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An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from a look at the engine behind SpaceX's Falcon rocket, the Merlin: "The rockstar of SpaceX may be Elon Musk, but the lead man behind the fire power is Tom Mueller. He is the Vice President of Propulsion Development and founding employee at SpaceX. Musk sought Mueller out in 2001 when Musk decided to build his own rockets instead of buying some from the Russians. Musk caught wind of a rocket engine Mueller built in his garage and 'apparently had a religious experience' once he saw it. If you didn't know, Elon Musk used $100 million of his Paypal money to start SpaceX. That money was used to build the Merlin engine Mueller had designed. The Merlin engine is the first new American booster engine in ten years and only the second in the last 25 years."

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Chernobyl Pripyat hospital timm suess

Ukraine's Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant was the site of one of history's worst nuclear accidents, when an experiment destroyed reactor number 4 and exposed hundreds of people to high levels of radiation. The site of the April 26, 1986 disaster is still uninhabitable, but remains a popular location for photographers looking to explore the abandoned structures. Photographer Timm Suess traveled to Chernobyl in 2009, and The Atlantic has featured a collection of photos from a nearby abandoned hospital. Suess's journal, videos from his trip, and ambient sound of the area, as well as more photos of schools, an amusement park, and a ship graveyard are also available on his blog.

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Covalent writes "The Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest and most powerful particle accelerator and the 'Big Bang machine' that was used to discover what appears to be the long-sought Higgs boson particle (as announced July 4), may have another surprise up its sleeve this year: The LHC looks to have produced a new type of matter, according to a new analysis of particle collision data by scientists at MIT and Rice University. The new type of matter, which has yet to be verified, is theorized to be one of two possible forms: Either 'color-glass condensate' — a flattened nucleus transformed into a 'wall' of gluons, which are smaller binding subatomic particles, or it could be 'quark-gluon plasma,' a dense, soup or liquid-like collection of individual particles."

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Harperdog writes "Gabrielle Hecht has an interesting piece on the subcontracted workers of the nuclear energy industry, in Japan and elsewhere. These workers face far more exposure to radiation than salaried workers; in Japan, 90% of the nuclear workforce is contracted. This is an eye-opening look at a practice that 'carries exceptional risks and implications. And until these are recognized and documented, complex social and physiological realities will continue to be hidden.' A good read, but I would like to know how the Fukushima 50 are doing."



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