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David Szondy

Computers

Britain's first mass produced computer goes on public display

A pioneering piece of first-generation computer hardware was re-introduced to the public today. Almost 63 years after it made its debut at a trade show, the prototype of Britain's first mass-produced business computer is now on display at The National Museum of Computing (TNMOC) at Bletchley Park in Milton Keynes, about 50 miles north of London. The Hollerith Electronic Computer (HEC-1) was Britain's most commercially successful early computer and the first to be installed in many countries, such as India, New Zealand, and those in East Africa.Read More

Space

Activate cloaking device: Hiding Earth from unfriendly aliens using lasers

In recent years, mankind has become very good at finding other planets. Using instruments like the Kepler Space Telescope, scientists have, to date, discovered over 2,000 planets outside our Solar System, but what if some of those planets are inhabited by beings we'd rather not talk to, much less have drop in? Just in case any potential visitors are less ET and more Aliens, a pair of Columbia University scientists have figured out how to use lasers to hide the Earth from prying eyes by camouflaging its light signature.Read More

Space

Zeiss telephoto lens used on Apollo 15 up for auction

In October 2015, Boston-based RR Auction set a new record for astronaut memorabilia when the only privately-owned watch to be worn on Moon sold for US$1.6 million. This watch, which was flown on Apollo 15 in 1972, is now followed to the auction block by a Zeiss telephoto lens from the same mission. The Zeiss Tele-Tessar 500mm f/8 lens by Carl Zeiss AG was used by Mission Commander David R Scott with a Hasselblad camera body to set a new standard of photography on manned lunar missions and is expected to fetch around half a million dollars.Read More

Computers

Brain-like supercomputing platform to explore new frontiers

In the old days, it was common to hear a computer chip referred to as an "electronic brain." Modern chip designs are now making such labels even more apt. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) is set to take receipt of a brain-inspired supercomputing platform developed by IBM Research. The first-of-a-kind system is based on a neurosynaptic computer chip known as IBM TrueNorth, and can process the equivalent of 16 million neurons and 4 billion synapses while consuming just 2.5 watts of power.Read More

Space

Mars drone tech sniffs out methane leaks on Earth

Natural gas pipelines stretch for thousands of miles across entire continents and inspecting them for potentially dangerous leaks is a full-time, never-ending job. To take some of the pressure off, NASA is testing a quadcopter equipped with a miniature methane gas sensor originally designed for testing the Martian atmosphere. The space agency says that the exceptional sensitivity of the equipment makes it possible to monitor many miles of pipeline at a time from the air.Read More

Electronics

Smartphone and laser attachment form cheap rangefinder

A team of researchers at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) led by Li-Shiuan Peh has come up with a new infrared depth-sensing system. The new system, which works outdoors as well as in, was built by attaching a US$10 laser to a smartphone, with MIT saying the inexpensive approach could be used to convert conventional personal vehicles, such as wheelchairs and golf carts, into autonomous ones.Read More

Science

Twisting puts the brakes on light in a vacuum

The speed of light is a universal constant, but, according to scientists at the University of Ottawa, not that constant. A team of researchers led by assistant professor Ebrahim Karimi has discovered that twisted light traveling through a vacuum moves slower than the speed set by Einstein's theory of relativity, which has implications for quantum computing and communications.Read More

Electronics

DARPA's latest grand challenge takes on the radio spectrum

One of the most hotly contested bits of real estate today is one you can't see. As we move into an increasingly wireless-connected world, staking out a piece of the crowded electromagnetic spectrum becomes more important. DARPA is hoping to help solve this issue with its latest Grand Challenge, which calls for the use of machine-learning technologies to enable devices to share bandwidth.Read More

Space

Cygnus cargo ship successfully docks with ISS

The Cygnus Orbital ATk Crs-6 mission has docked with the International Space Station (ISS). According to NASA, the unmanned cargo ship was successfully captured by US astronaut and Expedition 47 Commander Tim Kopra with the assistance of ESA astronaut and Flight Engineer Tim Peake at 6:51 am EDT using one of the station's robotic arms. It was then transferred to the Unity Module, where it docked with one of the Earth-facing ports.Read More

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