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    Tech  
    The folks from Jalopnik  drove Tesla's Model S Level 2 autonomous system, known as Autopilot. It was super weird and super fun
    Tech  
    New imagery from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope is revealing details never before seen on Jupiter. High-resolution maps and spinning globes (rendered in the 4k Ultra HD format) are the first products to come from a program to study the solar system’s outer planets each year using Hubble. The observations are designed to capture a broad range of features, including winds, clouds, storms and atmospheric chemistry. These annual studies will help current and future scientists see how such giant worlds change over time. [ link ]
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    Tech  
    In the future, you could help clean up the oceans just by playing in your bikini. The Sponge Suit is made of an absorbent material that fits inside a 3D printed shell. The fabric absorbs pollutants in the water and seals them away from the skin. It releases the contaminants only when subjected to extreme heat. The designers explain:
    "This material has multi-model porosity (micro/mezzo/macro porous) that allows it to be a light yet strong absorber with its undulating texture (visible through Electron Microscope). Absorbing everything but water, the material is a powerful tool for water and contaminant separation. The super-porous nature allows the Sponge to absorb in high capacity, up to 25 times of its own weight depending on the density of the substance absorbed. The Sponge does not release the absorbed materials unless it is heated in high temperatures (1,000 degrees Celsius) to re-obtain its original liquid form. This property allows the Sponge to be recyclable as the liquid form is ready to be reshaped having been separated from its contaminants."
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    Tech  
    NASA is leading our nation and the world on a journey to Mars, and Thursday the agency released a detailed outline of that plan in its report, “NASA’s Journey to Mars: Pioneering Next Steps in Space Exploration.”
    “NASA is closer to sending American astronauts to Mars than at any point in our history,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “Today, we are publishing additional details about our journey to Mars plan and how we are aligning all of our work in support of this goal. In the coming weeks, I look forward to continuing to discuss the details of our plan with members of Congress, as well as our commercial and our international and partners, many of whom will be attending the International Astronautical Congress next week.” [ link ]
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    Tech  


    A bunch of researchers from ETH Zurich’s Autonomous Systems Lab has decided that robots like Big Dog will not be stopped by seemingly impassible terrain, thanks to a packbot sidekick that comes in the form of a forward-scouting UAV. Lab’s latest projects: a similar pair working together to navigate unknown terrain.  
    The hexacopter drone has a camera that lets it scout ahead, making an elevation map of its surroundings as well as noting landmarks. Its companion walking robot uses that data to plan its path on the fly. It also has sensors to keep its balance and avoid obstacles.
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    Tech  
    Researchers have found a scourge for the 33 million tons of plastic dumped each year in the US: mealworms. A team from Stanford and China's Beihang University found that the beetle larvae stay perfectly healthy eating just Styrofoam, which is normally considered non-biodegradable. Better still, the worms convert the plastic to CO2 and waste that's safe to use as soil for crops. The scientists were as surprised by the discovery as you might be. "There's a possibility of really important research coming out of bizarre places," said Stanford professor Craig Criddle. "This is a shock." [ link ]
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    Tech  
    Thinkgeek's $30 AT-AT Walker dog costumes come in S-XL.
    "Should you be a fan of dressing up your dog, we offer you this fine option from the Star Wars universe. This Star Wars AT-AT Walker Dog Costume is basically a doggie hat and jumpsuit. There's a head-wrap that has an elastic band. The body's all one piece, so you only have to fasten some hook-and-loop underneath your pet, sorta like a saddle girth. And it should be pretty easy to get to if your dog is anything like our cats, who fall over as if someone's just cranked up the local gravity the moment we put a costume piece on them. Speaking of which, we do not recommend this on cats. It's technically for "pets," but we like you with your blood on the inside."
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    Tech  
    This creepy robotic baby boy, named Diego San, was built with funding from the National Science Foundation and serves cognitive A.I. and human-robot interaction research. With high definition cameras in the eyes, the robot sees people, gestures, expressions, and uses A.I. modeled on human babies, to learn from people, the way that a baby hypothetically would.
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    Tech  
    Attendees at Tokyo's DC Expo 2011 were treated to an eerie musical performance by a pair of disembodied arms. These "Ondz" robotic clappers where developed by Masato Takahashi, a researcher at Keio University who crafted them from molds of his own arms.
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    Tech  


    Virtual reality headsets can paired with specially-built controllers. They can even be paired with omnidirectional treadmills. Now, a team of technical engineers have built the CableRobot simulator - a carbon fibre cage that can move in real time around a large open space. The hexagonal frame is attached to six hydraulic cables which then move, rotate and tilt the sphere with the player sat inside. A wireless VR headset with an optical tracking system is linked to its controls, which activate the frame in response to the player's own movements.  
    The player wears a wireless VR headset inside a carbon fibre cage, which is then suspended in mid-air and thrown around the room using eight steel cables. The exposed pod is able to tilt, bank and move with an acceleration of up to 1.5g in response to the VR experience. Researchers have shown off some basic flight and racing simulations.
    It's still very much a prototype, the invention is the work of the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, based in the German town of Tübingen.
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    Tech  
    The latest images from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft have scientists stunned – not only for their breathtaking views of Pluto’s majestic icy mountains, streams of frozen nitrogen and haunting low-lying hazes, but also for their strangely familiar, arctic look.  
    "Pluto’s Majestic Mountains, Frozen Plains and Foggy Hazes: Just 15 minutes after its closest approach to Pluto on July 14, 2015, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft looked back toward the sun and captured this near-sunset view of the rugged, icy mountains and flat ice plains extending to Pluto’s horizon. The smooth expanse of the informally named icy plain Sputnik Planum (right) is flanked to the west (left) by rugged mountains up to 11,000 feet (3,500 meters) high, including the informally named Norgay Montes in the foreground and Hillary Montes on the skyline. To the right, east of Sputnik, rougher terrain is cut by apparent glaciers. The backlighting highlights over a dozen layers of haze in Pluto’s tenuous but distended atmosphere. The image was taken from a distance of 11,000 miles (18,000 kilometers) to Pluto; the scene is 780 miles (1,250 kilometers) wide. " [ Link ]
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    Tech  
    New close-up images taken by NASA‘s New Horizons probe during its historic July 14, 2015 flyby.
    “Pluto is showing us a diversity of landforms and complexity of processes that rival anything we’ve seen in the solar system,” said New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), Boulder, Colorado. “If an artist had painted this Pluto before our flyby, I probably would have called it over the top — but that’s what is actually there.”
    This synthetic perspective view of Pluto, based on the latest high-resolution images to be downlinked from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, shows what you would see if you were approximately 1,100 miles (1,800 kilometers) above Pluto’s equatorial area, looking northeast over the dark, cratered, informally named Cthulhu Regio toward the bright, smooth, expanse of icy plains informally called Sputnik Planum. The entire expanse of terrain seen in this image is 1,100 miles (1,800 kilometers) across. The images were taken as New Horizons flew past Pluto on July 14, 2015, from a distance of 50,000 miles (80,000 kilometers). [ link ]
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    Tech  
    Step inside Crew Dragon, SpaceX’s next-generation spacecraft designed to carry humans to the International Space Station
    Tech  
    "Elon Musk is either trying to save the world or destroy it. Stephen's not sure which one. " How are we going to warm up Mars to support biological life? Musk nonchalantly says there’s an easy way and a hard way. The easy way? Nuke it. The hard way? Greenhouse gasses.
    Musk did have a couple of his own jokes, though. When Stephen showed a clip of Tesla’s creepy prototype recharging robot, asking “is that thing gonna attack me in my sleep?,” Musk quipped in return: “For the prototype, I’d recommend not dropping anything while you’re near it.”
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    Tech  
    The Pluto system as NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft saw it in July 2015. This animation, made with real images taken by New Horizons, begins with Pluto flying in for its close-up on July 14; we then pass behind Pluto and see the atmosphere glow in sunlight before the sun passes behind Charon. The movie ends with New Horizons’ departure, looking back on each body as thin crescents.
    Tech  
    Tesla is testing a charger prototype that finds and connects to the car automatically. Cool
    Tech  
    "Imprisoned by their own father on their family's property, two siblings with terrifying supernatural powers plot their escape and vengeance. Starring Mad Men's Kiernan Shipka. "
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    Tech  
    NASA's Kepler mission has confirmed the first near-Earth-size planet in the “habitable zone” around a sun-like star. This discovery and the introduction of 11 other new small habitable zone candidate planets mark another milestone in the journey to finding another “Earth.”
    The newly discovered Kepler-452b is the smallest planet to date discovered orbiting in the habitable zone -- the area around a star where liquid water could pool on the surface of an orbiting planet -- of a G2-type star, like our sun. The confirmation of Kepler-452b brings the total number of confirmed planets to 1,030.
    "On the 20th anniversary year of the discovery that proved other suns host planets, the Kepler exoplanet explorer has discovered a planet and star which most closely resemble the Earth and our Sun," said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. “This exciting result brings us one step closer to finding an Earth 2.0."
    Kepler-452b is 60 percent larger in diameter than Earth and is considered a super-Earth-size planet. While its mass and composition are not yet determined, previous research suggests that planets the size of Kepler-452b have a good chance of being rocky.
    While Kepler-452b is larger than Earth, its 385-day orbit is only 5 percent longer. The planet is 5 percent farther from its parent star Kepler-452 than Earth is from the Sun. Kepler-452 is 6 billion years old, 1.5 billion years older than our sun, has the same temperature, and is 20 percent brighter and has a diameter 10 percent larger.
    “We can think of Kepler-452b as an older, bigger cousin to Earth, providing an opportunity to understand and reflect upon Earth’s evolving environment," said Jon Jenkins, Kepler data analysis lead at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, who led the team that discovered Kepler-452b. "It’s awe-inspiring to consider that this planet has spent 6 billion years in the habitable zone of its star; longer than Earth. That’s substantial opportunity for life to arise, should all the necessary ingredients and conditions for life exist on this planet. [ link ]
    Tech  
    "After learning new software and programming languages, Stanford students in the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have an opportunity to choose a creative task and design a robot to perform the task for demonstration. The tasks call for a wide range of fundamental skills, but generally require the robot to sense where it is in space, detect objects around it, and then autonomously interact with those objects in its environment. Recent projects include pingpong, the Japanese cup-and-ball game, Kendama, and a landing pad that helps a quad-copter touch down safely. "
    Tech  
    World's first airborne wind turbine will bring energy to remote areas. I think this is a neat concept- I am curious to know the cost/kilowatt based on this design.
    From their website: "Altaeros Energies is announcing the first planned commercial demonstration of its BAT (Buoyant Airborne Turbine) product in partnership with the Alaska Energy Authority. The Alaska project will deploy the BAT at a height of 1,000 feet above ground, a height that will break the world record for the highest wind turbine in the world. Altaeros has designed the BAT to generate consistent, low cost energy for the remote power and microgrid market, including remote and island communities; oil & gas, mining, agriculture, and telecommunication firms; disaster relief organizations; and military bases. The BAT uses a helium-filled, inflatable shell to lift to high altitudes where winds are stronger and more consistent than those reached by traditional tower-mounted turbines. High strength tethers hold the BAT steady and send electricity down to the ground. The lifting technology is adapted from aerostats, industrial cousins of blimps, which have lifted heavy communications equipment into the air for decades."
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