Friday, April 30, 2004

Morning all! Nothing on the TV last night, so I had a chance to do some preparation for today's award-winning post for the award-winning NewLinks. I thought I'd bring you a round up of this week's science news, and a selection of interesting stuff from elsewhere around the ol' interweb. The science news is all skanked from the excellent
New Scientist website. After all, they do say that it's where the real news exists these days. We'll have none of your vacuous weekly celebrity worshipping, or political tittle-tattle round here.

Anyway, on with the linkage...

Let's kick off with this story about an expedition that will set off to Turkey in the summer with the aim of finding Noah's Ark. Fair enough, you might think, but they're going to investigate "what they believe to be a mammoth structure some 45 feet high, 75 feet wide and up to 450 feet long that was exposed in part by last summer's heat wave in Europe". Chuck in the obligatory conspiracy theory, in 1957 Turkish air force pilots spotted a boat-shaped formation in the Agri province. The government did not pursue the sighting, as the entire area, including Mount Ararat, was off limits to foreigners because of Soviet complaints that explorers were U.S. spies - and you've got the makings of the next Indiana Jones film. Mr. Spielberg, you know where to find me.

And if running around on a mountain is not quite your bag, why not try running around chasing after UFOs in Iran. It seems flying saucer fever has gripped Iran after dozens of sightings in the last few days. Read more about it here.

We also haven't had much news from mars lately, so here's a quick check on the progress of the rovers. Spirit sets a personal best and Opportunity nears next target.

Staying on Mars for a moment, the funniest page title of the day must go to this one which tells you all about NASA's plans for the next mars expedition.

Movie News : This looks like it will either be really good, or really, really weak. It's 'The Day After Tomorrow', and it's got Jake Gyllenhall in it. He's the kid in Donny Darko. Any way, the movie's about what would happen if there was some kind of mega storm that obliterates the world and sends us all back into the Ice age. Kind of like what would happen if there was a nuclear winter I suppose.

And that's exactly what you might get when you discover

that we (Europe) could be in nuclear disarray as our borders push east and we have the inclusion of the ten new countries that are joining us tomorrow. I, for one, welcome our new Lithuanian overlords.

Anyway, I digress. If the Lithuanian strippers don't get us all (fingers crossed), maybe the robot traffic cones will. That's right, herds of robotic traffic cones could soon be swarming onto the A1, closing down lanes and slowing the traffic. Check this out though - each fleet of robots is made up of a lead robot or "shepherd", which is equipped with a GPS satellite receiver, plus a number of less expensive "dumb" units. The shepherd takes up its position, and tells the other road cones where to go. I, for one, welcome our new conical overlords.

Robot news story number #3 features a robot, who this time, is armed with a superglue gun. But instead of fixing things around the house this one "could finger bomb suspects". Not what you want first thing in the morning.
It seems that when a bomb disposal robot destroys a suspicious package, crucial evidence that could trap the would-be bombers can be lost forever. Again, more interesting stuff from the ol' New Scientist.

And if super glue won't fix it, how about a nice bit of soldering action? That's right kids; scientists have added the trusty soldering iron to their nano-toolkits.
They've created an atomic-scale conveyor belt that may also be the smallest soldering iron ever created. The new device, which ferries molten metal, is made from carbon nanotubes just 20 millionths of a millimetre in diameter. I think that's even smaller than a grain of sand! Woo-yay! That is small!

That should keep y'all going for the next five minutes...

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