(ABC) A surfer who nearly drowned after being pummeled and washed through rocks by a big wave in Northern California is expected to recover, hospital officials said Tuesday.
A Stanford Hospital spokesman said 30-year-old Jacob Trette was in fair condition three days after he nearly drowned while attempting to surf Mavericks, a famous break about 20 miles south of San Francisco that has claimed a number of lives over the years.
Trette was rescued on Saturday by an Australian firefighter, Russell Ord, who was on a personal watercraft taking photographs of the surfers when a large "freak set" caught a pack of them too close to shore.
Saturday featured average-sized waves by Mavericks standards, maybe 15-to-18 foot surf, Ord said. The waves can get 30-foot or higher at certain times of year.
All of a sudden a rogue set of waves that Ord estimated at about 25 feet high appeared on the horizon.
"You could see that first wave coming, all of the surfers started paddling toward it," Ord told The Associated Press.
A group of about five surfers did not make it over the encroaching wave before it broke.
"I saw all the broken boards and people waving for help," he said.
Microcapsules in a Self-Healing Polymer
(Technologyreview.com) A polymer that mends itself could lead to medical implants or engine parts that fix themselves.
A new polymer material that can repeatedly heal itself at room temperature when exposed to ultraviolet light presents the tantalizing possibility of products that can repair themselves when damaged. Possibilities include self-healing medical implants, cars, or even airplane parts.
The polymer, created by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and Kyushu University, heals when a crack in the material is pressed together and exposed to UV light. The same treatment can cause separate chunks of the material to fuse together to form one solid piece.
The researchers were able to cut the same block into pieces and put them back together at least five times. With further refinement, the material could mend itself many more times, says CMU chemistry professor Krzysztof Matyjaszewski, who led the research team.
In an unexpected reversal of fortune, NASA's NanoSail-D spacecraft has unfurled a gleaming sheet of space-age fabric 650 km above Earth, becoming the first-ever solar sail to circle our planet.
"We're solar sailing!" says NanoSail-D principal investigator Dean Alhorn of the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL. "This is a momentous achievement."
NanoSail-D spent the previous month and a half stuck inside its mothership, the Fast, Affordable, Science and Technology SATellite (FASTSAT). FASTSAT was launched in November 2010 with NanoSail-D and five other experiments onboard. High above Earth, a spring was supposed to push the breadbox-sized probe into an orbit of its own with room to unfurl a sail. But when the big moment arrived, NanoSail-D got stuck.
"We couldn't get out of FASTSAT," says Alhorn. "It was heart-wrenching—yet another failure in the long and troubled history of solar sails."
Team members began to give up hope as weeks went by and NanoSail-D remained stubbornly and inexplicably onboard. The mission seemed to be over before it even began.
And then came Jan. 17th. For reasons engineers still don't fully understand, NanoSail-D spontaneously ejected itself. When Alhorn walked into the control room and saw the telemetry on the screen, he says "I couldn't believe my eyes. Our spacecraft was flying free!"
Our universe might be really, really big — but finite. Or it might be infinitely big.
Both cases, says physicist Brian Greene, are possibilities, but if the latter is true, so is another posit: There are only so many ways matter can arrange itself within that infinite universe. Eventually, matter has to repeat itself and arrange itself in similar ways. So if the universe is infinitely large, it is also home to infinite parallel universes.
Does that sound confusing? Try this:
Think of the universe like a deck of cards.
"Now, if you shuffle that deck, there's just so many orderings that can happen," Greene says. "If you shuffle that deck enough times, the orders will have to repeat. Similarly, with an infinite universe and only a finite number of complexions of matter, the way in which matter arranges itself has to repeat."
Greene, the author of The Elegant Universe and The Fabric of the Cosmos, tackles the existence of multiple universes in his latest book, The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos
Fifty-one years ago this Sunday, Swiss engineer Jacques Piccard and Navy oceanographer Don Walsh descended to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, seven miles below the sea’s surface. It’s the lowest point on Earth, and deeper than any human had gone before — or since.
Above is a new video chronicling the explorers’ journey, weaving animation with audio from an interview granted by Piccard in 2005, three years before his death. The interview was conducted by New York writer Victor Ozols, but went unpublished and eventually ended up on his blog. There it was found by German design student Roman Wolter, who made the film.
“Piccard’s story has been told in encyclopedic format before, but never before like this,” wrote Ozols in an e-mail to Wired.com.
Piccard and Walsh performed their descent Jan. 23, 1960, inside the bathyscaphe Trieste — a closet-sized metal sphere joined to a giant gasoline-filled buoyancy tank, built with the assistance of Piccard’s father. Since then, only two remotely operated robots have made the journey.
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