MrSeb writes "Yesterday, James Cameron completed a five-mile-deep test dive in the Pacific Ocean, in preparation for a seven-mile (36,000ft, 11,000m) dive to Challenger Deep, in the Mariana Trench; the deepest place in the world. We don't know when the actual dive will occur, but it will probably be soon. At 36,000ft, the pressure exerted on the hull is 16,000 psi; over 1000 atmospheres, and equivalent to eight tons pushing down on every square inch of your body. Understandably, building a submersible (and equipment, such as cameras, motors, and batteries) that can withstand that kind of pressure, and then safely return to the surface, is difficult. This article digs into the technology required to get Cameron safely to the bottom of the ocean, film some 3D, IMAX footage, and then return to the surface."
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ananyo writes "Researchers have for the first time managed to give patients a complete bone marrow transplant from an unrelated donor. The recipients were also able to accept kidneys from the same donors without the need for immunosuppressive drugs. Normally, such transplants would trigger graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) — an often deadly complication that occurs when immune cells from an unrelated donor attack the transplant recipient's tissue. The researchers report that five of eight people who underwent the treatment were able to stop all immunosuppressive therapy within a year after their kidney and stem-cell transplants, four of which came from unrelated donors (abstract)."
New submitter Paul Fernhout writes "Physicists from MIT claim to have demonstrated that an LED can emit more optical power than the electrical power it consumes. Researchers suggest this LED acts like a heat pump somehow (abstract). Is it true that 230% efficient LEDs seem to violate first law of thermodynamics?"
Derek Deville is a rocket hobbyist. A lot of us have messed with Estes Model Rockets, which start at about $13 for a pre-assembled rocket that can go 800 feet straight up. Derek's rockets are on a whole different level. His personal rocket altitude record is closer to 33 miles, which is about 150 times as high as the entry-level Estes rocket -- and takes more than 150 times as much effort to build and launch. Derek's employer, Syntheon LLC, helps him out a lot with tools and materials. Lots of other people help him, too. Derek has been mentioned on Slashdot before. This video is a chance to get to know him a bit better. And anyone who shoots rockets to the top of the Stratosphere for fun is worth knowing, right?
pigrabbitbear writes "Edward Teller, the father of the hydrogen bomb, had a thing for nuclear bombs. He wanted them bigger, smaller, faster, used in ways that no one had thought of before or since, and always more of them. He suffered no fools, and though he would be more vilified than any other American scientist in the 20th century, he always dismissed his critics as lacking in common sense or patriotism. Amid Cold War paranoia and fears of the Soviet nuclear program, the stakes were simply too high: for the free world, building the most powerful weapon in history was a matter of life and horrible death."
An anonymous reader writes "For over 70 years, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), which 'looks through' an object to see atomic features within it, has been constrained by the relatively poor lenses which are used to form the image. The new method, called electron ptychography, dispenses with the lens and instead forms the image by reconstructing the scattered electron-waves after they have passed through the sample using computers. Scientists involved in the scheme consider their findings to be a first step in a completely new epoch of electron imaging. The process has no fundamental experimental boundaries and it is thought it will transform sub-atomic scale transmission imaging."
JoeRobe writes "According to spaceweather.com, a major X5 solar flare is on its way to deliver a glancing blow to the Earth's magnetic field. This is the second x-class flare to be released by the same sunspot in the past few days, the first being an X1. In both cases, the sunspot (spot 1429) was not directly facing Earth, but it is still active, and poses a threat for a large, Earth-directed flare in the next few days."
First time accepted submitter null action writes "Want to have your code run on a satellite in space? Take a look at this. MIT Space Systems Laboratory and TopCoder are hosting a DARPA competition to create the best algorithm for capturing a randomly tumbling space object. Contestants in the Zero Robotics Autonomous Space Capture Challenge will compete in online simulations, and four finalists will have their algorithms tested aboard the International Space Station on small satellites called SPHERES. 'In this challenge, you have no advance knowledge of how it will be rotating. We're pushing the limits of what we can do with SPHERES and we hope to break new ground with this challenge,' said Jake Katz of MIT."
ananyo writes with exciting news from the world of particle physics: "A hint of the Higgs boson, the missing piece in the standard model of particle physics, has been found in data collected by the Tevatron, the now-shuttered U.S. particle collider at Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois. While not statistically significant enough in themselves to count as a 'discovery', the indications announced on 7 March at the Moriond conference in La Thuile, Italy, are consistent with 2011 reports of a possible standard model Higgs particle with a mass of around 125 GeV from experiments at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN near Geneva, Switzerland. The data is more direct evidence of the Higgs than the constraints on its mass offered by the precise W boson mass measurement reported on Monday. On a sad note, the find vindicates Tevatron scientists who campaigned unsuccessfully to extend the collider's run. The request was turned down by the Department of Energy but this last hurrah suggests that Tevatron might indeed have found the Higgs ahead of CERN's Large Hadron Collider if they'd secured the funding required. The Tevatron is currently being raided for parts."
New submitter Guppy writes "A previous story reported widely in the media, and appearing both on Slashdot and XKCD, described a novel cancer treatment, in which a patient's own T-cells were modified using an HIV-derived vector to recognize and kill leukemia cells. In a follow-up publication (PDF), a further development is described which allows for a nearly unlimited choice of target antigens, broadening the types of malignancies potentially treatable with the technique (abstract)."
coondoggie writes "NASA will this week detail a mission where it will launch five rockets in five minutes from its Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia that will light up the night sky for millions of folks in a swath between New York City and about Wilmington, NC. The five rocket blasts, which could occur between March 14 and April 4, are part of what the space agency calls the Anomalous Transport Rocket Experiment (ATREX), a Heliophysics sounding rocket mission that aims to gather data needed to better understand the high-altitude jet stream located 60 to 65 miles above the surface of the Earth, NASA said." NASA will be hosting a teleconference at 1PM EST on Wednesday to discuss the mission. They also have brief PDF descriptions of the rockets involved: Terrier-Improved Orion, Terrier Oriole, and Terrier Malemute.
GlobalEcho writes "Researchers have created a second version of the Raven robotic surgeon, with open-source control code. 'UW researchers also created software to work with the Robot Operating System, a popular open-source robotics code, so labs can easily connect the Raven to other devices and share ideas.' Unfortunately for them, according to The Economist, 'there is [a] legal problem. Intuitive Surgical, the company behind the da Vinci [robot], holds patents that could make launching a commercial competitor tricky — at least in the immediate future."
The Bad Astronomer writes "The asteroid 2011 AG5 is 140 meters across: football-stadium-sized. Its orbit isn't nailed down well enough to say yet, but using what's currently known, there's a 1 in 625 chance it will impact the Earth in 2040. It's behind the Sun until September 2013, and more observations taken then will probably reduce the odds of impact to something close to 0. But does it make sense to wait until then to start investigating a mission to deflect it away our planet? Astronomers are debating this right now, and what they conclude may pave the way for how we deal with an asteroid threat in the future."
ananyo writes "A trip to the gym could mean not just losing pounds — but also chemical modifications from DNA in the form of methyl groups. The presence (or absence) of methyl groups at certain positions on DNA can affect gene expression. Researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm looked at the methylation status of genes in small biopsies taken from the thigh muscles of healthy young adults before and after a stint on an exercise bike. They found that, for some genes involved in energy metabolism, the workout demethylated the promoter regions (stretches of DNA that facilitate the transcription of particular genes). Genes unrelated to metabolism remained methylated. Furthermore, similar demethylation could be seen when cultured muscle cells were given a massive (probably lethal) dose of caffeine."
S810 writes with an excerpt from an article on the X-37B in at Discovery News: "The military won't say what it has been doing with its experimental miniature space shuttle, but the pilotless spaceship, known as the X-37B, has been in orbit for a year now. The 29-foot robotic spacecraft, also known as the Orbital Test Vehicle, or OTV, was launched on March 5, 2011, on a follow-up flight to extend capabilities demonstrated by a sister ship during a 244-day debut mission in 2010. 'We are very pleased with the results of ongoing X-37B experiments,' Tom McIntyre, with the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office..."