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Education

Oculus Rift CEO Says Classrooms of the Future Will Be In VR Goggles 25

Posted by samzenpus
from the watch-and-learn dept.
jyosim writes "Oculus Rift isn't just for gaming. Brendan Iribe, CEO of the VR company, says the immersive tech will be "one of the most transformative platforms for education of all time." In an interview with Chronicle of Higher Education, he imagined laser-scanning every object in the Smithsonian for students to explore, and collaborating in shared virtual spaces rather than campuses. "The next step past that is when you have shared space, and not only do you believe that this object is right there in front of me, but I look around and I see other people just like we see each other now, and I really, truly believe that you’re right in front of me. We can look at each others’ eyes. If you look down at something, I can look down at the same time. And it’s every bit as good as this. And if we can make virtual reality every bit as good as real reality in terms of communications and the sense of shared presence with others, you can now educate people in virtual classrooms, you can now educate people with virtual objects, and we can all be in a classroom together [virtually], we can all be present, we can have relationships and communication that are just as good as the real classroom," he says.
Mars

Indian Mars Mission Has Completed 95% of Its Journey Without a Hitch 80

Posted by samzenpus
from the almost-there dept.
First time accepted submitter rinka writes India's Mars Orbiter Mission, known as Mangalyaan, has made some progress since we last discussed it. The mission is on target and has completed 95% of it's journey. It will reach its destination before the end of the month. Scientists will undertake a "challenging task" on September 24 when they will restart the onboard liquid engine, which has been in sleep mode for nearly ten months, for a critical maneuver of the spacecraft.
Sci-Fi

Original 11' Star Trek Enterprise Model Being Restored Again 78

Posted by samzenpus
from the to-brightly-go-where-no-man-has-gone-before dept.
NormalVisual (565491) writes The original 11-foot U.S.S. Enterprise studio model from the original series has gone back into the shop again. The Smithsonian owns the model and has had it on display in a gift shop at the National Air and Space Museum for the last 13 years, but will be placed on display in the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall in 2016, to coincide with the museum's 40th anniversary. In the meantime, the model will be undergoing its fourth restoration to address a number of issues. The last restoration in 1991 was performed by Ed Miarecki, a professional modelmaker well known for his work in "Star Trek: The Next Generation", as well as films such as "Event Horizon". This previous restoration had Trek fans up in arms owing to the paint job, which many feel doesn't represent the way the model looked originally. Hopefully this next restoration will bring her back to her former glory.
Sci-Fi

The Future According To Stanislaw Lem 169

Posted by Soulskill
from the drugs-and-nanotech dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Paris Review has an article about SF author Stanislaw Lem, explaining Lem's outlook on the future and his expectations for technological advancement. Lem tended toward a view that technology would infect and eventually supplant biological evolution. But he also suggested an interesting explanation for why we haven't detected alien civilizations: "Perhaps ... they are so taken up with perfecting their own organisms that they've abandoned space exploration entirely. According to a similar hypothesis, such beings are invisible because technological ease has resulted in a 'Second Stone Age' of 'universal illiteracy and idleness.' When everyone's needs are perfectly met, it 'would be hard, indeed, to find one individual who would choose as his life's work the signaling, on a cosmic scale, of how he was getting along.' Rather than constructing Dyson Spheres, Lem suggests, advanced civilizations are more likely to spend their time getting high.""
Space

Congress Can't Make Asteroid Mining Legal (But It's Trying, Anyway) 208

Posted by Soulskill
from the one-of-the-few-things-congress-actively-tries-to-do-these-days dept.
Jason Koebler writes: Earlier this week, the House Science Committee examined the American Space Technology for Exploring Resource Opportunities in Deep Space (ASTEROIDS) Act, a bill that would ensure that "any resources obtained in outer space from an asteroid are the property of the entity that obtained such resources."

The problem is, that idea doesn't really mesh at all with the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, a document that suggests space is a shared resource: "Unlike some other global commons, no agreement has been reached at to whether title to extracted space resources passes to the extracting entity," Joanne Gabrynowicz, a space law expert at the University of Mississippi said (PDF). "There is no legal clarity regarding the ownership status of the extracted resources. It is foreseeable that the entity's actions will be challenged at law and in politics."
China

China Targets 2022 For Space Station Completion 100

Posted by Soulskill
from the neighbors-for-the-ISS dept.
Taco Cowboy writes: According to Reuters, China is aiming for 2022 to get its first space station operational. "China's leaders have set a priority on advancing its space program, with President Xi Jinping calling for the country to establish itself as a space power." After Chinese astronauts docked with the country's experimental space lab last year, they're planning the launch of another laboratory in 2016. Launch and construction of the new space station's core is planned for 2018, and their goal is to complete it by 2022. China insists that its space program is for peaceful purposes.
Space

Universal Big Bang Lithium Deficit Confirmed 169

Posted by samzenpus
from the would-you-like-to-try-another-alkali-metal? dept.
An anonymous reader writes New observations of the star cluster Messier 54 show that it is just as deficient in lithium as our own galaxy, furthering a mystery about the element's big bang origins. "Most of the light chemical element lithium now present in the Universe was produced during the Big Bang, along with hydrogen and helium, but in much smaller quantities. Astronomers can calculate quite accurately how much lithium they expect to find in the early Universe, and from this work out how much they should see in old stars. But the numbers don't match — there is about three times less lithium in stars than expected. This mystery remains unsolved, despite several decades of work."
United States

Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion 522

Posted by samzenpus
from the big-money dept.
First time accepted submitter ltorvalds11 writes Cuba says its economy is suffering a "systematic worsening" due to a US embargo, the consequences of which Havana places at $1.1 trillion since Washington imposed the sanctions in 1960, taking into account the depreciation of the dollar against gold. "There is not, and there has not been in the world, such a terrorizing and vile violation of human rights of an entire people than the blockade that the US government has been leading against Cuba for 55 years," Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Abelardo Moreno told reporters. He also blamed the embargo for the difficulties in accessing internet on the island, saying that the United States creates an obstacle for companies providing broadband services in Cuba. Additionally, he said that the area is one of the "most sensitive" to the embargo, with economic losses estimated at $34.2 million. It is also the sector that has fallen "victim of all kinds of attacks" by the US, as violations of the Cuban radio or electronic space "promote destabilization" of Cuban society, the report notes. The damage to Cuban foreign trade between April 2013 and June 2014 amounted to $3.9 billion, the report said. Without the embargo, Cuba could have earned $205.8 million selling products such as rum and cigars to US consumers. Barack Obama last week signed the one-year extension of the embargo on Cuba, based on the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917, created to restrict trade with countries hostile to the U.S..
Space

X-Class Solar Flare Coming Friday 145

Posted by samzenpus
from the wear-your-shades dept.
First time accepted submitter kit_triforce writes Satellites have just detected a powerful X1.6-class solar flare. The source was active sunspot AR2158, which is directly facing Earth. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the extreme ultraviolet flash. Ionizing radiation from the flare could cause HF radio blackouts and other communications disturbances, especially on the day-lit side of Earth. In the next few hours, when coronagraph data from SOHO and STEREO become available, we will see if a coronal mass ejection (CME) emerges from the blast site. If so, the cloud would likely be aimed directly at Earth and could reach our planet in 2 to 3 days.
Space

The Exoplanets That Never Were 31

Posted by samzenpus
from the planetary-false-positive dept.
StartsWithABang writes In 1992, scientists discovered the first planets orbiting a star other than our Sun. The pulsar PSR B1257+12 was discovered to have its own planetary system, and since then, exoplanet discoveries have exploded. But before that, in 1963, decades of research led to the much-anticipated publication and announcement of an exoplanet discovered around Barnard's star, the second-closest star system to Earth. Unfortunately, it turned out to be spurious, and it took years to uncover, an amazing story which is only now fully coming to light.
Space

Rosetta Hunts For Comet Touch Down Site For Philae Lander 17

Posted by samzenpus
from the how-about-here dept.
astroengine writes Attached to the European Space Agency's comet-chasing spacecraft Rosetta, the Philae lander opened one of its robotic eyes when the mission was orbiting comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko at a distance of only 50 kilometers (31 miles) on Sunday. With two high-contrast exposures, the lander captured one of Rosetta's solar panels in the foreground with the comet behind. ESA says the choice of landing sites will be narrowed down from five to two on Monday -- a primary target and a backup -- before a final decision is made in October.
Space

SpaceX and Boeing Battle For US Manned Spaceflight Contracts 123

Posted by Soulskill
from the fly-me-to-the-moon dept.
An anonymous reader writes: $3 billion in funding is on the line as private space companies duke it out for contracts to end U.S. reliance on Russian rockets for manned spaceflight. The two biggest contenders are SpaceX and Boeing, described as "the exciting choice" and "the safe choice," respectively. "NASA is charting a new direction 45 years after sending humans to the Moon, looking to private industry for missions near Earth, such as commuting to and from the space station. Commercial operators would develop space tourism while the space agency focuses on distant trips to Mars or asteroids." It's possible the contracts would be split, giving some tasks to each company. It's also possible that the much smaller Sierra Nevada Corp. could grab a bit of government funding as well for launches using its unique winged-shuttle design.
Businesses

CenturyLink Looks At Buying Rackspace 44

Posted by samzenpus
from the under-new-management dept.
Rambo Tribble writes Telecom player CenturyLink is reported to be considering the acquisition of server and cloud provider Rackspace. From the article: "The deal would add more Internet and cloud services to CenturyLink's roster of phone and data communications packages, helping it better compete against Amazon.com in Web-based services. Microsoft Corp. and Google are also vying for business as companies transition from owning and operating servers to renting space in the cloud."
Moon

How Astrophysicists Hope To Turn the Entire Moon Into a Cosmic Ray Detector 74

Posted by samzenpus
from the that's-no-moon dept.
KentuckyFC writes One of the great mysteries in astrophysics surrounds the origin of ultra-high energy cosmic rays, which can have energies of 10^20 electron volts and beyond. To put that in context, that's a single proton with the same energy as a baseball flying at 100 kilometers per hour. Nobody knows where ultra-high energy cosmic rays come from or how they get their enormous energies. That's largely because they are so rare--physicists detect them on Earth at a rate of less than one particle per square kilometer per century. So astronomers have come up with a plan to see vastly more ultra high energy cosmic rays by using the Moon as a giant cosmic ray detector. When these particles hit the lunar surface, they generate brief bursts of radio waves that a highly sensitive radio telescope can pick up. No radio telescope on Earth is currently capable of this but astronomers are about to start work on a new one that will be able to pick up these signals for the first time. That should help them finally tease apart the origins of these most energetic particles in the Universe .
Earth

Apparent Meteorite Hits Managua, Nicaragua, Leaving Crater But No Injuries 105

Posted by timothy
from the ok-maybe-it-was-a-gas-leak-or-antimatter dept.
A wire report from AFP says that an explosion heard in Managua last night, and a 40-foot crater evident today, are evidence that the city was the impact site for a small meteorite that struck Saturday night. The photos are not very exciting at a glance, which is a good thing, considering that a dirt crater and no injuries is probably the best outcome if a meteorite strikes the city where you live. From the article: The meteorite appeared to have hurtled into a wooded area near the airport around midnight Saturday, its thunderous impact felt across the capital. The hit was so large that it registered on the instruments Strauss’ organization uses to size up earthquakes. “You can see two waves: first, a small seismic wave when the meteorite hit Earth, and then another stronger one, which is the impact of the sound,” he said. Government officials and experts visited the impact site on Sunday. One of them, William Martínez, said it was not yet clear if the meteorite burned up completely or if it had been blasted into the soil. “You can see mirror-like spots on the sides of the crater from where the meteorite power-scraped the walls,” Martínez said. (The same news, in slightly shorter form, from the AP.)
Mars

NASA Panel Finds Fault WIth Curiosity Rover Project's Focus 51

Posted by timothy
from the look-away-look-away dept.
The Curiosity Rover that's been exploring the surface of Mars for more than two years now has a lot of fans (and quite a few headlines here on Slashdot), but not everyone feels positively toward the project. Tech Times reports that NASA revealed on Wednesday that it has renewed the funding of seven ongoing planetary exploration missions but of these, the space agency's Planetary Mission Senior Review panel, which reviewed and rated these planetary missions, was particularly critical of the Curiosity, which also happens to be the newest and the second costliest of the seven missions. The panel is disappointed that given the capabilities of the Curiosity rover, the team behind it only intends to take and analyze eight samples in two years, which translates to two samples from each of the four units it will visit during its extended mission. The Curiosity is the only NASA tool with the capabilities to detect carbon, do in situ age analysis, and measure ionizing particle flux.
The Military

3 Decades Later, Finnair Pilots Report Dramatic Close Encounter With a Missile 138

Posted by timothy
from the don't-tell-them-you're-out-of-coffee-though dept.
jones_supa (887896) writes It has come to light that a Finnair-owned McDonnell Douglas DC-10 passenger jet narrowly avoided being shot down by a missile while en route to Helsinki 27 years ago, claimed the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat on Sunday. The two co-pilots, Esko Kaukiainen and Markku Soininen, describe how the event happened during a routine flight back to Helsinki from Japan in December 1987. When the plane was crossing the Arctic Ocean, a missile appeared in the distance. The crew thought it was a Russian weather rocket on its way into space, but the missile began heading straight towards the aircraft. Just 20 seconds away from a collision, the missile exploded. The captain, who was resting at the time of the incident, never officially reported the event. The question of who fired the missile has never been definitively answered. But the pilots believe it was launched from either the Soviet Union's Kola Peninsula or a submarine in the Barents Sea. They speculate that the missile could have been a misfire or that the plane was used as training target.
Transportation

After Weeks of Delay, SpaceX Falcon Launches Communications Satellite Payload 32

Posted by timothy
from the people-one-day dept.
After several weeks of delay, SpaceX has successfully launched from Cape Canaveral AsiaSat's communications satellite, AsiaSat 6. This launch was originally intended to occur on August 27. However, due to a failure of an experimental SpaceX rocket during a test flight, the launch was delayed. The experimental rocket apparently malfunctioned because of a sensor error. The company stated that the same error wasn’t likely to occur in its regular Falcon 9 rocket, but wanted to "triple-check" its systems to be certain. SpaceFlightInsider has a play-by-play on the launch process and more details on the communications satellites aboard. They note: [This] marked the fifth flight of the Falcon 9 in 2014. Since the company began using the booster, it had only been able to carry out about two launches annually of the rocket – until now. With the United States Air Force considering the rocket for use under the lucrative Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program and NASA already utilizing it to deliver cargo (and potentially crew) to the International Space Station, the rocket has become a popular player in terms of launch services. The next mission that SpaceX should use the propulsive descent landing system on, is the launch of one of the firm’s Dragon spacecraft carrying out NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services 4 (SpX-4) mission – currently scheduled to take place on Sept. 19.
Transportation

3 Recent Flights Make Unscheduled Landings, After Disputes Over Knee Room 811

Posted by timothy
from the what-about-the-armrest-thieves? dept.
The AP reports that American airplane passengers, squeezed by increasingly tight seating aboard planes, are lashing out, actually getting into in-flight fights over knee room: Three U.S. flights have made unscheduled landings in the past eight days after passengers got into fights over the ability to recline their seats. Disputes over a tiny bit of personal space might seem petty, but for passengers whose knees are already banging into tray tables, every bit counts. ... Southwest and United both took away 1 inch from each row on certain jets to make room for six more seats. American is increasing the number of seats on its Boeing 737-800s from 150 to 160. Delta installed new, smaller toilets in its 737-900s, enabling it to squeeze in an extra four seats. And to make room for a first-class cabin with lie-flat beds on transcontinental flights, JetBlue cut the distance between coach seats by one inch.
Businesses

Willow Garage Founder Scott Hassan Aims To Build a Startup Village 62

Posted by timothy
from the it-takes-a-startup-village dept.
Tekla Perry (3034735) writes "Scott Hassan, founder of robotic research lab Willow Garage, is behind a large real estate development in Menlo Park, Calif. He reportedly plans to create an incubator village with 18,500 square meters of workspace and another 18,500 square meters of living space on a 30,000 square meter site, combining the advantages of a garage startup environment (what could be more convenient than working where you live) and an incubator (access to other smart entrepreneurs and ideas)." Would you want to live in this kind of environment?

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