What's the buzz.

What's the buzz.

Traffic lights for better fuel management

In the future, you might not have to worry about wasting fuel while waiting at traffic lights. A new technology will equip traffic lights to control your vehicle’s engine and improve its fuel efficiency.

IBM has already filed a patent on the system that will help minimise fuel consumption. The system would be able to receive position information from vehicles waiting at red lights to determine a queue of other vehicles stopped at the signal.

The potential time, before the lights turn green, is then calculated. If the time is over a set threshold, the traffic light can send signals to the vehicle engines to stop them.
When the lights turn green, a ‘start-engine notification’ would be sent to the front vehicle to start its engine first, and a signal would be sent to the second vehicle in the queue an ‘optimal time’ later, and so on.

Bursting ‘bubbles’ behind the origin of ‘halo’ gas clouds

By using CSIRO’s Parkes telescope, scientists have observed that just like bubbles burst on the surface of a glass of champagne, ‘bubbles’ in our Galaxy burst and leave flecks of material in the form of clouds of hydrogen gas.

Their study explains the origin of these ‘halo’ gas clouds in our Galaxy for the first time. Just as Earth has an atmosphere, the main starry disk of our Galaxy is surrounded by a thinner halo of stars, gas and ‘dark matter’.

The halo clouds skim the surface of our Galaxy, sitting 400 to 10,000 light-years outside the Galactic disk. They are big: an average-sized cloud contains hydrogen gas 700 times the mass of the Sun and is about 200 light-years across.

“We’re studying the clouds to understand what role they play in recycling material between the disk and halo. The clouds can fall back down into the main body of the Galaxy, returning gas to it,” said Dr Naomi McClure-Griffiths (CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science).

The researchers studied about 650 clouds and found striking differences between them in different areas of the Galaxy. One part of the Galaxy had three times as many clouds as another next to it, and the clouds were twice as thick.

The region with lots of thick clouds is where lots of stars form, while the region with fewer clouds also forms fewer stars.

Flint stones dating back to 2,50,000 years unearthed

Around 1,200 pieces of flint stones dating back to 2,50,000 years ago were discovered at al-Sharar Valley near Daraa, Southern Syria.

The pieces were discovered by the expedition of Damascus University in cooperation with the Directorate of Antiquities and Museums in the governorate.

Ahmad Diab, head of the expedition, said the findings prove that the area is one of the most important and old-inhabited places in Syria where dozens of caves and grottos are found.

The expedition also discovered a set of stone tools belonging to many pre-historic phases, especially the Paleolithic age, in addition to a number of pieces dating back to the Neolithic age, indicating that there is scarcity in the findings which date back to the Paleolithic era.