20 Feb

There’s no shortage of space debris orbiting Earth. However, occasionally an object comes along that perplexes scientists. Such is the case with an unidentified “empty trash bag object” recently discovered.

Scientists are fairly certain the object is simply something left over from a rocket launch, such as a piece of metallic foil. This particular object first stood out because it was orbiting in the opposite direction from which it normally would. It was examined by experts working at London’s Northolt Branch Observatories, who dubbed it an empty trash bag object.

18 Feb

Try playing certain string instruments without amplification and you'll soon see why the electric versions were created. Some, like the double bass, almost always require some form of artificial amplification in order to be heard in open-air or concert-hall venues, where sound takes time to travel and dissipates along the way.

Instrumental amplification is often provided by something known as a pickup, a device that collects mechanical vibrations and then transforms them into electrical signals that can be amplified to play through a speaker system. In many amplified instruments, the pickup is located internally; others, like the aforementioned double bass, can use an external pickup that attaches to the bridge of the instrument.

16 Feb

Tiny homes offer scaled-down living solutions that appeal to those concerned with maintaining more space than they need or can afford. Some drawbacks include the necessity to secure space for the house to rest; limited storage areas; spartan bathroom and kitchen facilities; and, cozy though they might sometimes be, cramped sleeping quarters that can see even the most loving people repelling each other like human-sized magnets.

The houses remain popular, though, for the lifestyle options they provide, and as they proliferate, variations on the theme have evolved.

One such iteration: A structure known as Tiny Tower, built in Philadelphia by ISA, an architectural firm located in the City of Brotherly Love that works closely with clients to come up with master plans, buildings, and installations that address lifestyle, environmental, technological, and climate concerns.

14 Feb

Newly published research indicates that detection of fast radio bursts could amount to signs of advanced alien technology that could lead to discoveries of alien life. It's possible, in fact, that these radio bursts could emanate from transmitters the size of planets which provide power to interstellar probes, and that the bursts might actually be leakage.

"Fast radio bursts are exceedingly bright given their short duration and origin at great distances, and we haven't identified a possible natural source with any confidence," said theorist Avi Loeb of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. "An artificial origin is worth contemplating and checking."

Fast radio bursts, as the name suggests, are flashes of radio emission that last for a millisecond. There have been less than two dozen of these detected since their discovery in 2007. The bursts are believed to have emanated from galaxies located billions of light years away.

12 Feb

Drive for a length of time through most any countryside, and you're likely to come across a structure that's seen better days. Some, when abandoned, stay that way until they fall down, never to rise again.

Not so with Black Barn, a new architectural project in the Suffolk region of England. Once a barely standing collection of timbers, boards, and shingles, the barn has been re-imagined and rebuilt as an off-the-grid home whose design fits in with area agricultural structures.

The project has been undertaken by design firm Studio Bark, which describes the project as "a rigorously environmental 'paragraph 79' family home", referring to a section of the 2018 National Planning Policy Framework relating to constructing new isolated domiciles in open countryside settings.

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