Archive for June, 2009

Futurama: 2010

Posted in Humor, Video on 2009/06/12 by iyokobat


After a long wait, it looks like Futurama has a future on TV. It was announced that 26 new episodes have been ordered by Fox and are expected to air in 2010. Ye-ha!

Futurama” exults in its snarkiness about slacker dudes. The central character is nitwit pizza-delivery boy Philip J. Fray, who falls into a cryogenic chamber in 1999, is frozen and wakes up 1,000 years later where he’s befriended by various misfits who include an alcoholic, kleptomaniac robot named Bender.

Bender will drink to that!

New Solar Cycle Prediction

Posted in Astronomy, Physics with tags , on 2009/06/04 by iyokobat


The debate has been going back and forth for a few years about how powerful or how mild the next solar cycle will be. Now NASA is saying that the upcoming cycle will likely be one of quietest in regards to the number of sunspots:

An international panel of experts led by NOAA and sponsored by NASA has released a new prediction for the next solar cycle. Solar Cycle 24 will peak, they say, in May 2013 with a below-average number of sunspots.

“If our prediction is correct, Solar Cycle 24 will have a peak sunspot number of 90, the lowest of any cycle since 1928 when Solar Cycle 16 peaked at 78,” says panel chairman Doug Biesecker of the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center.

It is tempting to describe such a cycle as “weak” or “mild,” but that could give the wrong impression.

“Even a below-average cycle is capable of producing severe space weather,” points out Biesecker. “The great geomagnetic storm of 1859, for instance, occurred during a solar cycle of about the same size we’re predicting for 2013.”

The 1859 storm–known as the “Carrington Event” after astronomer Richard Carrington who witnessed the instigating solar flare–electrified transmission cables, set fires in telegraph offices, and produced Northern Lights so bright that people could read newspapers by their red and green glow.

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Robot explorers in space

Posted in Space Exploration, Technology, The Future on 2009/06/02 by iyokobat

This is the kind of story that could either get you real excited about space science, or instead cause alarm to Luddites and Butlerian Jihadists (a concept from the Dune books). Autonomous robotic exploration has great potential for space programs and especially for planetary geology. It might provide a means to conduct complex searching and sample collection on another planet, say Mars, without requiring human guidance or intervention.

I think some form of this or at least the idea is already part of the hazard avoidance system on the Mars Exploration Rovers.

Intelligent Robots Will Explore Milky Way by 2020