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Darwin’s private papers launched on the Internet April 17, 2008

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The first draft of Charles Darwin’s “On The Origin Of Species” is among a wealth of papers belonging to the intensely private man who changed science being published on the Internet on Thursday for the first time.

Comprising some 20,000 items and 90,000 images, the release on http://darwin-online.org.uk is the largest in history, according to the organisers from Cambridge University Library which holds all the Darwin papers.

“This release makes his private papers, mountains of notes, experiments, and research behind his world-changing publications available to the world for free,” said John van Wyhe, director of the project. “His publications have always been available in the public sphere – but these papers have until now only been accessible to scholars.”

The collection includes thousands of notes and drafts of his scientific writings, notes from the voyage of the Beagle when he began to formulate his controversial theory of evolution, and his first recorded doubts about the permanence of species. It also contains photographs of Darwin and his family, newspaper clippings, reviews of his books and much more.

Giving a more personal insight, there is also his wife Emma’s cookbook including recipes for delicacies such as ‘Ilkley pudding’ and a rudimentary recipe for boiling rice, written by Darwin himself. Other papers include caricatures and notes with his boyhood musings on birds.

Publication in 1859 of Origin of Species after years of prevarication established Darwin, already known to the public after publication of The Voyage of the Beagle, as a leading scientific thinker. But it also sparked a major public debate and a bitter denunciation by the Church of England, which regarded the book as heretical.

“Darwin changed our understanding of nature forever. His papers reveal how immensely detailed his researches were,” said van Wyhe. “The release of his papers online marks a revolution in the public’s access to – and hopefully appreciation of – one of the most important collections of primary materials in the history of science.” 

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TVs ‘dumped after digital switch’ June 17, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Media, Science.
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Millions of TVs and videos will be dumped following the switch-over to digital television, a survey suggests

Eight million machines, enough to fill 100 Olympic swimming pools, will be ditched, it estimated, based on a poll of 2,500 UK adults, BBC reports.

Almost half of households do not know video players will not work in the same way when the analogue signal stops. One in five video recorders will be abandoned, possibly causing environmental damage, says uSwitch.com. When the signal changes viewers will no longer be able to watch one channel while recording another, the independent switching service explains. The company estimates that the cost of replacing these VCRs with digital recorders will exceed £1.1bn.

Of the 25 million TV sets yet to “go digital”, nearly five million are incapable of receiving a digital signal. The national bill to make TVs work will exceed £2.2bn. Fifteen per cent of households plan to throw their old sets away, the poll of 2,599 UK adults shows.

Steve Weller, head of communication services at uSwitch.com, says: “Not only is the switch-over costing the nation significantly more than the low cost of a Freeview box, but the potential environmental impact of the discarded VCRs and TVs is shattering.”

Authorities need to educate people about the change plus set up collection and recycling schemes, he adds. Whitehaven in Cumbria will be the first place in the UK to switch to digital in October.

Ready for a space flight? May 31, 2007

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A Lifetime Experience for Stephen Hawkins

Stephen Hawkins, the British physicist who has been nailed in wheelchair for over forty years, had a unique lifetime experience. Despite the serious health problems he faces, Hawkins managed to make his lifelong dream come true. He flew under conditions of zero gravity not once but eight times. Talking to the reporters shortly after his experience, he appeared pretty excited, saying that the zero-gravity flight was amazing.

A zero-gravity flight can take place with a specially modified Boeing 727 known as G-Force One.

The said conditions are created when the plane reaches 10,000m and then goes into a sharp dive to 2,600m, with the passengers experiencing low-gravity conditions for about 25 seconds.

Each flight costs about 3,500 dollars and includes 15 sharp dives. But the leading physicist had this unique zero-gravity experience for free.

Greek Science Fiction Fans April 30, 2007

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This is a must-to-read-and-see, definetely >

*You probably don’t want to trifle with these Greek sci-fi characters. Their magazines feature one-eyed bondage-pirate girls with chainsaws while the back covers sell absinthe.

*Even their gamer scene is pretty hairy.

http://arstechnica.com/journals/thumbs.ars/2007/04/30/sonys-newest-promotional-idea-dead-goats-and-naked-women

Via > Wired

Sponsoring solar aircraft to circle the globe March 22, 2007

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Deutsche Bank AG, Germany’s largest bank, will help fund a project led by Swiss aviator Bertrand Piccard to build a solar-powered aircraft that will fly around the world without stopping.

The aircraft will have a wing span of about 80 meters and be capable of taking off and flying using energy from the sun. Deutsche Bank AG CEO Joseph Ackermann said the bank will contribute 15 million Swiss francs (€9 million) of the project’s estimated 100 million-franc cost. Energy demand has become a massive challenge and every effort to address that must be supported, Ackermann said today at a news briefing in Zurich.

The record-breaking flight is planned for 2011 and construction of a smaller prototype, with a 61-meter wingspan, will begin next month. The first test flights are scheduled for next year. The biggest challenge will be to develop an aircraft with batteries capable of storing enough solar energy to fly through the night, said Piccard, the project’s president. We’re going to show that all the beautiful exploration of the last century will go on, Piccard said. In 1999, Piccard and co-pilot Brian Jones became the first to fly around the world in a hot-air balloon.

After starting in Chateau d’Oex, Switzerland, they flew west for 45,755 kilometers over 19 days and 21 hours before landing in Egypt. Solar Impulse, as the project is named, will cost about 100 million francs, of which some 65 million francs has already been pledged, said Andre Borschberg, the project’s CEO. The project’s other main partners include Swatch Group AG’s Omega brand and Brussels-based Solvay SA.