Interesting Reading #354

by | Nov 2, 2009 12:00 AM ET

A Mars Rover Named "Curiosity" - "The small, car-sized rover will ramble about on the rocky surface, gizmos at full tilt, not only brushing dust off rocks but also vaporizing them with a laser beam, gathering samples to analyze on the spot, taking high resolution photographs, and more..." More on curiosity:

Microsoft Researchers Developing Muscle-Based PC Interface (w/ Video) - "Microsoft researches have teamed up with the University of Washington and the University of Toronto to develop a muscle-controlled interface that allows for hands-free, gesture-driven interaction with computers..."

Ride Waves and Explore Depths in a Scubacraft - "It's not a pressurized submarine, which means that those on board must wear scuba gear before submersion. With no cranes needed to lower the craft below water and no boat needed to carry it out to sea, a Scubacraft is significantly more versatile and less expensive than similarly sized submarines. Scubacraft won't say how much the craft costs, but other sources put the figure at $164,000..."

Esquire looks to energize print with 3-D animation - "Hold Esquire's December issue in front of a webcam, and an on-screen image of the magazine pops to life, letters flying off the cover. Shift and tilt the magazine, and the animation on the screen moves accordingly..."

China claims supercomputer among world's fastest - "China announced its fastest supercomputer yet Thursday in the country's latest show of its goal to become a world leader in technology..."

How the Spaceship Got Its Shape - "The cover of the March 22, 1952 issue of Collier's magazine made an audacious promise. “Man Will Conquer Space Soon,” blared the headline, above a painting of a multi-stage rocket with engines blazing, bound for orbit. Designed by German rocket pioneer Wernher von Braun, whose name was still unknown to most Americans, the Collier's spaceship was a sleek, needle-nosed beauty; its winged third stage would be piloted to a runway landing. But it was all wrong...."

Construction robot inspired by sci-fi flick Aliens - "The Dual-Arm Power Amplification Robot gives users superhuman strength and resembles the hydraulic exoskeleton worn by Sigourney Weaver in the climactic scene of the sci-fi classic..."

Where smoking kills most people - "NEARLY one in five deaths in rich countries is caused by smoking, according to new data released this week by the World Health Organisation...."

Netflix Prize: Was The Napoleon Dynamite Problem Solved? - "I just gave a talk at work on “Recommender Systems and the Netflix Prize”, and included the two major popular articles about the prize in its final year or so. One was in Wired Magazine and one was in the New York Times., and each focused on one outstanding problem that the competitors faced. Wired looked at the quirkiness of users as they rate movies, and the NYT focused on the difficulty of predicting ratings for a handful of divisive movies..."

Computer science documentaries

New Unmanned Chopper Sniffs Out Improvised Explosives While Looking Adorable - "The Pentagon is testing an unmanned helicopter that can detect electromagnetic emissions from IEDs. Codename: HELIPANDA (we wish)..."

Willing to give up blue skies for climate fix? - "We can probably engineer Earth's climate to cool the planet, scientists say, but are we willing to live with the downsides? Those could include creating more droughts, more ozone holes and, oh yeah, a thin cloud layer that obscures blue skies and gives astronomers fits..."

Robot driving companion brings emotion to navigation - "You might think a robotic head mounted on the dashboard of your car would be a distraction. But car maker Audi and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology think it will actually provide less jarring directions than a standard satnav – because it will be sensitive to your moods and habits..."

Mapping the 'great wheel of water' - "Satellites have a reputation for being dull, functional boxes. However, the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (Smos) spacecraft is anything but routine..."

We see problems, they see solutions - "It is this sort of science that we celebrate here, through the work of 15 men and women who have set their minds to some of the most pressing problems of our time, such as clean energy, better medicine and feeding the world's growing population..."

Inside Chernobyl's Sarcophagus

Physicist Makes New High-resolution Panorama Of Milky Way - "Cobbling together 3000 individual photographs, a physicist has made a new high-resolution panoramic image of the full night sky, with the Milky Way galaxy as its centerpiece...."

A Gamma Ray Race Through the Fabric of Space-Time Proves Einstein Right - "New results are in from the Fermi Space Telescope, which settled into orbit in the summer of 2008, and the findings seem to prove Albert Einstein right once again. Man, that guy was good..."

Fifty Years of Scientific History For You - "Here's a most interesting graph from the latest issue of Nature Reviews Drug Discovery...."

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