2012 – Janurary – Week 3

Twenty top predictions for life 100 years from now

Last week we asked readers for their predictions of life in 100 years time. Inspired by ten 100-year predictions made by American civil engineer John Elfreth Watkins in 1900, many of you wrote in with your vision of the world in 2112.

Many of the “strange, almost impossible” predictions made by Watkins came true. Here is what futurologists Ian Pearson (IP) and Patrick Tucker (PT) think of your ideas.



Wikipedia joins blackout in protest at US privacy moves

Wikipedia has taken its English-language site offline as part of protests against proposed anti-piracy laws in the US.

The user-generated news site Reddit and the blog Boing Boing are also taking part in the “blackout”.

However, Twitter has declined to take part in the shutdown.

Wikipedia is opposed to the US Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (Pipa) being debated by Congress.



World IPv6 launch day set to aid net address switchover

Leading internet firms have set 6 June as the World IPv6 launch day.

Web companies participating in the event have pledged to enable IPv6 on their main websites from that date.

Facebook, Google, Microsoft Bing and Yahoo are the inaugural web firms involved.

Internet service providers (ISP) taking part have promised that by the launch date they will have enabled at least 1% of their fixed line subscribers to visit IPv6-enabled websites. The ISPs involved include the US firms AT&T and Comcast, and the Dutch firm XS4all.

The home networking equipment manufacturers Cisco and D-Link say they aim to enable IPv6 on all their home router products by the date.

And Akami and Limelight – two firms that help improve third parties’ delivery of content over the net – have also promised to allow their customers to join the list of firms participating in the scheme by enabling the new protocol throughout their infrastructure.



Sounds of the sea: Listening online to the ocean floor

Pressure-sensitive microphones pick up the live sounds of everything from whales and shipping to seismic activity and the movement of tectonic plates, and this audio is shared with scientists all over the world.

It’s also now available to anyone else with an internet connection.

For decades, the sounds of the deep sea were considered highly sensitive military data.

During the Cold War, the US Navy set up a network of underwater microphones in many parts of the world to track Soviet submarines.

Now the US Navy says it’s not too concerned about friendly civilian scientists listening in, but it is nervous about the opening up of real time ocean sound to the general public.



Study Shows Our Galaxy Has at Least 100 Billion Planets

Our Milky Way galaxy contains a minimum of 100 billion planets, according to a detailed statistical study based on the detection of three planets located outside our solar system, called exoplanets.

The survey results show that our galaxy contains, on average, a minimum of one planet for every star. This means that it’s likely there is a minimum of 1,500 planets within just 50 light-years of Earth.



Planck’s HFI completes its survey of early Universe

16 January 2012
The High Frequency Instrument on ESA’s Planck mission has completed its survey of the remnant light from the Big Bang. The sensor ran out of coolant on Saturday as expected, ending its ability to detect this faint energy.



NASA Finds 2011 Ninth-Warmest Year on Record

The global average surface temperature in 2011 was the ninth warmest since 1880, according to NASA scientists. The finding continues a trend in which nine of the 10 warmest years in the modern meteorological record have occurred since the year 2000.



Could a ‘Death Star’ really destroy a planet?

Mirroring many late night caffeine-fueled arguments among Sci-Fi fans, a University of Leicester researcher asks the question: Could a small moon-sized battle station generate enough energy to destroy an Earth-sized planet? A paper by David Boulderston (University of Leicester) sets out to answer that very question. First, for the uninitiated, just what the heck is a Death Star?



Mapping Earth’s surface in 3D

The German satellite radar twins – TanDEM-X and TerraSAR-X – are a year through their quest to make the most precise, seamless map of varying height on Earth.

They’ve now acquired data across the entire globe at least once. However, some tricky sampling areas, such as tall mountains and thick forests, will require several passes and so we don’t expect to see a fully finished product before 2014.



Samsung shows transparent 46-inch LCD panel

Samsung Electronics announced today that it is expanding the transparent display market with production of a 46-inch transparent LCD panel, beginning this month.

Younghwan Park, senior vice president of LCD marketing, Device Solutions, Samsung Electronics, said, “Transparent panels, an exciting application of next-generation display technology, have unlimited potential to change our viewing habits over the next several years. As a strong supporter of the transparent display market, Samsung plans to develop this technology into a new growth engine for our LCD business.”



T-rays technology could help develop star trek-style hand-held medical scanners

Researchers from the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE), a research institute of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore, and Imperial College London in the UK have made T-rays into a much stronger directional beam than was previously thought possible, and have done so at room-temperature conditions. This is a breakthrough that should allow future T-ray systems to be smaller, more portable, easier to operate, and much cheaper than current devices.



NZ residents on internet piracy charges denied bail

“Mega Conspiracy” accused Kim Dotcom, 37, who founded the Megaupload.com site and ran it from his $30 million Auckland mansion, appeared in the North Shore District Court this afternoon, following an early-morning raid.

Indictment documents from the United States Court for the Eastern District of Virginia list five counts against the seven defendents, which it calls the “Mega Conspiracy”.

They include conspiring to commit racketeering, conspiracy to commit copyright infringement, conspiracy to commit money laundering, criminal copyright infringement by distributing material and by electronic means.


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