Mother Earth, The Sun is Not Your Father…

After much number crunching and analysis NASA boffins have announced the Sun is not our Father.

Data returned by NASA’s Genesis space craft and analyzed around the world suggests that Sun and Earth were formed separately. Like a giant paternity test scientists studied matter collected from the oldest part of the Sun and compared it to samples from the Earth. Sorry Sun you ARE NOT the Father, time for some more tests.

“We found that Earth, the moon, as well as Martian and other meteorites which are samples of asteroids, have a lower concentration of the O-16 than does the sun,” said Kevin McKeegan, “The implication is that we did not form out of the same solar nebula materials that created the sun — just how and why remains to be discovered.”

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The Artificial Leaf on Silicon Trees…

Scientists at MIT have demonstrated the first practical artificial leaf.

This doesn’t mean the oak tree out the front of your house should be worried, these leaves will never hang from a branch. Nor do they look like a leaf, with a silicon cell immersed in a cylinder of bubbling water they are more laboratory ready than they are garden ready.

Instead of simply using the solar cell to produce electricity the cells use a special coating on the silicon, along with the power from the cell to split the water into its hydrogen and oxygen components.

Being able to directly convert water and sunlight into storable gas provides solutions to the biggest problems with solar power, no light no power. At night the gas could be fed to a fuel cell to convert the gases back into electricity and water. The holy grail of renewable power just got one step closer.

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Kilobots: The New Swarm to Take Over the World…

Kilobots to take over the world, $14 dollars at a time!? A Harvard University research group – Self-Organizing Systems – have designed and made available an extremely simple and cheap robot capable of working as a collective, a team. Looking like a peice of 1950’s electronics the Kilobot is able to move, sense and react. Is this the most dangerous robot ever invented or an essential tool for investigating robotics ?

Intended to be a research tool for programmers developing control logic for self organising robots, with $14 worth of parts they are cheap enough to allow testing of 1000’s of robots in a swarmcollective group of robots working together -, something even the big research groups like MIT couldn’t afford to do without Kilobot. The Kilobots require a hard surface to operate so we are all safe, until the world is laminated that is.

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Solar Flare Cycle MIA, Solar Slumber…

Ever since the first caveman was forced to get out of bed early the Sun’s cycles have been of studied with interest. From the timings of our daily lives to the coming of Santa each year the Sun’s timing permeates every part of our lives.

Scientists recently met to discuss the 11 year solar flare cycle. Meeting in New Mexico for the American Astronomical SocietyAAS – Solar Physics Conference, 320 scientists gathered to compare notes, share information and generally schmooze about the Sun.

Tuesday – 14.06.2011 – the scientist announced their findings and predictions for the next solar cycle. It looks like jumpers and scarfs are in and speedos are out, solar flare activity between 2013 and 2024 may be almost completely absent. The impact of this sustained level of low solar flare activity is still being debated with effects ranging from another mini ice-age, slight mitigation of global warming to some that expect zero impact on the Earths weather.

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B&W PM1 Uber Audio Bliss…

B&W – Bowers and Wilkins – produce speakers that sound so good it could be considered porn for our ears. June 8 B&W announced a new model, the PM1 Prestige Monitor loudspeaker, music to our ears. The PM1 Monitors are packed to the rafters with technology and design brilliance, B&W has pushed the boundaries to make the PM1 something special, in the process delivering an extremely high performance audio experience in a stylish and refined package.

B&W speakers are synonymous with audio quality, amazingly accurate sound reproduction. During movies you will be looking over your shoulder, checking if that knock on the door was real or in the movie. Don’t be mistaken speakers of this quality make a difference. There’s 45 years of speaker manufacturing experience and technology built into these speakers and it shows. B&W has long worked with many sound engineers across many famous studios in order to improve his speakers performance. This has led to B&W speakers being used by classical music studios, Abbey Road has used B&W speakers since 1988.

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Simply Too Clever, Sifteo Gaming Cubes, Is This The End of 2D Board Games…

Sifteo is clearly taking it to old-time board games from the likes of Mattel. This next generation game should have the big names worried. Loaded with new sensor technology these new generation toys are taking advantage of the sensor / interface revolution happening at the moment. The Sifteo Cubes are just one example of the wacky fun applications we can expect from this new technology.

The Cubes come in packs of three with each Cube having a 1.5″ display, sensors, cpu and wireless comms. Each 1.5″ Cube is gifted with the latest sensors including; touch sensors, motion sensors, proximity and contact sensors. Games are able to use each of the available sensors any way they wish. The clever system Sifteo has implemented makes the system extremely flexible for developers, the way the sensors are used is only limited by the developers imagination, expect new fun ways to evolve over time. After making a splash at CES and taking home Innovation awards Sifteo Cubes are about to burst into a gadget and toy stores everywhere.

The Cubes are available to Early Access members at the moment – which anyone can still apply for and join -, there is a discount available to members so it is worth getting in early. The discount rate of $99 USD for the basic pack will lift to $US149 once they are released in Q3 2011. They will be available through the Sifteo website, gadget stores, toy stores and other online retailers. The basic pack of cubes includes 3 cubes, a USB wireless PC dongle and a charger for 6 cubes. An expansion pack will be available, consisting of another 3 cubes that can be added to the basic pack, taking your cube count to 6 improving multiplayer and options during games.

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Liquid Cooled Pixel Pusher – XLR8 Liquid Cooled GTX 580…

At times fate throws together strange circumstances, creating unusual and dangerous unions. Water and electricity are one of those unusual unions, dangerous. PNY and Asetek may not be as sexy dangerous but they have joined forces to release a special video card. Special even amongst über video cards, the XLR8 Liquid Cooled GTX 580, hell of a name for one hell of a card. What sets this card apart from the normal Nvidia 580 GTX is the sealed water cooling unit. By cleverly using a closed water cooler PNY have made the card 30% quieter and 30% cooler, making this the quietest high-end video card on the market. Of course being a closed system there is no refilling water reserves, no spilt water, no nightmares.

The video card itself is based around Nvidia’s excellent 580 GTX video card, while this is only a single GPU card it is only a matter of time, a water-cooled 590 GTX has tobe the next step. 1536MB of memory are onboard and 512 CUDA processor cores keeps everything moving along. Being a top end card the XLR8 Liquid Cooled GTX 580 will cost $579.99 USD, including CPU cooling costs $649.99. That is an $80 price premium over PNY’s air-cooled 580 GTX, worth every quiet dollar ?

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Steam Powered Clockwork Laptop…

Every now and then something comes along that just catches your eye, something so strange and unusual that it has to warrant your attention. The SteamPunk Laptop and other Richard Nagy – aka Datamancer – projects are just that cool. Datamancer has manged to produce a laptop that looks like its steam driven or as if this is a clock work laptop from the Jule Vern’s Time Machine. Styled to look like a Victorian age music box the SteamPunk Laptop is that fascinating balance of old and new, elegance and function living in harmony. After receiving literally thousands of inquiries Datamancer has announced the SteamPunk laptop is going into production.

First built in November 2007 as a one-of-a kind design by Richard ‘Datamancer’ Nagy the SteamPunk Laptop blew everyone away, computer mod’ers and SteamPunk fans were fascinated from the get go. There was even much mainstream press at the time. Appearances included Wired, Wall Street Journals and the Boston Globe. The updated new old style laptop will be a more compact design and use revamped internals. While the internal hardware on a stylized laptop such as this may be secondary the new design will include the latest computing technology allowing the “running any of today’s games,” according Nagy.

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Google Doodle The ‘Les Paul’ Experience…

Something special this way passed. Google last week – June 9, 2011 – treated the world to a quiet surprise, with no fan fair or public release the ‘Les Paul’ Google Doodle was released as a tribute to what would have been Les Paul’s 96th birthdayhe sadly left us 2 years ago in 2009 – . Replacing Google’s normally colourful logo on its ubiquitous search page with an interactive guitar synth created a huge buzz, word of the tribute spread quickly through offices and living rooms around the world. It turned out to be so popular that the Doodle was left up for a second day and is now available in Google’s archives. This Doodle was different mind you, part musical instrument and part recording studio, like everything Les Paul it inspired the musician in all of us to play.

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Quantum Vacuum Fluctuations, Zero Point Energy and the Mirror of Gothenburg…

In the depths of Deep Space, the vast emptiness may be more alive than we ever thought possible.

The vacuum of space isn’t as void as previously advertised. Zero-Point EnergyZPE – pervades every corner of the universe, populating space with it’s minimalism. This week a new experiment was conducted that went a long way to confirming the existence of Zero Point Energy.

Scientists at the Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden constructed an electronic magnetic mirror and wiggled it 6 billion times a second. At this speed the mirror was able to produce a shower of photons from nothing, reflect light that wasn’t even there. In a completely dark and void vacuum, zero-point energy it seems exists.

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