Category Archives: Research

Earth keeps on changing moons

According to a new study, Earth seems involved of bad, bad Christmas presents. Every year our planet seems to snap up a moon, but it usually doesn’t take it more than 12 months to tired of it and send it hurtling out into space again. Then it picks up another moon, but less than twelve months later, it grows bored with that one, and round and round we go. Oh, that’s a really poor pun isn’t it? Well, point for me then!

The new study in question has been published on and is called “The Population of Natural Earth Satellites”.

In it, Mikael Granvik, Jeremie Vaubaillon and Robert Jedicke talk of how Earth, at any given time, has what they term a ‘temporarily captured orbiter’.

The reason you haven’t noticed this is that the objects in question are quite a bit smaller than the object we know as our Moon. Actually they’re usually not more than a metre in diameter.

One such object was the asteroid 2006 RH120 which was discovered in 2006.


Your future car can tell your ass from your elbows

In the future, your ass might help protect your car from being stolen.

Yep, that’s right. Your ass.

Engineers at Japan’s Advanced Institute of Industrial Technology have come up with a system that can recognize a person when they sit down in a car seat. So far the system has a 98 per cent success rate.

The team behind the novel idea aren’t kidding around. They want to commercialize their prototype as an anti-theft product and have it rea(r)dy in two to three years if car companies agree to collaborate.

Of course, this might make for the best motivation ever for people who don’t want to put on weight. Because if they do, their car might simply refuse to start.

But imagine the commercials:

The new, improved Toyota Hiace. It really can tell your ass from your elbows….

How can you have your pudding if you don’t scan your face?

Envision this scenario: you’re a food company that has just come up with great a great recipe for rum pudding. Only problem might be that it actually does contain rum, making it alcoholic. Usually, that would me it would be impossible for you to sell it through vending machines. Or does it?

It sounds like something half way between science fiction and comedy, but a new vending machine from Jell-O Temptations actually scans your face, before deciding if you’re allowed to have a tasty treat. If it decides that you’re a kid, it’ll simply refuse to serve you.

Sounds like a joke, right? This article proves that it’s not.

No helicopter pilot? No problem in Afghanstan….

American Marines in Afghanistan witnessed a World first, recently, when their supplies were flown in by helicopter. That is, in it itself, pretty much something they see every day.

However, it was the first time that the supplies were flown in by an unmanned helicopter. The Kaman Aerospace produced unmanned K_MAX delivered a slingload of beans, bullets and band-aids (just to keep it in the b’s…but possibly forgetting that another b-word is bombs…which might have been better than beans…just saying..)

According to the US Army, an unmanned helicopter has several advantages over a manned ditto, mainly the fact that any potential downing of the aircraft is much less likely to result in injury or death to one’s troops.

The troops will, however, be left without anyone to complain to, when they get a shipment of beans…or Brussels sprouts for that matter…

NASA might have found smallest black hole yet

Image converted using ifftoany

According to media reports, a NASA satellite might have found the smallest black hole to date. Using the Rossi X-Ray Timing Explorer, astronomers from NASA have identified a specific X-ray pattern known to indicate a black hole.

The new finding is supposed to be located between 16,000 and 56,000 light years away. At the present time, it hasn’t been possible to determine a more precise distance.

The black hole is thought to have a mass that is only three times that of our Sun.

Science: Who’s working with who

Humans have been said to be visually orientated creatures. But, looking at row after row of numbers can make your head spin and make it impossible to make meaning of statistics.

Research analyst Olivier Beauchesne at Science-Metrix found a rather stunning and beautiful way around that, when trying to describe the way scientist collaborate on articles.

He produced a series of maps, each based bibliometric data from 2005 – 2009, that visualise the collaborations and makes sense of an enormous amount of data. The data does not cover all journals, but gives an indication of how scientists collaborate on articles.

You can see a number of high-resolution images of the results and learn more about the process by visiting his website here.

And here is a link to a zoomable version of the world map.