Jul 16, 2014

Fossil of massive four-winged raptor found in China

posted by Larra Morris

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The fossil of a newly discovered dinosaur has been found in China. At nine pounds and four feet long, the four-winged carnivore is believed to have been three times heavier and 60 percent longer than the second biggest four-winged dinosaur.
via The Wire

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Image: DINOSAUR INSTITUTE, NHM

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Jul 16, 2014

Heart rate monitoring car seats keep you from drifting off

posted by Larra Morris

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The sensors can detect a driver's ECG—or electrocardiogram—through their clothing, even multiple layers of a suit, but are invisible since they're stitched and integrated into the car seat's fabric. And while most automotive fatigue-sensing systems simply alert the driver or attempt to wake them up in some way, the researchers at Nottingham Trent University in the UK envision them being used to activate a car's cruise control systems and lane-keeping functionality to prevent an accident should they drift off.
via Gizmodo

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Image: Innovation In Textiles 

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Jul 15, 2014

Long-distance call from across the universe leaves astronomers baffled

posted by Laura Domela

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Talk about a long-distance call! Astronomers have stumbled across a mysterious radio signal that appears to have traveled from not just from outside of our solar system – but beyond even our Milky Way galaxy.

The largest cosmic ear in the world, the 305-metre-wide Arecibo radio dish in Puerto Rico, picked up a momentary burst of radio waves on Nov. 2, 2012. The signal itself was quite modest – nothing more than radio blip lasting only three one-thousandths of a second long. It was so fast that the human ear alone could not detect it, but its ramifications could be huge in the research community.

The same signal had been heard a few times before, but only by the Parkes Radio Telescope in Australia. Astronomers, however, questioned its origin, thinking that since only that one observatory was hearing it, it must be coming from close to our planet, most likely somewhere within Earth's environment. They thought it could have been an errant communication signal bouncing off the upper atmosphere or a satellite.
via Yahoo News

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Image: The bright sun greets the International Space Station in this Nov. 22
scene from the Russian section of the orbital outpost, photographed by one
of the STS-129 crew members. Image credit: NASA.

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Jul 15, 2014

Explore New York City according to the music it inspired

posted by Larra Morris

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New York City has not only provided the backdrop for a countless songs, but it's also birthed entire genres of music. So when you start to plot where each of these moments happened, you're soon left with a pretty exciting guided tour of one of the world's biggest cultural capitals. YouTube links make it even better.

This is exactly what real estate developer and known internet prankster Constantine Valhouli did with his new NYC Music Map. The formula was simple: Valhouli combed Wikipedia's list of songs mentioning New York City and dropped a pin with a link to that YouTube video on a Google Map of the city.
via Gizmodo

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Jul 15, 2014

Rocket scientist adds fins to pans and nearly doubles their efficiency

posted by Laura Domela

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One rocket scientist has turned his attention to cookware, designing a new set of pots and pans that are touted as nearly double the energy efficiency of your ordinary round cookware. What's different? The addition of fins.

The new pots were designed by Oxford University professor of engineering Thomas Povey, who has developed what he calls the Flare Pan. With this pan, which is being sold through maker Lakeland, comes a promised 40-percent decrease in energy usage over conventional cooking pans, as well as the ability to heat up faster.
via Slashgear

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Jul 15, 2014

Finland's largest city wants to replace cars with apps

posted by Larra Morris

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Car sharing has grown in popularity in recent years thanks to the internet and smartphones. But now the city government of Helsinki, Finland, wants to take that idea to its logical endpoint: replacing most privately owned cars by 2025 with a comprehensive route-planner app that would also offer access to all of the city's shared-transportation options, plus weather forecasts. As The Helsinki Times reported earlier this month, the idea is to offer every commuter a series of transportation options tailored directly to them and their circumstances: so if it's due to start raining, the app would recommend exactly when to swap a bike-share for a cab, for example.
via The Verge

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Image: Hans Põldoja/Flickr

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Jul 15, 2014

MIT's new material opens the door to squishable, shape-shifting robots

posted by Larra Morris

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Robots tend to be either very rigid or very soft, but neither extreme is ideal; ideally, machines could both squish themselves into tight spaces and remain sturdy for strength-dependent tasks. They just might, thanks to a team-up between MIT and Google's Boston Dynamics. The two have developed a composite material that can switch between hard and soft states on the fly. The design mates a compressible foam inside with an external wax coating. If a robot needed to deform, all it would have to do is soften the right joints with a bit of heating. It could even heal damage by heating and cooling an affected area.
via Engadget

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Jul 14, 2014

Ancient seltzer bottle recovered from Polish shipwreck

posted by Larra Morris

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A 200-year-old bottle of naturally carbonated water has been found, according to Discovery News. The perfectly preserved stoneware vessel was recovered from a shipwreck in the Gulf of Gdańsk near the Polish coast, and is dated between 1806 and 1830.

Underwater archaeologist Tomasz Bednarz told Discovery News this may be the oldest corked bottle from Selters, the German community famous for producing the eponymous brand of natural soda water.
via The Verge

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Image: National Maritime Museum, Gdańsk

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Jul 14, 2014

Aerosmith made more money from video games than from any one of its own albums

posted by Larra Morris

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Planning to make it big in the music industry by releasing a hit album? Dream On. A long forgotten PC Mag article resurfaced this week to remind us that the music industry had changed drastically over the last decade. According to Activision chief Bobby Kotick circa 2008, Guitar Hero: Aerosmith "generated far more in revenues than any Aerosmith album ever has." The game in question has sold over four million copies to date, droves more than most album sales in the modern market.
via Engadget

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Image: PhilipRood.com/Flickr

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Jul 14, 2014

Teaching robots to play Angry Birds helps children's rehabilitation

posted by Larra Morris

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If Angry Birds is known for anything, it's an ability to keep youthful eyes glued to the screen for extended periods of time. But a new study conducted at Georgia Tech has shown that teaching a robot how to play the video game keeps kids slinging those wingless birds through the air for even longer, a finding that could help in the rehabilitation of cognitive and motor-skill disabilities.

The study observed how school-aged children engaged with Angry Birdsand how that engagement could be dictated depending on who was sitting alongside them. The kids were first asked to play the game as an adult watched on, and then to teach a robot how to play for themselves.
via Gizmag

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Image: Georgia Tech

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