Xenophilia (True Strange Stuff)

Blog of the real Xenophilius Lovegood, a slightly mad scientist

Archive for December 25th, 2010

Holiday Greetings From People in Space

Posted by Anonymous on December 25, 2010

Posted in Space | Leave a Comment »

Sacramento’s K Street to get new look in 2011

Posted by Anonymous on December 25, 2010

According to an article by Jennifer Smith  K street in Sacramento will be getting a major nightlife boost. A San Francisco nightclub operator is going to open a complex of three venues in mid January.

“Pizza Rock features a Sistine Chapel-style painted ceiling celebrating rock, while a real Peterbuilt truck appears to come crashing through a wall, offering an unusual perch for a dj to spin tunes. ..

Next door to Pizza Rock, the upscale Dive Bar features a 7,500-gallon aquarium where mermaids and mermen will perform.

“They’ll just be swimming around in there, they’re going to sit on their perch and interact with the crowd,” said General Manager David Brattmiller.

The third venue in the $8 million complex is called District 30, a nightclub that will cater to the 30-something-year-old crowd. “It’s the best sound you could possibly have,” said Brattmiller.

The Downtown Sacramento Partnership views the new complex as a major addition to the revitalization of K Street. …

By next fall, K Street will also reopen to car traffic for the first time since 1969. …

The City of Sacramento approved a $5.7 million subsidy for the entertainment project last year, hoping it spurs even more economic development in the blighted corridor. …

via Sacramento’s K Street to get new look in 2011 | News10.net | Sacramento, California | News.

Speaking of nightlife on K street, I hope these new clubs also help bring more people to the Crest Theater. I love that place.

Posted in Art | 1 Comment »

Science news highlights of 2010

Posted by Anonymous on December 25, 2010

2010 was a year dominated by the repercussions of the Deepwater Horizon accident, which caused the biggest ever release of oil into the ocean.

In the world of research, we were introduced to “Synthia”, the first life form with synthetic DNA, and “X-woman”, a new member of the human family tree.

BBC science reporter Paul Rincon looks back at the twists and turns of a year in science and the environment. …

via BBC News – Science news highlights of 2010.

Nice review article. I wanted to see if I missed anything in my posts about major discoveries in 2010. Here are two that I would have posted but must have been busy that day:

- the first full-sky image from the Planck telescope.

- The UN biodiversity conference in Nagoya, Japan, agreed a 10-year plan aimed at preserving nature.

Posted in Earth, Space, Survival | 1 Comment »

New solar fuel machine ‘mimics plant life’

Posted by Anonymous on December 25, 2010

In the prototype, sunlight heats a ceria cylinder which breaks down water or carbon dioxide A prototype solar device has been unveiled which mimics plant life, turning the Sun’s energy into fuel.

The machine uses the Sun’s rays and a metal oxide called ceria to break down carbon dioxide or water into fuels which can be stored and transported.

Conventional photovoltaic panels must use the electricity they generate in situ, and cannot deliver power at night.

Details are published in the journal Science.

The prototype, which was devised by researchers in the US and Switzerland, uses a quartz window and cavity to concentrate sunlight into a cylinder lined with cerium oxide, also known as ceria.

Ceria has a natural propensity to exhale oxygen as it heats up and inhale it as it cools down.

If as in the prototype, carbon dioxide and/or water are pumped into the vessel, the ceria will rapidly strip the oxygen from them as it cools, creating hydrogen and/or carbon monoxide.

Hydrogen produced could be used to fuel hydrogen fuel cells in cars, for example, while a combination of hydrogen and carbon monoxide can be used to create “syngas” for fuel. …

The prototype is grossly inefficient, the fuel created harnessing only between 0.7% and 0.8% of the solar energy taken into the vessel.

Most of the energy is lost through heat loss through the reactor’s wall or through the re-radiation of sunlight back through the device’s aperture.

But the researchers are confident that efficiency rates of up to 19% can be achieved through better insulation and smaller apertures. Such efficiency rates, they say, could make for a viable commercial device. …

via BBC News – New solar fuel machine ‘mimics plant life’.

Posted in Alt Energy | Leave a Comment »

Skype finally bringing video calling to iPhone 4, others?

Posted by Anonymous on December 25, 2010

So let us set this up for you: Skype has been telling everyone that it’ll be making a “series of video-related announcements” at CES next month… and it’s participating in a panel called “Video Calling Gets Ready for Primetime,” so yeah, needless to say, we’d have to guess that Skype’s finally getting ready to enter the mobile video calling game in a big way. Anyhow, the final piece in the puzzle filtered into our inbox this morning: a help document on Skype’s site detailing making video calls using Skype for iPhone. We don’t know whether there’s a corresponding document out there for Android, Symbian, or other operating systems, but we’re certainly hoping so — because if these guys come to the table at once with versions for all the major phone platforms, we’ve got a feeling they’ll be dominating the mobile-to-mobile and mobile-to-PC video calling market in no time.

via Skype finally bringing video calling to iPhone 4, maybe other mobile platforms? — Engadget.

Posted in Technology | Leave a Comment »

 
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