North Carolina explores Hyperloop One system to connect the Triangle


North Carolina may be a future destination for a Hyperloop One transit system. The company and several transit partners are exploring a hyperloop that could link Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and the RDU International Airport, near the Research Triangle Park. A pre-feasibility study suggested that traveling between Raleigh and Durham or Chapel Hill (a distance of around 30 miles) could take less than ten minutes, while hyperloop corridors in the region may ease traffic.

"North Carolina Research Triangle — home to some of the country’s top companies, universities and healthcare centers — is an absolute prime location to examine hyperloop technology," said Virgin Hyperloop One CEO Jay Walder. Other several possible benefits highlighted include reliable travel times, improved road safety, a direct link to the airport and better logistics for cargo shipments. The hyperloop corridors could also be linked to the existing rail network and a proposed regional bus rapid transit system for the Research Triangle area.

Durham and Orange counties previously considered a 17.7-mile light rail line that would have linked Durham, Chapel Hill, three universities (including Duke) and a trio of major medical facilities. However, the GoTriangle project was shelved in April. A hyperloop network might prove a more viable intercity transit system for the region.

Hyperloop One is working on projects in a number of other locales, including Missouri, Texas, Ohio, Dubai and India. To date, it has held hundreds of test runs at its at-scale test track outside Las Vegas as it continues to refine its hyperloop technology.

Source: Hyperloop One

from Engadget

NASA fights to keep the Voyager probes running after four decades


NASA’s Voyager probes are still out there, exploring interstellar space 42 years after they left our planet. To keep them running all these years with generators that are 40 percent less powerful than they were decades ago — and which are producing less and less energy over time — the agency had to sacrifice some of their parts and components. In fact, the mission managers have recently switched off the heater for Voyager 2’s cosmic ray subsystem instrument (CRS) as part of their new power management plan.

The probe’s cosmic ray system played a key role in confirming that Voyager 2 left the heliosphere in November, and it remains useful to this day. Since it was designed to detect fast moving particles both from the sun and from sources outside our solar system, it continued sending back data even after it entered interstellar space.

That’s why the managers held extensive discussions with the science team before deciding to switch off the instrument’s heater, which is necessary to keep it from freezing. In the end, everybody decided that it’s the component to sacrifice at this point in time, because the CRS can only look in certain fixed directions. Thankfully, that didn’t spell instant death for the cosmic ray instrument. The team has confirmed that it’s been sending back data even after its temperature dropped to minus 74 degrees Fahrenheit and even though it was tested at temperatures dropping only to minus 49 degrees Fahrenheit decades ago.

Voyager Project Manager Suzanne Dodd said it’s "incredible that Voyagers’ instruments have proved so hardy." She added: "We’re proud they’ve withstood the test of time. The long lifetimes of the spacecraft mean we’re dealing with scenarios we never thought we’d encounter. We will continue to explore every option we have in order to keep the Voyagers doing the best science possible."

As another example of the probes’ need to adapt to circumstances to keep going, Voyager 2 has fired up its correction maneuver thrusters on July 8th, 30 years after it was last fired. Its attitude control thrusters are old and haven’t been working as well, requiring the probe to fire an increasing number of pulses to make sure its antenna keeps pointed at our planet. Now, the spacecraft has switched thrusters like the Voyager 1 did in 2018, and will be using them to correct its orientation.

Source: JPL

from Engadget

A ‘spooky’ effect of physics that Einstein couldn’t believe has been photographed for the first time


quantum entanglement image picture pa moreau et al science advances enlarged

  • Albert Einstein‘s work in part led to the prediction of quantum entanglement: the idea that two particles can remain connected across vast distances of space and time.
  • Einstein found the idea absurd and "spooky," but it has since been proven with countless quantum physics experiments.
  • No had ever photographed entangled photons (pieces of light), though, until one research team recently did so with a high-tech laser experiment.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The black-and-white photo above isn’t much to look at. However, the ghostly, eye-like shapes illustrate a strange phenomenon that rattled Albert Einstein so much that he died disbelieving it could exist.

The picture represents the first-ever photograph of quantum entanglement, or the "spooky" pairing of particles.

"The image we’ve managed to capture is an elegant demonstration of a fundamental property of nature, seen for the very first time in the form of an image," Paul-Antoine Moreau, a physicist at the University of Glasgow, said in a press release.

Moreau led a team of researchers who managed to create the image, which the group published in a study on Friday in the journal Science Advances.

Quantum entanglement 101

Quantum entanglement is the now well documented idea that two tiny particles can be paired and separated, yet remain intimately and instantly connected across vast distances.

By the laws of physics, two particles can get entangled with a binary, yes-or-no-like property or state, such as spin or phase polarization. But that state remains fuzzy — or in "superposition" — until one particle is measured. Then at the exact moment of observation, even if the particles are separated by light-years of space, the other particle takes on the opposite state of its twin.

To understand this concept, imagine each entangled particle were a box containing a cat. The cat inside would be both alive and dead at the same time — that is, until someone opened one of the boxes. If the cat seen in one box was alive, then the cat in the other box would have to be dead (or vice versa).

Einstein thought this teleportation-like effect was so absurd that he described it as "spooky action at a distance."

"Einstein couldn’t accept this," J.C. Séamus Davis, a physicist at Cornell University who studies quantum mechanics, previously told Business Insider. "He essentially went to his grave not accepting this as fact, but it’s now been shown millions of times to work."

schrodingers cat

One of the latest studies to prove it, published in February 2017, used 600-year-old starlight to show that two particles couldn’t "cheat" at the moment of entanglement and share a state before being measured.

How and why small particles can get entangled makes no sense in the context of our everyday lives. At tiny scales, the universe appears to play by different rules, many of which are paradoxical and defy reason. In some quantum-mechanical scenarios, for instance, an effect doesn’t always follow a cause; the effect can, in fact, happen before its cause occurs.

No one should be blamed for being confused by quantum mechanics, Davis said, since "we didn’t evolve to understand" the theory and its counterintuitive ramifications.

"But the math, the predictions starting in the 1920s, have all turned out to be correct," he said. "It’s the most successful scientific theory in the human race."

In all those decades, however, no one has ever captured an image of entangled particles. So that is what Moreau and his colleagues set out to do.

How entanglement was photographed for the first time

quantum entanglement image picture setup lasers pa moreau et al science advances

Particles of light called photons can be entangled by a number of quantum properties. With their experiment, though, the researchers chose a property called phase. The photons came out of an ultraviolet laser beam, then passed through a special crystal known to entangle the phase of some photons.

Next, their experiment split the beam into two equal "arms" with a beam splitter, or half-mirrored glass. At this point, some of the photons that the crystal had entangled parted ways.

One arm of photons passed through a filter to limit the particles to one of four phases (a phase filter effectively "measures" that property of a photon, so it’d instantly cause its partner to flip). Then the photons went into a very sensitive camera that’s able to detect individual photons. The other arm led to a high-speed trigger device for the camera.

The camera sensor recorded information only when two entangled photons — each from a separate arm — arrived at their respective detectors at same time and with opposite phases.  Over time, the researchers built up a patterned image of the entangled photons striking the camera.

Entangled photons that passed through the phase filter were expected to form four eye-like patterns, and that’s exactly what the image showed.

The experiment piles on more proof that what spooked Einstein is real, but also that entangled particles might be used in future imaging applications in science, Moreau said.

SEE ALSO: China has pulled off a ‘profound’ feat of teleportation that may help it ‘dominate the way the world works’

DON’T MISS: The US military released a study on warp drives and faster-than-light travel. Here’s what a theoretical physicist thinks of it.

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from SAI

Wedding photographer’s rant against guests ruining shots with smartphones goes viral


Wedding photographer’s rant against guests ruining shots with smartphones goes viral

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It’s a common complaint of wedding photographers and happy couples alike. Although, with the latter, it’s typically after the wedding when they see how many of their friends and relatives have ruined the paid photographer’s shots by standing in the way with smartphones and even iPads to get snaps of their own. Fortunately, more couples are speaking out and going “unplugged”, but word hasn’t spread to everybody yet.

For photographer Hannah Mbalenhle Stanley of Hanna Way Photography, she faced one iPhone too much recently and posted a rant to Facebook expressing her thoughts. It’s since been shared over 150,000 times, with over 140,000 reactions and has left commenters divided.

The post reads…

To the girl with the iPhone…
Not only did you ruin my shot, but you took this moment away from the groom, father of the bride, and the bride. What exactly do you plan on doing with that photo? Honestly. Are you going to print it out? Save it? Look at it everyday? No. You’re not. But my bride would have printed this photo, looked at it often and reminisced over this moment as her dad walked her down the aisle on her wedding day. But instead, you wanted to take a photo with your phone, blocking my view, and taking a photo that you will not use.
Guests, please stop viewing weddings you attend through a screen but instead turn OFF your phone, and enjoy the ceremony. You are important to the bride and groom, you would not be attending the wedding otherwise. So please, let me do my job, and you just sit back, relax and enjoy this once in a lifetime moment.

Wedding photographers

The responses to Hannah’s post have been mixed, with some saying that the guests are more important and have the right to do what they want, and others backing up Hannah’s position completely. Personally, if guests at my wedding started getting in the way of the person I’d paid to be there and record the day, I’d be pissed.

This one of the reasons why I won’t ever shoot weddings. It’s just too much of a headache for me to want to deal with. But for those of you that do, how do you deal with smartphone-wielding guests? And if it was your wedding, how would you feel if your guests were constantly in the way of the photographer you’d hired to be there?

from -Hacking Photography, One Picture At A Time

Harvard’s camera can show you the world through the eyes of a shrimp


Shrimp and insect species that can see polarized light experience the world in a much, much different way than we do — just take look at the image above to see what we mean. The only way we can get a glimpse of their polarized world is through devices like cameras, but polarization cameras are bulky and pricey at this point in time, limiting their potential applications. Harvard’s portable and compact camera that can image polarization in a single shot, however, could change all that.

Paul Chevalier, one of the co-authors of the study published in Science, explained how polarization can help us:

"Polarization is a feature of light that is changed upon reflection off a surface. Based on that change, polarization can help us in the 3D reconstruction of an object, to estimate its depth, texture and shape, and to distinguish man-made objects from natural ones, even if they’re the same shape and color."

Unlike the big and bulky polarization cameras used today, the one developed by researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) is about the size of a thumb. And even with a lens and a protective case, it’s just as big as a small lunchbox. The researchers used nanoscale structures to design a device small and uncomplicated enough to be incorporated into existing imaging systems, such as the one on your phone.

They believe it could be used on autonomous vehicles to give them a boost in terms of being able to detect objects on the road. It could also be used to give planes and satellites the ability to detect camouflaged objects or to distinguish between man-made and natural structures. Simply put, they believe their research is a game changer and that their camera could enable the widespread adoption of polarization imaging.

Source: Harvard

from Engadget

Innovative tableware designs that turn eating into an experience


Spoons, forks, dishes… these are some classic designs that have remained standard ever since their invention. Or so we thought until we came across these innovative tableware designs! Beautifully muted wooden plates with textures that bring them to life, floating cutlery that is visually unique as well as excels in functionality by keeping your cutlery clean and germ-free, these are just some of the designs that when used, are sure to set your table apart to an extent where your cutlery ends up being the focus over the food!

Flyde floating cutlery by Felix Marx

Strawtini Martini glass by Udarely 

Stackable Totem bowls by Isabella Lovero & Enrico Bossa

‘Lifetime Partner’ mug by Johnson Tsang

Blues, handmade ceramic plates by Hana Karim 

This Minimal, skeletal cutlery design by Nendo for Valerie Objects comes with an eye-catching scoop detail that helps rest/dock your spoons, forks, and knives easily on a rack, or even against other cutlery

The Moment series wherein the inner shape gives a sense of movement, inviting you to pour and savor the sound and smell in this activity by Jenkins & Uhnger

Wooden Serving Tableware by Luke Hope of Hope in the woods

Touché Tray by Martina Bartoli for Mason Editions 

The One-Piece Knife by Johanna Gauder

The Four Seasons Shakers by Qualy Design

Swivel 5 tableware by Yamazaki Tableware 

The Porthole Infuser by Martin Kastner of Crucial Detail 

JOIN, a mind-bending cutlery that will leave your guests confused and frustrated, as they witness you ‘magically’ free their cutlery before their very eyes, by Rudolph Schelling Webermann 

from Yanko Design

A scientist who won the Nobel Prize for revolutionizing how we treat cancer says young scientists shouldn’t set out to cure the disease


Jim allison immunotherapy cancer

  • Jim Allison won the Nobel Prize last year for transforming the way that cancer is treated, along with Tasuku Honjo, a scientist at Kyoto University.
  • At the start of his career, Allison didn’t set out to cure cancer. Instead, he wanted to better understand how a part of the human immune system worked in the body. 
  • That led to immunotherapy treatments that fight cancer by using the body’s built-in immune system. 
  • His advice for young scientists is: "work on what really interests you, and you care about. Don’t worry if it has any impact on cancer, at least not when you’re working on it." 
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

For Jim Allison, cancer has always been at the back of his mind. He’d lost many family members to the disease, including his mother when he was young, and is himself a cancer survivor.

But when Allison started off his scientific career decades ago, "I didn’t set out saying, ‘I’m going to cure cancer,’" Allison told Business Insider.

Instead, the scientist pursued something he found fascinating: the human immune system, which naturally fends off infections and disease.

Allison’s work in this area would pave the way for immunotherapy treatments, which use the body’s natural immune system to fend off cancer and transformed the way the disease is treated. For that, Allison and Tasuku Honjo won the Nobel Prize last year. 

So his advice for young scientists is to "work on what really interests you," Allison says. "Don’t worry about if it has any impact on cancer, at least not when you’re working on it."

Instead, "study the fundamental mechanisms until you really learn how things work," Allison added, speaking with Business Insider after a panel about cancer immunotherapy last month that was hosted by the nonprofit Cancer Research Institute

Read more: How the researchers who won the Nobel Prize in medicine transformed the way we treat cancer

Cancer cell

Allison, who holds a doctorate in biological sciences from The University of Texas at Austin, has long worked in academia conducting research about a component of the immune system called T cells.

A Texan and scientist through and through, he’s now the chair of the immunology department at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas and director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, which was set up by the internet billionaire Sean Parker

At the most basic level, Allison’s passion has been to understand how diseased cells get noticed in the body by T cells. T cells then kill those sick cells.

"And that has nothing to do with cancer. Or everything, depending on how you look at it," he says. 

That scientific work was then harnessed for drugs that stimulate the immune system to fight cancer.

In any case, Allison says he wasn’t worried about where that research would lead. 

"Well, the immune system is important in many kinds of disease. I figured it would go somewhere," he said.

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from SAI