World Asteroid Day June 30 2015 - Asteroid threat means Earth 'living on borrowed time'

Astrophysicist and lead guitarist of rock band Queen Dr. Brian May has warned that an asteroid impact was all but inevitable. 

Events for Asteroid Day will be organised by individuals and independent organisations around the world on 30 June, the anniversary of the asteroid impact at Tunguska, Siberia, which destroyed 1,300 square kilometres.

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Scientists expect the 1,100 kg GOCE satellite to crash to Earth in just days ...Nov. 8, 2013

ESA said Friday that humans are 250,000 times more likely to win the lottery than to get hit by the debris weighing up to 90 kilograms (200 pounds) that may survive the breakup. 

The European Space Agency says its will crash to Earth on Sunday night or during the day on Monday, but debris is unlikely to cause any casualties.

Scientists say the 1,100-kilogram (2,425-pound) satellite already has fallen to an altitude of 170 kilometers (105 miles) and is spiraling steadily downward.

Once it reaches an altitude of 80 kilometers (50 miles) the Earth observation satellite will break apart and four-fifths will burn in the atmosphere.

The European Space Agency's Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE)  cost  $450 million satellite was launched in 2009 to study Earth's gravity field in unprecedented detail.


GOCE was launched in 2009 to map the Earth's gravitational field. It ran out of fuel last month, ending the mission.

Video of Comet ISON crashing into Sun from NASA - WOW !


COMET ISON, R.I.P - it did not survive its brush with the sun today.Thanksgiving Day in the USA, the comet was supposed to pass a little more than a million miles above the surface of the sun.

 As a new movie from SOHO shows, the comet had already disintegrated. In the movie, Comet ISON is clearly falling apart as it approaches the sun

Click to set the scene in motion, and pay careful attention to the head of the comet:

Researchers working with the Solar Dynamics Observatory report that they are saw nothing along the track that ISON was expected to follow through the sun's atmosphere.



Americas Cup Boat goes nearly 90 km / hr - 2.8 times the speed wind

America's Cup: how the yachts go faster than the wind



The victory by Sir Ben Ainslie and his Oracle Team USA in the America's Cup is being ranked as one of the most astonishing comebacks of all time. Oracle Team USA, with Sir Ben Ainslie on board as tactician, completed one of the most remarkable sporting comebacks of all time on Wednesday night, trouncing Emirates Team New Zealand by 44 seconds in their winner-takes-all finale in San Francisco.

Since this moment, technological advances have been at the heart of the America's Cup, with teams using cutting edge materials and innovative designs to get an edge. Multihull boats such as catamarans and trimarans were among those innovations that have transformed the America's Cup racing and pushed back the boundaries of what is possible.

These catamarans use innovative wing sail designs and hydrofoils that were initially expected to achieve speeds of up to 1.6 times the speed of the wind when sailing downwind.

However, the yachts have achieved almost 2.79 times the wind speed and reached speeds of up to 47 knots, or 55 miles per hour.

How is it possible to sail faster than the wind?

At first glance this appears to defy logic – how can a yacht travel faster than the wind that is propelling it? However, the boats in the America's Cup use rigid wing sails rather than traditional cloth and mast mail sails. These fixed wings use the same principals of lift force that enables aircraft to fly to drive the boat forward. The speed produced also lifts the catamarans out of the water. When combined with reduced drag through the water, the catamarans essentially fly above the surface of the water.


What is a wing sail?

The AC72 catamarans have rigid sails that are the same size as the wing from a Jumbo Jet Boeing 747 passenger airliner.

Measuring 2,800 square feet, these enormous sails catch huge amounts of wind. They are also shaped just like an aircraft wing, with a wide, rigid front edge and a thin trailing edge. In the same way as an aircraft wing, the sails take advantage of the Bernoulli principle, which a difference in pressure on either side of the sail will create lift, or in this case forward motion through the water.

On these boats the wing sail is built in two separate elements, producing an asymmetric wing where the curved surface over which the air flows can be altered by changing the angle between these elements. The wing sail works because the air on the rear, or leeward, side of the sail travels faster than the air on the front, or windward, side.

This difference in air speed creates low pressure on the leeward side of the sail and high pressure on the windward side, essentially lifting the sail forward just like an aircraft wing generates upward lift. By adjusting the angle between the two elements of the wing, the sailors on board can control the amount of "forward lift" they get from the sail. The more the flaps bend, the more power is generated. However, if the sailors bend the wings too much, then they can lose control or the sail will stall.

What are the wings made of?

The leading edge of the wing is made from carbon fibre and forms a rigid structure a little like a mast. At the rear of the wing, there are soft trailing edges while the rest is made from a thin, lightweight composite shell. The two elements of the wing are fixed close together to ensure there is as small a gap between them as possible. If the gap is too big, air can leak between them, creating drag. The teams have worked closely with the aerospace industry to develop their wings, creating small tweaks and alterations in the curve to maximise lift while giving the crews as much control as possible.

How are the wings controlled?

A series of lines and ropes are attached to the wings to allow the crew to alter the angle of the camber, while the flaps are controlled using hydraulic cables. The crew also carry wireless electronic devices that provide them with updates from sensors carried on the wings to help them keep them in optimal shape.

What about the drag of the water?

In general boats are large, heavy objects that must force their way through the water. Without power they quickly slow down due to the pressure of the water pushing against their hulls.

Catamarans generally have lower drag through the water than single hull boats due to the relatively small amount of the boat that is actually in the water at any one time.

All the same, the AC72s weigh seven tonnes each and that is a lot of boat to force through the water.

What is different about the AC72 boats is that they can sail without any of the hull in the water. They glide along on foils that extend down from the bottom of the hulls instead - something crews have described as being like "flying on water".

Once they reach speeds of around 20 knots the boats pop up out of the water so the weight of the boat is carried on the foils on the rear of the vessel.

Forward winglets are lowered into the water using hydraulic daggerboards.

These allow the yachts to almost glide through the water, cutting through the waves so power is not lost by having to force the boat through oncoming waves.

What is so special about the hydrofoils?

These surfboard sized foils are made from carbon fibre yet are able to withstand up to 15 tonnes of pressure when performing a turn. The entire weight of the boat is lifted out of the water on these foils, and the reduction in drag makes the boat go between 10-15 per cent faster. Crews have discovered that they can push the boundaries of this further and squeeze even more speed out of the boats by maintaining a stable flight height about 1 metre above the water. They do this by controlling the angle of the front foils to ensure the boats remain stable.

Are there risks?

In a word, yes. These boats are travelling at speeds of up to 55 miles per hour above the water while supported on tiny blades of carbon fibre.

The crews must constantly fight to keep the catamarans from pitching forward, causing the bow of the hulls to hit the water and causing the vessel to somersault, known as a pitchpole.

In May this year British Olympic medallist Andrew Simpson was killed while training for the America's Cup when the Swedish Artemis Racing team yacht he was aboard flipped and broke into pieces.

Simpson was trapped under the hull and could not be revived. Crews wear protective armour and helmets. Since Simpson's death they are also required to wear portable air canisters in case they are trapped under water during a capsize.

Who do you think is on the right track - Samsung flexi phone or Sony waterproof ?? or will watches win over both??


Samsung's flexible Youm display is a prototype - the team say they have developed a "fluid-like" polymer electrolyte that is more flexible.

Sony's new Xperia ZR is waterproof to a depth of 1.5m for up to half an hour but the new coatings could allow devices to be submerged for months. So dropping your phone down the toilet may never be a problem again !! 

A spokesman for the Korean science ministry told the Korean Joongang Daily: "Conventional lithium-ion batteries that use liquefied electrolytes had safety problems as the film that separates the electrolytes may melt under heat, in which case the positive and negative elements may come in contact, causing an explosion."  Samsung flexible smartphone called a Youm.

On stage at CES the prototype phone was shown being flexed and bent without any conspicuous colour distortion, with other pre-recorded demonstrations shown on film.

Corning, the maker of Gorilla Glass, which is widely used across mobile phones, is also working on a flexible glass product called Willow.

Sony may be looking at a way of waterproofing electronic components that means they can be immersed in water for days without being damaged.

The technique coats components with a protective layer just a few atoms thick that is impervious to air or water.

They claim devices treated in this way can be left submerged in salt water for months without being harmed – conditions that would destroy normal electronics.

He said: "By creating such barriers films, we are able to extend lifetime and reliability of electronic devices."

Most electronic devices such as mobile phones have films that are strayed onto electronic components to protect them from water vapour in the air and make them splash resistant.

However, these can add bulk to components and tiny imperfections in the way these are created can allow water to get through, meaning they are not totally waterproof.

To protect devices such as mobile phones and cameras from water, a separate case needs to be used.

Professor Graham, who is presenting his findings to the American Vacuum Society's International Symposium and Exhibition, has developed a technique known as atomic layer deposition to create better barriers against water.

By surrounding components with gaseous atoms from a metal like aluminium, they form a layer over the electronics which is then oxidised.

This oxide layer, which is only 10 nanometres thick – around 6,000 times thinner than the width of a human hair – is prevents water from getting to the sensitive electronics underneath.

In one recent study, Professor submerged electronic sensors in water for 10 days after coating them in the atomic film.

The coatings can also be transparent, meaning they can also be used in electronic displays like those found on smart phones.

It could mean that ordinary cameras and mobile phones can be used underwater without coming to any harm.

Professor Graham believes the new coatings could also be used to help protect implantable biomedical devices such as pace makers and underwater sensors








I WANT ONE !! A jetpack produced by New Zealand-based Martin Aircraft is about go into production

This 'Segway of the sky' can fly for 30 minutes on five gallons of gas. Initially, the company expects to manufacture about 800 jetpacks a year.

A personal aircraft that requires minimal training and no pilot's license is about ready for production.  "We're trying to make the world's easiest-to-fly aircraft," Richard Lauder, chief executive of New Zealand-based Martin Aircraft Company tells Discovery News. "Our goal is to create a Segway for the sky, where the principles of flying would be very simple."

It certainly looked that way in the movies and TV shows of the 1960s and 1970s, when everyone from James Bond to Gilligan strapped on a jetpack for a thrilling change of scene.

"I think there's been an interest in this type of flying vehicle ever since man started to fly," said Dick Knapinski communications director for the Experimental Aircraft Association, a non-profit organization. "Going back to Buck Rogers in the '30s, '40s and '50s, it was assumed that within 50 years these things would have become commonplace. It hasn't gone quite as quickly. I think there's a lot more engineering in it than one might perceive."

The key problem has been what is called the "weight-to-thrust" ratio, which basically boils down to the conundrum that the heavier you are or the longer you want to stay in the air, the more power you need, which in turn means you have to carry more weight. The highly publicized Bell Rocket Belt, which was developed in the 1950s, could only fly for 30 seconds, for example.

Martin Aircraft set out to build a flying machine that would fall within U.S. aviation regulations for ultralights, defined as aircraft weighing 254 pounds or less, designed for one person, holding no more than five gallons of fuel and capable of moving at a top speed of 55 knots (63 miles per hour).

The company also is developing a heftier jetpack intended for military, emergency rescue services and other government uses, as well as a remotely piloted, unmanned version, Lauder said.

The recreational-use jetpack is expected to sell for about $100,000.

"I certainly don't think it's going to be a George Jetson-sort-of-situation here, where there's one on every block, especially when the price starts out at $100,000," Knapinski tells Discovery News. "But I think you'll see a small section of people who would like to have one of those. I would do it in a second."

Lauder, who has tested out the jetpack twice, said when you're on the ground and preparing for takeoff, there's a lot of vibration and noise.

"It shakes a lot, but when you get off the ground it gets calm. You get picked up from behind, like the hand of God, and it's very calming," he said.

The CIA has officially acknowledged the secret US test site known as Area 51

16 August 2013 : Groom Lake Area - 51 Existence confirmed In a newly unclassified internal history of the U-2 spy plane programme.

Area 51 'declassified' in U-2 spy plane historySatellite image of Groome Lake and area 51 Area 51, so-named for its designation on a 1950s-era map, surrounds a dry lake bed, Groom Lake Continue reading the main story

The document obtained by a US university describes the 1955 acquisition of the Nevada site for testing of the secret spy plane.

It also explains the site's lingering association with UFOs and aliens.

The remote patch of desert surrounding Groom Lake was chosen because it was adjacent to a nuclear testing facility.

"The U-2 was absolutely top secret," Chris Pocock, a British defence journalist and author of histories of the programme, told the BBC.

"They had to hide everything about it."

The U-2 plane, developed to spy on the Soviet Union during the Cold War, is still flown by the US Air Force.

Reports of UFOs

The document, a secret 1992 internal CIA history of the U-2 programme, was originally declassified in 1998 with heavy redactions.

Many of the blacked-out details were revealed this month after a public records request by the National Security Archive at the George Washington University in Washington DC.

The site was selected for the U-2 programme in 1955 after an aerial survey by CIA and Air Force staff.

According to the history, President Dwight Eisenhower personally signed off on the acquisition.

Officials from the CIA, Air Force and Lockheed, the contractor building the U-2, began moving into the facility in July 1955.

While a lengthy account of the development of the U-2 spy plane programme, the history also attempts to shed light on the public's fascination with the Area 51 site and its lingering associations with extra-terrestrials and UFOs.

It notes that testing of the U-2 plane in the 1950s - at altitudes much higher than commercial aeroplanes then flew - provoked "a tremendous increase in reports of unidentified flying objects (UFOs)".

"At this time, no one believed manned flight was possible above 60,000 feet, so no one expected to see an object so high in the sky," note authors Gregory Pedlow and Donald Welzenbach.

'Inclination towards secrecy'

The original request for the redacted portions of the history was made in 2005. It was released to the National Security Archive several weeks ago.

Jeff Richelson, a senior fellow at the National Security Archive, said the long period of secrecy was notable because of the extent people across the world were already aware of Area 51's existence.

Mr Richelson speculates the CIA must have recently made a conscious, deliberate decision to reveal Area 51's existence and origins.

"There is a general inclination towards secrecy," he said, and the many US agencies and non-US governments involved in the U-2 programme would have had a say in the declassification process.

"As far as I can tell, this is the first time something must have gone to a high-enough level to discuss" whether or not to formally acknowledge Area 51's existence, he said

Lighting up the World ....Free light for poor simple.... Bottle light inventor proud to be poor - 40 to 60 watts


August 2013  Alfredo Moser: Bottle light inventor proud to be poor

Alfredo Moser's invention is lighting up the world. In 2002, the Brazilian mechanic had a light-bulb moment and came up with a way of illuminating his house during the day without electricity - using nothing more than plastic bottles filled with water and a tiny bit of bleach. In the last two years his innovation has spread throughout the world. It is expected to be in one million homes by early next year.

So how does it work? Simple refraction of sunlight, explains Moser, as he fills an empty two-litre plastic bottle.

"Add two capfuls of bleach to protect the water so it doesn't turn green. The cleaner the bottle, the better," he adds.

Wrapping his face in a cloth he makes a hole in a roof tile with a drill. Then, from the bottom upwards, he pushes the bottle into the newly-made hole.

"You fix the bottle in with polyester resin. Even when it rains, the roof never leaks - not one drop."

Moser's lamps - as seen from above The lamps work best with a black cap - a film case can also be used

"An engineer came and measured the light," he says. "It depends on how strong the sun is but it's more or less 40 to 60 watts," he says.


So refraction occurs when light passes from one substance to another with a different density - eg from air to water

In the case of the "Moser lamp", sunlight is bent by the bottle of water and spread around the room

The inspiration for the "Moser lamp" came to him during one of the country's frequent electricity blackouts in 2002. "The only places that had energy were the factories - not people's houses," he says, talking about the city where he lives, Uberaba, in southern Brazil.

Moser and his friends began to wonder how they would raise the alarm, in case of an emergency, such as a small plane coming down, imagining a situation in which they had no matches.

His boss at the time suggested getting a discarded plastic bottle, filling it with water and using it as a lens to focus the sun's rays on dry grass. That way one could start a fire, as a signal to rescuers. This idea stuck in Moser's head - he started playing around, filling up bottles and making circles of refracted light.

Soon he had developed the lamp.

"I didn't make any design drawings," he says.

"It's a divine light. God gave the sun to everyone, and light is for everyone. Whoever wants it saves money. You can't get an electric shock from it, and it doesn't cost a penny."

Moser has installed the bottle lamps in neighbours' houses and the local supermarket.

Alfredo Moser with one of his bottle lights

While he does earn a few dollars installing them, it's obvious from his simple house and his 1974 car that his invention hasn't made him wealthy. What it has given him is a great sense of pride.

Continue reading the main story

How much energy do the lamps save?

The plastic bottles are up-cycled in the local community, so no energy is needed to gather, shred, manufacture and ship new bottles

The carbon footprint of the manufacture of one incandescent bulb is 0.45kg CO2

A 50 Watt light bulb running for 14 hours a day for a year has a carbon footprint of nearly 200kg CO2

Moser lamps emit no CO2

Source: UN

"There was one man who installed the lights and within a month he had saved enough to pay for the essential things for his child, who was about to be born. Can you imagine?" he says.

Carmelinda, Moser's wife of 35 years, says her husband has always been very good at making things around the home, including some fine wooden beds and tables.

But she's not the only one who admires his lamp invention. Illac Angelo Diaz, executive director of the MyShelter Foundation in the Philippines, is another.

MyShelter specialises in alternative construction, creating houses using sustainable or recycled materials such as bamboo, tyre and paper.

"We had huge amounts of bottle donations," he says.

"So we filled them with mud and created walls, and filled them with water to make windows.

"When we were trying to add more, somebody said: 'Hey, somebody has also done that in Brazil. Alfredo Moser is putting them on roofs.'"

Following the Moser method, MyShelter started making the lamps in June 2011. They now train people to create and install the bottles, in order to earn a small income.

In the Philippines, where a quarter of the population lives below the poverty line, and electricity is unusually expensive, the idea has really taken off, with Moser lamps now fitted in 140,000 homes.

The idea has also caught on in about 15 other countries, from India and Bangladesh, to Tanzania, Argentina and Fiji.

Most homes and businesses in the slums of Dhaka have no power and no windows, so 80-90% of them hook up to electricity lines illegally - and fall back on candles or kerosene lamps during regular blackouts.

A voluntary organisation called Change began distributing the bottle light, or botul bati, earlier this year. It's helped hundreds of people - including sari makers and rickshaw repairers - whose livelihoods depend on having sufficient light.

There were teething problems. "Some people said they felt poorer after installing a bottle light," says Change founder Sajid Iqbal. The group counters this by stressing that each one helps tackle climate change.

Unlike some other charities, Change charges a small amount for the lights - roughly the price of 2-3kg of rice. "If you give the light for nothing, people don't maintain them," Iqbal says. "They don't understand their value."

People in poor areas are also able to grow food on small hydroponic farms, using the light provided by the bottle lamps, he says.

Overall, Diaz estimates, one million people will have benefited from the lamps by the start of next year.

"Alfredo Moser has changed the lives of a tremendous number of people, I think forever," he says.

"Whether or not he gets the Nobel Prize, we want him to know that there are a great number of people who admire what he is doing."

Did Moser himself imagine that his invention would have such an impact?

"I'd have never imagined it, No," says Moser, shaking with emotion.

"It gives you goose-bumps to think about it."