Physicists harness neglected properties of light

Researchers at University of Toronto successfully reveals a way to increase the resolution of microscopes and telescopes beyond their accepted limitation.

This new discovery will helps observers to differentiate very small objects that normally meld into a single blur.

We all know that telescopes and microscopes are used to observe lone subjects. Observers can detect and measure a single distant star precisely. The longer they observe, the more refined their data becomes. But this principle doesn’t applicable to all objects like binary stars.

That’s because even the best telescopes are subject to laws of physics that cause light to spread out or “diffract.” A sharp pinpoint becomes an ever-so-slightly blurry dot. If two stars are so close together that their blurs overlap, no amount of observation can separate them out. Their individual information is irrevocably lost.

More than 100 years ago, British physicist John William Strutt – better known as Lord Rayleigh – established the minimum distance between objects necessary for a telescope to pick out each individually. The “Rayleigh Criterion” has stood as an inherent limitation of the field of optics ever since.

Telescopes, though, only register light’s “intensity” or brightness. Light has other properties that now appear to allow one to circumvent the Rayleigh Criterion.

“To beat Rayleigh’s curse, you have to do something clever,” says Professor Aephraim Steinberg, a physicist at U of T’s Centre for Quantum Information and Quantum Control, and Senior Fellow in the Quantum Information Science program at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. He’s the lead author of a paper published today in the journal Physical Review Letters.

Some of these clever ideas were recognized with the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, notes Steinberg, but those methods all still rely on intensity only, limiting the situations in which they can be applied. “We measured another property of light called ‘phase.’ And phase gives you just as much information about sources that are very close together as it does those with large separations.”

Light travels in waves, and all waves have a phase. Phase refers to the location of a wave’s crests and troughs. Even when a pair of close-together light sources blurs into a single blob, information about their individual wave phases remains intact. You just have to know how to look for it. This realization was published by National University of Singapore researchers Mankei Tsang, Ranjith Nair, and Xiao-Ming Lu last year in Physical Review X, and Steinberg’s and three other experimental groups immediately set about devising a variety of ways to put it into practice.

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Facebook is reportedly building a streaming TV app

The social networking giant has been rolling out new video ad products. Its going so far as to reward longer and more engaging videos with better distribution on its platform.

According to the sources, Facebook is all set to launch a T.V app for streaming TV boxes. Not mentioning much specifies, it notes that it would prioritize video content rather than simply act as a big-screen portal into your news feed.

Reportedly, Facebook is also in talks with media companies to license a variety of long-term, TV-style content ranging from scripted shows to sports and entertainment.

The app would be a platform to distribute this new content alongside TV-style advertisements that can fetch a higher asking price than display ads on the news feed.

It’s currently unclear how user generated video will factor in to the TV platform, but according to the Journal‘s sources, a Facebook TV app has been in development in some form or another for years. The latest incarnation got a boost when Facebook execs renewed their video efforts in 2016 and while there’s no word yet on which streaming boxes Facebook will be coming to, the Apple TV was named as the obvious starting point.

Researchers give driverless cars better cooperation skills

Are you really ready to ride with just a robot at the wheel? To make self-driving cars safer, researchers from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland want them to communicate both with each other and non-robotic vehicles to avoid any nasty surprises. As such, they rigged up three vehicles, including a robotic truck and non-autonomous vehicle, to function as one unit on a real road. By working in a team and using each other’s sensors, the vehicles were able to anticipate each other’s moves, making lane change maneuvers safer.

In the EPFL’s scheme, vehicles can travel together as a convoy that doesn’t have any particular “leader.” Rather, they work as a group with other vehicles in the near vicinity, sharing GPS, laser, video camera and other sensor data via WiFi. That way, each vehicle can take advantage of its neighbor’s “eyes” to sense hazardous situations and better coordinate their movements.

The system is managed by special algorithms that allow cars “to work together and achieve complex group behavior,” says researcher Alcherio Martinoli. That allows the convoy to reorganize and adapt when vehicles join the group, change lanes or exit. To prove that it works, they did a demo on Swedish roads with three vehicles, including a robotic and non-robotic car, along with a robotic big-rig truck (video, above). When a vehicle wants to merge, “it sends a specific message and the others reorganize to leave enough space,” says EPFL’s Guillaume Jornod.

While three cars isn’t a lot, “for the first time we were able to validate what we had achieved in a simulation,” says Martinoli, adding that it should be relatively easy to scale up. The point, he adds, is to put the coordination algorithms on top of the robotic driving tech, but make it robust enough to handle regular, unconnected cars, too. “We are hoping that, with a rise in demand, carmakers will come up with ever cheaper solutions for converting legacy vehicles … and that we will be able to deploy and improve this multi-lane convoy system.”

Micro spacecraft investigates cometary water mystery

In September 2015, a team of astronomers from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, University of Michigan, Kyoto Sangyo University, Rikkyo University and the University of Tokyo successfully observed the entire hydrogen coma of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, using the LAICA telescope onboard the PROCYON spacecraft. They also succeeded in obtaining the absolute rate of water discharge from the comet.

This comet was the target of ESA’s Rosetta mission in 2015. Because the Rosetta spacecraft was actually inside the cometary coma, it couldn’t observe the overall coma structure. There were bad observing conditions during the time the comet could be observed from Earth, so through our observations, we were able to test the coma models for the comet for the first time.

Comet observation by the PROCYON spacecraft had not been scheduled in the original mission plan. Thanks to the efforts of the spacecraft and telescope operation teams, observations were conducted shortly after we started discussing the possibility, producing results of great scientific importance.

This result is the first scientific achievement by a micro spacecraft for deep space exploration. Moreover, this provides an ideal example where observations by a low-cost mission (e.g., the PROCYON mission) support precise observations by a large mission (e.g., the Rosetta mission). We hope this will become a model case for micro spacecraft observations in support of large missions.

The Rosetta mission and its limits        

The 2015 apparition (appearance) of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was a target of ESA’s Rosetta mission. In the Rosetta mission, precise observations of the comet were carried out from close to the surface of the nucleus for more than two years including when the comet passed perihelion (closest approach to the Sun) on August 13, 2015. However, observation of the entire coma was difficult because the Rosetta spacecraft was located in the cometary coma.

To extrapolate from Rosetta’s observations of specific areas and estimate the total amount of water released by the comet per second (water production rate), we need a model for the coma. But the water production rate strongly depends on the coma model we use. To test the coma models, we have to compare the absolute water production rate derived from entire coma observations to predictions based on Rosetta’s results and the various coma models. Therefore, it was useful to observe the entire coma from farther away from the comet with another satellite.

Conventionally, the SWAN telescope onboard the SOHO spacecraft has often been used to observe such targets. Unfortunately, the comet moved to a region where there are many stars behind it, and because of the SWAN telescope’s low spatial-resolution it could not distinguish the comet from the background stars.

2 Teens Arrested After Planning Middle School Mass Shooting

 

Two male teenagers in central Florida were arrested Thursday after authorities discovered the pair’s plan for a Columbine-style mass shooting at their middle school, police said.

The unidentified students — ages 13 and 14 — were charged with conspiracy to commit murder and placed into the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Sumter County Sheriff’s Department said in a press release.

Law enforcement and school officials were initially tipped off of the pair’s plans on Tuesday, police said. The arrests came after “officials learned of, and intervened in a plot to initiate a mass shooting at their school,” the release said.

On Tuesday, after classes had finished for the day, “school officials and the schools resource officer became aware of rumors circulating between students at the school,” the release explains. “The rumors indicated that a student was planning a mass shooting on Friday January 27th. Witnesses indicated that some students had been warned not to come to school on Friday.”

The following day, the two students told officials that they had indeed discussed a mass shooting at The Villages Charter Middle School in Lady Lake, a town located about an hour northwest of Orlando.

Police said in the release, “The 13-year-old student alleged to be planning the attack was intercepted by authorities as he attempted to arrive for school. At that time, he acknowledged conversations involving the plot and referenced the mass shooting at Columbine High School.”

During the conversation with the 13-year-old, “officials learned of a second student’s potential involvement and quickly located the 14-year-old-male student on campus,” according the release. “The 14-year-old student acknowledged his involvement in conversations with the 13-year-old student again referencing the Columbine shooting. The student informed officials that the two students had planned an attack which included what they would use as a signal to open fire.”

No weapons were found on either of the students or in their bags or lockers, police said.

Then on Thursday, the teens were arrested at their homes during the service of search warrants. The 13-year-old was arrested by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office on a juvenile order at his home in Fruitland Park. The 14-year-old was arrested by the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office at his home in Wildwood. No additional arrests are expected, police said.

Firearms were recovered from both suspects’ homes during the search warrant service.

72-year-old woman beaten, robbed on Upper West Side

On Thursday on the upper west side, a man robbed a 72-year-old woman.  The woman was going through northbound on Broadway when a man grabbed her purse.

When the women resisted, the robber punched her badly several times on her face and grab the purse. The purse contained $250, an iPhone and Credit/bank cards.

The women suffered severe cuts to her mouth and lips. She even suffered bruising to her face. She transported to St. Luke’s hospital, where she got the treatment.

The robber managed to flee eastbound on West 107th Street towards Amsterdam Avenue.

The police is searching the for the robber. The suspect is in his 20s, 5’3″ and 140 lbs. He was wearing a black bubble jacket over a grey hooded sweatshirt and dark pants and sneakers.

No unlimited free Supercharging for Teslas ordered after January 1, 2017

Since 2012, Tesla has invited its customers to plug in to chargers that add 200 to 300 miles of range per hour. The feature known as Supercharger Network-the world’s fastest charging solution.

According to the Teslas Blog post:-

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But as of January 1, 2017 anyone who orders a Tesla will get just 400kwh of free supercharging credits per year, good for about 1,000 miles of driving. After that, using the fast chargers will incur a small fee, which has not yet specified. But it is mentioned that the prices may fluctuate over time and vary regionally based on the cost of electricity.

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The new income will be used to build new Supercharger network. It’s likely that this fee will go toward expanding the network for the forthcoming Model 3.
The move means that those who buy Tesla’s mass-market $35,000 Model 3, which is due to go on sale in the second half of next year, won’t get unlimited free charging. Tesla has more than 300,000 reservations for the cars, and if all those owners started using supercharger stations for free, that could get expensive for Tesla

Largest full moon in many people’s lifetime is about to shine

On November 14 going to witnesses the Biggest, brightest supermoon to ever grace the skies.

Supermoon occurs when the moon is not only full, but it is orbiting close to earth. This month’s full moon will be the closest to Earth since January 26, 1948.

If the weather is clear, the moon will be at its biggest and brightest in nearly 70 years, and it won’t put on a similar display until late 2034, astronomers say.

Calling the moon Extra-supermoon, Astronomers explain why it is so

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“Since the moon has an elliptical orbit, one side of the orbit (the perigee) is about 48,000 kms closer to Earth than the other side (the apogee). When the Earth, moon and sun line up in an orbit, while the moon is on its nearest approach to Earth, we are treated to a so-called supermoon.

Although this happens three times this year: on October 16, November 14 and on December 14. But the one happens on the November 14 becomes full just two hours after its closest approach to Earth.

When the Sun, the Moon, and Earth line up as the Moon orbits Earth, that’s known as syzygy (definitely something you want to keep in your back pocket for your next Scrabble match).

When this Earth-Moon-Sun system occurs with the perigee side of the Moon facing us, and the Moon happens to be on the opposite side of Earth from the Sun, we get what’s called a perigee-syzygy.

That causes the Moon to appear much bigger and brighter in our sky than usual, and it’s referred to as a supermoon – or more technically, a perigee moon.

 

Don’t Breathe’ Director Eyed For ‘The Girl In The Spider Web’

Director of the hits “Evil Dead” and last summer’s “Don’t Breathe”, Fede Alvarez, choice to direct the sequence of David Fincher’s 2011 thriller “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”
The pic is based on the new novel of David Lagercrantz, who took over for the series after the original novel’s author Stieg Larsson died in 2004. In the novel, Salander teamed up with journalist Mikael Blomkvist to enter a world of the ruthless underworld of spies, cybercriminals, and government operatives-some willing to kill to protect their secrets.
The script penned by Oscar-nominated writer Steven Knight .The selection cams as Alvarez and Sony discussed the director’s potential next project for the studio, following his box office success with Sony’s “Don’t Breathe,” which grossed $150 million worldwide on a $9 million budget. His 2013 horror reboot “Evil Dead” earned $97 million worldwide on a $17 million budget.
This time Sony had been interested in Alicia Vikander for the role as Salander in “The Girl in the Spider’s Web.”
Scott Rudin along with Eli bush and former Sony Chief Amy pascal will produce “The Girl in the Spider’s Web” with Elizabeth Cantillon and Swedish production company Yellow Bird, who produced the original movie starring Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth. David Beaubaire is overseeing for the studio.