Odds and Ends 

Soooo Atlas the Robot is Doing Parkour Now

So Boston Dynamics’ “Atlas” robot does parkour now. The control software uses the whole body including legs, arms and torso, to marshal the energy and strength for jumping over the log and leaping up the steps without breaking its pace (step height 40 cm). Atlas uses computer vision to locate itself with respect to visible markers on the approach to hit the terrain accurately. Amazing. Read more: https://twistedsifter.com/videos/boston-dynamics-atlas-robot-doing-parkour/

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Odds and Ends 

So a Gyro Stabilizer on a Boat is Pretty Cool

If you’ve ever been on the water in a small boat on a choppy day you know how wobbly it can get. One (expensive) way of addressing this is by installing a gyro stabilizer on your boat. In this demo by Seakeeper, we see how effective a powerful gyroscope can be at eliminating boat roll. Read more: https://twistedsifter.com/videos/gyro-stabilizer-on-a-boat/

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How to win friends and keep them

Emma Beddington has never mastered the art of friendship so when she moved back to her hometown, she turned to science instead. But would it open doors? Moving back to my childhood home town after 25 years has meant many things keep me awake at night. What have we done, will my sons start taking spice, why is York obsessed with bubble tea and Harry Potter, where did all these seagulls come from? One that recurs frequently, late at night, as the birds shriek outside my window is: will I…

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Space station air leak: someone drilled the hole, say Russians

Several attempts at drilling were made by a wavering hand either on Earth or in orbit, in what could be accident or sabotage An air leak on the International Space Station might have been sabotage, according to the head of Russias Roscosmos space agency, and an investigation is under way. Dmitry Rogozin said the caused from outside by a tiny meteorite, but later admitted that had been ruled out. Chris B – NSF (@NASASpaceflight) ISS Leak summary: First thought was MMOD strike. Then NASA released pics. Lots of people: “Hmmm,…

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Geology Is Like Augmented Reality for the Planet

It’s an abnormally hot day in September and I’m standing in a cattail marsh in eastern Wisconsin, trying to change the way my students view the world. They’re all distracted—by the heat, homesickness, or the fact that they’ve lost a phone signal. The guys on the university hockey team are snickering about something. I’ve brought them here, in the first week of our introductory geology course, to investigate a mystery: Just in front of us, rising improbably from the flat expanse of the marsh, is a hill. About 50 feet…

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‘Its not if, its when’: the deadly pig disease spreading around the world

Swine fever has made its way into China, home to half the worlds pigs. Farmers in Estonia are already counting the cost Ott Saarevli, the owner of a pig farm in Lne county in Estonia, is starting all over again. In September last year, government vets diagnosed an outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) in a section of the farm where pregnant sows are held ahead of farrowing. It made no difference that the outbreak had been limited to one area all seven thousand of his pigs would have to…

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Odds and Ends 

The RNLIs Newest All-Weather Lifeboat is an Engineering Marvel

The Shannon is the latest class of all-weather lifeboat to join the RNLI fleet. She’s the first modern all-weather lifeboat to be propelled by waterjets instead of traditional propellers, making her the RNLI’s most agile and manoeuvrable all-weather lifeboat yet. Designed entirely in-house by a team of RNLI engineers, The Shannon was designed to be launched and recovered from a beach and is loaded with impressive features and specs. The naming of The Shannon class lifeboat follows an RNLI tradition of naming lifeboats after rivers. But it’s the first time…

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Arms industry spends millions to promote brands in schools

Defence groups sponsor lessons that promote building and sale of military hardware Arms manufacturers are spending millions of pounds a year promoting their brands in Britains schools, the Observer has learned. The companies, which between them have sold tens of billions of pounds of weapons to overseas governments, including those with poor human rights records, sponsor a series of school events at which their brands are prominently on display. In addition, they issue teaching materials for use in classrooms that promote the defence sector, sponsor competitions and award prizes. One…

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Your Next Weather Apocalypse: The Smokestorm

This story originally appeared on Grist and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration. As wildfire smoke descended on Seattle last week, the sun turned an apocalyptic shade of red and the city breathed in some of the unhealthiest air in the world. A new word to describe this phenomenon graced the headlines: “smokestorm.” The person who coined the term is Cliff Mass, professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington and revered Seattle meteorologist. “A Smokestorm is Imminent,” read the title of his blog post last Saturday, in which he projected the…

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China Built the Worlds Largest Telescope. Then Came the Tourists

Credit Intentionally Withheld The day before, Stierwalt had traveled from Southern California to Pingtang Astronomy Town for a conference hosted by scientists from the world’s largest telescope. It was a new designation: China’s Five-Hundred-Meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope, or FAST, had been completed just a year before, in September 2016. Wandering, tipsy, around this shrine to the stars, the 40 or so other foreign astronomers had come to China to collaborate on the superlative-snatching instrument. VCG/Getty Images China spent $180 million to create the telescope, which officials have repeatedly said…

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You Are Getting SleepyTagged Proteins May Point to Why

Two years ago, scientists in Japan reported the discovery of a mouse that just could not stay awake. This creature, which had a mutation in a gene called Sik3, slept upwards of 30 percent more than usual: Although it awoke apparently refreshed, it would need to snooze again long before its normal lab mates’ bedtime. It was as if the mouse had a greater need for sleep. International Institute for Integrative Sleep Medicine/University of Tsukuba Their experiments compared Sleepy and normal mice that were either well-rested or in various states…

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How to Show That the Earth Orbits the Sun

One of my favorite classes to teach is Physics for Elementary Education. It's a physics class designed to address the needs of future elementary school teachers—grades 1 through 6 or so. To guide the class, I've been using a version of Next Gen Physical Science and Everyday Thinking for a long time, maybe 13 years or so, and it is super awesome. One of the major goals in this course is to help students understand the nature of science—in particular the idea that science is all about building and testing…

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Modern myths about cancer from chemicals in food to wifi

The idea that lifestyle changes have made the disease more common is a gross exaggeration but increasingly prevalent. We separate fact from fiction Cancer is not up there with one species of dinosaur suffered from blood-vessel tumours and misinterpretations of some small studies and claims by self-styled wellness gurus that cancer is a man-made disease have fed the belief that cancer is modern. While that does not mean anyone concerned about cancer should visit their local natural history museum for information, thinking of cancer as a result of modern life…

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Odds and Ends 

Science FTW: A Team Of Weeping, Blood-Soaked Researchers Has Announced That The Music Of Phil Collins Makes Pandas Kill Each Other

Here’s some exciting news from the animal kingdom that’s really changing our understanding of the natural world. After an eventful morning at Zoo Atlanta’s giant-panda enclosure, a team of weeping, blood-soaked researchers has announced that the music of Phil Collins makes pandas kill each other! The groundbreaking discovery was made earlier today when a team of five zoologists turned on a Phil Collins Pandora station to listen to while they checked the animals’ vitals and accidentally triggered almost 15 minutes of unhinged bloodletting amongst the four giant pandas currently living…

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