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the physics arXiv blog » Blog Archive » First superheavy element found in nature

But if these superheavy nuclei are stable, why don’t we find them already on Earth? Turns out we do; they’ve been here all along. The news today is that a group led by Amnon Marinov at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has found the first naturally occuring superheavy nuclei by sifting through a large pile of the heavy metal thorium.

What they did was fire one thorium nucleus after another through a mass spectrometer to see how heavy each was. Thorium has an atomic number of 90 and occurs mainly in two isotopes with atomic weights of 230 and 232. All these showed up in the measurements along with a various molecular oxides and hydrides that form for technical reasons.

But something else showed up too. An element with a weight of 292 and an atomic number of around 122. That’s an extraordinary claim and quite rightly the team has been diligent in attempting to exclude alternative explanations such as th epresence of exotic molecules formed from impurities in the thorium sample or from the hydrocarbon in oil used in the vacuum pumping equipment). But these have all been ruled out, say Marinov and his buddies.

Speeding, driverless Nissan finally stopped by US bombers • The Register

Kairos believe that the robo strap-on gear would be ideal for driving unmanned supply trucks through the minefields and roadside bombs of Iraq or Afghanistan, or other dangerous military applications. They say it can be remotely “tele-operated” using a video feed, or follow a pre-generated course on its own. Pronto4-pimped cars competed in the last DARPA robocar event, apparently.

Passwords used by the Conficker worm | Graham Cluley’s blog

One of the ways in which the Conficker worm (also known as Confick or Downadup) uses to spread is to try and batter its way into ADMIN$ shares using a long list of different passwords.

As you can see in the list below, it relies upon computers using poorly chosen passwords such as dictionary words, “password”, “qwerty” or sequences of letters or repeated numbers

Future Tech: Siftables Intelligent Blocks Look Like the Future of Interactive UI Design For Kids

Developed in MIT’s Media Lab, the blocks communicate with one another while within proximity, meaning they can peform unique functions next to specific blocks. The creator, David Merrill, says this type of physical UI is better suited to the way the brain works, which makes it more intuitive.

In the demo, these blocks, roughly 1.5″x1.5″, can be programmed to do anything. They can as a calculator that spit out answers when you put numbers and operation signs in any order and a color blender where you “pour” color blocks into a mixing block. There’s even a musical sequencer, where you can rearrange blocks to change patterns, or tap instrument and effects blocks to the sequence to add new sounds on top.

One of the cooler ones was an interactive storybook in which a kid places character and object blocks next to each other, and an improvised, interactive story is projected up on a TV screen.

ICO tears school CCTV a new peephole • The Register

While the ICO recognises there may be a place for teachers to use CCTV to support their professional development, “recording every lesson for these purposes would be excessive”. Installing a system for the purpose of addressing problem behaviour might be appropriate “in exceptional circumstances”.

“Constant filming and sound recording is unlikely to be acceptable unless there is a pressing need – for example, if there is an ongoing problem of assaults or criminal damage,” it states. “Constant CCTV monitoring of all children in a class cannot be justified with reference to the need to address classroom disruption.” Similar stipulations apply to other school areas, such as washrooms.

Canadian boffins develop mindreader headband • The Register

“When your brain is active, the oxygen in your blood increases and depending on the concentration, it absorbs more or less light,” Luu said. “In some people, their brains are more active when they don’t like something, and in some people they’re more active when they do like something.”

After a few dummy runs to learn how each individual’s brain responded to a given situation, according to Luu & Co, the machine was able to tell whether a user liked or didn’t like a drink presented to them with 80 per cent accuracy.

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