SciTech

Scitech Briefs

Northern Hemisphere hottest in centuries

It is sunny in February and 60 degrees in January. Have you tried remembering the last time it was this warm? The answer is 1200 years ago! A study of temperature records — from tree rings, ice cores, and old documents — has found that at no time since the ninth century have temperatures been so consistently high. The study, published in the journal Science, found that the late 20th century has been the warmest period for the Northern Hemisphere since the records began in 800 C.E. Furthermore, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded in its last report on global warming that the 1990s were probably the warmest decade in 1000 years.

Source: The New Zealand Herald

Google software
allows remote access to PCs

Google Inc. is offering a new tool that will automatically transfer information from one personal computer to another. However, anyone wanting that convenience must authorize the Internet search leader to store the material for up to 30 days. The ability to search a computer remotely is included in Google’s latest software upgrade that scours hard drives for documents, e-mails, instant messages, and an assortment of other information. Google plans to encrypt all data transferred from users’ hard drives and restrict access to just a handful of its employees. The company promises not to peruse any of the transferred information and to delete it within 30 days.

Source: CNN.com

Students learn about orbital life

Ever wanted to see what it is like to be in space? Well, if you were a student studying the International Space Station (ISS), this would be more than a wish. Armed with a video camera and a sense of humor, the commander of the ISS is working hard to show students on Earth the ins and outs of orbital life.

Commander Bill McArthur has tackled everything from a space station tour to the orbital lunch menu in a series of video vignettes aimed at sharing the human spaceflight experience. McArthur and other NASA ISS astronauts have documented their experiences via video and other means as part of the agency’s education effort to reach students — and the public at large.

For Expedition 12, McArthur and flight engineer Valery Tokarev have highlighted their holiday meals and the differences between Russian and U.S. spacesuits. They have also detailed how the station is controlled by laptop computers, how the station generates power, and other facets of orbital living. The programs have aired on NASA TV. To sum it up in McArthur’s words, “If you think this is really fun, you’re absolutely correct.”

Source: Yahoo! News

Cell phones act like Big Brother

If you thought you could get away with saying you were caught up in a traffic jam while you were really enjoying yourself in a nearby pub, your cell phone might just give you away. Advances in mobile phone tracking technology are turning British firms into cyber-sleuths as they keep a virtual eye on their staff, vehicles, and stock. Due to privacy and safety concerns, the person being tracked receives a message when their position is requested by their employer.

Source: MSNBC