22 Nov 2011

The newest and biggest NASA mission to the Red Planet to date is about to take off.  It will be the first one to land under controlled flight.  It is going to use a multistage landing system, lowering the one-ton rover, via a tether.  NASA is hoping to use this mission as a prototype for rover landings on Mars and other locations.  See the video clip below depicting the animation of the rover landing and operation.

NASA has a window of opportunity that began November 18th and lasts three weeks, with the rover arriving at Mars in the August 2012 timeframe.

18 Nov 2011

Google Pages for business, Google Music, iTunes Match, Kindle Fire, Higgs Boson search ends for 2011, Xbox live dashboard update and more

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18 Nov 2011

Europa is one of many moons which orbit the planet Jupiter.  For years now we have known that Europa most likely has an ocean of water lurking deep under the frozen icy surface.  The surface of Europa is almost all water ice.  It has cracks on the surface resembling many found here on Earth.  How does it get warm enough for water to exist under the surface?  Tidal forces from Jupiter and other moons are causing Europa to flex, generating interior warmth.

Europa has been a prime focus for life as well, since the 1980s.  Arthur C. Clarke in "2010" used it.  If water exists on Europa and it most likely does, this would also change our focus on where to look for life in the universe and how it may come to exist.

New data from the Galileo spacecraft have found blocks of ice on the surface that suggest an interaction between the icy surface and a sub-surface lake of water.

18 Nov 2011

Giant Magnet part of the LHCb experiment at the Large Hadron Collider

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) was created in 2008 to give physicists a glimpse into the mystery of the universe.  The question of why there is an abundance of normal matter, but hardly any opposite matter, called antimatter.  Back then, some groups believed this atomic smasher would usher the end of the world and create a black hole swallowing the Earth.  Everything is still holding together, years later, but what may not be intact is our understanding of modern physics.

New information, possibly explaining why there is more normal matter in the universe could be coming as the result of recent experiments.

16 Nov 2011

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Google has now officially opened up their music (buying) service for business.  Since last May it had been in beta and allowed users to upload (and stream) up to 20,000 tracks at any bitrate (MP3, AAC, WMA, FLAC), there was no ability to purchase, until now.  Google music will emphasize "discovering, purchasing, sharing and enjoying digital music in new, innovative and personalized ways", writes Andy Rubin, Senior Vice President of Mobile at Google.  Google music will sync to the cloud both purchased and uploaded music from your entire library and across all types of devices, while maintaining playlists.

They have added a new music store in Android Market, fully integrated with Google Music.  Google Music will ultimately offer 13 million tracks from the major record labels (8 million today):  Universal, Sony, EMI, and global independent rights agency Merlin, as well as others like 1,000 prominent independent labels. They will offer an "Artist Hub" where the artist without a record label can distribute and sell their own music.  There will be an interface for building the hub interface.  This feature, the Artist Hub, may become one of the most talked about new features out there.

A rundown of how using Google Music will work and video from Google after the break

15 Nov 2011

As of November 11th, Microsoft has been rolling out its Xbox 360 fall dashboard update to its public program (beta) members, though as of last month registration into the program is closed.  The new dashboard features the Windows Phone 7's Metro style interface with a number of new enhancements.  Microsoft has added cloud storage for profiles and saves, as well as Kinect driven voice recognition and gesture support, particularly for the new Bing Search app that will be part of the dashboard.  They have also added live TV programming and social tools that will let your friends know what you are doing in 360 land.

15 Nov 2011

Australian physicists have created a new artificial material that changes its structure, in response to light and other forms of radiation.

Unlike natural substances, it doesn’t have fixed physical properties. Under one set of circumstances it may be transparent, but then apply an electromagnetic force, it would compress and become less transparent.  They are calling this material, “Magnetoelastic metamaterial” and it will respond to various levels of electromagnetic radiation, such as visible light or microwaves.

The material works by using a series of "split ring resonators" embedded in the material.  Those resonators become attracted to each other compressing the material itself, after exposure to certain electromagnetic waves.

One example they say, is shining light on glass, it will allow most of the light through, then this mater can allow lower power light through, but high power light (brighter light) and the light passing through becomes diminished.  We are bound to see many commercial applications of this technology in the future.

 Source: Abcscience

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15 Nov 2011

Adobe announced eliminating its mobile flash plugin and laying off 750 staff as part of a broader restructure.

The focus is now geared towards HTML5, as globally things are shifting towards more open standards, less proprietary web design that work over all platforms.  With the death of mobile flash, the desktop flash future is in question.  Especially in light of recent Flash vulnerabilities on the desktop in the past 1+ years.  Adobe has cut 750 staff in North America and Europe.  This is a complete reversal by Adobe to shift focus to HTML5 on mobile. 

This ends the long debate over flash and mobile particularly with Apple, since the iPhones release in 2007 without flash ability and then again in 2010 with the iPad.  Steve Jobs once quoted Flash as a “battery hog” that introduced security issues and flaws.  Jobs also convinced Google to get YouTube to make videos with the H.264 format without a Flash interface.

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