Bit later than usual today, but you're probably all out at the Primark sale anyway

  • What to Expect When New Horizons Visits 2014 MU69, Ultima Thule - After its successful tour of Pluto, New Horizons is rocking up to a Kuiper Belt object later today. Emily Lakdawalla of the Planetary Society tells us what to expect: ”In addition to the LORRI and MVIC cameras, New Horizons has several other science instruments. Remote sensing instruments include LEISA (which, together with MVIC, make up the Ralph instrument). LEISA takes spectra in infrared wavelengths. Alice is an ultraviolet spectrograph that can measure composition and also do stellar occultations to look for a coma around MU69. New Horizons also has three in-situ instruments for measuring fields and particles: the Pluto Energetic Particle Spectrometer Science Investigation (PEPSSI), Solar Wind Around Pluto (SWAP); and the Student Dust Counter (SDC).”

  • Machine Learning’s ‘Amazing’ Ability to Predict Chaos - Finally, a use for machines: ”In a series of results reported in the journals Physical Review Letters and Chaos, scientists have used machine learning… to predict the future evolution of chaotic systems out to stunningly distant horizons. The approach is being lauded by outside experts as groundbreaking and likely to find wide application.”

  • The most important satellite images of 2018 - ”In 2018, 106 rockets left Earth’s atmosphere carrying over 120 satellites in total. They joined the ranks of the already 1,768 orbiting instruments relaying communications, studying stars, and looking back down at earth… We asked experts to tell us what they thought were the most important images to come from outer space this year.” This is from Hayabusa2 as it took off from the asteroid Ryugu:

  • Facing nuclear reality, 35 years after The Day After - Dawn Stover talks to the ordinary people who participated in the American equivalent of Threads: ”The television movie The Day After depicted a full-scale nuclear war and its impacts on people living in and around Kansas City. It became something of a community project in picturesque Lawrence, 40 miles west of Kansas City, where much of the movie was filmed.”

  • The 100 greatest innovations of 2018 - ”Our 31st annual Best of What’s New list is the culmination of a year spent obsessing over, arguing about, and experiencing the newest technologies and discoveries across 10 distinct disciplines… Here, we dig deep, because some innovations don’t make a lot of noise, yet have the potential to make a real and lasting impact.” Frankly, some of this stuff is just stupid. Vegan scrambled egg substitute at the equivalent of a dollar an egg? Surely nobody likes eggs that much

  • Top Ten Asymmetric Aircraft - ”Despite in many cases possessing design advantages, very few profoundly asymmetric aircraft have been constructed. There is no obvious reason for this but it may just be that they are not trusted.” This Dr Richard Vogt's BV141, a Second World War reconnaissance aircraft:

  • The Highgate Vampire – Did a 1970s Nosferatu Stalk a London Cemetery? - Your occasional reminder that Scarfolk is more reminiscence than satire: ”In the late 1960s and early 1970s, a series of bizarre events occurred in and around Highgate Cemetery in London… Graves and bodies were desecrated and black magic rituals allegedly performed. Vampire hunters claimed to have broken open coffins, and plunged stakes into – and even burnt – the corpses of the ‘undead’. Newspapers obsessed over these strange occurrences. TV programmes were made about a supposed nest of vampires in Highgate Cemetery and those promising to root out this ancient evil were interviewed.”

  • The best science images of the year: 2018 in pictures - More pretty pictures. These are gannets fishing in Scotland: ”The birds drop from a height of 30 metres, achieving speeds of 100 kilometres per hour.”

  • The 7400 Quad 2-Input NAND Gate, A Neglected Survivor From A Pre-Microprocessor World - TTL FTW: ”There are a range of integrated circuits that most of us would regard as definitive examples of their type, devices which became the go-to for a particular function and which have entered our collective consciousness as electronics enthusiasts. They have been in production since the early days of consumer integrated circuits, remaining in use because of a comprehensive understanding of their characteristics among engineers, and the job they do well.”

  • Best of 2018 - From National Geographic, to be precise: a bunch of good stuff

Happy invoicing!