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Science News: July 2005

Author: Nicolas Delerue, Issues: July 2005, Topic: Science

No more closed eyes on group pictures?

When you take a group picture it is sometimes hard to avoid some subject having closed eyes. Professor Masahide Kaneko from the University of Electro-Communications (Tokyo) has devised a new system that should avoid that. Instead of taking a single picture the camera takes 15 shots. These 15 pictures are then analysed by a small software incorporated to the camera. For each shot the software tries to find the eyes of each subject and check that they are open. If there is no shot where all the subjects have their eyes open the software copies the eyes from one shot to the other to build a picture where everybody has open eyes. Professor Kaneko claims that his device works fine even for groups as large as 30 people.

Source: "The Nikkei Business Daily" and French Embassy (ADIT)

A new tectonic plate found under Tsukuba

Japan is located at the meeting point of 3 different tectonic plates: the Eurasian plate to the west, the pacific plate to the east and the Philippine plate to the south. The study of more than 150 000 earthquake that occurred in the Kanto region between 1979 and 2004 has led Shinji Toda from the AIST in Tsukuba to believe that in fact there is a fourth plate under the Kanto region. His findings do not change the prediction that a major earthquake might strike Tokyo but the existence of this fourth plate mean that the mechanisms through which the stress would be transferred during a major earthquake (and thus the location of possible aftershocks) may need to be reviewed.

More details at http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?nn20050522a1.htm

A novel method to grow diamonds reported in Tsukuba

This spring Tsukuba hosted the 10th International Conference on New Diamond Science and Technology. During this conference researcher from the US reported that they have developed a new method to grow diamonds. This method based on Chemical Vapor Deposition allows to grow artificial diamonds at a faster speed (up to 300 micrometers per hour) and up to bigger size (they have been able to grow a 10 carats diamond carat diamond whereas usual artificial diamonds are limited to 3 carats). This discovery could lead to more applications for industrial diamonds...
Source: http://www.physorg.com/news4123.html and http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=104182

Do you know the 83 431th decimal of Pi?

Akira Haraguchi from Chiba prefecture has recited the 83 431 first decimal of Pi (the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter) from memory during an event held at the end of June. During his previous attempt last September he had recited 54 000 decimals. This record is still under review by the Guinness Book officials. The previous record was held by a Japanese student who had recited 42 195 decimals.

More details at: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?nn20050703a2.htm

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