Monday, September 29, 2014

What the world of 2014 looks like, according to Isaac Asimov in 1964

Writing in The New York Times in 1964, Isaac Asimov wondered what the world would look like 50 years in the future. Asimov had attended the World’s Fair of 1964 and took a rather optimistic view of humanity in spite of looming thermonuclear war. Technology would advance, the human population would prosper, and we would explore the frontiers of sea and space for our benefit.

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Complex organic molecule found in interstellar space

Alma telescope

Scientists have found the beginnings of life-bearing chemistry at the centre of the galaxy.

Iso-propyl cyanide has been detected in a star-forming cloud 27,000 light-years from Earth
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Cloudless sky offers perfect view of Ireland from space (PHOTOS)

Ireland’s spell of gorgeous weather in June brought clear skies and sunny days. For American astronaut Reid Wiseman, currently about 250 miles above Earth on board the International Space Station, it brought the rare chance to get a clear view of Ireland from space.
“Hello Ireland, been waiting to see you,” Wiseman tweeted, accompanied by his photograph of Ireland. The coastlines, inlets and rivers are all clearly visible, with just a few small clouds dotting the south west of the country.
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Unleashing some of the genius that lies within

Most people have heard of savant syndrome, first described in 1887, whereby a person is naturally endowed from early life with remarkable skills in music, artistic, mathematics, memory or mechanical skills, an ability that stands out in marked contrast to their general impairments in social interactions, language and other mental faculties. Dustin Hoffman gave a good impression of the savant syndrome in the 1988 film Rain Man.
I was unaware of an alternative form of savantism, acquired savantism, until reading a fascinating account by David Treffert in Scientific American, August 2014

Half of Earth's water formed before the sun was born

Good news for hunters of extraterrestrial life: Water may be more widespread in planetary systems than previously thought. A team of researchers studying the origin of the water in our solar system has concluded that up to half of it formed before the sun itself was born—that is, in the cloud of dust and gas that was the progenitor of our solar system. If water can form in abundance in such clouds, then it may be found everywhere.

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Friday, September 19, 2014

The Top 5 Most Polluted Countries in the World

The WHO has released a new study ranking countries with the worst air pollution. When we consider air pollution most of us will automatically think of China. However, it was nowhere to be found in the top 10 offenders. This, by the way, is not because they’ve suddenly cleaned up their act, but rather because this study ranked countries as a whole, rather than cities

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