Mini Ice Age Coming?

The Sun’s activity is at its lowest for 100 years, scientists have warned.

They say the conditions are eerily similar to those before the Maunder Minimum, a time in 1645 when a mini ice age hit, Freezing London’s River Thames.

Researcher believe the solar lull could cause major changes, and say there is a 20% chance it could lead to ‘major changes’ in temperatures.

 

Sunspot numbers are well below their values from 2011, and strong solar flares have been infrequent, as this image shows - despite Nasa forecasting major solar storms

Sunspot numbers are well below their values from 2011, and strong solar flares have been infrequent, as this image shows – despite Nasa forecasting major solar storms

 

THE SOLAR CYCLE

Conventional wisdom holds that solar activity swings back and forth like a simple pendulum.

At one end of the cycle, there is a quiet time with few sunspots and flares.

At the other end, solar max brings high sunspot numbers and frequent solar storms.

It’s a regular rhythm that repeats every 11 years.

Reality is more complicated.

Astronomers have been counting sunspots for centuries, and they have seen that the solar cycle is not perfectly regular. read more

Earth Is a Happy Accident

by: the Common Constitutionalist 

The other evening, I watched a program about planet Earth and how it was formed and so on. Throughout the program the “scientists” were constantly telling the viewers of how lucky we are to be placed in the universe where we are, how everything just seemed to come together for planet Earth, or something like that.

 

At the time I thought nothing about the program. Then Saturday morning, I awoke early, got my coffee, sat in my chair and began to write. I wrote the title of my next article, and that’s as far as I got.

 

I gazed up from the page and stared at some plants in front of a large sliding glass door. For reasons unknown, I began to hypothesize how large I could get them to grow if I somehow pumped up the CO2 in the room. Makes sense right? No? Well I thought it anyway.

 

Of course, I thought, too much and I wouldn’t survive and how much is too much for the plants? The balance would have to be just right.

 

At this point I guess I was just daydreaming. My gaze went from the plants to out the slider where the sun was just up in the sky was becoming blue. Then it hit me. read more

Number of Americans Who Think Global Warming Is a Myth Increases

The Yale Project on Climate Change Communication has grudgingly acknowledged that a November 2013 poll found that the number of Americans who think global warming is a myth has climbed to 23%, up seven percentage points since April 2013.

The poll also found that those who believed in global warming remained roughly the same, but those who were undecided dropped six percentage points, leading to the conclusion that many of those who were once vacillating now disbelieve global warming. read more

NASA Reveals New Mars Rocket

It is set to become the largest rocket ever built, dwarfing the rockets that took man to the moon and paving the way for manned missions to Mars.

NASA today reveal stunning new pictures of its SLS (Space Launch System), which will eventually be capable of lifting 130 tons into orbit.

The rocket will be used to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station, and to help us explore the outer reaches of the solar system.Nasa's vast SLS rocket, which will launch payloads of upto 130 tonnes into orbit and could make its first flight in 2017.

It is even hoped the craft could play a role in manned missions to Mars, being able to launch ‘stepping stone’ bases into orbit.

‘The potential use of SLS for science will further enhance the synergy between scientific exploration and human exploration,’ said John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator for science at NASA Headquarters in Washington. read more

Operation Restores Lost Sight

 

Garry Morse, 28, an office administrator, was one of a handful of patients in the UK to have a pioneering treatment to restore sight to one eye using cells taken from his good eye.

THE PATIENT

'The ammonia went into my left eye - it was the worst pain I have ever felt,' said Garry Morse‘The ammonia went into my left eye – it was the worst pain I have ever felt,’ said Garry Morse

 

On my way home from a night out seven years ago, I was attacked by a big gang — 18 to 20 of them, the police later told me.

The contents of a bottle of ammonia was thrown into my face.

It was totally unprovoked, out-of-the-blue, when I was only 100 yards from my home.

The ammonia went into my left eye — it was the worst pain I have ever felt.

My first worry was that I was blind. I wasn’t, but all I could see was a blur of colors. I couldn’t make anything out.

Paramedics arrived and I was taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Gateshead, and then the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle upon Tyne.

My eye was very painful, agonizing. The ammonia had damaged the cornea, the transparent front of the eye. Nerves in my eye lid had also been damaged.

Over the next year or so I had four operations to remove scar tissue from the cornea to try to get it to heal, but although it slightly improved, I still couldn’t see or make out very much. read more

An Antioxidant Created in the Lab

An antioxidant created in the lab could keep our skin younger for longer by protecting it from sun damage.

Scientists at Newcastle University say the molecule, Tiron, gives complete protection from UVA rays – which make up 95 per cent of the UV radiation in sunlight.

They hope Tiron could be given to people in food or cosmetics.

Discovery: Molecule Tiron gives complete protection from UVA rays - which make up 95 per cent of the UV radiation in sunlight (library image)
Discovery: Molecule Tiron gives complete protection from UVA rays – which make up 95 per cent of the UV radiation in sunlight (library image) read more

Drone Shopping

 

A luxury real estate agency has turned to drone technology to reel in top buyers for a $6.1 million Connecticut mansion.

Halstead Property is one of a slew of high-end realtors who’ve begun using the remote controlled copters to capture the most captivating photos and video possible from inside and around America’s finest homes.

The five bedroom Greenwich, Connecticut estate is the most recent of some 200 homes Halstead has marketed using the technology.

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Marketing drones: This $6.1 million Georgian-style Connecticut mansion has gotten the drone treatment. Luxury real estate firm Halstead Properties uses the technology to take video that creates an experience more than simply an impression
Marketing drones: This $6.1 million Georgian-style Connecticut mansion has gotten the drone treatment. Luxury real estate firm Halstead Properties uses the technology to take video that creates an experience more than simply an impression

 

‘We’re not selling $150,000 homes with this technology,’ Matthew Leone, the director of web marketing for Halstead, told the New York Times.

Instead, Halstead and firms like them are giving the most elite of potential buyers the red carpet treatment in an effort to entice them into cutting a check.

The drones are set aloft with cameras in tow. They capture the interior and exterior of homes from angles impossible to reach with average cameras, but which give an experience when viewed online rather than just a glimmer of what the place is like. read more

Luxury Bunker

 

When it comes to living a life of solitude, it doesn’t get much more self-sufficient than this.

A 4,200-square-foot compound in Yellow Jacket, a desert town in Montezuma County, Colorado, has been built with disaster-ready architecture, essentially allowing it to withstand anything the world can throw at it.

The walls are made of reinforced concrete and lined with steel.

The structure is so strong it has been deemed ‘nuclear rated’, according to Curbed.

Just your average house ... with a 100-foot radio tower: This Colorado bunker, which has been deemed disaster-proof, is on the market for $11.5 million
Just your average house … with a 100-foot radio tower: This Colorado bunker, which has been deemed disaster-proof, is on the market for $11.5 million

 

The compound, in Yellow Jacket, Colorado, is on the market for $11.5 million or can be rented for $19,500 a month per person
The compound, in Yellow Jacket, Colorado, is on the market for $11.5 million or can be rented for $19,500 a month per person

 

Cosy: The interior has a homely feel, save for the metal air ducts on the roof, which are designed to close in the event of any air contamination, such as a nuclear meltdown
Cosy: The interior has a homely feel, save for the metal air ducts on the roof, which are designed to close in the event of any air contamination, such as a nuclear

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Which One Is Watching You?

These days drones are used for everything from farming to surveying remote regions to waging war.

So it makes sense that one Dutch designer has penned the Drone Survival Guide, which like bird watching charts, shows the various shapes and sizes of flying objects by their silhouettes.

Ruben Pater’s guide, however, details the differing kinds of flying robots used at war, as well as survival tips of how to hide from them.

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Dutch designer Ruben Pater has penned the Drone Survival Guide, which like bird watching charts, shows the various shapes and sizes of flying objects by their silhouettes read more

Robotic Muscle

 

If mankind does ever become embroiled in a Terminator-style ‘war against the machines’, we’re really going to have to start doing a few more press-ups.

Researchers have developed a robotic muscle, an incredible thousand times more powerful than that of a human and capable of hurling an object 50 times heavier than itself.

The breakthrough relies on a material called vanadium dioxide which has a unique ability to change its size, shape and structure when heated.

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Robo muscle: The 'micro-bimorph dual coil' developed by U.S. scientists that can hurl an object 50 times heavier than itself
Robo muscle: The ‘micro-bimorph dual coil’ developed by U.S. scientists that can hurl an object 50 times heavier than itself read more