Aug 25, 2016

New Earth-like exoplanet could be discovery of the century

posted by Larra Morris

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In what’s being hailed as one of the biggest astronomical discoveries of the century, scientists with the European Southern Observatory (ESO) today confirmed the discovery of an Earth-like exoplanet in the habitable zone of Proxima Centauri—our nearest neighboring star. Details of the team’s discovery were just published in Nature.
via Gizmodo

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Aug 25, 2016

Japan's 2020 Olympics will make medals from smartphones

posted by Larra Morris

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According to Inhabitat, Japan is aiming to make their Olympic medals from recycled smartphones.

Unwanted electronics are a rich resource of precious metals: Many use elements struck from gold, silver, and copper. Nikkei Asian Review reports that in Japan, it’s estimated that about 315 pounds of gold was thrown in the trash in 2014, far exceeding the 21 pounds of gold used in the medals for the 2012 London Games.
via Mental Floss

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Aug 24, 2016

The proto-Aztec bunny farmers of ancient Mexico

posted by Larra Morris

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A group of anthropologists describe their discovery in PLoS One, filling in details of what appears to be a rabbit farm and butcher shop in a Teotihuacan neighborhood called Oztoyahualco. From roughly the 4th through 6th centuries, this neighborhood was home to an apartment compound that immediately stood out for a few reasons. Several rooms contained an enormous number of cottontail and jackrabbit remains, as well as soil with high phosphate levels that would indicate a lot of blood or fecal matter on the ground. One room had low stone walls "suggestive of a pen for domestic animal management," the researchers write. Other rooms were full of obsidian blades and rabbit limbs, as if they were part of a butcher shop.
via Ars Technica

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Aug 24, 2016

MIT is exploring phones that put themselves together

posted by Larra Morris

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We've seen a tiny chair that can assemble itself from MIT, but now the lab responsible for that adorable experiment has their eye on a much more complicated project: self-assembling cellphones. Specifically, MIT's Self-Assembly Lab is looking at how putting together a handful of components in a rotating tumbler could come together as a complete cellphone, Fast Company reports
via Engadget

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Aug 23, 2016

25,000 LED roses illuminate a rooftop garden in China

posted by Larra Morris

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The fake flowers covering the rooftop of a building in Chengdu may not look like much during the day, but at dusk they come to life. According to inhabitat, the 25,000 LED roses are part of a traveling art installation currently on display in the Chinese city.

The project, titled “Light Rose Garden” is a collaboration between the creative agencies AllRightsReserved, PANCOM, and Amherst Inc. Between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. every night, the field of roses is switched on to illuminate the rooftop venue. The flowers are densely packed together, with 25 of them squeezed into every 32 square feet of space.
via Mental Floss

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Aug 23, 2016

Soft robotic caterpillar uses light to get a wriggle on

posted by Larra Morris

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Robots that are soft in nature have come along in leaps and bounds of late, forming the basis for machines that are safer to work with, can grasp different objects and better handle rugged terrain. But the need to pack things like power sources and actuators inside has generally meant that miniaturization is out of the question. Researchers may have now opened the door to tiny, millimeter-scale soft robots, by developing a robotic caterpillar that is powered and controlled purely by external light.
via New Atlas

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Aug 22, 2016

A curious and creepy owl theremin

posted by Larra Morris

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Delightfully mad sculptor David Cranmer makes functional art pieces that put the fun in funky, and his strange contraptions often make a pretty funky racket too...

Flipping the switch labeled "Activate Owl" causes the owl to arise while the theremin starts up, and as the player waves their hand to make sweet, spooky "music" the owl silently judges them from on high.
via Neatorama

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