As the first race in the new 2014 Formula 1 season approaches, Deskarati thought you might want an update on some of the new rules and toys available this year.
First things first, the 2.4-litre naturally aspirated V8s, which have been in use since 2006, have been replaced by 1.6-litre V6 turbos. After several years of a freeze on engine development, engine power will now be a performance differentiator again. And part of the new rules package is a fuel limit. Drivers will now have to complete races on just 100kg – or about 130 litres – of fuel. That’s down from the 150kg or so teams would use last year, when there was no limit. Meanwhile, engines must consume fuel at no more than 100kg per hour. The fuel limit is not as draconian as it at first appears, though, so don’t expect races to become an economy run.
The new engines don’t use as much fuel for a start, while much more power is now available from the ‘hybrid’ technology, known as Ers, which stands for ‘energy recovery system’, is made up of the Kers system that has been around for a while and a second electric motor fitted to the turbo. The Kers system harnesses kinetic energy from the rear axle during braking via an electric motor to be stored in a battery pack reapply under acceleration. Last year, it was allowed to produce 60kw for up to 6.7 seconds a lap. This year, however, it can produce 150kw for 30 seconds. Continue reading
Although it sounds exotic, antimatter would look no different to matter if you came across a lump of it. Even individual atoms of matter and antimatter would be indistinguishable. It’s only inside the atoms that their true nature is evident.
Inside atoms of matter – the stuff that makes everything – are electrons whirling around a central nucleus. An atom of the simplest element, hydrogen, consists of a single electron and a nucleus made of a single proton. The electron carries negative electric charge while the proton is positive. Opposite charges attract, keeping the atom together.
An atom of antihydrogen is the same but the electric charges are reversed. A central, negatively charged ‘antiproton’ grips a positively charged ‘antielectron’, also known as a ‘positron’. Positive and negative attract just the same, so the electric and magnetic forces that build atoms into molecules, and therefore matter, should apply to antiatoms too.
When a particle meets its antiparticle twin, they mutually annihilate in a flash of energy. This annihilation isn’t just the stuff of science fiction. Some radioactive substances emit positrons naturally. In fact, the annihilation of positrons with electrons has been used in medical diagnosis for decades in the form of the PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scanners found in hospitals. Continue reading
A new dinosaur species found in Portugal may be the largest land predator discovered in Europe, as well as one of the largest carnivorous dinosaurs from the Jurassic, according to a paper published in PLOS ONE on March 5, 2014 by co-authors Christophe Hendrickx and Octavio Mateus from Universidade Nova de Lisboa and Museu da Lourinhã.
Scientists discovered bones belonging to this dinosaur north of Lisbon. They were originally believed to be Torvosaurus tanneri, a dinosaur species from North America. Closer comparison of the shin bone, upper jawbone, teeth, and partial tail vertebrae suggest to the authors that it may warrant a new species name, Torvosaurus gurneyi.
T. gurneyi had blade-shaped teeth up to 10 cm long, which indicates it may have been at the top of the food chain in the Iberian Peninsula roughly 150 million years ago. The scientists estimate that the dinosaur could reach 10 meters long and weigh around 4 to 5 tons. The number of teeth, as well as size and shape of the mouth, may differentiate the European and the American Torvosaurus. The fossil of the upper jaw of T. tanneri has 11 or more teeth, while T. gurneyi has fewer than 11. Additionally, the mouth bones have a different shape and structure. The new dinosaur is the second species of Torvosaurus to be named.
“This is not the largest predatory dinosaur we know. Tyrannosaurus, Carcharodontosaurus, and Giganotosaurus from the Cretaceous were bigger animals,” said Christophe Hendrickx. “With a skull of 115 cm, Torvosaurus gurneyi was however one of the largest terrestrial carnivores at this epoch, and an active predator that hunted other large dinosaurs, as evidenced by blade shape teeth up to 10 cm.” Fossil evidences of closely related dinosaurs suggest that this large predator may have already been covered with proto-feathers. Recently described dinosaur embryos from Portugal are also ascribed to the new species of Torvosaurus. Via New dinosaur found in Portugal, largest terrestrial predator from Europe
Brew an espresso, watch a movie on a large screen, surf the Internet or simply sit and chat with friends? - As automakers and technology firms steer towards a future of driverless cars, a Swiss think tank is at the Geneva Motor Show this week showing off its vision of what vehicles might look like on the inside when people no longer have to focus on the road.
“Once I can drive autonomously, would I want to watch while my steering wheel turns happily from left to right?” asked Rinspeed founder and chief executive Frank Rinderknecht. ”No. I would like to do anything else but drive and watch the traffic. Eat, sleep, work, whatever you can imagine,” he told AFP at the show, which opens its doors to the public Thursday.
Google is famously working on fully autonomous cars, and traditional carmakers are rapidly developing a range of autonomous technologies as well. With analysts expecting sales of self-driving, if not completely driverless, cars to begin taking off by the end of this decade, Rinderknecht insists it’s time to consider how the experience of riding in a car will could be radically redefined.
Patting his shiny Xchange concept car, Rinderknecht says he envisages a future where car passengers will want to do the same kinds of things we today do to kill time on trains an airplanes. So Rinspeed has revamped the interior of Tesla’s Model S electric car to show carmakers how they might turn standard-sized vehicles into entertainment centres, offices and meeting spots wrapped into one. The seats can slide, swivel, and tilt into more than 20 positions, allowing passengers to turn to face each other or a 32-inch screen in the back. Edited from In a driverless future, drivers will do anything else.
Vikings never wore them. They have only been included in depictions since the 19th Century. Wagner celebrated Norse legend in his opera Die Walkure (The Valkyrie) and horned helmets were created as props for the performance of his Ring Cycle at the first Bayreuth Festival in 1876.
The horned helmet is based on historical fact, says Emma Boast from the Jorvik Centre, but it just wasn’t a Viking thing. The British Museum has a ceremonial horned helmet from the Iron Age that was found in the River Thames. It is dated 150-50 BC.
The Vikings used horns in feasting for drinking and blew into them for communicating. They were depicted in Viking broaches and pendants. They weren’t worn. And for battle it would have been a major encumbrance, adding weight to the helmet. Edited from Were the Vikings really so bloodthirsty?.
Screws made from 100% silk have been used to repair broken bones in research that could transform surgery. US scientists say metal fixtures can potentially be replaced with plates and screws made from the natural fibre, which will eventually dissolve in the body. So far the technique has only been tested on rodents.
Silk was once used to make sutures, but more recently has been used in modern medical implants. In the new research, a team of medical engineers at Tufts University, Massachusetts, made screws from medical grade silk using specially designed moulds. The silk material can be cut to different sizes on a machine. The screws were implanted into the hind limbs of rats, where they functioned successfully for four to eight weeks. By the end of the study, the silk had started to dissolve.
The low stiffness of silk, which is similar to that of bone, and its ability to break down in the body, make it a promising bioengineering material compared with traditional metal plates and screws, the researchers say. Edited from Silk screws used to repair fractures.
These beads seem to levitate, defy gravity and jump out of the beaker. But how and why do they act like this? If you click on the link at the end of this short video you can find another video giving an explanation. Steve Mould, the science guy from Britain’s Brightest, explores the science behind the “self siphoning beads” – also known as “Newton’s Beads”.
The second video films them in slow motion to try to work out what exactly was happening, and how the behaviour changes with height.
It’s just a regular dive off the coast of Mozambique — a dolphin pod here, a few kingfish there — until a swarm (and we mean DOZENS!) of hammerhead sharks show up (01:24). Here’s what it’s like to find yourself surrounded by hammerheads! The distinctive-looking sharks are highly threatened by the fin trade, so it’s special to see them converge in such large numbers.
Thanks to Jacki Thomas for suggesting this post
A highly sensitive magnetic material that could transform computer hard drives and energy storage devices has been discovered. The metal bilayer needs only a small shift in temperature to dramatically alter its magnetism – a tremendously useful property in electronic engineering.
“No other material known to man can do this. It’s a huge effect. And we can engineer it,” said Ivan Schuller, of the University of California, San Diego. He presented his findings at the American Physical Society meeting in Denver. The material combines thin layers of nickel and vanadium oxide, creating a structure that is surprisingly responsive to heat.
“We can control the magnetism in just a narrow range of temperature – without applying a magnetic field. And in principle we could also control it with voltage or current,” said Prof Schuller. ”At low temperatures, the oxide is an insulator. At high temperatures it’s a metal. And in between it becomes this strange material,” he said. Although it’s too early to say exactly how it will be used, Prof Schuller sees an obvious opportunity in computing memory systems. ”A problem with magnetic memory is reversibility – you want it to be reversible but also stable. ”Today’s best systems are heat-assisted, but they use lasers, which involves a lot of heat. But with this new material, you barely need to heat it by 20 degrees (Kelvin) to get a five-fold change in coercivity (magnetic resistance),” he told the conference. Continue reading
The Nanostim leadless pacemaker is designed to achieve the same pacing results as a standard pacemaker, but the process for implanting the pacemaker is quite different from standard pacemakers. A standard pacemaker requires your doctor to create a surgical pocket to implant the pacemaker. Leads are then attached to the pacemaker and run to your heart, where they pace the heart. Nanostim leadless pacemaker securely nestles inside your heart, sending small pulses of electricity when needed to prompt your heart to beat normally. The pacemaker requires no surgical pocket (nor scar or lump) for the pacemaker, and it requires no leads. The pacemaker battery life is equivalent to that of similar standard single chamber pacemakers. Via St Judes
Thanks to Dan for bringing this to our attention
Artificial photosynthesis, in which we emulate the process used by nature to capture energy from the sun and convert it into electrochemical energy, is expected to be a major asset in any sustainable energy portfolio for the future. Artificial photosynthesis offers the promise of producing liquid fuels that are renewable and can be used without exacerbating global climate change. A key to realizing commercial-scale artificial photosynthesis technology is the development of electrocatalysts that can efficiently and economically carry out water oxidation reaction that is critical to the process. Heinz Frei, a chemist with Berkeley Lab’s Physical Biosciences Division, has been at the forefront of this research effort. His latest results represent an important step forward.
“The oxidation of water to molecular oxygen is a four-electron process involving multiple steps,” Frei says. “We’ve obtained the first direct, temporally resolved observation of two intermediate steps in water oxidation using an Earth-abundant solid catalyst, cobalt oxide, that allowed us to identify the kinetic bottlenecks. With this knowledge, we can devise and design improvements on the cobalt oxide catalyst and its support environment to partially or completely remove these bottlenecks and improve the efficiency of water oxidation.” Via Researchers identify key intermediate steps in artificial photosynthesis reaction.
It’s amazing what you can do with a pomegranate. Humans have used the fruit for thousands of years as a tonic for the heart, a cure for diarrhoea, and a female contraceptive. And now, in research published in Nature Nanotechnology this February, for electricity storage. This time, it is not the fruit itself being used but its structure. It has inspired an ingenious new design for lithium batteries that could increase their capacity many times over.
Yi Cui and his colleagues from Stanford University have used the design to replace the standard battery’s carbon anode – the sponge that soaks up lithium ions as the battery is charged – with one made of silicon. Silicon can store 10 times the amount of lithium that carbon can. In other words, it theoretically stores 10 times the energy. However, silicon has a fundamental problem as an anode material: it cracks and falls apart after only a few charging cycles.
The cracking occurs because silicon soaks up so much lithium during charging that it swells dramatically, tripling in volume. As it repeatedly swells and shrinks as the battery is used, the anode disintegrates. Continue reading
Here’s some impressive planetary perspective: Last Wednesday, NASA’s Kepler mission announced the discovery of 715 newly confirmed exoplanets, nearly doubling the total number of verified planets beyond our solar system. This animated graph, courtesy of NASA, helps put that discovery into context. Via Kepler’s Latest Exoplanet Hoard, Graphed.
Today we’re starting a new category called ‘How to’. Hopefully giving you some useful information on all topics within the realms of Science, Technology, History and the Arts. If you have anything that you think would be interesting to our readers please let me know.
How to : Leash the Black Dog
Although the roots of the phrase itself can be traced back to a variety of origins, we’ve always — or at least since the early 20th century — attributed the phrase “The Black Dog” as a metaphor for depression to Winston Churchill.
And folks who suffer from, work to manage, and live daily with depression know this phrase — this description of a wild, ominously colored constant companion, growling and baring his thick, razor-sharp teeth — to be a fairly accurate metaphor.
They also know that, if not leashed in time, their own Black Dogs will snap, lunge, and eventually sink in their teeth. Fortunately, every Black Dog has a collar. Why? Because depression is a manageable, treatable mental illness. What you have to figure out is how to snap a leash on that collar, and regain control, when your Black Dog breaks loose. Continue reading
Great pictures of London now and then find them all here BBC
Getting satellites into orbit is hard enough – they need to be hurled into space with enough energy to reach around 26,000km/h. But staying in orbit means avoiding losing energy to the Earth’s atmospheric drag. While the official threshold of space is 100km above the Earth, the effects of the atmosphere can be detected much higher. Even Hubble, which orbits at almost 600km, could be brought down by the creeping effect of drag. Only satellites in orbits several tens of thousands of kilometres above the Earth can be regarded as effectively permanent, though even they are not totally immune to atmospheric drag. Edited from Focus
Genetic and environmental evidence indicates that after the ancestors of Native Americans left Asia, they spent 10,000 years in shrubby lowlands on a broad land bridge that once linked Siberia and Alaska. Archaeological evidence is lacking because it drowned beneath the Bering Sea when sea levels rose.
University of Utah anthropologist Dennis O’Rourke and two colleagues make that argument in the Friday, Feb. 28, issue of the journal Science. They seek to reconcile existing genetic and paleoenvironmental evidence for human habitation on the Bering land bridge — also called Beringia — with an absence of archaeological evidence.
O’Rourke says cumulative evidence indicates the ancestors of Native Americans lived on the Bering land bridge “in the neighborhood of 10,000 years,” from roughly 25,000 years ago until they began moving into the Americas about 15,000 years ago once glacial ice sheets melted and opened migration routes. Continue reading
Break-up of the supercontinent Gondwana about 130 Million years ago could have lead to a completely different shape of the African and South American continent with an ocean south of today’s Sahara desert, as geoscientists from the University of Sydney and the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences have shown through the use of sophisticated plate tectonic and three-dimensional numerical modelling.
The study highlights the importance of rift orientation relative to extension direction as key factor deciding whether an ocean basin opens or an aborted rift basin forms in the continental interior.
For hundreds of millions of years, the southern continents of South America, Africa, Antarctica, Australia, and India were united in the supercontinent Gondwana. While the causes for Gondwana’s fragmentation are still debated, it is clear that the supercontinent first split along along the East African coast in a western and eastern part before separation of South America from Africa took place. Today’s continental margins along the South Atlantic ocean and the subsurface graben structure of the West African Rift system in the African continent, extending from Nigeria northwards to Libya, provide key insights on the processes that shaped present-day Africa and South America. Continue reading
Kandinsky a Russian painter and art theorist is credited with painting the first modern abstract works.
Composition VII was painted when Kandinsky lived in Munich, Germany. It is the seventh of his ten Compositions, the first three survive only in black-and-white photographs. In his own words, Composition VII was the most complex piece he has ever painted.
Artists have tried all sorts of strategies to get us to think more critically about the systems and spaces that govern the modern world. Roxy Paine’s approach was to carve them out of wood.
For Apparatus, a recent exhibition at the Kavi Gupta gallery in Chicago, the New York-based artist created two striking dioramas–one of a space race-era control room, the other of a fast food restaurant–both made entirely of birch and maple.
Set into the gallery’s walls, the pieces call to mind the scenes of prehistoric flora and fauna you’d find at a natural history museum. And they’re no less detailed. In Carcass, we see all the familiar trappings of the fast food industry. There are hanging monitors, straw dispensers, and a delicate wooden deep fry basket. On the walls, wooden sheets of paper are held up by wooden push pins. There’s even a carefully curled wooden Post-It note. Via A Life-Size Model of a Fast-Food Joint, Made Entirely of Wood