Space Wallpaper Direct From NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Brighten up your desktop with stunning shot of science imagery. Over 80 to choose from at various dimensions to fit even the most ’embiggened’ of monitors. There are even instructions on how to apply this as a desktop to your computer if you were wondering how that sort of thing was done. Space craft, planets, satellite pictures of Earth, there are enough pretty pictures to make most everyone happy.

Space Wallpaper, Earth, Mars, Saturn, Moon, Stars and Galaxies – NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Ice Rockets Away!

Very nice, I like the part about the propellant being frozen while it’s being loaded into the motor.

Researchers are developing a new type of rocket propellant made of a frozen mixture of water and “nanoscale aluminum” powder that is more environmentally friendly than conventional propellants and could be manufactured on the moon, Mars and other water-bearing bodies.

New aluminum-water rocket propellant promising for future space missions.

Air Powered Microprocessor

Air powered CPU
I seriously doubt that you will be playing Super Mario Brothers on this any time soon but it would be fantastic for a self operating chemical analysis machine.

Each pneumatic valve is operated by changing the air pressure in a small chamber below the air channel, separated from the circuit by a flexible impermeable membrane. When the lower chamber is filled with air the membrane pushes upwards and closes the valve, preventing the binary signal flowing across one of the processor’s junctions.
Sucking out the air from the chamber reopens the valve by forcing the membrane downwards, letting the signal move across the junction.The two researchers used the valve-controlled channels to produce a variety of logic gates, flip-flops and shift registers, which they linked together to create a working 8-bit microprocessor. That means that the longest discrete pieces of data it can handle are eight binary digits long, like the processors used in 1980s consoles such as the Nintendo Entertainment System.

New microprocessor runs on thin air

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 )