Doing an emergency server swap, I'm afraid. We hope there will be a minimum of bugs, but please let us know if anything is funky.
So, I'm told that Miley Cyrus is maybe one of the lizard people.
From the Cat’s Eye to the Eskimo, planetary nebulae are arguably among the most dazzling objects in the Universe. These misnamed stellar remnants are created when the outer layers of a dying star blows off and expands into space. However, they can look radically different from one another, revealing complicated histories and structures.
But recently, astronomers have argued that some of the most exotic shapes are the result of not one, but two stars at the center. It is the interaction between the progenitor star and a binary companion that shapes the resulting planetary nebula.
Read the rest of This Planetary Nebula Comes With a Twist (542 words)
I had to find some way to use it. Any way. Immediately.
They still weren't suspicious of the costume.
It started to happen almost against my will.
Breaking Bad is almost over. As the end grows nigh, let's take a few minutes to recognize some of the real science that's gone into making it one of the best shows on television. Donna Nelson – University of Oklahoma chemistry professor and Breaking Bad chemistry advisor – will be our guide.
A lot of our love for tabletop games comes down to nostalgia. A game we played in the 80s might have terrible rules and a hackneyed game world, but we love it all the same. Sadly, many of those classic RPGs are long out of print. Here’s a look at the best of these lost games.
Last Friday, NASA announced the end of attempts to contact the Deep Impact mission. Deep Impact got its name from its activity back in 2005: dropping a refrigerator-sized object into a comet at 37,000 kph and observing the debris that spewed out. This gave us an unprecedented view of the composition of comets. But the mission didn't end there; free to wander the Solar System, the probe turned its instruments on other comets, performed a close flyby of a second, and imaged a third.
This year, Deep Impact had turned its instruments on comet ISON and was observing from a distance when it suddenly went silent. After a month of attempting to reestablish contact, NASA officially gave up trying.
Deep Impact is not the only comet mission that's on people's minds, though. An even older bit of hardware started life as the International Sun-Earth Explorer back in 1978. But with that mission done, the spacecraft was maneuvered to where it could use the Moon's gravity to fling it on an orbit where it led Earth around the Sun. Renamed the International Cometary Explorer (ICE), it went on to observe comet Giacobini-Zinner in 1985.
Speaking of The Greatest Out-of-Print Tabletop RPGs That We Still Love! Wizards of the Coast is re-releasing the legendary "White Box" in a deluxe edition — the very first Dungeons & Dragons set ever, back in 1974 — including the three original rulebooks, along with four classic supplements all in special packaging.
But on the pad stood the Energiya rocket, fueled and ready to carry the Buran space shuttle orbiter on its maiden flight. A thin layer of ice coating both vehicles threatened to postpone the event, though no one on site wanted to see the spacecraft stay on the pad. A scrubbed launch could delay Buran’s debut until the spring—or even deal a death blow to the whole program. Weighing the odds, Soviet space officials decided to take their chances. At 8:00am local time, exactly on schedule, Energiya roared to life and Buran took flight.
The next morning, half a world away in the United States, American reports on the mission focused as much on Buran’s similarity to NASA’s space shuttle as on the flight itself. The Soviet design seems indebted to NASA, newspapers proclaimed, citing experts’ opinions that there were few, if any, fundamental differences between the spacecraft. This sentiment has persisted in the general public’s mind for the nearly 30 years since Buran flew.
Germany's Chaos Computing Club claim to have tricked Apple's new TouchID security feature this weekend. In a blog post on the breakthrough, the CCC writes they bypassed the fingerprint-reader by simply starting with "the fingerprint of the phone user photographed from a glass surface."
The entire process is documented by hacker Starbug in the video above, and the club outlines it in a how-to. For this particular initiative, the CCC started by photographing a fingerprint with 2400 dpi. Next the image was inverted and laser printed at 1200 dpi. To create the fingerprint mask Starbug finally used, latex milk was poured into the pattern, eventually lifted, breathed on (for moisture), and pushed onto the sensor to unlock the phone. In this sense, it's hard to definitively state the hackers "broke" the TouchID precautions, because they did not circumvent the security measure without access to the fingerprint. (TouchID could similarly be cleared with a GTA V-like strategy of knocking the phone user unconscious and pressing finger-to-sensor.) However, the CCC did successfully trick TouchID into working as advertised for an individual who wasn't the phone user.
The CCC and Starbug in particular are well-known critics of biometric security systems. Back in 2008, Starbug even cloned the fingerprint of a German politician who advocated for collecting citizens' unique physical characteristics as a means of preventing terrorism.
New desktop backgrounds!
Aurorae dance across the sky and among the clouds over Norway on September 18, 2013. Credit and copyright: Frank Olsen.
Frank Olsen reports that the weather in arctic part of Norway has been fantastic lately. Even so, the aurora are starting to make nightly appearances.
“I was standing on the very tip of an island in Vesterålen with a spectacular view, looking out on the Atlantic ocean,” he said. “With the full moon behind me, the clouds were amazing.”
Clouds mixed in with the aurora made for some lovely views. In all, Frank said he nabbed almost 400 images on his memory card! See another shot, below.
Read the rest of Lovely Astrophotos: Aurora Among the Clouds (113 words)
The overall winner of Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2013 photo from Mark Gee, titled ‘Guiding Light to the Stars.’ Credit and copyright: Mark Gee.
Feast your eyes!! Every year of the “Astronomy Photographer of the Year” competition provides incredible images of our night sky — whether they are striking pictures of vast galaxies millions of light years away, or dramatic images of the night sky taken much closer to home — and this year is no different. The awards were just announced at a special presentation at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England for this fifth year of the competition, which is run by the Observatory in association with Sky at Night Magazine.
Above is the overall winner, from Mark Gee, which was the winner of the “Earth and Space” category, a gorgeous view of the Milky Way taken from Cape Palliser on the North Island of New Zealand.
Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2013 has four main categories: (...)
Read the rest of And the Winners Are … Amazing ‘Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2013′ Photos Revealed (368 words)