Categories
Science Space

Nasa unveils Pumpkin sun just in time for Halloween

Just in time for Halloween, NASA has posted a photo of the sun that looks like a massive flaming jack-o’-lantern.

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory shot the photo earlier this month.

The fiery slits in the image reveal the most active parts of the sun.

Writes NASA:

Active regions on the sun combined to look something like a jack-o-lantern’s face on Oct. 8, 2014. The active regions appear brighter because those are areas that emit more light and energy — markers of an intense and complex set of magnetic fields hovering in the sun’s atmosphere, the corona. This image blends together two sets of wavelengths at 171 and 193 angstroms, typically colorized in gold and yellow, to create a particularly Halloween-like appearance.

Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO
Categories
Nature Travel

Australia is building car-less neighborhoods

Melbourne, often ranked as one of the world’s most livable cities, is looking to construct neighborhoods where people will never have to use a car.

The city is creating “20-minute neighborhoods” that make going from home to the office, school, grocery, or doctor’s office no more than 20 minutes away.

Whether on foot, bike, or trolley, Melbourne residents will be able to get around the city to their most visited spots with even needing to dial up Uber.

From New York City’s Times Square to Barcelona and Hamburg, cities are reversing the automobile obsession for more traditional and healthier transportation needs.

Categories
Science Technology

Google achieves “quantum supremacy” with the 54-qubit Sycamore processor

Image via Google

Google confirmed that it has officially achieved achieved quantum supremacy with the 54-qubit Sycamore processor.

Writes Engineering Director Hartmut Neven on Google’s blog:

Today, the scientific journal Nature has published the results of Google’s efforts to build a quantum computer that can perform a task no classical computer can; this is known in the field as “quantum supremacy.” In practical terms, our chip, which we call Sycamore, performed a computation in 200 seconds that would take the world’s fastest supercomputer 10,000 years.

IBM has downplayed the innovation saying that the the classical computer can run the same simulation in 2.5 days.

Writes the IBM Research Blog, “We argue that an ideal simulation of the same task can be performed on a classical system in 2.5 days and with far greater fidelity. This is in fact a conservative, worst-case estimate, and we expect that with additional refinements the classical cost of the simulation can be further reduced.”

IBM also said that Google “failed to fully account for plentiful disk storage” in a traditional supercomputer to exaggerate the supremacy of its machine.

Both Google and IBM make valid points, with the objective takeaway being how quantum computing will make its way into everyday tasks and how much more potential there is in classical computing.

Either way, the 54-qubit Sycamore processor is a far cry from the 5MB hard drive that IBM released in 1956 that weighed over a ton.

Categories
Nature

The 2019 Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Yongqing Bao’s photo of a fox surprising a marmot in the Qilian Mountains in China won the top prize in the 2019 Wildlife Photography Awards.

The photograph entitled “The Moment” is a suitable title of a freeze-frame that foreshadows the fox’s imminent attack.

What makes the marmot’s palpable shock more extraordinary is that the animal had just ventured outside for a hunt of its own after spending 6 months in hibernation.

Writes the Natural History Museum in London which hosts the prestigious annual awards show:

This Himalayan marmot was not long out of hibernation when it was surprised by a mother Tibetan fox with three hungry cubs to feed. With lightning-fast reactions, Yongqing captured the attack – the power of the predator baring her teeth, the terror of her prey, the intensity of life and death written on their faces.

As one of the highest-altitude-dwelling mammals, the Himalayan marmot relies on its thick fur for survival through the extreme cold. In the heart of winter it spends more than six months in an exceptionally deep burrow with the rest of its colony. Marmots usually do not resurface until spring, an opportunity not to be missed by hungry predators.

Check out more of the best wildlife photos of 2019 here.

Categories
Nature

The other side of the rainbow

Have you ever wondered what’s on the other side of the rainbow?

These two videos reveal a stunning full rainbow in their entirety, one from many stories up and the other from the beach.

Rainbows — they are a full circle of light but we typically see the arc because most people view them from ground level.

Take another 360 degrees look of this spectrum of beauty from the sky above.

360 degrees of rainbow full arc
Photo via Scott Hefti/tw

Yet, even cooler may be seeing a rainbow at night, what’s deemed a “moonbow.” This image was taken by photographer Fred Wilder, who writes:

In the spring around the nights of the full moon when the snow is melting in the mountains, it is possible to see rainbows at night in the mist of waterfalls in Yosemite National Park. These lunar rainbows, to the camera, look like the ones produced by sunlight during the days that are visible to our eyes.

This image was taken during the June full moon at lower Yosemite Falls. It is a combination of 25 x 30-second images to provide the equivalent of 12 1/2 minutes of exposure to show the stars circling the north pole. The camera lens needed to be wiped dry between shots due to the large amount of mist at the base of the waterfall, so the star trails wiggle a little as this moved the camera a bit … I find it really cool that the light of the full moon can produce this rich color at night.

Fred Wilder
Rainbow in Yosemite National Park at night
Photo by Fred Wilder

Rainbows, they brighten up the day. Now we just need to find out which side contains the pot of gold.