The Summer Solstice 2011, the longest day of the year and also the official beginning of the summer season, will officially arrive on Tuesday, June 21.
Typically the summer solstice is the day of the year with the longest daylight hours except in the polar regions, where daylight is continuous for many months during the spring and summer.
Summer in the Northern Hemisphere will officially arrive on Tuesday at 1:16 p.m. EDT, while the Winter Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere occurs on the same day.
The Summer solstice, also referred as “Midsummer”, occurs exactly when Earth’s axial tilt is most inclined towards the Sun at its maximum of 23° 26'. This is the time when the Sun is at its highest, or most northerly, point in the sky in the Northern Hemisphere.
Depending on the shift of the calendar, the summer solstice occurs between December 21 and December 22 each year in the Southern Hemisphere, and between June 20 and June 21 in the Northern Hemisphere.
Image: Old Big Bang Theory
A new cosmology successfully explains the accelerating expansion of the universe without dark energy; but only if the universe has no beginning and no end.
As one of the few astrophysical events that most people are familiar with, the Big Bang has a special place in our culture. And while there is scientific consensus that it is the best explanation for the origin of the Universe, the debate is far from closed. However, it's hard to find alternative models of the Universe without a beginning that are genuinely compelling.
That could change now with the fascinating work of Wun-Yi Shu at the National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan. Shu has developed an innovative new description of the Universe in which the roles of time space and mass are related in new kind of relativity.
Shu's idea is that time and space are not independent entities but can be converted back and forth between each other. In his formulation of the geometry of spacetime, the speed of light is simply the conversion factor between the two. Similarly, mass and length are interchangeable in a relationship in which the conversion factor depends on both the gravitational constant G and the speed of light, neither of which need be constant.
Photo Courtesy of SPR
Chinese researchers claim they’ve confirmed the theory behind an "impossible" space drive, and are proceeding to build a demonstration version. If they’re right, this might transform the economics of satellites, open up new possibilities for space exploration - and give the Chinese a decisive military advantage in space.
To say that the " Emdrive" (short for "electromagnetic drive") concept is controversial would be an understatement. According to Roger Shawyer, the British scientist who developed the concept, the drive converts electrical energy into thrust via microwaves, without violating any laws of physics. Many researchers believe otherwise. An article about the Emdrive in New Scientist magazine drew a massive volley of criticism. Scientists not only argued that Shawyer’s work was blatantly impossible, and that his reasoning was flawed. They also said the article should never have been published.
"It is well known that Roger Shawyer’s ‘electromagnetic relativity drive’ violates the law of conservation of momentum, making it simply the latest in a long line of ‘perpetuum mobiles’ that have been proposed and disproved for centuries," wrote John Costella, an Australian physicist. " His analysis is rubbish and his ‘drive’ impossible."
There's lots of talk inside and outside the Pentagon, the Department of Energy, and of course the NRC, on the development of new generations of advanced design reactors as well as the Bill Gates-fueled buzz surrounding their tiny cousins known as mini or "pocket nukes".
Experts recognize the advantages that small reactors – sometimes called “grid appropriate reactors” - could bring to more resilient energy grid. The Department of Energy has established a small reactor program, and industry groups have held workshops on the topic. Foreign entities have embraced the idea; Toshiba has been marketing their “4S” reactor for a number of years.
While US utilities have mainly pursued fossil fuel generation options, which require less capital investment, the balance of nuclear expertise has shifted overseas. European nuclear generating capacity has been growing quietly and advances in Asia have been dramatic. Korea and China, in particular, have been building new plants, not only at home, but for exports throughout the developing world. US capabilities in nuclear power design, fabrication and construction have dwindled over recent decades, with the remnants of once-powerful US nuclear engineering companies, such as Westinghouse (Toshiba) and GE (Hitachi) being sold to foreign companies.
In a bid to save lives and money, the US Department of Defense on Tuesday presented its first plan to change how it uses energy at home and on the battlefield.
The strategy, which will be fleshed out this summer with a more detailed implementation plan, constitutes the Pentagon's promise to develop more energy-efficient weapons, embrace non-oil energy sources (Insert: No More Nukes!) and demand more energy-conscious behavior from the troops (Insert: What about the "leaders"?).
The plan is the Pentagon's broadest effort yet to come to grips with its huge and growing reliance on energy to carry out military operations. That energy dependence has proved especially costly in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, leading to soaring fuel bills and a dangerous reliance on vulnerable fuel convoys.
"The less [energy] we need, the more operationally resilient we will be," Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn said at a briefing. "We will increase military effectiveness while lowering our costs.
A bizarre report prepared for Prime Minister Putin by Admiral Maksimov of Russia’s Northern Fleet states that a ‘mysterious magnetic vortex’ currently centered in the Gulf of Aden has “defied” all the combined efforts of Russia, The United States and China to shut it down, or even to ascertain its exact origin or “cause for being”.
The Gulf of Aden is one of the most vital waterways in the world located in the Arabian Sea between Yemen, on the south coast of the Arabian Peninsula, and Somalia in the Horn of Africa that sees over 21,000 ships sailing through its waters each year.
According to this report, US scientists began noticing the “formation” of this vortex in late 2000, after which the Americans established a base of operations on the Horn of Africa in Djibouti, the capital and largest city of the Republic of Djibouti. After the 9/11 attacks on America, Djibouti then became the home of the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) which is a joint task force of United States Africa Command.
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