Friday, May 12, 2006

Science Links

This is just so freaking phenomenal I don't know what to say. Via Robot Wisdom Weblog, here's an excerpt:
IBM researchers have demonstrated a new nanoscale method that both rapidly separates very small numbers of molecules and also delivers them precisely onto surfaces with unprecedented control.

...The method is based on the atomic force microscope (AFM), an instrument invented by an IBM Nobel Laureate 20 years ago that performs nanoscale operations using a tiny cantilever with a cone-shaped tip at its end. When an electrical field is applied to the tip, molecules will slide up or down its surface at characteristic speeds. By modifying the tip's surface and varying the strength and duration of the electric field, different molecular species can be separated from each other within a few milliseconds, more than 1,000 times faster than today's methods.

Mind-blowing. I remember (I'm guessing) about ten years ago I read a long article about Japanese research into nanotechnology. The gist of the article was that the Japanese were completely wasting their time, because even if they could build things on a nano scale, what the hell would they do with them?

That's never the right question, though is it? Once you can do it, you'll find that it's needed and useful in ways that you never anticipated.

Here's the link to the full story: Molecule Sorting.

Next, from Sirius, a link to a story about sand dunes found on Titan. The full story is here and here's an excerpt:
Recent images of Titan, Saturn's largest moon, bear a striking resemblance to some of the deserts on Earth.

The pictures, captured by the Cassini spacecraft as it flew by Titan last October and released today, show sand dunes at Titan's equator much like those in the Sahara desert.

"It's bizarre," said Ralph Lorenz of University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. "These images from a moon of Saturn look just like radar images of Namibia or Arabia."

From Jesse Leimkuehler, a link to the Mount St. Helens Volcano Cam, which refreshes automatically with a new image every five minutes. Very cool.
Volcano Cam.

And in other Mt. St. Helens news, there's a giant slab of rock growing in the crater. GIANT. Here's the story link with a picture:

Here's another link to a story about the freaky Bosnian pyramid controversy. I'll say this: Semir Osmanagic certainly does seem odd. Here's the link:

Finally, from Ryan Shalek, a link to an open source planetarium program called Stellarium. It sounds like a very cool program, and here's the link: Stellarium.

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