1. Despite Budget Cuts, NASA Keeps Busy
It’s been over a year since the final space shuttle mission, and instead of moping around wallowing in the bad economy, NASA is still doing stuff dammit! Besides the huge engineering and logistical success that was the Mars rover, NASA has been busy funding research on the future of air travel.
Aside from funding Boeing’s blended wing body plane — the X-48 which is currently in remote testing — NASA awarded a group from University of Miami $100,000 dollars for their supersonic bi-directional “ninja star” plane. This concept will have two modes of flight: subsonic and supersonic. What makes this concept spectacular is that as the jet breaks the sound barrier, it will rotate 90 degrees to dampen the sonic boom. Then it will proceed to fly at Mach 2. How fast is that? New York to Tokyo in 3 hours.
This past Friday, NASA was also able to record a filament eruption on the surface of the sun. To give you an idea of the size of the filament below, if you assume that its length is the length of the sun’s radius (which I think is a fair estimate), you could line up approximately 55 earths from the surface to the end of the discharge — which was traveling at a stunning 900 miles per second.
2. Pirate Bay Co-founder Arrested
Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, one of the four Swedish co-founders of the torrenting site, was arrested in Cambodia last Thursday. It is reported that he lived in a desirable penthouse in the capital city, and he now faces deportation for being in violation of “immigration laws”.
This action came quite soon after Sweden gifted a $59.4 million package of financial aid to Cambodia and talks of possible bilateral trade between the US and Cambodia and between Sweden and Cambodia.
In 2009, all co-founders were sentenced to a year in prison for copyright infringement. Warg, however, did not appear in an appeal hearing in 2010. Instead, he skipped town to avoid the rigors (ha!) of the Swedish incarceration. He currently awaits deportation in a Cambodian detention center.
Actual Swedish Jail Cell
3. Information Overload doesn’t Exist, but Internet Addiction Does
A study published in the academic journal The Informational Society: An International Journal came out with a study recently regarding the phenomena commonly known as “information overload”. It is generally attributed to the considerably large volume of media content available to the masses.
The study was conducted by Northwestern University and University of Michigan. The researchers surveyed 77 participants on their perception of today’s media landscape, and it turns out that people are more irritated by the quality of information rather than the quantity of information.
“Instead of feeling burdened by choice many participants enjoyed the freedom it brought, especially the range of information available online,” the study states. It’s, rather, the sensationalized television news and insignificant drivel posted on social media that seems to irritate most.
But some keep coming back for more internets. Claiming that information overload doesn’t exist merely because the focus group doesn’t perceive it is absurd. The brain is so complex, it’s impossible to be aware of all its functions at once.
Another recent study, this one from the University of Bonn, has found the genetic indicator to internet addiction. Neuroscientists note that internet addiction shares a lot of properties with nicotine addiction, in that they both stimulate the pleasure centers in the septum pellucidium and hypothalamus. And guess what, ladies, according to this study you’re more prone to internet addiction than men.
A less probable situation according to this study