New Element Officially Added

Set another place at the periodic table, we have another confirmed guest!

Element112Set another place at the periodic table, we have another confirmed guest!  It’s not every day that science updates the classic chart of  the atoms that make up our universe (well what we know of it so far…)

A team of scientists, lead by Sigurd Hofmann at the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung (Centre for Heavy Ion Research) in Darmstadt, Germany are credited with its discovery.

“The new element is approximately 277 times heavier than hydrogen, making it the heaviest element in the periodic table,” the scientists said in a statement.

Hofmann and his team first synthesized the element in 1996 by firing charged zinc atoms through a 120 meter-long particle accelerator into a lead target. The zinc and lead nuclei were fused to form the new element.

Go science! Too bad you can’t get a sample of it, the lifespan of this element is measured in seconds. Wikipedia has a gob of tech on it if you want to sound all smart like to your friends: Wikipedia – Element 112

[via Periodic table adding new element – The Register UK]
Want your own periodic table of the elements? I bet you do! Amazon has a nice periodic table of the elements for less than $10. Buy it and I get a tiny kick back, we all know how that works.

Coming Soon, Eagle Eye Vision for the Blind

Bionic eyes coming soon

Telescopic eye implantWell not quite the blind and not quite ‘Eagle Eye‘ vision. I refer to the way cool Bionic Dollar Man action figure (NOT a doll I tell ya!) that had a wee telescope in Steve’s head. However, the idea is pretty close. There is a new medical device that can return some sight to people who suffer from macular degeneration. To give a little bit of an idea what it’s like to have MD make two fists and put them in front of your eyes so they block most of your field of view. Now keep them in the center of your vision wherever your eyes point at. Not fun is it. The 4mm long telescope fits in the eye where the natural lens would be and projects a magnified image of what the person is looking at on to their retina.

“These cells are normally involved in peripheral vision and normally generate low-resolution visual information compared to the macula cells–you can’t read a sign in your periphery, for example. But magnifying the image also has the advantage of making it easier for the cells to interpret.”
… “The device is implanted in only one eye–patients use this eye for detailed vision and the untreated eye for peripheral vision. That takes some getting used to, says Peli. “Instead of using two parts of the same eye, they must switch between two eyes; if they see someone coming but can’t tell who it is, they need to switch to other eye.””

Even a low level of vision is better than none at all. Should be available as soon as the FDA approves it.

[via slashdot]
Implantable Telescope for the Eye

Thinking About the Bomb, 24/7

gun-type fission weapon - WikipediaThis is quite the facinating story about a man named John Coster-Mullen that while driving his semi truck attempts to plumb the inner workings of America’s first atomic bomb named ‘Little Boy’. Sounds like a strange hobby to some but to me it represents a pure ‘knowledge for the sake of knowledge’ motivation that is lacking in today’s world. Call me morbid but being able to get down to the nuts and bolts of one of the most destructive devices mankind has ever constructed is an amazing achievement.

[via Boingboing]
The New Yorker – Atomic John ( by David Samuels )

Have you hurled today?

Catapult Nothing but fun family time here. Everyone loves to build tiny replicas of Medieval siege machines! Let’s not forget that it’s also a great way to expand your mind…

A catapult project gives students a chance to see that science and engineering really can be fun, and it’s a lot more than just numbers on paper. The real payoff for an engineer is in the field, where she can see and enjoy the results of her ingenuity. And it may seem counterintuitive, but engineering projects not only help kids learn math and science, they are also great at getting kids back outdoors, away from the massive over-exposure to video games, TV and the Internet.

Hearing Radio Waves

Nanoradio receiver
Quite an astounding bit of engineering.

We have constructed a fully functional, fully integrated radio receiver, orders-of-magnitude smaller than any previous radio, from a single carbon nanotube. The single nanotube serves, at once, as all major components of a radio: antenna, tuner, amplifier, and demodulator. Moreover, the antenna and tuner are implemented in a radically different manner than traditional radios, receiving signals via high frequency mechanical vibrations of the nanotube rather than through traditional electrical means.

[via neat-o-rama]

Nanotube Radio

Hubble Spots New Planet

Well done Hubble!

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has taken the first visible-light snapshot of a planet circling another star. The team of astronomers who made the discovery includes researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Estimated to be no more than three times Jupiter’s mass, the planet, called Fomalhaut b, orbits the bright southern star Fomalhaut, located 25 light-years away in the constellation Piscis Australis, or the “Southern Fish.”

Hubble Directly Observes a Planet Orbiting Another Star