Piece of advise for college students looking for housing near campus; don’t wait until two weeks before school starts to look for housing….


DARPA testing planes with a ‘Star Wars’-style laser cannon

It was only a matter of time. 

abc20in20flight20f.jpgA prototype laser turret attached to a test aircraft. 

Prepare yourself for a future filled with real-life pew pew! The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is working with Lockheed Martin to test “a new beam control turret… to give 360-degree coverage for high-energy laser weapons operating on military aircraft.”

In other words, it stuck a primitive (by rebel standards) “Star Wars”-style laser cannon on a fighter jet and flew it over Michigan eight times.

"These initial flight tests validate the performance of our ABC turret design," Lockheed’s Doug Graham said. in a release.

That ABC stands for Aero-adaptive Aero-optic Beam Control, which is designed to allow high-energy lasers to fire on enemy aircraft and missiles from a full 360 degrees — above, below, and behind the aircraft.

The test flights demonstrated the airworthiness of the turret, but it doesn’t appear that anyone or anything in the Great Lakes region was actually zapped as part of testing.

Still, this represents a significant move toward the inevitable merging of the “Star Wars” universe with our own so-called “reality.” We’ve already seen the Navy’s laser weapon that’s set to deploy, and science has discovered how to create a real-life lightsaber, so perhaps it would be wise to start scanning the galaxies not just for potentially habitable exoplanets, but for planet-size super weapons as well.


Human Spaceflight Launches Will Return to the United States

NASA has just announced that Boeing and SpaceX have been selected to lead the Commercial Crew Program, founded in 2010. Boeing’s CST-100 and SpaceX’s Dragon V2 will be used to launch humans into Low Earth Orbit and to the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral beginning in 2017. This will be the first human spaceflight launch on American soil since the space shuttle program retired in 2011.

Since the end of the shuttle program, American astronauts headed to the ISS have had to bum a ride from Russia at a rate of $71 million per seat. However, the desire to be in charge of their own launches has been highlighted in recent months due to strained relations with Russia over the invasion of Ukraine. The United States government put sanctions on Russia and severed most of its ties back in April, except for its dealings with the ISS. In retaliation, Russia has threatened to stop providing transportation for American astronauts. 

A key difference between the space shuttle program and this new venture is that the spacecraft will be provided by privately-owned corporations, and the government will be contracting out those services. This allows for companies to compete for contracts, driving down the cost and boosting innovative designs. 

SpaceX, headed up by Tesla MotorsCEO Elon Musk, submitted a design called the Dragon V2.

It is a modified version of the Dragon spacecraft that SpaceX has been using to bring cargo to the ISS since 2010. A major feature of the seven-seated spacecraft is the ability for controlled landings. This means that in addition to going to the ISS, the spacecraft could be used to bring humans to the moon or other worlds. The advanced landing system also means the spacecraft can be collected and reused quickly. This cuts down on wasted materials, which subsequently reduces the expense of each launch. The Dragon V2 will launch using SpaceX’s own Falcon 9 rocket.

Image credit: SpaceX


Scientists Find ‘Direct Link’ Between Earthquakes And Process Used For Oil And Gas Drilling

This picture from Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2011 shows the aftermath of what was at the time the  strongest earthquake to strike Colorado in more than 40 years. In research published Tuesday, USGS scientists cite

A team of scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey have found evidence “directly linking” the uptick in Colorado and New Mexico earthquakes since 2001 to wastewater injection, a process widely used in the controversial technique of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and conventional drilling.

In a study to be published in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America on Tuesday, the scientists presented “several lines of evidence [that] suggest the earthquakes in the area are directly related to the disposal of wastewater” deep underground, according to a BSSA press release. Fracking and conventional natural gas companies routinely dispose of large amounts of wastewater underground after drilling. During fracking, the water is mixed with chemicals and sand, to “fracture” underground shale rock formations and make gas easier to extract.

The USGS research is just the latest in a string of studies that have suggested the disposed water is migrating along dormant fault lines, changing their state of stress, and causing them to fail.

For their research, the four California-based USGS scientists monitored the 2,200 square mile Raton Basin, which goes from southern Colorado into New Mexico. They pointed out that the Basin had been “seismically quiet” until 1999, when companies began “major fluid injection” deep into the ground. Earthquakes began in 2001 when Colorado wastewater injection rates were under 600,000 barrels per month, and and since then there have been 16 earthquakes that could be considered large (above a magnitude of 3.8, including two over a 5.0 magnitude), compared with only one — a 4.0 magnitude quake — in the 30 years prior.

“These earthquakes are limited to the area of fluid injection, they occur shortly after major fluid injection activities began, and the earthquake rates track the fluid injection rates in the
Raton Basin,” the paper said, noting the scientists’ comparisons of the timing and location of earthquakes with the timing and location of injected wastewater. By the mid-2000s, Colorado’s wastewater injection rates were up to 1.9 million barrels per month.

Taking that and the unexpected frequency of the earthquakes into consideration, the paper noted that it was “highly unlikely” that the quakes could have been due to any random fluctuations underground.


Odile Dumping Heavy Rains on Southwest U.S

Residents of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula are picking up the pieces after devastating Hurricane Odile smashed ashore at Cabo San Lucas near 12:45 am EDT Monday as a Category 3 storm with 125 mph winds.

Odile was the strongest hurricane on record to hit the Baja Peninsula, tied with Hurricane Olivia of 1967. Odile’s powerful winds caused heavy damage on the southern tip of Baja, where the tourist meccas of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo lie. The airports in both cities are closed, with the San Jose del Cabo airport (7th busiest in Mexico) closed until September 22, and the Cabo San Lucas airport may be closed until October. Fortunately, no deaths are being attributed to the hurricane—a tribute to the excellence of Mexico’s civil defense system.imageThe Cabo San Lucas Airport was heavily damaged by Hurricane Odile, and will remain closed until October. Photo posted to Twitter by Matthew Perry 

Forecast for Odile
Interaction with the rough terrain of the Baja Peninsula knocked Odile down to Category tropical storm with 55 mph winds as of 11 am EDT Tuesday, and the storm will continue to steadily weaken as it heads north across the Gulf of California and makes a second landfall along the northeast coast of the Gulf on Wednesday. Heavy rains will be the main threat from Odile. The storm’s circulation is bringing up plenty of moisture from the Tropical Pacific, and the remnant circulation from Odile will combine with this moisture to create flooding rains over Northern Mexico and the Southwest U.S. most of the week. The 06Z Tuesday run of the GFDL model put Eastern Arizona in the highest risk area for heavy precipitation, while the official 7-day precipitation forecast from NOAA shows Southeast Arizona and Southwest New Mexico at highest risk of flooding rains of 4 - 8”. A flash flood watch is posted for Phoenix and Tucson in Arizona. An outer spiral band of Odile was over Southeast Arizona on Tuesday morning, and produced a thunderstorm between Tucson and Phoenix whose high winds derailed a train near Picacho.


Predicted rainfall amounts for the 5-day period beginning at 2 am EDT Tuesday September 16, 2014 from Hurricane Odile, from the GFDL hurricane model. A swath from the Mexican coast of the Gulf of California through Eastern Arizona is predicted to get 4 - 8” of rain. Image credit: NOAA/GFDL.

A remarkably active 2014 Eastern Pacific hurricane season

Polo’s formation brings the 2014 tally for the Eastern Pacific east of 140°W to 16 named storms, 10 hurricanes, and 7 intense hurricanes. An average Eastern Pacific hurricane season sees 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 3 intense hurricanes during the entire year, and we are close to tying the record of eight intense hurricanes in a season set in 1992. What’s really remarkable about the 2014 season is the proportion of named storms that have intensified to major hurricane strength: 8 of 15, or more than 50%. That’s really difficult to do, particularly when the cold water wakes left behind by previous major hurricanes chill down the sea surface temperatures. Wunderground member wxgeek723 put together this list of other notable hurricane events in the Eastern Pacific in 2014:

-The strongest May hurricane on record: Category 4 Amanda (155 mph winds)
-Persistent Genevieve, which visited three basins and blossomed into a Category 5 monster
-Twin hurricanes Iselle and Julio threatening Hawaii 
-Iselle, with 60 mph winds, the strongest named storm on record to hit the Big Island of Hawaii
-Karina, the seventh longest-lived Eastern Pacific storm
-Category 5 Marie (160 mph winds), the sixth strongest Eastern Pacific hurricane on record
-Category 3 Norbert, which put a sliver of California in its TS cone and fed into Phoenix’s wettest day in history 
-Odile, the strongest hurricane to ever hit Baja and the twelfth strongest Eastern Pacific hurricane on record

Figure 4. MODIS satellite image of Hurricane Edouard, taken at approximately 12 pm EDT Monday September 15, 2014. At the time, Edouard was a Category 2 storm with top sustained winds of 105 mph. Image credit: NASA.


Ancient Computer Found In Roman Shipwreck

Nicknamed the “Big Fat Greek Expedition,” archeologists this week have embarked on a new mission to explore an ancient wreckage where one of the most complicated scientific antiques in existence was discovered over 100 years ago in the Aegean Sea.

The antikythera mechanism, which was found inside a Roman shipwreck near the Greek island of Antikythera, is an ancient computer thought to be at least 2,000 years old. It’s believed that this complex clock-like device was used by ancient Greeks to calculate the movement of the stars and planets. The mechanism was composed of at least 30 different bronze gears and the whole thing was housed in a wooden frame that was decorated with at least 2,000 characters.

The history of this device is shrouded in mystery. It is unclear how this intricate device ended up in the hands of Romans, but some believe the ill-fated ship was transferring a woman of importance to be married in Rome. The mechanism, among other impressive riches on board, may have been a wedding gift from her family. Thanks to carbon dating, we know that this booty-laden ship sank around 60 B.C.

Eager to find out more about this enigmatic antique, researchers are returning to the wreckage with the aid of a sophisticated diving suit that is taking them deeper than they’ve ever been before. The $1.3 million exosuit will allow the team to dive to depths of 150 meters(492 feet) and carefully explore the ship for several hours. But before they send divers down, the team will first use a robot to map the wreck and the seafloor around it. This will hopefully also confirm the presence of a second ship that researchers suspect lies nearby.

Since archeologists have previously only been able to operate at a depth of 60 meters, the team is confident that their month-long expedition will yield many other artefacts. So far, 36 marble statues, several bronze statues, gold jewelry and human remains have beenrecovered from the wreck. “There are dozens of items left, this was a ship bearing immense riches from Asia Minor,” Dimitris Kourkoumelis, an archeologist on the team, told AFP. But to the researchers, the real treasure is the missing pieces of the mechanism.  

While the researchers have no idea what they may happen upon in the wreckage, any extra information that can help explain the device’s extraordinary first century B.C. origins would be exciting to say the least.  

[Via AFP and Yahoo Tech]


In case you missed it: Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company’s new battery factory will “produce its own energy through a combination of geothermal, wind and solar, and it’ll produce all of the energy that it needs — Musk described it as ‘a self contained factory.’” via The Sierra Club


Boeing’s CST-100 and SpaceX’s Dragon will be the next American crew space transportation systems!

Boeing and SpaceX are expected to have their spacecraft proven and flying from U.S. soil in 2017, including completing a test flight with a NASA astronaut to the International Space Station. These companies won’t have to complete the development work by itself – NASA’s spaceflight experts in engineering and technology will work closely with the teams to make sure everything is as safe and reliable as it can be.

Read more from NASA Administrator Bolden: http://go.nasa.gov/1mbOZd9



Even with cranes, helicopters, tractors and trucks at our disposal, it would be tough to construct the Great Pyramid of Giza today. Its construction 4,500 years ago is so astounding in some people’s eyes that they invoke mystical or even alien involvement. But the current theory of the building of the Great Pyramid — the notion that it was assembled from the inside out, via a spiraling internal ramp — is probably still the best construction plan.

Following that plan, we could replicate the Wonder of the Ancient World for a cool $5 billion.

First, let’s look at the blueprint: The pyramid is 756 feet long on each side, 481 feet high, and composed of 2.3 million stones weighing nearly 3 tons each for a total mass of 6.5 million tons. Legend has it that the structure was erected in just 20 years’ time, meaning that a block had to have been moved into place about every 5 minutes of each day and night. That pace would have required the (slave) labor of thousands. While traditional theories hold that the pyramid was built via a long external ramp, such a ramp would have had to wind around for more than a mile to be shallow enough to drag stones up, and it would have had a stone volume twice that of the pyramid itself.

A new, more economical theory gaining traction among architects and Egyptologists holds that the bottom third of the pyramid’s height was constructed by stones dragged up an external ramp. But above that — for the remaining 33 percent or so of the pyramidal volume — the Egyptians worked their way up through the inside of the structure, building around a gently sloping internal ramp and fitting stone blocks into place as they ascended. Furthermore, the workers could have re-used the stones quarried for the external ramp to build the pyramid’s upper echelons, so that nothing went to waste. 

Read more:



(Source: sandandglass)

You almost have to lay it out this simply for these idiots.


Sunset in Anaklia by Sergi Grigorian


Heartbreaking photos show the first day back to school in Gaza. Many students did not return.

(Photo Credit: Shehab News Agency)

(Source: -teesa-)