Time Itself May Be Slowing Down

December 31, 2007


For a decade, scientists have puzzled over a surprising phenomenon: Supernovae stars viewed at extreme distances seem to be moving away from us faster than those nearby. Most researchers have assumed that the stars have somehow accelerated – or that, more precisely, the rate of the expansion of the post-Big Bang universe itself has accelerated over time. But hold on just a minute. A group of scientists from the University of the Basque Country in Bilbao, and Spain’s University of Salamanca have offered a different idea. Maybe it’s the passage of time itself that’s slowing down, they say. The distant galaxies only look like they’re accelerating because our deep-space telescopes are essentially looking back in time to see them, to when time was going faster.

Site – http://blog.wired.com

René Magritte

December 31, 2007


Magritte was born in Lessines, in the province of Hainaut, in 1898, the eldest son of Léopold Magritte, a tailor, and Adeline, a milliner. He began drawing lessons in 1910. In 1912, his mother committed suicide by drowning herself in the River Sambre. Magritte was present when her body was retrieved from the water. The image of his mother floating, her dress obscuring her face, may have influenced a 1927-1928 series of paintings of people with cloth obscuring their faces, including Les Amants, but Magritte disliked this explanation. His art shows a more representational style of surrealism compared to the “automatic” style seen in works by artists like Joan Miró. In addition to fantastic elements, his work is often witty and amusing. He also created a number of surrealist versions of other famous paintings.

René Magritte described his paintings by saying,

My painting is visible images which conceal nothing; they evoke mystery and, indeed, when one sees one of my pictures, one asks oneself this simple question, ‘What does that mean?’. It does not mean anything, because mystery means nothing either, it is unknowable.

Largest ever telescope gets $200m to proceed

December 21, 2007


The prospect of a ground-based telescope that can directly see extrasolar planets, the earliest stellar systems and the birth of distant galaxies is nearing reality. The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has pledged $200m for the design and construction of the Thirty Metre Telescope (TMT), which is being developed by a consortium of astronomers in the US and Canada, including the California Institute of Technology and the University of California. As its name suggests, the TMT will consist of a mirror 30 m in diameter, giving it eight times the collecting area of any current telescope. But unlike conventional telescopes, the size of the mirror means that it will have to be split up into 492 individual hexagonal segments, all packed together into a curved honeycomb arrangement.

Site – http://physicsworld.com

Google-backed Nanosolar rolls out first set of panels

December 21, 2007


Even without additional funding from Congress via the recently passes energy bill, the future of solar power is looking bright. As reported the other day in the New York Times, Google-backed solar-panel start-up Nanosolar has started cranking out a new breed of panels that can be manufactured “at a price at which solar energy becomes less expensive than coal.”

Site – http://weblog.infoworld.com

Science Magazines Top 10 Breakthroughs 2007

December 21, 2007


As this trip around Sol comes to a close, the annual tradition of creating “best of the year” lists is in full swing. Here, we cover Science magazine’s top scientific breakthroughs of 2007. As one can see at a quick glance, a diverse set of scientific fields are represented, from genetics to neuroscience to computer science. We’ll start out with the breakthrough that earned top honors, then continue onto the nine runners-up, in no particular order.

Site – http://arstechnica.com

Toshiba Builds Micro Nuclear Reactor

December 21, 2007

micro nuke

Toshiba has developed a new class of micro size Nuclear Reactors that is designed to power individual apartment buildings or city blocks. The new reactor, which is only 20 feet by 6 feet, could change everything for small remote communities, small businesses or even a group of neighbors who are fed up with the power companies and want more control over their energy needs.

Site – http://www.nextenergynews.com

TIME Magazine Top 10 Scientific Discoveries

December 12, 2007


Reprogramming regular skin cells to behave just like embryonic stem cells, publications of Craig Venter’s entire diploid genetic sequence, and turning stem cells into functioning human heart-valve tissue were the top 3 in TIME Magazine’s list of top 10 scientific discoveries of 2007.

Site – http://www.time.com