Two teams of astronomers have discovered the largest and farthest reservoir of water ever detected in the universe. The water, equivalent to 140 trillion times all the water in the world’s ocean, surrounds a huge, feeding black hole, called a quasar, more than 12 billion light-years away.
“The environment around this quasar is very unique in that it’s producing this huge mass of water,” said Matt Bradford, a scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “It’s another demonstration that water is pervasive throughout the universe, even at the very earliest times.”
A quasar is powered by an enormous black hole that steadily consumes a surrounding disk of gas and dust. As it eats, the quasar spews out huge amounts of energy. Both groups of astronomers studied a particular quasar called APM 08279+5255, which harbors a black hole 20 billion times more massive than the sun and produces as much energy as a thousand trillion suns.
Astronomers expected water vapor to be present even in the early, distant universe, but had not detected it this far away before. There’s water vapor in the Milky Way, although the total amount is 4,000 times less than in the quasar, because most of the Milky Way’s water is frozen in ice.
And, the instruments they used:
Bradford’s team made their observations starting in 2008, using an instrument called “Z-Spec” at the California Institute of Technology’s Submillimeter Observatory, a 33-foot (10-meter) telescope near the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii. Follow-up observations were made with the Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-Wave Astronomy (CARMA), an array of radio dishes in the Inyo Mountains of Southern California.
The second group, led by Dariusz Lis, senior research associate in physics at Caltech and deputy director of the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory, used the Plateau de Bure Interferometer in the French Alps to find water.
Source: NASA – Astronomers Find Largest, Most Distant Reservoir of Water
Continue reading Astronomers discover black hole with 140 trillion times more water than Earth
This has become the world’s five-ring capital, a place where the Olympic flame is more like a raging beach bonfire, a place that increasingly produces more Olympic athletes in more sports on a more regular basis per capita than anywhere else maybe on the planet. The 2012 Summer Games begin Friday in London, and San Diego — a city of 1.3 million, a county of 3.1 million — can claim 80 athletes who either grew up here or currently live and train here.
And that doesn’t include another two dozen rowers who have wintered on Lower Otay Reservoir for the past several years, which would push the number north of 100 — or roughly one in five members of the U.S. Olympic team. San Diego County has roughly one-hundredth of the U.S. population.
Jarred Rome, a discus thrower who moved here in 2003 and like Schmidt is headed to his second Olympics, put it like this: “When you’re around greatness, you become great.”
There are race walkers and kayakers, a fencer, an equestrian dressage rider, a track cyclist who cut her teeth on the oval in Balboa Park. The U.S. women’s field hockey team relocated here in 2008.
Keep reading: U-T San Diego – San Diego: America’s Olympic capital
Continue reading 20% of America’s Olympic athletes come from San Diego
Professional football, America’s most popular and profitable sport, is preparing to tackle a glaring weakness: Stadiums are increasingly empty.
As part of sweeping changes designed to give teams more flexibility to fill their seats, the National Football League is watering down its controversial TV “blackout” rule. And this season, for the first time, fans in the stadium will be able to watch the same instant replays the referees see during reviews of controversial calls.
The league also is planning to introduce wireless Internet in every stadium and to create smartphone apps that could let fans listen to players wearing microphones on the field.
With declines in ticket sales each of the past five years, average game attendance is down 4.5% since 2007, while broadcast and online viewership is soaring.
In hopes that professional football can mimic the wild stadium atmosphere typical of college football games, the NFL says it has “liberalized” its restraints on crowd noise. Stadiums will now be free to rile up crowds with video displays, and public-address announcers will no longer be restrained from inciting racket when the opposing offense faces a crucial third down.
Read more – Game Changer: NFL Scrambles to Fill Seats
Continue reading New stadium rules for NFL games – free wifi, unlimited noise, more instant replay
Cast your 2012 All-Star Game Vote!
* Vote a maximum of 25 times. Voting ends at 11:59 PM ET on Thursday, June 28, 2012.
And, watch the All-Star Game on Tuesday, July 10, 2012, on FOX.
Continue reading All Star Ballot – MLB 2012 – Vote now, ends June 29
If you’re needing to keep Mike & Mike an arm’s length away at all times, ESPN has refreshed its Radio app to help with just that. Now optimized to the iPad in addition to the iPhone and iPod touch, the software allows you to sort your listening habits by sports, teams and athletes that you follow.
The free version offers access to podcasts, the 20-minute SportCenter cycle, and offline listening for on-demand content.
The premium version — touting custom stations / playlists, live audio pause / rewind, myESPN personalization, alerts / push notifications and a few more gems to keep you well informed on the latest Red Sox debacle. Though, you’ll have to shell out $4.99 for the premium app and its 35 ESPN radio stations.
What about Android and WP7 devices, you ask? The folks in Bristol claim that apps for those platforms will arrive later this summer.
ESPN RADIO V4.0 – in iTunes
Continue reading ESPN launches iPhone/iPad app version 4.0 – ESPN Radio
Bitly is seeking a Data Artist:
We have a lot of data. Unique, hilarious, important data.
We’re looking for a talented designer to work with our data science team to tell the stories in our data in a beautiful and witty way.
Our ideal collaborator can see a story from chaos and communicate it visually, and has experience creating simple designs that communicate complex data in a variety of different media.
You’ll be working on everything from product design to interactive widgets to print design with media partners, so be flexible and excited to take on new challenges.
Our team is a bunch of quirky computer scientists, physicists, and mathematicians. You shouldn’t be afraid of math and code!
If this sounds great to you, send us a few samples of your work along with a few reasons why you would like to join our team. We’re looking forward to meeting you.
via – Bitly
A group of students in gray shirts file out of a cramped classroom onto the road. Shining flashlights to see through the darkness, they huddle around the frame of a short, black car.
One yanks on the pull start.
The engine roars to life, and the car takes off down the road, ready for competition.
The vehicle will race this week at the Baja Society of Automotive Engineers regional competition in Oregon. The competition challenges collegiate teams to design, build and race an off-road vehicle, testing the cars in categories such as maneuverability, acceleration and endurance.
Each car in the competition must be built using the same type of engine, but the design of other parts such as the gear box and transmissions are up to each team, said Dylan Aramburu, a second-year mechanical engineering student on the UCLA Team. This gives teams the opportunity to fabricate their own customized parts.
A lot of teams buy gearboxes to put in their cars, but UCLA’s Baja team makes its own from scratch, said Anthony Tyson, a fourth-year mechanical engineering student and one of the project leaders for the team.
…keep reading – UCLA Racing Baja team seeks off-road victory
Despite its reputation as a female-dominated social network — or perhaps because of that? — every team in Major League Baseball is now actively using Pinterest.
All 30 MLB teams also have official pages on Google+ and officials blogs on Tumblr. And the league itself also has an official presence on all three social networks.
The league and all of its teams have already been active on Facebook and Twitter for some time now, but only recently expanded its collective social media footprint to Pinterest, Google+ and Tumblr.
Some teams are already doing well for themselves on Pinterest. As I type this, the Milwaukee Brewers have attracted the biggest audience with its 906 followers. The team also has a substantial profile that currently counts 18 different boards.
via Marketing Land
And, my team, the Angels, has a not-too-shabby 131 followers with some great photos:
“We work with half of baseball right now,” said Barry Kahn, CEO of Qcue, a company that helps teams sell dynamically priced tickets. That’s up from just four teams at the start of last season (2011). In all, 17 of 30 Major League teams will use dynamic pricing this season, according to Ticket News.
What is “dynamic pricing”?
From the website of Qcue, an Austin, TX, based start-up:
“50% of tickets are never sold, while 10% are resold for twice the face value”
Dynamic pricing is smart pricing. It considers all the available data points to price tickets more accurately before they go on sale. Once tickets begin to move, dynamic pricing applies advanced analysis to adjust prices based on sales and other measures of shifting demand.
- Determines what drives sales using variables such as start time, opponents, etc. to set more accurate prices from the onset and maximize demand across the house.
- Captures opportunity for markups and encourages sales across every section of the stadium.
- Recognizes shifting values even before fans do by constantly evaluating weather, players, playoffs, promotions, etc.
- Improves business efficiency and optimizes revenue opportunities through automation of valuable business intelligence.
Sophisticated algorithms analyze real-time sales data and other external factors to generate forecasts based on various pricing strategies.
More from NPR
Baseball teams are finally doing what airlines have been doing for decades: changing ticket prices on the fly, based on demand.
At ballparks around the country this year, ticket prices will fall when rain is in the forecast and rise when a superstar comes to town.
From an economic standpoint, the only question is why they didn’t do it sooner. Why not sell seats on the cheap if they’d sit empty otherwise? Why not charge a premium for sellouts?
Personally, I’m happy that MLB owners are picking up on this technology, maximizing revenue, cutting into scalpers, even though it may end up in higher ticket prices for me:
They (Qcue) estimate that a team can generate an additional $900,000 in incremental revenue over the course of a season by making one additional change to each of its section prices.
- Average price change per seat: $1.55 increase
- Average percentage change per seat: 3% increase
- Average price decrease: -$13.63
- Average price increase: $3.27
via The Business of Sports
Total NCAA Championships through January 8, 2012
School – (Division)
Total Team Titles
- UCLA (I) – 108
- Stanford (I) – 102
- USC (I) – 94
- Abilene Christian (II) & Kenyon (III) – 57
- Oklahoma St. (I) – 50
- LSU (I) – 42
- Arkansas (I) – 41
- Penn St. (I) & Texas (I) – 40
Total Individual Titles
- Kenyon (III) – 506
- Stanford (I) – 439
- USC (I) – 363
- Abilene Christian (II) – 313
- Texas (I) – 310
- Michigan (I) – 290
- UCLA (I) – 262
- St. Augustine’s (II) – 238
- Ohio St. (I) – 228
- Florida (I) – 220