Acoustics engineer John Stuart Reid and American dolphin researcher Jack Kassewitz are working on a Cymascope, a device that allows dolphin-speak to be converted into graphics on a screen. The eventual hope is that the pair can translate that into words. They are starting with basic verbs and nouns and will work their way up into a conversation. Since humans cannot hear many of the sounds, the visual graphics will aid in deciphering. While this goal may not be reached in the foreseeable future, one day they may just find that dolphins have been laughing at us all along for our puny minds.
Read More | News & Star
Remember how we told you to vote Colbert for the new ISS node? They may not select his name for the capsule, but NASA got so much hype that Expedition 14 and 15 astronaut Sunita “Suni” Williams is going to announce the winner on the show. Colbert had this to say about the hoopla surrounding his nomination, “I certainly hope NASA does the right thing. Just kidding, I hope they name it after me.”
More than a million entries were received in total. Tune in to Comedy Central tonight at 11:30 p.m. EDT for the results.
Read More | Information Week
A recent study claims that the Arctic may lose its ice cover in summer in as few as 30 years, as opposed to the end of the century, as the the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007 predicted. While that study used 11 models to base their facts on, Muyin Wang and James Overland picked 6 of the 23 now available and noted that the change will probably come from the average figure of 32 years, but may be as early as 11. Most scientists figure that parts of northern Canada and Greenland will still have ice in summer.
Read More | University Washington News
Next time your significant other complains that you are spending too much time with your video games, tell him/her that you are trying to improve your eyesight. Nature Nueroscience researchers found that playing improves contrast sensitivity, the ability to notice small differences in shades of gray used in night driving or poor visibility conditions. The study, which involved gamers aiming and shooting at virtual targets, also says that gaming may improve amblyopia, “lazy eye,” by making both eyes work together.
Read More | BBC
Have you ever gotten depressed after serving jury duty? Psychologists at the University of Leicester in the UK claim that doing so can result in trauma for those who serve. They pinpointed witnessing harrowing and/or gruesome evidence related to crimes against people could result in anxiety, clinical levels of stress or even symptoms of PTSD. Dr. Noelle Robertson and colleagues say that women are most vulnerable and that a lot of it occurs because jurors are not allowed to talk about the case. The study was conducted on a small scale and the report suggests more support for jurors and making sure that they did not have similar past experiences.
Read More | gizmag
Imagine charging your self phone in seconds instead of hours. Professor Gerbrand Ceder from MIT has devised a new lithium-ion battery electrode that is many times faster than its predecessors. While most discharge at a rate of a minute and a half with the best high powered batteries, this one works in only 10 to 20 seconds. That rate will allow a 1 liter battery to deliver about 25,000W, enough power for about 20 vacuum cleaners. Ceder and his team modified lithium iron phosphate, an electrode material, so that electrons and ions could move more quickly.
Current lithium rechargeable batteries can store large amounts of energy but don’t have the acceleration speed. Professor Cedar claims that because the material is not new, but simply remade, scientists could conceivably market it in the next couple of years.
Scientists from the Universities of York and Warwick feel that they have found a way to make a virtual reality device that can simulate all five senses. The NAU VR Cocoon is composed of a headset with electronics and computer capability more realistic than any made so far. While most of them that have been made concentrate only on sight and sound, this one adds the other three senses as well.
Professor David Howard said, “Smell will be generated electronically via a new technique being pioneered by a team at Warwick which will deliver a pre-determined smell recipe on-demand. Taste and smell are closely linked but we intend to provide a texture sensation relating to something being in the mouth. Tactile devices will provide touch.”
Having been exposed to Smellavision and simulators that make you feel like you are in space, we are not sure we are ready to take that next step as we find that too much virtual reality can make us nauseous.
It seems that an asteroid flew by our planet Monday and very few knew about it at the time. It was about 115 feet wide (about the size of a 10 story building) and came within about 45,000 miles, twice the distance of the highest satellites. Astronomers knew that DD45 was coming but figured there was no collision risk and didn’t make a big deal about it. We suppose that is so that those of us who watch sci-fi movies wouldn’t panic, but experts say that should one that size strike, it would have the impact of 1,000 bombs like the one that hit Hiroshima.
Read More | MSNBC
Checking out the sky is fun, but you could be frozen by the time you find what you were looking for. Meade’s EXT-LS telescope, with Advanced Coma-Free (ACF) optics for a better picture, has a computerized scope that will automatically locate the star, moon, planet or star you are seeking. Once it is locked in with LightSwitch technology, you can take photos with its built-in camera or check out audio and video clips. The EXT-LS can find over 500 objects and is available for $1,299.00.
Read More | Meade
After last week’s collision of two satellites in space, experts estimate tens of thousands of pieces of space junk that they will now have to monitor. They already track over 17,000 pieces larger than 2 to 4 inches in diameter. The incident occurred between a U.S. Iridium commercial satellite and a derelict Russian military one about 500 miles above the planet. The FAA has received reports of falling debris over Texas, which could be related to the crash but was not confirmed. Either way, it may be 10,000 years before the floating stuff, seen in this artist’s rendering, will not be a threat to other satellites.
Read More | MSNBC
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