The Daily Flash -Eco, Space, Tech (6/03)


Backward-Spinning Black Holes More Powerful

Oddball black holes that spin backward in the opposite direction of their surrounding debris discs appear to create more powerful jets of radiation than their regular-spinning brethren, a new study has found. The finding could change scientists' understand of how galaxies evolve since the development of stars depends on the radiation ejected from the supermassive black holes anchoring their home galaxies. A lot of what happens in an entire galaxy depends on what's going on in the miniscule central region where the black hole lies," said the study's lead author David Garofalo, a theoretical physicist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., in a statement.

Fossil-fish-1Fossil Show Diet that Made Humans Possible

New fossils have provided a snapshot of proto-human diets during a critical evolutionary moment, when better fare helped our small-brained ancestors boost their cognitive capacity. Two-million-year-old bones that belonged to fish, crocodiles and turtles — aquatic animals rich in brain-fueling fatty acids — were found together with stone tool fragments near Kenya’s Lake Turkana. “We know that the hominin brain was growing at this time, but we’ve had little evidence that people were able to increase the quality of their diets,” said University of Cape Town archaeologist David Braun. “It may be that this was part of a broader hominin pattern.”

500x_picture_2 Let's Cover The Moon in Solar Panels

Here's an idea so crazy it might work: a solar plant on the Moon. Specifically, a 6,800 mile long solar belt that spans the Moon's equator and sends energy back to Earth with lasers and microwave power. Japanese firm Shimizu is calling their lunar solar power generation concept the Luna Ring and it's brilliantly ambitious. The way the Luna Ring works is by gathering solar energy with a 6,800 mile long solar belt across the Moon's equator that'll be transmitted to Moon-based energy conversion facilities. The converted power will then be beamed to Earth-based facilities with laser power and microwave power. Once on Earth, we'll be able turn all that power into electric power for our power grids or hydrogen fuel.

Crystal-ball-660x528 Darpa Wants to Predict Deadly Pathogens with ‘Prophecy’

Darpa wants to create a prophetic almanac that warns of viral mutations and outbreaks in advance — giving scientists the chance to change the course of the future before illness strikes. The Pentagon’s far-out research arm has been zeroing in on the danger of mutating pathogens, and the corresponding problem of drug resistance, for years now. The agency is already funding tobacco-based vaccine production, a seven-day plan to thwart biothreats, and prescient viral infection detectors. And they’ve even set their sights on psychic medics, with a 2007 program that sought to turn docs into all-knowing illness predictors. Now, Darpa wants the powers of premonition to wipe out viral threats altogether. They’re hosting a workshop for a new program, called “Prophecy,” that’ll develop methods to predict the rate, location and likely mutations of viral agents.


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