Daily Archives: March 15, 2012

Galactic Views (31)


Fireworks in the Milky Way

NASA – This enormous section of the Milky Way Galaxy is a mosaic of images from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. The constellations Cassiopeia and Cepheus are featured in this 1,000-square degree expanse. These constellations, named after an ancient Queen and King of Ethiopia in Greek mythology, are visible in the northern sky every night of the year as seen from most of the United States.

The Sky

The sky can be thought of as a sphere that surrounds us in three dimensions. To make a map of the sky, astronomers project it into two dimensions. Many different methods can be used to project a spherical surface into a 2-D map. The projection used in this image of the sky is called Aitoff, named after the geographer who invented it. It takes the 3-D sky sphere and slices open one hemisphere, and then flattens the whole thing out into an oval shape.

Any projection creates distortions, so people tend to use a particular projection type based on where in the resulting map the distortions are minimal.

Creating Color Pictures Using Images
From NASA’s Wide-field Survey Explorer (WISE) Mission

These instructions explain the basic processes for creating a color picture using images downloaded from the WISE Science Data Archive. First, we’ll provide an overview of the general steps you’ll take to create color images, and then we’ll describe several different image processing programs that you can use to take these steps. (more)

Accessing and Downloading Images
from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE)

NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) is a space telescope that mapped the entire sky in infrared wavelengths. It scanned the entire sky while continuously taking images in four different wavelengths of infrared light. Most of WISE’s primary mission occurred during 2010, during which it took more than 2.7 million images, capturing objects ranging from faraway galaxies to asteroids relatively close to Earth.

People across the globe can now find and download these images directly from the WISE archive. In other words, anyone with an internet connection now has free access to high-resolution infrared images of any object in the night sky*, images that can only be taken from space. These instructions will explain exactly how to get the images you want. more> http://is.gd/vcgP7v

* Currently 57% percent of the sky is available for download. In Spring 2012, the entire sky will become available.


U.S. Trade Policy

Interactive MAP: Export Nation

List of countries by leading trade partners

Image @Wikipedia

By Christopher Alessi and Robert McMahon – While trade accounts for an increasing percentage of U.S. economic output–at 25 percent–U.S. trade as a percentage of GDP is lower than that of every other developed country in the world besides Japan.

As the forces of globalization have reshaped the global economy, there has been increasing resistance to trade liberalization within the United States. Many in the American labor movement argue that free trade, which they view as unregulated, disenfranchises U.S. workers by outsourcing jobs overseas. Advocates say that expanding free trade will create new U.S. jobs by opening up U.S. exports to a range of foreign markets, boosting competitiveness.

C. Fred Bergsten, director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics and a leading trade advocate, has highlighted the country’s $600 billion annual trade deficit. “Eliminating that imbalance,” Bergsten wrote in a September 2011 New York Times op-ed, “would create three million to four million jobs, according to the Commerce Department estimates, at no cost to the budget.” He says the United States can take a number of unilateral steps to make its exports more competitive and remedy the trade deficit– including allowing the dollar to weaken by 10 to 20 percent. Moreover, Bergsten believes the United States could become more globally competitive if it reduces the barriers to exporting American services–the work of architects, engineers, and lawyers–for which he says the country actually runs a surplus of $150 billion. more> http://is.gd/u9ACUv

Europe to Germany: your eurocrisis ‘answers’ don’t work for us

By Robert Marquand – A Nordic official sent to a top euro crisis meeting last fall came out complaining: When questions started percolating, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy disappeared into a room and emerged later with “answers,” the official said, that were the final word.

As Germany takes the lead and refigures Europe‘s fiscal operating system into its doctrine of austerity, questions and warnings are on the rise. more> http://is.gd/BX3y3K

Chevy Volt Revealed: Teardown Videos

By Rick DeMeis – We drove a Chevy Volt across the country, and then we took it apart.

Over a recent three-day period, EE Times, working with the benchmarking consultants Munro & Associates, tore down the car. Brian Fuller, editorial director of the EELife Community for EETimes, had been driving the Volt across the country and blogging about it on Drive for Innovation, a partnership between Design News parent company UBM and Avnet Express.

The objective of the teardown was to learn more about the engineering that went into the Volt’s design internals. [VIDEO] more> http://is.gd/GCup9z

THOMAS Top Ten – compiled on Mar 10 2012

Congress watchLibrary of Congress –

  1. H.R. 347 [112th]
    Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011
  2. S. 1813 [112th]
  3. H.R. 3606 [112th]
    Reopening American Capital Markets to Emerging Growth Companies Act of 2011
  4. H.R. 3261 [112th]
    Stop Online Piracy Act
  5. H.R. 3630 [112th]
    Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012
  6. H.R. 4646 [111th]
    Debt Free America Act
  7. H.R. 3012 [112th]
    Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act
  8. S. 1867 [112th]
    National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012
  9. H.R. 3590 [111th]
    Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
  10. H.R. 1540 [112th]
    National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012

CONGRESS WATCH Boxer Applauds Senate Bipartisan Passage of Transportation Bill (March 14, 2012), YouTube [VIDEO 9:24] Senator Boxer Applauds Overwhelming Bipartisan Support for Final Passage of Major Transportation Jobs Bill, Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW)/US Senate