Editorial The Guardian, Monday 20 September 2010 Article history The solar wind is a violent burst of charged particles that creates magnetic storms in the Earth's upper atmosphere. But the sun's light, too, has pressure: Nasa scientists calculated 30 years ago that in the vacuum of space, the impact of sunlight on a gossamer-thin mirror would be enough to get it moving with an acceleration of a millimetre per second per second. This doesn't sound much, but within 24 hours a space sailing ship could be travelling at 100 metres a second, and still be accelerating. It could reach Mars in 400 days. The US Planetary Society has twice tried to launch a prototype space sailing ship; in May this year the Japanese space agency sent its experimental "kite" Ikaros floating towards Venus. And today the European Planetary Science Congress in Rome will hear the case for a fleet of "data-clippers" – robot windjammers laden with instruments, scudding out on the gentle breeze from the sun to Europa or Titan and then tacking back to Earth to download vast quantities of scientific data stored in flash memory. The biggest costs in space are rocket fuel and data transmission across epic distances. A fleet of automaton solar-wind-powered ships would greatly cut the costs and thereby multiply the returns. But beyond this ultimate economy drive, think of the beauty: of a fleet of silent windjammers, riding on radiation alone, literally making light work of charting the planets and their many satellites – all the way to the very last outposts of the empire of the sun.
SAN JOSE, CA, Sep 13, 2010 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- The Tech Museum today raised the curtain on its most ambitious exhibition, The Tech Silicon Valley Innovation Gallery, revealing cutting-edge technology developed by the world's foremost experts on computing, digital design, communication and collaboration.
Once again I have been in Toronto General Hospital for a few days. I felt a short spell of the old chest pain on Monday night. On Tuesday morning, I had to have my INR checked. Afterwards, at the streetcar stop up at College and University, I felt so tired that I felt I had to lean against a newspaper box. Then I felt that I would fall down unless I hitched myself up on top of the box. I saw black spots in front of me and, feeling awful, I slumped back against the wall. Two streetcars came, but I did not feel strong enough to walk to them. After only about eight minutes, I hailed a cab and went to the hospital's emergency department.
They monitored my heart, but, because I have had two DVT's in my legs, the doctor recommended a CT scan on my lungs. The results showed that I had no clots in my lungs, only small scars of previous clots, but they did show that I had a growth behind my breast bone. There is a gland there called the thymus. It usually shrinks after adolescence, but mine is about half as long and wide as half my thumb. Because it is behind my upper sternum, the thoracic surgeons reckoned they could not do a biopsy on it without opening the chest and so they might as well remove it.
I was in hospital until yesterday establishing by CT scan, gamma ray exam and ultrasound that, if it was malignant, it has not spread to my abdomen or my scrotum. So it is quite safe for the moment, but they will split my chest like a walnut and take it out. As I am on blood thinners, we will probably wait two or three weeks and then some discomfort. Bwaaa!