Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Links for your productivity-lessening pleasure.

First, from Sirirus, a link to a discovery in the Amazon:
SAO PAULO, Brazil - A grouping of granite blocks along a grassy Amazon hilltop may be the vestiges of a centuries-old astronomical observatory — a find that archaeologists say shows early rainforest inhabitants were more sophisticated than previously believed.

The 127 blocks, some as high as 9 feet (2.75 meters) tall, are spaced at regular intervals around the hill, like a crown 100 feet (30 meters) in diameter.

On the shortest day of the year — Dec. 21 — the shadow of one of the blocks disappears when the sun is directly above it.

"It is this block's alignment with the winter solstice that leads us to believe the site was once an astronomical observatory," said Mariana Petry Cabral, an archaeologist at the Amapa State Scientific and Technical Research Institute. "We may be also looking at the remnants of a sophisticated culture."

Great story, and you can read it here.

From Future Nobel Prize Winner Brian Pilnick, a link to a story about a dust artist.

That's right: a dust artist. In this case, the dust on his windshield. The pictures are truly amazing, and you can find them here.

From Vahur Teller, a link to an amazing starling video. You have to see it to believe it, and it's here.

From Francis Cermak, a link to a story about new research in computing. Here's an excerpt:
Magnetic fields created using nanotechnology could make computers up to 500 times more powerful if new research is successful.

...Computers double in power every 18 months or so as scientists and engineers develop ways to make silicon chips smaller. But in the next few years they will hit a limit imposed by the need to use electric wiring, which weakens signals sent between computer components at high speed.
The new research project could produce a way of carrying electric signal without the need for wiring.

...The research project, which involves four universities in the UK and a university and research centre in Belgium and France, will look at ways of producing microwave energy on a small scale by firing electrons into magnetic fields produced in semi-conductors that are only a few atoms wide and are layered with magnets.

The process, called inverse electron spin resonance, uses the magnetic field to deflect electrons and to modify their magnetic direction. This creates oscillations of the electrons which makes them produce microwave energy. This can then be used to broadcast electric signals in free space without the weakening caused by wires.

Read the full story here.

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