Saturday, March 01, 2008

Two New Hotels to Open in Baku, Azerbaijan--One looks like the Death Star

Hotel Full Moon is essentially a disc with rounded edges and a hole in one of the top corners that appears radically different to the view depending on the angle it is seen from. The frontage thanks to the bulging centre makes it appear more like a glass death star whilst the side profile is more than a little gherkinesque. Changing appearance depending on the view is reinforced by the cladding treatment the architect has selected. The front will have a glass diagrid whilst the back will be covered with hexagonal honeycombs.This main building will be a 35 storey luxury hotel with 104,182 square metres of space for only 382 rooms, a relatively small amount of rooms given the sheer size of the internal space on offer. It will reach a maximum height of 158.68 metres.

Unexplained Force Acts on Spacecraft

Mysteriously, five spacecraft that flew past the Earth have each displayed unexpected anomalies in their motions.
These newfound enigmas join the so-called "Pioneer anomaly" as hints that unexplained forces may appear to act on spacecraft.
A decade ago, after rigorous analyses, anomalies were seen with the identical Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecraft as they hurtled out of the solar system. Both seemed to experience a tiny but unexplained constant acceleration toward the sun. Full article here

Deadly Cactus

A cactus has been found growing in Australia with spines tough enough to penetrate tires! It’s been known to kill koalas, who develop infections because the spines are so difficult to remove.
Once spines of the hudson pear cactus penetrate the skin, they often require pliers to pull them out. It is potentially the worst cactus species to spread in Australia since prickly pear in the 1920s.
Primary Industries Department Biosecurity Queensland land protection officer Jodie Sippel said yesterday there was anecdotal evidence the cactus had caused a fatality at Lightning Ridge in NSW when a person fell into a clump of pear and had a heart attack.
The Hudson pear cactus is an invasive species native to Mexico. Link


Norwegian Sunset … at Midnight!

Photographer Thomas Laupstad took this amazing photo of a sunset in Northern Norway … at midnight!
Scenes like this one above is why Northern Norway is known as the Land of the Midnight Sun. Being north of the Arctic circle, the sun doesn’t set from May to July and doesn’t rise from November to January.
See more of Thomas’ amazing photos here: Link


Friday, February 29, 2008

Ineractive Chart of Movie Box Office Receipt in the Past 20 Years

The New York Times has an interesting graph depicting the movie box office receipts from 1986 to 2007:

Summer blockbusters and holiday hits make up the bulk of box office revenue each year, while contenders for the top Oscar awards tend to attract smaller audiences that build over time.

Click here for the full graph


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Japan launches satellite into space to enable super high-speed internet (1.2 Gigabits/second)

Japan's space agency has launched an experimental communications satellite designed to enable super high-speed data transmission in remote areas.
An H-2A rocket carrying the satellite Kizuna was launched from the southern island of Tanegashima, about 1,000km (620 miles) south of Tokyo.
A ship entering restricted waters near the launch site slightly delayed the lift-off.
The launch had been postponed by a week because of a mechanical fault.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Jaxa) said the satellite had separated from the rocket and successfully entered its intended orbit, 283km from Earth.
The agency said that with Kizuna, it hoped to enable data transmission of up to 1.2 gigabits per second at a low cost across Japan and in 19 different locations in South-East Asia.
Kizuna is also known as the Wideband Inter-Networking Engineering Test and Demonstration Satellite, or Winds.

Hi-definition TV broadcast
Jaxa developed Kizuna with another government agency, the National Institute of Information and Communication Technology, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
About 100 experiments will be conducted via the satellite, including a test broadcast of the next generation of high-definition television.
Jaxa spokeswoman Asaka Hagiwara said the total cost of the development, launch and operation of the satellite was estimated at 52bn yen (US$480m; £240m).
Saturday's launch is part of an ambitious space programme which sent Japan's first lunar probe into orbit around the moon last September.
Jaxa has said it wants to send astronauts to the moon by 2025, although Japan has not yet attempted manned space flight.

Pacific Ocean Sunset as seen from space

Cordylus cataphractus (or the armadillo girdled lizard)

They are live bearing and the babies are perfect replicas of the adults. They bite on their tail and roll themselves into a ball when threatened. They also hide amongst rock crevices and inflate their bodies so they cant be removed.

Windmill going out of control

Windmill loses control in a storm, loses it's breaks and explodes