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Cute cute cute: like a star falling from the sky, don't be surprised if someone sends a plane to land in your backyard

*update* Dec. 01, 2012
The first-ever flying drone competition “In the next few years the idea of drones will dramatically change. You no longer need a PhD... The same functions every Web programmer uses to build apps can now make drones navigate, take pictures, find people, fly through windows, play games, and so on. When the low level control of hardware comes built-in, hobbyists can focus on writing algorithms and routines." "Autonomous Flight, with a Few Lines of Javascript"

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July 4, 2012 U.S. drone 'hijackings' - University of Texas professor and grad students manipulate unmanned crafts' flight paths...even able to make them land

Thousands of drones are destined for US skies. The use of drones is taking off in America. Local governments and private businesses see them as a cheap and effective way of maintaining an eye from the sky.

But will the drones be fully under their control? A college professor and his students say not necessarily.

A civilian drone aircraft was "hijacked" by Professor Todd Humphreys and his graduate students at the University of Texas at Austin. They were able to hack into the drone's GPS signals. Later, in an exercise done in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security at White Sands, N.M., they were even able to make the drone land.  read more »

Sweden:Malmo shut down nuclear plants, 1st carbon-neutral neighborhood; Japan:reactor re-activated despite disaster&mass protest

The Western Harbour neighborhood in Malmö, Sweden, has led strides in sustainability.

officials in protective gear check for signs of radiation on children who are from the evacuation area near the Fukushima nuclear plant

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Västra Hamnen, also known as the City of Tomorrow, was transformed from a former shipyard in 2001 and is now home to 4,000 people.

Europe’s ‘First Carbon-Neutral Neighborhood’: Western Harbour
With a smart heating and cooling system and renewable energy, the city district of Västra Hamnen (Western Harbor), in Malmö, Sweden has established itself as the first carbon-neutral neighborhood in Europe, says Malmö mayor Ilmar Reepalu.

Västra Hamnen, also known as the City of Tomorrow, was transformed from a former shipyard in 2001 and is now home to 4,000 people.

The district uses an aquifer thermal energy storage system to store water collected during the summer 70 meters (230 feet) underground and pump it up with wind energy to heat the homes during the winter. The chilled water is then reused to cool buildings in the summer. “There’s no need for air-conditioners in the district,” Reepalu proudly told the audience at the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize Forum, held during the World Cities Summit on July 2 in Singapore.  read more »

"Just the two of us": loving panda mom Shin Shin takes good care of her new baby, first panda cub born in Japan in 24 years

a tiny newborn panda cub clings to its mother, Shin Shin, at Ueno Zoo, Japan

Shin Shin rested at Ueno Zoo in Tokyo last month. The zoo announced on June 25 that Shin Shin had shown signs of pregnancy

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Ueno Zoological Gardens in Tokyo released photographs of its newborn giant panda on July 6, showing its mother breastfeeding the tiny cub.

Born to 7-year-old Shin Shin on July 5, the panda--a male--is the first born at the zoo in Taito Ward as a result of natural breeding. “Even though she is a new mother, Shin Shin takes very good care of her cub,” said Yutaka Fukuda, deputy director of the zoo. “I'm sure she will be a good mother.”  read more »

Discovery, unofficial! Higgs boson, 'God particle': new subatomic particle, without it, Universe does not exist?

CERN illustration: experiment to find Higgs Boson
A typical ‘candidate event’ in the Higgs-hunting CMS experiment. Red lines represent high-energy proton beams while yellow lines show the tracks of particles produced in the collision.

Does Higgs boson - or ‘God particle’ - exist?

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The Higgs boson appears in a theory first fleshed out in 1964 by Peter Higgs at Edinburgh University and five other physicists. Finding the particle proves there is an energy field that fills the vacuum of the observable universe. It plays the crucial role of giving mass to certain subatomic particles that are the building blocks of matter. The Higgs field is thought to have switched on a trillionth of a second after the big bang that blasted the universe into existence. Without it, or something to do its job, the structure of the cosmos would be radically different than it is today.

So what is the Higgs boson?  read more »

Pixar's animated 'Brave' pays tribute to legends and beauty of Scotland, dedicates production to memory of Steve Jobs

Pixar’s Brave: a fairy tale about an archery-loving Scottish princess

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'BRAVE' Keeps Pixar's Winning Streak Alive
Ancient Scotland has been the setting for many past adventures in movies... And now it becomes Pixar's location for the studio's production of 'Brave'.

The story of BRAVE is a simple one with a red-headed and strong willed Princess Merida (voiced by Kelly McDonald) doing her own thing in the kingdom where her archery skills don't exactly endear her to the male community. Her mom, the Queen (voiced by Emma Thompson) isn't thrilled either. The final straw comes when Merida refuses to go along with an arranged marriage. To escape her planned-out future, she escapes into the woods where she falls under a wicked witch's---a funky witch's spell - voiced by Julie Waters. The spell turns mom into a giant black bear---with emotions--- but unable to speak and leading to chaos and fury throughout the kingdom. Will the Queen's spell be reversed before time runs out? Will the Princess make up with mom and make pop, King Fergus (voiced by Billy Connelly) proud?

As to the production itself, it's dedicated to Steve Jobs who gave a new lease on life to Pixar back in 1986. And as for the look of the film, Jobs would be proud.

"Legends are legends---they ring with truths" That line in the film pretty well sums things up.

Disney/Pixar's 'Brave,' Highlights The Beauty Of Scotland  read more »

NASA Astronomy Photo of the Day: Easter Island stone giants illuminated under the Milky Way

Milky Way Above Easter Island

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NASA Astronomy Photo of the Day, June 18, 2012
Why were the statues on Easter Island built? No one is sure. What is sure is that over 800 large stone statues exist there. The Easter Island statues, stand, on the average, over twice as tall as a person and have over 200 times as much mass. Few specifics are known about the history or meaning of the unusual statues, but many believe that they were created about 500 years ago in the images of local leaders of a lost civilization. Pictured above, some of the stone giants were illuminated in 2009 under the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy.

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Image Credit & Copyright: Manel Soria

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