chichilalescu (1647065) writes "solar planes in the news again (BBC): The UK-built Zephyr solar-powered plane has smashed the endurance record for an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The craft took off from the US Army's Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona at 1440 BST (0640 local time) last Friday and is still in the air.
chichilalescu (1647065) writes "Common sense comatose. Excerpts from the BBC article: "A judge has ordered Men At Work to hand over royalties from the 1983 hit single Down Under after earlier ruling they had plagiarized a children's song. Sinclair, an Australian teacher, wrote Kookaburra Sits In The Old Gum Tree more than 70 years ago. It has since been sung by generations of Australian school children. Larrikin Music, which is owned by London's Music Sales Group, bought the rights to the classic folk song in 1990, following Sinclair's death in 1988."
chichilalescu (1647065) writes "I've had the feeling for a long time that people refuse to listen to scientists. This is from an article on arstechnica: "It's hardly a secret that large segments of the population choose not to accept scientific data because it conflicts with their predefined beliefs: economic, political, religious, or otherwise. But many studies have indicated that these same people aren't happy with viewing themselves as anti-science, which can create a state of cognitive dissonance. That has left psychologists pondering the methods that these people use to rationalize the conflict. A study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology takes a look at one of these methods, which the authors term "scientific impotence"—the decision that science can't actually address the issue at hand properly." They also provide the DOI for the original paper, at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1559-1816.2010.00588.x ." Link to Original Source top
chichilalescu (1647065) writes "There's an article on BBC discussing the way chimps react to death: "Chimpanzees deal with death in much the same way as humans, studies suggest. Scientists in Scotland filmed a group of chimps grooming and caressing an elderly female who died, and remaining subdued for several days afterwards. Other researchers saw females carrying around the bodies of their dead children. Both studies are reported in the journal Current Biology." I thought that since there recentyl was the Stephen Hawking don't talk to aliens stuff, this would be a good point to start thinking about what it means to be self-aware.
Here we are trying to find aliens and to build intelligent machines. But we are ignoring our cousins who can talk, can feel, and can probably help us understand our own emotions. So why aren't we trying to teach chimps to read and write? Why do people spend money on MMORPGs (or whatever), when they could try to connect to a different species, and explore the problems of intelligence and consciousness?" Link to Original Source top
chichilalescu (1647065) writes "This is probably a stupid question, but I thought I'd ask anyway. As a physicist and a programmer, I feel that humans are not as efficient as they could be. I have no idea of the exact values, but I assume that we do not take all the energy stored in our food. Additionally, our food is only a part of the plants and animals that we kill to eat. I would like to have a machine where i pour water, air and some various salts, and it gives me a fluid that i can drink (or, even better, put in my veins directly), so that I wouldn't need to eat anything else. think for instance of the borg in star trek, that "ate" electricity. I assume that something like this would have been created already if it were possible, but as I have no real knowledge of the biology involved, I'd like to know how close I can get to using energy from a power plant directly instead of food."
last wednesday, this news conference was announced: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2010/nov/HQ_M10-157_Chandra_Update.html
I don't know how normal it is for NASA to use "exceptional" in their announcements, but it's a bit frustrating. Seeing as how the three people named to be part of the conference are all astrophysicists, I doubt they'll be talking about alien life (I assume they have biologists at NASA). Also, considering that they announced this a few days in advance, I don't think it will be life-changing news for the average joe and jane.
it's frustrating that they're using the word "exceptional". I saw somewhere the suggestion that this is just a social experiment.
anyway, seeing that I only found out about this, I thought there would be people not knowing about it. I liked the fraction of a second when I thought "maybe", so I thought others might find this fun too.