The clues to seeing perturbation of Jupiter.
The clues to seeing perturbation of Jupiter.
Shinzo Abe complained that the European Central Bank and the US Federal Reserve System continued to actively print money, which is causing damage to the Japanese economy.
2013 will be the year of currency wars, and the country having the weakest economy will be the winner. Most likely, this will be the USA. The US Federal Reserve System has launched 3 programmes aimed at quantitative easing of the national economy and again started money-printing. The reason is clear: the USA wants the dollar to remain the world reserve currency. The point is that the greater the amounts of a certain hard currency on the world market the more difficult it is for partner countries of such an emitter to operate. As you know, the economic laws say that cheap goods are the most competitive goods. Thus, if the US Federal Reserve prints money in large quantities, the Chinese yuan and the Japanese yen become more strengthened, which, in its turn, causes a reverse reaction on the partners’ part. Director of the Analytical Information Department at the RBK agency Alexander Yakovlev says.
“A strong yen means serious damage for big Japanese corporations. The Japanese economy has been demonstrating no growth for a long time now, and the interest rate of the Central Bank of Japan is currently at a zero level.”
The crisis of 2008 and the Fukushima -1 nuclear disaster seriously undermined Japan’s economy. In fact, Japan has been in a state of recession all that time. Japan’s trade balance deficit has remained unchanged for 6 months now. Hence, the new Japanese Prime Minister is accusing both American and European regulators of manipulating the hard currencies’ exchange rates. However, as it appears, neither the US Federal Reserve nor the European Central Bank is determined to defeat Japan in this war. The two competing currency systems today are the EU system and the US financial system.
Quite a number of economists believe that the European Central Bank can’t afford to print the euro in large quantities because this can destroy at once several economies of the Eurozone. Director of the Analytical information Department at the RBK agency Alexander Yakovlev says:
“As long as open global markets exist and competitive struggle on them continues, regulators will do their utmost to make their goods more competitive. Naturally, this will lead to conflicts. This is how the modern currency market works.”
There is only one way out of this situation: the introduction of a new system of mutual payments. There is only one alternative to money in the world today – SDR (special drawing rights). This economic instrument covers the dollar, the euro, pound sterling, and the yen. However, at the G20 summit in New York two years ago this alternative was rejected. At the latest G20 summit in Brussels this issue was raised again but the participants in the discussion failed to reach an agreement on that score. They acknowledged though that the Bretton Woods Agreement had exhausted itself and that the world is on the threshold of creating a new currency.
JUN 14, 2012
Astronomers working with the Kepler spacecraft have announced new evidencesuggesting that there are far more potentially habitable planets in our galaxy than we had believed. And just as surprisingly, these planets emerged much longer ago than expected — a revelation that could have profound implications in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
What does it mean? We talked to the head of SETI, who explained why this news changes everything.
The researchers came to this conclusion by studying the way that planets are formed. Conventional thinking suggests that no planets can form until the requisite raw materials are present — something that can’t happen until stars pour considerable amounts of silicon and oxygen into the Universe. These elements form the basic building blocks of rocks, which in turn are the stuff that planets are made out of.
But researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics discovered that the base elements required to form rocky planets formed very quickly after the formation of the Universe. Moreover, they discovered that Earthlike planets can still take shape with a limited variety of elements available, including systems with only one-quarter of the Sun’s metal content. What this suggests is that rocky planets can form almost anywhere in the galaxy — and they have been doing so for billions of years.
To conduct their research, the Kepler team examined more than 150 stars known to have planets. They measured each stars’ metal-producing qualities, and contrasted that to the sizes of their planets. The researchers noticed that large planets tended to orbit stars with high solar metallicities, and that smaller worlds could be found in both metal-rich and metal-poor stars.
Their discovery indicates that giant planets prefer metal-rich stars, but little ones don’t care.
Given the insight that the galaxy is strewn with small, rocky planets, it’s quite possible that life is far more ubiquitous than we think. This realization will have serious implications to SETI, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. To get a sense of what this recent discovery means to SETI, we contactedSeth Shostak, the SETI Institute‘s Senior Astronomer, to get his reaction.
Shostak tells io9 the discovery could certainly speed up the search for ET as there are simply more targets out there. “The message we’ve been getting from the planet hunting community is loud and clear,” said Shostak, “and that message is that all stars have planets.” And not only that, he added — “Most of them might have small planets, too, and not just gas giants.”
He admitted that the announcement from the CfA will require a change in thinking, and that change could impact on the way SETI conducts its search. In particular, Shostak would like to spend more time looking at the center of the Galaxy. “There’s more energy and more stuff in there.” he said. Moreover, now that we know that potentially habitable planets can form around virtually any kind of star, it’s important to focus our attention on star-rich areas, “And the deeper you look into the galaxy,” said Shostak, “the more chance you have of detecting targets.”
At the same time, however, Shostak admitted that, by virtue of a galaxy filled with Earthlike planets, it actually doesn’t matter where we look. The important thing to know is that life is potentially everywhere.
Shostak also admitted that the discovery reaffirms the idea that life could have emerged in the Galaxy a long time ago. “It’s been possible to have worlds with life for quite some time now,” he said, “there could be life out there that’s billions of years old.”
by Lucie Bradley
The asteroid, referred to as 2012 DA14, has a diameter of approximately 45m and an estimated mass of 130,000 tonnes. It was discovered at the start of 2012 and is set to travel between the Earth and our geostationary communication satellites on 15 February 2013. At a distance of just 22,500km this will be the closest asteroid ‘fly by’ in recorded history.
Asteroid and comet researchers will be gathering at the University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando, U.S., to watch the event, but experts say there is no chance of a collision – this time.
“I think perhaps the most important thing about this asteroid is that it reminds us that the threat from such objects is very real,” said Jonti Horner, an independent astronomer at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.
The destructive force of an atomic bomb
It is important to monitor all asteroids that pass close by in case any are on a collision course with Earth. NASA has identified 4,700 asteroids that are potential threats to us, some of which are up to two or three kilometres in diameter.
Any asteroid likely to collide with Earth must have its composition and structure analysed so that it can be deflected, according to a statement from UCF.
A collision with even a small asteroid could be disastrous, with an impact from 2012 DA14 estimated to equal the destructive force of an atomic bomb. “The world’s most famous impact crater – the Barringer Crater in Arizona, U.S. – which is about 1,200m in diameter and 170m deep, was formed when an object thought to have been just 50m in diameter hit the Earth,” said Horner.
“An incredibly near miss”
“While it’s not unusual for asteroids to come close to the Earth, there are a couple of reasons the approach of this one is particularly exciting for astronomers,” said Horner.
“Having a 45m space rock pass under 30,000km from the Earth is an incredibly near miss in astronomical terms, which should mean we can learn a great deal about it as it tears past the Earth,” he said.
Asteroids offer valuable insight into the formation of our Solar System, according to Humberto Campins who is an asteroid and comet expert at UCF and led the first team to discover ice on an asteroid in 2010.
The asteroid will not pass through our atmosphere and so is unlikely to break up. However, “forces from Earth could change its shape if it is a rubble pile and not a single rock. At this time we do not know which of those two it is,” added Campins.
Any change in the composition or shape of the asteroid has the capability to alter its path, which could see it come even closer to Earth in the future.
The asteroid will be too faint to see with the naked eye, although it will be visible through binoculars or a telescope. Additionally, live feeds from telescopes in Spain will offer the public the chance to witness the event.
Animation of the close encounter with 2012 DA14 from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
The device you’re looking at is called the Scanadu SCOUT and, basically, it’s a medical tricorder that will give you precise vital information about any human being within seconds, just on contact.
It’s very real and it works now. I tried it myself, and knew I was looking at the beginning of a personal health revolution. Star Trek-level stuff. Except it’s coming at the end of 2013.
And it’s not only SCOUT—the company has two other devices—ScanaFlo and ScanaFlu—which are like having your own medical labs to go. Best of all, those two are so cheap that they are disposable.
SCOUT will not be disposable, though. The unit is a tiny hardware device that reads your vital health information on contact. You simply place it on the left temple and, in less than ten seconds, it will read your pulse transit time, heart rate, electrical heart activity, temperature, heart rate variability and blood oxygenation. Then it sends this information to an app on your iPhone or Android phone, which displays it for you. You can even store your vitals for tracking, which could prove fundamental to many health situations at home.
Watching SCOUT at work was something almost magical, like having one of those giant health monitoring units reduced to a slice of plastic that fits on the palm of your hand. Which, actually, is exactly how it became to be.
I talked with Walter de Brouwer, the Belgian genius who founded Scanadu after working at MIT and on several high profile tech projects, including One Laptop Per Child. A few years ago, Walter’s own kid ended up in the intensive care unit of a hospital. Frustrated with the complicated devices that monitored his child’s health, he started to think about how could all of this information be turned into something that normal people could understand. He tinkered around at the ICU and became so knowledgeable that he eventually was assisting some of the nurses there, who often would get confused themselves.
Walter thought that there was a need for something that would be able to monitor anyone’s health, anywhere, with ease and at low cost. He thought about instantaneous vital readings, molecular diagnostics, visualization, and storage of personal health data all wrapped in an easy-to-use device that would connect to your smartphone or tablet to show you all the information you could need in a simple way. Not only for yourself, but for remote assistance too.
Most probably, Walter had watched too much Star Trek in his college years. He wanted to make a tricorder. So he did.
At first, he thought it was possible. In fact, there are other teams who are working in similar projects to win Qualcomm’s Tricorder X-Prize Competition, or the Nokia Sensing Challenge. So what if all had failed so far?
So Walter started to work on what would become SCOUT, ScanaFlo and ScanaFlu. He assembled four teams of specialists at the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California. Each team—engineers, chemists, doctors, mathematicians and software engineers—worked together to come up with new, smart ways not only to monitor vitals, but to detect actual infections within seconds. According to Walter, they use all the tricks in the book: imaging and sound analysis, molecular diagnostics and data analytics, all combed by “a suite of algorithms to create devices that offer a comprehensive, real-time picture of your health data.”
SCOUT is their first product. This personal health tricorder is so simple that it will cost around $150 when it appears at the end of 2013, after it gets US government approval. It may very well become as ubiquitous as home thermometers, which were introduced in the 19th century. In fact, says Walter, that’s the whole point :
Consumers don’t have the tools they need to monitor their health and make informed decisions about when they’re actually sick and need to see a doctor. We want to empower consumers to take control of their health and give them direct access to their personal healthfeed.
Judging from what I saw, SCOUT may be exactly that.
Along with SCOUT, I saw two other products that were even more impressive: ScanaFlu and ScanaFlo. I couldn’t get photos of these—they are still in a rough prototype stage—but they are easy enough to visualize.
For ScanaFlo, imagine a disposable blue plastic rectangle with a QR code and a window that reveals paper swatches and a color calibration target (similar to this). To get a reading, you need to pee on the rectangle as one would on a pregnancy test. Depending on the content of your urine, the swatches will change color.
But what do these color mean? You don’t have to guess or remember. Point your smartphone at the QR target and it will take a photo, telling you if it detects anything out of the ordinary based on the hue of the paper swatches, which react differently depending on your health status. According its creators, ScanaFlo tests for “pregnancy complications, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, kidney failure and urinary tract infections.”
ScanaFlu works in a similar way. Instead of a rectangle, it’s a square with a small protuberance on which you have to spit. Your saliva will be distributed to different test units using tiny nano-vessels. Incredibly enough, this “disposable cartridge will provide early detection for Strep A, Influenza A, Influenza B, Adenovirus and RSV.” Like ScanaFlo, you will use your phone’s camera to have a result sent to your app.
These disposable systems will be sold in packs, also at the end of 2013.
I’m not a hypochondriac, but it’s not hard to see the importance of these devices. While being able to monitor your own health would never eliminate the need for doctors, it could do wonders for everyone’s well-being. These cheap devices will keep track of your own health but, as I discussed with Scanadu’s founder, they can also be easily used to detect infection outbreaks at a national or planetary level, with people anonymously uploading data to a cloud. The Center for Disease Control or the World Health Organization can literally keep their fingers on the pulse of the entire planet. The possibilities are truly endless. No wonder Stephen Wolfram is one of their advisors. If they are successful, I can’t wait to see what people can do with all this anonymous data.
If these gadgets can really provide you with instantaneous feedback about your health status for such a low price, this will be the beginning of something much bigger. The monetary savings in prevention alone—and not depending on expensive laboratories for many tests—makes it all worthy.
But even more exciting is the potential increasing accuracy of diagnostics, based on the tracking of data over time. As Dr. Alan Greene, Chief Medical Officer at Scanadu, says:
When it comes to health, averages don’t cut it. Vitals change throughout the day and vary from person to person, so it makes no sense to assume we are all the same. Health decision shouldn’t be based on averages, they should be based on a real, accurate and personalized healthfeed of data, which we now have the power to give to the consumer in the palm of their hand.
Indeed. The future looks good. I’m ready for this, Dr. Bones.