Star Trek Fans Break A World Record, And Think Into Darkness Is The Worst Film Of The Franchise

star wars fansThis past weekend, 1,085 costumed fans attending the Star Trek convention at the Rio Las Vegas Hotel and Casino broke the world record for the largest number of costumed Trek fans all in one place, beating out the U.K. record of 1,063 set last year. While it kind of seemed obvious that it would happen, given the rabid fervor that takes over when Americans find out other people have done something better, I’m not sure anyone could have predicted the attendees’ tastes in the film franchise. A poll was held at the One Trek Mind Live panel, where fans ranked their favorite films in order, and the results are stunning.

How did people feel about J.J. Abrams’ latest effort, Star Trek Into Darkness? Apparently they would have been perfectly fine if it never existed, as it came dead last. Yeah, it finished after Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. I have to assume the wounds are still fresh from this one, and that it might rank higher in another few years, once the John Harrison dust has settled. After all, Abrams’ initial reboot finished in sixth place, so it’s obviously not just hatred for the man himself. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe some people just really hate Into Darkness that much. Stay tuned until after the third Star Trek flick comes out, and I’ll let you know.


Scientists Levitate Diamonds With Laser Light

laserScientists are just showing off now. Of all the ridiculously cool stuff they’ve been up to lately, like making self-assembling, flying robots and anti-matter guns, they can now levitate diamonds using lasers.

Unbeknownst to most of us, light has the power to move particles, especially if focused to a tiny point. Scientists from the University of Rochester published their findings from an experiment in which a laser light exerted a pull on diamond nanocrystals. The process is called “laser trapping,” and the University of Rochester scientists were able to use this method to levitate nanodiamonds in free space.

They sprayed an aerosol of dissolved nanodiamonds into a small chamber, where they moved directly into the laser’s path. “It takes a couple of squirts, and in a few minutes we have a trapped nanodiamond,” researcher Levi Neukirch said. “Once a diamond wanders into the trap, we can hold it for hours.”


Scientists Identify 12 Easily Retrievable Asteroids For Potential Mining

asteroidYou may wonder what good asteroids are if you can’t deftly fly your spacecraft through a field of them to impress a girl and outrun bad guys. But it turns out that asteroids are a great source of precious metals — so great that companies like Planetary Resources have already developed plans to mine asteroids. But before that happens, we have to identify and access the giant space rocks. A team at Scotland’s University of Strathclyde in Glasgow has been doing just that, scouring the skies for asteroids classified as Easily Retrievable Objects, or EROs. A recent report indicates that they’ve found a dozen ERO asteroids that could be mined with today’s rocket technology.


Scientists May Have Found A New Type of Solid


Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Maryland have found evidence for a substance that may represent a new category of solids. In a paper published by the Physics Review Letters, scientists describe the research they conducted at NIST and Argonne National Lab on a substance they’re calling “Q-glass.”

Q-glass is a metallic glass that seems to be neither crystal, glass, nor quasicrystal. “Everything you can think about this thing behaves like a crystal, except it isn’t,” says Dr. Lyle Levine, a researcher on the project.

Solid crystals have an ordered, rigidly patterned atomic arrangement, which gives crystals something called “translational symmetry,” which means that any section of a crystal will fit into a new position after being slid up, down, in, out, or sideways. Crystals also contain rotational symmetry, which means that the object can be rotated and it still looks the same and maintains the same atomic alignment.


Mars’ First Settlers? Meet The People Who Want To Move To The Red Planet Permanently

Mars OneIf you’ve been reading GFR for a while, or any science- or space-related publication, you’ve likely heard of Mars One, a Dutch non-profit organization that plans to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars. Four rigorously vetted applicants will launch in 2022 on a mission to become the first permanent residents of the red planet. And by permanent, I mean permanent — this is a one-way mission. These folks aren’t coming back.

Like everything else nowadays, their travels and travails will be documented in a round-the-clock reality television program, but unless things go very wrong, no one will be kicked off the island.

Mars One started accepting applications in April and the deadline is August 31. If you’re on the fence about whether you want to go to Mars forever, it’s time to decide. The selection process will last two years and will involve medical clearances, interviews, a televised national selection round, and a televised international selection round. Ultimately, 24 people will be picked and divided into six teams of four to start preparing for their new life on Mars. One team will leave for Mars in the fall of 2022, with the other teams on-deck for their trips. By then, hopefully the radiation-preventing deflector shields will be in place.


From Los Angeles To San Francisco In 30 Minutes: The Future Is A Hyperloop

Hyperloop AlphaI spend a lot of time thinking about modes of travel. I’m a bike commuter and I travel a lot, passing a fair number of hours on planes, trains, boats, and buses. And automobiles, just to round it out. The train is, in my opinion, by far the superior method of transit, made even better because it’s actually possible to sleep on a train. Trains in the U.S., though, kind of suck (sorry, Amtrak), especially when compared to trains in Asia or Europe. But all that’s about to change. We hope.

Elon Musk, CEO of electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors and spacecraft producer SpaceX, as well as the founder of Paypal (yeah, this dude’s doing okay) just announced plans for a revolutionary train system that will allow people to get from L.A. to San Francisco (because really, who would go the other direction?) in 30 minutes. It’s the “Hyperloop” transport system, and if that name doesn’t convince you that this idea is awesome, I don’t know what will.

Musk’s proposed Hyperloop system involves shooting people through tubes at high speeds. Sound familiar?