Monthly Archives: September 2018

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All Of The Fast Rallycross Cars Have Descended Upon Austin

For the first time, the FIA World Rallycross Championship has made its way to American soil. While the Americas Rallycross paid a visit to Austin back in July, the big league rallycross teams are taking to Circuit of The Americas in the heat of Texas.

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EU now recognizes digital IDs across borders

If you're a European Union citizen, it just became that much easier to prove your identity — wherever you happen to be in the region. The EU now officially supports cross-border recognition for digital IDs, making your virtual driver's license or ba…

This Aftermarket Hybrid Unit Adds 175 HP To Porsche 991 and 981 Models

This weekend’s Rennsport Reunion VI at Laguna Seca is the world’s biggest Porsche motorsport collection, but there are a ton of cool things to be seen off of the race track as well. The vendor area seemed like a much smaller and Porsche-only version of the SEMA show, with a lot of companies debuting new product and…

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Mercedes Make Bottas Move Aside For Hamilton Win

After Valtteri Bottas took pole at the Russian Grand Prix, and led the opening stint of the race, his team told him to stand down and allow Lewis Hamilton into the lead of the race to protect his points championship contention. Hamilton now leads over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel by 50 points with only a maximum of 125…

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Strands of hair shed light on doomed 19th-century Arctic expedition

Article intro image

Enlarge (credit: John Wilson Carmichael)

Lead poisoning may have made life difficult for the doomed men of John Franklin’s 1845 expedition, which got lost in the Arctic while in search of the Northwest Passage linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. But it probably didn’t contribute much to their inevitable fates. That’s the conclusion of a new study of lead concentrations in the hair of one of the men who died while the expedition was stranded on King William Island between late 1846 and early 1848.

129 Doomed Men

Captain Sir John Franklin’s expedition wasn’t the first to sail north in search of a passage linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and it wasn’t the last. But its disappearance left behind a compelling mystery, one kept in the public consciousness for years by the tireless efforts of Franklin’s widow. For years in the late 19th century, the search for the lost sailing ships HMS Terror and HMS Erebus nearly rivaled the search for the Northwest Passage itself.

Thanks to a note found in 1869 on King William Island, we know that all was well on the wooden ships in May of 1847, aside from being stuck in the ice. But by April of 1848, 24 men had died, including Franklin and the expedition’s assistant surgeon, naturalist Harry Goodsir. The remaining 105 had abandoned their trapped ships and set off across the ice to try to reach Back River on the Canadian mainland. Neither ship would be seen again for over 150 years. A century and a half later, historians are still debating exactly what went wrong.

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After Math: Hello Darkness, my old friend

Well, this week lasted years. While we weren't being bludgeoned by the cantankerous Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, we were learning about how 50 million Facebook users had their accounts hacked, that Elon Musk is being sued by the SEC for his Twitt…

The US would suffer some of the biggest costs of climate change

Satellite view of a hurricane.

Enlarge / Hurricane Florence the morning of Sept. 12 as it churned across the Atlantic in a west-northwesterly direction with winds of 130 miles an hour. (credit: NASA Johnson)

Climate change is a classic tragedy of the commons: every country acting in its own self-interest contributes to depleting a joint resource, making the world worse for everyone. If you’ve ever lived with bad roommates, the concept will be easy to grasp. The social cost of carbon (or SCC) is a way to put a price tag on the result of that tragedy, quantifying just how much climate change will cost the world over the coming generations.

But a paper in Nature Climate Change this week tries to bring the cost closer to home by estimating what the SCC could be for each different country. These new calculations point to a wide range of different cost possibilities but with a few consistent messages: the cost is likely to be higher than previous estimates; the US will be one of the worst-hit countries; and many of the countries contributing the least to the problem will be slammed regardless.

Transparency, uncertainty, and rigor

The concept of SCC has been around for a long time, with a huge range of different ways to calculate it. Because it’s impossible to know for sure what the future holds, those estimates end up with quite different outcomes depending on the assumptions they make. For instance, it’s impossible to know for sure what economic growth will be, and so different educated guesses about that will lead to different SCC estimates.

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Sunday’s Best Deals: Motor Oil, LEGO Star Wars, Sonicare, and More

The best value in the Sonicare line, $2 quarts of motor oil, and LEGO’s Star Wars advent calendar lead off Sunday’s best deals from around the web.

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17-Year-Old Hailie Deegan Makes NASCAR History As The First Woman To Win A Race Since 1989

Hailie Deegan, the 17-year-old daughter of motocross and rallycross legend Brian Deegan, has become the first woman to win a high level touring NASCAR series since Shawna Robinson won three Dash Series races across 1988 and 89. Running in the K&N Pro Series West, Deegan has found quick success, winning in only her…

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These 19th-century astronomical drawings show the beauty of cosmos

Étienne Léopold Trouvelot

We live in a golden age of astrophotography, with a feast of jaw-dropping images from the farthest reaches of space crossing our news feeds on a daily basis. But sometimes it’s good to revisit the imagery of our pre-photographic past—in this case, the work of 19th-century illustrator Étienne Léopold Trouvelot. The Frenchman, once dubbed the “prince of observers,” produced some 7000 astronomical illustrations over his lifetime, and we’re featuring some of the best of them here.

Trouvelot was born in Aisne, France, but his political leanings put him at odds with Napoleon Bonaparte. After Napoleon’s 1852 coup d’état, Trouvelot fled the country with his family in 1855 and landed in the Medford suburb of Boston, Massachusetts. Trained as an artist, nature illustrator, and printmaker, Trouvelot fell in love with astronomy after witnessing several auroras, and he began illustrating the amateur observations he spied through his small telescope.

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