube and tagged with #askAstro. Submitters should introduce themselves and mention their location before asking their question.
A blink pair of images taken before and after Curiosity performed a “mini drill” test on a Martian rock shows changes resulting from that activity. The resulting hole and surrounding pile of drill cuttings are not the only changes.
The images were taken by the telephoto camera of the Mast Camera instrument on Curiosity. The diameter of the hole created by the drill is 0.63 inch (1.6 centimeters). The before image was taken on the 178th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity’s mission on Mars (Feb. 4, 2013). The drill test was performed on Sol 180 (Feb. 6, 2013) and the afterwards image was taken the same sol.
The test drilling was a preparation for the mission’s first full rock drilling. The location is on a patch of flat rock called “John Klein.” If the cuttings are judged to be suitable for processing by the rover’s sample handling mechanisms, the mission’s first full drilling is planned for a nearby spot on John Klein. The full drilling will be the first rock drilling on Mars to collect a sample of material for analysis.
The Google Science Fair is an online science competition open to students ages 13-18 from around the globe. We’re looking for ideas that will change the world. To get started, all you’ll need is a Google account.
There were several printing of this educational comic book from 1959 to the 70′s. It’s a pretty decent history of electricity, complete with a song. I found this on the web:
The Mighty Atom Starring Reddy Kilowatt: The Story of Electricity from Amber to Atoms, is a promotional comic produced by the Reddy Kiliowatt Co. for distribution by the nation’s electric power companies. As Reddy sings in his song that is well-remembered by every child of the 1950′s and 60′s: “I’m a real, live wire and I never tire. Yes, sir–I’m a red-hot shot. I can cook your meals, turn the factory wheels, ’cause I’m Reddy Kilowatt. When you toast your toast, or your roast your roast, it is I who makes ‘em hot…I’m in your TV set with every show you get ’cause I’m Reddy Kilowatt! I’m the little man who’s always there; I’m a powerful high voltage guy. I”m so full of spark I can light up the dark, and you should see me when I wink my ‘lectric eye. I wash and dry your clothes, play your radios, I can heat your coffee pot. I’m always there with lots of power to spare, ’cause I’m Reddy Kilowatt!”