As a special Christmas gift to those of us who are still watching the skies on federally mandated holidays, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has snapped this great photo of galaxy IC 2233, one of the flattest galaxies known to astronomers. Where most spiral galaxies have a thick bulge of material towards their center, IC 2233 is instead a super-thin galaxy, looking almost like a flat plane of stars when viewed from the side.
Researchers at Rice University have developed a system for remotely searching images stored on mobile devices. The goal of the software, called Theia, is to give searchers a near-realtime view of what is being photographed on with now-ubiquitous camera phones. It's like that bit in The Dark Knight where Batman turns every phone in Gotham into a sonar/microphone, except with pictures and it's for real. Obviously, there are going to be some privacy concerns with something like this, but let's focus on why this information would be useful. The most dramatic example would be that of a lost or abducted child. With Theia, law enforcement could search cell phones the world over for the child, hoping to catch an image accidentally caught by someone's phone. The hope is that with the staggering number of camera-equipped cellphones in the world, someone will catch what you're looking for -- intentionally or not. The system works through a server for addressing the searches and an app installed onto the phones.
Alex Crawford and Austin Nelson have now probably become very, very good at setting up dominos, which are key to their Rube Goldberg contraption. Their device requires at least two people; the first triggers an instamatic camera which starts the device moving. The other person (or people) sit off to the side where they await the dominos and marbles to reach their final destination and trigger the second camera. It's very clever, and seems almost manageable in terms of size and complexity. Perhaps someone out there is looking for a nice, quiet weekend project? (via Neatorama)