Saturday, 25 April 2009

The 1st Question 49 - 21 April 09


The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do.
B. F. Skinner

Life comes from physical survival; but the good life comes from what we care about.
Rollo May


For the answers go to The 1st Question blog at SLCN

1) This island in the South Atlantic Anomaly is home only to 271 people, a small flightless bird, and a piece of land named Inaccessible Island. Now the world's most remote inhabited archipelago is host to a Danish Observatory designed to help improve our understanding of the Earth’s weakening magnetic field and the way this affects satellites. While the global magnetic field is weakening by 5% every century, the magnetic field in this region is lowering at ten times the speed. One of the effects of a diminished magnetic field is a higher exposure to radiation, which is disruptive to the operation of artificial satellites and orbiting spacecraft, including the ISS and Hubble What island is this?

2) For most of us, the world deep below the ocean’s surface remains a place we have only had the pleasure to experience vicariously, primarily through watching nature documentaries. It's not as if we can just hop in a submarine and go take a look. Well, perhaps we can, if a Russian company's plan to market a two-seater submarine driven by pedal power to the tourist industry is successful. The new underwater vehicle from Marine Innovation Technologies will not only be cheaper to buy and run than existing submersibles, it will be simpler to operate, requiring no special training or expertise. How much will it cost?

3) An autonomous robot scientist made its first discovery recently. It discovered 12 new functions for genes. This is the first time that a self-directed robotic system carried out each of the steps in the discovery process, effectively automating the scientific process. It hypothesized certain genes in baker's yeast code. The robot then devised experiments to test these predictions, ran the experiments using laboratory robotics, interpreted the results and repeated the cycle. : What is this robot called, by friends?

4) It is known as the pound sign, the crosshatch, the hash and the number sign. But what is the printer or typographers name for this symbol?

5) He was Roman Emperor from 379 to 395. Reuniting the eastern and western portions of the empire, he was the last emperor of both the Eastern and Western Roman Empire. After his death, the two parts split permanently. He is also known for making Christianity the official state religion of the Roman Empire. Who was he?

6) Theodosius oversaw the removal of an Egyptian obelisk from Alexandria to Constantinople. It is now known as the obelisk of Theodosius and still stands in the long racetrack that was the center of Constantinople's public life and scene of political turmoil. What was the place it was moved to called?

7) It is a stream of charged particles—a plasma—ejected from the upper atmosphere of the sun. The stream of particles varies in temperature and speed during time. These particles are able to escape the sun's gravity, in part because of the high temperature of the corona, but also because of high kinetic energy that particles gain through a process that is not well-understood. It creates the Heliosphere, a vast bubble in the interstellar medium surrounding the solar system. What is this which is responsible for geomagnetic storms that can knock out power grids on Earth, the aurorae such as the Northern Lights, and that makes the plasma tails of comets always point away from the sun.

8) These are a set of problems generally thought to have been devised by the man whose name is attached to them. They support the doctrine that "all is one" and that, contrary to the evidence of our senses, the belief in plurality and change is mistaken, and in particular that motion is nothing but an illusion. What are these arguments called, which are perhaps the first examples of a method of proof called reductio ad absurdum also known as proof by contradiction.

9) These contain astronomical tables of outstanding accuracy. Contained in them are almanacs, astronomical and astrological tables, and religious references. They contain predictions for agriculturally-favorable timing and are written on a long sheet of paper which is 'screen-folded' to make a book of 39 leaves, written on both sides. It has information on rainy seasons, floods, illness and medicine. It also seems to show conjunctions of constellations, planets and the Moon. It is most famous for its Venus table. What is this is a pre-Columbian Maya book of the eleventh or twelfth century called which has astounding accuracy for its astronomical records?

10) Scientists at the Singapore-based Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology have made an unprecedented breakthrough in transforming carbon dioxide, a common greenhouse gas, into this, a clean-burning biofuel. Using "organocatalysts", researchers activated carbon dioxide in a mild and non-toxic process to produce this more useful chemical compound. A combination of silica and hydrogen – called hydrosilane – is added to the carbon dioxide, which is transformed into what through hydrolysis?

11) These can become autonomous underwater vehicles in the water pool and have self-guided navigation. Their 3D sonar is used to communicate with the environment and other robots like them. For example, in order to avoid collisions. An absolute novelty in the robot technology is a fuselage that moves in all directions. The hull design in the automation can be as flexible tripod arrangement, and so can also be used in handling equipment for factories or other applications. What bionic animal is this?

12) This Swiss company creates the most expensive chocolate in the world. Their chocolate pralines are covered with 24 carat edible gold leaf hand-applied to each chocolate. The Intimacy Box costing US$36.90 and containing two pralines, For centuries gold has been used in culinary creations across the world for its esthetic qualities, its symbolic power and sometimes for its alleged magical properties. India is the world's largest consumer of gold in food products, eating its way through 12 metric tons of gold per year. What is the name of this company which also produces the worlds only 24K chocolate Easter bunny, and the gold lollipop?

13) In 1861, the first commercially exploited telefax machine, the Pantelegraph was invented by the Italian physicist Giovanni Caselli, introducing the first commercial telefax service between Paris and Lyon even before the invention of workable telephones. in 1924, Richard H. Ranger invented the wireless photoradiogram, or transoceanic radio facsimile, the forerunner of today’s "Fax" machines. A photograph of who was sent from New York to London in 1924 becoming the first photo picture reproduced by transoceanic radio facsimile.

14) This is an organism that thrives in, and even may require physically or geochemically extreme conditions that are detrimental to the majority of life on Earth. Some examples of these are the Pompeii worm, and the Antarctic krill. Hypoliths that live inside rocks in cold deserts and Radioresistant organisms which are resistant to high levels of ultraviolet and even nuclear radiation are different classes. Astrobiologists are of course interested in them, what are these organisms called? A recent discovery of a subglacial ecosystem of them surviving without oxygen in Blood Falls, Antarctica, was just announced?

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