Posts from the ‘tech’ Category

mad-as-a-marine-biologist:

Robot surfboard tracks great white sharks off the coast of California

What does this mean, apart from awesome? It means, you can get a free iPhone app to follow these (up to 6m+) babies around. 

Sharks in your pocket.

Way better than Polly Pocket.  

Read more. 

Too cool. Who doesn’t want to track great whites on their phone?

Following the common life cycle of many military technologies, drones are now being put to a more peaceful use: ecology. A growing movement is the utilization of drones and thermal-imaging to do everything from tracking illegal whaling ships, counting and protecting animal populations, and providing high-res photos of endangered habitats.

jtotheizzoe:

propagandery:

What’s the value of space exploration?

This week, elated by the Curiosity rover, I posted something about how great NASA is to my FB page. Someone immediately commented that it cost $3B already (which I don’t think is even accurate), and complained that it was a waste of money that would be better spent on immediate needs back home.

Of course, I ranted about how the space program has provided nearly limitless value in terms of the technology it’s provided the United States and the world. And of course, he was unconvinced, calling quantifiable and demonstrable advances in communications, medicine, public safety, engineering, transportation, etc., “subjective benefits.”

So in the interest of assisting anyone else who may have encountered such a myopic lack of vision and, what else can I call it but flat-out ignorance, and since NASA’s budget is forever on the chopping block, here are a few links to more information about what is known as NASA’s “spinoff technologies.”

Wikipedia list of spinoff tech

NASA’s own Spinoff home page

back issues of Spinoff magazine, a free annual PDF that’s over 200 pages of details about NASA advancements

NASASpinoff Twitter account

Top 10 NASA Inventions You Might Use Every Day from Discovery.com

10 Best NASA Spinoffs from Wired

In a nutshell, if you drive, fly, walk, use a cell phone, use a computer, use a smoke detector, use a GPS device, wear shoes, sleep on a bed, wear glasses, check your kid’s temperature, check the weather, or ever had a CAT scan… your life has been positively impacted by NASA technologies.

Yours, propagandery

Protip: Science haters gonna science hate.

Not to mention the research opportunities and what we’ve learned about both ourselves and the rest of the universe from NASA. 

Not to mention, Curiosity cost about $2.5 billion. Air conditioning in the Iraq War was at least $15 billion dollars a year. If we can produce all of this awesome stuff on just $19 billion a year, imagine what we could do with a dedicated national research effort.

ikenbot:

Record-Breaking Laser Hits 500 Trillion Watts

Laser physicists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have broken the record for the highest-power laser shot with a collection of beams delivering more than 500 trillion watts of peak power.

The National Ignition Facility fired 192 beams at the same time, delivering 1.85 megajoules of ultraviolet laser light to a target a mere two millimeters in diameter.

To put those numbers into perspective, the 500 terawatt figure is 12,500 times greater than the demand for electricity in 2006 in Britain, which averaged out at 40 gigawatts.

“For scientists across the nation and the world who, like ourselves, are actively pursuing fundamental science under extreme conditions and the goal of laboratory fusion ignition, this is a remarkable and exciting achievement,” said Richard Petrasso, senior research scientist and division head of high energy density physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in a press release. “The 500 TW shot is an extraordinary accomplishment by the NIF Team, creating unprecedented conditions in the laboratory that hitherto only existed deep in stellar interiors,”

realcleverscience:
jtotheizzoe was kind enough to share some links about dissent to the Dokoupil article. I’m gonna read though them later, but wanted to provide the links first.
Here’s a fan mail so I can include links. Mine:
 

Real Clever Science: Is The Web Driving Us Mad? – Maybe Not.

Equilbrioception is also how we can sense acceleration and gravity. We also have chronoception, an inner sense of timing, which explains how you know it’s about 2:30 without checking. 

Other animals can sense water currents and pressure, as well as electric and magnetic fields, among other things. We too can sense magnetic fields to a degree – if you’re willing to get magnets placed in your fingertips.

Nature is amazing in the breadth of things for which it can adapt, and the way it does so.

medicalschool:

Geneticist Runs Personalized Medicine Superstudy On Himself


Michael Snyder has taken “know thyself” to the next level — and helped heal thyself.

Over a 14-month period, the molecular geneticist at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, analyzed his blood 20 different times to pluck out a wide variety of biochemical data depicting the status of his body’s immune system, metabolism, and gene activity. In today’s issue of Cell, Snyder and a team of 40 other researchers present the results of this extraordinarily detailed look at his body, which they call an integrative personal omics profile (iPOP) because it combines cutting-edge scientific fields such as genomics (study of one’s DNA), metabolomics (study of metabolism), and proteomics (study of proteins). Instead of seeing a snapshot of the body taken during the typical visit to a doctor’s office, iPOP effectively offers an IMAX movie, which in Snyder’s case had the added drama of charting his response to two viral infections and the emergence of type 2 diabetes.

(Read more of the Wired Magazine Article)

The work being done in the ‘omics is fascinating, and I don’t think it will be too long before this kind of testing is standard for occasional checkups, much like physicals are today. The danger is the inevitable discrimination that will result, and the remedy for that is educating our current and future policy makers and managers to avoid that mistake.