How a Solar Storm Two Years Ago Nearly Caused a Catastrophe On Earth

Slashdot - 38 min 2 sec ago
schwit1 writes: On July 23, 2012, the sun unleashed two massive clouds of plasma that barely missed a catastrophic encounter with the Earth's atmosphere. These plasma clouds, known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs), comprised a solar storm thought to be the most powerful in at least 150 years. "If it had hit, we would still be picking up the pieces," physicist Daniel Baker of the University of Colorado tells NASA. Fortunately, the blast site of the CMEs was not directed at Earth. Had this event occurred a week earlier when the point of eruption was Earth-facing, a potentially disastrous outcome would have unfolded. "Analysts believe that a direct hit could cause widespread power blackouts, disabling everything that plugs into a wall socket. Most people wouldn't even be able to flush their toilet because urban water supplies largely rely on electric pumps. ... According to a study by the National Academy of Sciences, the total economic impact could exceed $2 trillion, or 20 times greater than the costs of a Hurricane Katrina. Multi-ton transformers damaged by such a storm might take years to repair." Steve Tracton put it this way in his frightening overview of the risks of a severe solar storm: "The consequences could be devastating for commerce, transportation, agriculture and food stocks, fuel and water supplies, human health and medical facilities, national security, and daily life in general."

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Categories: Science

Two Cities Ask the FCC To Preempt State Laws Banning Municipal Fiber Internet

Slashdot - 1 hour 21 min ago
Jason Koebler writes Two cities—Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Wilson, North Carolina—have officially asked the federal government to help them bypass state laws banning them from expanding their community owned, gigabit fiber internet connections. In states throughout the country, major cable and telecom companies have battled attempts to create community broadband networks, which they claim put them at a competitive disadvantage. The FCC will decide if its able to circumvent state laws that have been put in place restricting the practice.

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Categories: Science

Mining the Moon? Space Property Rights Still Unclear, Experts Say

Space.com - 1 hour 58 min ago
As the world celebrates the 45th anniversary of Apollo 11's giant leap to the moon, some people are eyeing the celestial body's bounty of resources. But it's unclear at the moment who is allowed to extract and profit from the moon's resources.
Categories: Science

Alien Planet's Size Measured Like Never Before

Space.com - 1 hour 59 min ago
Using observations by NASA's Kepler and Spitzer space telescopes, researchers determined that the exoplanet Kepler-93b is 1.48 times the size of Earth, allowing scientists to conclude that the planet is very likely composed of iron and rock.
Categories: Science

Bunnies on the Moon? 7 Lunar Myths Apollo 11 Debunked

Space.com - 2 hours 1 min ago
Is the moon made of green cheese? Is it a hollow spaceship? Apollo 11 helped put these and other ideas to rest.
Categories: Science

This Week’s Apple Rumors, Ranked From Dumbest to Most Plausible

Wired News - 2 hours 38 min ago
This week's Apple rumors hint at a new 12-inch MacBook and 4K display.






Categories: Science

The App I Used to Break Into My Neighbor’s Home

Wired News - 2 hours 38 min ago
When I broke into my neighbor’s home earlier this week, I didn’t use any cat burglar skills. I don’t know how to pick locks. I’m not even sure how to use a crowbar. It turns out all anyone needs to break into a friend’s apartment is an off switch for their conscience and an iPhone.   […]






Categories: Science

Absurd Creature of the Week: Satanic Leaf-Tailed Gecko Wears the World’s Most Unbelievable Camo

Wired News - 2 hours 38 min ago
“What’s in a name?” Shakespeare once asked, apparently in Romeo and Juliet, which I just learned from Google because I did not pay attention in that class in college. “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” I think this means that a name doesn’t matter for much, because […]






Categories: Science

Can Letting Trucks Drive Faster Make Roads Safer?

Wired News - 2 hours 38 min ago
The UK expects to save lives and money by letting trucks drive at 50 mph instead of 40 mph on some highways.






Categories: Science

One of These Monets Was Made by a Nanoprinter

Wired News - 2 hours 38 min ago
Look closely. Can you tell the difference between these two images?






Categories: Science

How Designers Are Reinventing Trauma Care to Save Soldiers’ Lives

Wired News - 2 hours 38 min ago
Trauma bays and operating rooms are designed to run as smoothly as possible, but inefficiencies still plague the system.






Categories: Science

At Long Last, a Universal Shopping Cart for the Web

Wired News - 2 hours 38 min ago
Shopping cart attrition is a huge problem for online retailers. This startup says it has the solution.






Categories: Science

Tech Time Warp of the Week: Watch Steve Jobs Talk About Turning a Genius’ Brain Into a Computer

Wired News - 2 hours 38 min ago
Steve Jobs knew how to make an entrance. In 1985, he descended onto the grounds of Svaneholm Castle in Sweden in a chopper to discuss the impact of the personal-computing revolution on education. Back then, we were just on the cusp of what he called the era of “free intellectual energy.” And this revolution, he assured […]






Categories: Science

Tech Giants Begin Recruiting for the Next Big Platform Wars

Wired News - 2 hours 38 min ago
The Internet of Things is still young, but it’s real. There are already dozens of internet-connected devices available, ranging from home-automation tools to wearable fitness trackers. And it’s about to start growing at an even faster pace. According a new survey by market research firm Evans Data, 17 percent of the world’s software developers are […]






Categories: Science

This Tiny Printer Is a Physical Ticker Tape for the Internet

Wired News - 2 hours 54 min ago
This cloud-connected device prints out a personalized feed of news, messages, and amusements onto standard thermal receipt paper.






Categories: Science

Brainy, Badass Lucy Is an Amazing Ride That Ends Up Losing Speed

Wired News - 2 hours 54 min ago
Luc Besson's new sci-fi thriller Lucy is about a woman who gets superhuman powers after a bag of drugs she's forced to smuggle bursts inside her. Sounds dope, right? It is. Until the end, when it isn't.






Categories: Science

A Wild Proposal for Domed Houses Made of Inflated Concrete

Wired News - 2 hours 54 min ago
"Binishells" combine concrete and heavy-duty balloons to create visually stunning, structurally sound, domed domiciles.






Categories: Science

Psychedelic Portraits That Demand a Closer Look

Wired News - 2 hours 54 min ago
Maciek Jasik uses super-saturated color gradients, motion, and playful focusing to create ethereal portraits that are slightly unsettling. The dreamy portraits leave viewers confused, even shocked by what they see. You can’t help but linger, which is the point.






Categories: Science

A Lightweight Rain Jacket for Biking Through Summer Monsoons

Wired News - 2 hours 54 min ago
The newest iteration of Mission Workshop's Orion rain jacket is made with Polartec NeoShell, a waterproof/breathable material that's air permeable so it can pump out tons of heat and moisture.






Categories: Science

Comet To Make Close Call With Mars

Slashdot - 3 hours 53 min ago
sciencehabit writes In mid-October, a comet sweeping through our inner solar system for the first time will pass near Mars—so close, in fact, that if it were buzzing Earth at the same distance it would fly by well inside our moon's orbit. While material spewing from the icy visitor probably won't trigger the colossal meteor showers on the Red Planet that some scientists predicted, dust and water vapor may still slam into Mars, briefly heating up its atmosphere and threatening orbiting spacecraft. However it affects the planet, the comet should give scientists their closest view yet of a near-pristine visitor from the outer edges of our solar system.

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Categories: Science