Possible New Element Could Rewrite Textbooks

Atoms

Recently, an international team of researchers bombarded each nucleus from a large pile of thorium through a mass spectrometer in search of a previously undiscovered superheavy element.

Lo and behold, while the most abundant isotopes found were in fact thorium, they also had a few hits of something with atomic weight of 292 which they believe equates to an atomic number of 122.

Up ’til now, 122 was a theoretical element that scientists suspected should be there but hadn’t been discovered nor created artificially. The temporary name assigned to 122 is “ununbibium,” or “one-two-two-bium.”

The big brains on campus believe ununbibium has a half-life of about 100 million years!

Time to update the periodic table, folks.

Flowers to be Planted on the Moon

Moon

It’s Pravda, take it with a grain of salt:

Scientists of Ukrainian Academy of Sciences Natalya Kozirovska and Irina Zayec proved it possible to plant herbs on the Moon. During the experiment they managed to plant marigold on the soil, identical to the Moon regolite.

Scientists imitated the Moon soil scientists took grind mineral anorthosite. This magmetic rock is nothing like fertile soil. In this rock flowers couldn’t survive for a long time. But as soon as certain bacteria were added, the plants revived and started blooming. Bacteria process magmetic rock, providing flowers with necessary minerals like kalium.

Skype 3.8 for Windows Gold Release

2 mobiles

Production version of Skype 3.8 for Windows is now available.

Start downloading it now

The newly released build 3.8.0.115 brings you the following changes:

  • change: Updated Extras manager to version 2.0.0.55
  • change: Firefox plugin updated to version 2.2.0.80
  • change: Internet Explorer plugin updated to version 2.2.0.176
  • bugfix: Account creation without a valid email address was not communicated correctly
  • bugfix: Skype occasionally crashed on startup when some specific sound cards were set as windows default
  • bugfix: Skype did not always go to “Away” and “Not Available” status automatically
  • bugfix: After locking the screen, video froze or went blank
  • bugfix: When user was not able to connect he was forwarded to wrong webpage
  • bugfix: Windows Vista screensaver was not disabled during video call
  • bugfix: Any link containing “+” was not clickable in a chat
  • bugfix: Skype crashed when set web cookies got damaged
  • bugfix: Video resolution did not scale up correctly in some instances
  • bugfix API: App2App transfers were disabled when File Transfer was disabled
  • All localizations updated

Astronomers Solve Mystery of Black Hole Jets?

While we may never know what it looks like inside a black hole, astronomers recently obtained one of the closest views yet.

The sighting allowed scientists to confirm theories about how these giant cosmic sinkholes spew out jets of particles traveling nearly the speed of light.

Below is an artist’s rendition of one black hole in the BL Lacertae galaxy that spews out jets of charged particles accelerated by corkscrew-like magnetic fields.

Black Hole Jets

A Plethora of News Links: 4/29/2008

 News for Geeks

Games:

How I Played Games for Science: East Carolina University’s Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies has announced the results of a PopCap underwritten study claiming that casual games have a demonstrative affect at relieving stress and improving moods.

The academic group underwent a “six-month long, randomized, controlled study” measuring the impact of three PopCap games — Bejeweled 2, Peggle and Bookworm Adventures.

Record Sales Expected For Grand Theft Auto IV: Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., is about to launch the latest version of Grand Theft Auto GTA IV. It’s expected to break records and pull in about $400M in just a single week.

Computing:

With Cray, Intel seeks greater supercomputer share: Intel is ratcheting up the competition with smaller rival Advanced Micro Devices by joining forces w/ supercomputer maker Cray, which for the past six years has used only AMD chips in its high-performance machines.

Apple powers up iMac with Penryn processor: Apple on Monday refreshed its iMac line with faster Intel (NSDQ: INTC) Core 2 Duo processors and an optional more powerful graphics processor on its high-end 24-inch model.

The new iMac is available in three basic configurations: a 20-inch 2.4-GHz model ($1,199), a 20-inch 2.66-GHz model, and a 24-inch 2.8- GHz model. The 2.4-GHz iMac comes with an ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT (128-MB memory) while the 2.66-GHz and 2.8-GHz models come with an ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO (256-MB memory).

Gadgets:

Nokia’s New Phones: Built For Comfort And Speed: Nokia has just announced three new additions to its lineup, all boast a gorgeous jet black finish and quad-band GSM reception. The Nokia 6600 Slide, 6600 Fold, and 3600 Slide all fall under the fashion phone category, thanks to the smooth rounded lines and stylized directional pad.

Cut your gadgets‘ appetite for electricity: In honor of the month that brings us Earth Day, here are some tips on cutting down the amount of electricity you use to power your gadgets

Science:

Using Nanotech to Shut Down Troublesome Genes: MIT scientists say they’ve found a new way to silence disease-causing genes in specific tissues using RNA interference

‘Frankenfoods’ Gain Popularity During Food Crisis: Europe has pushed back for quite a while, is the world ready to think seriously about cheaper bio-engineered grains?

Forget About Asteroids Colliding w/ Earth, Here Comes Mercury

Solar System - Planets

Bad news:

Computer simulations of long-term planetary motion for our solar systems reveals that Jupiter may eventually destabilize Mercury’s orbit over time. Mercury already has an eccentric orbit and it’s entirely possible influences from larger bodies could accentuate that orbit to the point where it overlaps with Venus.

And if that happens, the smaller planet (Mercury) would careen off and all bets are off at that point, Earth could be a likely recipient of a catastrophic kissing of planets and I’m sure you know what that means for civilization.

Good news:

There is only a 1% chance of this occurring before Sol balloons into a red giant billions of years from now, but still…wouldn’t that be cool?

Sky & Telescope has the doomsday scenario announced by the Paris Observatory and University of California, Santa Cruz.

[via fark]

Lost Producers Give a Few Hints To Popular Mechanics

Lost - Hadron Collider

Executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse tell Popular Mechanics they’ve been following the development of the Large Hadron Collider above (right) as they lay out Lost‘s time-travel plot for the rest of this season.

Could one of the Dharma Initiative’s stations (left) create a mini black hole into the future?

Note: One of the safety concerns of this collider constructed in Switzerland is that it may actually generate micro black holes that could lead to a doomsday scenario, though this claim is not widely adopted by the scientific community.

T-Rex ‘Tissue’ May Be the Real Deal After All

Dino

Scientists are puzzled by the purported discovery of something they thought couldn’t possibly still exist — bits of soft tissue from a Tyrannosaurus rex bone from Utah. Fossil-hunters found the matter two years ago, and skeptics have challenged its authenticity ever since.

But now there’s new evidence suggesting the tissue is the real thing. They’ve successfully retrieved a tiny sequence of protein from the 68 million year old fossil.

Listen to the 3 minute NPR podcast on the find.

Shutdown Day 2008

Shutdown Day

Shutdown Day 2008 is your opportunity to be part of one of the biggest global experiments ever to take place on the Internet. The idea behind Shutdown Day is to find out how many people can go without a computer for one whole day, and what will happen if we all participate; the initiative was started by Denis Bystrov and Ashutosh Rajekar, both of Montreal, Canada.

I think we can all agree that being asked to go without your computer for a day is a big ask, especially if you’re addicted to e-mail, IM’ing, surfing the web. But if you could find some other interesting activities to do for just a day other than sitting at your PC, you may discover something about yourself and your priorities.

Here’s a youtube video they produced, pitching the event:

[youtube qbn5uRuIDm8]

Bigfoot in the News

 Bigfoot

News on our favorite 7 foot primate:

– At the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, John Green lays out his case for the authenticity of the creature seen in the famous 1967 photo above by asking  you to “Notice the Arms“.

– While the trackers didn’t actually see or hear the beast, Bigfoot tracks were spotted in West Virginia.

– Man charges Bigfoot with molestation. The AP video on this story below:

[youtube jX1DaIjrhRU]

Colleges are Targets of E-Mail Scam

Fish

Thousands of users at many colleges this month have been targets of a phishing attack, sending network admins scrambling.  This broad attack at higher education is turning many user accounts of the university networks into zombies, so if you’re a recipient of a Viagra advert from a college kid, now you know.

The Chronicle of Higher Education has the details and the weird awareness campaign by Louisiana State University.