Archive for January, 2015

Sun-like star discovered

Astronomers at the Leiden Observatory, The Netherlands, and the University of Rochester, USA, have discovered that the ring system that they see eclipse the very young Sun-like star J1407 is of enormous proportions, much larger and heavier than the ring system of Saturn, Astronomy.com reports. The ring system — the first of its kind to be found outside our Solar System — was discovered in 2012 by a team led by Rochester’s Eric Mamajek.

“The details that we see in the light curve are incredible. The eclipse lasted for several weeks, but you see rapid changes on time scales of tens of minutes as a result of fine structures in the rings,” says Kenworthy. “The star is much too far away to observe the rings directly, but we could make a detailed model based on the rapid brightness variations in the starlight passing through the ring system. If we could replace Saturn’s rings with the rings around J1407b, they would be easily visible at night and be many times larger than the full Moon.”

“This planet is much larger than Jupiter or Saturn, and its ring system is roughly 200 times larger than Saturn’s rings are today,” said co-author Mamajek, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Rochester. “You could think of it as kind of a super Saturn.”

The researchers encourage amateur astronomers to help monitor J1407, which would help detect the next eclipse of the rings, and constrain the period and mass of the ringed companion. Observations of J1407 can be reported to the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO). In the meantime the astronomers are searching other photometric surveys looking for eclipses by yet undiscovered ring systems.

Four Things a Smartphone can Replace Today

Smartphones are, without a doubt, the gadgets of the 21st century. Since the launch of the first true smartphone as we know it, the iPhone back in 2007, these black mirrored gadgets have become an integral part of our everyday lives. This is an age when old and new coexist, but there are some indications that the new will win, rendering some of the traditional things obsolete. Here are some examples of everyday traditional items a smartphone can replace today.

1. Newspapers

Science fiction readers must remember the “electronic newspaper” in Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. The astronauts on board the Discovery, en route to Jupiter, have used an iPad-like device to stay up to date with the latest news, transmitted by radio from Earth. The “Newspad” described by Clarke is surprisingly similar to smartphones and tablets used today, and the medium through which we can subscribe to the news of interest for us is the internet. Suddenly printed newspapers have become obsolete… and will disappear in a few decades at most.

2. Cheap Cameras

Small size, “soapbox” cameras were trendy a few days back, but now most smartphones can take better pictures than these, rendering them obsolete. Besides, smartphones also offer the possibility to store the photos taken in the cloud, or share them instantly with our friends and family over the internet. With the increasing penetration of these devices soapbox cameras will surely disappear in a few years time.

3. Television

There are fewer and fewer people watching television as they used to each year. Keeping both eyes on the “idiot’s lantern” is slowly becoming obsolete, as more and more people have access to internet streams and video sharing services. I, for one, haven’t watched TV for years – I find out the news on the internet, and use online media streaming services if I want to watch movies or series. And the device I usually use for this is my smartphone or tablet. Slowly the television as we know it will disappear, being replaced by smart devices that fit in our pockets.

4. GPS, maps, compasses

I have a Nokia smartphone. Not a new one, but one that has been released over a year ago. Still, it has features like a compass, a GPS / Glonass received and a free Maps app that was bundled with it. Whenever I’m lost, all I have to do is take it out of my pocket, search for my destination through the app and follow the directions to get “un-lost” in no time.

As long as these smart devices have their batteries full, they can provide us with replacements for a series of everyday habits and items, simply rendering them obsolete. Besides, they offer so much more – access to information, connections and even games – red flush online casino is my favorite – and ways to entertain ourselves. I wonder what the future brings?

Care-O-bot your personal robot

Erich Fromm said that the danger of the past was that men became slaves but the danger of the future is that man may become robots. There are great numbers of articles, books, movies, games etc. about robotic future of humanity were created in past and now robots have became the real part of human’s lives.

For instance this Care-O-bot 4 that is the product vision of a mobile robot assistant to actively support humans in their daily life. It can be used for a variety of household tasks, for example it can help to deliver food and drinks, and even to assist you with cooking or for cleaning.

Besides that it can be used as supporter to patients and personnel in health care institutions, as a deliver orders in restaurants, it can provide reception and room service in hotels or for entertainment.

I don’t know exactly when I can use this fantastic helper at my home however I don’t see any danger signs yet the famous German philosopher noticed in his works.