Japan Lands Rovers on Asteroid

Ryugu

Ryugu, seen here, is a diamond shape asteroid about 1km across.

In quite an incredible technological feat, Japan has successfully landed two robotic rovers on an asteroid that’s just 1km across.

The MINERVA-II1 rovers were launched from the Hayabusa2 spacecraft which was orbiting, the asteroid dubbed Ryugu. They sent back a few images on their way down, several which were a bit blurry, but a couple of nice ones. Including this one, which clearly shows the asteroid just before the rover touches down:

Photo from MINERVA-II1

The robots are designed to capitalise on the low gravity on the asteroid, by hopping, rather than rolling, along its surface. They will send back data and images that the lead scientists hope will answer questions about the formation of the universe.

Next month the orbiting spaceship will deploy explosives to the asteroid so the rover can look below its surface. Following that, yet another rover, a collaborative effort between French and German scientists will be sent to the asteroid to explore even further.

Read more: JAPAN’S SPACE ROVERS SEND PICTURES BACK AFTER FIRST EVER SUCCESSFUL LANDING ON ASTEROID

Are Aliens on the Way?

Have we finally found the aliens?

Lots of conspiracy theories abound after the FBI suddenly whooshed in dramatically in Blackhawk helicopters and ushered everyone out of the Sunspot Solar Observatory in New Mexico, putting the facility on lockdown.

The FBI is refusing to explain why the sudden closure, nor even that they were involved.

The Albuquerque Sheriff, Benny House, reportedly said:

“There was a Blackhawk helicopter, a bunch of people around antennas and work crews on towers, but nobody would tell us anything.”

Now of course, the internet is going wild with speculation. Theories range from aliens, to killer asteroids, and everything in between.

Mysterious indeed! Hopefully we’ll learn more soon.

Imprisoned for Breakfast with a Woman

Egyptian man arrested for dining with Saudi woman

Culture sure can be a load of bullshit. Why are people so blinded by their upbringing that they can’t see how insane their ingrained notions of what’s right and wrong are?

A Egyptian man was filmed eating breakfast with a female colleague (in a full burka no less), and subsequently was jailed as a result!

The man was arrested by the Saudi Ministry of Labour and Social Development, who accused him of “committing several violations and taking up a post exclusively reserved for Saudis”.

Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is purporting to be on a drive to modernise the country. Speaking of drives, he recently oh so generously granted women in the country the right to drive.

Apparently modernising the country’s often grotesque laws and human rights violations doesn’t extend to dining with a woman.

The comments on the article are just as insane.

I can’t even tell if this one is a joke:

“I need to understand why men are constantly punished and not women,” said Twitter user Malak. “I am a Saudi [woman] and I swear I want them to punish her with him. Laughter, eating at the workplace… where are your limits?”

Or how about this:

developing jobs for Saudi women among foreigners is considered an explicit breakdown of customs, traditions, and values.

Duh! It should be an explicit breakdown of traditions and values if those are your traditions and values.

Traditions are just that – traditions. They are manmade, not some divine natural law. They were usually invented in an older, very different time.  Let’s update them instead of trying to live on values that were established when people lived to the age of 30 and rode horses or camels through the street.

Read more: Man arrested after breakfast with woman in Saudi Arabia

Not the way to win a Race

I’m not much of a sports (or sport as they say in the UK), fan, especially when said ‘sport’ is racing a zooming machine at reckless speeds, as is the case in Moto2 racing.

But what in the world, was this dude Romano Fenati thinking when he reached over and grabbed the front brake of Stefani Manzi’s motorcycle at 130mph? That’s sheer craziness!

Surely he must have known that the best case scenario would have him kicked out and disqualified from the race, and that’s exactly what happened. And along with that minor penalty, his team cancelled his contract.

There goes a lucrative career for a homicidal ‘athlete’!

Off-Duty Cop Thinks She’s in her Apartment, Kills the Resident

From Texas (go figure) comes the story of an off-duty cop who returned home after work, only it wasn’t her home she returned to.

After some sort of altercation with the actual resident, a man from St. Lucia, named Botham Shem Jean, the cop, still in her uniform, ends up shooting and killing him.

Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall, summed up my thoughts when she said:

“Right now there are more questions than we have answers.”

Come on, how does someone first think they’re in the right apartment, when it’s obviously not theirs? And then to get to the point where they whip out their gun and kill the guy, all while she’s wearing a cop uniform? The mind boggles.

The victim must have been in a serious state of confusion before he met his untimely end.

Read more: Off-Duty Texas Cop Enters Wrong Apartment, Kills Man Inside: Police

The Frontier of Computing

The BBC has an interesting piece on the state of quantum computers.

For those of you who don’t know, quantum computers offer to harness the power of the strange ‘magic’ properties of quantum mechanics, and bring about some seriously powerful computing. For example, unlike a traditional binary computer where a switch is either on or off, i.e. a 1 or a 0, a quantum computer can use superposition to be on or off, plus on and off.

The concepts and mechanics of a quantum computer are known in theory, but putting them into practice is proving difficult. The quantum effects of the quantum computer are highly sensitive to interference and are unpredictable which currently results in lots of error. If this issue can be sorted out, then it’s off to the races. There are, as the article discusses, several companies taking different approaches to the problem. IBM for example, is cooling the quantum bits, or qubits, that run the computer down to almost absolute zero to stabilise them.

Moore’s Law, which states that computing power will double, get twice as energy efficient, and half the size, every two years, is finally reaching its limits.  Quantum computing would blow the lid off that law and no doubt change the world as we know it.

Mastering quantum computing will bring serious and fast technological breakthroughs – including no doubt, the long theorised ‘singularity‘.

It’s pretty exciting stuff and an area to keep an eye on!


Read more: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-45273584

ISS Sabotaged?


The International Space Station has a hole in it. Last week after noticing a drop in pressure inside the station, the official statement was that a meteorite had caused the hole.

Now the story has changed. Apparently, the hole was done with a drill, either accidentally or on purpose, either on Earth or in space. 

As you can see in the picture, there are marks from a sliding drill, so they think that it could just have been a bungling technician who slipped and made the hole and glued it up without telling anyone, and now the epoxy has come lose.

At any rate, the astronauts have fixed it temporarily with epoxy, so they are safe for now. If they hadn’t caught it, they would have run out of air in 18 hours!

Read more: https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/nasa-iss-hole-man-made-international-space-station-roscosmos-human-a8522036.html

National Museum of Brazil Destroyed in Fire

Well this is certainly a catastrophe. 20 million historic artefacts from around the world, including the oldest fossils ever found in Brazil, have all gone up in flames in a massive fire at Brazil’s 200 year old national museum.

They’ve not yet said what the cause was, but apparently fire hydrants close to the museum were not working, hampering efforts to put out the fire.

National Museum of Brazil

Brazilians, especially the indigenous, are understandably upset that more was not done to safeguard so many valuable items of historic significance.

“The tragedy this Sunday is a sort of national suicide. A crime against our past and future generations,” Bernard Mello Franco, one of Brazil’s best-known columnists, wrote on the O Globo newspaper site.

Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-45392668
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/sep/03/fire-engulfs-brazil-national-museum-rio