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Ashwin Panchapakesan
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Neither rain, nor hail, nor broken limbs, nor Blue Screens of Death can keep me from the hacks
Neither rain, nor hail, nor broken limbs, nor Blue Screens of Death can keep me from the hacks

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Sadly true

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I'm just going to leave this here
I don't have the hi-res in-the-air pictures yet, but here's me looking cool.

Although apparently +Jim Zemlin was laughing so hard when I did the thumbs-up sign that the camera shake makes that picture a bit blurry. Thanks, Jim.
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7/19/15
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/cc karthik krishnan 

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Airwaveguide : While lasers have been used before to send information to satellites, this relatively new discovery is quite fascinating. Fibre optic cables are usually preferred due to having a high refractive index, and with fibre optic cables being encased in material having lower refractive index, it is possible to reflect the light back to the core of the cable, preventing the beam from losing focus. Now researchers are trying to do the same thing with air. How? Read more to figure it out...

Focusing the beam : Milchberg and colleagues' made the equivalent of an optical fibre out of air by generating a laser with its light split into a ring of multiple beams forming a 'pipe'. They used very short and powerful pulses from the laser to heat the air molecules along the beam extremely quickly. Such rapid heating produced sound waves that took about a microsecond to converge to the centre of the pipe, creating a high-density area surrounded by a low-density area left behind in the wake of the laser beams.

Air 'Pipe' : "A microsecond is a long time compared to how far light propagates, so the light is gone and a microsecond later those sound waves collide in the centre, enhancing the air density there," says Milchberg. The lower density region of air surrounding the centre of the air waveguide had a lower refractive index, keeping the light focused. "Any structure [even air] which has a higher density will have a higher index of refraction and thereby act like an optical fibre," says Milchberg.

The findings : The researchers found the signal was 50 per cent stronger than a signal obtained without an air waveguide. The findings show the air waveguide can be used as a "remote collection optic," says Milchberg. "This is an optical fibre cable that you can reel out at the speed of light and place next to [something] that you want to measure remotely, and have the signal come all the way back to where you are."

Article link: http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2014/07/23/4049345.htm?topic=energy

Research paper : http://www.opticsinfobase.org/optica/abstract.cfm?uri=optica-1-1-5

Additional link: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140819125946.htm

Phys.org link: http://phys.org/news/2014-07-optical-cables-thin-air.html

Main pic: from abc.net.au. Additional pics http://news.discovery.com/tech/gear-and-gadgets/optical-fiber-made-out-of-thin-air-140723.htm and http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2014-07/23/optical-fibres-made-from-air

#science #technology
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2014-08-22
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I feel like one side of me is totally out of control

Couldn't agree more, though I would have bashed OSX more
http://www.marco.org/2015/01/04/apple-lost-functional-high-ground

/via +Nafiul Islam 

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I remember watching a scene once, in a movie called Eagle Eye. A supercomputer was able to recover a conversation in a room, based on the vibrations it noticed in a cup of coffee. I remember thinking that was impossible, Hollywood science.
Today, that's a reality: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHfhorJnAEI&feature=share

#ilovescience  
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