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Showing posts from October, 2011

ROBOTICS

Want a robot to cook your dinner, do your homework, clean your house, or get your groceries? Robots already do a lot of the jobs that we humans don't want to do, can't do, or simply can't do as well as our robotic counterparts. In factories around the world, disembodied robot arms assemble cars, delicately place candies into their boxes, and do all sorts of tedious jobs. There are even a handful of robots on the market whose sole job is to vacuum the floor or mow your lawn.
Robots Image Gallery

Photo courtesy Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
Honda's ASIMO robot. See more pictures of robots. Many of us grew up watching robots on TV and in the movies: There was Rosie, the Jetsons' robot housekeeper; Data, the android crewmember on "Star Trek: The Next Generation"; and of course, C3PO from "Star Wars." The robots being created today aren't quite in the realm of Data or C3PO, but there have been some amazing advances in their technology. Honda eng…
Graphic courtesy USGS Magma and Plate Tectonics The first question this raises is: what exactly is this "material from the inside"? On our planet, it's magma, fluid molten rock. This material is partially liquid, partially solid and partially gaseous. To understand where it comes from, we need to consider the structure of planet Earth.
The earth is composed of many layers, roughly divided into three mega-layers: the core, the mantle and the outer crust:
We all live on the rigid outer crust, which is 3 to 6 miles (5 to 10 km) thick under the oceans and 20 to 44 miles (32 to 70)thick under the land. This may seem fairly thick to us, but compared to the rest of the planet, it's very thin -- like the outer skin on an apple.Directly under the outer crust is the mantle, the largest layer of the earth. The mantle is extremely hot, but for the most part, it stays in solid form because the pressure deep inside the planet is so great that the material can't melt. In certai…
Introduction to How Volcanoes Work

Volcano Image Gallery Volcanoes are some of nature's most awe-inspiring displays, with everything from exploding mountaintops to rivers of lava. Learn how all the different types of volcanoes work. ­­


Whenever there is a major volcanic eruption in the world, you'll­ see a slew of newspaper articles and nightly news stories covering the catastrophe, all stressing a familiar set of words -- violent, raging, awesome. When faced with a spewing volcano, people today share many of the same feelings volcano-observers have had throughout human history: We are in awe of the destructive power of nature, and we are unsettled by the thought that a peaceful mountain can suddenly become an unstoppable destructive force!
While scientists have cleared up much of the mystery surrounding volcanoes, our knowledge has not made volcanoes any less amazing. In this article, we'll take a look­ at the powerful, violent forces that create eruptions, and see how th…