By timothy from Slashdot's not-much-to-go-on department
cold fjord writes with this excerpt from Wired: "Most of what humanity knows about the outer planets came back to Earth on plutonium power. ... The characteristics of this metal's radioactive decay make it a super-fuel. ... there is no other viable option. Solar power is too weak, chemical batteries don't last, nuclear fission systems are too heavy. So, we depend on plutonium-238, a fuel largely acquired as by-product of making nuclear weapons. But there's a problem: We've almost run out. 'We've got enough to last to the end of this decade. That's it,' said Steve Johnson, a nuclear chemist at Idaho National Laboratory. And it's not just the U.S. reserves that are in jeopardy. The entire planet's stores are nearly depleted. ... what's left has already been spoken for and then some. ... Political ignorance and shortsighted squabbling, along with false promises from Russia, and penny-wise management of NASA's ever-thinning budget still stand in the way of a robust plutonium-238 production system."
The plutonium shortage has been deepening for a long time
, leading to some creative solutions
. The Wired article alludes to the NASA project underway to create more
, but leans toward gloom.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's best-entertainment-in-the-world department
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Liz Stinson reports that 'Shadow,' a new app recently launched on Kickstarter, will make recording and remembering your dreams simple. 'There's a lot going on in the subconscious mind that if you can start to pull out little details, you start to get a wider picture of yourself,' says designer Hunter Lee Soik. Most of the time, alarm clocks abruptly blast through your consciousness, ripping you from the depths of sleep. In contrast, Shadow's alarm system gradually transitions users through their hypnopompic state, that not-quite-asleep, not-quite-awake phase, which has be proven to help you better remember your dreams. Once you deactivate the alarm, users are prompted to record their dreams either via voice or typing text. The app then transcribes your dreams and stores them in an ever-growing digital dream journal that keeps track of your long-term dream and sleep patterns and helps you visualize patterns and make connections between your sleep patterns, daily life, and what you dream about. 'We're socialized to think of sleep as inactivity, but certain parts of our brain — the parts that handle things like problem solving and memory — are most active while we're sleeping,' says Soik. 'That's a huge amount of potential data we're forgetting each morning.'"
I prefer a notebook on the nightstand, myself.Read Replies (0)