Archive for February, 2012

Real fish follow a robotic one

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: February 29, 2012   View Article

When we start to follow human-like robots wherever they choose to lead us, we’ll know the apocalypse has arrived. For fish, that moment is now.

Researchers have built a robot that sort of looks and swims like a fish and used it to lure real fish into schooling around it.

Code-cracking quantum computers leap closer to reality

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: February 28, 2012   View Article

Real-world computers that can speedily crack even the most secure codes are within grasp thanks to recent advances that will allow for so-called fault-tolerant quantum computers, according to an expert in the field.

Quantum computers differ from classical, or regular, computers at the most basic unit of information. In classical computing, the basic unit of information is a bit: either a 1 or 0.

Rat-like image recognition to replace satellites

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: February 23, 2012   View Article

The images of nearly every major stretch of road taken by Google’s Street View team and the snapshots we capture with our smartphones may soon be all we need to navigate the world, according to an Australian researcher.

That is, we can ditch the expensive satellite and computer technologies that power modern GPS systems and rely on low-resolution pictures instead, Michael Milford, an engineer at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, explained.

Earth Spun Faster in 2009 Due to Ocean Current?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 22, 2012   View Article

Did it feel like time flew in November 2009? It turns out the days were actually going a wee bit faster for part of that month, according to a team of NASA and European scientists.

Earth spun about 0.1 millisecond faster for a two-week stretch, said study co-author Steven Marcus, a researcher at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

The planet’s speedier spin appears to have been due to a slowdown in an ocean current that whips around Antarctica.

An invisibility cloak for earthquakes? It’s possible

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: February 16, 2012   View Article

For several years, scientists have worked on real-world invisibility cloaks akin to the one that shields boy wizard Harry Potter from light waves. While that’s neat-o and all, a research group in Potter’s homeland thinks a similar trick can protect buildings from earthquakes.

The group, led by mathematician William Parnell at the University of Manchester, has shown that cloaking components or structures in pressurized rubber would make them invisible to the powerful waves produced during a temblor.

Liquid batteries to pour on green energy?

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: February 15, 2012   View Article

Banks of scorching hot batteries filled with molten metals may be the long-sought silver bullet to make large-scale adoption of wind and solar energy a practical, purely green reality.

Such a storage solution is needed because, as we know, the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine where and when it’s needed.

Research shows you’ll want to tweet this post

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: February 8, 2012   View Article

This is a blog post about the sexy social media technology Twitter. It mentions Justin Bieber. You’ll want to tweet it. At least, my editors hope you do. My job might depend on it.

The Internet and social media have altered the face of journalism. Few media companies can survive selling ads in traditional newspapers and magazines that readers will see as they flip pages in search of content that tickles their fancy.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach