NASA may be temporarily out of the manned spaceflight game, but that doesn't mean it isn't preparing to realise all of our most technologically compelling sci-fi fantasies. The agency's Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT) has awarded three researchers funding to study three different means of creating a tractor beam--a ray of laser light than can trap and pull objects in the opposite direction of the beam.
This week's step forward in conforming to the beauty standard at any cost is a laser that can turn brown eyes into blue ones. The treatment, developed by Stroma Medical's Dr. Gregg Homer, takes only 20 seconds to perform, but is irreversible. Aside from giving you the piercing stare of an Arctic wolf, the procedure could also impair your sight, experts warn. Brown eye pigment helps to prevent problems such as glare and double vision. Removing it could leave the eye with no way to control the light getting in.
Our sister site Popular Photography just released their annual Pop Awards list, in which the best, most influential, and flat-out coolest photography gear gets rounded up for your perusal. This year looks like a great crop, ranging from cameras of all sizes to bags, studio strobes to software, and lenses to tripods. If you're thinking about buying anything image-related, check out this list before you make a decision. Read more at PopPhoto.
Black holes, while sounding big and fearsome, are in fact, tiny. So small that they cannot be observed at all. Their huge mass, thanks to their previous lives as high flying, supermassive stars, plus their tiny size is what makes their gravitational influence so great. What this means for science is that the only way to learn about black holes is by watching how they affect surrounding matter, but even that can be difficult. However, a team of researchers have made use of the Hubble Space Telescope and, you know, a giant lens made of suns to study the accretion disc of a quasar to minute levels of detail.
We've had this Ion Copy Cat handheld scanner from Planet Gadget sitting around in the office for a few weeks. Obviously, it's useful for boring things like scanning documents, scanning photos, scanning other documents you didn't scan the first time, and so on. But, we thought, given we can just carry this thing around with us, we might as well stretch the brief and find out what else it can be useful for.
Space is big. Really big. In fact, it's so vastly, mindbogglinglybig that the actual chance of an asteroid the size of an aircraft carrier hitting anything is quite small. Peanuts, really. This Tuesday night, though, an asteroid will pass close by, without quite hitting, the earth. It will actually skip in closer than the Moon.
Today, the six crew members of the Mars 500 mission have "returned." The six, comprised of three Russians (a surgeon, engineer, and physiologist), an Italian Colombian engineer, a Chinese astronaut instructor, and a French engineer, have lived in a sealed chamber in a Moscow parking lot.
At Paddy Power - Ireland's largest bookmaker - teams of quants and risk analysts set the odds on 12,000 to 15,000 events a week - everything from horse races and other sporting events to speculation on the name of Beyoncé's unborn child. Within these events, there are 60,000-70,000 individual bets, or "markets," to be made. And every market needs a set of odds - some kind of calculation of the probability that a specific outcome might occur, based on available data. But how does a bookmaker know what data is good and what data is bad? How can it build safeguards into predictive systems so it doesn't get burned?
Plasma is a really interesting substance. By understanding it, we can learn all kinds of things about how stars work, what's actually going on when they explode, and hopefully one day work out how to harness nuclear fusion to provideenormousamounts of clean energy. Thankfully, the Hopper supercomputer is working on that.