Tag Archives: i09

Scientists implant tiny robots inside live mice


File photo. (Reuters)

Can robots travel inside living animals? It sounds like science fiction, but scientists have just made it a reality by implanting tiny nano-robots inside living mice. Researchers from the Department of Nanoengineering at the University of California, San Diego, published their report on the first successful tests of implanting micro robots designed to disperse drugs within a body, reports SmithsonianMag.com.

As the research report states, these kinds of robots have been tested “in vitro,” or outside the body, in the past, while this is the first time that this technology has been studied “in vivo,” or inside the body. The zinc-based robots — only the width of a strand of human hair — were ingested orally by the mice. The zinc reacted with the animal’s stomach acid, producing hydrogen bubbles that propelled the robots into the stomach lining. As soon as the robots attached to the stomach, they dissolved, delivering the medicine into the stomach tissue, i09 reports.

For the researchers, this work could pave the way for implanting similar robots in humans. This could be an effective way of delivering drugs to the stomach in order to treat something like a peptic ulcer, the BBC reports.

“While additional ‘in vivo’ characterizations are warranted to further evaluate the performance and functionalities of various man-made micromotors in living organisms, this study represents the very first steps toward such a goal,” reads the research report. According to the researchers, this work moves toward “expanding the horizon of man-made nanomachines in medicine.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Animals, Humor and Observations

Great Character Descriptions from Science Fiction and Fantasy Books

As an author I found this very helpful.  I was pleased to see that I have read most of the books as well.  Putting good reading into your head helps get good writing out of it.  These descriptions are far from the police version – 6 foot, medium build, 30s, caucasion male.  I think all of us can learn to think a bit outside the box in creating our descriptions.

Reposted from StumbleUpon, from I09, written by CHARLIE JANE ANDERS AND MANDY CURTIS.

Great Character Descriptions from Science Fiction and Fantasy Books

The best science fiction and fantasy books aren’t just about amazing ideas, or huge vistas — they’re about people. So part of the key to a really successful SF/fantasy book is to describe people in a memorable, cool fashion.

A good description of a character goes a long way to letting you get to know that person — but it’s a tricky business. The best way to learn this challenging skill is by studying how others have pulled it off in the past. So here are some examples of our favorite character descriptions from science fiction and fantasy books.

Top image by Tomasz Jendruszek.

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (page 10):

“Ender did not see Peter as the beautiful ten-year-old boy that grown-ups saw, with dark, tousled hair and a face that could have belonged to Alexander the Great. Ender looked at Peter only to detect anger or boredom, the dangerous moods that almost always led to pain.” Nice construction, telling us how other people see Peter, but then juxtaposing it with the more visceral way that Ender sees him.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin (page 30):

“… Face like the moon, pale and somehow wavering. I could get the gist of his features, but none of it stuck in my mind beyond an impression of astonishing beauty. His long, long hair wafted around him like black smoke, its tendrils curling and moving of their own volition. His cloak — or perhaps that was his hair too — shifted as if in an unfelt wind. I could not recall him wearing a cloak before, on the balcony. The madness still lurked in his face, but it was a quieter madness now, not the rabid-animal savagery of before. Something else — I could not bring myself to call it humanity — stirred underneath the gleam.” This is full of lovely imagery, including the hair and the cloak moving like smoke — and it leaves you with a really sharp impression even as you don’t ever get a clear impression of him, because Yeine doesn’t either. It’s like a painting that sticks with you.

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (page 11):
“He was not conspicuously tall, his features were striking but not conspicuously handsome. His hair was wiry and gingerish and brushed backward from the temples. His skin seemed to be pulled backward from the nose. There was something very slightly odd about him, but it was difficult to say what it was. Perhaps it was that his eyes didn’t seem to blink often enough and when you talked to him for any length of time your eyes began involuntarily to water on his behalf. Perhaps it was that he smiled slightly too broadly and gave people the unnerving impression that he was about to go for their neck.” This description of Ford Prefect is sparky and full of action, you can practically see him smiling unblinkingly at you.

Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien (page 274):

“The face of Elrond was ageless, neither old nor young, though in it was written the memory of many things both glad and sorrowful. His hair was dark as the shadows of twilight, and upon it was set a circlet of silver; his eyes were grey as a clear evening, and in them was a light like the light of stars.” You can almost feel night gathering as you read that passage, from the gray of evening to the appearance of the night sky, and the overall impression is one of great age despite the claim of agelessness.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (page 98):

“She’s the twelve-year-old, the one who reminded me so of Prim in stature. Up close she looks about ten. She has bright, dark eyes and satiny brown skin and stands tilted up on her toes with arms slightly extended to her sides, as if ready to take wing at the slightest sound. It’s impossible not to think of a bird.” A lot of the best character descriptions have action or a element of movement to them, so you not only see the character, you see her in motion. (Doris Lessing has a good passage about this in one of her Martha Quest novels.) Here, we get Rue’s physical details, but we also have an indelible sense of how she moves.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick (page 39):

“Black-haired and slender, wearing the huge new dust-filtering glasses, she approached his car, her hands deep in the pockets of her brightly striped long coat. She had, on her sharply defined small face, an expression of sullen distaste.” The body language, with the hands deep in the coat pockets, is super clear — you can practically see her hunching over. And you have to love the giant glasses and the “sharply defined small face.”

Great Character Descriptions from Science Fiction and Fantasy Books

Soulless by Gail Carriger (page 8):
“The fourth Earl of Woolsey was much larger than Professor Lyall and in possession of a near-permanent frown. Or at least he always seemed to be frowning when he was in the presence of Miss Alexia Tarabotti, ever since the hedgehog incident (which really, honestly, had not been her fault). He also had unreasonably pretty tawny eyes, mahogany-colored hair, and a particularly nice nose.” What’s great here is that you digress into backstory that gives you a tantalizing hint about this character’s bad temper, and then suddenly you’re snapped back into very concrete physical description — but the physical description seems sharper because you’ve gotten this impression of Lord Maccon as a person.

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (page 2):

“These sharps were dressed in the heighth of fashion too, with purple and green and orange wigs on their gullivers. Each one not costing less than three or four weeks of those sharps’ wages, I should reckon, and make-up to match (rainbows round the glazzies, that is, and the rot painted very wide). Then they had long black very straight dresses, and on the groody part of them they had little badges of like silver with different malchick’s names on them-Joe and Mike and suchalike.” Describing the three devotchkas, Burgess gives us a crash course in dystopian future fashion.

Dune by Frank Herbert (page 459):

“Through the door came two Sardukar herding a girl-child who appeared to be about four years old. She wore a black aba, the hood thrown back to reveal the attachments of a stillsuit hanging free at her throat. Her eyes were Fremen blue, staring out of a soft, round face. She appeared completely unafraid and there was a look to her stare that made the Baron feel uneasy for no reason he could explain.” Your immediate impression of Alia is one of power and disturbing intensity. But there’s a lot of implied violence in the description too — the hood that’s “thrown back” and the emphasis on her bare throat. It’s immediately intense and gripping.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (page 8):

“If the motorcycle was huge, it was nothing to the man sitting astride it. He was twice as tall as a normal man and at least five times as wide. He looked simply too big to be allowed, and so wild — long tangles of bushy black hair and beard hid most of his face, he had hands the size of trash can lids, and his feet in their leather boots were like baby dolphins.” The idea that Hagrid is “simply too big to be allowed” is fantastic — it’s the Dursleys’ viewpoint seeping through, but also maximizes how big and unruly he seems. And his feet are like baby dolphins! It’s comical and totally lodges itself in your brain.

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut (page 23):

“He was a funny-looking child who became a funny-looking youth — tall and weak, and shaped like a bottle of Coca-Cola.” I love the pithiness of Vonnegut, the quirky images that say a lot in a few words.

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest (page 22):

“Without the coat, her body had a lean look to it — as if she worked too long, and ate too little or too poorly. Her gloves and tall brown boots were caked with the filth of the plant, and she was wearing pants like a man. Her long, dark hair was piled up and back, but two shifts of labor had picked it apart and heavy strands had scattered, escaping the combs she’d used to hold it all aloft.” This is another description that gives you both the physical details but also a sense of who Briar is, and exactly how poverty and hard labor have affected her.

Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell (page 12):
“She was a bold-looking girl of about twenty-seven, with thick dark hair, a freckled face, and swift, athletic movements. A narrow scarlet sash, emblem of the Junior Anti-Sex League, was wound several times around her waist of her overalls, just tightly enough to bring out the shapeliness of her hips.” I love the irony of the anti-sex sash bringing out the shapeliness of Julia’s hips, but also the repeated suggestions that she’s bold and fast-moving.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (page 7):

“There are four simple ways for the observant to tell Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar apart: first, Mr. Vandemar is two and a half heads taller than Mr. Croup; second, Mr. Croup has eyes of a faded china blue, while Mr. Vandemar’s eyes are brown; third, while Mr. Vandemar fashioned the rings he wears on his right hand out of the skulls of four ravens, Mr. Croup has no obvious jewelry; fourth, Mr. Croup likes words, while Mr. Vandemar is always hungry. Also, they look nothing alike.” I love how the first sentence sets you up to believe the two characters are almost identical, and by the time the expectation is subverted, you’ve gotten a very clear impression of both of them because you’ve been paying extra-careful attention.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (page 4):

“He knew that when he returned to the firehouse, he might wink at himself, a minstrel man, burnt-corked, in the mirror. Later, going to sleep, he would feel the fiery smile still gripped by his face muscles, in the dark. It never went away, that smile, it never ever went away, as long as he remembered.” It’s not exactly a description, but it gives us a vivid impression of Guy Montag, his creepy smile and his burnt face.

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman (page 12):

“Lord Asriel was a tall man with powerful shoulders, a fierce dark face, and eyes that seemed to flash and glitter with savage laughter. It was a face to be dominated by, or to fight: never a face to patronize or pity. All his movements were large and perfectly balanced, like those of a wild animal, and when he appeared in a room like this, he seemed a wild animal held in a cage too small for it.” I love the idea that his movements can be both huge and completely controlled, and that his face tells you what the two proper responses to it are.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (page 4):

“Tall and rather thin but upright, the Director advanced into the room. He had a long chin and big rather prominent teeth, just covered, when he was not talking, by his full, floridly curved lips. Old, young? Thirty? Fifty? Fifty-five? It was hard to say.” It’s funny how a lot of descriptions leave some things unresolved, like the Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning’s age — but you know that he’s someone who “advances” into a room rather than strolling in, and he’s always talking and displaying his giant teeth.

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (page 40):
“Fifteen years past, when they had ridden forth to win a throne, the Lord of Storm’s End had been clean-shaven, clear-eyed, and muscled like a maiden’s fantasy. Six and a half feet tall, he towered over lesser men, and when he donned the armor and the great antlered helmet of his house, he became a veritable giant. He’d had a giant’s strength too, his weapon of choice a spiked iron warhammer that Ned could scarcely lift. In those days, the smell of leather and blood had clung to him like perfume.

“Now it was perfume that clung to him like perfume, and he had a girth to match his height. Ned had last seen the king nine years before during Balon Greyjoy’s rebellion, when the stag and the direwolf had joined to end the pretensions of the self-proclaimed King of the Iron Islands. Since the night they had stood side by side in Greyjoy’s fallen stronghold, where Robert had accepted the rebel lord’s surrender and Ned had taken his son Theon as hostage and ward, the king had gained at least eight stone. A beard as course and black as iron covered his jaw to hide his double chin and the sag of his royal jowls, but nothing could hide his stomach or the dark circles under his eyes.” Instead of a contrast between how other people see a character and the POV character sees him, as in Ender’s Game, you have a lovely contrast between how Robert appeared in his prime and how he appears now — which serves to accentuate his present decrepitude far more than a simple description would.

1 Comment

Filed under Humor and Observations, Writing

Travel the Ancient Roman Empire!

Below is a story from I09 about ORBIS.  ORBIS is an amazing site that actually allows you to explore the ancient Roman Empire by map, and see how long various modes of travel would take, what form they would take, and how many denarii would be needed.  Very cool.  First the link, then the story:


This interactive travel map of the Roman Empire is like Oregon Trail meets Civilization

Ever wondered how long it would take to travel from Rome to Constantinople at the peak of the Roman Empire? Or from Luna to Larissa? Or Parma to Thessalonica? This map of the Roman World created at Stanford University is awesomely realistic — all the ancient transportation lines on it actually existed 2,000 years ago.

Tell us, would you like to travel to Rome by road, river or open sea? Would you stick to the coasts or set a course through the mainland? During which month would you journey? Would you opt for the fastest route (bearing in mind that the shortest course does not always translate to the quickest passage) or the cheapest? Speaking of expenses, how much would this journey cost you, anyway? (Please give your answer in denarii.)

Confused? Overwhelmed? Fear not — ORBIS is here to help you plan your trip. ORBIS is Stanford University’s geospatial network model of the Roman World. It’s fully interactive (as we alluded to above, you can adjust time of travel, mode of travel, starting points and destinations, and so on); highly customizable (select from fourteen different modes of transportation — and that’s just road travel); and positively bursting with information. It’s a little like Oregon Trailmeets Civilization, only without the dysentery and with infinitely more historical and comparative data. Yes, it is awesome, and — if you’re into this sort of thing — enormously time consuming.

Via Stanford:


For the first time, ORBIS allows us to express Roman communication costs in terms of both time and expense. By simulating movement along the principal routes of the Roman road network, the main navigable rivers, and hundreds of sea routes in the Mediterranean, Black Sea and coastal Atlantic [featured above is a depiction of navigable sea routes in July, with coastal routes in blue and overseas routes in green], this interactive model reconstructs the duration and financial cost of travel in antiquity.

Taking account of seasonal variation and accommodating a wide range of modes and means of transport, ORBIS reveals the true shape of the Roman world and provides a unique resource for our understanding of premodern history. [Featured below: a contour map of travel time to Rome in July.]


You can learn a little more about using ORBIS in this introductory video, but we highly recommend heading over to the ORBIS website, where you’ll learn more about this geospatial model’s applications and its historically rich digital architecture. This is really, really impressive stuff.


Top image via Shutterstock

Leave a comment

Filed under Humor and Observations, Uncategorized

Biggest Scientific Breakthroughs of 2011

reposted from I09 by BY ROBERT T. GONZALEZ

DEC 28, 2011 4:20 PM

Biggest Scientific Breakthroughs of 2011

From law-violating subatomic particles to entirely new, earth-like worlds, 2011 was an incredible year for scientific discovery. In the past 12 months, scientific breakthroughs in fields ranging from archaeology to structural biochemistry have allowed humanity to rewrite history, and enabled us to open to brand new chapters in our development as a species.

Here are some of our favorites.

Biggest Scientific Breakthroughs of 2011

The world’s lowest density material

With a density of less than one milligram per cubic centimeter (that’s about 1000 times less dense than water), this surprisingly squishy material is so light-weight, it can rest on the seed heads of a dandelion, and is lighter than even the lowest-density aerogels. The secret — to both its negligible weight and its resiliency — is the material’s lattice-like structural organization, one that the researchers who created it liken to that of the Eiffel Tower.

Biggest Scientific Breakthroughs of 2011

“Feeling” objects with a brain implant

It could be the first step towards truly immersive virtual reality, one where you can actually feel the computer-generated world around you. An international team of neuroengineers has developed a brain-machine interface that’s bi-directional — that means you could soon use a brain implant not only to control a virtual hand, but to receive feedback that tricks your brain into “feeling” the texture of a virtual object.

Already demonstrated successfully in primates, the interface could soon allow humans to use next-generation prosthetic limbs (or even robotic exoskeletons) to actually feel objects in the real world.

Biggest Scientific Breakthroughs of 2011

Astronomers get their first good look at giant asteroid Vesta

In July of 2011, NASA’s Dawn spacecraftentered the orbit of Vesta — the second largest body in our solar system’s main asteroid belt. Just a few days later, Dawn spiraled down into orbit. Upon reaching an altitude of approximately 1700 miles, the spacecraft began snapping pictures of the protoplanet’s surface, revealing geophysical oddities like the triplet of craters on Vesta’s northern hemisphere — nicknamed “Snowman” — featured here. Dawn recently maneuvered into its closest orbit (at an altitude averaging just 130 miles). It will continue orbiting Vesta until July of 2012, when it will set a course for Ceres, the largest of the main belt asteroids.

Biggest Scientific Breakthroughs of 2011

NASA’s Kepler Mission changes how we see ourselves in the Universe

2011 was a fantastic year for NASA’s Kepler Mission, which is charged with discovering Earth-like planets in the so-called “habitable zone” of stars in the Milky Way. Kepler scientists announced the discovery of the firstcircumbinary planet (i.e. a planet with two suns, just like Tatooine); located the first two known Earth-sized exoplanetsquadrupled the number of worlds known to exist beyond our solar system; and spied Kepler-22b — the most Earth-like planet we’ve encountered yet. And here’s the really exciting bit: Kepler is just getting warmed up.

Biggest Scientific Breakthroughs of 2011

Heartbeat-powered nanogenerators could soon replace batteries

In a few years, you may never have to recharge your phone again — provided part of you keeps moving. Back in March,scientists announced the world’s first viable “nanogenerator” — a tiny computer chip that gets its power from body movements like snapping fingers or – eventually – your heartbeat.

The researchers can already use the technology to power a liquid crystal display and an LED, and claim that their technology could replace batteries for small devices like MP3 players and mobile phones within a few years.

 Neuroscientists reconstruct the movies in your mind

Back in September, UC Berkeley neuroscientists demonstrated their ability to use advanced brain-imaging techniques toturn activity in the visual cortex of the human brain into digital images. So far, the researchers are only able to reconstruct neural equivalents of things people have already seen — but they’re confident that other applications — like tapping into the mind of a coma patient, or watching a video recording of your own dreams — are well within reach.

Biggest Scientific Breakthroughs of 2011

100,000-year-old art kit found in South Africa

Researchers investigating Blombos Cave in Cape Town, South Africa uncovered the oldest known evidence of painting by early humans. Archaeologists discovered two “kits,” for mixing and forming ocher — a reddish pigment believed to be used as a dye. The find pushes back the date by which humans were practicing complex art approximately 40,000 years, all the way back to 100,000 years ago.

Biggest Scientific Breakthroughs of 2011

Online gamers solve a decade-old HIV puzzle in three weeks

Foldit is a computer game that presents players with the spatial challenge of determining the three-dimensional structures of proteins, the molecules comprising the workforce that runs your entire body. In diseases like HIV, proteins known as retroviral proteases play a key role in a virus’s ability to overwhelm the immune system and proliferate throughout the body.

For years, scientists have been working to identify what these retroviral proteases look like, in order to develop drugs that target these enzymes and stymie the progression of deadly viral diseases like AIDS. It was a scientific puzzle that managed to confound top-tier research scientists for over a decade… but Foldit gamers were able to pull it off in just three weeks.

“The ingenuity of game players,” said biochemist Firas Khatib, “is a formidable force that, if properly directed, can be used to solve a wide range of scientific problems.”

Biggest Scientific Breakthroughs of 2011

Ancient settlement upends our perception of human evolution

Tools discovered during an excavation in the United Arab Emirates were found to date back at least 100,000 years, indicating thatour ancestors may have left Africa as early as 125,000 years ago. Genetic evidence has long suggested that modern humans did not leave Africa until about 60,000 years ago, but these tools appear to be the work of our ancestors and not other hominids like Neanderthals. That being said, our understanding of how and when humans really evolved continues to take shape…

Biggest Scientific Breakthroughs of 2011

Confirmed: Neanderthal DNA survives in Modern Humans

Some of the first hard genetic evidence that early Homo sapiens got busy with Homo neandertalensis actually came in 2010, but it was experimental findings published in July of 2011 that really drove the point home. But don’t worry — there’s still plenty of research to be done on everything from the details of human/neanderthal culture, to the enduring significance of Neanderthal genes in the modern human genome, to the mysterious humanoids, Denisovans.

Biggest Scientific Breakthroughs of 2011

IBM unveils brain-like “neurosynaptic” chips

Back in February, IBM’s Watson made history by trouncing Jeopardy champs Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter in an intimidating display of computer overlord-dom. But to compare Watson’s computing power to the complexity of a brain would still constitute a pretty epic oversimplification of what it means to “think” like a human, as the way each one processes information could not be more different.

Watson is impressive, to be sure, but in August, IBM researchers brought out the big guns: a revolutionary new chip design that, for the first time, actually mimics the functioning of a human brain.

Biggest Scientific Breakthroughs of 2011

NASA launches the most advanced Martian rover in history

Currently in transit to the Red Planet, NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory — aka theCuriosity rover — was launched on November 26th. The rover is scheduled to touch down on Mars inside the mysterious Gale crater in August of 2012. Once it’s made landfall, Curiosity will make use of one of the most advanced scientific payloads we’ve ever put in space to assess whether Mars ever was, or is still today, an environment able to support life — a mission that could redefine the way we think about life in our solar system and beyond.

A device that lets you see through walls

Radar systems that can see through walls (aka “wall-through” radar systems) aren’t unheard of, it’s just that most of them are burdened by limitations (like a prohibitively low frame rate, or a short range of operation) — that make their use in real world settings pretty impractical. But that could soon change in a big way. The team of MIT researchers featured in this video has developed a device that can provide its operators with real-time video of what’s going on behind an eight-inch-thick concrete wall — and it can do it from up to 60 feet away.

Biggest Scientific Breakthroughs of 2011

Electronics and biometric sensors that you wear like a temporary tattoo

Engineers John Rogers and Todd Coleman say that their epidermal electronic system (EES) — a skin-mountable, electronic circuit that stretches, flexes, and twists with the motion of your body — represents a huge step towards eroding the distinction between hard, chip-based machines and soft, biological humans.

Biggest Scientific Breakthroughs of 2011

Culling senescent cells postpones age-related disease in mice

In the latest effort to make mice immortal, researchers revealed that flushing out so-called senescent (aka old and defunct) cells from the bodies of mice genetically modified to die of heart disease extended the health span of the mice significantly. If you can imagine taking a pill that could stave off the effects of age related disease, then you can appreciate why science and industry alike have demonstrated considerable interest in these and other age-related findings. [Photo by Jan M. Van Deursen Via NYT]

Biggest Scientific Breakthroughs of 2011

Scientists engineer highly virulent strains of bird flu

Two independent teams of researchers recently engineered highly virulent strains of H5N1, more commonly known as the avian flu virus. On one hand, the researchers’ work is absolutely vital, because it allows us to get a head start, so to speak, on understanding viruses that could one day pose a serious risk to public health. On the other hand, there are many who fear that findings from such research could be used to malevolent ends were they to wind up in the wrong hands. Included in the latter camp is the federal government, which went to unprecedented ends to make sure that the experimental methods behind creating the strains never made it to the pages of either Nature orScience.

Regardless of your position, the development of these strains raises important questions about the nature of dual-use research, transparency, and censorship.

Biggest Scientific Breakthroughs of 2011

The hunt for the Higgs boson nears its conclusion

It’s been a long, long time coming, but earlier this month, representatives from the Large Hadron Collider’s two largest experiments — ATLAS and CMS —announced that both research teams had independently uncovered signals that point to the appearance of the Higgs boson — the long-sought sub-atomic particle thought to endow all other particles with mass. “Given the outstanding performance of the LHC this year, we will not need to wait long for enough data and can look forward to resolving this puzzle in 2012,” explained ATLAS’s Fabiola Gianotti. If the puzzle is resolved with the discovery of the Higgs, it will represent one of the greatest unifying discoveries in the history of physics.

Biggest Scientific Breakthroughs of 2011

Faster-than-light Neutrinos

By now, the neutrinos that were supposedly caught breaking the cosmic speed limit in Gran Sasso, Italy need no introduction. Scientists the world over continue to offer up critiques on the OPERA collaborative’s puzzling results, especially in light of the team’s most recent findings — acquired froma second, fine-tuned version of the original experiment — which reveal that their FTL observations still stand.

Of course, the most rigorous, telling, and important tests will come in the form of cross-checks performed by independent research teams, the results of which will not be available until next year at the earliest. And while many scientists aren’t holding their breath, the confirmation of FTL neutrinos could very well signal one of the biggest scientific paradigm shifts in history.


Leave a comment

Filed under Humor and Observations

Space Engine

You can be an intergalactic tourist with SpaceEngine

A free space simulation program allows you to travel the universe in 3D.
 Published: July 11, 2012 at 12:14 PM

Even if you’ve abandoned your childhood dream of captaining the Starship Enterprise, you can still explore the outer reaches of the universe with free space simulation software called SpaceEngine.

According to the program’s Web site, “all types of celestial objects are represented,” meaning you can steer spaceships over moons, stars, asteroids and across entire galaxies.

Writing for PC World, Cassandra Khaw explains the program’s virtual piloting capabilities:

“Not only can you zip through this virtual universe like the Silver Surfer with Free mode, but you can choose between Spacecraft mode and Aircraft mode, both of which utilize inertia to simulate a rigid body in zero gravity. The only thing that SpaceEngine is missing is a contingent of little green men.”

Unfortunately for space fans with less-than-stellar computer power, the program takes up a rather sizable amount of processing speed.

You can check out the system requirements and download the game at en.spaceengine.org.

Happy travels!

[PC World via io9]

Leave a comment

Filed under Humor and Observations, Uncategorized