ultracool writes "FTA:
Geophysicists in the US are proposing a new magnetic field generated in the Earth's core, the existence of which could help us understand why our planet's magnetic moment has flipped several times in the past.
By measuring ancient field patterns frozen into the volcanic rocks of West Eifel in Germany and Tahiti in French Polynesia, Kenneth Hoffman of California Polytechnic University and Brad Singer of the University of Wisconsin-Madison have recorded the first data to suggest that the Earth's dipolar magnetic field is accompanied by a second magnetic field with a distinct origin in the Earth's core (Science 321 1800)." Link to Original Source top
ultracool writes "If you are interested in the latest happenings in physcis, I would recommend checking out the the physics arXiv blog. It summarizes various general interest articles submitted to the arXiv for a broad (but physics-inclined) audience. From the about page:
'If ya'll been a-wundrin how physics is born, let me tell ya. It's just like your mammy and pappy told. The great white stork posts physics on the arXiv and leaves it a-cryin and a-hollerin until somebody starts a-lovin and a-nurturin it. If they do it just right-just right, mind-it'll one day grow up into a full force o' nature.
Ya'll can think of this lil ol blog as a kinda birth announcement where ya can see the little uns as soon as they arrive. Then ya'll can start a-cooin and a-cuddlin over the pertee ones.'" Link to Original Source top
"But drug and biotechnology firms — along with innovators in several other industries — often rely on fewer patents, and these tend to be the result of their own original work [compared to software companies]. Thus, they are more likely to sue for infringement than be sued. What's more, what look like minor advances on prior art in the drug industry can yield big advantages to patients."
Jim Greenwood, head of the Biotechnology Industry Organization in Washington DC, says "What Congress needs to do is improve the patent environment for all sectors of the American economy. You shouldn't have to throw the biotech industry under a bus to make life easier for the IT industry."" Link to Original Source top
ultracool writes "Wellington Grey, a physics teacher in the UK and notable creator of the Slashdot flowchart and other flowcharts wrote an open letter to the AQA and Department for Education begging for his subject back. The physics GCSE questions have become vague, politicized, and even non-scientific. The course leaves students with an overall negative impression of science and almost no new understanding of physics." top
ultracool writes "When Dutch astronomer Willem de Sitter proposed a static model of the universe in the early 1900s, he was some 3 trillion years ahead of his time. Now, physicists Lawrence Krauss from Case Western Reserve University and Robert J. Scherrer from Vanderbilt University predict that trillions of years into the future, the information that currently allows us to understand how the universe expands will have disappeared over the visible horizon. What remains will be "an island universe" made from the Milky Way and its nearby galactic Local Group neighbors in an overwhelmingly dark void." top
ultracool writes "The problem with the internet is that the useful bits tended to be surrounded by useless and distracting bits. The Interclue browser add-on gives you the useful bits without the fluff, along with relevant metadata and one-click actions, all without leaving the page. So far it's available for Firefox, but they are working on IE, Opera, and Safari." top
ultracool writes "New solar cells developed by researchers at the Nanomaterials Research Centre at Massey University in New Zealand don't need direct sunlight to operate and use a patented range of dyes that can be impregnated in roofs, window glass and eventually even clothing to produce power. Researchers at the centre have developed the dyes from simple organic compounds closely related to those found in nature, where light-harvesting pigments are used by plants for photosynthesis." top
ultracool writes "The start-up of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN could be delayed (registration required) after three of the magnets used to focus and manipulate the accelerator's proton beams failed preliminary tests at CERN earlier this week. The magnets were built at Fermilab in the US, which announced the failure on its Web site. Although CERN has not yet issued a formal statement on the set-back, it looks increasingly unlikely that the LHC will come on-line this year as planned." top
ultracool writes "Alas, research that says gaming is good for you!
Researchers at the University of Rochester have shown that people who played action video games, such as Unreal Tournament, for a few hours a day over the course of a month improved by about 20 percent in their ability to identify letters presented in clutter — a visual acuity test similar to ones used in regular ophthalmology clinics. After just 30 hours, players showed a substantial increase in the spatial resolution of their vision, meaning they could see figures like those on an eye chart more clearly, even when other symbols crowded in." top
ultracool writes "From TFA:
"Carbon dioxide released through the burning of fossil fuels is cooling the upper atmosphere (Science subscription required), says a group of physicists who believe that a coherent pattern of global climate change in Earth's upper atmosphere is emerging after more than 15 years of study and debate. Falling temperatures are also lowering the density of the upper atmosphere and causing it to contract towards Earth. This is good news for low-Earth-orbit satellites like the International Space Station, which are remaining in their orbits for longer because of reduced atmospheric drag."
Is this necessarily a good position to take? Rather than focusing on one of the few and far between benefits of climate change, shouldn't we be worried that the upper atmosphere is changing so drastically?" top
ultracool writes "While the only permanent solution for human-driven global warming is developing renewable energy, a temporary hack to counteract possible abrupt climate change is to build a giant sunshade in space. The sunshade would be launched into space in small pieces by electromagnetic launchers over a decade, as conventional chemical rockets are too expensive and impractical. The sunshade could be developed and deployed in 25 years and would reduce the amount of sunlight reaching Earth by 2%, which is enough to balance heating due to doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere." top
ultracool writes "Two separate research groups claim to have observed Bose-Einstein condensation (BEC) in quasiparticles at much higher temperatures than atomic BEC — one at 19 Kelvin and the other at room temperature. The 19 K BEC was composed of half-matter, half-light quasi-particles called polaritons, and the room temperature condensate was composed of "magnons" (packets of magnetic energy). There is some skepticism among physicists as to whether these really are BECs. If they are true BECs, these experiments are the first evidence of them in the solid state." top
ultracool writes "An international research team led by Prof. Michael Kramer of the University of Manchester's Jodrell Bank Observatory, UK, has used three years of observations of the "double pulsar", a unique pair of natural stellar clocks which they discovered in 2003, to prove that Einstein's theory of general relativity — the theory of gravity that displaced Newton's — is correct to within a staggering 0.05%. Their results are published on the 14th September in the journal Science (subscription required for full text) and are based on measurements of an effect called the Shapiro Delay." top
ultracool writes "In a finding sure to cause controversy, scientists at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) found a lack of evidence of shadows from "nearby" clusters of galaxies using new, highly accurate measurements of the cosmic microwave background (WMAP). Other groups have previously reported seeing this type of shadows in the microwave background. Those studies, however, did not use data from WMAP, which was designed and built specifically to study the cosmic microwave background."