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The Habitable Zone Was Redefined Today, Earth Is Now Barely Habitable

The difference between Mars and Earth is that one of them falls into the habitable zone, while the other doesn’t. This habitable zone – a small path along a star where a planet is not too close and not too far away that life could exist on its surface – was redefined today, and Earth just barely made the cut.

Scientist took updated atmospheric databases called HITRAN and HITEMP which basically measure how much energy the water absorbs and how much energy carbon dioxide can retain, and updated our current place within the habitable zone in our solar system.  After their calculations were plotted on the new chart, they discovered that our planet was just inside the habitable zone.

The habitable zone is used to identify if a planet has the right temperature to retain liquid water on its surface. If a planet is too far away from its parent star, the water will freeze, if its too close, the water will vaporize away. Obviously, a planet with liquid water would be a primo spot for life to flourish.

This new redefined boundary means that many planets that we thought were in the habitable zone, are no longer in the sweet spot to hold life, however, this also allows planets that had recently been excluded as candidates for life to come back into the realm of plausibility.

How much did our Earth move on this zone? Not much, only .04 AU’s closer to the sun from the previous data which was collected 20 years ago – by James Kasting from Penn State. An AU is a term used to define an Earth-Sun distance, 1 Astronomical Unit is about 150 million kilometers in size. So our records went from 0.95 AU – 1.67 AU to the new distance of .99 AU – 1.7 AU (remember the path of the Earth around the sun is not a perfect circle. Throughout the year,  the Earth shifts about .8 AU’s. This shift makes the difference between Winter and Summer.)

Abel Mendez from the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo is a researcher in charge of a Habitable Exoplanet Catalog – a catalog with all the planets that could hold life. He stated that this new study is going to require him to update the catalog and kick off or squeeze in new planets to fit this new data.

Basically, since the Earth is now just inside the new boundary – and we seem to be pretty comfortable – this means that the habitable zone’s outer edges could be extended to areas that we once thought were too extreme 20 years ago.

HZ_distance

The main planet that Mendez is particularly excited about is Gliesse581d, a planet who’s path, using outdated data, was on the outer edge of the habitable zone. With this new redefinition of the zone, the planet’s new path is now right in the middle of the zone. What’s interesting about the new zone is that Mars is now also in the zone, on the outer cooler boundary, but it’s there.

This new data, however, does not take into consideration cloud formations, which according to the researchers have a huge impact on the habitability of a planet. What I want to know is, what happens after we fall completely outside of the habitable zone and we’re still alive, do we change it up again? Or will we be officially screwed?

Via Space.com

Water Damaged Apple iPhone: What To Do?

Nowadays there are phones that are not afraid of water at all (Sony’s super-resistant Xperia phones, Motorola’s Defy and some of Nokia’s old feature phones come to my mind at once). But unfortunately, water can kill cool expensive smartphones like the Apple iPhones in minutes. On the other hand, you can try to save and revive a water-damaged phone, even if it’s an iPhone, and if you follow the steps below and don’t waste much time, you’ll be able to make it work again.

1. Turn your wet iPhone off (if it’s not off already). It’s very important, since it will raise your phone’s chance to stay “alive” after water contact. Remember that you’ll be able to switch it on only after 72 hours.

2. No, don’t take it to the warranty center – they won’t help you, since water damage is not a warranty case.

3. Remove the SIM card.

4. Shake the phone and try to remove as much water as possible. If it doesn’t have much water inside, that’s great.

5. Dry the iPhone with a towel.

6. Don’t try to dry your iPhone in a microwave or stove. And don’t use any hairdryers or other things like that on it – they’ll kill your favorite phone in minutes.

7. Put your iPhone in a bowl or bag of uncooked rice and leave it there for at least 72 hours. Rice will absorb the moisture well and dry your phone safely.

8. Patiently wait for 72 hours.

9. Take your phone from the rice bag or bowl and if it’s completely dry, switch it on.

Is everything OK with it? If yes, congratulations! You did well! If no… Well, at least you know you did everything you could.

Source – TeqnoLogical

The Infinite Jukebox: This Website Will Extend Your Favorite Song Indefinitely

The Music Hack Day event in Boston wasn’t a complete waste this year. It yielded The Infinite Jukebox — a website that creates infinitely long versions of uploaded tracks without making them “suck”. You have a couple of options, upload your own MP3 or play from a selected list.

The Infinite Jukebox was created by Paul Lamere, the director for music intelligence company Echo Nest. The app uses a music service that breaks the entire MP3 into separate beats and segments, then using a “smart” algorithm, it puts it back together after it matches them against other beats in the song that sound the same.

The song then plays the beats and jumps around to different areas depending on what it feels is the “best” place to make it suck less. You see the image at the top? the way it has the arches spanning from one side of the ring to the next? well, these arches determine where the song is going to jump to next. The really cool part, is that it doesn’t jump to that same area all of the time, instead, it randomly selects weather it wants to jump there or not. This randomization keeps the song interesting and new.

The app is designed to work with any song, but it works best if the song has repetition loops. The higher the number of loops, the longer the song is. You can listen to “Feel Good Inc.” by Gorillas for over 30 minutes. I love the way this works, I can’t wait to see this in a cellphone app so I can listen to the same – different – song while I travel across the state!

Georgia Tech’s Chicken Deboning Robot – Would You Still Eat It?

With the advents in robotics, and “self-driving” technology, I never through the process of deboning a chicken would be so complicated for a robot.  Apparently, deboning a chicken “efficiently” requires the human touch and can only be performed by a skilled chicken deboner.  Sure, robots can drive a car, perform surgery, fly planes, but when it comes to deboning a chicken, we’re still the superior being – for now.

Gary McMurray from the Georgia Institute of Technology has been working with his team for eight years to develop a robot that can debone a chicken AS/OR better than a human deboner. China has a machine that can debone chickens pretty quickly at a little over 1k chickens per hour, but while it is very fast, it sacrifices the best “cut.” – think quantity over quality – According to McMurray, the problem with robots is that the bots don’t have the hand eye coordination that humans have when it comes to placing the blade into the meat.  A trained factory worker can feel and cut around the edges of the bone to produce the best cut.  The higher the quality of the cut, the more trained workers you need to get that cut, which increases the prices on chicken. Basically these chicken companies have to pull off a balancing act, and hopefully skilled robots can make that act cheaper for everyone across the board.

In June of this year, the team of researchers will get the chance to test out their product on real chickens, if this works, they would have a tide changer between quality v/s quantity in the industry. “This machine, equipped with robotic arms and a surgical blade, is guided by a three-dimensional imaging system that can determine in a split second the size of each chicken and where its skin, meat and bone are,” The ultimate goal is to make the robot as efficient as a human, so the test is going to be dependent on two things – How fast can it be done, and how high is the quality of the cut.

I know what you’re thinking, and I’m the same way. I don’t care about the quality of the cut, when I get it home it’s frozen and then I cut it into smaller pieces when I’m ready to cook. But really, the people that care about the cut are the deboning companies. They want to get as much meat as possible from the chicken before they discard the remains. In this kind of business, the QUALITY of the cut produces a higher QUANTITY of the product.

We may have a whole bunch of people that will lose their jobs, but there will always be companies that hire workers and go off on a marketing scheme selling “Ethical” chicken cuts over “robotic” cut chickens. VIA: WSJ

Awesome Quadrotor Flying Machine Gun!

I’m not sure how Russian this guy is, but he definitely is Russian enough to not be messed with. The FPS Russian people made an awesome video of a Quadrotor prototype that is equipped with a machine gun as its main striking power, and enough explosive devices to destroy a full vehicle. I’m sure you’ve seen videos online of quadrotor-copters doing some pretty awesome things, but this is the first of its kind. The drone wasn’t developed by some high tech company, but it still gets the job done fairly well. In a few years, I can see the US military taking on a quadrotor copter rigging it up with some awesome weapons – if they don’t already have that.

The FPS Russian actually takes the small drone around shooting some “unwelcomed strangers” which are buster like dummies with C4 explosives inside them to make them detonate – you know to add to the awesomeness.

Aside from the machine gun that it uses as its main weapons, the drone has enough dynamite to explode and take out a good size vehicle when it receives the detonation signal. Maybe the US Air Force should incorporate this into their designs, especially after the Iranians reverse engineered a drone and now have the instructions on how to rebuild it.

Buying rnicrosoft.com And Other Fake Websites – The Easiest Way To Scam People

Typo Squatting and spelling errors on domain names can make your shopping experience at Amazon a living hell. A scammer will typically purchase a domain name that resembles that of a major company and install malware or worse yet, steal hundreds of dollars from your bank account. Because of these scammers, Amazon has taken proactive measures to stop possible scams against their customers, they have purchased multiple variations of their domain name – Aqmazon, maxzon, amzon, and many more.

Now there are other names that you can purchase that no one really thought about, they include switching letters with numbers, or combining letters to form a new letter – the reason no one ever though about it until now, is because they are so far out of the way to type, to be a screw up. For example the letter l and I (L and i ) they both look the same in some browsers. Also combining the letter R and N forms the letter M in some browsers. This new type of squatting may not mean anything to you. Especially when you’re not going to make the mistake of typing in RNicrosoft.com on a website, but think about how many people can e-mail you these links or post them on facebook and direct you to a website that looks identical to the real deal? here is an example arnazon.com looks very similar to amazon.com, an unsuspecting victim may not see the difference until you look really closely into the domain name.

Other examples are Google.com and Goog1e.com, or e5pn.com. These fake domain names are going out for thousands of dollars each, RNicrosoft is selling for a little over $4,000 dollars, which is nothing for Microsoft to purchase, especially when they can really get taken advantage of by a group of scammers. Just recently Microsoft took down a large BOT Net with the aid of the US Marshals, they usually sent out e-mails with links to less than reputable sites like PaiPal.com etc, now imagine getting an email to PayPaI.com where the i looks like an L at the end of the address. Now not even looking at the domain name to see if it’s okay is going to work. The only protection you’ll have then is copy and paste the link then paste it into a word document and change the font to something different.  [SEDO via Gizmodo]

The US Fires the World’s Most Powerful Laser – Next It Will Create A Star!

The United States’ National Ignition Facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Lab in California just fired off the most powerful laser in history. The laser put out a beam measured at 2-megajoules, enough to put it on spot #1 for the most powerful laser in the world.

So what’s the point of this? Well, to create a small star of course! The researchers fired off a single beam of light that is then split into 48 separate beams. The beams are bounced around a warehouse that’s about the size of three football fields using mirrors, eventually the 48 beams get split up into 192 different beams and are taken through amplifiers that increase the strength of the laser every single time they bounce around the facility.

After the laser has made its way to the final exit point, the laser contains about 1,000 times the energy of all the power plants currently in place in the U.S. or about Five Trillion Watts of energy. Since this was just a test, the facility didn’t go through with the full experiment – that’s going to happen later this year when they will be shooting the laser at the small frozen hydrogen fuel cell in the image to the right. The fuel cell is going to be wrapped inside a gold plated cylinder called the Hohlraum.

This Gold plate is going to be located inside of a 32.8 foot ignition chamber and will turn the lasers into X-rays that will in turn compress the hydrogen cell at one hundred billion atmospheres in just 1/1,000,000 of a second.

Why? Because this will create a small start … a SUN! … on earth! They hope that the star is going to generate more power than the energy used to get the laser to shoot, not to mention, the chamber needs to be able to contain the heat that is going to be generated by the creation of  the star. That’s if they get to make a star in the first place.

Most of the funding that the NIF has been receiving comes from the US Nuclear Weapons Complex, which uses the facility to test the physics of nuclear bombs, and the US Department of Energy’s fusion-energy budget. If they can’t get the laser to induce fusion the way they plan, the US Department of Energy Fusion-Energy budget is going to get moved around to an alternative approach that uses magnets rather than lasers to induce fusion.  In this huge economic downfall that we’ve been having in the US, it’s nice to know America still has it in the bag!  [via Gizmodo via Physorg]

Is Farming Chickens Matrix Style To Keep Them From Suffering Ethical?

Andre Ford is an Architecture Student that is proposing an idea that seems to come straight out of the Matrix, raising chickens to be used for meat in vertical racks after severing their frontal cortexes, rendering them brain dead. He claims that having chickens on top of each other in the vertical racks is far more efficient, and he’s probably right about that, but do you think this is going to go well with animal activists groups? Probably not.

The images in the bottom show you exactly what he wants to have on his futuristic farms. The chickens are suspended from their heads, they are no longer able to move, their bodies and their feet have been removed. The holding “cranes” have tubes that feed the chickens water and nutrients, then the other end of the crane has tubs that carry the “nutrients” out of their bodies. As far as their brain being able to feel any pain that’s out of the picture as well. The chickens are not tortured at all, the scientist completely remove all the unnecessary parts of the brain and leave only the parts needed to run basic functions like breathing, keeping a heart beating, and most importantly process nutrients. At this stage, the chicken is no longer an animal that can feel pain or even suffer… so does this make it ethical?

It all depends on how you look at it, it would be the equivalent of removing the brain from the chicken and keeping them alive to lay eggs. I feel like today’s standards in chicken production are not bad, this however pushes the boundary. Imagine keeping a brain dead woman alive and using her body to create babies?

Sure, having this kind of system is great if you want to reduce the amount of space needed to farm chickens, it’s also cheaper to maintain, it’s cleaner, and it’s better for the chickens since they can’t really feel. The advantages of this for the chicken are great, unlike the current factory farming where the chickens are packed up in cages with other chickens, at least in this set up the chicken is no longer aware of what’s going on around him.

Now, keep in mind this is an art project and is not something that is currently in place ANYWHERE not even in a lab, but the question needs to be asked, if you remove the ability to feel pain and emotion from an animal… is it more ethical than the current farming standards?