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Posted on April 24, 2018 by Editor

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Worms On The Moon

from The Telegraph

China plans to grow flowers and silkworms on the dark side of the moon

by 

China hopes to create a ‘mini biosphere’ on the dark side of the Moon, with flowers and silkworms sustaining each other as they grow on the lifeless lunar surface.

The unprecedented plan to create life in outer space is the most intriguing part of China’s lunar probe mission later this year, and could be a major boost for dreams that humans will one day live on the Moon.

The insects, plants, potato seeds and arabidopsis—a small flowering plant belonging to the mustard family – will be taken to the Moon on board the Chang’e-4 lander and rover in December.

They will be placed in an 18cm tall bucket-like tin made from special aluminum alloy materials, together with water, a nutrient solution, and a small camera and data transmission system.

A small tube will direct natural sunlight into the tin to help the plants and potato seeds grow. Although known figuratively as the “dark side” as it is unseen, the far side of the moon receives almost equal sunlight to the near side.

The next stage of the mini-econlogical system will see the plants emitting oxygen, which will feed the silkworms hatching from their cocoons.

The silkworms will them create carbon dioxide and produce waste that will allow the plants to grow, Chinese scientists say.

[ click to continue reading at The Telegraph ]

Posted on April 15, 2018 by Editor

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Miloš Forman Gone

from The LA Times

Miloš Forman, Oscar-winning Czech director of ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,’ dies at 86

By GINA PICCALO

Miloš Forman came of age as a filmmaker under the watchful eyes of the Soviets in postwar Czechoslovakia. And though he blossomed in exile in 1970s America, his memory of totalitarianism would forever be his muse.

In every one of his films, from “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Ragtime” and “Amadeus” to “The People vs. Larry Flynt” and “Man on the Moon,” Forman celebrated real-life outsiders and eccentrics who challenged the establishment with heroic self-expression.

Forman died Friday at age 86 at Danbury Hospital, near his home in Warren, Conn., according to a statement released by his agent. A winner of two Academy Awards for directing “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975) and “Amadeus” (1984), Forman was nominated again in 1997 for “The People vs. Larry Flynt.” His earlier films “The Fireman’s Ball” and “Loves of a Blonde” were nominated for best foreign language film.

Born Feb. 18, 1932, outside Prague, Forman was the youngest of three brothers. His father, a Jewish army reservist from World War I and university teacher, was arrested for disseminating banned books to his students. His Protestant mother was arrested after shopping at a local grocery where anti-Nazi propaganda was found. Both died in concentration camps, making Forman an orphan at age 10.

[ click to continue reading at LAT ]

Posted on April 14, 2018 by Editor

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What Exactly Happened To The Phuds?

from The New York Times

Never Solved, a College Dorm Fire Has Become One Man’s Obsession

The 1967 blaze at Cornell University killed 9, including members of a fast-track Ph.D. program. No one was ever charged, but an amateur investigator thinks he knows who set it.

By N. R. Kleinfield

Students awoke to what they thought was the murmur of children playing. They awoke to what they assumed was a pesky classmate banging on the door to borrow a textbook. They awoke from a lifelike dream that they were at a barbecue, could even smell the smoke. There was smoke. It was just after 4 in the morning. The dorm was on fire.

It had ignited in the basement lounge of the Cornell Heights Residential Club, a repurposed motel on the northern fringe of the expansive Cornell University campus in Ithaca, N.Y. Its principal residents were in the initial class of an experimental program inviting gifted students to earn a Ph.D. in six years. There were 50 of them (a few were elsewhere that night), and they called themselves Phuds or Fuds. The building also housed two dozen women on the second floor who were seniors or graduate students, plus three faculty counselors, a student adviser and a cook.

Bleary students scrambled to escape, some barefoot and one hobbling on crutches. Blinding smoke made it virtually impossible to reach the front doors, and few did. Students used shoehorns and grapefruit knives to detach screens and squirm out windows, or stumbled out a basement exit into the stabbing cold. A few jumped or knotted sheets together to shimmy down. Those on the second floor mostly backed down the ladders of firefighters or ones Phuds appropriated from a fraternity house. The cook was carried out unconscious by a muscular fraternity member and a Phud. John Finch, an associate English professor, got out, then sprinted back in to alert students, smacking furniture and screaming for them to run.

Afterward, many of the residents assembled at a nearby sorority. The mood darkened when the unimaginable news filtered in. Eight students died from asphyxiation. So did the heroic Mr. Finch. Three students were Phuds — Martha Beck, Jeffrey Smith and Peter Cooch — while the others were women from the second floor: Jennie Zu-wei Sun, Meimei Cheng, Anne McCormic, Carol Kurtz and Johanna Christina Wallden.

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on April 13, 2018 by Editor

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Nice Save

Posted on April 3, 2018 by Editor

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All Hail HAL!

from The New York Times

What ‘2001’ Got Right

By Michael Benson

FRANKFURT, Germany — It’s a testament to the lasting influence of Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke’s film “2001: A Space Odyssey,” which turns 50 this week, that the disc-shaped card commemorating the German Film Museum’s new exhibition on the film is wordless, but instantly recognizable. Its face features the Cyclopean red eye of the HAL-9000 supercomputer; nothing more needs saying.

Viewers will remember HAL as the overseer of the giant, ill-fated interplanetary spacecraft Discovery. When asked to hide from the crew the goal of its mission to Jupiter — a point made clearer in the novel version of “2001” than in the film — HAL gradually runs amok, eventually killing all the astronauts except for their wily commander, Dave Bowman. In an epic showdown between man and machine, Dave, played by Keir Dullea, methodically lobotomizes HAL even as the computer pleads for its life in a terminally decelerating soliloquy.

Cocooned by their technology, the film’s human characters appear semi-automated — component parts of their gleaming white mother ship. As for HAL — a conflicted artificial intelligence created to provide flawless, objective information but forced to “live a lie,” as Mr. Clarke put it — the computer was quickly identified by the film’s initial viewers as its most human character.

This transfer of identity between maker and made is one reason “2001” retains relevance, even as we put incipient artificial intelligence technologies to increasingly problematic uses.

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on April 2, 2018 by Editor

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