First time accepted submitter b30w0lf writes "It is commonly understood that crystals exist in a state of matter that is periodic in space. Meanwhile, relativistic physics tells us that we should think of time as being a physical dimension, given similar status to the other spacial dimensions. The combination of these two ideas has lead researchers at the University of Kentucky and MIT to propose special manifestations of matter which would be periodic in both space and time, dubbed 'time crystals.' Time crystals would continually transition between a set of physical states in a kind of perpetual motion. Note: the articles stress that this kind of perpetual motion in no way violates the established laws of thermodynamics. While time crystals remain theoretical, methods have been proposed for creating them. The most obvious application of time crystals is the creation of very precise clocks; however, other applications to time crystals have been proposed, ranging from quantum computing to helping us understand certain cosmological models."
kkleiner writes "Starting in 1899, a commercial artist named Jean-Marc Côté and other artists were hired to create a series of picture cards to depict how life in France would look in a century's time. Sadly, they were never actually distributed. However, the only known set of cards to exist was discovered by Isaac Asimov, who wrote a book in 1986 called 'Futuredays' in which he presented the illustrations with commentary. What's amazing about this collection is how close their predictions were in a lot of cases, and how others are close at hand."
sciencehabit writes "Science Magazine has crowned the winner of its annual 'Dance Your Ph.D.' contest. Scientists from around the globe are invited to submit videos of themselves interpreting their graduate theses in dance form. The results are often hilarious--and highly entertaining--and this year is no exception. This year's winner is Peter Liddicoat, a materials scientist at the University of Sydney in Australia, whose 'Evolution of nanostructural architecture in 7000 series aluminum alloys during strengthening by age-hardening and severe plastic deformation' is interpreted as a performance that employs juggling, clowning, and a big dance number—representing the crystal lattices that he studies with atomic microscopy."
fangmcgee writes "Reno-based First Warning Systems is working on a new bra that could detect if you are developing breast cancer. Integrated sensors and a data controller regularly monitor your breasts and can watch for irregularities which may signal the growth of tumors. Tests so far are showing that the bra is far superior and may be able to detect cancerous growth up to 6 years sooner than self-exams or mammograms."
The Bad Astronomer writes "For the first time, a planet has been found in a stellar system composed of four stars. The planet, called PH-1, orbits a binary star made of two sun-like stars in a tight orbit. That binary is itself orbited by another binary pair much farther out. Even more amazing, this planet was found by two "citizen scientists", amateurs who participated in Planet Hunters, a project which puts Kepler Observatory data online for lay people to analyze. At least two confirmed planets have been found by this project, but this is the first — ever — in a quaternary system."
An anonymous reader writes in a story about a neat potential use for spider silk. "Many people have heard that spider silk is a sort of supermaterial: stronger than steel, tougher than Kevlar, and yet incredibly malleable and flexible. But the silk has other properties that make it ideal for use in electronic devices. Light can travel through a silk strand as easily as it does through a fiber optic cable. 'When we first tested spider silk, we didn’t know what to expect,' said physicist Nolwenn Huby of the Institut de Physique de Rennes in France. 'We thought, "Why not try this as an optical fiber to propagate light?'" Huby and her team were able to transmit laser light down a short strand of the silk on an integrated circuit chip. The silk worked much like glass fiber optic cables, meaning it could carry information for electronic devices, though it had about four orders of magnitude more loss than the glass. Huby said that with a coating and further development, the silk could one day have better transmission capabilities. She will present her results at this year’s Frontiers in Optics conference, Oct. 14 to 18 in Rochester, New York.
cheesecake23 writes "In an admirably concise piece in The Atlantic, Rebecca J. Rosen summarizes Einstein's subtle views on religion and profound respect for the inexplicable, along with the news that a letter handwritten by the legendary scientist that describes the Bible as a 'collection of honorable, but still primitive legends' and 'pretty childish' will be auctioned off on eBay over the next two weeks. Bidding will begin at $3 million."
MrSeb writes "Felix Baumgartner has successfully completed his stratospheric skydive from 128,000 feet (39km), breaking a record that was set 52 years ago by Air Force Captain Joe Kittinger — that much we know. From the balloon, to the capsule, to the gear that Baumgartner wore during his 730 mph (1174 kph) free fall, the technology behind the scenes is impressive, and in some cases bleeding edge. ExtremeTech takes a deep dive into the tech that kept Baumgartner alive during the three-hour ascent and (much shorter) descent — and the tech that allowed us to watch every moment of the Red Bull Stratos mission live, as captured by no less than 15 digital cameras and numerous other scientific instruments."
The final mission of the Endeavour has been completed. The shuttle has arrived at its final home, the California Science Center. From the article: "After a dramatic three-day parade through city streets, Endeavour arrived at its new home at the California Science Center shortly after 1 p.m. Sunday amid cheers from thousands gathered to witness a piece of history. 'Mission 26 — Mission Accomplished,' Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said at a news conference at Exposition Park, the shuttle rising behind him as a backdrop. The mayor was referencing the shuttle’s 25 space missions and its journey across the city. The 85-ton orbiter pulled up next to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and ground to a halt so that the mayor and others could officially mark its arrival at the park near the USC campus. 'Today everyone in the city of Los Angeles is an astronaut,' said L.A. Fire Department Chief Brian Cummings at the news conference."
Hugh Pickens writes "NASA currently controls its deep space missions through a network of 13 giant antennas in California, Spain and Australia known as the Deep Space Network (DSN) but the network is obsolete and just not up to the job of transmitting the growing workload of extra-terrestrial data from deep space missions. That's why Ouliang Chang has proposed building a massive supercomputer in a deep dark crater on the side of the moon facing away from Earth and all of its electromagnetic chatter. Nuclear-powered, it would accept signals from space, store them, process them if needed and then relay the data back to Earth as time and bandwidth allows. The supercomputer would run in frigid regions near one of the moon's poles where cold temperatures would make cooling the supercomputer easier, and would communicate with spaceships and earth using a system of inflatable, steerable antennas that would hang suspended over moon craters, giving the Deep Space Network a second focal point away from earth. As well as boosting humanity's space-borne communication abilities, Chang's presentation at a space conference (PDF) in Pasadena, California also suggests that the moon-based dishes could work in unison with those on Earth to perform very-long-baseline interferometry, which allows multiple telescopes to be combined to emulate one huge telescope. Best of all the project has the potential to excite the imagination of future spacegoers and get men back on the moon."
another random user writes "Just as electronic circuits are made from resistors, capacitors and transistors, biological circuits can be made from genes and regulatory proteins. Engineer Tae Seok Moon's dream is to design modular 'genetic parts' that can be used to build logic controllers inside microbes that will program them to make fuel, clean up pollutants, or kill infectious bacteria or cancerous cells. The circuit Moon eventually built consisted of four sensors for four different molecules that fed into three two-input AND gates. If all four molecules were present, all three AND gates turned on and the last one produced a reporter protein that fluoresced red, so that the operation of the circuit could be easily monitored."
First time accepted submitter madcarrots writes "The Red Bull Stratos space jump is about to take place. The balloon is filling up and launch is expected around 10 AM MDT. Check out the live feed of the inflation process... it's beautiful!" After some delays it looks like the jump is finally going to happen. UPDATE: The jump was a success. Baumgartner is on the ground and apparently fine.
dsinc writes "Using a continent-spanning telescope, an international team of astronomers has peered to the edge of a black hole at the center of a distant galaxy. For the first time, they have measured the black hole's 'point of no return' — the closest distance that matter can approach before being irretrievably pulled into the black hole. According to Einstein's theory of general relativity, a black hole's mass and spin determine how close material can orbit before becoming unstable and falling in toward the event horizon. The team was able to measure this innermost stable orbit and found that it's only 5.5 times the size of the black hole's event horizon. This size suggests that the accretion disk is spinning in the same direction as the black hole. The observations were made by linking together radio telescopes in Hawaii, Arizona, and California to create a virtual telescope called the Event Horizon Telescope, or EHT. The EHT is capable of seeing details 2,000 times finer than the Hubble Space Telescope."
another random user sends this quote from the BBC: "The third and fourth spacecraft in Europe's satellite navigation system have gone into orbit. The pair were launched on a Russian Soyuz rocket from French Guiana. It is an important milestone for the multi-billion-euro project to create a European version of the U.S. Global Positioning System. With four satellites now in orbit — the first and second spacecraft were launched in 2011 — it becomes possible to test Galileo end-to-end. That is because a minimum of four satellites are required in the sky for a smartphone or vehicle to use their signals to calculate a positional fix."
MarkWhittington writes "Bill Nye, once known as 'The Science Guy' for his 1990s PBS educational television show, has cut a YouTube video in his current capacity of CEO of the Planetary Society urging people to write to President Obama to restore cuts to planetary science. The budget cuts were enacted by the president last February, causing consternation in the scientific community. Nye writes, 'If that proposal continues the steep decline in funding to NASA's planetary program it will gravely endanger the unique capabilities and outstanding people that have delivered U.S. leadership in space. We will lose a capability that took decades to develop and may never be replaced.'"