* One of the absolutely coolest things you’ll see is a demo of the Scalable City Project by Professor Sheldon Brown (my partner in the Exorarium Project ). See a 360 degree look at the demo in action recently in Vienna.
* One is only micrometers wide. The other is billions of light-years across. One image shows neurons in a mouse brain - the other is a simulated image of the universe. Together, they suggest the surprisingly similar patterns found in vastly different natural phenomena.
* The Chinese government has enlisted more than 37,000 peasants to man anti-aircraft guns in an effort to alter weather patterns. • Estimated monthly changes in the mass of Greenland's ice sheet suggest it is melting at a rate of about 57.3 cubic miles per year. • A blimp system for the Pentagon, which will be three-fourths the size of a football field, is expected to have its first test flight in 2010.
• Fastest-Evolving Human Gene Linked to Brain Boost -- (New Scientist -- August 16, 2006) The fastest evolving gene in the human genome is one linked to brain development. A study of differences between the human and chimp genomes has identified a gene associated with neural growth in the cerebral cortex – the part of the brain involved in processing thoughts and learning – as having undergone “accelerated evolutionary change”.
• FDA Approves Viruses as Food Additive -- (CNN -- August 18, 2006) A mix of bacteria-killing viruses can be safely sprayed on cold cuts, hot dogs and sausages to combat common microbes that kill hundreds of people a year, federal health officials said in granting the first-ever approval of viruses as a food additive.
* Frozen Mice Have Healthy Pups -- (BBC -- August 15, 2006) Mice kept in the deep freeze for 15 years have fathered healthy offspring, say scientists in Japan and Hawaii. It offers hope to those trying to bring extinct animals back from the dead. In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers wrote: "If spermatozoa of extinct mammalian species (eg woolly mammoths) can be retrieved from animal bodies that were kept frozen for millions of years in permanent frost, live animals might be restored by injecting them into oocytes from females of closely related species."
• "Typhoon forecast to make land this evening," said the message sent to millions of mobile phones in the coastal city of Jinjiang and surrounding Fujian province. Authorities in Fujian have sent 18 million messages with storm information during five typhoons this year. Text messages have become a key tool for Chinese authorities during this year's unusually powerful typhoon season. Nearly one-third of China's 1.3 billion people have a cell phone, creating a rival to television and radio as a way to reach the public.
* Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder have now figured out how to project the results of global futures scenarios, based on sophisticated computer predictions — formerly just rows of numbers — as changing colors on a 5-foot sphere with the continents outlined on it. A number of these spheres are now being installed in museums around the United States and the world, so the world can see what it's in for. The meltdown of Greenland's ice sheet is speeding up, satellite measurements show. Data from a NASA satellite show that the melting rate has accelerated since 2004. If the ice cap were to completely disappear, global sea levels would rise by 6.5m (21 feet).
• There are now more overweight people across the world than hungry ones, according to experts. Researchers told the International Association of Agricultural Economists the number of overweight people had topped 1 billion, compared with 800 million undernourished. Obesity is rapidly spreading, while hunger is only slowly declining among the world's 6.5 billion population.
And now, this about our brave new world. Super Surveillance could be available in 3-5 years if a new super LIDAR project succeeds. In 3-5 years, remote imaging could have 1000 times better resolution. Currently it is 2cm resolution for US military satellites. They are suggesting that they can achieve 2 micron resolution which is about the wavelength of infrared light. However, even using that resolution for a 10 gigapixel image would only have 20cm (8 inches) by 20cm (8 inches) for the area being imaged. So it would be more useful to dial back and use less resolution most of the time to get a wider field of view.
Back in Spanish! Although science fiction novels don’t seem to stay in print in Spanish very long -- most of my novels have dropped out of print -- there is a lovely new edition of GLORY SEASON, issued by EdicionesB. (People can always write to the publisher and demand they bring the others back! ;-)
Finally, someone sent me this choice tidbit:
There are two things that I want you to make up your minds to: first, that you are going to have a good time as long as you live - I have no use for the sour-faced man - and next, that you are going to do something worthwhile, that you are going to work hard and do the things you set out to do.
-- Theodore Roosevelt, talk to schoolchildren in Oyster Bay,