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Current Topic: Science

RE: Underestimating their own beauty, humans fall victims to glossy magazine covers
Topic: Science 8:14 pm EDT, Aug 15, 2005

wilpig wrote:

It is noteworthy that a combination of features as depicted on these morphed photographs is impossible to find in any of living people. A human face can be wrinkless if only it is a digitalized picture. There are no perfect eyebrows, eyes or lips either. One may thus conclude that the woman on this picture is an absolutely unnatural, albeit a beautiful individual. Natural beauty cannot compete with digital perfection: the latter always wins, although it does not exist in reality. The top five of the computer pageant was made of only digital pictures. Furthermore, 79 percent of original male faces and 70 percent of original female faces were described as "not pretty" or even "ugly."

Western Civilization is indeed doomed to a very shallow and pathetic silicon and collagen filled end.

RE: Underestimating their own beauty, humans fall victims to glossy magazine covers

Scientists worry about Pentagon’s new ray gun
Topic: Science 9:38 pm EDT, Jul 20, 2005

LONDON - Scientists are questioning the safety of a "Star Wars"-style ray gun due to be deployed in Iraq for riot control next year.

The Active Denial System weapon, classified as “less lethal” by the Pentagon, fires a 95-gigahertz microwave beam at rioters to cause heating and intolerable pain in less than five seconds.

The idea is that people caught in the beam will rapidly try to move out of it and therefore break up the crowd

But New Scientist magazine reported Wednesday that during tests carried out at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, participants playing the part of rioters were told to remove glasses and contact lenses to protect their eyes.

95 GHz? Damn... In free space, that frequency has a wavelength of 0.31 cm. A wavelength of 23 cm (60x longer @ ~1.3GHz) would be considered to be microwave. This seems very reminiscent of the MASER, a technology which predated LASERs later invented by Bell Labs in the late 50s.

Scientists worry about Pentagon’s new ray gun

WIRED: Human Feces Powers Rwandan Prison
Topic: Science 10:02 pm EDT, Jul 16, 2005

The process requires putting a given amount of human or other animal waste into a "digester," which ferments it using bacteria to release methane gas that can be captured and then burned as fuel. Attached is a "compensating chamber" that replenishes the supply of bacteria to keep the operation self-sustaining.

The lead engineer on the project, Ainea Kimaro, says that within four weeks, 100 cubic meters of waste can be transformed into 50 cubic meters of fuel.

Biogas is being used around the world, including in homes in Nepal and to power trains in Sweden.

Kimaro said that while waste smells bad initially, the biogas that is produced has no foul odor. He added that the Rwandan prisoners are not put off by the idea of using the byproduct of human waste to cook.

"Our people are very adaptive," he said. "They see it working; they want to use it."

Once the methane is produced, the remaining waste is used as an odor-free fertilizer for the gardens at the prison.

WIRED: Human Feces Powers Rwandan Prison

NASA:water balloons in space?
Topic: Science 4:21 pm EDT, May 14, 2005

Cool Physics Experiment!

The tests were conducted in part to develop the ability to rapidly deploy large liquid drops by rupturing an enclosing membrane. As can be seen from the experiment footage, the initial rupture process is nearly ideal, but the finite size of the balloon material eventually ejects a spray from the drop surface. Then, when the balloon material leaves the drop entirely, it causes a large deformation of the drop (blob) which oscillates throughout the remainder of the test. Calculations suggest that such oscillations will continue for hours before the drop eventually becomes spherical.

NASA:water balloons in space?

Scientific conference falls for gibberish prank
Topic: Science 2:20 pm EDT, Apr 15, 2005

Too Funny... Very Dilbertian.

A bunch of computer-generated gibberish masquerading as an academic paper has been accepted at a scientific conference in a victory for pranksters at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Jeremy Stribling said that he and two fellow MIT graduate students questioned the standards of some academic conferences, so they wrote a computer program to generate research papers complete with nonsensical text, charts and diagrams.

The trio submitted two of the randomly assembled papers to the World Multiconference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics (WMSCI), scheduled to be held July 10-13 in Orlando, Florida.

To their surprise, one of the papers - "Rooter: A Methodology for the Typical Unification of Access Points and Redundancy" - was accepted for presentation.

The prank recalled a 1996 hoax in which New York University physicist Alan Sokal succeeded in getting an entire paper with a mix of truths, falsehoods, non sequiturs and otherwise meaningless mumbo-jumbo published in the journal Social Text.

Scientific conference falls for gibberish prank

Two muppets named top scientists
Topic: Science 9:37 pm EDT, Sep  5, 2004

WOO HOO!! Way to Go Beaker & Dr. Honeydew!

EXETER, England (Reuters) -- Muppets Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and his assistant Beaker defeated Dr. Strangelove, Dana Scully of "X Files" fame and Star Trek's Mr. Spock to be voted Britain's favorite screen scientists on Monday.

They beat their closest rival by a margin of 2 to 1 and won 33 percent of the 43,000 votes cast in an Internet poll.

Spock came in a distance second with 15 percent followed by The Doctor, from Dr Who, who garnered 13 percent. Scully, the only woman in the poll, came in sixth.

"They are accessible, humorous and occasionally blow each other up," said Roland Jackson, of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (BA).

The balding, white-coated Honeydew and flame-haired, bulging-eyed Beaker created an array of crazy gadgets on the popular television show.

Two muppets named top scientists

Allen donates millions to hunt for aliens
Topic: Science 9:16 pm EST, Mar 21, 2004

All your base are belong to Microsoft?

WASHINGTON — Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, one of the richest men on Earth, pledged Friday to donate $13.5 million for the research into extra-terrestrial life.

With the contribution, Allen will have given $25 million for the construction of the Allen Telescope Array , a network of 350 radio telescopes being built to find signs of life in space, said Thomas Pierson, director of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute.

The radio telescopes will measure the density of the early universe, the formation of stars and magnetic fields.

Allen donates millions to hunt for aliens

Universe Has At Least 30 Billion Years Left
Topic: Science 11:04 pm EST, Feb 21, 2004

Phewww! That was a close one. I was only betting on 29 billion years.

The new findings support Einstein's cosmological constant, which modern cosmologists say implies that dark energy should not characteristically change over time. If that's right, the universe will continue to expand at an accelerating forever.

The new results suggest that even if Einstein and modern dark energy theory are both wrong, dark energy will not destroy the universe for at least 30 billion years, Riess and his colleagues say.

"Right now we're about twice as confident than before that Einstein's cosmological constant is real, or at least dark energy does not appear to be changing fast enough, if at all, to cause an end to the universe anytime soon," Riess said.

The universe is presently 13.7 billion years old.

Universe Has At Least 30 Billion Years Left

Thar she blows! Dead whale explodes
Topic: Science 10:05 pm EST, Jan 30, 2004

the photo on this is quite lovely.

Once moved to a nearby nature preserve, the male specimen -- the largest whale ever recorded in Taiwan -- drew the attention of locals because of its large penis, measured at some five feet, the Taipei Times reported.

"More than 100 Tainan city residents, mostly men, have reportedly gone to see the corpse to 'experience' the size of its penis," the newspaper reported.

Whale Penis Envy? That's a new one...

Thar she blows! Dead whale explodes

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