Thought for the month

“There is more to life than increasing its speed.”

Mahatma Ghandi, Indian Leader (1869 – 1948)

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

This is BIG

The Institute of Laser Engineering, Osaka University, has reinforced the existing Petawatt laser to deliver up to 2,000 trillion watts in the duration of one trillionth of one second.

Monday, 28 September 2015

New 2D crystals from Manchester

Manchester University have reported fabrication techniques for 2D crystals such as black phosphorus and niobium diselenide.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Top passwords

The top passwords of 2014 will make you feel comparatively ingenious

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Electric aircraft

Electric aircraft – the future of aviation or just wishful thinking?

Monday, 21 September 2015

Is your desk here?

Your Ddesk says what kind of genius you are

Friday, 18 September 2015

High pressure superconductivity

Researchers set new temperature record for a superconductor

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Bird power

An eagle takes unkindly to a drone flying through her skies

Monday, 14 September 2015

Friday, 11 September 2015

Watch what an Apple can cost

Teardown estimates a $140 bill of materials for the Apple Watch

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Chip spenders

Gartner estimates that over 165,000 companies worldwide buy semiconductor chips. The top 10 spend nearly 40 percent of the total semiconductor revenue; the top 11 to 100 spend about 30 percent; and the remainder spend 30 percent.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Fringe fun

50 of the best ever jokes at the Edinburgh fringe

Monday, 7 September 2015

Man and machines

In 1871 there was one hairdresser for every 1793 citizens of England and Wales; today there is one for every 287. This factoid comes from an interesting study looking at the impact of technology on employment. It seems that technology benefits society and creates new employment in new sectors. Technology shrinks employment as it replaces labour as the source of energy but increases it in knowledge intensive sectors and areas of the drivers of technological change. Also, technological change lowers expenditure on essentials and thus releases spending to create new demands and new jobs.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Review it yourself?

Springer has retracted 64 articles in 10 subscription journals. After spotting fake email addresses the subsequent investigations uncovered fabricated peer review reports. Asking authors to suggest peer reviewers has previously been highlighted as a flaw with submitted email addresses for reviewers leading back to the actual authors. Retraction Watch say that faked reviews have been responsible for 15% of all retractions in the past three years.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

More learning

A man’s got to know his limitations, as Clint Eastwood once said. A recent study in Psychological Science suggests that the more that people think they know about a topic in general, the more likely they are to allege knowledge of completely made-up information and false facts. The researchers warn that this tendency to over-claim, especially in self-perceived experts, may actually discourage individuals from educating themselves and thus create a menace, not of ignorance, but of the illusion of knowledge. As Mahatma Gandhi is quoted as saying, live as if you were to die tomorrow, learn as if you were to live forever.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Avogadro and the kilogram

A kilogram defined in terms of fundamental constant instead of a physical mass will expand international access to precise measurements.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Microwave launch

Testing shows using microwaves to propel a craft into space might work

Friday, 21 August 2015

Robotic self-awareness

A robot at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York has solved the famous ‘King’s Wise Men’ puzzle, which is a classic logic and self-awareness test.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Foam radiation shield

Research from North Carolina State University shows that lightweight composite metal foams are effective at blocking X-rays, gamma rays and neutron radiation, and are capable of absorbing the energy of high impact collisions. The finding means the metal foams hold promise for use in nuclear safety, space exploration and medical technology applications.

Monday, 17 August 2015

IBM's 7 nanometre node test chips

An alliance led by IBM Research has produced the semiconductor industry’s first 7 nanometre node test chips with functioning transistors.

Friday, 14 August 2015

2015 R&D 100 Award Finalists

The 2015 R&D 100 Award Finalists have been listed.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Take a look inside Google's cute little self-driving car

We've known what the outside of Google's latest self-driving car looks like for more than a year — rounded, compact, and kind of cute — but now we've seen the inside, too. Google brought its prototype vehicles to the Community School of Music and Arts in the company's home town of Mountain View on Saturday, allowing members of the local community to peek inside the automated cars as part of the Paint The Town project. The pictures they took show a surprisingly spacious seating area, no steering wheel, and a chunky, toy-like aesthetic.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Spacesuit, once found on moon is to go on show

The very suit in which pioneering astronaut Neil Armstrong made his historic moonwalks is to go on show to the public – thanks in large part to a successful crowdfunding appeal for half a million bucks that will bankroll the exhibition.

Friday, 7 August 2015

As tough as paper?

Researchers at the University of Maryland recently discovered that paper made of cellulose fibers is tougher and stronger the smaller the fibers get. For a long time, engineers have sought a material that is both strong (resistant to non-recoverable deformation) and tough (tolerant of damage).

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Pluto revealed

Pluto sends a breathtaking farewell to New Horizons. Backlit by the sun, Pluto’s atmosphere rings its silhouette like a luminous halo in this image taken by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft around midnight EDT on July 15.

Monday, 3 August 2015

ET the hunt continues

I have no special insights or beliefs as to whether extra-terrestrial intelligence resides somewhere out in the infinite universe. The Fermi Paradox, if intelligent life exists elsewhere then why do we see no evidence of it, seems to me to have merit. Last month saw the announcement of significant funding for project Breakthrough Listen, a comprehensive hunt for alien communications. Radio telescopes at Green Bank in West Virginia, the Parkes Observatory in Australia, and the Lick Observatory's optical telescope in San Jose, California, will scan stars in the Milky Way and a hundred other galaxies. Perhaps the general public consensus is one of expected failure. Suggesting a reading of Greek Myths, especially Pandora’s Box may seem irrelevant. However, as well as putting effort into looking for life beyond earth, I trust that some thought is being given on how to deal with a successful result.