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VII-2005: 04 22 27 | VII-2005: 04-1 04-2 VIII-2005: 14
02 03 04 05

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harder than diamond - nanotech

“A material that is harder than diamond has been created in the lab, by packing together tiny "nanorods" of carbon.

“The new material, known as aggregated carbon nanorods (ACNR), was created by compressing and heating super-strong carbon molecules called buckyballs or carbon-60. These molecules consist of 60 atoms that interlock in hexagonal or pentagonal shapes and resemble tiny soccer balls.”


material isothermal bulk modulus compressibility
water 2.2 GPa 35 %
steel 160 GPa 11%
diamond 442 GPa  
ACNRs 491 GPa 4%

In more technical terms,

“We report the synthesis of aggregated diamond nanorods (ADNRs) from fullerene C60 at 20(1) GPa and 2200 °C using a multianvil apparatus. Individual diamond nanoroads are of 5–20 nm in diameter and longer than 1 µm. The x-ray and measured density of ADNRs is ~0.2%–0.4% higher than that of usual diamond. The extremely high isothermal bulk modulus KT=491(3) GPa [compare to KT=442(4) GPa of diamond] was obtained by in situ x-ray diffraction study. Thus, ADNRs is the densest among all carbon materials and it has the lowest so far experimentally determined compressibility.” [Quoted from Applied Physics Letters]

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“The synthesis was possible due to a unique 5000-tonne multianvil press at Bayerisches Geoinstitut in Bayreuth that is capable of reaching pressures of 25 GPa and temperatures of 2700 K at the same time, [...] ” [Quoted from]

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hurricane katrina and new orleans       page 2

Hurricane Katrina about to hit New Orleans. Image credit:NOAA
Hurricane Katrina about to turn north and hit New Orleans.
Image credit:NOAA/National Weather Center

“ "It was fully recognized by officials that we had Category Three [hurricane] level of protection," Strock said. "As projections of Category Four and Five were made, [officials] began plans to evacuate the city.

“ "We were just caught by a storm whose intensity exceeded the protection that we had in place." ”

date location wind speed hurricane
Thursday 25 August S. Florida coast 80 mph / 130 kph 1
Friday 26 August Gulf of Mexico 100 mph / 160 kph 2
Saturday 27 August
(18 hrs later)
Gulf of Mexico 115 mph / 180 kph 3
Sunday 28 Aug Gulf of Mexico 145 mph / 235 kph 4
Sunday 28 Aug
(six hours later)
Gulf of Mexico 175mph / 280 kph 5
Sunday 28 Aug landfall near Mississipi River mouth 140 mph / 225 kph 4

On landfall near New Orleans (Mississipi river mouth), there was a storm surge of at least 20 feet / 6 metres. New Orleans is, on average, 6 feet / 2 metres below sea level, protected by a netwok of levees (dykes / dams).

hurricane category wind speed - mph wind speed - kph storm surges -
above normal
1 74 - 95 119 - 153 4-5 ft / 1.2-1.5m
2 96 - 110 154 - 177 6-8 ft / 1.8-2.4m
3 111 - 130 178 - 209 9-12 ft / 2.7-3.7m
4 131 - 155 210 - 249 13-18 ft / 3.9-5.5m
5 more than 155 more than 249 greater than 18 ft / greater than 5.5m

“Only 3 Category Five Hurricanes have made landfall in the United States since records began: The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, Hurricane Camille (1969), and Hurricane Andrew in August, 1992.” [Quoted from National Hurricane Center]

Awesome AVI loop of Hurricane Katrina from 25 to 29 August [20Mb RealPlayer download].

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another landmark in human space exploration [18.4 Mb QuickTime .mov file] Four GoldenYak(tm) award

A very impressive film made by the Mars Rover Spirit when it reached the top of the 82m-high Husband Hill in Mars’s Gusev Crater, after 14 months’ laborious climbing. The journey took so long because the slope was steep, requiring zig-zagging and even retreats until a feasible route was found up to the summit.

Both Mars Rovers are still operating well, 17 months beyond their planned mission on Mars. Although NASA’s funding for the Mars Rover program is due to run out in September 2006, it is expected that Oppurtunity and Spirit will continue their work:

“ "An asset on the surface like this is invaluable," says Doug McCuistion, director of NASA's Mars programme. "We certainly wouldn't want to prematurely cut them off." ” [Quoted from New Scientist]

Husband Hill is one of the seven neighouring Columbia Hills [image link], named after the crew of the Columbia space shuttle.

Where are the Rovers now? gives maps showing the Rovers’s travels and links to simulated videos of Spirit’s journey.

related material
mars rovers
NASA—sopping wet mars
and what of the first recent nasa rover, spirit?
martian rover car-wash
dust devils clean mars rover? illustration included

the web address for the article above is

chimpanzee genome

“The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), today announced the first draft version of the genome sequence of the chimpanzee and its alignment with the human genome.”

“An international team of scientists, led by researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington University and the Broad Institute (MIT/Harvard), is currently comparing the chimp and human genome sequences and plans to publish results of its analysis in the next several months.

“Chimpanzees are the most closely related species to humans. Consequently, comparative analysis of the human and chimp genomes can reveal unique types of information impossible to obtain from comparing the human genome with the genomes of other animals.”

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Interactive graphic showing some diffences between humans and chimpanzees.
[part way down linked page]

the web address for the article above is

global warming, recent advances in air temperature measurements

“[...] unexplained anomaly in the climate seems to have been the result of bad data”

“The troposphere is where most of the air is found and where most of the weather occurs. Computer models predict that, if global warming is really happening, temperatures in the troposphere should rise along with those on the surface. Recorded surface temperatures are, indeed, rising. However, both data from weather balloons and observations made by satellites suggest that temperatures in the troposphere have remained constant since the 1970s. Over the tropics they may even have dropped. This counter-intuitive result has caused sceptics to question how much warming, if any, is actually going on.”

Highly recommended scan.

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  • how monarch butterflies navigate thousands of miles

    “The phenomenon of long-range bird migration is a well-known one, but not in the insect world. Also, among birds their migration route is a round-trip one, which they make more than once in their lifetimes, while for the monarch it is strictly a one-way trip for each butterfly. How do these creatures do it?”

    “They proved that this ultraviolet "navigation" is crucial by placing butterflies in a "flight" simulator. When a UV light filter was used in the simulator, the butterflies lost their orientation

    “Further probing revealed a key wiring connection between the light-detecting navigation sensors in the butterfly's eye and its brain clock Thus, it was shown that input from two interconnected systems - UV light detection in the eye and the biological clock in the brain -- together guide the butterflies "straight and true" to their destination at the appointed times in their two-month migration over thousands of miles/kilometers.”

the web address for the article above is
  • caterpillar parasites prompt hosts to go seek out poison to kill off the parasites!

    “The presence of the parasites alters their hosts' taste organs. As a result, the caterpillars prefer to consume plants containing chemicals toxic to the parasites.”

    “Many parasites have developed mechanisms that suppress their hosts' ability to fight them off or even change their behavior in favor of the parasite.”

the web address for the article above is

racing camels by robot

robot jockey in a camel race. Image credit: Reuters / Fadi Al-Assaad

robot jockey in a camel race.

Image credit: Karim Jaafar/AFP/Getty Images

click credit link for more, larger images.

“The robots were developed after the United Arab Emirates Camel Racing Association banned the use of jockeys under the age of 16 in March 2004. The age limit for jockeys was increased to 18 in July 2005.”

“The remote-controlled riders have mechanical legs for balancing or leaning and mechanical arms for pulling on their camel's reins.”

The jockeys are controlled by remote-control in similar fashion to flying model aeroplanes.

All we need now is robot camels.

the web address for the article above is

super-cavitating bunker-buster bombs said to be under development

This development builds on naval work with high-speed torpedoes form a gas bubble ahead of travel to reduce friction. Claims are that the new bombs will do likewise with earth and concrete, allowing them to penetrate up to ten times further into the ground.

“Lockheed Martin hopes the supercavitating bombs will reach 10 times the depth of the current U.S. Air Force record holder, the huge BLU-113 bunker buster that can break through nearly 25 feet (7 meters) of concrete or nearly 100 feet (30 meters) of earth.

“Lockheed Martin said it expects four prototype weapons to be ready for testing later this year.”

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independence day fireworks - at 268 million miles

time-lapse images showing the increase of emitted light after Deep Impact hit Comet Tempel-1
time-lapse images showing the increase of emitted light after Deep Impact hit Comet Tempel-1

“The celestial collision and ensuing data collection by the nearby Deep Impact mothership was the climax of a very active 24 hour period for the mission which began with impactor release at 2:07 a.m. EDT on July 3. Deep space maneuvers by the flyby, final checkout of both spacecraft and comet imaging took up most of the next 22 hours. Then, the impactor got down to its last two hours of life.

“ At the moment the impactor was vaporizing itself in its 10 kilometers per second (6.3 miles per second) collision with comet Tempel 1, the Deep Impact flyby spacecraft was monitoring events from nearby. For the following14 minutes the flyby collected and downlinked data as the comet loomed ever closer. Then, as expected at 2:05 a.m. EDT, the flyby stopped collecting data and entered a defensive posture called shield mode where its dust shields protect the spacecraft's vital components during its closest passage through the comet's inner coma. Shield mode ended at 2:32 a.m. EDT when mission control re-established the link with the flyby spacecraft.”

172 days ago, the two-part Deep Impact spacecraft 172 days started its 431 million kilometre journey to meet the Tempel-1 comet, a lump of ice, rock and dust 14 km across. “The collision between the coffee table-sized impactor [360kg] and city-sized comet occurred at 1:52 a.m. EDT.”

The precision of the the target-hitting was described as “like [a] mosquito hitting a 747” except it “didn't splat on the surface, it's actually gone through the windscreen”. This degree of accuracy could offer a solution to rogue meteors charging our planet. Send out a Deep Impact-type craft loaded with a nuclear device. That impact could destroy the approaching meteor, or at least deflect its course.

the web address for the article above is

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