Category Archives: News


Let This Spectacular Video Take You On A Virtual Flight Over Mars 

 Tourism to the Red Planet is still a long way away.

Still, a person can dream, and one Finnish filmmaker is making that dream look like reality.

Jan Fröjdman spent three years turning photos taken by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter into a four and a half minute travelogue of the planet’s surface.

Take a look with the full screen for best effect:

Fröjdman said the anaglyph images of Mars taken by the HiRISE camera holds information about the topography of Mars surface.

Over a three-month period, he slowly and meticulously turned that data and the photos into the video above.

“There is a feeling that you are flying above Mars looking down watching interesting locations on the planet. And there are really great places on Mars!” he said on the video page. “I would love to see images taken by a landscape photographer on Mars, especially from the polar regions. But I’m afraid I won’t see that kind of images during my lifetime.”

As cool as it looks, the colors may not be true to Mars. Because the original images were taken in grayscale, Fröjdman added colors he thought were appropriate.

For instance, the light regions are yellowish and the dark regions are bluish, while the polar regions have a white-blue tone.

And while it may not be 100 percent accurate, it might actually be a better view than any actual visitors to Mars will see.

Wired points out that Mars is so dusty that it if you were actually there, it would probably be impossible to see any of the deep valleys or soaring mesas in Fröjdman’s video.

Via: Let This Spectacular Video Take You On A Virtual Flight Over Mars 

You definitely should NOT say ‘108’ to Siri on Apple’s iPhone 

By; Oliver Cragg,

Via: You definitely should NOT say ‘108’ to Siri on Apple’s iPhone and here’s why

Katy Perry opens up about her sexuality, ‘I was curious’


San Diego Debuts Mouth Swabs To Detect Drivers High On Pot 

A major concern of police about state laws legalizing marijuana has been how to detect when motorists may be driving under the influence of pot — or other drugs. Now, San Diego police are joining a growing number of cities relying on mouth swabs for chemical tests to detect drivers who are on drugs.

The swabs and two portable testing machines hit the field Friday night in San Diego, reported CBS-8 TV. It’s the second city in the state after Los Angeles to use the new detection method.

The machines test for the presence of marijuana and six other drugs: cocaine, methamphetamine, amphetamine, methadone, opiates and benzodiazepines. The level of intoxication, however, is not determined in the tests.

Law enforcement officials believe the number of impaired drivers are bound to increase with California’s legalization of marijuana. A study by the state’s Office of Traffic Safety found that 38 percent of drivers killed in car crashes in California in 2014 tested positive for drugs, legal or illegal. That was up 6 percent from the previous year.

San Diego began using the Dräger 5000 test after officials met with authorities in Colorado, which legalized marijuana for recreational use in 2014, the San Diego Tribune reported.

Canadian authorities began using similar testing swabs and machines from a different company in a pilot program in late 2016 in the city of YellowKnife, the capital of the country’s Northwest Territories.

“The goal of any of these initiatives is to save people’s lives,” said Royal Canadian Mounted Police Corporal Todd Scaplen. “And if we have further tools to be able to do that, I think it’s very important.”

Swabs with portable testing kits are also being used in New York, Arizona and Nevada, among several other states, as well as in Germany and Belgium, and Australia, notes the Tribune. Other strategies, including breathalyzers that test for drugs and apps to help police measure impairment are also on the market.

San Diego police will first observe a driver to make an initial determination about possible impairment. The motorist may then be asked to run a swab inside his or her mouth for as long as four minutes, then the swab is tested in the portable machine and results are available in up to eight minutes. For pot, the machine only tests for the active THC compound that causes a high, which usually stays in the body for a few hours. A driver can refuse the test, but then an officer can order a blood test.

The next problem states face is determining the level at which drugs in a person’s system could result in dangerous driving. Once defined, levels can only be determined with a blood test.

Via: San Diego Debuts Mouth Swabs To Detect Drivers High On Pot 

Rock pioneer, American icon Chuck Berry dies 

Rolling Stone

Via: Rock pioneer, 

Scientists. Aliens May Be Using Giant Radio Beams To Travel The Cosmos 

An artist’s illustration of a light sail powered by a radio beam from the surface of a planet. The leakage from such beams as they sweep across the sky would appear as fast radio bursts.
Two Harvard University scientists are suggesting that mysterious fast radio bursts, detected in faraway galaxies, may be evidence of aliens traveling through the cosmos.
FRBs are extremely bright flashes of radio waves that last for only a thousandth of a second and are detected by earthbound telescopes. Since the first one was observed 10 years ago, 17 have actually been reported, although scientists think there are thousands of them a day.
At first, Abraham “Avi” Loeb said, he took a conservative approach to explaining them.
“It looked like the simplest explanation would be flares from stars in the Milky Way galaxy,” said Loeb, a theoretical astrophysicist and chair of Harvard’s astronomy department.
But then “one of the FRBs was localized to reside in a small galaxy at a distance of about a billion light-years away,” Loeb told The Huffington Post. (One light-year is about 6 trillion miles.)
Essentially, that means these FRBs are coming from the edge of the universe and must be brighter than anything else we know.
In a new paper published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters this month, Loeb and Harvard physicist Manasvi Lingam say they decided to “examine the possibility that fast radio bursts originate from the activity of extragalactic civilizations.”
“Since there are many more galaxies out there than the Milky Way, it makes sense statistically that one would detect such phenomena outside the Milky Way more often rather than inside it,” Lingam told HuffPost.
While Loeb and Lingam don’t claim that FRBs definitely originate from aliens, they speculate that such phenomena could be the result of other civilizations using gigantic radio transmitters to hopscotch from one galaxy to another.
An almost planet-sized, solar-powered radio transmitter could generate enough energy to propel an interstellar light sail (like the one illustrated above), they suggest. These sails, in turn, might be sufficient to push “about 20 times the largest cruise ships on Earth.” FRBs would be the leakage from such transmitters.
“Our upper bound on the number of such civilizations is 10,000 in a typical galaxy,” Lingam said. “But I’d like to reiterate that this is the maximal value. In all probability, the real value is likely to be much lower.”
Nobody on Earth has detected any interstellar light sails yet. What large radio telescopes, like the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico or the Parkes Observatory in Australia, have picked up are very fast, bright flashes of energy.
For us to detect these bursts so many light-years away, Loeb said, they’d need a very bright source.
“So what we are considering in our scenario is a very narrow beam of radiation pushing on a sail, and that requires roughly the amount of energy intercepted by the Earth [from] sunlight. That’s the kind of power you need ― the energy falling on the Earth from the sun,” he said.
Loeb chairs the advisory committee for the Starshot project, which seeks to send a spaceship to Alpha Centauri, a star system over four light-years from Earth. The idea would be to aim powerful laser beams from Earth at thin sails carrying more than 1,000 probes. It’s not the same as the radio waves possibly used by aliens, but then humans are still taking baby steps into space.
“I can imagine [aliens] doing what we are just starting to do now,” Loeb said.
The Harvard scientist is well aware that talking about aliens, even hypothetically, can start some eye-rolling. But he doesn’t share that bias.
“We shouldn’t be guided by prejudice when we think about what may be out there,” said Loeb. “Many people tend to think they know the truth. They think that we are special, that maybe there is nothing out there.
“I think we should just observe and whenever we see something unusual, we should think, contemplate the possibility that it could be artificial. And there is nothing bad about that ― it’s a learning experience.”
Indeed, it’s probably the essence of being a theoretical astrophysicist.
“The whole principle of science is that you collect data that can falsify an idea that you have or prove it right,” Loeb said.
Lingam acknowledges that their hypothesis is still a tad speculative.
“We have suggested a potential means of distinguishing between ‘natural’ and ‘artificial’ origin of FRBs by taking a closer look at the signals, and looking for certain distinguishable patterns,” he said.
But don’t expect a quick answer on the aliens question. “With more data expected to emerge in the coming decades, I believe that our hypothesis will be testable,” Lingam said.

Via: Harvard Scientists Say Aliens May Be Using Giant Radio Beams To Travel The Cosmos