The Daily Flash: Sci, Space, Tech (1/19)


New Study Finds No Sign of ‘First Habitable Exoplanet’

Things don’t look good for Gliese 581g, the first planet found orbiting in the habitable zone of another star. The first official challenge to the small, hospitable world looks in the exact same data — and finds no significant sign of the planet. “For the time being, the world does not have data that’s good enough to claim the planet,” said astro-statistics expert Philip Gregoryof the University of British Columbia, author of the new study. The “first habitable exoplanet” already has a checkered history. When it was announced last September, Gliese 581g was heralded as the first known planet that could harbor alien life. The planet orbits its dim parent star once every 36.6 days, placing it smack in the middle of the star’s habitable zone, the not-too-hot, not-too-cold region where liquid water could be stable.

China_shanghai_feat_afp Chinese megacities foster unlikely green citizens

Concrete megacities are not an obvious place to look for green citizens. Yet a new survey shows that, in China, the urban elite is most likely to get environmental gold stars. Jianguo Liu of Michigan State University in East Lansing and colleagues quizzed 5073 people living in Chinese urban centres ranging from small country towns to Beijing and Shanghai. They asked about six "green" activities like recycling, and found that people in larger cities were most likely to engage in them – the bigger the city, the greater the engagement. City-dwellers tend to be better educated and suffer more pollution, so may be more aware of the issues involved.

4050 Become a virtual film-maker (VIDEO)

Motion controllers used in gaming systems like the Nintendo Wii revolutionised how video games are played. But now a similar device that's more precise – and even works when an object is in its way – will let you try something more futuristic: making movies in virtual environments. Matt Bett and his team from Abertay University in the UK developed the new motion controller that uses electromagnetic sensors to track its 3D position. The location is then mapped in real time to a virtual video camera on a screen (see video above). By moving the controller around, the camera moves around the scene like a real camera on a rig or it can be fixed to a virtual tripod.

The Most Popular iOS Apps of All Time

Of all of the hundres of thousands of apps to inhabit the App Store's shelves over the years, these are the most-downloaded ever.


Apple Crushes Earnings Amid Steve Jobs Health Concerns

Technology juggernaut Apple reported blowout earnings results Tuesday, but the news was overshadowed by the company’s disclosure Monday that CEO Steve Jobs, who has battled pancreatic cancer, has taken medical leave. The iconic Cupertino, California–based company said it earned $6.43 per share last quarter on revenue of $26.7 billion, a 71 percent increase over last year. Wall Street had been looking for quarterly earnings-per-share of $5.38 on revenue of $24.4 billion.
“This is a monster quarter,” analyst Vijay Rakesh of Sterne Agee told CNBC. After-hours trading of Apple shares was halted briefly as the numbers were released. When the stock resumed trading, buyers drove the price up more than 4 percent to reach a new record high. Apple recently became the second most valuable publicly traded company in the world, behind Exxon.


All-Seeing Blimp Could Be Afghanistan’s Biggest Brain

This fall, there'll be a new and extremely powerful supercomputer in Afghanistan. It'll be floating 20,000 feet above the warzone, aboard a giant spy blimp that watches and listens to everything for miles around.


"The Galaxy" in Your Inbox, Free, Daily