Hubble Telescope Celebrates 15th Birthday with Stunning Images

first_imgFifteen years old this month, the Hubble Space Telescope showed off new images of the Whirlpool Galaxy and Eagle Nebula (see ESA press release).  Engineers at JPL who built the WFPC-2 (Wide Field and Planetary Camera), the camera that took most of those famous images that adorn our walls and calendars, took great satisfaction today during a slide show of famous images and astronomical discoveries that Hubble has beamed to earth.  Though built under time pressure and political pressure to save the Hubble from its original optical flaws, WFPC-2 was installed during a risky shuttle rescue operation right as planned, and has worked perfectly for 15 years – longer than any other part of the telescope.    Though Hubble usually takes the spotlight because its vision is like ours, two other space telescopes are filling in knowledge about the wings of the optical spectrum: Spitzer in the infrared, and GALEX in the ultraviolet.Hubble is a great American success story that deserves far more press coverage than the usual daily retinue of crime stories and celebrity trials.  HST has brought us not only knowledge and science, but art.  Take this occasion to tour the Hubble Site and feast your eyes on things Galileo could not have dreamt of.  Congratulations to all the Hubble team: the universe will never be the same in our eyes thanks to this wonderful true story of intelligent design.    PS: [email protected] reported the possibility that some stars may have planets made of diamond.  Tell that to your kid after she sings Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and see if you can get a big-eyed Wow.(Visited 5 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

World-class field for Attakwas MTB Marathon

first_img15 January 2014The eighth edition of the Fairview Attakwas Extreme mountain bike marathon has attracted a powerful field, including top Swiss, German and Czech racers, for Saturday’s year-opening showdown in the Western Cape.South Africa’s best marathoners will take on the international stars over a 121-kilometre route that starts and finishes just outside the town of Oudtshoorn.Current world championTopping the start list in the men’s race is the defending champion, Christoph Sauser of Specialized Racing. The Swiss ace is the current marathon world champion and a four-time winner of the Absa Cape Epic.Sauser brings with him his new Specialized Racing international teammate, Frantisek Rabon of the Czech Republic. It will be Rabon’s first participation in the event in a year in which he switches his focus from road racing to mountain biking. He previously raced for ProTour teams T-Mobile and Omega Pharma Quickstep.A powerful German contingent will also be on the starting line. Karl Platt, a four-time Absa Cape Epic winner will head up the four-man Team Bulls squad, which includes compatriots Stefan Sahm, a three-time Epic champion, and Simon Stiebjan. Platt and Sahm have both finished on the podium at Attakwas before.Cross country starAnother high profile German, Manuel Fumic, will make his Attakwas Extreme debut. Better known as one of the world’s top cross-country racers, Fumic was seventh at the 2012 Olympic Games and was runner-up at the 2013 World Championships in Pietermaritzburg. The Cannondale Factory Team racer competed in his first Cape Epic last year, finishing fifth.Urs Huber, the Swiss rider who partnered Platt to second place at the 2013 Cape Epic, is also confirmed to start the race for Team Bulls.South African challengeThe South African challenge is led by three-time Attakwas Extreme winner and multiple former national marathon champion, Kevin Evans of FedGroup Itec, who makes a return to racing after a lengthy recovery following complications related to a burst appendix. Evans will be joined by FedGroup Itec teammate Neil MacDonald on the start line.Other strong South Africans to watch are the Cannondale Blend trio of Darren Lill, Waylon Woolcock and Charles Keey, while Team RE:CM’s triple threat comes from Nico Bell, Erik Kleinhans and Lourens Luus, last year ‘s runner-up. Dark horses include Louis Brelser Knipe (PYGA) and Adriaan Louw (SWIFT/Fairview).Women’s line-upThe women’s field also boasts class and depth with defending champion Ariane Kleinhans, the current Swiss marathon champion and two-time Cape Epic Mixed division winner, topping a quality line-up. She will be joined by new Team RE:CM teammate Cherise Stander, the 2012 South African marathon champion, who will make her Attakwas Extreme debut.Current South African marathon champion, Robyn de Groot of Biogen Cycle Lab, will also be in the mix, along with two-time Cape Epic winner Hanlie Booyens, while Ischen Stopforth, a seven-time Attakwas finisher with multiple podium places and Jeannie Dreyer, the Freedom Challenge champion and record holder, complete the list of high-profile female entrants.CelebritiesOver 1200 riders have already entered the event, which has also attracted South African celebrities, who will be riding for the Absa Team at this year’s Absa Cape Epic. They include former Springbok rugby stars Joel Stranksy and Stefan Terblanche, radio and TV presenter Liezel van der Westhuizen, and actress Hlubi Mboya.The 121km race includes a total of 2 900 metres of vertical ascent, making it a serious challenge by anyone’s standards. Add in the rough terrain of the Klein Karoo, the excessive heat, which can easily reach over 40 degrees Celsius in January, and the traditional headwind in the final 40km and you have a gruelling year-opener for the world of marathon mountain bike racing.Mini AttaEntries for the Fairview Attakwas Extreme have closed. However, for those keen to sample the event, there’s a relatively challenging 52km Mini Atta, presented by Spur. Late entries (with a late entry fee penalty) can still be done until race day.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Microsoft Is Basically Screwed In The Tablet Sector, IDC Says

first_imgSomething is rotten in the state of Redmond.When Microsoft said that it would fork its new Windows 8 operating system in two to support both x86 and ARM-based chips, most pundits figured that was a good idea. Windows had for too long been stuck in the world of x86 and was missing the Mobile Revolution with its reluctance to adopt ARM. Henceforth, two types of Windows tablets were born: Windows 8 on x86 and Windows RT on ARM.And both have more or less flopped. Research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) has revised its tablet predictions for 2013-2017. Surprise, surprise: Microsoft is projected to get its butt kicked by iOS and Android.Windows 8 is expected to garner a 2.8% market share of tablets in 2013. Windows RT is projected towards a sickly 1.9%. Android is expected to take the lead in tablets this year with 48.8% of the market and Apple’s iPad comes in at 46%. Not much changes in IDC’s predictions by 2017. Android will sit at 46%, the iPad at 43.5% with Windows 8 (or whatever derivations of Windows is available at the time) and RT expected to take 7.4% and 2.7%, respectively.  Related Posts What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Overall, IDC has pegged the 2013 worldwide tablet market in 2013 to 190.9 million, ahead of its 172.4 million projection. This is the second straight quarter that IDC has increased its tablet projection. The reason for the increase comes as IDC recognizes a growing market for smaller, cheaper tablets. That means tablets that are below 8-inches and likely below $500. That bodes well for Android, an operating system that has a plethora of commendable tablets like the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD, which retail at $199. Even a company like HP may benefit from the cheap Android tablet market with its $169 – the Slate 7.Microsoft will have to learn to change its wicked ways if it wants to get into game. It will need to produce (or encourage its manufacturing partners to produce) cheaper, smaller tablets running either Windows 8 or Windows RT, and price them to sell.“Microsoft’s decision to push two different tablet operating systems, Windows 8 and Windows RT, has yielded poor results in the market so far,” said Tom Mainelli, IDC’s research director for tablets in a press release. “Consumers aren’t buying Windows RT’s value proposition, and long term we think Microsoft and its partners would be better served by focusing their attention on improving Windows 8. Such a focus could drive better share growth in the tablet category down the road.” Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Tags:#Microsoft#tablets#Windows 8#windows rt The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology dan rowinski Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagementlast_img read more

Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Virat Kohli shortlisted for ICC ODI Cricketer of the Year award

first_imgIndian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his deputy Virat Kohli are in the running for the ‘ODI Cricketer of the Year’ trophy, while veteran Sachin Tendulkar has been nominated for the ‘People’s Choice Award’ in the short-list announced on Thursday for the ninth LG ICC Annual Awards in Colombo.No Indian features in the ‘Test Cricketer of the Year’ and ‘Cricketer of the Year’ short-list, which is a reflection of the slump that the team went through last year when it was whitewashed by England and Australia during away series.South African duo of Hashim Amla and Vernon Philander, Australia captain Michael Clarke and Sri Lanka batsman Kumar Sangakkara have been nominated for the top honour.”The votes have now been casted by the independent 32-person academy and these four men are the ones in the running to receive the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for ICC Cricketer of the Year at a glittering ceremony in Colombo on September 15,” the ICC said in a statement.In addition, all four cricketers are also short-listed for the ‘Test Cricketer of the Year’.Sangakkara is also in contention for the ICC ODI Cricketer of the Year award along with Dhoni, Kohli, as well as team-mate Lasith Malinga. The Lankan is also nominated in the People’s Choice category along with Tendulkar, South Africans Jacques Kallis and Vernon Philander and English pacer James Anderson.The Twenty20 International (T20I) Performance of the year sees Sri Lanka’s Tillakaratne Dilshan short-listed alongside West Indies’ Chris Gayle, South Africa’s Richard Levi and Dilshan’s compatriot, Ajantha Mendis.Meanwhile, in the ICC Women’s ODI Cricketer of the Year short-list, ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year, Stafanie Taylor, has been nominated alongside fellow West Indian Anisa Mohammed, as well as England pair of Sarah Taylor and Lydia Greenway.Both Taylors also feature in the short-list for ICC Women’s T20I Cricketer of the Year and are joined on that list by Australia pair Alyssa Healy and Lisa Sthalekar.advertisementlast_img read more

HHI to Formally Acquire DSME Final Deal Expected in March

first_imgzoomImage Courtesy: Wikimedia/Wei-Te Wong under CC BY-SA 2.0 license South Korean shipbuilding giant Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) is to sign a formal deal to acquire compatriot rival Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME), local media cited Korea Development Bank (KDB) as saying. HHI and KDB will enter into the final contract in early March, following a conditional agreement signed in January 2019.The announcement comes as Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI), another major shipbuilder in South Korea, expressed its intention not to bid for the DSME stake.The state-controlled KDB holds a 55.7 percent stake in DSME, with an estimated worth of KRW 2.16 trillion (USD 1.94 billion).Under the agreement, KDB will transfer its DSME stocks to HHI and buy KRW 1.5 trillion worth of HHI stocks that will be issued later. What is more, the bank is to consider providing KRW 1 trillion in financial help to DSME.As a result, HHI will be split into two entities of which one will be listed on the market. The shipbuilder will also be selling its stocks to the bank.If proceeded, the agreement will see HHI owning a 26 percent stake in DSME and KDB 18 percent.However, the acquisition could face obstacles as labor unions at both HHI and DSME yards opposed the deal. Workers are reportedly worried that the acquisition could result in massive layoffs.The completion of the deal, expected in five to six months, will be subject to regulatory approval as it has the potential to reshape the global shipbuilding market.World Maritime News Stafflast_img read more

Would TCU Have Given Oregon A Better Game

The first College Football Playoff game ever played, Thursday’s Rose Bowl between the Oregon Ducks against the Florida State Seminoles, promised to be a classic featuring two Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks. Instead, it was a one-sided romp that saw Oregon outscore Florida State 41-7 in the second half en route to a 39-point victory.Plenty of observers enjoyed the schadenfreude of seeing Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston lose his first game as a college starter, particularly in light of Winston’s off-field comportment. But the blowout loss also amplified questions about whether Florida State should have been granted a playoff berth in the first place.Going into the playoff, there wasn’t much debate over the selection committee‘s top two teams, Alabama and Oregon, but there was plenty of controversy surrounding the admittance of Florida State and Ohio State over TCU and Baylor. In addition to the strange leapfrog Florida State and Ohio State made over TCU in the final edition of the committee’s rankings, a number of oddsmakers suggested both jilted Texas schools would be favored at a neutral field over either the Seminoles or Buckeyes.Some of that second-guessing looks silly after Ohio State beat Alabama in Thursday’s Sugar Bowl, earning a trip to face Oregon in the CFP’s championship game, hours after Baylor blew a 20-point 4th quarter lead against Michigan State to lose the Cotton Bowl. But in conjunction with TCU’s 39-point obliteration of Ole Miss (who placed ninth in the committee’s final rankings) in the Peach Bowl on Wednesday, Florida State’s humiliating loss to Oregon has, predictably, led to calls that TCU should have been in the playoff instead.Statistically, there’s something to that criticism. Going into the bowls, Florida State ranked tenth in ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) rating, which emphasizes per-drive scoring margin and downplays the theory that a team could have a knack for consistently winning close games, rather than just getting lucky. The Seminoles had been 13-0 before their meeting with Oregon, but the Seminoles’ point differential suggested they deserved a record more like 10-3 or even 9-4. The Seminoles’ year of living dangerously finally caught up with them.By contrast, TCU had ranked fifth in the FPI before the bowls, and currently sits at No. 4 behind Oregon, Alabama (who still rank second despite their loss), and Ohio State. Knowing what we know now, and using the historical distribution of actual point margins for a given prediction (based on an FPI-like Elo variant for seasons since the start of the BCS era), there’s a 98.2 percent probability that TCU’s point differential versus Oregon would have been closer than Florida State’s margin of defeat Thursday, and a 54 percent chance that TCU would cover the point spread if they were made a touchdown underdog against the Ducks.Then again, based on the pregame FPI ratings, Oregon’s 39-point win in the Rose Bowl also represented the 98th percentile of all possible outcomes for a game against Florida State at a neutral site. If they were to play again today, FPI’s current data says there’s a 96.6 percent probability the Seminoles would put forth a better showing the second time around.Hindsight is 20/20. So while it’s likely that TCU was, and is, a better team than Florida State, it was difficult at the time to argue for an undefeated Power 5 conference team to be left out of the playoff field, even if their record was out of step with their point differential.And even now, the gulf between the two teams isn’t as wide as it seems after TCU had a 99th percentile performance in the Peach Bowl and Florida State had a 2nd percentile performance in the Rose Bowl. FPI says TCU would be favored by about 4.5 points on a neutral field, meaning there’d still be roughly a 39 percent chance of a Florida State victory even after accounting for the events of the past few days. read more