January 10, 2004

Quantum Dots and Programmable Matter

O'Reilly Network: Quantum Dots and Programmable Matter

Sounds pretty amazing, if they can find a way to make it work. I think I saw something awhile back very similar to this where a substance would be liquid under normal conditions and turn to a solid when an electric current was applied. Forgot what it's application was, something to do with automobiles... Here it is - phase-changing substances and the application was shock absorbers.

The 2001 Wired article Ultimate Alchemy is very interesting as well.

Posted by Fungii at 07:41 PM

January 09, 2004

Moonbase: Alpha

moon image
It's believed US president Bush is set to announce a bold new manned space exploration initiative next week involving building a base on the moon and eventually going on to Mars. I'm not a big fan of Bush, but man, this would be so fucking cool. I actually saw the first landing on the moon [yes, I'm that old!] and it was such a great moment in history, very memorable, it felt like all of mankind was united for that one day, that one moment. Everything afterwards has been a bit of a disappointment. Sure, there were the shuttles, the space stations, the probes to the outer planets and of course the robotic missions to Mars, but nothing has equalled that amazing feeling of having another human being set foot on another heavenly body for the first time. Now, that was cool!

Artist's conception of a human mission to Mars

Of course, the senior Bush proposed the same kind of thing way back in 1989 and nothing came of it. I really really hope it has more legs this time around. [Maybe the success of the Chinese space program will nudge them along] If the Democrats would also get behind this, maybe they could make it a bi-partisan effort. Or maybe they could get other countries to contribute to defray the cost. [I know, it could cause more problems than it solves doing it that way, just look at the space station]

They should keep this effort seperate from the rest of NASA so monies dedicated to this project actually go there rather than getting sidetracked into other things, like the shuttle, ISS etc... It needs to be carefully planned and stable funding to implement that plan, not butchered via constant cutbacks and redesigns ala ISS. I hate to say this, but WTG Bush!

Some of the things that had been under consideration were a proposal for a permanent presence on the moon, setting a target for retiring the shuttle fleet, and a plan to phase out the international space station.

Plan to phase out the ISS? Hell, aren't they still in the process of building the damn thing? What a waste. I hope this new moonbase is a little more permanent. Retire the shuttles? Good idea, they're past their prime and overly expensive.

NASA's target for a moon mission is 2018, an official said.

Fourteen years? A bit of a long wait, but if that's when they'd begin to build the moonbase, then it would be worth the wait. We would probably have some pretty cool rocket technology by then.

Ok, this article says 2013 for the first landings.

Ten Reasons to Put Humans Back on the Moon
Moon info
More moon info
NY Times column

Posted by Fungii at 07:35 PM

January 06, 2004

Pictures of Home

spirit's first colour picture on Mars

This is the first colour picture Spirit has taken on the surface of Mars. The full picture is 8 megabytes. [wow, there's a lot of little rocks on Mars!] It was available at the rovers homepage but it looks like they've taken it down because of bandwidth suckage. Apparently, they've had nearly one billion hits since Saturday, totalling nearly 15 terabytes of data. Putting 'Paris Hilton' in their meta tags has really paid off! The rover won't get out onto the surface until next week at the earliest so we probably won't see anything new till then. Tho the mast camera should have a complete panorama shot for tomorrow. I wish they had a microphone on the rover. I know it would only capture the sound of the wind howling [or not] but it would be cool to have sound to go with the pictures. Yeah, I'm weird.
Mars Rovers Home
PBS' Nova Mars Special
SpaceFlight Now: Landing of Spirit
Space.com Red Planet Rovers

Posted by Fungii at 11:27 PM

January 04, 2004

Spirit lands on Mars A-OK

Looks like NASA's Spirit Rover has landed on Mars as planned. Finally, one of the Mars missions has been successful. Maybe it could head over to the Beagle2 and give him a jump.

thats the spirit

Posted by Fungii at 12:13 AM

January 01, 2004

Happy New Year!

There, I said it. I hope 2004 is better than 2003, which kinda sucked.

Anyway, here's a good article about the nature of time. I've heard of most of the stuff he talks about but it's interesting reading about it all in one place.

Today's scientists seeking to combine quantum mechanics with Einstein's theory of gravity (the general theory of relativity) are convinced that we are on the verge of another major upheaval, one that will pinpoint the more elemental concepts from which time and space emerge. Many believe this will involve a radically new formulation of natural law in which scientists will be compelled to trade the space-time matrix within which they have worked for centuries for a more basic "realm" that is itself devoid of time and space.

I wonder if they'll ever understand time itself well enough to do anything practical, like a time machine to the future, or if it will all just be observational. Time will tell. [ha, sorry I couldn't resist]

And he uses the word evanescence which I thought was just the name of a band. Doh!

To dissipate or disappear like vapor.

Google looks funny today.

it's all googly

Posted by Fungii at 11:17 AM

December 25, 2003

Beagle 2 where are you?

Still no response from the Mars lander, Beagle2. Well that's a drag, I'm starting to think our little, green friends don't like us! Three-legged bastards!

Posted by Fungii at 07:15 PM

December 23, 2003

I Robot

Sure, Sony has a running robot but I want one of these!

Posted by Fungii at 09:09 AM

December 12, 2003

I hate you Monty Hall!

I encountered the "Monty Hall" puzzle on this blog and dived in, like a fool, saying they were wrong, that switching makes no difference. Doh! I feel so stupid, especially since I saw this explained on TV, of all places, awhile back and it made perfect sense at the time. But I forgot his explanation and when I encountered it on this blog, it seemed wrong. I think I became hung up on the donkey scenario and that threw me off. Yes, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it! :) Actually, I also focused on the "end game" where you end up with two possibilities, so it's 50/50 right, why switch? The funny thing is, if you work through the possibilities, one by one, then you can plainly see that it is in fact better to switch, and then you can begin to contemplate why that is. And as there are only three initial choices, it takes no time at all to work through them all. Double doh! And if you have no idea what the hell I'm talking about, go here. And don't argue that it makes no difference, you'll regret it.

Posted by Fungii at 08:52 AM

October 28, 2003

The Elegant Universe

Tonight's episode of NOVA is the first of two parts called The Elegant Universe. It's about string theory and is hosted by Brian Greene. That's all I know about it, but it sounds really cool and PBS seems to have gone all out on this one. You can even download the episode after it airs.

Posted by Fungii at 06:14 PM

October 25, 2003

It's not a tumor!

Dinosaurs get the coolest names. Gorgosaurus. Tyrannosaurus rex. What do us humans get? Homo sapiens. How gay, it's not fair.

Posted by Fungii at 02:35 PM

September 30, 2003

Dr. Robot

Shouldn't that be Dr. Roboto? Hahahaha! [I really need to eat some food soon]

Posted by Fungii at 09:58 PM

September 14, 2003

Space Elevator

This would be so cool if they ever got it to work. And at seven billion dollars, it ain't that expensive considering how useful it could be.

At the heart of a space elevator would be a cable reaching up as far as 100,000km from the surface of the Earth. The earthbound end would be tethered to a base station, probably somewhere in the middle of the Pacific ocean. The other end would be attached to an orbiting object in space acting as a counterweight, the momentum of which would keep the cable taut and allow vehicles to climb up and down it.

Posted by Fungii at 11:26 PM

July 24, 2003

Oh my Brain!

They stop moving when I look at them! I'm feaking out, man!

This one is higher res, more paranoia inducing.

via Metafilter

Posted by Fungii at 09:26 PM

July 11, 2003


Went to this site->Airzooka.com via a Metafilter post. Airzooka toy shoots a blast of air up to fifty feet away! Sounds cool, but this caught my eye: Airzooka comes in green (looks like yelllow)... You know, my eyes are blue (looks like brown)...

Posted by Fungii at 06:52 PM

May 22, 2003

Meat Tree

Tree That Give Meat Instead Of Fruit!
This is just weird. What if they got they got this stuff mixed up with normal fruit? Biting into an apple and tasting liver. Yuck, that would suck.

Posted by Fungii at 08:50 AM