Students call space station with home-built radio

TORONTO — Four Toronto college students have accomplished a technological feat that their teachers are calling a first.

The Humber College seniors made contact with the International Space Station Monday with a radio system they designed and built themselves.

School officials say that, to their knowledge, that’s never been accomplished by students at the college level.

The project got off the ground about a year ago as the students looked for a way to apply knowledge gained from their radio communication courses.

SOURCE ::>> http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090202.wcollegeradio0202/BNStory/Technology/home

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Images directly from brain

Researchers from Japan’s ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories have developed new brain analysis technology that can reconstruct the images inside a person’s mind and display them on a computer monitor, it was announced on December 11. According to the researchers, further development of the technology may soon make it possible to view other people’s dreams while they sleep.

The scientists were able to reconstruct various images viewed by a person by analyzing changes in their cerebral blood flow. Using a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine, the researchers first mapped the blood flow changes that occurred in the cerebral visual cortex as subjects viewed various images held in front of their eyes. Subjects were shown 400 random 10 x 10 pixel black-and-white images for a period of 12 seconds each. While the fMRI machine monitored the changes in brain activity, a computer crunched the data and learned to associate the various changes in brain activity with the different image designs.

Then, when the test subjects were shown a completely new set of images, such as the letters N-E-U-R-O-N, the system was able to reconstruct and display what the test subjects were viewing based solely on their brain activity.

Source ::>> http://www.pinktentacle.com/2008/12/scientists-extract-images-directly-from-brain/

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Space toilet

“Clean and easy to use, the envisioned space toilet is designed to be worn like a diaper around the astronaut’s waist at all times,” says an article on Pink Tentacle. Engineers hope to have this next-generation space toilet available to use in space within the next five years.

How does it work?

“Sensors detect when the user relieves him or herself, automatically activating a rear-mounted suction unit that draws the waste away from the body through tubes into a separate container,” the article says. It’s also a full feature toilet/shower almost like a bidet, as well as eliminating potential embarrassing situations in space. “In addition to washing and drying the wearer after each use, the next-generation space toilet will incorporate features that eliminate unwanted sound and odor.”

Source ::>> http://www.universetoday.com/2009/01/08/what-a-relief-new-space-toilet-being-designed/

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Year 2038 problem

The year 2038 problem (also known as “Unix Millennium bug”, or “Y2K38” by analogy to the Y2K problem) may cause some computer software to fail before or in the year 2038. The problem affects all software and systems that store system time as a signed 32-bit integer, and interpret this number as the number of seconds since 00:00:00 January 1, 1970.[1] The latest time that can be represented this way is 03:14:07 UTC on Tuesday, 19 January 2038. Times beyond this moment will “wrap around” and be stored internally as a negative number, which these systems will interpret as a date in 1901 rather than 2038. This will likely cause problems for users of these systems due to erroneous calculations.

Most 32-bit Unix-like systems store and manipulate time in this format, so this problem is often referred to as the “Unix Millennium Bug”. However, any other non-Unix operating systems and software that store and manipulate time this way will be just as affected by this problem.

SOURCE ::>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_2038_problem

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Astronomers find water in another galaxy

The water vapor was found 11.5 billion light years from Earth, using the 100-meter Effelsberg radio telescope at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Leipzig, Germany.

Violette Impellizzeri, formerly of the Max Planck Institute and now with the National Radio Observatory in Virginia, led the investigation of the ancient water disc. She says the existence of water in a galaxy that is close to the 13-billion-year-old age of the Universe is not unexpected, but it is the first time it has been shown.

“This is also a result by itself, that we were able to find a molecule [water] seemed to have produced after a very short time after the Big Bang,” she said. “I mean the Universe is young and already there is already a high abundance of molecules.”

The study on the discovery of ancient water in the Universe is published in the journal Nature.

Source ::>> http://spacefellowship.com/News/?p=7735

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Colossal refrigeration system

Ron Ace, a 69-year-old, has been researching the earth’s climate for years and has found what he calls the most “practical, nontoxic, affordable, rapidly achievable” and beneficial way to curb global warming and a resulting catastrophic ocean rise.

Ace proposes to spray gigatons of sea-water into the air and in effect, build a “a colossal refrigeration system with a 100,000-fold performance multiplier.” He contends a number of positive effects would be in action at the same time to help stave off warming.

“The Earth has a giant air-conditioning problem,” he said. “I’m proposing to put a thermostat on the planet.”

SOURCE ::>> http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/20081219/scientist-proposes-039-colossal-refrigeration-system-039-stave-global-warming.htm

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New Source of Biodiesel

Researchers in Nevada are reporting that waste coffee grounds can provide a cheap, abundant, and environmentally friendly source of biodiesel fuel for powering cars and trucks. Their study has been published online in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Growers produce more than 16 billion pounds of coffee around the world each year. Scientists estimate that spent coffee grounds can potentially add 340 million gallons of biodiesel to the world’s fuel supply.

Biodiesel is a growing market. Estimates suggest that annual global production of biodiesel will hit the 3 billion gallon mark by 2010. The fuel can be made from soybean oil, palm oil, peanut oil, and other vegetable oils; animal fat; and even cooking oil recycled from restaurant French fry makers. Biodiesel also can be added to regular diesel fuel. It also can be a stand-alone fuel, used by itself as an alternative fuel for diesel engines.

SOURCE ::>> http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-12/acs-wcg121008.php

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