Wednesday News Flash –Sci, Space, Tech


Megapixel Monster: Skywatcher Illuminates Dark Sky Atop La Palma

This image captures a magnificent glow of the night sky. The stunning photo was taken by skywatcher Tunc Tezel from the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands. La Palma is well-known by astronomers because it houses one of the most complete observatories in the world, the Roque de los Muchachos Astrophysics Observatory in Garafía. Cloudless skies and clear weather make the location ideal for stargazing. Tezel took the image on a night with no moon and at a time when the milky way would not create much skyglow. Multiple exposures are taken to create enough light in the photo.

Tractor_beamsNASA studying ways to make ‘tractor beams’ a reality

NASA Goddard technologists are studying different techniques for corralling particles and transporting them via laser light to instruments on rovers and orbiting spacecraft (credit: Dr. Paul Stysley) A team of NASA scientists has won funding to study the concept of Star Trek-style tractor beams — the ability to trap and move objects using laser light — for remotely capturing planetary or atmospheric particles and delivering them to a robotic rover or orbiting spacecraft for analysis.
Currently, NASA uses a variety of techniques to collect extraterrestrial samples. “These techniques have proven to be largely successful, but they are limited by high costs and limited range and sample rate,” Principal Investigator Paul Stysley said.

8779220-human-brain-exploding-over-white-background-3d-renderDecoding the Brain’s Cacophony

Brain-scanning technology is not ready for prime time in the legal system; it provides less information than people presume. And scientists now know that the brain runs largely on autopilot; it acts first and asks questions later, often explaining behavior after the fact. So if much of behavior is automatic, then how responsible are people for their actions? These are among the concerns of  neuroscientist Dr. Michael S. Gazzaniga in his new book, Who’s in Charge? Free Will and the Science of the Brain.


GalileoBeyond GPS: your phone in 2015

Attention smartphone users: the recent launch of the first two satellites for Europe’s Galileo global navigation satellite system (GNSS) could make things a lot more interesting in about four years.
Galileo will deliver real-time positioning accuracy down to one meter range, compared to 10 meters for GPS, the European Space Agency (ESA) states, and it plans to give non-European users access.



Google_tv_android_brainGoogle TV reboots

A software update comes to Google TV, the internet-connected TV experience from the search giant. Google will be rolling out the update to Sony devices this week, and to Logitech devices "soon thereafter," according to Google's official blog post on the matter. There are no plans for a hardware refresh before the holiday season. A quick primer: What exactly is Google TV? First announced in May of 2010, Google TV is a software platform that integrates with your existing cable/satellite setup, adding a search feature that makes it easy to find content from your cable provider and from the Internet alike. It uses the Android operating system, and it competes with other set-top boxes like Apple TV and Roku. The service, which officially launched about a year ago, is built into certain TVs, or you can get it by doling out $100 for a specific box from Sony or Logitech.

IPhone-660x440Square’s App Refresh Makes Mobile Payments Hands-Free

t’s a scene cut straight from Cheers. You hit the bar on the way home — the one where everybody knows your name — the bartender slings you the drink you want, and tacks the purchase on your ever-growing tab. It’s understood that the money will eventually change hands; most likely by the end of the night, you’ll break out the wallet and assess the damage.In its Card Case application software update launched on Wednesday, mobile payments start-up Square takes the scenario one step further. After downloading the Card Case app update on your smartphone, paying for drinks at a business which uses Square’s Register app is as easy as telling the merchant what you want. Make your order, and the money is automatically deducted from your linked credit card account. After the purchase goes through, you’re sent a digital receipt to your account. No swiping plastic, no fumbling for paper money — you don’t even have to take the phone out of your pocket.


"The Galaxy" in Your Inbox, Free, Daily