Aug 29, 2016

The Library of Congress is digitizing its Braille music collection

posted by Larra Morris

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The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) at the Library of Congress houses the largest braille music collection on earth. The institution’s inventory of over 30,000 musical transcriptions cover a variety of genres, all written in the raised dot system invented by Louis Braille. It's the only collection in the NLS that hasn’t been fully digitized, and now there’s a massive project underway to change that, Hyperallergic reports.

Digitizing braille requires more effort than simply scanning a page into a computer. Before a DotScan scanner equipped with optical braille recognition makes the digital copy, the spaces separating the dots must be measured for accuracy. An archivist then has to look over each digital copy for errors and input corrections into the computer manually. A well-maintained 100-page music book can take as little as six hours to scan and proofread, but a manuscript with significant wear-and-tear can take five times as long.
via Mental Floss

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Aug 29, 2016

MIT's new 3D-printer makes objects that remember their shape

posted by Larra Morris

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3D printing has done a lot for medical science. It's helped us create better prosthetics, manufacture artificial vertebrae and even develop smaller internal cameras. Next, it could help us revolutionize medication delivery. MIT researchers are using a new 3D-printing process to create tiny structures that change shape at specific temperatures -- opening the door for a new drug delivery system that only medicates patients if they have a fever.
via Engadget

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Aug 29, 2016

Bubble-wrap key to creating a sponge that boils water

posted by Larra Morris

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A team of engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

has created a unique device that uses a bubble-wrap-encased sponge to boil water fueled by nothing but sunlight. The inexpensive nature of the device makes it an ideal candidate for use in applications such as wastewater treatment, residential water heating and medical tool sterilization, and continues to pave the way for the utilization of sponge-like materials for steam creation.
via New Atlas

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Image: Jeremy Cho

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Aug 26, 2016

Researchers are building a robotic Lionfish exterminator

posted by Larra Morris

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We joke around a lot about bringing about a horrific robot apocalypse, but let's get real: sometimes, building a killer robot is just the right thing to do. Well, at least when those robots are being used to cull invasive species. Researchers at Robots In Service of the Environment (RISE) are developing a robot to fight an invasive population of Lionfish that's threatening ecosystems off the coast of Florida as well as in the Caribbean and Bermuda.
via Engadget

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Aug 26, 2016

The immune system may influence our social interactions

posted by Larra Morris

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Last year, we reported that researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine made the breakthrough discovery that the immune system and the brain are not isolated from one another as previously thought, but connected through a system of lymphatic vessels. The astonishing discovery of a "new" part of the human body opened the door to new ways of looking at immunity. Now, building on that research, the same team has made a potentially even more startling breakthrough: The immune system may play a key role in controlling and shaping social behavior. Their results were published recently in the journal Nature.
via Mental Floss

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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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