Monday, September 8, 2014

Self-Driving Cars Coming in a few years!

Some of you may have heard of the Google self-driving car...  GM is making advances in this area -- and the firm says that some of these features will be on the road in just two+ years!  Read more here:

Cars that can talk to each other and almost drive themselves at freeway speeds are just two years away from the showroom, General Motors executives indicate.

The carmaker announced Sunday that the semiautonomous system for freeways will be an option on an unidentified 2017 Cadillac that goes on sale in summer 2016. Another 2017 Cadillac, the CTS, will be equipped with radio transmitters and receivers that will let it communicate with other cars, sharing data such as location, speed, and whether the driver is applying the brakes.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Hawkings: AI Could Be Dangerous

With the Johnny Depp movie making noise at the box office, Stephen Hawkings spoke out about the dangers that artificial intelligence can pose to mankind.

With the Hollywood blockbuster Transcendence playing in cinemas, with Johnny Depp and Morgan Freeman showcasing clashing visions for the future of humanity, it's tempting to dismiss the notion of highly intelligent machines as mere science fiction. But this would be a mistake, and potentially our worst mistake in history.

Read more here:

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Earth's Core is as Hot as the Sun's Surface

This may be hard to believe but it is true.  This fact is helped because the surface of the sun is surprisingly cool.  Weirdly enough both the Earth's core and sun's surface are about 6,000 degrees Kelvin -- but the sun's atmosphere (also called the corona) is 1 to 2 million degrees Kelvin!

new study in Science suggests that the temperature of our planet's core is much, much hotter than previously thought -- 6,000 degrees Kelvin, compared with earlier estimations that were closer to 5,000 degrees Kelvin. This temperature, blazing hot to a degree beyond comprehension, is the same as that of the surface of the sun. Yes, you read that right: the core of our temperate little atmospherically-protected home is as hot as *a star*.

Scientists in France were able to come to their remarkable conclusion in an experimental setting, using X-rays diffraction to watch how iron crystals held under unbelievable pressure form and melt.

Read more here:

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Earthquakes and Tsunamis: Quake hits Los Angeles 3/17/14

On Monday, March 17, 2014 - St. Patrick's Day -- there was an earthquake in Los Angeles.  Although the quake was measured at a 4.4-magnitude earthquake on the Richter scale, you can clearly see the impact on people during an earthquake.

There were at least six aftershocks, with the strongest being measured at a 2.7-magnitude temblor. Some fear that this quake could mark the end of the several year "earthquake drought" that the area has experienced.  Below is a video of newscasters live when the earthquake hit.

The earthquake also made us recall the 2011 Japanese earthquake and Tsunami. All of Japan moved about 10 feet!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Large Asteroid Passes near Earth

An asteroid as wide as two football fields passed relatively close to Earth.  The nearest it came to our planet was roughly eight times the distance from the earth to the moon (the Earth-moon distance averages 239,000 miles) -- so the asteroid passed about 2 million miles from the Earth!

Read more about other asteroids and this event here:

Monday, February 17, 2014

Solar System -- Good Educational Website

Check out the cool animated GIF of the solar system at this site below.  Also, you can mouseover items in the GIF and learn more.

Solar System Theory

Here is a nice lecture from Arizona State University on the Nebula Theory of the creation of the solar system.

III. Formation of the planets

  • The first solid particles were microscopic in size. They orbited the Sun in nearly circular orbits right next to each other, as the gas from which they condensed. Gently collisions allowed the flakes to stick together and make larger particles which, in turn, attracted more solid particles. This process is called accretion.
  • The objects formed by accretion are called planetesimals (small planets): they act as seeds for planet formation. At first, planetesimals were closely packed. They coalesced into larger objects, forming clumps of up to a few kilometers across in a few million years, a small time compared to the age of the solar system (movie).
  • Once planetesimals had grown to these sizes, collisions became destructive, making further growth more difficult (movie). Only the biggest planetesimals survived this fragmentation process and continued to slowly grow into protoplanets by accretion of planetesimals of similar composition.

Read more here:

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Where do we get our Power from?

Did you know that almost 50% of the electricity in the U.S. comes from coal?  About 20% is from nuclear power plants.  Check this charts out:

Read more here: