Sunday, 30 June 2013


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This is the bead-chain experiment. It's about to melt your brain.
By Robert T. Gonzalez,
io9, 27 June 2013.

Inside this beaker is a 50-meter-long string of 8,000 beads. Watch what happens when you toss one end of the string out of the beaker. Prepare yourself - this is pretty wild.

As you've no doubt noticed, the result is a levitating, single-file stream of beads that buckles, loops and coils in a self-propelled bid to escape its container. It's mesmerizing. In the video, the folks at Earth Unplugged meet up with BBC's Steve Mould to explore the secret to these self-siphoning beads (aka "Newton's Beads"), with the help of some super slow-motion footage.

Mould explains at around the 2-minute mark:

This is the bead-chain experiment. It's about to melt your brain.
Look at it as a sort of tug-of-war. You can see the outer chain is going to be travelling really quickly as it falls, which means the inner chain is going to be travelling really quickly, as well. And if you've got something traveling really quickly, it's got momentum... So you've got the inner chain traveling up, but it wants to change so it's traveling down, but it can't do that in an instant, because that would require infinite force.
Instead what it does is it changes direction slowly over the course of a loop, so that's why it almost has to be a loop, because it needs that time and it needs that space to change directions.
So why do you get different loops and waves and coils? Watch the video below to find out.

Top image screen-grab from video.

[Source: io9. Edited. Top image added.]


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10 Creative and Innovative Solar Furniture
Crooked Brains, 27 June 2013.

Collection of 'Cool and Innovative Solar Furniture' from all over the world.

1. Solar Lounge Chair

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This solar-powered lounge chair, called SOFT Rockers, recharges your gadgets while relaxing outdoors. [More] [Video]

2. Solar Table

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The Solar Table, called the Sun Table, is designed by Devang A. Shah and Mike Low. Using its solar panels, it stores the energy and powers your laptops, smartphones, lights, radios, water purifiers, and more. And with the included inverter, you have a regular wall outlet.

3. Powerbrella

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The Powerbrella, a solar-powered umbrella, recharges your laptops, smartphones, iPods or any other portable device that might be used for relaxing or working outdoors. [Video]

4. Solar Powered Executive Table

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The Solar Powered Executive Table is an executive table that has smooth plastic surface solar panels placed into the steel table frames; it can power up or recharge your gadgets.

5. Spectra - Solar Powered Outdoor Furniture

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The design team of San Jose and San Jose State University collaborated to improve the cityscape with modern and functional furniture which is sustainable too; and came up with Spectra solar powered outdoor furniture that reacts to your touch. [More]

6. SOLo Lounge Table

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The solar powered SOLo lounge table by iF features recharging connectivity for many electronic devices such as laptops and portable media devices, and many more. It uses Bluetooth technology to collect, distribute and exhibit information.

7. Solar-Powered Park Bench

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This solar-powered park bench is designed to be made from used aluminium and plastic. This outdoor furniture comes with solar panels installed to generate energy to power an embedded wi-fi unit and lights for evening use.

8. Solar Furniture by Afroditi Krassa

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This table can be placed in garden or outdoor space; its surface is covered with highly efficient solar panels that collects solar energy.

9. Solar Powered Outdoor Workspace

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This Solar Powered Outdoor Workspace by Mathias Schnyder is an integrated table with chairs and comes with solar roof; and provides power via an outlet in the table's centre.

10. Foton - Solar Furniture

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Hanmak has come up with Foton, an illuminating furniture that uses solar energy to power up.

Top image: Solar Lounge Chair (source)

[Source: Crooked Brains. Edited. Top image and some links added.]


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Best Night Sky Photos of the Week: June 29, 2013
By, 29 June 2013.

From the Supermoon to deep space, don't miss these jawdropping night sky photos by stargazers and readers.

1. Further Out There Is the Milky Way

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Astrophotographer Scott Hoggard sent in a photo of the Milky Way over route 404 on Maryland's Eastern Shore in Queen Anne County, taken June 16, 2013. [See More Images]

2. It's Easy as 123

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The cosmic vdB 123 shines in a photo from Adam Block at the Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter acquired in June 2013. vdB 123 is one of 158 reflection nebulas catalogued by Canadian astronomer Sidney van den Bergh. It is labelled M for moderate brightness. [See More Images]

3. The Cloud Minders

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ESO's longest-serving observatory, La Silla, floats high above the clouds in northern Chile, just after sunset. Light from a moon that lies outside the frame bathes the observatory and reflects from the clouds below. The very faint band of golden light above the clouds still illuminated by the sunset represents zodiacal light. This phenomenon occurs when sunlight strikes dust particles between the sun and the planets. Image released June 24, 2013. [See More Images]

4. Airplane Appears to Soar into Sun's Jaws During Solar Eclipse

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An airplane appears to be moments away from being gobbled up by the sun in this amazing view of a solar eclipse by Phillip Calais in Western Australia on May 10, 2013. [Full Story]

5. Amazing Fireballs Light Up Night Sky in Stargazer Photos

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The Milky Way and bright June fireballs star in these dazzling new photos from veteran space photographer Mike Taylor in Maine. [Full Story]

6. Rise of the Supermoon 2013: Joson Images

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Experienced space photographers Edwin Aguirre and Imelda Joson created this composite view of the biggest full moon of 2013, a so-called 'supermoon,' from a series of images taken as the full moon rose over downtown Boston on June 23, 2013. [Full Story]

7. Super Kids See Supermoon

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Astrophotographer Tyler S. Leavitt sent in a photo of kids dressed as superheroes watching the supermoon of June 23, 2013, outside Las Vegas, Nevada. [Full Story]

8. Supermoon and Light Painting in Macedonia

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Astrophotographer Stojan Stojanovski had a bit of fun with this supermoon photo, taken June 23, 2013, in Ohrid, Macedonia. [Full Story]

9. Supermoon Rises Over Horizon in Macedonia

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This image shows the supermoon, the biggest full moon of 2013, rising over the horizon in Ohrid, Macedonia, as seen by Stojan Stojanovski on June 23, 2013. [Full Story]

10. Supermoon Over Statue of Liberty

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Ameer Hassoun sent this photo from Liberty Park, New Jersey on June 23, 2013 of a supermoon rising over the Statue of Liberty. He used a Canon Rebel t2i 250mm, iso 400, f16 and Shutter 1/40 to capture the image. [Full Story]

11. Supermoon Rises Over Chesapeake Bay Beach

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Medford Canby of Annapolis, Maryland, sent this photo June 23, 2013 of a supermoon rising over the beach at Chesapeake Bay. Canby used a Pentax k-5 camera with a Pentax 55-300 lens at 300 mm to capture the image. [Full Story]

[Source: Edited.]


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Best Science Photos of the Week
Live Science, 28 June 2013.

1. Cave art

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A team of scientists has uncovered a series of engravings and drawings strategically placed in open air and within caves by prehistoric groups of Native American settlers that depict their cosmological understanding of the world around them.

2. Imported tortoise

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Credit: Aldabran giant tortoise image via Shutterstock

Two millennia ago, millions of giant tortoises roamed Madagascar, an island nation off the southeastern coast of Africa that is rich in species found nowhere else on Earth.

Those tortoises kept Madagascar's unique ecosystem in check by munching on low-lying foliage, trampling vegetation and dispersing large seeds from native trees like the baobab.

3. Mini Neptunes

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Astronomers using the planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft have found two planets circling different stars in the violent environment of an ancient open star cluster called NGC 6811 located about 3,300 light-years from Earth. Until now, four of the more than 850 planets known outside the solar system were spotted in clusters.

4. Amazing Sea Life

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What lurks in the deep water off the most remote inhabited island in the world? This past month, a team of researchers trekked to Tristan da Cunha, an island in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean, to find out.

5. Hardy mountain ranges

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Landslides, or the lack thereof, may help mountain ranges remain far longer than previously thought, new research suggests.

6. Nuclear pasta!

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A rare state of matter dubbed "nuclear pasta" appears to exist only inside ultra-dense objects called neutron stars, astronomers say.

7. Bizarre ancient creature

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A new fossilized, cigar-shaped creature that lived about 520 million years ago has been unearthed in Morocco.

The new-found species, Helicocystis moroccoensis, has "characteristics that place it as the most primitive echinoderm that has fivefold symmetry," said study co-author Andrew Smith, a palaeontologist at the Natural History Museum in London, referring to the group of animals that includes starfish and sea urchins.

8. Crazy ants swarm in electronics

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Exterminator Mike Matthews got the call because the home's air-conditioning unit had short-circuited. Why an exterminator for a problem with an appliance? Because of the crazy ants.

9. Burrow buddies

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Scientists have discovered a burrow in South Africa where two unlikely creatures shared a home before being entombed by a flash flood 250 million years ago.

The strange bedfellows were a beat-up young amphibian seeking shelter and a sleeping cynodont, considered a distant ancestor of mammals, researchers say.

10. Research as Art awards

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Typically, you have to crack open the candy shell of a Kinder Surprise egg to find out what kind of toy surprise is tucked inside - that is, unless you have an X-ray micro-computed tomography scanner and a 3D printer.

11. Cryptobiotic soils

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Climate change may transform the community of microbes that forms the crucial top layer of soil, known as a biocrust, in deserts throughout the United States, new research suggests.

[Source: Live Science. Edited.]


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Top Ten Tech 06-29-2013
By Dhiya Kuriakose,
Mashable, 29 June 2013.

Summer's here and the tech is hot. If you're looking for all the latest and most important developments in the techno-world, you came to the right place: Top 10 Tech has you covered.

Google made two announcements this week, both related to Street View. iPhone users can rejoice because Street View has finally come to iOS. Google is also inviting people to be part of the project as Street View Trekkers.

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At Build 2013, Microsoft announced it was launching Bing Platform to help developers build more services around apps.

And in taking tech to outer space, Paypal officially announced PayPal Galactic, a way to make payments and solve payment issues while exploring the cosmos.

For more…

Top image: RoboCarp underwater vehicle. Image: Mashable composite, images via iStock, Idea Factory, breaking boundaries, Goldfish, Water drops set.


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8 Unique UFO Shaped Buildings
The World's Biggests, 29 June 2013.

We have collected some earthly buildings that are shaped like UFO by inspiration.

1. The Flying Saucer House - Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA

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This home was built by the late Curtis W. King in 1970, around the time the original Star Trek series ended. It sits on a road leading to Chattanooga's Signal Mountain and features a retractable staircase, like any good UFO should. The three-bedroom, two-bath house was sold in 2008 for US$130,900, after Cleveland, Tennessee's Crye-Leike Auctions posted it for sale on eBay. [More (include videos)]

2. The Circus - Astana, Kazakhstan

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In the late 2005 Astana was the landing site of a UFO in the shape of a huge “flying saucer”. But soon it became clear that it was not a visit of an extraterrestrial civilization but the new capital circus - the Astana Circus. Thanks to its space-like architecture, the building stands out against the urban background. The building is adjoined by the hotel complex, the administration premises, the arena, pens and other circus related building.

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The circus can seat 2,000 spectators. In the centre there is a classic 13-m arena, which is equipped with modern machinery for the different acts: flights, ice shows, arena, etc.

3. Sanzhi UFO houses - New Taipei City, Taiwan

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The Sanzhi UFO houses, also known as the Sanzhi pod houses or Sanzhi Pod City, were a set of abandoned pod-shaped buildings in Sanzhi District, New Taipei City, Taiwan.

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The UFO houses were constructed beginning in 1978. They were intended as a vacation resort in a part of the northern coast adjacent to Tamsui, and were marketed towards U.S. military officers coming from their East Asian postings. However, the project was abandoned in 1980 due to investment losses and several car accident deaths during construction, which is said to have been caused by the unfortuitous act of bisecting the Chinese dragon sculpture located near the resort gates for widening the road to the buildings. Other stories indicated that the site was the former burial ground for Dutch soldiers.

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The pod-like buildings became a minor tourist attraction due in part to their unusual architecture. The structures have since been subject of a film, used as a location by MTV for cinematography, photographed by people, and become a subject in online discussions, described as a ghost town or "ruins of the future."

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As of 2010, all UFO houses have been demolished and the site is in the process of being converted to a commercial seaside resort and water-park. [Videos]

4. Pensacola Beach’s Spaceship House - Florida, USA

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The so-called Spaceship House is currently the Pensacola Beach Preservation and Historical Society’s headquarters. Having survived Hurricane Ivan and Hurricane Dennis with nary a scratch, the southern Florida Futuro house sits atop a more traditional blockhouse structure with a permanent ramp to ground level. [More]

5. Universum Science Centre - Bremen, Germany

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The Universum Bremen opened in September 2000 near to the University of Bremen, Germany. Covering over 4,000 m² the exhibition contains exhibits related to one of the three topics: mankind, earth and the cosmos. The science centre building, with its 40,000 stainless steel scales, resembles a mixture between a whale and mussel. It was designed by the Bremen architect Thomas Klumpp. [Universum Bremen official website] [Video]

6. Chemosphere House - Los Angeles, California, USA

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The Chemosphere, designed by American architect John Lautner in 1960, is an innovative Modernist octagon house in Los Angeles, California.

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The building stands on the San Fernando Valley side of the Hollywood Hills, just off of Mulholland Drive. It is a one story octagon with around 2200 square feet (200m2) of living space. Most distinctively, the house is perched atop a 5-foot-wide concrete pole nearly thirty feet high.

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This innovative design was Lautner's solution to a site that, with a slope of 45 degrees, was thought to be practically unbuildable. Because of a concrete pedestal, almost 20 feet (6.1 m) in diameter, buried under the earth and supporting the post, the house has survived earthquakes and heavy rains. The house is reached by a funicular. Chemosphere is bisected by a central, exposed brick wall with a fireplace, abutted by subdued seating, in the middle. [Video]

7. The Buzludzha Monument - Bulgaria

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Buzludzha (Turkish: Buzluca - lit. meaning "glacially/icy") is a historical peak in the Central Stara Planina, Bulgaria and is 1441 metres high. In 1868 it was the place of the final battle between Bulgarian rebels led by Hadji Dimitar and Stefan Karadzha and the Turks. [More] [Video]

8. NiterĂ³i Contemporary Art Museum - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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This flying saucer building was designed by Oscar Niemeyer, with the assistance of structural engineer Bruno Contarini. It is 16 meters high and the cupola has a diameter of 50 meters. It is set on a cliff, with offering views of Guanabara Bay, Rio de Janeiro, and Sugarloaf Mountain. Completed in 1996, the modernist structure is one of the city’s main landmarks. [More] [Video]

Top image: The Astana Circus (source)

[Source: The World's Biggests. Edited. Top image and some links added.]