Tag Archives: Technology

Views from the Solar System (223)

Solar Dynamics Observatory Captures Images of a Late Summer Flare

NASA – On Aug. 24, 2014, the sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 8:16 a.m. EDT. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the flare, which erupted on the left side of the sun. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation.

Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth’s atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however — when intense enough — they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel.

This flare is classified as an M5 flare. M-class flares are ten times less powerful than the most intense flares, called X-class flares.

Image Credit: NASA/SDO

How Watson Changed IBM

By Brad Power – IBM, a company with a long and successful tradition of internally-focused R&D activities, is adapting to this new world of creating platforms and enabling open innovation.

So how does it work?

With multiple business models. Mike Rhodin, IBM’s senior vice president responsible for Watson, told me, “There are three core business models that we will run in parallel.

The first is around industries that we think will go through a big change in “cognitive” [natural language] computing, such as financial services and healthcare.

The second is where we see similar patterns across industries, such as how people discover and engage with organizations and how organizations make different kinds of decisions.

The third business model is creating an ecosystem of entrepreneurs. We’re always looking for companies with brilliant ideas that we can partner with or acquire. more> http://tinyurl.com/lp6cnqp

Will Your Next Hard Drive Be Liquid?

By Cabe Atwell – Two material scientists, Sharon Glotzer and David Pine, are on a mission to create the world’s first liquid hard drive. Their current calculations estimate that one teaspoon of this liquid data would be able to store 1 TB of data.

This research is building on the work of other researchers to find denser ways to store data. Harvard researchers have recently stored 700 TB on a single strand of DNA, so DNA still takes the cake when it comes to natural data-storing ability.

However, it may not become a USB stick anytime soon. more> http://tinyurl.com/qf7kzso

Galactic Views (135)


Supernova Seen In Two Lights

NASA – The destructive results of a mighty supernova explosion reveal themselves in a delicate blend of infrared and X-ray light, as seen in this image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and Chandra X-Ray Observatory, and the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton.

The bubbly cloud is an irregular shock wave, generated by a supernova that would have been witnessed on Earth 3,700 years ago. The remnant itself, called Puppis A, is around 7,000 light-years away, and the shock wave is about 10 light-years across.

The pastel hues in this image reveal that the infrared and X-ray structures trace each other closely. Warm dust particles are responsible for most of the infrared light wavelengths, assigned red and green colors in this view. Material heated by the supernova’s shock wave emits X-rays, which are colored blue. Regions where the infrared and X-ray emissions blend together take on brighter, more pastel tones.

The shock wave appears to light up as it slams into surrounding clouds of dust and gas that fill the interstellar space in this region.

From the infrared glow, astronomers have found a total quantity of dust in the region equal to about a quarter of the mass of our sun. Data collected from Spitzer’s infrared spectrograph reveal how the shock wave is breaking apart the fragile dust grains that fill the surrounding space.

Supernova explosions forge the heavy elements that can provide the raw material from which future generations of stars and planets will form. Studying how supernova remnants expand into the galaxy and interact with other material provides critical clues into our own origins.

Infrared data from Spitzer’s multiband imaging photometer (MIPS) at wavelengths of 24 and 70 microns are rendered in green and red. X-ray data from XMM-Newton spanning an energy range of 0.3 to 8 kiloelectron volts are shown in blue.


The Intricate Puzzle Known as Chip Design

By Bob Smith – These days, chip design may seem like an intricately connected jigsaw puzzle, including small, oddly shaped interlocking pieces.

Instead of static parts of a puzzle – typically, 300, 500, 750 or 1,000 pieces – spread across a coffee table, a chip under design has loads of dynamic parts located in a variety of directories or sub-directories found on various computers.

The focal point is the processor, not the center of a well-known and photographed painting or skyline, as is often the case with puzzles.

Ah, but memories are playing almost as big a role as processors, especially in chips slated for mobile multimedia devices with higher bandwidth and performance, and low-cost and power requirements.

Fortunately, things aren’t that dire any longer for engineers worried about a chip’s system yield and reliability. One clever engineering group was motivated to figure this out. It set a goal to implement a DDR memory subsystem that would deliver the highest performance and quality within a small footprint and minimal power consumption. more> http://tinyurl.com/k4evteq

NASA technology (105)

Testing Electric Propulsion

NASA – On Aug. 19, National Aviation Day, a lot of people are reflecting on how far aviation has come in the last century. Could this be the future – a plane with many electric motors that can hover like a helicopter and fly like a plane, and that could revolutionize air travel?

Engineers at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., are studying the concept with models such as the unmanned aerial system GL-10 Greased Lightning. The GL-10, which has a 10-foot wingspan, recently flew successfully while tethered. Free-flight tests are planned in the fall of 2014.

This research has helped lead to NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate efforts to better understand the potential of electric propulsion across all types, sizes and missions for aviation.

Image Credit: NASA Langley/David C. Bowman

How California Could Power Itself Using Nothing but Renewables


By John Upton – Under the plan, all new energy generation in the Golden State from 2020 onward would be from renewable sources.

By 2030, 80 to 85 percent of the state’s current energy supply would be replaced with clean sources.

And starting in 2050, the state wouldn’t need to burn another drip of oil, hunk of coal, or molecule of natural gas—and the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant wouldn’t be needed. more> http://tinyurl.com/ml379zq