The top most-visited stories of the past week included a striking image if a swirling vortex at Venus’ south pole; an Executive Order to ensure the U.S. will lead in high performance computing; the Voyager Golden Records now available on Soundcloud as a continuous stream of clips; the CDC’s top disease modeler courting controversy over his worst-case Ebola scenario; and a high-performance transistor using black phosphorus revealing some fascinating results. We’ve collected these top hits below, in case you missed them.
Black Phosphorus could Replace Silicon Computer Chips
Silicon Valley got its nickname from the multitude of computer chip manufacturers that sprung up in the surrounding area in the 1980s. Despite its ubiquity as a chip building material, silicon may be facing some competition from a new version of an old substance. Researchers working have created a high performance transistor using black phosphorus that has revealed some fascinating results.
CDC’s Top Disease Modeler Courts Controversy
Last fall, when Martin Meltzer calculated that 1.4 million people might contract Ebola in West Africa, the world paid attention. This was, he said, a worst-case scenario. But Meltzer is the most famous disease modeler for the nation’s pre-eminent public health agency, the CDC. His estimate rallied nations to step up their efforts to fight the disease. But the estimate proved to be off. Way, way off.
Perhaps Aliens like Continuous Streaming, Too
The Voyager Golden Records, included aboard both Voyager spacecraft launched in 1977, are phonograph records — 12-inch gold-plated copper disks — containing sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth. The recordings are now available on Soundcloud, which means that anyone with an Internet connection can experience NASA’s “time capsule” for themselves.
Obama Issues Executive Order to Ensure U.S. will lead in High Performance Computing
On July 29, 2015, President Obama issued an Executive Order establishing the National Strategic Computing Initiative to ensure the U.S. continues to lead in the development and deployment of cutting-edge computing systems, which are essential to economic competitiveness, scientific discovery and national security. HPC systems are vital to the Nation’s interests in science, medicine, engineering, technology and industry.
Venus Express Snaps Swirling Vortex
This ghostly puff of smoke is actually a mass of swirling gas and cloud at Venus’ south pole, as seen by the Visible and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer aboard ESA’s Venus Express spacecraft. Venus has a very choppy and fast-moving atmosphere — although wind speeds are sluggish at the surface, they reach dizzying speeds of around 400 km/h at the altitude of the cloud tops, some 70 km above the surface.