Jul 15, 2013

Life-sized game of LIFE

posted by Larra Morris

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The life-sized Game of Life will be held from 20 July to 16 September on Yoron Island located just North of Okinawa. The impetus for this plan was the fact that the island is shaped like that hilly part of the game board where the spinner sits.

Throughout these summer months, players will be given a map showing the game squares and an allotment of fake money like that used in the game. The players will then spin one of four wheels located around the island and proceed to that spot. At the end of the game, any play money left over can be converted into gift certificates.
via Neatorama

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Jul 15, 2013

Artist turns Beijing's Water Cube into a massive emoji-based mood ring (video)

posted by Larra Morris

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What if you could see how people felt by looking at a former Olympics venue? In June, artist Jennifer Wen Ma and lighting designer Zheng Jianwei turned the "Water Cube," used for swimming events in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, into an art project based on Sina Weibo and the I Ching. Nature and Man in Rhapsody of Light at the Water Cube, as the show is called, uses the cube's lighting to simulate an extremely low-resolution screen, much as we've seen in other projects. From there, a team of specialists figured out a system that would illustrate each day through a combination of divination and data mining.
via The Verge

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Jul 15, 2013

Scientists developing a baby cry analyzer

posted by Larra Morris

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Although Homer Simpson’s brother’s Baby Translator may still only be a whimsical concept, Rhode Island scientists have developed something that could prove to be even more valuable. Researchers at Brown University teamed up with faculty at Women & Infants Hospital, to create a computer tool that may find use detecting neurological or developmental problems in infants, by analyzing their cries.

The software starts by breaking recordings of baby cries down into 12.5-millisecond “frames,” then analyzing each of those frames for parameters such as frequency and volume. All of that individual frame data is then combined to provide an overview of the cry.
via Gizmag

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Jul 12, 2013

Canadian team nabs top prize for human-powered helicopter

posted by Laura Domela

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When Todd Reichert settles into the pilot seat of the helicopter he helped build, there are no fancy electronic switches to flip, there’s no fuel tank to fill and certainly no computer to configure before take off.

What allows the 31-year-old to defy gravity is sheer human power, delivered to the craft’s four rotors through the bicycle pedals he steadily pumps throughout his flight.

It’s that fragile machine, built by Reichert’s Canadian team, which has now won a long-coveted international prize that lay unclaimed for years.

The AHS Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition was established in 1980 for the first successful controlled flight of a human powered helicopter that could reach a height of three metres while hovering for at least one minute in a 10-square-meter area.
via National Post

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Jul 12, 2013

Apollo mission sites could become a lunar national park

posted by Larra Morris

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The landing site of NASA's Apollo missions may be transformed into a popular tourist destination, if a new bill in Congress is ratified. Two democratic congresswomen are seeking designate a national park on the moon, protecting abandoned Apollo artifacts, such as the landing gear, roving hardware, and the famous footprints.

The last manned lunar landing was in 1972, and no human has stepped foot on the surface of the moon since. But that might not be the case much longer as other countries and commercial space programs seek to replicate NASA's past successes.

The bill, dubbed the "Apollo Lunar Landing Legacy Act," was designed to specifically account for public access and tourism. Both visitor and administrative services are to be designated "within reasonable proximity to the Historical Park," and hint at a possible future of moon landing tours and public amenities.
via The Verge

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Image: NASA

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Jul 12, 2013

DARPA's ATLAS humanoid robot gears up for disaster response (video)

posted by Larra Morris

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DARPA has revealed the completed ATLAS humanoid robot, which is to star in the upcoming DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) – and it cuts a striking figure. Designed by Boston Dynamics (the guys behind the BigDog,Cheetah, and LS3 quadrupeds), it's being given to the top teams that recently competed in the Virtual Robotics Challenge (VRC). Now those teams have less than six months to fine tune their software with the real robot before they face the first of two live challenges.
via Gizmag

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Jul 12, 2013

Retreating Antarctic ice fuels surprising glass sponge invasion

posted by Larra Morris

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In the frigid, inky ocean depths beneath permanent ice shelves, life tends to move pretty slowly. But a recent expedition to the seafloor under a newly thawed Antarctic ice sheet has revealed an unexpected invertebrate invasion. Some of Earth’s strangest species, a group of ghostly pale sponges made of glass, have set up shop there in a hurry, upending much of what scientists know about these exotic creatures.

Thanks to changes in this ecosystem brought on by a warming climate, these gardens of glass sponges have sprouted up in only a few years, a veritable population explosion for species once thought to take decades or centuries to spread. It suggests that glass sponges could find themselves squarely on the winner’s podium when it comes to climate change.
via Wired

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Image: Thomas Lundalv, Alfred-Wegener-Institut

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Jul 12, 2013

Blue-colored planet that rains glass uncovered by NASA's Hubble space telescope

posted by Larra Morris

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Earth is often referred to as the "blue planet," or "pale blue dot," due of course to the abundance of liquid water on its surface (about 70 percent is covered by water). But now astronomers have found another blue planet, and on this world, instead of water, it likely rains glass — and sideways at that, thanks to the planet's unfathomably strong 4,500 mile-per-hour winds. The gigantic, Jupiter-sized planet, designated HD 189733b, was actually first discovered by French astronomers in 2005. But recent observations made with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have revealed far more fascinating details about its surface conditions and the color of its atmosphere.
via The Verge

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Image: NASA, ESA, AND G. BACON (STSCI)

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Jul 12, 2013

Antimatter Matters, the quantum physics board game, makes assembling atoms into a competition

posted by Larra Morris

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Game creator and physics teacher Scott Isler first came up with the idea for a board game that teaches kids about how atoms come together from subatomic particles while working at an after-school program for third and forth graders. The art, by Thomas Conrad Rigby, is described as “retro-futuristic” and is inspired by “the optimism of ST:NG-era science fiction along with spectacular current advances in virtual user interfaces.” In other words, it looks cool as hell. And, of course, they’ve even got designs in the works for Meeple player tokens with little lab coats and glasses.
via Geekosystem

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Jul 11, 2013

Next Mars rover is first step toward bringing samples back to Earth

posted by Larra Morris

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The next NASA Mars rover, a twin probe to its current Curiosity rover, will undertake the first part of a long-sought dream of planetary scientists: a sample-return mission from the Red Planet.

In December, a surprise announcement from NASA unveiled that it had selected a 2020 Mars mission that would reuse spare parts and plans from its highly successful Curiosity rover. Little was said at the time about what exactly Curiosity’s twin would be doing. The agency estimated that the rover would cost around $1.5 billion, far cheaper than Curiosity’s total $2.5 billion price tag.
via Wired

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Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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