Sci/Tech

SPOILER ALERT: Computer Simulations Provide Preview of Upcoming Eclipse
August 18, 2017 09:15 AM - University of Texas At Austin

A research team from Predictive Science Inc. (PSI) used the Stampede2supercomputer at The University of Texas at Austin’s Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) to forecast the corona of the sun during the upcoming eclipse. The findings shed light on what the eclipse of the sun might look like Aug. 21 when it will be visible across much of the U.S., tracing a 70-mile-wide band across 14 states.

Beyond their rarity, solar eclipses help astronomers better understand the sun’s structure, inner workings and the space weather it generates. 

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Study Finds Drought Recoveries Taking Longer
August 14, 2017 05:19 PM - NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

As global temperatures continue to rise, droughts are expected to become more frequent and severe in many regions during this century. A new study with NASA participation finds that land ecosystems took progressively longer to recover from droughts in the 20th century, and incomplete drought recovery may become the new normal in some areas, possibly leading to tree death and increased emissions of greenhouse gases.

In results published Aug. 10 in the journal Nature, a research team led by Christopher Schwalm of Woods Hole Research Center, Falmouth, Massachusetts, and including a scientist from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, measured recovery time following droughts in various regions of the world. They used projections from climate models verified by observations from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA's Terra satellite and ground measurements. The researchers found that drought recovery was taking longer in all land areas. In two particularly vulnerable regions -- the tropics and northern high latitudes -- recovery took ever longer than in other regions.

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SPOTLIGHT

Elon Musk Isn't the Only One Trying to Computerize Your Brain

Cade Metz, Wired

Elon Musk wants to merge the computer with the human brain, build a “neural lace,” create a “direct cortical interface,” whatever that might look like. In recent months, the founder of Tesla, SpaceX, and OpenAI has repeatedly hinted at these ambitions, and then, earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal reported that Musk has now launched a company called Neuralink that aims to implant tiny electrodes in the brain “that may one day upload and download thoughts.”

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