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Canadian Ralph Steinman Wins Nobel Prize But Dies before It Is Announced

The Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded on Monday to three scientists who have helped to discover how the immune system works. The three recipients are Bruce A. Beutler of Scripps Research Institute, of La Jolla, California, Jules A. Hoffmann, of the Institute for Molecular Cell Biology in Strasbourg, France, and Ralph M. Steinman of Rockefeller University in New York City. However, Steinman died of pancreatic cancer just a few days ago, something that the scientists at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden who chose the winners on behalf of the Nobel Foundation did not know when they reached their decision. This caused some problems since the rules stipulate that the recipients must be alive. After some research, the Nobel Foundation announced late on Monday afternoon that their decision is to allow the … Read entire article »

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Rocket Launches First Space Lab Tiangong-1 For China

On Thursday at 9:16 pm local time, China launched its first space laboratory, Tiangong-1 , from the north of China in the Gobi Desert using a Long March rocket. The cylindrical module which is about 10.5m long will orbit the Earth at about 350km and is unmanned. However, it is expected that astronauts or yuhangyuans, from China will visit the module some time next year, after more testing and experiments have been completed.  Tiangong is Chinese for “heavenly palace”. The module will be monitored from Earth to begin with, but it is expected that, probably in the next few weeks, China will launch a second unmanned spacecraft, the Shenzhou 8, and the two units will try to link together in space. This docking and undocking procedure is, of course, essential if … Read entire article »

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Satellite Debris Now Landed on Earth – Somewhere

The return of the NASA decommissioned satellite that has been falling to Earth, totally out of control over the last couple of days, and unpredictably, has, according to NASA finally ended, with the remains landing somewhere on Earth at some time around midnight on Friday, or early Saturday morning. No information has yet been given about the location of any of the pieces of debris, estimated to be about 26, with many more burning up on reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere. It is not known whether the debris landed in water or on land. However, there was no immediate outcry of damage. Late on Friday, NASA said that the reentry path was over Canada, Africa and the Atlantic, Pacific and the Indian oceans, making any risk to the public very small. It … Read entire article »

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Dead Satellite Expected To Crash To Earth Friday 23 September

The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, UARS that NASA built, weighing almost 6.5 tons is heading towards Earth faster than originally expected, and pieces of it are expected to land on Friday 23 September. However, the chances of being hit by this are reported to be small, firstly because water covers so much of the Earth, secondly there are many sparsely populated areas, and thirdly, NASA has estimated the risk of any pieces hitting a person as about one in 3,200. If the number of people on the planet are taken into account, then that ratio then becomes about one in 7 billion. NASA is still adjusting estimates of when and where it is likely to land, and have now said Friday afternoon, but not in North America, as by that time … Read entire article »

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Online Gamers Help Scientists Make Progress On Understanding AIDS

An outcome which has surprised many has seen online game players, or gamers, have success where scientists have previously failed, and it has opened the door to many other possibilities. Players used a game called Foldit which was developed by researchers at the University of Washington, and with this game the players were able to collaborate and put together a viable structure for a protein cutting enzyme that is crucial to the development of AIDS in its early stages, using different molecular building blocks. The gamers came up with a model that worked in about two weeks, something which scientists had not been able to do, and using this the scientists were able to make adjustments and can now move on and look at ways to deal with this enzyme to see … Read entire article »

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ISS Crew Lands Safely In Soyuz Spacecraft

A crew of three from the International Space Station are safely back on Earth on Friday after travelling back in a Soyuz Spacecraft, leaving three astronauts at the ISS. Soyuz commander Alexander Samokutyaev, Andrey Borisenko, and NASA flight engineer Ronald Garan have been at the station for nearly six months, and the flight caused some concerns when communications were lost just before the craft plunged into the Earth’s atmosphere. Flight controllers from Moscow made repeated calls, but they went unanswered, but no reason has been given for this blackout yet. The Soyuz TMA-21 spacecraft landed safely in Kazakhstan and Russian recovery crews were on hand, as well as NASA flight surgeons and space station managers, to help the three astronauts out of the cramped spacecraft. The men all seemed relaxed and were … Read entire article »

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Netflix Updates Video Streaming For Many Mobile Devices

Netflix announced on Friday that it has now updated its Android app , and with the free release of the Netflix 1.4 app, all versions of Android 2.2 and 2.3 can now access their Netflix subscription when running Froyo or Gingerbread, which in fact accounts for about 80 per cent of Android devices out there. Many users had struggled because of incompatibility with their mobile devices since Netflix released the Android app back in May, but, provided you have a Netflix subscription which costs a minimum of $7.99 per month, or else have activated the free trial offered for the first month, then unlimited streaming should be fine. The app now supports 24 devices, up from 9 back in May. However, for those with tablets running Honeycomb, Netflix still has to do … Read entire article »

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Google To Shut Down 10 Products As It Focuses On High Impact Products

When Larry Page took over as the CEO for Google back in April, he promised that he would cut the inefficiencies in the company, and so over the next few weeks and months Google will be doing some fall cleaning and removing products such as Aardvark, Desktop, Google Maps API for Flash and Subscribed Links. Also set to go are Fast Flip, Google Pack, Google Web Security, Image Labeler, Notebook and Sidewiki. Some of these products are recent acquisitions, like Aardvark which Google only bought last year for $50 million, but the aim is top make things simpler for Google users. These are not the only products which are to be ended, as Google recently reported to have shut down Google Health, Google Labs and Google PowerMeter Services. With products getting pulled there … Read entire article »

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Blue Origin Lose Unmanned Spaceship In Test Flight

Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon.com set up Blue Origin which is a privately funded aerospace company, and in 2009 the company was awarded $3.7 million in funding by NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, under the Commercial Crew development, CCD, program, for the development of the technology needed to support space flight for humans. Then in April of this year, Blue Origin received more funding from NASA to the tune of $22 million as part of the CCDev phase 2 program. With the end of the United States Space Shuttle program after it completed its 30 year program, and the recent crash of the Russian Progress supply spacecraft, this is another blow to the  success of space programs. The International Space Station is still manned by astronaut, although this … Read entire article »

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Space Junk Threatens NASA Satellites And Spacecraft

A new report from the United States National Research Council is claiming that the amount of debris in space orbiting around the Earth is getting to be so great that it is threatening the safety of operational satellites as well as NASA’s spacecraft, and those spacecraft from other countries like Russia. According to this report, NASA does have programs to clean up the debris, but budgets which are shrinking, and the increasing danger from the debris is limiting these efforts. In fact, concerns over this debris has grown so much with the recent changes in technology that additions have been made to satellites as well as the International Space Station, ISS, to protect them from this floating debris which could collide with them. Sensitive equipment has been moved from exterior surfaces … Read entire article »

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International Space Station May Be Left Unmanned In November

On Monday National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA, space station manager Mike Suffredini said that the International Space Station may need to be evacuated of its astronauts by mid November, and the station left unmanned for a period of time. The station could still be operated from Earth, although some of the experiments that are ongoing may have to be ended. The possibility of the ISS being unmanned is a result of the Russian supply ship which blasted off for the ISS last week, but exploded before it left the Earth’s atmosphere. A booster rocket was identified as the problem, and since it is similar to the rockets which are used to launch astronauts to the ISS, there are obviously concerns about this. The United States were planning to rely on the … Read entire article »

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Facebook To End Its Daily Deals Discount Program

After launching the program called Deals on Facebook in April, Facebook, the social networking web site  has now decided that it will be ending the program in the next few weeks or months. However the Facebook Check-In Deals which launched in November will remain. The announcement was made on Friday, but there was no reason given for the decision, which now leaves the field open for even more of the daily deal sites like Groupon which have proved successful so far. In an email, a Facebook spokesperson said  “After testing Deals for four months, we’ve decided to end our Deals product in the coming weeks. We think there is a lot of power in a social approach to driving people into local businesses. We remain committed to building products to help … Read entire article »

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Russian Spacecraft Crashes – ISS Crew May Have To Stay Longer

On Wednesday, an unmanned Russian spacecraft, Progress M12-M which was to deliver supplies to the International Space Station where six astronauts are working, did not reach orbit and as a result it burned in the atmosphere, with debris falling to earth in Siberia. It has not been determined if there were any injuries on the ground due to the debris, but is thought that this is unlikely since the debris has fallen in Altai province in Russia, some 1,500km northeast of the launch site. Apparently the failure was due to a booster rocket malfunction and means that the 3.5 tons of supplies on board the Progress spacecraft were also lost, and the astronauts aboard the ISS no longer have the expected docking to look forward to on 26 August. More than that … Read entire article »

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1970 Porsche of Steve McQueen’s Sold For $1.375 Million

At an RM Auctions event in Monterey, California, a Porsche which was at one time owned by the Hollywood star Steve McQueen was sold for $1.375 million, which is a record for a Porsche 911S. The car was owned by McQueen at the time that the star was filming the movie “Le Mans”, with the actor playing the role of a racing driver who was competing in the famous 24 hour Le Mans event. Cars of a similar age, but without the star attraction sell typically for around $50,000, and while this might seem excessive to many, it is typical that cars which have been owned by celebrities bring in many times their value for this celebrity status. McQueen was an American actor, born in 1930, and died in 1980, who was … Read entire article »

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New IBM Computer Chip Closer to Functioning Like Brain

Technology is constantly making advances, and now IBM, along with help from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and with collaboration from several universities, has developed a microchip which copies how the human brain works, and researchers are enthusiastic as to what this means for the future. Because the brain learns from memory, developing such a chip has been challenging. In fact two working prototypes were unveiled on Thursday, and are called “neurosynaptic chips”. The brain uses neurons which are connected to many others, and as the brain learns the connections to these neurons change, and as the brain is learning all the time, these connections are thus always changing. However, in computer chips, information is processed systematically, one piece of data at a time, so it has been difficult to … Read entire article »

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New Monitoring Device For Patient Monitoring

A study in the journal Science is announcing a new device that could revolutionize the way that patients are monitored, and it could also provide a breakthrough in the computer gaming world. The new device is thinner than a human hair and is attached to human skin, like a temporary tattoo is, but this device is a sensor which can monitor the heart and brain,  function, and compares well with the more traditional techniques of using cables and wires, attached by sticky pads, and restricting movement in patients. However, the new device can be stretched or squeezed without a problem, as it is made out of wavy components which can easily adjust to the movements of the skin. The researchers are optimistic that this device will be especially useful for the monitoring … Read entire article »

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Comcast Gives Eligible Low-Income Families Low Cost Internet Options

With regular internet services starting at around $30 per month increasing to $200 each month at the top end of the scale, many families who have a low income are unable to provide internet service for their families, but Comcast is offering a $10 per month for the families who are eligible  to provide them with access to the web. Called “Internet Essentials”, this service from Comcast is a result of the NBC Universal and Comcast merger back in 2009, when regulators gave approval based on Comcast providing help to low income families. Comcast have said that the download speed will be 1.5 Mbps and can upload up to 384 Kbps, with this option available in the 39 states where Comcast currently have internet services. There will be no activation fees … Read entire article »

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NASA Launches Juno Spacecraft to Jupiter Planet

The Atlas 5 rocket with the Juno spacecraft was successfully launched by NASA on Friday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida after a short delay due to a suspected helium leak. The spacecraft is heading to planet Jupiter, and is expected to arrive in the July of 2016 when it will orbit the planet for at least one year. After that when its mission is completed, it is expected that the ship will be sent into the clouds of Jupiter so that it will not collide with any of the moons which surround the planet. Jupiter is thought to have about 50 moons. When Juno heads into the atmosphere of Jupiter it will burn up, and thus not cause a problem to the moons. There is no opportunity to land … Read entire article »

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