The Daily Flash -Eco, Space, Tech (7/21)

4384863741_4f83711e3b_b2-660x634 Extreme Hobbyists Put Satellites Into Orbit With $8,000 Kits

Attention wannabe supervillains: Putting your own, personal satellite into orbit is not such a far-fetched idea after all. Interorbital Systems, which makes rockets and spacecraft, created a kit last year that lets almost anyone with a passion for electronics and space build a satellite. The $8,000 kit includes the price of the launch.The company is now ready to launch its first sub-orbital test flights in California next month. The hexadecagon-shaped personal satellite, called TubeSat, weighs about 1.65 pounds and is a little larger than a rectangular Kleenex box. TubeSats will be placed in self-decaying orbits 192 miles above the earth’s surface. Once deployed, they can put out enough power to be picked up on the ground by a hand-held amateur radio receiver. After operating for a few months, TubeSat will re-enter the atmosphere and burn up.

500x_eso1030a Chile Telescope Images Most Massive Stars Ever Found

Images from the Very Large Telescope in Chile capture the most massive stars ever found, including one twice as large as the current accepted limit for stellar birth weights. This supermassive star, called R136a1, is 265 times the mass of the sun, and was as much as 320 times the mass of the sun when it was born. This book-of-records-worthy star was found in the young stellar cluster RMC 136a, colloquially known as R136. It is located 165,000 light-years away inside the Tarantula Nebula, in one of our neighboring galaxies, the Large Magellanic Cloud. The star is already a little over a million years old, and has spent most of its life shedding material through powerful stellar winds and outflows of gas. It has lost a fifth of its initial mass.Astronomers had previously believed that the upper limit on stars’ masses at birth was 150 solar masses, but four stars in the cluster had birth weights well above that limit. Although the cluster houses more than 100,000 stars, those four giants account for nearly half the wind and radiation power of the entire group.

25privacy-span-sfSpan The Web Means the End of Forgetting

The challenge that, in big and small ways, is confronting millions of people around the globe, is how best to live our lives in a world where the Internet records everything and forgets nothing — where every online photo, status update, Twitter post and blog entry by and about us can be stored forever. With Web sites like LOL Facebook Moments, which collects and shares embarrassing personal revelations from Facebook users, ill-advised photos and online chatter are coming back to haunt people months or years after the fact. 

Ipad-screen-1 New Way to Share Your Favorite Content

Flipboard, a start-up that is unveiling its iPad app on Wednesday, builds a personalized magazine full of updates, photos and articles shared by a reader’s friends or by people they choose to follow on Twitter and Facebook. Soon it plans to incorporate material from other sources, such as Flickr, Foursquare, Yelp and perhaps e-mail messages and attachments. Flipboard arranges status update so they look like pull quotes and it prominently displays photographs. Instead of a link to an article, Flipboard shows its first few paragraphs. People can comment, just like they can on the social network, and if they want to dig deeper into an article or a user’s account, they connect to that Web page.


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