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Asteroid 2012 DA14 supposedly worth $195bn to space miners

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According to interstellar prospectors at Deep Space Industries (DSi) the 2012 DA14 asteroid set to pass by the Earth this Friday is holding $65 billion of recoverable water and $135 billion in metals.

The company has no plans to go after the asteroid but has indicated it wants to send initial "Firefly" probes out to Near Earth Objects (NEOs) as early as 2015.

The 2012 DA14 asteroid is measured at roughly 50 meters in diameter and is predicted to pass within 17,200 miles of Earth at 7:24pm GMT on Friday. Unfortunately, its trajectory is tilted the wrong way for enterprising space miners to get at the galactic treasure trove. That, and the lack of any actual space mining equipment.

"While this week's visitor isn't going the right way for us to harvest it, there will be others that are, and we want to be ready when they arrive," said DSi chairman Rick Tumlinson.

"If 2012 DA14 contains 5 per cent recoverable water, that alone – in space as rocket fuel – might be worth as much as $65 billion. If 10 per cent of its mass is easily recovered iron, nickel and other metals, that could be worth – in space as building material – an additional $130 billion," DSi says.

2012 DA14 will travel closer to Earth than any previously recorded asteroid and pass within the orbit of several satellites, although it won't be visible to the naked eye.

Still, the idea of going space fishing for minerals on a 50,000-tonne orbiting rock has its appeal, as launching material from Earth currently costs $10 million per tonne.

DSi says it plans to launch larger "Dragonfly" probes in 2016, followed by actual on-asteroid mining by 2020 - providing such mineral-rich asteroids happen to be forthcoming. Until then, it's back to StarCraft and Armageddon re-runs.

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The Bone Luge: Gross, Weird, But More Than Just A Gimmick

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There’s a growing trend among boozers in some parts of the world: sucking down shots through beef marrow bones. Yes, the Bone Luge sounds macabre, savage, disgusting and fratty, but don’t let the name fool you. It’s a high-end (read: expensive) affair, but all the pomp isn’t just for show. It’s actually, you know, good.

Here’s everything you need to know about it.

What the Hell Is It?

A typical Bone Luge starts with a fancyish appetizer at a fancyish restaurant. You want to order the roasted beef marrow bone. It’ll arrive, generally sawed in half, lengthwise, with garlic toast and a couple of other accouterments. That right there will generally run you $US15-$US20. Scrape that fatty marrow out onto your toast, and enjoy as your arteries cry out for mercy.

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When you’re done eating, you’re left with a hollowed-out bone. Here’s where the luge comes in. You’re going to order a glass of booze (more on which kind in a moment). You put one end of the bone up to your mouth, tilt the bone up, and pour your drink down the other side. Do it right, and it’s perfectly funneled into your mouth.

Why Would I Want to Do That?

It sounds like a disgusting gimmick. No better than drinking beer out of a helmet, right? Wrong. In fact, you’re adding a distinct and pleasing dimension to your drink: umami.

Umami is one of the five basic tastes, along with sweet, salty, sour and bitter. It is the savoury flavour (different from salty), that coats your tongue and lingers. It is our tastebuds’ response to the amino acid L-glutamate. Human breast milk is extremely high in glutamate (more than ten times the content of cow’s milk), so most of us first encounter the umami flavour while nursing, which may explain why many find it to be calming, soothing and satisfying. Umami is also known to be a flavour enhancer. Bone marrow is teeming with the stuff.

That’s not all. When you bone luge, the alcohol carries some of the excess fat present in the marrow residue with it. Even in small amounts, this adds to the richness of the drink. Because the fat is still liquid on the warm bone, it mixes instantly with the beverage as your drinking it. The effect is very similar to a fat wash, where something like bacon fat is infused into a spirit, frozen and then strained out. Except with the luge it’s an instantaneous effect. Pouring it down the warm bone also serves to heat the alcohol, slightly, which further releases the aroma.

The combined effect is subtle, but distinctive. It doesn’t really alter the flavourof the drink very much, but it adds that hard-to-articulate, rich, savoury element. There’s a bit more smoothness to it, and the experience really lingers. After you’ve finished your drink you’ll continue to notice the flavours evolve on your tongue for a good while after. And yes, I would have thought it was all just hype, too, if I hadn’t tried it myself. It’s really not about the spectacle (which is actually mildly embarrassing), it’s all about the flavours.

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What Booze Should I Luge?

There’s no one answer to this. Since the trend started taking off, people have been luging everything from hard spirits, to wines, to cocktails. There are a few general guidelines you should follow though.

  • Choose something that you would normally want to sip and savour. This isn’t a shot, exactly, in that that point isn’t to get wasted. You’ll probably end up pouring the drink a bit at a time so you can really take it in. You’re probably going to want to go top shelf.
  • You want something that will be enhanced by the addition of that savoury umami flavour. This isn’t everything. In fact, some things are going to overwhelm it. Basically: don’t use scotch. Its flavours are so strong that you’d probably miss the more subtle new ones.
  • Likewise, if the proof is too high, the alcohol burn will totally overwhelm your tastebuds and you’ll miss the ride. So 80 proof is probably the absolute max you’d want to go (maaaaybe 86, but you’re really pushing it). Simply put, if you keep it lower, you’ll be able to taste everything better. Similarly, you want a room-temperature drink. Not only will you be able to taste it better, but it will more efficiently carry the warm fat off the bone.

So where does that leave us?

The two most popular beverages for bone luging are brandy or a nice dry sherry. Fino sherry (which is what I tried) is a fortified wine, which means it’s slightly stronger the most traditional wines. On its own, it doesn’t do much for me, but through the luge I found it to be mouth-watering, and far more complex. It brought out all kinds of flavours that were already in the wine, but that I hadn’t noticed before.

Brandy (Larressingle VSOP Armagnac, in this case, which was very tasty) has much more flavour of its own, so when taken through a bone luge it is still the predominant flavour. But still, the savoury marrow really complements the smoky, sweet flavours, and the resulting combination is very warming. It made me want to curl up by a fire and lick my lips for an hour.

Others are partial to sipping bourbon through their bone, or tequila. In both cases the umami flavour would be a nice complement to the smokiness of the spirit, but the higher proof may detract a little. There’s evidence that people have sipped a Manhattan through a bone luge, which sounds like a great idea; you’ve got the sweet smokiness of bourbon or rye, plus the aromatics of the vermouth, and a slightly lower alcohol content than a straight up spirit. The website boneluge.com has many more intriguing pairing suggestions and various sage advice.

Whose Idea Was This?

There’s some debate about when the first bone luge really was (cavemen?), but credit for the modern bone luge is generally given to Jacob Grier of Portland, OR, who was out with some friends during Cocktail Week 2010 and, well, one thing lead to another, and he found himself drinking tequila out of a marrow bone. He convinced the restaurant Metrovino (where he’s head bartender) to add the bone luge to the menu, and it’s been spreading ever since.

The bone luge officially went mainstream when Anthony Bourdain said, “I’m aware of this practice. It’s extremely anti-social and against all standards of decency. So I think we should do it,” while at a bar in Toronto during an episode of No Reservations. The rest is TV history.

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Where Can I Do Them?

The short answer is pretty much anywhere they serve marrow bones. These are generally somewhat pricey restaurants that specialize in meat. There are plenty of places in New York City to get marrow bones, but a special shout-out goes to the good people at Prime Meats in Brooklyn who were kind enough to humour my “research.” Be somewhat selective in your choice of restaurant, as you don’t want to do it anywhere that takes themselves too seriously lest you receive scornful looks.

Of course, if you’d rather a bit more privacy, you can always roast marrow bones at home, but you may want to leave sawing the bone length-wise to the pros. But hey, a bone shot-glass world would just as well, I think.

DONE IT!!!

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US Air Force Finally Has Enough F-35s To Fly A Decent Formation

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Here you have it, people: four F-31A Lightning IIs returning in formation to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. According to the USAF, “pilots with the 33rd Fighter Wing began flying the formation for the first time at Eglin AFB last week.”

After so many production problems and delays, only now they have enough planes to do it.

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Woman Uses Digital Board to Break Up With Her Lover

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A woman in Manchester (England) rented a digital board to tell her ex-boyfriend that she’s breaking up. The digital board is placed at a petrol station in Manchester, where the ex-boyfriend usually takes his lunch . It appears that the woman was not only angry, but wanted to humiliate her ex-boyfriend as well.

The message on the board read “I’m leaving you for Gary. Your clothes are at your mum’s. I’ve change the locks.” “Sorry to do this on Valentine’s Day. Laura.”

Interestingly Jordan Wilson took a picture of the digital board and tweeted it. Now the picture has gone viral on twitter.

We don’t really know what caused “Laura” to take this course of action against “Dan”. We don’t even know why she would choose Valentine’s Day to do such a cruel thing. Maybe “Dan” deserves it. Or maybe “Laura” is just a really mean woman. This act goes on to show that human psyche is just weird when it comes to relationships.

Would you ever break up in such public (and cruel) manner?

Have you seen such break-ups before?

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Second Sight Argus II Artificial Retina Approved For Use

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This could be a life changing and historic moment for a number of blind patients in the world: the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of an Artificial Retina that could help a specific group of vision-impaired patients to recover a partial vision.

The principle of the Artificial Retina works like this: the retina is basically the eye’s “light sensors”, and when it is damaged, the light information isn’t received, and therefore it cannot be transmitted to the brain.The Argus II Artificial Retina uses electronic light sensors (a camera) that performs the function of the retina. It is connected to either the optic nerve, or directly to the brain so that signal can be transmitted. Unfortunately, patients don’t recover full vision capabilities, but going from blindness to partial vision is surely a life-changing event. Now, patients would see obstacles and people’s shapes, which is a huge improvements from seeing very little, or nothing at tall.

The system is mounted on a pair of glasses and is called Argus II. It has a camera mounted at the center of the glasses, in between the eyes. The image captured by the camera is converted to signal that is transmitted to an implant in the eye, connected to the optic nerve. That’s how it effectively replaces the Retina.

It is just amazing to see how science can now solve problems that were once deemed “unfixable” due to their complex biological nature. And this is only the beginning: in fact, this is not the first time that such a project has been attempted. Cornell University has been working on a similar concept and presented at TED. In Israel, a company has been developing a product called Bio-Retina which aims at solving the same problem.

One thing is for sure: in the near future, a category of blindness can be cared for by augmenting the human body. Technically, the patients would be cyborgs. This is science for good, at its best. With technological progress, those patients will one day see as well as any of us, if not better.

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Apple Plans To Fix iOS 6.1 Passcode Lock Bypass Exploit

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A flaw in the passcode lock in iOS 6.1 was revealed yesterday that allowed anyone to bypass it with very little effort in order to access the owner’s phone application to view voicemails, contact information and place calls. As a result, Apple has announced it is currently working on a fix that would help make its passcode lock feature function the way it should.

In a statement to CNET, Apple says the company ” takes user security very seriously.” They also say they “are aware of this issue, and will deliver a fix in a future software update.”

Apple didn’t give a timeline of when a fix to the passcode lock bypass in iOS 6.1 would be available.

iOS 6.1.1 was recently rushed to release in order to address issues iPhone 4S users were having with iOS 6.1. Those users complained of battery drain and 3G performance issues, but seeing how this is a major security concern, we’re hoping Apple releases the update much sooner to all iOS 6.1 users than they did with the release of iOS 6.1.1.

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Airbus Switching To Conventional Nickel-Cadmium Batteries In The A350

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Airbus is making plans to drop lithium-ion batteries from its upcoming A350 planes. The Wall Street journal reports that Airbus is taking the decision so that deliveries of the A350 are not delayed due to regulations over the lithium-ion batteries.

Lithium-ion batteries have previously caused Boeing’s Dreamliner planes to be grounded after two instances of burning aboard the planes. Questions have also been raised regarding safety standards of batteries especially sincethe cause of the incidents has not been found.

Last month a fire broke out in a Dreamliner, and although the location of the fire has been found, its cause is still unknown.The Airbus is expected to start flights by the middle of 2013. Airbus intends to keep testing the lithium-ion batteries, but will provide nickel-cadmium batteries for commercial flights. The move is being done to get proper certification for the planes. Switching to nickel-cadmium batteries would increase the weight equivalent to one adult male passenger out of up to 350. Boeing however might not be lucky to make the switch back to nickel-cadmium batteries, as a lot of Dreamliners are now out in the market, and the lithium-ion batteries have replaced a lot of systems in the plane.

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A sign from God? Lightning hits Vatican as Pope Benedict announced resignation

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POPE Benedict's shock resignation came like "like a lightning bolt in a clear blue sky'' according to one of his senior cardinals.

Then, just hours after the Pontiff dropped the bombshell that he no longer had the health and vigour to carry out his duties as leader of the world's 1.1 billion Catholics, a freak thunderstorm swept over Rome and a lighting bolt struck the basilica of St.Peter's dome.

Thunderstorms are not unknown in winter, but they are more likely to hit the celestial city in spring or summer, which makes the lightning strike even more unusual.

Photographer Filippo Monteforte was in the right place at the right time to capture an image that could be construed as a sign from God.

As Psalm 29 says: "The voice of the Lord strikes with flashes of lightning."

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US Air Force Finally Has Enough F-35s To Fly A Decent Formation

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Here you have it, people: four F-31A Lightning IIs returning in formation to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. According to the USAF, “pilots with the 33rd Fighter Wing began flying the formation for the first time at Eglin AFB last week.”

After so many production problems and delays, only now they have enough planes to do it.

Nah, that's gotta be Photshopped like the Iranian stealth fighter! nyah.gif

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Nah, that's gotta be Photshopped like the Iranian stealth fighter! nyah.gif

HAHAHA!!clap.gif

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Watch This Giant Meteorite Fly Over Russia…You Won’t Believe The Sound It Made

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In an unexpected move, space seems to be putting on a matinee show for Earth ahead of the tomorrow’s 4:30am (AEDT) fly-by of the asteroid code-named 2012 DA14, with a giant goddamn meteorite streaking across the sky in Russia this morning before crashing to Earth with a furious bang.

The action starts at around 10 seconds in when the meteorite comes into frame. Trust me, you won’t miss it.

The meteorite lights up the sky as it streaks across the frame at around 9:20am local time.

And then, nearby, the almighty bang that blew out the windows of a city.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=b0cRHsApzt8

According to various media outlets, evacutions are currently underway.

Videos are currently being uploaded to YouTube of contrails across the Russian sky.

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Apple Gets Hacked

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Reuters says Apple was targeted by the same crew that recently hit Facebook. The hackers managed to infect a “small number” of the company’s computers.

Apple says “there was no evidence that any data left” its facilities, but that could change as the firm works with law enforcement.

There are few details to share right now, but if Apple knows the attack — very narrow in scale, most likely a focused malware infection — is related to Facebook’s, then this is a Chinese job.

Curiously (and a little unsettlingly), Apple says it will release a tool later today allowing customers to check if they are infected with the same malware used in the attack — suggesting it might be some sort of worm that could spread from system to system undetected. [Reuters]

Update: Apple says the infection stemmed from “a vulnerability in the Java plug-in for browsers”, meaning some people clicked on a compromised website. Again, not a terribly sophisticated attack.

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HTC One: The Great White Hype Is Here

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Carved out of a solid block of aluminium, HTC’s great white hype is the oft-leaked One aka M7. It’s what the company is touting as its new flagship device today in New York. And in typical HTC style, the One has one or two new software features to help differentiate itself from the rest.

It has what you’d expect from a brand new smartphone: 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 proc, 32GB to 64GB of onboard storage, 2GB of RAM, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, LTE and a 2300mAh battery. The screen is a whopping 4.7 inches with a 468ppi 1080p display. But all of that is a snooze when you find out that it’s running Android 4.1.2 wrapped in a newer version of HTC’s Sense. Luckily, the One has some more interesting features in the bag.

Like the Nexus One before it, the One is shaved out of a solid block of aluminum, and I’m told it takes roughly 200 minutes to carve out each unibody casing. It looks quite hefty, like Lumia 920, but is surprisingly light and cold to the touch. It weighs 143 grams and the tapered backside made it easier to handle too. Unlike some of HTC’s previous phones, the One feels like a premium device.

The most interesting thing about the One is its 4-megapixel camera. Yeah, you read that correctly. Well, according to HTC’s marketing folks, it isn’t megapixels but UltraPixels with each allowing 300 per cent more light. HTC’s demos show its larger pixels performing really, really impressively in low light, but we’ll reserve judgement until we put it through its paces.

In theory, HTC is right — megapixels don’t really matter. A dedicated ImageChip 2 helps boost the prowess of the f2.0 lens, which claims to simulate a normal 28mm lens. I had a few minutes with the device last week, and picture quality seemed to be pretty good.

But who can really tell when you’re looking at images on the device itself. We don’t have all the details about how the tech works, but it does seem pretty reminiscent of Sigma’s “46-megapixel” sensor, which is really three 15.4-megapixel sensors laid on top of each other — one each for red, green and blue.

Another notable camera feature is Smart Flash, which automatically picks from five different flash settings depending on the distance from the subject. And if HDR is your thing, the One does that too, including video.

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The most visible new feature is a redesigned home page for your phone that HTC calls BlinkFeed. Rather than a customised home screen that you’d normally find on an Android device, you have a stream of blips and bites from the web in addition to your local weather and the time. You can opt into a variety of content feeds, including Twitter, sports news from ESPN, world news, tech news and the like. You might like it, you might not.

On top of the UltraPixels is another new feature called HTC Zoe and Zoe Share. With Zoe turned on in camera settings, you can shoot a three-second video clip (Mpeg) and extract just about any frame you want for that picture-perfect Kodak moment. You can also upload and share the clip through Zoe Share, which generates a shareable link that directs folks to an HTML5 page. I can’t tell if it’s a Vine-like play or what, but it’s there if you’re into that sort of thing.

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Zoe Highlight is another new feature that compiles and edits together images, Zoe images and videos based on a number of factors, like location, time, date and some image recognition that Zoe does in the background. It does it automatically, since HTC kinda smartly realised that you’re not going to do that on your own. What you get is a reel overlaid with some music and a filter effect that HTC hopes you’ll share with your friends and family. There are something like six different themes that you can choose from. It’s pretty cheesy but I’m sure some folks will like it.

On the audio end, BoomSound is a new enhancer that makes the speakers louder and clearer than previous models, according to HTC. It can also display lyrics while you’re playing songs, in real time, for impromptu karaoke that you’ll use maybe like once or twice when you first get your phone (but it’s still pretty cool). Dual-mic HDR recording built-in allows mics to record relevant audio on the fly. It captures a broader spectrum of sound and evaluates and differentiates the signals.

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And for the TV buffs, there’s HTC Sense TV, which effectively turns the One into a remote for your TV and set-top box. Tucked inside the power button is a tiny IR sensor, which I thought was pretty clever from a design standpoint. Anyway, you can connect to one of 10 different TV/set-top box combinations and browse local listings thanks to Peel.

Look for the One to be out late March in 185 different countries.

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This Ludicrous Safe Is The Only Sane Place For Your Million Dollars’ Worth Of Watches And Cigars

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We all have fancy things, but some of us have fancier things than everybody else. This safe is for those people. The new behemoth by Döttling boasts insurance coverage of up to $US1,000,000. And it’s even got a built-in humidor for all your cigars! It’s like they were reading your mind, right?

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Billed as “safest luxury safe in the world,” this pinnacle of security is called “the Fortress” and is clearly aimed at a very specific kind of person. A smoker with a lot of fancy watches. The safe comes in several configurations, one of which includes a whopping eight watch winders. And for the cigar connoisseur, there’s the Spanish cedar humidor option, complete with electronic humidifying system, hygrometer, and barometer to keep you up-to-date on how them smokes are doing.

Döttling is making The Fortress available in several different security ratings, the highest of which is exclusive this particular safe (read: doesn’t actually exist). Clearly this is not for everyone — arguably not for anyone — and as such, only 10 are to be made. And the price? Not listed. If you have to ask, you can’t afford it.

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Watch A Ferrari Enzo Go Rallying

Seeing an exotic supercar like a Ferrari Enzo in the wild is a magical experience. It’s like catching a glimpse of a unicorn. As you hear it scream into the distance, you might catch yourself wondering where that Russian oil billionaire is off to. If he’s anything like this guy, he’s off to a dirt track to mistreat a beautiful machine.

This isn’t exactly a bespoke “rally stage”, but it’s still a brave thing to do to your $US2 million supercar.

Watch as this Enzo owner thrashes his poor car around a dirty construction site. What’s next? A Bugatti Veyron going duning?

Actually can someone do that please?

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Monster Machines: Plane Converted Into The World’s Most Stylish UAV

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Dubbed the P.1HH HammerHead, this UAV is the result of a collaboration between Piaggio Aero and Selex ES based on the P-180 Avanti II, a twin-engine turboprop. The Avanti II is primarily utilised as a business jet with a 1400nM range, though a “Special Mission” piloted derivative is also available for both emergency response and military operations.

In the latter case, the Avanti II can perform in a variety of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, electronic warfare, security surveillance roles.

The HammerHead UAV, while maintaining the Avanti II’s 14m fuselage length and 4m height, does incorporate slightly-larger reinforced wings measuring 16m across. It also replaces the cockpit and cabin with an oversized fuel tank, sensor suite and avionics bay. The HammerHead will also carry an external radome. In all, the UAV will be able to take off with a maximum payload of about 1800kg worth of sensors and equipment. A pair of 950 SHP Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-66B turboprop engines will propel the aircraft to its 45,000 foot operational ceiling and keep it there for up to 16 hours.

While it is capable of autonomously taking off and landing, the P.1HH can be controlled remotely through both Line of Sight (LOS) and Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS), a satellite-based communication system, ground control stations. What’s more, the HammerHead is equipped with the Selex ES-developed skyISTAR system. The skyISTAR integrates and analyses data from the on-board sensor suite before transmitting the synthesised image to the UAV operator.

Fabrizio Giulianini, CEO of SELEX Galileo had this to say: “In the future, UAS, especially MALE UAS, will need to be able to carry out a broader range of surveillance missions at an affordable cost while minimising ground crew workload. skyISTAR is flexible enough to meet all sorts of mission requirements while its platform and payload agnostic design means it can be adapted to the budget of the customer. Crucially, our experience with similar manned systems such as the ATOS means we’ll able to convert the data a UAS collects into the most useful information possible for operators on the ground.”

Selex executives expect this system to turn the HammerHead into an effective medium altitude surveillance platform for everything from covert surveillance to border security to disaster relief.

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“We plan to fly the P.1HH HammerHead unmanned platform demonstrator by this (northern) summer, with the aim to conduct the maiden flight of the future dual-use medium-altitude long-endurance [MALE] fixed-wing unmanned air system prototype by year-end,” says Alberto Galassi, Piaggio Aero chief executive. The HammerHead must first complete its ground test phase before flight tests begin later this year, however Galassi is confident that the UAV will enter service for the Italian military by 2014.

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What The Hell Is This Weird Shiny Object On Mars?

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The Mars Curiosity Rover has been busy snapping photos (selfies too) of Mars and found something… strange. A small, shiny, metal-looking “protuberance” sticking out from the red planet. Is it some secret lever to open up a world where Martians exist? Or some random space junk? We don’t know.

You can see it in the picture above and see it zoomed in on the bottom right hand corner. If you look carefully, you can even see the protuberance’s shadow. Whatever it is, it looks a lot different from the red rock that it sits on. What in the hell?

People have suggested wild theories for the metal looking object but it’s probably just some part of the rock that is less susceptible to erosion (compared to the rest of the surface). Or maybe it’s a weird lighting trick that Curiosity is playing on us. Or a grave for a dying robot? Or who knows. The object, which is only half a centimetre tall, was found by the Curiosity Rover on January 30, 2013. We might never know what it is.

To me it looks like a tap handle lol

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J.J. Abrams Screens "Star Trek Into Darkness" For A Dying Fan

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It all started with a Reddit thread a few days ago when a user asked Redditors if there was any way his friend suffering from cancer could see the film.

Reddit user Ideeeyut's friend Dan suffers a very rare vascular tumor that is attacking his liver tissue. Dan was hoping to see the 10 minute preview of "Star Trek Into Darkness" before "The Hobbit," but his local theater did not have the preview.

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Ideeeyut and Dan's wife went to Reddit hoping to find a way for Dan to see the 10 minute preview before his cancer became too aggressive. Dan's wife came back to Reddit with great news...

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Not only had Dan seen the first 10 minutes, writer and director J.J. Abrams personally screened the whole movie for him. From Dan's wife:

"Hi everyone, it's Daniel's wife, we are of course sworn to secrecy, BUT we are officially allowed to say we saw it and we enjoyed it IMMENSELY as a film and as a gesture.... However; Daniel 'hates' being an 'inspiring cancer story' we his friends and loved ones would prefer for the update to have more of a heartfelt message of giving, especially during this season: This is a story of us giving something to him, the 'internet' community giving something to him and ultimately being a heartwarming gift to our friends, family and so many others. This story of us (and of course JJAbrams & Bad Robot) being able to give this surprise gift of a screening to a huge movie buff like Daniel, especially a film made by a film maker who obviously makes movies with such care, with a fan like Daniel in mind (and a person like me who knows slightly less about these things).

Also, it was truly amazing that a film-maker so secretive as JJ Abrams was kind enough to show this to us.

It is also so wonderful for his friends & his family to finally hear some good news from us, they know how important film is to Daniel & could not think of a better way to please him. So this gesture really has brought a lot of smiles all around.

It was a wonderful thing to see with Daniel and a wonderful thing to see Daniel enjoy - Making someone as ill as he is smile for any length of time really makes a difference. (At this point making me smile is good too)

This is also so poignant as JJ Abrams took so much care in the first Star Trek movie to at least TRY to get everything 'right' for the fans and we were so touched when he was concerned that we wouldn't 100% enjoy the screening as it's still being worked on....... Be assured we enjoyed it 110%!

We are so grateful thank you, thank you, thank you....."

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AWESOME STORY

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Monster Machines: Plane Converted Into The World’s Most Stylish UAV

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Dubbed the P.1HH HammerHead, this UAV is the result of a collaboration between Piaggio Aero and Selex ES based on the P-180 Avanti II, a twin-engine turboprop. The Avanti II is primarily utilised as a business jet with a 1400nM range, though a “Special Mission” piloted derivative is also available for both emergency response and military operations.

In the latter case, the Avanti II can perform in a variety of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, electronic warfare, security surveillance roles.

The HammerHead UAV, while maintaining the Avanti II’s 14m fuselage length and 4m height, does incorporate slightly-larger reinforced wings measuring 16m across. It also replaces the cockpit and cabin with an oversized fuel tank, sensor suite and avionics bay. The HammerHead will also carry an external radome. In all, the UAV will be able to take off with a maximum payload of about 1800kg worth of sensors and equipment. A pair of 950 SHP Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-66B turboprop engines will propel the aircraft to its 45,000 foot operational ceiling and keep it there for up to 16 hours.

While it is capable of autonomously taking off and landing, the P.1HH can be controlled remotely through both Line of Sight (LOS) and Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS), a satellite-based communication system, ground control stations. What’s more, the HammerHead is equipped with the Selex ES-developed skyISTAR system. The skyISTAR integrates and analyses data from the on-board sensor suite before transmitting the synthesised image to the UAV operator.

Fabrizio Giulianini, CEO of SELEX Galileo had this to say: “In the future, UAS, especially MALE UAS, will need to be able to carry out a broader range of surveillance missions at an affordable cost while minimising ground crew workload. skyISTAR is flexible enough to meet all sorts of mission requirements while its platform and payload agnostic design means it can be adapted to the budget of the customer. Crucially, our experience with similar manned systems such as the ATOS means we’ll able to convert the data a UAS collects into the most useful information possible for operators on the ground.”

Selex executives expect this system to turn the HammerHead into an effective medium altitude surveillance platform for everything from covert surveillance to border security to disaster relief.

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“We plan to fly the P.1HH HammerHead unmanned platform demonstrator by this (northern) summer, with the aim to conduct the maiden flight of the future dual-use medium-altitude long-endurance [MALE] fixed-wing unmanned air system prototype by year-end,” says Alberto Galassi, Piaggio Aero chief executive. The HammerHead must first complete its ground test phase before flight tests begin later this year, however Galassi is confident that the UAV will enter service for the Italian military by 2014.

Riiiiight. Unless it is covered in stealth material, that thing is going to put out a nice big radar signature for AA ground crews. The beauty of UAVs are that they are small and unobtrusive, not great big honking birds looking to be shot down.

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Riiiiight. Unless it is covered in stealth material, that thing is going to put out a nice big radar signature for AA ground crews. The beauty of UAVs are that they are small and unobtrusive, not great big honking birds looking to be shot down.

True BUT at 45,000 Feet up in the air, I wonder if many AA's, SAMS can reach that high up and be accurate? Would be interesting to find out..peace.gif

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You'd be surprised. The man portable stuff won't reach, but self-propelled SAMs will easily reach 14000m.

Examples:

US Patriot missile - service ceiling 24000m

Soviet SA-5 Gammon - service ceiling 40000m

Then there is the THAAD kinetic missile system. It is designed to destroy the target using kinetic energy (ie smashing into the target at extremely high speed) instead of explosives.

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You'd be surprised. The man portable stuff won't reach, but self-propelled SAMs will easily reach 14000m.

Examples:

US Patriot missile - service ceiling 24000m

Soviet SA-5 Gammon - service ceiling 40000m

Then there is the THAAD kinetic missile system. It is designed to destroy the target using kinetic energy (ie smashing into the target at extremely high speed) instead of explosives.

Cool ok.gif

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23 Terrifying Runways That Will Stoke Your Fear Of Flying

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Flying can be a white-knuckle affair for even the heartiest of travellers. But it turns out what you should really fear are airports; almost 60 per cent of all aircraft incidents happens at the airports, during taxiing, take-off, approach or landing. Here are runway horrorshows from around the globe that may make you rethink your next trip.

Barra Airport, in the Hebrides off the West Coast of Scotland. Yes, it is a beach for take-off and landing. At least it’s only for daytime flights.

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Water, water, Chubu Centrair International Airport, water, water. (Tokoname, Japan.)

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Approaching the Congonhas Airport in the middle of Sao Paulo, Brazil is highly challenging for pilots.

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Another risky beach airport: the Copalis State Airport’s (Grays Harbor County, Washington) runway is located between the Copalis River delta and a barrier of rocks.

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The mountain runway at Courchevel Airport (France) is just 545m long. As if that’s not scary enough, it’s also got a gradient of 18.5% and a vertical drop at the end.

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Gibraltar Airport is located between a bustling city and a crashtastic mountain. Moreover, its 1800m long (short) runway intersects the Winston Churchill Avenue, Gibraltar’s busiest road, which has to be closed every time a plane lands or departs.

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This is the Gustaf III Airport aka Saint Barthélemy Airport on the Caribbean island of Saint Barthélemy. The short airstrip starts with a slope and ends on the beach.

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Kai Tak International Airport, famous and hated for its heart-stopping approach low over Hong Kong, ended its 73-year reign of terror in 1998.

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Kansai International Airport, Osaka, Japan. Approaching this feels like your pilot is about to land on water.

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Between mountains and the Atlantic Ocean, on the island cliffs, waits the frightening Madeira Airport (Portugal).

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Look at the horrifying Matekane Air Strip in Lesotho (Africa). 400m, and then nothing.

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Narsarsuaq Airport, Greenland. Severe turbulences and winds from the surrounding fjords make this airport a hard task for pilots. Only daytime take-offs and landings allowed, thankfully.

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Paro International Airport, the home of the Royal Bhutan Airlines, is located at an altitude of 2236m and surrounded by over 5000m-high-peaks of the Himalayas. Night or foggy landings are strictly prohibited.

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Pegasus White Ice Runway, Antarctica, the southernmost of three airfields serving McMurdo Station. Believe it or not, aircraft take off and land here all year long.

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Because of the short (2300m) runway at Princess Juliana International Airport (St. Maarten), large planes fly right over the tourists’ head on Maho Beach. It’s a spectacular sight — from the ground.

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A densely populated neighbourhood, a cramped runway, active volcanoes, and frequent fog make Quito’s high-altitude airport a threat for only a little longer; Ecuador’s main airport is going to be moved to an agricultural setting 12 miles (20km) northeast of the city.

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Svalbard Airport in Longyearbyen on the Norwegian archipelago Svalbard in the Barents Sea was built upon a layer of permafrost in 1975. Continuous repaving makes it a hard landing place, literally and figuratively.

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The Tenzing-Hillary Airport (Lukla, Nepal) is located 2860m above sea level, and its runway is only a few hundred meters long.

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Toncontín International Airport has an extremely short runway — and a mountainous surrounding — in Honduras.

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Toronto Islands Airport (Ontairo, Canada) is another pinpoint landing site. And there’s a nude beach close to the runway, which I’m sure isn’t the least bit distracting.

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Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport, Saba. This Caribbean landing site is surrounded by high hills, and both ends of the runway drop into the sea.

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Wellington, New Zealand: short runway, hilly landscape, strong crosswinds, turbulent landings.

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Williams Field, Antarctica, has two snow runways limited to ski-equipped aircraft during the summer season. aeroplanes land on 8m of compacted snow, lying on top of 80m of ice, floating over 550m of water. Must be a blood-chilling experience.

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Incredible Images Of The Massive New Tunnels Hollowing New York City

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There is a 7m long, 180-tonne steel monster under Manhattan. Dead, resting deep somewhere under Grand Central Station and Park Avenue, this machine and her twin brother excavated the massive tunnels that you can see here, one of the largest public transportation works of our time.

Here’s an impressive new look at the amazing tunnels and caverns of the East Side Access, an extension of the Long Island Rail Road.

Together, the two massive earthworms and an army of machines and workers were able to eat 265,000 cubic metres of New York’s bedrock heart, producing 9km of tunnels and the massive caverns that will house the new station under Grand Central. A project so big that it prompted — unfounded — fears of a major collapse of some old city buildings, like St Patrick’s Cathedral.

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The work — which started in 2006 — has been so complicated that the entire project has been delayed. Instead of 2014, it will now be operational in 2019. The tunnels extend from Sunnyside, Queens, to Grand Central, routing 24 trains per hour at peak capacity. That’s an amazing 162,000 passenger trips to and fromGrand Central per day.

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