FTL Currents May Power Pulsar Beams


thomst passes along news out of the recent AAAS meeting of a new explanation for pulsar beams that involves faster-than-light currents. Here are Los Alamos’s press release and three related papers on the arXiv. “The new model explains the beam emissions from pulsars as products of superluminal currents within the spinning neutron stars’ atmospheres. According to the authors’ model, the current generated is, itself, faster than light, although the particles that compose it never individually exceed the universal speed limit, thereby preventing Einsteinian post-mortem rotation. The new model is a general explanation of the phenomenon of pulsar beam emissions that explains emissions at all observed frequencies (and different pulsars emit everything from radio waves to x-rays), which no previous model has done.”

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Next Stab Proof Vests Could Be Inspired By Ocean Snails’ Shells [Nature]


This bad-boy-in-a-shell could be used as inspiration for body armor, according to scientists. Meet the Crysomallon Squamiferum, or ‘scaly-foot gastropod.’ He could end up saving your life.

Hailing from the Central Indian Ridge, the snails can ward off attacks from crabs and other menaces thanks to what its hard shell is composed of. Inside hydrothermal vents iron sulphide particles are found, and combined with a spongy middle layer it means that when something strikes it—like a mean crab’s claw—it absorbs energy by allowing the shell to crack, or “microcrack” as the scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are calling it.

The shells also offer a form of attack, as well as defense. In a small way, at least. The iron sulphide will apparently make any attacking claws blunt, by grinding them down.

Whether we’ll see it on the next stab-proof vests is anyone’s guess, but at least we now know to avoid these scaly-foot gastropods. I’m certainly not going to eat any when I’m next in France, anyway. [New Scientist]

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